What is the best “next move” for your career or your passion? Keep moving. Dr. Mike Massimino knows how to achieve unlikely goals. He not only applied to be an astronaut three times before being accepted as a candidate, the third time he applied he was medically disqualified. Yet, he still found a way to work about two different space missions, was the first person to tweet from space, and act on several episodes of the Big Bang Theory. We ask him about all of this and more, and he drops some terrific leadership advice. No matter who you are, this interview can help you achieve more.
Before that, in our headline segment, a player has been dismissed from a professional sports team. What does that have to do with you? We dive into the actions of the Chicago Blackhawks against player Corey Perry, and how that just might change your outlook as you make your way through December.
Of course, we still share Doug’s trivia and OG answers a question about employee stock ownership plans. All that and more on today’s show!
Deeper dives with curated links, topics, and discussions are in our newsletter, The 201, available at https://www.stackingbenjamins.com/201
- Chicago Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson addresses Corey Perry’s dismissal | CHGO Blackhawks Podcast (YouTube)
Dr. Mike Massimino
Big thanks to Dr. Mike Massimino for joining us today. To learn more about Mike, visit Mike Massimino – Astro Mike. Grab yourself a copy of the book Moonshot: A NASA Astronaut’s Guide to Achieving the Impossible
- What Pasadena-based laboratory was created by Cal Tech professor Theodore von Kármán in the 1930s?
Have a question for the show?
- Drew from St. Charles, IL, recently accepted a new job with a private company that pays out an annual bonus in the form of restricted non-public stock that cannot be sold until after his employment ends. He wants to know should he even factor that employee stock into his retirement plan, or should he just pretend it doesn’t exist?
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Join Us Friday!
Tune in on Friday for a special roundtable episode about when you’re giving people advice…what’s the difference between what you tell beginners vs. what you share with more advanced financial savers? Today we’ll ask our roundtable team, featuring financial independence coach, Bernadette Joy, who joins OG and Len Penzo.
Written by: Kevin Bailey
Miss our last show? Listen here: Your Order of Operations to Be a Better Leader (SB1444)
Ignition sequence starts 6,
5, 4, 3,
All engine running lift off.
Live from Joe’s mom’s basement. It’s the Stacking Benjamin Show.
I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Duggan. Today you’ll learn why valuing rookies can make you a better leader with NASA astronaut, Dr. Mike Massimino in our headlines, a cautionary tale from the National Hockey League. What does hockey have to do with your money? Maybe more than you rink. See what I did there? Plus, we’ll throw out the lifeline to stacker Drew, who wants to know what to do with his employee stock ownership dollars.
And then I’ll share some propelling trivia. And now two guys who are always exploring new ways to bring you the best personal finance advice, even if that means dwelling in the dark web. It’s Joe and oh,
hey there, stackers here. We are helping you round the corner and head for home on 2023. I am Joe Salsey, high average Joe Money on Twitter and welcome back to the Stacking Benjamin Show. I’m super excited. I know I say that every show, guys. I’m super excited, but come on today. Today, Mike Massimino. This dude has a recurring character.
Had a recurring character back when the Big Bang Theory was the thing I. He’s been everywhere. He’s
forget about how much intelligence it takes to become an astronaut. Forget he was on the Big Bang Theory. Yeah. He was on Big Bang Theory
more than once. He was a TV star. It’s forget about his two masters and his PhD and his MIT and the fact that he blah, blah, blah was his
To go into space for research was
on one of my favorite comedies. That’s the best thing. Yeah. Hey,
so what’s Melissa Rouch like in real life? Mike
Guy went to space twice. Twice, but his career wasn’t complete until he came down to the basement. Another guy whose career wasn’t complete until he joined the team or helped found the team.
Mr. OG Cross for me. How are you, man?
Thanks for that clarification. You know what’s better than finding, you know, a 10 bill in your pocket? $10 bill in your pocket. You know it’s better than that.
Find a $15 bill in your pocket, a stack of checks
on your desk that you haven’t cashed yet. Hey, o So
Yes. So you want us to keep talking so you can start signing and, oh yeah, I, the moment
deposits, I’m, I’m already doing it. I’ve, this is, this is no joke. $352, man. I’m just, wow. A rich. That’s a good day. That’s a great day, man. Bottle of wine for you. At least a third of one.
There is a lesson here, kids around cleanliness that we mom tries to teach
us all the time.
Hey, the desk is clean. It’s just not particularly
organized. Mike Massimino coming down to the basement. Before that. We’re talking hockey. You guys into hockey walkie?
No. Ah, well let me play hockey.
Yeah, yeah. Let me OG tell you how the game of hockey works. That
sounds like a game that I used to play called slap and tickle.
Minus the tickle. Maybe it’s just slap. Well listen to the rest of us. This is how they clarify that. Oh,
slap shot. Oh, okay. Yes. Yeah, that’s a way different thing than I was thinking. Little
just emphasis change there. And you’re getting can’t raise your stick
above your shoulders.
Well, you’d be surprised at what I can do.
advice goes both ways.
Dr. Mike Massino, you must need me. An action Doug. We
the heck out of this.
Thank God, Dr. Mike Massimino waiting upstairs. We gotta clean this up. So let’s do our headline. Hello Darlings. And now it’s time for your favorite part of the show, our Stacking Benjamins headlines.
Our headline today comes to us from the Chicago Blackhawks. This is, uh, audio last Tuesday from a press conference. And this is, uh, Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson. Last week, management was notified of possible misconduct by Cory Perry. We immediately pulled him from the game and conducted an internal investigation.
Upon learning the findings of the investigation, we made the decision to terminate his contract. As this is an individual personnel matter, I will not be be able to disclose any details related to the initial reporting
investigation or the findings. However, I do wanna be very clear on this one point,
this does not involve any players
or their families.
And anything that suggests otherwise or anyone that suggests otherwise is wildly
and frankly, it’s disgusting. Whoa.
Sounds like, uh, not only is, uh, Corey’s conduct disgusting, but a lot going on. You hear all the legalese in there, guys,
where for, there’s a little that one too pertaining, yes.
A little bit of HR involved in this.
Now, people, people wonder, and I apologize for non hockey fans, like why, why are you bringing this up, Joe? This is the time of year guys. When you go to the company holiday party, I can’t tell you how many company holiday parties I’ve been to where I’ve seen people do career ending things. Never at the holiday party.
He just said that. That wasn’t that. No, no, no. But I think, I think og, this is just a cautionary tale because, well, let me play another thing because I wanna transition here. This is, uh, Chicago Sports Station six 70. The score commentating about what we just heard and to let people know, the Black Blackhawks waived
Corey Perry for unacceptable conduct, a 38-year-old,
highly respected competitor in the NHLA known irritant on the ice.
Yes. He was brought here to mentor Connor Bedard. They cut him loose. They said, ’cause of unacceptable conduct. They said he violated a standard contract. Yes. That’s not just a saying that, well, you know, there was some. There was some bad conduct that, that is, he violated the terms of his contract, which again is legal ease for We’re not paying him.
It was a workplace matter. Those were the words used exactly by
Kyle Davidson. That’s right. Maybe it was just a jerk to like the maintenance guy or something.
Well, I don’t, I don’t really wanna speculate on what happened. I mean, I don’t know. We can, I suppose he, you know, he, uh, showed a to too many people.
well, he said it wasn’t that though. He didn’t say, you know, he said it wasn’t, didn’t involve. Well, no, I don’t know. Who knows? Right. But I get, I get what you’re saying. You’re saying mind your P’S and Q’s.
Well, and it used to be like early in my career when I saw people do career ending stuff, that was before everybody had a phone in their hand and somebody who you don’t know about, who doesn’t like you, and you had no idea there’s a workplace in vendetta, you had no idea.
You know, we’ve all seen the shows on tv. They just raised that little camera and let you bury yourself because you decided to have a little too much and did something very, very dumb at the company event. So the moral of the
story here is don’t be dumb with sparkling water with with lime. Like what’s the, what, what
do we I think so, I think look for the phones.
Well, lemme tell you. Pointed at you. Lemme tell you something that I remember from the press, something that I, that I maybe should know, which is that the NBC news anchor Lester Holt, I remember hearing a story in like the mid nineties that he was really, really drunk at a company Christmas party and pretty much made a fool out of himself singing karaoke.
And I don’t remember anything more than that. And I do know this is a story I just heard through the press and that that was holding his career back for a long time. Og it held’s career back forever because NBC was worried. They’re like, well remember what Lester did at the holiday party? Mm-Hmm.
Like, that’s not good.
Same spoken in the boys room probably.
And yeah, so this is beyond like doing bad things from a, you know, legal standpoint. You’re also talking about here, like just be aware that. Other people are gonna judge you based on your behavior at all times, not just in your in your work day-to-day life if you get hammered and decide to be the guy.
Slurring karaoke. Like that’s gonna hang with you a long time. Basically. Yeah. Just pay attention
to your, it is in a, and even without alcohol, this is an emotional time of year for a lot of people. We’re, we’re more stressed out. We got more stuff going on. Money’s flying out of our wallet. At is speed. It doesn’t fly out of preach, brother.
What’s that? I said, preach. Money’s flying out of our wallet faster than it does any other month of the year. For most people, I’d say probably nine outta 10 or even more than that. And it just, it gets really emotional and you might wanna tell your boss where to go in an emotional moment. You might wanna say something to a colleague in an emotional moment.
I just think, oh gee, that this, for all the, we have no idea what happened here with the Chicago Blackhawks. I just heard this and then I heard that commentary. They terminated his agreement, which meant they’re not paying him, right? Mm-Hmm. I’m a Michigan State guy. I know what happened to the coach. The football coach at Michigan State, we’re not paying you for this.
Behavior. Creepy thing. Yeah. That you did that He actually says he did. Uh, so I won’t even say alleged. The coach says he did it. He just said it was consensual. Right. So it’s just a time when a lot of people make mistakes. I think this is a cautionary tale, you know, and I, you see people say stuff on, on social media and then they get fired from work and then they go, well, I got a, I got a what?
A first amendment right to say whatever I, whatever I want. Freedom of speech. Yes, you do have freedom of speech and your boss has the freedom to fire you as well. Freedom from consequences. Exactly. Doug. Yeah. We got no idea what happened here, but I just thought this was a great time to remind people to maybe
pump the brakes right there where you said Exactly.
Doug, that would be a great place to play our new audio clip. Our favorite new audio clip that OG handed to us on Monday.
Uh, Steve, can you play, uh, back what happened on Monday?
He said it. Yeah. How could you say that? OG.
Every 14 years. I feel like it’s appropriate that he gets a little attaboy.
you know, it’s, that clip’s out there now it’s in the wild. See, somebody has a phone up. Yeah, Doug had a, but Doug had a recording device and now we’re beholden to it. I don’t mind, it’s just our
point. I don’t mind just a small five figure check to Steve and now my life is instantly better
coming up next.
Oh, by the way, before I, I tell you it’s coming up next. We’re gonna dive into the topics our guest is going to talk about and more into this in our newsletter, the 2 0 1 that comes out every Tuesday and Thursday. Uh, stacky Benjamins dot com slash 2 0 1. We have curated links from our friend, uh, Kevin Bailey, who just does an amazing job of finding phenomenal sources to go deeper into all these topics we talk about.
So whatever floats your fancy as mom says, we can dive deeper in the 2 0 1 Stacking Benjamins dot com slash 2 0 1. And for those of you that are already subscribed, you know, we have a referral program. So if you know somebody that prefers to read. And get good links. We can, uh, help you to
read if they’re a reader.
I’m not much of them. I’m not what you’d call a reader.
If they could, you can help them. We’ll help you while you help them. How about that? I dunno, trying to come up with a tagline. Hey, how about this? Dr. Mike Massimino is a guy that I’ve watched every time I watch any of the nasa, SpaceX, nasa, whoever stuff he is always the color commentator for those.
He also, as I mentioned, has a recurring character on the, has been a recurring character on the Big Bang three. He is been at space twice, STS 1 0 9. That was Space Shuttle Columbia in March of 2002. And he was also STS 1 25 Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2009, uh, the final two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions, he became the first human to tweet from space.
He was the last human to work inside of Hubble, and he set a team record with his crew mates for the most cumulative spacewalking time in a single. Space shuttle mission guy’s done, uh, done a thing or two, but you know what? He hasn’t done? He hasn’t been here mentoring our stackers, and that’s why we have him coming down to the basement to help all of us be better leaders here on Leadership Week with Chuck Wado for on Monday, and now Dr.
Mike Massimino on Wednesday. But before we get to that, we got a guy doing some rock. Well, something that’s not rocket science. He’s doing trivia.
Pretty complicated to do this trivia. Like, just listen to this one. Hey, there’s stackers. I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug, you know what? All the neighbors here in Texarkana consider me to be a Renaissance man.
You know, I’m interested in so many things, art, science, poetry, you know, unfortunately the downside of being so naturally gifted in say athletics, is that I haven’t had time to try a lot of other things. One thing I’ve always wanted to do. Go to space camp. It’s gonna be so fun to float around in the shuttle, eating freeze dried ice cream and looking at all the planets stars.
I bet I’d make a great astronaut too. I like driving fast. I love pushing buttons. Switches and toggles are okay, but I mean the buttons. The buttons. Am I right? They’re so fun. Not to brag, but this suit all be pretty easy for me and not to mention if it were possible, I’m sure I’d even be more of a hit with the ladies, if that’s even possible.
My butt would look awesome in that spacesuit and they say absence makes the heart grow. Fonder space missions are typically about six months long, so that’s plenty of time for Joe’s mom to really miss me. Between me fixing things around her house and mowing the lawn shirtless, she’d really lose like a lot for the half a year.
So let’s not lose today’s trivia question.
I thought we did lose it. I thought it was, I
thought it was long gone. Reeling you back in, so let’s not lose it. Here it is. What Pasadena based space exploration laboratory was created by Caltech Professor Theodore Von Carmen in the 1930s. I’ll be back right after I find out if NASA does any short missions.
Hey there, stackers. I’m Mike Massimino, fanboy and future guy headed to space, probably Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug. It turns out Naza doesn’t do any short trips to space, but lemme see if Mike can hook me up with a mission that’s only like, like a weekend long. So I can, I can do that instead. Kinda like being on the reserves.
Yeah. Hey Mike. Uh, how about putting me down for the NASA reserve program? No. Alright, well, we’ll talk later. I got trivia answer to give everybody Today’s trivia question is what Pasadena based laboratory was created by Caltech Professor Theodore Von Carmen in the 1930s. The answer holding the distinction of being NASA’s only federally funded research and development center, jet Propulsion Laboratory As, or JPL as I call it, was founded by mathematician and aerospace engineer Teddy Von Carmen.
That dude was a partier, and now here to teach you how to make possible the seemingly impossible. It’s Dr. Mike Massimino. Seriously though, the reserve’s, Mike, it just, it would fit in really well with all the other stuff I got going on. Just you think about it.
I can’t believe this guy’s been to outer space and now he’s in mom’s basement.
Dr. Mike Massimino here. How are you?
Joe, I’m doing well and it’s a pleasure to be in the basement. I guess
you thought you’d never go below ground. Your goal was to get off the
planet. Yeah. But below ground sometimes is pretty nice too, though. It looks like a nice set you got there with mom, so that’s good.
And it is funny, Mike, that you know, looking at your career, everything kind of, I guess, started when you were a kid speaking in mom’s basement. Mm-Hmm. A lot of kids spend times in mom’s basement. But you know, I’ve watched all the movies, I’ve watched all the TV shows, and you see these astronauts. You say that you weren’t a prototypical astronaut growing up.
You were not the kid that people would vote on to be America’s next astronaut.
Probably not. I think part of that is sort of the conception we have of astronauts, or at least I did when I was a little kid. You know, Neil Armstrong and. John Glenn and those kind of guys were, uh, were like superheroes. But even with that, you, if you take that down a notch, I don’t think that you would think that I was one of those guys.
I was kind of this, uh, you know, scrawny kid who couldn’t see very well, um, was afraid of heights. I still don’t like heights. Didn’t even like going fast on my bicycle. You know, I wasn’t a thrill seeker. Uh, it just ag the neighborhood was a great place to grow up, but there were no, uh, astronauts walking around, you know?
I just figured there was no way this could happen. So, at least what my impression was at first anyway, I kind of gave up on the astronaut dream when I was about eight years old saying, nah, this could never work out.
Well, where did the obsession start?
It, it started when I was six and I was, I’m old enough to remember Neil Armstrong on the moon.
And when I saw that and the lead up to it, I really thought it was, uh, important what was going on and something that, uh, that moonshot, let’s say, it was what I thought was the most important thing going on. And I still feel that way about the space program. And it never, it never left me, but it started when I was about six years old.
this mantra that our stackers know Mike, which is feel the fear and do it anyway. And I have to tell myself I. That a lot of the time because I’m afraid of everything. I’m afraid of the next move. And, but it kind of echoes your first chapter, which is all about trying to get into the space program where you say, you know what Zero does not, not, I’m, I’m not gonna get this right ’cause I’m doing it from memory, but something like, uh, difficult is not impossible or 0% chance is not the same as not making, I don’t remember the
Well, you’re doing pretty good there, but I can, uh, the title is, uh, one out of a million is not zero. There, there, it’s, so thank you. The odds are against you, especially I think if you’re trying to do something extraordinary and hard and yeah, you might not, you’re probably not gonna be successful, but that’s okay.
It’s important to at least try. So you owe it to yourself to give yourself a
chance. What year was it when you first applied to try to become an astronaut? The
first application went in in, uh, 1989, I guess.
And do you remember where you were when you were notified? Did you get like a letter in the mail?
Did they call you? What happened?
The way it worked is that you had submitted an application. And you found out about this too, the way it works on the inside as an astronaut. But what they do is they’ll look through those, those, uh, applications, and then they’ll go get references on like the, what they consider to be the top 10%.
And then they’ll do like a medical screening and, and, you know, kind of briefly looking at it. And then, and then they’ll, out of those few hundred people that are left, they will, uh, select about 120 that they will interview. That’s when you’re a finalist. And then out of the 120, you get the astronaut class that they’re gonna pick that year.
So my first time I made it through that first hoop, I knew they were checking my references. So that was kind of cool. So I knew I’d made it that far. And then it stopped. I didn’t get an interview, so I knew the letter wasn’t gonna be good when it came. And I got a rejection letter. The second time I applied.
A couple years later, I didn’t even get my references checked. I went in reverse. So that didn’t, that was, that wasn’t very, uh, encouraging. And then the third time I got an interview, uh, but I was medically disqualified for my eyesight. I couldn’t see well enough my uncorrected vision. Without my glasses wasn’t up to what the NASA standard was, so I got disqualified, which is pretty disheartening.
Um, but I looked into it and I found out about vision training, which this is amazing. Me, which was mainly done with, yeah. ’cause I don’t know if anyone else had overturned the vision dq and it was the most popular reason for people to get disqualified back then. But I figured that had to be a way around it.
It was, I learned about vision training. It was something that was done with kids mainly ’cause their eyes are still developing. But I told the optometrists I could be really immature, just gimme a chance. And she worked with me. Were able to, to get a couple lines on the eye chart with these, with these training techniques, so at least I could be considered.
Again, once you disqualified, they won’t even read your application anymore. So I got that overturned so I could apply for the class in 96, which is the one that I ended up again interviewing for and finally got selected
into. But I wanna take this story apart a little bit, if you don’t mind, because there’s so many lessons here.
You know, most people, as you know, Mike would’ve given up after that first try. And yet you did it again. And then when you find out that they don’t even check your references the second time you’re like, I’m going in reverse. So I, so hey, I probably shouldn’t apply again. But you still applied. What made you keep
Well, I, I think the important thing, Joe, is to keep trying. And even if I never got picked and I realized I would never get, I might not ever get picked. I mean, I finally did get picked. I look, I can’t believe it. I mean, I look, these are my, my flight patches behind me there on the wall. Yeah. I always check if my name is on ’em every time I look at ’em.
Might, did it really happen or did I imagine ’em? But my name is on there. So it was something I never thought could ever happen, and I realized that it probably wouldn’t. But I knew that I, I couldn’t control that. I couldn’t force NASA to check my references or to bring me in for an interview or to select me ultimately.
But the only thing I could do was, was keep trying. And, and I always felt that at least on trying, I could feel, I could feel good about myself. I didn’t want to end up, you know, 10 years down the road looking back. And realizing that, you know, Hey, what is, if I would’ve tried that one last time, or would’ve done something differently, you know, different.
As long as you’re trying to give yourself a chance to succeed, that’s okay. And if you never get to that goal, I, I kind of think that’s okay too, as long as you tried because it could lead you in a good outcome. I ended up, when I finally got selected, I was a new professor, more or less, less than a year at Georgia Tech, living in Atlanta.
Then I felt like, well, if they reject me again a fourth time, I’m gonna keep trying. But at least I landed in a good place. You know, I’d gotten my PhD and I’d gotten some great work experience and I was doing space research. I’d flown a project in space on the space shuttle and things were going pretty well.
So sometimes you follow that goal and you might not get it, but as long as you try, you’ll, I think you’ll end up in a good
place. The vision thing, when I saw that you were disqualified for your vision when I was a student at the Citadel. I remember a friend of mine named Jeff getting a letter. Uh, he was in the Air Force and finding out he could never fly fly fighters.
His whole, you you, you know, I’m part of the top gun generation. All the kids watch Top Gun and we immediately go into, into school and I remember him crying because that was the, the, the kiss to death and just you getting around that. I mean, that’s some persistence. Yeah, it
wasn’t easy back then. You know, someone asked me, I’ve been doing a lot of these podcast interviews.
Someone asked me, did anyone else ever get around that vision record? It was the number one disqualifier there was, and people, there was one Navy test pilot who I interviewed with and we interviewed in groups of 20 people and various backgrounds and so on. And we would all get together for dinner and talk about how the day went.
For each one of us, we all had different schedules every day. All these candidates I was with. And this one Navy pilot was, uh, seemed like a top-notch guy. Uh, he was one of the more senior guys. Everyone seemed to like him. Even the astronauts that we were interacting with knew who we was. ’cause they had flown with him in the Navy and.
We were at dinner this one night. I said, what’s going on? And he seemed kind of down and he said, I got dq. And I go, how’d you get dq? He said, the eye test. I go, how did you fail the eye test? He could see 2020 uncorrected vision, but they dilated his eyes. This is what NASA would do. It really dilated, kinda like stopped your ability to accommodate eye muscle wise or whatever they did to this poor guy.
And he couldn’t clear the test at 2020 and they disqualified him. And, uh, I couldn’t believe that it was the number one reason for disqualification. Someone asked me, is there any, I don’t think there’s anyone else that was able to overturn it. I don’t heard anyone. I never, but I was kind of desperate, I guess.
You know, I, I just figured out how to be a way to get around. And as you mentioned, your, your colleague, uh, with the Air Force, all those rules have changed. Now, Joe, this is back in the mid 1990s when, when I was going through this, but the Air Force, NASA now accepts lasik. As long as you’re stable, there are certain.
Parameters, but you don’t even need to see uncorrected vision that well anymore, as long as you’re correctable of 2020, I think is the latest standard. So I wouldn’t have had any trouble with today’s standards. They, they, they had to change it because too many good people like your friend weren’t even given the chance for something that really didn’t matter anymore.
It mattered back in World War II when you were flying an airplane and whoever saw the enemy first won the fight. Yeah. But now they don’t fly the airplane. The airplane’s got more, you know, they got a lot of, uh, intelligence in the airplane and a lot of helps. You don’t have to see the guy, you know, oh, you know, here’s the Red Baron, let’s go get him.
You know, it was, uh, it’s a lot of a difference. So all that has changed, but that’s the way it was back then. Those, those were the rules. So we had to, had to figure out way to, to get through ‘
em. I love that, uh, story of just resilience and keep on trying and if it’s important to you go, yeah. There’s another story.
These are mm-Hmm. From early in the book. Well, actually, it’s, it’s, it’s the very next story and we’re gonna change what the takeaway is just slightly, but, so you get this letter in 1996. Yeah. You’re all excited. You read down, you read the first half of it. It’s all cool. Then you read the second half and you like, turn, I just imagine you getting this pit in your stomach.
Can you tell everybody what the
letter said? Yeah. So when you talk about this, uh, this letter with this swim, what happened was, is that the second paragraph said, uh, please practice your swimming. And they kind of warned us. What what had happened was, is that in the past, candidates had shown up, you know, we were called astronaut candidates.
It’s the astronaut candidate program that I applied to, or as they call us, affectionately ask cans. So I was an ask can, I wasn’t a full astronaut that even though I was accepted. Yeah. I still had a past two years of training. But they were gonna help you get through it. At that point, they weren’t looking to weed you out.
So anyway, they sent us this letter that we were gonna have to go through water survival training with the Navy in order to go through parachuting school with the Navy and with the Air force. Because if we were gonna fly in high performance jet aircraft, T 30 eights had ejection seats. And if you had to get out of the airplane in a parachute and you know, with the ejection come down to the ground, you might end up in the ocean.
So you had to go through a course to learn how to survive in the ocean. And same for the shuttle. It was a bailout scenario where you might bail out of the shuttle at a parachute and end in the ocean. You gotta keep yourself alive until the helicopter comes, gets you, right? So that’s what we had to learn how to do water survival.
In order to do that, before you could start that course, you had to pass a swim test. When I saw that, uh, you know, please practice your swimming ’cause you’re gonna have to pass. And he gave it. And the next page was all the requirements for the swim test. And my heart just sunk, as you said. I was just like, oh my goodness.
You know, I thought I was kinda over all the hurdles I needed, sort of, and that’s just gonna be trained. And I’m like, oh, no, because I never learned to swim very well, Joe. I grew up in New York, and like I said, I was a skinny kid. I had no body fat on me at all. I was like a walking skeleton, and I was always freezing around the wa I got in the water.
I, it didn’t matter where I was, man. It could be a hot tub, and I was cold, was
just freezing all the time. I was thinking, you’re a guy from Long Island. I’ve, I’ve seen a map. I’m not an astronaut, but I’ve seen a map. You’re surrounded by water, dude.
We are, but we want to go places, Joe. We go over a bridge.
We don’t, you know, you look at all the go, don’t look, you know, look at the East River. You, where are you? You in New York? Where are you doing this
from? Where are you? No, I’m in, I’m in Texarkana, Texas. Exactly what you think.
Anyway. You know what? I don’t know. I don’t know. You have a, don’t have an ocean there, but there’s bridges and tunnels that you can’t even see.
You don’t have to swim for it. When you go to visit your mom and your grandma and in the Bronx, you take a bridge. So there was no reason to really go in the water I felt, and, uh, I didn’t like it. I just never learned to swim very well and just avoided it. Now, I was gonna have to face this and so they, they kinda laid out what you’re gonna have to learn to do.
And I practiced over the summer. I figured I’d probably get through the test, but I just didn’t wanna seem like a dork with all these high powered military people and, you know, high performers. And here I am, the guy who can’t swim. So I practiced as much as I could. But, but we got through our first week, which was mainly administrative stuff.
And on that Friday, our class sponsor, a guy named Jeff Ashby, who was a Navy pilot in the astronaut class before us, he was our class sponsor meeting. He was given the job of helping us, leading us through our training and answering questions and making sure we’d be okay and all that. And he came in and, and at the end of the day, on that first week, on that Friday, and said, okay, first week’s over, I wanna remind everyone that your training starts in earnest next week.
And our first event is the swim test. So, you know, my reaction, Joe, is like, really? How about a math quiz? Can we do that? Can we have, please, God? Something else. Something else, you know? But it was gonna be the swim test. And then he goes on to say, who are the strong swimmers in this class? Gimme a show of hands.
We had a couple people that were from the Navy, that were navy diver qualified. They picked up that and a few other people that felt they were strong swimmers. And then he goes on to say, who are the weak swimmers in this class? More importantly, and don’t lie to me. And so I wasn’t gonna be dishonest. I raised my hand and so did other people too.
I wasn’t the only one. And he said, okay, everyone else can go home. But the weak swimmers and the strong swimmers are gonna stay after class. You’re gonna arrange a time to meet over the weekend at a pool, and the strong swimmers are gonna help the weak swimmers with their swimming. ’cause when we go to the pool on Monday, no one leaves the pool till everyone passes the test.
And uh, right there it gave me an introduction of, of where I was. That individual accomplishment was great, but really as the team that mattered, if you are good at something, but one of your classmates failed, you also failed no matter how individually well you did. And also I think the message there for me, Joe, was not only to give help when you could, but to accept help when you need it.
That was really important to us at nasa because if you’re the weak link, that’s not gonna work. And it may not be your fault. You just may not have the, the experience that other people have or the aptitude for certain things, but there’s a reason you’re there. It might not be just for this, it’s for something else, let’s say.
And when you need help in whatever that area is, whether it’s swimming or astrodynamics, or. Robotics or whatever it might be. Uh, whatever your weak in, you need to speak up and get help when you need it. If you’re hurt, we would go on a lot of field training exercises and if someone got hurt, you know that that’s gonna, not just, not that they’re hurt, but they’re also holding back the team.
And so it was important to ask for help. Hey man, I’m having trouble with this. Can you help me? We’re like, you bet. And so that’s what the attitude was, is that when you’re able to give help, you give it, but when you need help, you need to speak up. And we all went and practiced together. It ended up being kind of fun.
It wasn’t a burden for the strong helping the weak. They were glad to do it. And, uh, we all went to the pool on that Monday and all passed.
It’s such a great message. I immediately, as I was reading this, Mike, I had visions of, uh, Tom Hanks and Duct tape, by the way. I was thinking about how we’re all gonna live or die based on how we work together and how we communicate.
Yeah. And for most people in the organizations our stackers work in, it may not be life and death, but I’ve been a part of too many organizations where the customer gets lost and they get lost because we’re so busy thinking about hierarchy and thinking about who the boss is that we don’t think about.
There’s really a mission we have, and we do better if we pull each other up.
I, I agree, Joe. And that’s really the purpose of the book and what I like to talk about to audiences or whoever’s willing to listen, is that it doesn’t matter if you’re at the Hubble Space Telescope or the Space Station or if you’re in the basement or in the cubicle or with your family or wherever you are.
These basic rules applied. They applied all the time and I was, when I was in the middle of it, I don’t think I really realized it. I soaked it all up and I was like, this is gonna. Help me be a better astronaut. It’s important, you know, of all these lessons that I learned, but since leaving NASA 10 years ago now, I’ve discovered that they really apply to everyone no matter what they’re trying to do, uh, throughout personal and professional lives.
ask you a question about communication, because for so many people, you mentioned speaking up. Mm-Hmm. That’s what you talk about in the third chapter of your book. This is so important. When somebody’s new in an organization, Mike, they often don’t wanna speak up. Right? They, they, the boss knows best.
I mean, you’ve got some stories about life and death and, and boss might not know best and you hold the keys to that. But on the other side, Mm-Hmm. You know, if I’m the senior person, I look at things like Jeffrey Katzenberg at Quibi, as an example, where he, he knew a lot about what should quote happen and if other people would’ve spoken up, maybe if Jeffrey would’ve listened to people, maybe, maybe better things would’ve happened with Quibi.
Talk to me about seniority and about speaking up and about maybe if you are the senior person, the listening.
Yeah, well what our culture was, everyone has a voice. You need to be vigilant because you never know. Sometimes the new person comes in with open eyes and is, is paying attention and everyone else is kind of used to doing something the same way.
And you kind of lose vigilance. You kinda get used to things and uh, well we’ve done that like this all the time, so this is the way we’ll do it. And the new person comes in and maybe sees things differently. You don’t wanna squash their creativity. So if you spoke up with an idea, uh, sometimes it might be like an emergency like, Hey, stop that, you know, or whatever the direction might be.
It might be a, uh, in an airplane. I, the, the story tells in an airplane where I did not speak up and we were heading in the wrong direction. And I knew it, but I didn’t wanna say anything ’cause I thought the guy knew what he was doing. And what do I know? I only had a few hours in the airplane and I was flying with a very experienced pilot.
And then we ended up almost having a midair because I didn’t speak up. I learned my lesson there. It’s better to speak up and be wrong than to stay silent and be sorry. So what we did with our, as you mentioned with the leadership, what was important when you asked about that was that leadership had to be accepting of that so that when the new person comes up and either stops the action because there’s a concern for safety or the the good of the company or whatever it might be, that there’s an emergency situation.
It could be, and that doesn’t have to be life and death. It could be, as you say, a business situation where things aren’t going well. Yeah. And the boss doesn’t want to hear about it. That’s not a good situation. So the way we, because our lives depended on it. That’s the way we op, we operate. But I think it’s a good way to operate for everybody where that when someone has a concern, they need to be heard and they may not be right or a good idea, a new idea.
You know, the new person comes in, oh, why don’t you try this? And there’s probably a reason why it’s not a good idea, but it’s always good to listen and then say thank you at the end, because that’s what we always say, thank you’s a good thing to say in the cockpit. And we had a lot of situations where someone’s very experienced at something and someone’s brand new.
But we wanted the new person to speak up. And when I was a new person, I felt great that I could speak up without being scolded for being stupid. I would just be told, ah, you know, well this is, use it as a teaching moment. We do it this way because of this there and this, but thank you for speaking up. And I thought it was always important to encourage it and say thank you, because the next time, if you yell at ’em or say, shut up dummy, guess what happens next time when maybe it’s a good idea.
They won’t say anything. They’re not gonna say a word. So you never wanna squash that creativity.
The book is called Moonshot, a NASA Astronauts Guide to Achieving the Impossible. Those stackers are just a few of, there’s so many great lessons. I just, I don’t know. I came away from, uh, reading this motivated.
And excited and just, you know, loving my team, loving the team that I work with. I did have, if you’ve got a couple more minutes, our stacker community, you know, we don’t get to talk to astronauts. I mean, I know we look like we talk to astronauts every day, Mike, but we don’t get to, and we had some great questions from our community for you.
So if you don’t mind, Daniel has one. He’s, he asks about the us uh, returning to the moon. Mm-Hmm. You know, how come it took us so long to have a return to the moon? And what are your thoughts about Elon Musk saying crude mission to land on Mars within the next five
years? I think it took a long time for us to return to the moon for a couple reasons.
One is that it’s hard thing to do. You know, it’s, it, we were, we went there for a visit the first times we went going somewhere for a visit. Just think of it, if you’re gonna go to vacation somewhere for a week, pack a bag, you go and that’s fine. But say you’re gonna go to remote air and you’re gonna live there, you know, like, you know, in the first explorers or settlers, go somewhere.
You gotta, you’re gotta stay there for a long time and you gotta have protection and food and water and healthcare and all that other stuff. It becomes a lot more difficult to do that. So going someplace for a visit is one thing. Versus, you know, it was a race to get there. They got there, they turned around and came home.
And we didn’t have a research station Mc Mordo until, which is international until 50 years later. So I think that’s part of it. It’s not easy thing to do. But I think the other part about it, which is the way things were when they went to the moon, it was a really special time in our history and in the history of our country and the world.
And the United States was in a race with the Soviet Union, and this is the way they were kind of doing battle. Uh, they didn’t fight it out on the battlefield, luckily. They fought it out and, and who was gonna do things first in space And the goal was to get to the moon. And so that was a national. Uh, objective that was funded as if it was a number one national objective.
So the funding that NASA got back then was in line with what they were trying to do. It wasn’t, ah, we’ll just fake it. You know, we’re gonna really give the support you need. The other thing I, I think it did Joe, and um, it’s, it’s interesting, was my son is now a grad student and he’s taking a class on, on the Apollo program, and we’ve been talking about this.
It really was something that collected the, the best minds in the world, and it was, the United States was focused on it, but also other countries were participating. NASA recruited people from all over the world to do this. It was like the coolest project to work on. It was what all the top scientists and engineers wanted to work on, and it was funded at a level that was, that was commensurate with what they were trying to do, and everyone was behind it.
That ended, once they landed Apollo 11, they had five more landings and an Apollo 13 went but didn’t land it came back famously with Houston. We have a problem. But then it was really a fight to keep the funding. I think it was a fight to keep the funding the whole time, but they were able to keep going, and they were aggressive about it.
They failed. They killed three astronauts on Apollo one. They had a fire, but they used that opportunity to do a reset and redesign the spacecraft. They were able to make decisions really quickly. Apollo eight was initially the first time they sent people to the moon. They didn’t land, but it was in Christmas of 1968.
And the first time they, they sent people to the moon. They weren’t supposed to send people, they were gonna, it was gonna be unmanned, an un crewed mission, just to see if it was gonna work. They decided that they had a success with the previous flight. Apollo seven, let’s put a crew on board. And they made that decision like in an afternoon.
I don’t think it would, it would take years to make that decision now. So they were able to make decisions quickly. They had the budget they needed, they had the support, and they were able to hold off the naysayers of, was this worth it? After they landed on a moon, that kind of went away because the, the objective was made.
The last three Apollo missions were actually canceled. They canceled three Apollo missions, three missions to the moon. Uh, Apollo 18, 19, and 20 were cut. Even though everything was built, the big rockets exist. They were ready to go to the moon, they were ready to go, built to go to the moon. They’re now in museums and Houston and Kennedy Space Center, and then Huntsville, Alabama.
So they lost that motivation. I think if they kept going at that same rate, funded the way they were for the Apollo program at the beginning with the, the way they were able to do things rapidly with the support of the whole country, I think they would’ve continued to go to the moon and on to Mars and we would have bigger space stations or whatever.
We would’ve just, just had a much bigger program. But I think it really shows the limits of the, of a government program because it’s taxpayers dollars and everyone’s fighting over ’em, and you can’t really justify, you know, you can justify some science for the future, but you also have to take care of other things in your budget, right?
So. The second part of that question was Elon Musk and these private companies. That’s where I think the hope is right now. I mean, NASA is still doing stuff and they’re funded at a, at a level that’s pretty good. They’re never gonna, you know, they decided not to zero out the budget, but not to support it like it was during the Apollo missions.
But, so it funded well, but not well enough to do everything that they wanna do. And now that we have the private companies involved, NASA’s working with them help get them started on their way. And they’re starting to go on their own now. So I think that that gives us the opportunity now that there’s chance for economic benefit in space now we’re really seeing things happen.
’cause the private companies can make decisions quickly. They’re dealing with making money from some, from government contracts, but also what they project they can make. From the rest of the world buying their services. So, so now I think we’re really starting to see a lot of progress in the last couple years, and I think that’s gonna continue.
That’s our biggest hope right now. Yeah, the last few
years have been so much more exciting. You know, I was born in 1968, and so I feel like over time it’s just gotten, you know, less and less. And then, man, the last five years have been exciting. Karen asked something, you know, with those answers. You’re, you’re talking about the future of mankind, I think this is probably more important.
Karen’s question. What’s the backstory of you and the Big Bang Theory, Mike? And can you give us a look behind the scenes of those episodes? How did you get hooked up with them?
I, I was, uh, sitting at my desk one day and uh, and I got a call from NASA headquarters, a guy named Bert Ulrich, who’s a good friend of mine.
And he was, uh, he still is the guy that handles like, um, media, uh, TV entertainment industry for nasa. Someone wants to make a movie. They ask Bert and Bert says, all right, is how NASA can help you. So the Big Bang Theory, they came up with this idea of doing something with nasa, sending one of the characters.
To space, and they wanted to speak to an astronaut to get some background. And Burt called me up and said, Hey, you know, uh, we, we think you’re the right guy to go speak to him. Are, are you going to LA anytime soon? And I was headed out there to see my son in a water polo tournament. So he said, well go by this Warner Brothers studio when you’re out there and you have a few minutes.
And I did. And I went to the writer’s room and I got to meet Chuck Lori and Bill Prty, the wow guys who created the, the show. And uh, and the writers, we were just talking, like, we’re talking here. I was telling goofy stories. They were asking me stuff and I was telling ’em just, you know, silly astronaut stories and, and they loved it.
And, uh, then I helped ’em with a script and I went to a screening, uh, you know, taping of that one, of this one episode where he is gonna go to space. I try to add a little realism to it, like how, where would make sense that they would be sending this guy and, and then like a few months later, you know, I, we made friends and we would stay in touch a little bit.
But a few months later I get a note from Bill PR and says, he goes, Mike, we have an idea. We wonder if you can act. We would like you to come in for a cameo. And I said, I cannot act. The last time I had a role was in the third grade. I played Rufus Robin. I was a ro, I was a bird. And it’s Rufus Robins day in court.
I don’t even know if it’s a real play, but that was the name of the play. It was a bird. So he said, uh, he wrote back, he said, that’s okay. We don’t really, we just want you to be you and you’ve been you for a long time, so just be you. So that was it. I just, so I came in and did the one cameo and that ended up leading to six more.
But I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. But it was really fun. I think the behind the scenes on it, it was so much fun, uh, for me because everyone was just really nice. The may be Alec, for example, one of the stars of the show is now hosted Jeopardy and other things. She wrote a very nice blurb on the back of the book and uh, yeah, I’m in touch with a lot of this cast still and the writers.
And Bill PR and I are good friends, the creator. So it it just a good community of people. I, I, I, that’s the area I’d like to do more in. Not, not necessarily acting, but just hanging around with these people, you know, and helping ’em, you know, come up with nutty astronaut stories. So put in TV shows. I kind of like doing that.
I could imagine that first thing though, Mike. I could imagine you going No, no acting, no swimming, please. Yeah. No
acting’s a lot better than swimming. I didn’t figure I’d get, you know, I was afraid of drowning when I was out there swimming. But
this of course being a financial show. Mm-Hmm. Annette Will, will end with Annette’s question, Annette said, did you experience any shopping withdrawals while you were on the space station?
And how did your shopping habits change after you return to Earth? How about the, you’ve probably never gotten that question.
No, I don’t really have my shopping habits. I think back then, I mean, I was working for the government, so we were paid like government employees, which is, you’re paid okay, but you now make a whole ton of money.
So, uh, I think my shopping habits mainly back then, were just trying to pay the bills. Man, I was like shopping or is, where’s my cheapest cable bill gonna come from and what energy company can I go? That was also, I was shopping for and good deals on it when my car broke down. Well, somebody actually
did ask that.
Speaking about cable, somebody else had a question. And I, and I apologize to our stackers ’cause I don’t know who it is. Oh, it’s Matthew here paying the cable bill. You’re in space. How the hell are you paying the cable bill while
you’re in space? Yeah. My, my missions weren’t all that long, so I was gone. I was in quarantine for a while and then I was in space for a couple weeks.
But I think I just paid all that stuff as much as I could front, you know, online, uh, if you’re on, it’s a good question for, you know, a a guy, you know, a person in space for six months, if their job at home is to pay the bill, they probably do that. We, we actually did. I mean, for things like that, it’s actually I think a pretty good question because it’s not only that, but who’s gonna mow the lawn and what happens when that roof starts to leak and everything else, and you’re ways, right?
So. The thought that, well, for a person who’s married, they have a spouse and they could help out with that. That isn’t always a good idea either. That doesn’t always work out. Right. So what we ended up doing is they created a job for astronauts, which was called Cruise Support Astronaut. That meant you’re helping this guy or you know, this person, you’re gonna, and that, and you’re their go-to person.
So you were there to help make sure that everything went smoothly and, uh, took care of their families. I was also a family escort. That’s, that’s another good point too, is that I was a family escort for a few different flights where you can, you’re with the families during launch and for the landing, you go down to the Cape with them and you also support ’em during the flight as well.
So we created these jobs, uh, the crew support astronaut, the family escort. So they were there to help with those things because you know, especially if you have a couple kids running around and it’s kind of hard to keep track of everything when one, one person is. Away from the planet and needs to concentrate on their job.
So that was, I think part of it too is that you don’t wanna be worried about who’s paying the electric bill when you’re, you’re doing something in space, right? So, uh, we tried, NASA tried to give as much support as we could to the families while the crew member was
away. Well, and I love it. I think that’s a great place to end because I love that that comes back to teamwork, right?
Yeah. And that you’re only as good as the team, and that truly seems like in some ways a small job, but it’s a huge job to make sure that all gets taken care of. Again, the book is Moonshot of NASA Astronauts Guide to Achieving The Impossible. Dr. Mike Massimino, thank you so much for mentoring our stackers on courage, leadership, and teamwork.
I appreciate it,
Joe. Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Chris from Heavy Metal Money. When I’m not raging in a mosh pit, I’m Stacking Benjamins, og. I think his career’s probably complete now. Now he’s done it
all. If you think about like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this is definitely the self-actualization part, right?
It’s the tippy, tippy top of that pyramid. We need to go look at
his press promo piece after this episode airs and see if he has
edited it. Oh, probably prominently at the top. Now, why wouldn’t you? Duh. Hey, let’s, uh, throw out the lifeline. Help a stacker get better with their money. Build their stack.
This is the portion of the show where we take a question from our stacker community. If you’d like to be next in line, head to stacky Benjamins dot com slash voicemail. And you know what, for being brave and calling in with your question, mom says we should be polite and send you out a greatest money show on Earth.
Stacking Benjamins Tea, so Stacking Benjamins dot com slash voicemail. And today we are going to throw out the lifeline to our brand new bff, drew. Hey Drew.
Hi Joe and Oog. This is Drew from St. Charles, Illinois. I recently accepted a new job that will increase my salary by more than 20%. My annual bonus, which is currently 15%, will also increase to somewhere between 25 and 40% of my new salary.
It’s my intention to pocket these extra dollars and put them in new investments or help pay off our mortgage early. My wife and I are currently saving approximately 33% of our income, maxing up both our Roth IRAs and I’m on track to max out my 401k this year. Our mortgage has approximately $170,000 left with a 2.65% interest rate.
My question is that my new employer is 100% employee owned as part of my compensation package, they do an annual employee stock ownership payout that is equivalent to 10 to 11% of my base pay. Bonus, these funds are then used to purchase employee stock that is put in an account under my name. I cannot access these funds until I end my employment with this new company.
How do you recommend I handle these employee stock ownership dollars? Do I ignore they exist entirely or treat them like social security or should I factor them into my retirement plan? Any insight you can provide would be appreciated. Also, I’ve seen the way Doug dresses around town, so please throw that guy bone and give him uh, my free t-shirt.
Well, unfortunately, you know, we were talking about contracts.
Yeah, contest rules prohibit. Yes, insider
trading. Fine. I’ll just keep going. Shirtless around town. This is
on you, boys. Promises. Promises. We don’t wanna have to terminate your contract though. I mean, think about how painful that would be.
A little more painful than seeing your boobies.
My useless male nipples. My milk duds.
I dunno. You seem to get a lot of use out of them.
And we’re back to slap and tickle.
Oh, did you ask a question? I’m just wondering. Yeah, drew, thanks for, thanks for writing in. Uh, or calling in. I guess that was a call, wasn’t it? We heard his voice. Yes. og stock stock ownership.
I think the first thing you hear is trying to figure out what an ESOP plan is.
ESOP, an ESOP plan. And for people that aren’t familiar with it, you’re just kinda like wondering what the heck that is. Generally speaking. An ESOP plan is a way for owners of privately held organizations to add liquidity to their, to their personal balance sheet, and then also share the benefits of the company, the share the profits and the, and the growth of the organization with the employees.
You don’t see this with a small five or 10 person team, but you know, you think of like maybe a architectural firm or an engineering firm that has 50 or 80 or 150 employees and it was started by two brothers or something like that, right? And now it’s got this huge organization and they wanna diversify, and they also wanna share in the benefits of, of the profit with the company.
So create an ESOP plan. Employee stock ownership plan is what that stands for. And so now the employees are shareholders in the company. And the way that you’re paid for that is you, you know, your bonus goes into, or some of your bonus maybe goes into the ESOP plan. Which is like privately held stock. And every year there’s an eval evaluation, not an evaluation evaluation of the company.
And so you get to see, hey, this is the shares, this is how much they’re worth each share. And it provides basically an internal marketplace for buying and selling the stock. So when you go to retire, you’ve got a built-in marketplace because guess what? Everybody’s mandatory putting their contributions in, you know, for their profit sharing.
And so you’ve got a way out and, and that’s kind of how it works. I would a hundred percent count this as part of the plan for financial planning purposes. I mean, to qualify for an ESOP plan. It’s not inexpensive to put that together. And, uh, it generally means that the company itself is pretty stable and doing a pretty good job of ongoing growth and profit growth over the years.
It’s not gonna be as stable or as profitable as, you know, a publicly traded company. Certainly not as transparent even, but there’s some hurdles to get through to do that. So I wouldn’t have any problem in counting on that as part of part of your asset allocation or part of your financial plan in terms of those dollars.
The only difference, of course, is that the distribution plan may be different. So you may say, Hey, I wanna retire when I’m 60, but you and 40 of your buddies all wanna retire when they’re 60. ’cause you guys all started at the same time. There could be some liquidity issues to think about, but I don’t have a problem counting that as part of your, you know, asset allocation, part of your financial plan as part of your, your assets.
change if the company is a, uh, private company versus a public company?
I’m not aware of a way to do an ESOP as a public company. So basically. The reason that ESOPs get started is because they’re at a size where the owners want to have some personal liquidity. They’re going, yeah, on my balance sheet, I’ve got this engineering firm that’s worth $40 million.
But you know, I can’t access that money ’cause it’s in, you know, it’s in shares of my private company. Yeah. So the way that I deal with that is I say, well, I’m gonna turn this into an ESOP plan. I’m still gonna own 50%. You know, so I’ve got this asset of $20 million that I own 50% make the decisions on, but I’m gonna basically sell this other 50% to my company and you’ve got, you know, whatever, all these people that I’ll pitch in.
So I don’t think, and maybe I, I’m not well enough versed in it to know, but I don’t think you can have an ESOP as a public company. I think that’s, yeah, and that’s,
that’s actually why I wanted you to bring that up is because I think a lot of people wondering why would a company do that? What’s going on?
This is a way for the owner of the company to get some liquidity.
Yeah. And it’s a little different when we say esop, sometimes people say. I mean ESPP, ’cause there’s so many acronyms in finance. Why not? You know, add another one. An employee stock purchase plan is a completely separate thing. Employee stock purchase plan is something like, you know, you work at Microsoft and you can buy Microsoft at 15% off.
You know, that sort of deal. And employee stock ownership plan and ESOP is a whole different thing. And it’s, you know, it’s kind of what Drew’s talking about here. So
anyways, yeah, and that’s the reason why I brought that up. oog. So you said you’re comfortable putting it in the plan, but you know, you and I have known business owners that, I mean, if they’re struggling with liquidity and then you leave the company and you wanna exchange those shares, then for money, that may become a liquidity issue for the owner.
You don’t have any, any problem with, you know, the fact that the owner might struggle to create that cash later on? Well, the
thing is, is that it’s out of their hands at that point. Once it’s part of an ESOP plan, there’s a built-in mechanism for buying and selling. Because you know, they say, okay, every year, let’s say you got a hundred employees, each employee makes a hundred thousand dollars.
You know, what’s that $10 million of compensation every year? Right? So you got $10 million. And they say, well, I’m gonna put in 10% of your salary. Well, there’s a million dollars of cash profit that’s going into the ESOP plan. So there’s some liquidity there based on the function of how the whole thing works.
So you go, well, I’m, I’m going in. For a million bucks this year, but oh, you know, Joe’s retiring and he wants his 700,000 out. There’s a built-in mechanism for that transfer of the cash without it being reliant on the,
on the company to do it. There’s some protections for the employees so that they can’t, the owner can’t say, eh, sorry, we’re a little tight this year.
We can’t give you your 700 K.
Well, I mean, definitely could My bad again,
yeah, we, we gave you those fruitcakes for Christmas.
All of these are gonna be a little different in how they’re set up, but it’s fairly expensive to do so before an organization goes down that path. They’re going to explore a lot of these, a lot of these scenarios.
So by the time you get to this spot where it’s a funded plan, there’s a mechanism for that. The only thing I would be concerned with is if you look at the generations of employees and you go, well, we’ve got 60% of our employees are age 60 and 30% are age 55, and then we’ve got 10% that’s under 55. That would concern me because like, well we all kind of are thinking probably about retiring maybe around the same time, so how are we all gonna get our money out of this?
And that doesn’t mean you can’t, because then you can take that company and you can sell it to a PE firm or you know, or make it go public or whatever. There’s lots of other scenarios there, but um, generally ESOPs are great plans and, um, allow you as an employee to literally own, you know, your destiny, you know, you produce good results and you and your employee buddies all do the same thing and you share in the results.
So, um, it’s a good thing. Drew,
thanks for that question, og. Thanks for also explaining how that works. ’cause like you said, a lot of different ways to own stock in these companies. And, um, E-S-P-P-A lot different than a employee stock ownership plan or some of the many other ways. Stock option plans, I mean all, all kinds of stuff.
Stacking Benjamins dot com slash voicemail and we will dive into your question next. And unfortunately, drew, we’re gonna give you the code. What I would do is use that as a holiday gift for a good friend, I think. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. Good stuff.
Hashtag Doug 2024. Less
crooked, right? Doug, slightly less crooked, slightly less crooked is the slogan.
Thank you so much everybody for hanging out with us. Before we go, we got a last segment of this show every week called The Back Porch. And, uh, we always start that before we get to the back porch. If you’re not here to hear what you’re about to hear, which is what’s going on our community calendar, maybe what video games we’ve been playing, what’s going on at each of our households, uh, all of the community stuff that we so, so love.
You’re here because you need to do better with your money. Well, OG and his team are taking clients here, so make 20, 24, maybe a better year for yourself. Head to Stacking Benjamins dot com slash og that links to their calendar, and that’s the way for you to interface with OGs team to work toward making better financial decisions in 2024 and onward as, uh.
Dr. Uh, Mike Massimino would say to Infinity and Beyond, I think is probably what he’d say. That his line Tmm, did he come up? Wasn’t that Mike Massimino? Who said that? Somebody Space said that. So stacky Benjamins dot com slash OG for that again, but that transitions us out to the back porch. Let’s put our feet up, gentlemen.
Doug. Uh, what, what
do we got going on, man? Well, I’ll tell you the thing. Here’s the thing I’m really excited about tomorrow at five o’clock Eastern Time, which is cocktail time. Yes. Perfect. For our guest tomorrow, because Sam Pence is joining us to talk about. Great holiday drinks. He’s gonna put some twists on some old drinks.
Just like what beer is he gonna figure out how to, okay. Uh, I’m interested to see how he’s gonna make that leather with lime. Ooh. Drop a shot of bourbon in it. Make a boiler maker. Uh, but he is also gonna teach us some new ones. Uh, and we’re gonna tip talk about tipping. We’re gonna tip about talking to the bartender or talk about tipping to the bartender, how
much we drink during that segment.
Uh, but this guy’s big, he’s got like 250,000 people that follow him on Instagram. Yeah. Yeah. So I expect the audience tomorrow to be all of those people. Uh, every one of them should be there tomorrow. Maybe
I’ll join you. Yeah. This is great holiday stuff. Doug, because everybody wants to have a better party.
You wanna have a, this is something, I don’t know if, if Kate brought this up when she was doing that Frugal holiday Instagram live, but another great idea is to just find one drink that’s kind of your signature drink for that party. We started doing this and you know, everybody will have one of those and then they’ll go have whatever, they’re gonna have that party.
But friends of ours, uh, Rick and Stella, whenever they started doing this, and it’s super fun. You go over to their house and they have a signature drink. If it’s July, they have a special, you know, twist on whatever for 4th of July or whatever it might be pretty cool. Yeah.
My, uh, frugal holiday really year round is never by alcohol above your knee on the shelf that’s above your knee.
I mean, you could save so much money if you just, if you have to like get down on one knee to find it and pull it off the shelf, that’s where you’re really gonna get the savings
with the bottom shelf. Yeah. That’s where they get you. That’s where, that’s where they get you and, and who doesn’t want a hangover?
I mean, come on.
10 high makes some really good whiskey. Yeah, so that’s going on tomorrow and you know, every Tuesday and typically every Tuesday midday and Thursday afternoon, we’ve got some great Instagram live. So those are a lot of fun. We’ve got great stuff happening in the basement and, um. Let’s see here.
Uh, a recent review we got very recent actually, was that one of our guests was listening to one of our listeners, our stackers, uh, patience Patria in the Philippines. Holy cow was listening to episode 1440 and has been enlightened. It’s an enlightening experience for her. It’s skillful blend of personal finance and board gaming concepts is impressive.
I thought you’d like this one, Joe. Mm-Hmm. Absolutely. The key insight I gained is the effectiveness of board games as teaching aids in grasping market dynamics. Sweet. Holy cow. I should have listened.
You know, every once in a while, you know, they talk about at a good restaurant, like eating the cooking to just know how good it is.
Doug’s like, no, we really do have a great show. Now we, but of course you’re here for the whole damn thing. We make it so I gotta
get a nap in sometime during the day, Joe.
So that’s what’s going on. Can, and by the way, how you can nap and we still make a show. This good is beyond me.
I know it. That’s the skill level we’re bringing to the airwaves
OGs napping right now. See we’re, oh yeah. We’re just
like, prove it apart. We’re faxing in these performances at best. This
is, and still bringing it. So good. And still bringing it. Yes. Amazing. What else we got?
A couple other things, uh, coming up. It’s important to know that tomorrow, uh, Chauka begins
Oh gee. What do you think the over under is on the number of menorahs in Doug’s house based on that pronunciation? Hey, look, how many menorahs do you think are at Doug’s? I have a lot
of Jewish friends and none of them can agree on how to spell that holiday. There’s like 11 or 12 different spellings.
Some of them have like two or three Ks in there. There’s a couple of
Ns. Yeah. Being guys from Michigan is as bad as the way you see Mackinac spelled like, just pick whatever way you wanna spell it. It starts with a W, right?
That’s exactly, and there’s a number seven in there somehow. But that starts tomorrow.
And then, so there’s, you know, we’ve got eight days of gift giving coming up for that. And then beyond that, we’ve got all the gift giving at Christmas time and for so many other holidays this time of year, what I’m really interested in is seeing is what our stackers are buying on Amazon via our affiliate
Yes. So should we talk about Doug, how that works?
Explain how that works. ’cause we haven’t talked about this in a long time.
So, and this is, this is great by the way. If you’re gonna buy something, something on Amazon, we used to have a long, long time ago, a link where you could just go to, you know, you could go to a URL and that would automatically take you to Amazon and it would attach us so that you don’t pay anymore, but you support the show.
So it’s a nice way, well, Amazon said you can’t do that anymore. So what Amazon has done is this, if you go to the show notes page, like let’s say Dr. Massimino today, his book, uh, moonshot, you go to today’s show notes, you click on moonshot. It takes you to the Amazon link. Anything you buy in the next 24 hours, then they give us credit for it.
They give us an affiliate credit, which is cool because we don’t, and I wanna be clear here, we don’t get to see who bought what. But Doug, what it does mean is now that we’ve, uh, started using Amazon again the past 12 months, thank you to everybody who’s used those links to support the show. But we can see what you bought.
And, uh, Doug, I think that means we can now bring back a hilarious segment from time to time, which is, yeah. What fun stuff are stackers
buying? We don’t know that. Like Mike Horton bought this. We have no idea, Mike, this unmentionable thing. We can’t do that. We can’t see a name attached to the unmentionable thing that
Mike Bought’s picking on you, Mike.
’cause it’s ’cause we love Mike. We do
love Mike. Yeah. But we can put stories to what we think is going on.
Actually here’s, we should guess. We should like look at what people buy and then try to align it with the stackers. We
think Doug, you missed it. You missed We used to do this all 10 years ago.
We used to do that. I know. All the time. Yeah. Right. But we
did, we didn’t ever name like, we didn’t ever like dock somebody, did we? Oh no. I’m not
gonna call somebody. Who do you think bought that sex toy? Yeah. Right. Yes. And by the way, in the past, people started buying sex toy through Amazon, I think, just so they could hear the shout out.
Yeah, sure. Okay. Uh, that was why exactly.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly why they
did it. Remember the, uh, like gross of condoms. Somebody bought like the XL condoms somebody bought. That was a good one. Well,
well, yeah. There’s nothing too risky on this list yet, mostly because, you know, it’s a lot different than it used to be.
But to kind of put it in perspective, we’ve been doing this about a year and uh, we have, uh, had 188 items purchased. Purchased, which is not a lot for an audience of our size. It’s mostly ’cause we don’t talk about it. But I do find it funny to kind of look through some of this list. Uh, the number one thing, Joe, you’d be happy to know.
The number one thing on the list is. Stacked. You’re super serious guy to awesome, whatever the hell the rest of the title is. Wow.
Makes a great holiday gift. Yeah, it’s like the best holiday gift
probably. This is weird ’cause it’s like double dipping. You get paid for writing the book, but then you also get paid for the click from Amazon for like another nickel.
So, and also for what it’s worth, the grand total. Of all of the money that we’ve received from Amazon this year. I’m sorry, earned. ’cause they don’t pay it unless you have a certain size check is $113. Woo. So this isn’t like a big thing, but we’ll take everything that you can do because it helps offset some costs.
We’ll take it. And by the way, that Double Dipping og, just to be clear, that’s all of our way of sticking it to the man. Oh. So if you guys wanna help me, stick it to the man.
Yeah. Everybody go buy a hundred more copies of this book. That’ll really
learn him. We’ll stick it to Penguin Random House and
Make it a little tougher for Bezos to spend to pay the 153,000 a day to run his yacht.
So lots of books, wealth Habits, family First Entrepreneur, good real life Stories of financial planning, you know, lots of stuff like that. We’ve got, uh, somebody just trying to be healthy, bought some air filters. Smart
Especially when Doug gets all dusty.
Yeah. Couple nice things like Man Search For Meaning. That’s such a great book. You know, so lots of books in the first, you know, top 25. Once we get down to like the next. The next section of 25, uh, you know, we get some interesting things and I like to just kind of put some, you know, stories in my own mind about this.
Somebody bought a Turkish linen towel. I just thought, okay, one towel, like I don’t need three of ’em. I’m just gonna, not a Croatian,
yeah. Linen towel. I’m just gonna get
one. Well, it goes with the Turkish bath maybe.
I guess, by the way, what says, I love you more than giving somebody a Turkish linen tell.
I think my favorite on this has to be the taco cat goat cheese pizza.
Which I, I, that’s a game. Oh, it’s a game. Well, that is a game. I thought that was some combination of feline material and a goat cheese. And I was just like,
I don’t, uh, wait a minute. Taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza. What kind of restaurant am I in? Exactly. And has the health department been there recently? No, that’s a game.
That is a game. Uh, a lot of families like that
game. Oh, well then I don’t feel as odd
about that. So, yeah. So that’s either a game or, uh, or somebody hoping What if they wanted it to be. Taco cat. Yeah. Goat cheese pizza. And it turned out they get a game. They’re like, oh, wait a
minute. Hold on. This isn’t a cookbook.
I’ll pass some biscuit. Hey, thanks for, uh, to all the stackers that have supported the show doing that. We always need new equipment. New. I think we upgraded, uh, Doug’s microphone this year. We bought stuff. I know both for Len and for Paula for some live stuff that we’re going to do more of in 2024.
mm-Hmm, some equipment there. I got a mixer that’s getting pretty old. So keeping us able to podcast is, is fantastic. Obviously we have advertisers that help the show as well, but uh, every little bit helps. So thank you very much to everyone for doing that. And around the holidays, if you’re shopping at Amazon.
Anyway, if you’d like to hear yourself mentioned for that crazy gift, as Doug said, hit us up. But it’s not why we’re here. It’s time to turn the corner because man, we had stocks, stacks, stocks, we had stacks of stocks. Lots of great. Info to stack. What would you say are the top three in our to-Do list Doug?
Well, Joe first take some advice from Dr. Mike Massimino and bring as many people as possible into the discussion. By widening the conversations you have, you are much more likely to find the path to your moonshot. Second, take some advice from the situation with the Chicago Blackhawks attending the holiday party or have a score to settle at work.
Remember that it takes only one dumb moment to ruin years of goodwill. Make a plan for that work event and stick to it. And what’s on my to-Do list now. Take lots of pictures of myself in Adult Space Camp for my dating profile. Hey ladies, say hello to America’s Next Top NASA Space Camp graduate. Thanks to Mike Massimino for joining us today.
You can find his book Moonshot Anywhere here on Earth, wherever books are sold. Heck, let’s amend that. You can find his book anywhere in the galaxy where you buy books. That’s better for an astronaut probably. We’ll also include links in our show notes at Stacking Benjamins dot com ’cause you know they got the internet account in space.
Now this show is the property of SB podcasts, LLC, copyright 2023, and is created by Joe Saul Sea High. Our producer is Karen Reine. This show is written by Lisa Curry, who’s also the host of the Long Story Long podcast. With help from me, Joe, and Doc G from the Earn and Invest podcast, Kevin Bailey helps us take a deeper dive into all the topics covered on each episode in our newsletter called the 2 0 1.
You’ll find the 4 1 1 on all things money at the 2 0 1. Just visit Stacking Benjamins dot com slash 2 0 1. Wonder how beautiful we all are. Of course, you’ll never know if you don’t. Check out our YouTube version of this show Engineered by Tina Ichenberg. Then you’ll see once and for all that I’m the best thing going for this podcast.
Once we bottle up all this goodness, we ship it to our engineer, the amazing Steve Stewart. Steve helps the rest of our team sound nearly as good as I do right now. What a chat with friends about the show later. Mom’s friend, Gertrude and Kate Youngin are our social media coordinators, and Gertrude is the room mother in our Facebook group called The Basement.
Say hello. When you see us posting online to join all the basement fun with other stackers, type Stacking Benjamins dot com slash basement. Not only should you not take advice from these nerds, don’t take advice from people you don’t know. This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any financial decisions, speak with a real financial advisor.
I’m Joe’s Mom’s neighbor, Doug, and we’ll see you next time. Back here at the Stacking Benjamin Show
Live from, oh, sorry, that’s not my part. That’s your part. Doug,
I’d like to hear you do it
live from, I don’t even know what you say. I literally have been doing this for 14 years, I 1,439 shows, and I have no idea what you’re gonna say, but why don’t you do it and tell us how it’s done.
That’s so offensive.
Joe’s mom’s basement. That’s what we say. Live from Joe’s mom’s basement. Is that what we say? I don’t know. Anyway,
take it away guys. Something like that. Let’s see. I don’t know. I’m gonna make it up. Let’s see if I make it up the same as I always do. Make
it up. I.