100 – Sabbatical

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Episode Overview:

We made it...100 episodes. After podcasting for nearly 2 years, Ken reflects on this accomplishment and thanks those who supported him. Upon hitting 100, Ken reflects on how planning is his number one takeaway when it comes to finances. Ken revisits the podcast’s most popular episodes that a majority of listeners gravitated to. Finally, Ken announces that he’s taking a sabbatical from the podcast to take pause and focus on other endeavors.

Transcriptions are auto-generated, please excuse grammar/spelling!

Happy day to you. This is Ken Kaufman CFO, and I am thrilled you’re here for episode number 100. That’s right, we’ve hit the triple digits. I can’t believe it myself. The title for today’s episode is “Sabbatical.” And I mentioned in the last episode that I was going to have an announcement in this episode, and it is that I am going to need to take a sabbatical from the weekly, every Monday episodes that have been published over the last almost two years, now with this being the hundredth. I’ll talk about it maybe a little bit more at the end, but there are some demands that are coming my way and some projects and things that I’m gonna need to have to focus on those. And it just felt like right at a hundred was probably the right place to press the pause button. And hopefully I’ll be back soon. I don’t know. We’ll have to see what happens.

I have to start this episode just by expressing gratitude to all of you who’ve listened in for the questions that you’ve sent in and have prompted episodes for the support. There are some of you that have reached out and mentioned just at the right time that one of the episodes helped you in some way. And it was at a moment when I thought, “Why am I doing this? And am I adding value?” I know why I…The reason I started is because I felt like I had something to say that could potentially benefit someone out there in the universe. And it seemed like those positive areas of feedback from you came at just the right moment to keep me pushing along with this project. And it is just a side project, something I just decided to do. It’s cost money to be able to support it, and never tried to generate revenue or anything from it. And it was a phenomenal learning experience.

I have to express gratitude to my wife for being supportive of me doing this and my kids, and just my family in general for their always ongoing and committed support, regardless of how crazy of an idea I have, this being one of many, but this definitely raised some eyebrows in my household only because it was a podcast. And why, and what would you do? And I loved the process of taking that embryo of an idea and turn it into something that created some value out in the universe. And anyways, it’s been a great ride. I will give a final…in my final sign-off, we’ll touch on just a few other things, but I wanted to, as an official sendoff, go through the last year’s worth of episodes and just make mention of some of the episodes that clearly all of you have liked because they’ve been listened to as well as some that I’ve really liked.

And when I do this, I wanna put it all in this context. If there’s one final piece of advice that I would throw out there to you, it is the concept to always keep planning, to never stop planning when it comes to your finances because things are always changing. There is a powerful force in the universe that comes into your life when you are willing to lay down a plan and then actually track your progress on that plan, which in our world, the ultimate tracking of how we’re doing is our statement of net worth, which is assets minus liabilities, and then what is the net worth once liabilities would be paid off with assets. And it’s the ability to have that plan and then look at what actually happened and then hold yourself accountable to what happened in a positive way, from the perspective of what went well, and how can we keep doing more of that and implement that into our financial life and our plan, and then what didn’t go well or where were some misses, and what can we learn from that and how do we positively move forward?

Not beat ourselves up, not feel shame, not feel embarrassed, not get angry or frustrated, accepted as the life learning experience that was designed to be for you and leverage the heck out of it from there. So, this is my final…again, the final piece of advice, and I’m gonna go through some of these favorite episodes, but being able to regularly sit down with that plan. If you have somebody that’s helping you engage them, force them to get with you on an annual basis to look at your plan and see how you’re doing and as well as see what’s changed and what dynamics have changed, income has gone up or gone down, assets have gone up or gone down, at least out of a range that everyone felt was acceptable.

Insurance has changed, marriage has happened, divorce has happened, children are born, children leave home and go to college. There’s so many different things that are always happening. So to be able to sit down once a year and just keep planning, that would be my advice is keep planning. Don’t stop. Don’t quit. Keep going with your plan. Even if you don’t like where it’s at right now, even if you don’t like the results that you’ve had over the last period, if you keep pushing forward, you’ll create the momentum that you need to accomplish what you want.

So, as I look back at some of these past episodes, by far, the most listened to episode was episode number one. I don’t know that much about podcasting. I would bet most episodes are like this, meaning when somebody discovers a podcast, they’ll jump…or they’ll go back to the first episode. Maybe they’ll listen to something they’re interested in and then they’ll jump back to episode one to learn more about the podcast. I don’t know the psyche, but that would be my guess of how it works. And that was on the net worth thesis. This is where I laid down why I was doing the podcast in the first place, which was this concept of it doesn’t matter how much money you bring in. Doesn’t matter how much you have going out. What ultimately matters is how much is left out of all those ins and outs that allow you to build your net worth, to become assets, to invest, to grow, to build. And that was a really fun episode.

And then I went through several episodes where I took the word IMPACT as an acronym and talked about I being for impact your net worth, or I’m sorry, I being for iterate your mindset and process, the M for maximize income and joy, P for prioritize your waterfall, which is how you’re going to allocate funds as they come in, the A for align with partner and waterfall, the C for cultivate assets, and then the T is for terminating debt. It’s, I think, the right model and the right process for building a net worth. And that’s why I started off right there.

Then another favorite episode, I did one on is budgeting a bad word? That was fun because hopefully some of you got some value from this, but I basically wanted you to take away that if you replace the word budgeting with prioritizing, there’s a mindset shift, and now it’s no longer a scarcity mentality. It’s an abundance mentality, which is well, what’s the most important, and let’s make sure we feed those with the assets that they need to create the outcomes that we’re looking for. Another one that seems pretty popular was some episodes I did on credit card hacks and some things you can do to maximize your credit score, how to get kids credit scores and credit cards and those sorts of things. Those were definitely some fun episodes and I enjoyed doing that.

Had a really nice response on the episode I did on the most important attribute of your financial advisor. And as you guys know, I tend to play contrarian. I don’t go through a standard list of they need to have this credential or this or that. I said, I think the most important attribute is that you find somebody that aligns with how you think about the world. Number one, and number two, they’re ahead of you hiring someone that has not accomplished or gotten to where you already are. It’s hard for me to believe that they can actually help you get further than where you’re at if they haven’t been able to do it themselves.

And the second one is…you know, that being the second one, and back to the first one, they need to align. They need to understand where you’re coming from. And there needs to be some commonality in value systems. For example, having a planner work with you from your church, if it’s something that you’re actively involved in and you go to the same church, they’re gonna understand and see things like you see them, or maybe it’s clubs or work or school, or there are other things that you have in common that allow them to have a deep understanding of who you are and what’s important to you because the last thing that’s gonna be helpful is a financial advisor who is just trying to check a box on, “Hey, here’s a nice financial plan for you,” and they don’t…because, you know, 90% of it is getting a bunch of numbers down. The last 10% is where the value is, which is really tailoring it to what you want and what your goals are and how you see things and what’s the most important to you. So anyways, those are two big and critical things.

The next one is…or I’m sorry, the next episode that popped up at least as I went back and did this little kind of review, if you will, of the last hundred episodes, an interesting one that stood out was the one I did at Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, and I talked about net worth and thanksgiving, and basically how there’s some karma to when you figure out how to have gratitude in your life. And you make that a central focus, how net worth seems to come easier and faster. So that was obviously a fun one to talk about. Another favorite one was over the Christmas holiday back in 2018…or I’m sorry, in 2019. We were on a big road trip, drove across the country to South Carolina and visited some places where my son had served his mission and my kids hijacked the podcast and got some great reaction. And those were some fun ones.

Also, two episodes that did really well a little after that time in terms of just total downloads, how small business owners build net worth. And that was straight from a question from one of you about, “Hey, how do I build net worth when I have this small business and there are investments there that need to be made?” And we had a great discussion on that. And then I did a review on “The Richest Man in Babylon” book, which is a big favorite of mine. It’s required reading in the Kaufman household. And that’s been fairly popular, actually. I shouldn’t be surprised by it, that one definitely stood out.

And then when COVID hit, I did a lot of episodes around Cobra insurance, unemployment benefits, Q&A on unemployment benefits, how to budget when you lose your income, how to access your retirement funds penalty-free with some of the COVID things that were put in place, or I should say the CARES Act and other relief initiatives from Congress. These were tough times. And I’ll tell you what, all of you motivated me to show up and try to bring content that would bring massive value during the financial crisis and the financial crisis that many of you obviously felt and experienced.

A couple of other that stick out. My wife and I passed our 22nd year of marriage last summer. And I did an episode on that, that was kind of fun, and had my wife on. It’s the only time I’ve been able to convince her to join me in an episode. And I got some comments from some of you about how great she was and how authentic and how she came across exactly how she is in real life. And that was a lot of fun to do that. And I appreciate everybody’s support on that and the feedback around her participation in that.

Let’s see, if I come forward a little bit more, some other episodes that stick out, these are more recent. I did an episode around frustration and confusion and how those lead to breakthroughs and abundance versus scarcity. Actually, this one had a lot of downloads, abundance versus scarcity mentality. That was, again, fun to talk through some of that and share some ideas around that, especially just so much of succeeding with our finances is about having the right mindset. And then some other ones I decided to get back to some basics. And just, how do you set up an IRA? How do you set up a traditional IRA? What’s the difference between Roth and traditional IRA? How do you get your 401(k) rocking and rolling? What are some of the HSA hacks that I’ve employed that have been of huge benefit?

And then I’ve spent a lot of the last episodes really diving into some critical investment strategies as people think about how they should be investing their money and had some fun time, you know, talking through target date funds, contrarian but effective investing strategies, the difference between large cap and small cap, value and growth, and how to think about, from a risk versus reward perspective, these different asset classes and these different opportunities to invest. Also talked about year-end planning checklist and how to prepare for taxes and so on and so forth. So that was fun for me. I hope that was fun for you just to, kind of, go through the past and think about some of those episodes and how it’s all went.

I’m just gonna take a minute and sign off and wrap up here now. Again, I thank all of you, thank my family for their support. I have learned so much in this process and journey. In fact, I thought about at one point doing an episode on how to create a podcast and how to get it up and running and rolling, and cost-effective ways to make it happen. But there’s so many episodes like that out there. So many people talking about how to podcast, I just figured I’ll just be a podcaster. I’m not going to be somebody who talks about it or teaches people how to podcast. I like focusing on, obviously, the personal finance world, and hopefully you’ve been able to gain some value from this.

And I just want to reiterate here, signing off, headed off into a sabbatical from this podcast, not from life or from any of my other responsibilities and things that I have. But because of the demands there and because of some of the projects that are ahead of me here in the short to medium term, I need to take a sabbatical from the podcast. Couldn’t think of a better time than at episode 100. And my parting advice to you or pearl of wisdom is just keep planning, stick to it, keep fighting through and force yourself or your advisor or whoever’s helping you to sit down and continue to help you set the right goals, track your progress, and ultimately build up your net worth. Many, many thanks to you for joining today. This is Ken Kaufman CFO signing off to a sabbatical that hopefully won’t be too long. Happy day.

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About the Podcast

Join Chief Financial Officer Ken Kaufman as he helps you track and hack your net worth. For those seeking financial independence, your net worth is one of the most significant measurements of success. Using his two decades of financial experience, Ken Kaufman helps you overcome your financial obstacles and look onward towards a better, brighter financial future.

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