How many times have you seen someone try to make their big money move and it fizzles out? Often it’s because they started at the wrong place or didn’t pay attention to the fundamentals. We’re going to help you build your BEST launching pad today with financial whiz and host of the Journey to Launch podcast, Jamila Souffrant.
Before Jamila though, our headline from CBS News warns about new and even more intricate scams this holiday season. We chat with AARP’s Kathy Stokes about the warning signs something might be a scam AND the fact that LOTS of these con artists aren’t targeting our older generation…but instead going after young people online. We’ll share details on today’s show.
Of course, we’ll throw out the life line to a lucky caller AND we’ll shine a light on the most adorable TikTok minute we’ve ever had on this podcast. Of course, you can’t say “adorable” without thinking of Doug’s trivia, which we’ll also have 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
Our TikTok Minute
Big thanks to Jamila Souffrant for joining us today. To learn more about Jamila, visit Your Journey To Financial Freedom. Grab yourself a copy of the book Your Journey to Financial Freedom: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Wealth and Happiness.
- Which member of Journey was an original judge on American Idol?
Need life insurance? You could be insured in 20 minutes or less and build your family’s safety net for the future. Use StackingBenjamins.com/HavenLife to calculate how much you need and apply.
- Our friend Chris from Texas wants to know our thoughts on using an online service vs. an actual in-person attorney when it comes to creating estate planning documents.
Have a question for the show?
Want more than just the show notes? How about our newsletter with STACKS of related, deeper links?
- Check out The 201, our email that comes with every Monday and Wednesday episode, PLUS a list of more than 19 of the top money lessons Joe’s learned over his own life about money. From credit to cash reserves, and insurance to investing, we’ll tackle all of these. Head to StackingBenjamins.com/the201 to sign up (it’s free and we will never give away your email to others).
Join Us Wednesday
Tune in on Wednesday when we’ll share lessons to make you richer with YOUR Rich BFF, TikTok star Vivian Tu.
Written by: Kevin Bailey
Miss our last show? Listen here: How Do You Explain Good Money Habits to Newbies? (SB1446)
og, why don’t you turn the heat up?
We don’t have the
money. Budget cutbacks. Is that what winter really is? You think the earth just going through budget cutback season? No, it has to do
with the angle of the sun.
Oh. Can we just light a fire in the trash can like we usually do in the wintertime.
But Doug in the middle of the living room. Not that great an
idea. Yeah. But we get that acapella group to come in and sing around it. It’s pretty festive. Oh, fabulous.
We can do acapella with this. Check this out. We raise our mugs together just like this. And we say on behalf of the men and women making podcast in mom’s basement, we’re supposed to all be doing this together.
Aren’t for acapella or does acapella just mean one of me doing it? I, I don’t know. And on behalf of, uh, the men and women at Navy Federal Credit Union, big shout out to our troops to begin the week. Thanks to all you do. Let’s go stack some Benjamins. Thank you.
As I reach up to place the angel on top, I look out my window and I see my neighbor Doug across the street, snapping together his artificial tree.
He’s like the perfect combination of Mussolini and Seacrest. Easy peasy. Four
who cares more about convenience than the happiness and respect of his town, of his country, of our sacred holiday.
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 how to launch your financial independence rocket with financial educator Jim Mila Sufran. In our headlines, hackers are finding new ways to scam us. We’ll feature commentary from Kathy Stokes from A A RP who says, it ain’t just the blue hairs getting scammed for our TikTok minute.
Turns out tiny Tim is alive. Plus we’ll throw out the lifeline to lucky stacker. Chris, who wants to know will writing service. Or local attorney, and then I’ll share some wandering trivia. And now, two guys who will never stop believing in your ability to take control of your financial future. It’s Joe o and o.
You gotta hold onto that feeling. Doug. Hold on.
I can’t fight this feeling. Not gonna stop believing.
That’s the other song we’re talking. Of course, immediately Doug goes to mellow early eighties rock immediately. Hey everybody, welcome to Cheesy music for the Wind podcast. I’m Joe Cel Cihi ever Joe Money on X, Twitter, whatever.
And we got a phenomenal lineup for you today, og. I know I say that a lot, but this, uh, phenomenal lineup, truly is phenomenal. Great. A phenomenal og.
It’s so phenomenal. You can say the word phenomenal. I can
multiple times, like 16 times. You know what else is phenomenal?
The frequency of which you say the word phenomenal.
Well, maybe this is phenomenal, which must mean that this is phenomenal. Phenomenal, or it’s phenomenal about how it’s so phenomenal. Check this out. Wasn’t that phenomenal? Oh boy. No. Jamila Sufran waiting in the wings to teach us how to launch our financial rocket. But before that, Kathy Stokes from a RP gonna join us for a headline.
So let’s go. Hello
And now it’s time for your favorite part of the show, our Stacking Benjamins headlines, and our headline today comes to us from CBS News. Well, it is the season Experts warn shoppers of new scams this holiday season, which includes some new ways people are being scammed. The story written by Brady Habib and Brady writes scams skyrocket during the holiday season and how criminals are using different ways to steal personal and financial information.
Experts are urging consumers to stay vigilant. Well, guess what? We’ve got the expert with us right now. Kathy Stokes is the head of fraud prevention at a RP. Kathy, thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me,
holidays. Well, happy holidays to you, but sadly for some of us, if we’re not diligent, it might not be that happy holiday.
Thank gosh. It isn’t
necessarily even on being about diligent. Uh, the criminals are so good at what they do that. You can have all the protections and all the knowledge and still somehow it, you know, experience fraud and fraud
losses. I think we all, uh, most of us know that that, uh, car warranty thing might not be all it’s cracked up to be, but what are some of the, what are some of the crazy things you’re seeing people do this year?
Well, lemme tell you, on the car warranty one, the Federal Trade Commission ended up going after some bad actors that were behind most of those robocalls and took ’em down. Oh, good. I saw data from the end of last year, I think it was, but like the number of car warranty scams was up here. And then right after that it was like.
Oh, nice. And it’ll
happen again. Oh, sure. We’ll just wait it out and somebody else will come up with a way to do it. But yeah, that’s one of the most
ubiquitous, it’ll be my refrigerator warranty. Yes. I dunno.
Yeah. Something, something that you care deeply
about R right. Well, what are the new ones? Uh, this piece talks about gift cards, websites.
Yeah. Well, what’s old is new. The types of scams out there, most of ’em have been out there in one form or another since the beginning of time. What’s changed since the technology that enables it? The ease of which, uh, criminals can access cheap technology and, and use it well. And a playbook, uh, that from the beginning of time has said, here’s how you successfully steal somebody’s money or personal information through social engineering.
Call it different things, right? But it’s basically this. Reach that person outta the blue. Get them into some state of heightened emotion. Oh my god, my grandson’s in trouble. Or, oh my God, the IRS is coming after me. I didn’t realize that I had back taxes that I owed. Or the utility company is shutting off my power on the coldest day because they’re saying I didn’t pay All of these things that get you into that excitement space, we’re in a place in our heads that we can’t access logical thinking, and they know that.
And the third element is urgency. So if you can get someone from out of the blue, so unexpected call, scare the hell out of them. Excite the hell out of them that they’ve just won $2 million from the publisher’s clearinghouse and that they need to act now. That’s the winning. Trifecta and it’s worked and it continues to work.
And it only works better when revolutionary technology supports it. And that’s where we are now. So yes, we’ve always had conman scams, you know, might’ve been at the door before. Yeah, it might’ve been through your mail before. And, and that still happens. But now, technology, every criminal enterprise and their enterprises, this is, this is organized crime.
Has access to us in every way possible.
Well, Kathy Brady in this piece writes that they’re using AI now, like they’re gonna have a voice That sounds like somebody you know.
Yep. Well, John, I’m afraid to tell you you’ve been out there enough, but only five or 10 seconds of your, a piece of, of your podcast can be used with generative artificial intelligence to have a full on conversation so that it sounds like you.
Someone’s programming into their laptop. What you’re saying to your mom or your grandmom or your wife or your kids, to make them believe that you are in big trouble. And if they can’t help you right now, really bad things are gonna happen. Do we know how much that’s being used? Not really, because how do people know?
Mm mm-Hmm. Um, that it was artificial intelligence that made the voice sound so real, but we’re seeing enough concern about it. And I think enough media, um, that’s suggesting that this is being used more and more and how they’re on dark web. I’ve seen some videos of how they’re teaching each other, how to use generative AI to turn a picture.
Just a picture of you. Like that right there into a talking, uh, Joe. How to manipulate your mouth, how to manipulate your eyes, how to mo be able to move your head from left to right to make it look like you are actively engaged in a conversation with a person when it’s just a front for the criminal who’s pulling all the strings
That’s so crazy. And the fact that we’re worried about it now means five years from now, you know, you said we don’t know how much is happening now. I mean, I’m a hundred percent sure five years from now this will be all over the place. It’ll be so much easier than as technology increases.
And heck, we don’t know how much fraud is out there now, and this gets into a a real passion issue for me.
But it’s like we care about crime, but we kind of tend to forget that fraud is a crime. And for a whole number of reasons we don’t need to get into, we’ve deprioritized it as a crime. And so as long as we can sort of sit back and go, oh yeah, that happens to older people. Um, because cognitive decline, they’re not tech savvy.
They’re too nice, they won’t hang up the phone, that’s their problem, not our problem. Um, and as long as we believe it’s the victim’s fault in some way, and we can sort of say who that victim is, then we’re not gonna prioritize it. The reality is all of us are at risk for fraud. Younger people report fraud losses more so than older adults.
But here’s the kicker, those older adults have so much more to lose because of the Joe’s of the world and others who are teaching people how to save and prepare for financially secure retirement.
You gave a talk on this at, uh, FinCon, where we both were in, uh, new Orleans recently, where you talked about how this is definitely all of us, and certainly with technology, you know, TikTok and so many kids that are on TikTok, I feel like it’s super easy to, uh, to pull one over on somebody on TikTok, Instagram, the different social media sites where a lot of younger people are, as much as older people, maybe, probably even more.
What are some of the things that are the, the hints, right? You’ve got a, Kathy, I’m imagining a RP, you and your team. You’ve got a list of, or at least some things that go, this is kind of a red flag, this is another red flag. Like what are some of those signals we should be on the lookout for?
You know, we probably, if we added ’em up, have about 183, right?
And, and that’s not gonna help anybody, right. Ready? Go. So we’re trying to, we’re trying to win up that down a little bit. A couple of things we know. If you know about a specific scam because you heard about it on your show or because you’ve signed up for a A RP fraud watch network watchdog alerts that you get every other week or any other way reading the, the media coverage, you are far less likely to engage in that scam.
’cause you can see it coming. If you don’t see it coming. That’s when the trifecta talked about the out of the blue call. That’s urgent and it puts you in that heightened emotional state. Those are the red flags that we need to care about the most. If we can somehow get into our brains that those three things together equals a scam, probably 90% of the time, and to disengage that would take us a long way.
Like, I don’t know, do you remember when you weren’t around second grade and you were taught in school and there was a big public service campaign on what to do if, like your pants catch on
fire? Yeah. Uh, stop, drop and roll.
We need that for fraud and that’s gonna be a big focus of A A RP and some of our collaborators.
In 2024 to try to come up with something that gets us to that, to that place where we can go, we can pull out of our emotional reaction like, oh my God, my, my clothes are on fire. Yeah. To, oh, I know what to do. Stop, drop and roll. So that’s what we’re gonna be working on. But there are things to look out for.
Unfortunately, you cannot trust any incoming communication. You can’t trust that that letter from the IRS is legitimate. You can’t trust that the text from your bank asking you yes or no, did you just, um, approve some transaction? You can’t trust links in your email. You can’t trust going to, uh, linking from a social media ad or any other ad online to buy the great deal on, uh, Maui Gym Glasses.
We’re in a place where our backstrap against the wall because we don’t have enough protections, but there are things that we can do, you know, and that gets to hardening the target. It’s a phrase, my friend here, uh, Doug Schelle, um, at A A RP uses all the time, and it’s the things that you can do that you can’t protect yourself with.
Like, for example, if you are not looking anytime soon to take out credit, you know, to apply for a credit card or a loan for a car or a mortgage. Freeze your credit reports. It makes it so much harder. Almost impossible. I can’t say impossible ’cause these guys are good for anyone to open up credit in your name.
So you freeze down that credit, turns out you need to take out a loan. You gotta go back and unfreeze ’em with the three major agencies, it’s a bit of a pain in the butt, but it’s protective. And so that helps with new account fraud. We have a dilemma with passwords. Um, as we move toward biometrics, um, that’s gonna help us a lot more.
We have to be using multifactor authentication when we can. That is, you know, type in your username and your, uh, password and then set it up if it’s accessible to then get an email or a text or a phone call with a number. Then you have to put in to prove that it’s you. So don’t click on things. Freeze your credit.
Keep an eye on your credit report, annual credit report.com. That helps you to see if there’s unusual, suspicious activity. And even though it may seem antithetical. Set up online access to your financial accounts. Hmm. Doesn’t make it more dangerous. It makes it less dangerous. Why is that? If you don’t do it, there’s enough of your identity markers out there being bought and sold that someone’s gonna do it for you, and then they’re gonna divert your funds, your information to them to, to, you know, uh, an account that’s not
That is totally counterintuitive at first, but I completely get it. Yeah.
And, and the other thing is, when you do that, you also can set up alerts for yourself. I don’t use my debit card much except like at an ATM or sometimes I think it’s kind of safe. Unlike our wallets and our electronic wallets, because that’s encrypted data, they’re not even sharing my number.
You can set up an alert that tells you every time there’s a transaction outta that account. I do that sometimes I annoy myself. Yeah. Because I get the, but it’s an easy, okay. Yep. I know. That was
me. I’ll tell you, Kathy, six months ago, Cheryl, my spouse caught, uh, somebody buying plane tickets, uh, through Spirit Airlines.
Uh, a I, I’m a tall guy, so I don’t fly Spirit Airlines because the person in front of me doesn’t want my, my knee in their back or my feet in their, in their
lap. Or your head. In their lap. Exactly. So, yeah, or vice
versa. But we were able to catch up and shut off the transaction because of what you just said.
Because of those quick alerts
and the financial services industries has been really, really good. They’ve really upped their game in their ability to use AI for good, to use algorithms and, and machine learning to indicate where, you know, wait, I don’t think those people would’ve made that transaction.
You know, of course it’s all. Computers talking to each other and not humans so much, and they’re really good about that. But this helps you that much
more. That’s, that’s fabulous. I know at a RP, you and your team, you guys have some great tools that people can use to help, uh, against fraud. Tell me what, uh, our stackers can do through a RP to get some help.
Well, we have
a, a great resource that’s available to anyone, aarp.org/fraud Watch network. Tons of really good content. We have a dedicated writer who’s writing new stuff about frauds and take downs. We love the perp walk, right? So when we can get those, we, we try to cover them. We have a, a fraud resource center on that page that’s like 80 tip sheets.
Quick, uh, rundown for you, Joe. Let’s say you’re gonna do a, you’re gonna talk to US Postal inspection about mail check fraud, and you’re like, I’m not really sure I know all about what’s going on there. Go over there and you. Learn about it real quick. And again, it gets to that if you, and you know, knowledge is power.
We also have these biweekly alerts that you can receive by email or text and you can sign up for them on that site or just send FWN that stands for Fraud Watch Network to 5 0 7 5 7 and you’ll just get a text from us every other week. And I’m telling you, read it. Don’t read it, scan it, let it be your reminder that fraud is everywhere.
And if you do read it, and I wish that you would share it, talk to other people, stop what you’re doing and call your mom and say, Hey mom, I just heard about this new scam. And explain and say, what do you think about that? Have the conversation. We need to be conversing about this a whole lot more. And the one other of the many.
Resources we have is we have this really great podcast ourselves. It’s called The Perfect Scam. It’s in a different genre. No competition with you, Joe.
It’s, uh, we could use competition. We need more people talking about this stuff, to your point. So yeah, you need more
people. Yeah, but it’s in the true crime genre, but it’s not the true crime of like, Ooh, how did the bad guy get away with it?
Right? It’s about, look what these bad guys are doing from a transnational criminal enterprise level, and the losses that, that not only our economy experiences, but the individuals and the impact on them financially, emotionally, from a health perspective, talking to law enforcement experts, and, you know, really getting to that emotional, uh, you know, like help us understand that it’s not the victim’s
That’s fabulous. You know what, if you’re walking the dog, if, uh, you’re in your car, we’ve got you covered. We’re gonna link to everything Kathy talked about on our show notes page at stacky Benjamins dot com, all those fantastic resources and, and the podcast. The podcast sounds. Perversely fun, Kathy, in a very perverse way.
Yes. It’s definitely edutainment, right? And we have a, a venerated journalist, uh, Bob Sullivan, who is our host and he’s probably one of the more empathetic people I ever know. Anyway, but he brings that to this issue area and it’s just so powerful.
Kathy, thanks for helping our stackers get a little more savvy about fraud.
I super appreciate it. Happy holidays.
Happy holidays. Thanks, Joe.
og. Had any calls for me lately asking for money? Uh, yeah.
Got an odd slack message. Middle of the night. I knew that wasn’t you.
I’m sure. Wait a minute. That one was me. That was me.
Totally. You’re having a existential crisis at 12 at night on Slack.
No, that can’t be good after he is
been sitting around the solo stove with a bottle of wine. Who’d seen that coming? Yeah. Was that at midnight?
Did I slack you at midnight? It never happens. Uh, time for a TikTok minute. This is the part of the show where we shine the light on a TikTok crater who’s either brilliant or air quotes brilliant Doug, you think today we got some brilliance on our hands?
Nope. No. This one is just complete idiocy. I’m confident of it. Well,
you know what? I gotta tell you, there is hope for all of us in the world. I. If this kid in this car seat is, is real, if this is not made up, this is a mom talking to her son in the car seat in the backseat about his, uh, spot in the school’s new holiday production.
what I relativity. I’m a classic one. Classic role. Is it? Classic part? Yeah.
Um, Joseph? No.
one of the three ways Men? No. But
it’s a classic part. Yeah. Okay. Um, you tell me then. ’cause I’m door holder number three, I’ll be holding doors. That’s amazing.
Holding doors for who? Um, probably,
um, Josie and Mary.
Oh my gosh. Were you pleased when they said that? And I was like,
I’m a door holder getting there.
Let’s go. Yes. I’ll have to wear like brown. Really? Yeah.
Probably. Excellent. IS Wow. That’s really smart, Milo.
Isn’t that fabulous? If we all approach life the way Milo approaches being door holder number three.
Yes. Enthusiasm previously unknown to mankind.
It’s an essential part. And it is essential. Milo. It is essential. He’s
not even one of the first two door holders.
Maybe it’s in reverse order. Maybe it’s like 3, 2, 1. And three’s
the best. Yes. Well, you know what, man? I, I just, I don’t know. I said, how can you not be just enthused about your life if you hear Milo being that Milo excited?
Yes. God bless you, Milo. It’s a classic part. Each and every one. It’s a classic part Coming up next Jam La Suran has a fantastic podcast called Journey to Launch. I met her back in 2017 while I was covering. A credit union conference in Manhattan. When I say Jamila is a force of nature, I’m, I’m not kidding.
Jamila is amazing. And today she’s our mentor because she’s going to help you get your financial rocket launch wherever you are on the journey, we’re gonna take you and hopefully move you along today. So that’s the next 20 minutes. But before that, Doug, you’ve got some trivia
for us. Is, is that the noise I hear upstairs?
Is she just, you said she’s a forts of nature and I It’s like a whirling dervish up there. She’s just, wow.
I think she’s stretching out, getting ready to go.
Settle down. Jamila, take a deep breath before you come on stage here and I’ll, uh, I’ll kill some time while you take a breath. Hey there, stackers. I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug as 2023 winds down.
I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve accomplished so far this year. Organize my tools. I built a new walkway to my garden. I drank water almost every day. The one big thing that’s still on my list is to compete in an Ironman competition. I haven’t started training yet, but I think if I double up on workouts, I can speed through training and be ready in time to compete at the end of the month.
When you’re working on a challenging goal, you gotta tackle it one day at a time. It’s like I’ve always said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a twine. I think now, who am I kidding? Twinkies are like air. I mean, you just keep eating them. You don’t feel anything. I’ll be chiseling through that whole box.
Speaking of journey, a lot of people have told me that I have the essence of Steve Perry. Now, I don’t see it personally. I’ve always thought of myself as a handsomer, Bruce Willis. In any case, I know the, wait a minute, isn’t Bruce Willis losing his mind Anyway, in any case, I know the ladies love him, so I guess I’ll take it as a compliment for national.
Don’t know every day Last say that. What? I said it wait for National Good Neighbor Day last year. Look it up. It’s a thing. I knew that Joe’s mom was a huge Journey fan, so I took her to see him on their Revelation tour. More embarrassing than taking your old lady neighbor to a concert standing next to her when she’s screamed, crying, when Steve walks on stage.
Doubly embarrassing. The bra throwing incident, oh God, I truly never need to relive again. That took out two band members. Awkward for everyone, but she seemed pretty proud. So, I mean, who knows? Although the band’s current lineup consists of three guys, including only one of the original members, Neil, Sean Journey has had a rotating membership of 20 people throughout its 50 year run.
It seems like if you play an instrument for long enough, I mean, you’re contractually obligated to be in journey at some point. Today’s trivia question is which member of Journey was an original judge on American Idol? I’ll be back right after I do my first Ironman training.
Hey there Stackers. I’m Ironman competitor and likely future singer for Journey Joe’s Mom’s Neighbor Doug. While the band has had many members over the years, several have left and come back as needed with no hard feelings. Today’s trivia question is which member of Journey was an original judge on American Idol?
The answer initially brought in as a session musician, Randy Jackson was later hired to play with the band full-time. After they split with Ross Valerie, he joined them for only one tour and also filled in with backup vocals occasionally. And now here to teach you how to make the most of your journey.
See what I did there? It’s our mentor, Jamila Suran.
I’m super happy. We have her beck at mom’s basement. Jamila Suran is here. How are you? Hi
Joe. Well, I’m in a basement too, so I guess, you know, we are just living the basement life together.
I want to talk about your mom, because your mom really plays a big part, I think, in your story based on everything that I just read. Your mom called you pocketbook?
Yes, she did. She had me at such a young age, 20 years old, single mom, and had to really do mostly everything by herself, so she didn’t have.
People, or she wasn’t able to leave me anywhere. I had to go with her everywhere. So they used to joke with her and say, everywhere you see Jamila or everywhere you see my mom, you saw me. I was right next to her, like a little pocketbook, which is really important because she had to leave me behind in Jamaica when she came here first to establish herself.
So I can’t even imagine as a mom now having to be separated, like from her baby. I was like literally like eight months old to then be reunited. We just had such a strong bond, I think. ’cause she didn’t wanna let me go again, and so I was always with
her. You’re eight months old and your mom has this opportunity and she’s gotta make the decision.
Like, do I go or do I not go? How are you not included in the package to go with her initially?
Right. So here’s the thing. My, my grandfather, her father had filed papers for her to be able to come to the United States. And, you know, I wasn’t a thought, she didn’t know that I, I would’ve been born. And so he came to tell her that the papers came, and when he came, he saw me and he was just like, what is this?
Like, why do you have a child? And we don’t have papers for her, but you can go, you know, and you have like a week to decide. A week, a week to decide. He gave her a week to decide what she would do. And again, she was only 20 years old. I can’t even fathom. I’m just thinking
Jimmy, a a month isn’t enough time.
Like a year’s to like to make that decision. That’s your mom’s got some man moxie. She
does. She does. And you know, the thing about it is if you talk to her, she thinks that she was just doing, she didn’t want me to repeat the life she had. She knew that if she stayed in Jamaica, that my. Opportunities, her opportunities that would be limited.
And the one thing, you know, some parents, they repeat the cycle that they were raised in ’cause they don’t know any better. But my mom, she did the complete opposite. So the tools or the freedom she was not given, she said by any means necessary, she would give to me. And that maturity at that young age, again, when I have now the opportunity to be here and do the things that I’m doing and what causes me to be so motivated, it’s just like if my mom did it with so little, with so little guidance and really had to form her own steps and make her own path.
Like I surely have to do my best to hear and do the
work. It’s funny how we think the kids aren’t looking right. We think the kids aren’t noticing and they’re noticing way more than your mom, I’m sure. I mean, you notice way more than I think your mom would’ve ever expected, and I know that this is big. I wanted to start there because I know that your mom figures.
Big into your financial independence journey, kind of because of her legacy seeking independence. You’re seeking independence. Uh, so take me back like what was your first job outta college? What were you doing outta
college? Well, outta college, so I was lucky enough to get an internship through program called Inroads where they placed kids or minorities that were working in, in school, in corporate America.
And so I got my first internship my, between that freshman and summer sophomore year. And I interned there and before I went to my senior year, they offered me a full-time position. So I was very fabulous. I, it was like I did not interview anywhere else. I walked out of going into my senior year with a job offer.
I knew exactly how much I was gonna make, $55,000, $5,000 signing bonus. So I did not need to look anymore. And I went full-time into the job that I was actually interning in and stayed there until I eventually
quit. Well, but it sounds like you fell outta love with that fairly quickly. Like Cubicle World was not made for Jimmy Liran.
Oh no. Listen, when I started to work full-time, I said to myself, this is not it. I will not be here past 30 years old. I’m going to figure out an escape route. And then I tried a bunch of things on the side to help kind of take over the job or gimme some income and none of them worked. I tried vending machines, so I thought that would be my big ticket.
I had an online magazine, got tired of
that. The magazine you were describing and I think the introduction to your book and uh, that sounded like a great
idea. It was amazing. It was called Empress Magazine. It, ’cause at that time there wasn’t a lot of magazines for young women of color that touched on all lifestyle topics.
We had some in the past, but they had all folded. And so we thought, Empress, this is the perfect name. This is like the perfect time. But we just didn’t have the energy. After a while, my friend and I, to continue it, when we started working full-time, it just never really panned out the way we thought it could.
And so again, that was like another. Dream or project that didn’t come to fruition.
Mom always wants us to call her empress, by the way. And, uh, we, we maybe, right? I don’t know. It’s a stretch. It’s a stretch. Uh, but we should, ’cause she, you know, we’re here rent free, so what? Yeah, you should, but this was a part of a plan for you to be out there by the time you’re 30.
And then I know that like 30 comes and you see this kind of fade and you kind of feel like you’re on this treadmill,
Yeah. Well, I said to myself, listen, nothing you have tried on the side has worked. Like, how are you going to become wealthy or rich? You didn’t marry rich, you’re not dating rich and you can’t figure out any business that’s gonna work.
And so just suck it up. You know, everyone around you works until retirement or past that, and you have a good job. You live a good life. Just make it work. And so I tried to make it work, but when I got pregnant with my first child on my long commute, I said to myself, no, no, no, like. I have to figure something out because there’s no way that I wanna start, have a family with this hour and a half, one way driving commute and this job that I’m just not in love with.
And so that’s what prompted me to get my finances in order. Is this when you
did the Google search? ’cause I think the Google search is Oh yes. Is kind of funny. Well, I don’t think the Google search is funny. I think the Google search was a cry for help. Right? What I think was funny was exactly the search term you used, which I think was, how do I quit my job?
Yeah. How do I quit my job? How do I retire early? Just how do I get out of here? How do I opt out of adulthood? Not, you know, permanently, but just how do I become self-sufficient? And I found out about some weird movement called the Fire Movement, the Financial Independence, retire Early Movement. Oh, those, those weirdos, those strange people who are now my people, they’re my people now.
Because literally I did not know what I was searching for. I was just fed up and I. Then what I call hyperlinks. I talk about this in the book. I began to click on life’s hyperlinks. We all have them. It’s like reading an article and something is interesting, and then you click on the highlighted word and it takes you further down the rabbit hole.
Sometimes you don’t click, but sometimes you click and it takes you to something else. And that’s what I did. I searched for this term, found out there were podcasts and blogs talking about this, and everyday regular people just investing their way to freedom with their nine to fives. And my world was forever changed because look at us now.
I met you. I think your journey here was, this is about 2016, right? 20 15, 20 16,
yeah. So the podcast was started in 2017, the blog 2016.
But yeah, when you’re reading all this stuff is 20 16, 20 15 maybe.
Oh, yeah. So yeah, so I was pregnant with my first son in 2014. That’s what allowed me to figure out or find it.
Gotcha. I just feel like Jamila, like there’s this, you know, there’s this darkness. It’s just becoming more and more oppressive. And then as you’re going down this hyperlink rabbit hole. Like you’re seeing this light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter and brighter, and it’s not a train, it’s actually there’s a light going
It just felt so surreal that there was this whole other world that I did not know about, that if I understood it more in my twenties, I could have started my journey intentionally a lot earlier. So finding out this information, and it took a couple years, like to take action, so I found out about the movement in 2014, I looked like from the outside in, and it started to consume a lot of information, a lot of podcasts, and then eventually I said, well, why don’t I apply some of this?
And so I applied what I was learning to my finances. That’s how we were able to save and invest $169,000 in two years. And I kept just going deeper. I kept clicking on the links and said, wait. Why don’t I have a, a blog? You know, I, I read other blogs and then why don’t I have a podcast? And so I kept clicking on the hyperlinks taking action.
And 2016, I started the blog. 2017, I started the podcast. 2018, I quit my job to do what I’m doing now, full-time. And so I always say if it weren’t for the commute, I don’t know that I would be here. Because even though it pushed me, it had me in this place that I was unhappy, it forced me to take action eventually because I needed to make a change in my life.
So I met you in 2017. I was covering a credit union conference in Manhattan, and I would describe you. At that conference, somebody I didn’t even know as, and this is a badass term by the way, as aggressive, you could tell that Jamila Sufran was going to do what Jamila wanted to do. You literally, I had no idea who you were and you were pretty in my face about, Hey, I think I’m gonna start a podcast.
Like what do you wish you would’ve known? And you’re giving me like the third degree Jamila about what worked, what didn’t work. How you doing? Don’t get me wrong. I was so happy to share. I thought it was amazing. ’cause nobody does that. But I felt like, like you were this freight train. And I think our stackers need to hear that.
Like, you gotta be a freight train, you gotta advocate for yourself, you gotta be in people’s face and nobody else is gonna make it happen. And it was clear to me that day in Manhattan that you were gonna make this all happen.
Yeah, see I was, oh, I had so much energy back then. I’m much more laid back now.
But I think it’s fascinating because I know there’s someone listening to this podcast listening and hopefully inspired and learning and you know, they don’t have to necessarily become a content creator or have their own podcast. But I remember literally listening to people like yourself to all the people like Paula Pan, all the people that I used to listen to, they, you had no clue I existed, which was fine.
But I learned, and not only did I learn how to change my finances and start my own financial independence journey, but I learned there was another pathway that I could take in terms of my own career. While on the journey that wow, you can have a podcast and you can have a blog that’s impactful and make money as a content creator and as an educator in this space.
I didn’t know that was possible until I started, you know, now I can, you know, call a lot of you guys, my friends and colleagues and you know who I am now and my work. But a few years ago, like you said, you didn’t know who I was. And I just, I hope that that’s inspiring to someone listening who we don’t know your name yet, but if you do the work, we will know your name.
You know, we, and so it’s, I dunno, it’s really kind of surreal sometimes that I’m here. No, you
gotta, you gotta push forward. And it’s not surreal to me ’cause I knew it that day. You know, a lot of people have people that they’re planning with at the same time that are listening. You have your husband as you’re going down this rabbit hole.
How did he feel about Jamila’s new? I mean, it kind of, to me would feel like if Cheryl came home to me with this, like, Cheryl’s on this Amway kick, you know what I mean? She’s like so excited. She’s drank all the Kool-Aid. She knows all the stuff. Like, did your husband
feel that? My husband is a very simple guy.
You know, he likes life to be easy. He follows the rules for the most part. And so, but he all, he knew who he married. ’cause I always had this energy that I was gonna do the things I say I wanna do. But his commute, he literally works like 15, 20 minutes from our house. He’s a teacher. So he knew I had this very just bad and stressful commute.
He knew, obviously we were growing a family and now I found a solution to me not having to have this commute in maybe 10 years if we do this. So when I came home and told him, you know, he was just, he was just like, what? Like, what do you mean retire early? Because we don’t know anyone who’s even retired comfortably at the standard age.
And here I am saying to him, but wait, I think we could do this at 40 or 45 years old. What do you think? But we need to invest like half our income and not take vacations and get rid of our expensive cars. You wrote,
by the way, and I want to get back to this, but you wrote, by the way, ’cause I want everybody to hear this.
You were investing up to the match in your 401k and he was putting like 2% away into his, so this was like, this is like a splash of ice cold water. Right,
but what helped? And so, you know, because he’s a teacher, these are strategies and things I learned through listening to other podcasts that he had access to two pre-tax retirement accounts so we could invest double the max that I was.
But we all just need to do it together. And when I told him this, you know, his paycheck that he was receiving would now to dwindle to less than half of what he was typically getting. And then, you know, coupling that were combining everything, I knew that it would be hard for him. And so I had patience.
Because I knew that, just because I felt this way, I had to let him understand that this was helpful for us as a family, that if we did this, this is where we could be. It’s not just about me. I mean, obviously I hope that you want your wife to be happy who’s carrying your child and your future children, but how can we include what you wanna do?
And so with one of the things that really helped him get on board was showing him the numbers. So working in corporate America, I became really good with spreadsheets and creating, you know, all these calculations. And so I showed him based on if we kept our same trajectory of investing where we would be when we were 45, 50, 65, or whatever, then I showed him, if we do this.
This is where we can be, we can have a million dollars more. Yes, it will involve some changes, but these are changes where we can still live a decent life. And you know, I told him we don’t have to do it all at once. We can slowly do it. And so these kind of concessions or taking it slowly with him and showing him the numbers, allowed him to trust or at least try.
And I said to him, listen, if you’re not comfortable, we can always revert back to what we’ve been doing and figure something else out. And I think those honest conversations over time allowed him to feel comfortable to say, why not? Let’s do it.
. Let’s talk
about the, uh, flexibility because you really drive this home at the beginning of this. And for a lot of people listening, of course, this is the beginning of their journey as well. So I really want to go into this for a second. You, you kind of compare the fire movement to like your average high school where you’ve got these tables at lunch.
I remember high school was so cliquey, you got the YOLO table over there. Clearly that’s not Jamila. You’ve got, I’m just gonna do the basics table, those, that’s too slow for you. But you also got the elite table where everybody is flexing all the time. And you say that you try to hang with that crowd for a while, but those guys are pretty intense.
You know, maybe there’s this middle ground. How did you finally find Jamila’s table of, of all of these kind of clicky thought processes about how to manage your money?
Right. So yeah, in the book I talk about the different tables and typically, and these are obviously assumptions and generalizations. I think the fire movement has sure become a lot more diverse since when I first found it.
And so you hear a lot more about people who wanna spend money and how that looks. But ultimately, when I first started, I wanted to get out of Dodge. I wanted to get out of my job as quick as possible. And the only way that I could foresee that is to lower how much I needed to live on my expenses and to kind of dwindle what that was, which meant cutting back a lot and not spending as much.
And we tried that and we did it, and it was fine. It was great. We saved a lot of money, but then I realized that’s not a sustainable
pathway. You saved a ton of money. Sorry, you saved a ton of money, not a little
money. You saved a ton of money and it was great. I mean, you know, that was also a privilege because I worked in corporate America.
I had a very decent income, six figures. My husband also, even though he’s a teacher, he has his master’s. So he was earning at his full potential and so we were doing well. But I realized that, you know, as I started to have more kids, three kids now living in New York City and not wanting to deprive myself of the lifestyle I wanted to live or the lifestyle that we wanna live together, I said to myself, I don’t want to invest 50 or 60% of my income if it means we cannot take the vacation or one day have the car.
Now obviously we are gonna still be smart about things, but it really took looking at my job. And so the other thing that happened was this decision that I had to make. Here I am, I am working a decent job. I’m have journey to launch on the side. Now it’s doing well. I have this commute, and now I am actually pregnant with my third child.
Do I stay in this situation because of the guaranteed quote unquote income and earn as much as possible within this job so we can invest and reach this mark that I set for myself of fire at 40 years old? Or do I actually step away from my job? Pursue journey to launch Full-time journey to launch was not making anywhere close to, to anything when I first quit my job, but we had a runway of money that we saved up and switched from investing in our retirement accounts to investing in a savings account to help build up some money.
But I walked away from my job realizing that it wasn’t about the money, it wasn’t about the financial independence number or hitting it at 40 years old. How could I achieve more freedom and flexibility? Right now. And that’s what I talk about in the book, that I know that the idea of financial independence is very audacious.
And that’s why so many people just, when they hear it, they’re like, okay, that’s not for me. Like how am I gonna get there? But there is a level under that in the five journeyer stages that I talk about called work flexibility. And this is this idea that you can be flexible with your work. It doesn’t mean you never work again, but you could take a break.
And that’s the level that I’ve reached and that I’m willing to have my journey take a longer time if necessary, because I actually enjoy what I do now for work. And I am having more freedom while on the journey to financial independence. And so it was really important for me to understand that switch, that it wasn’t about the money and earning a lot, or saving as much as possible that my actual life had to feel good on the journey.
And if it took longer because of that, that was totally fine. It was my path to take.
No, it’s cool ’cause it’s so intentional. What I most liked about that though, Jamila, is it pays respect to this limited resource, which is time. Like, man, my kids are 28 and I just, I look back at how quickly those years go, you know, when your kids are at home and you can’t get those back.
And if you’re spending all this time just, you know, eating rice and beans and the kids are not, nobody’s having any fun at all. Like, you miss out on that. It feels like life has these stages. But speaking of stages, you brought it up. So let’s, let’s dive into these. You have these five stages of the explorer’s journey.
And actually the first one is, is that you are an explorer. Can we just go through these briefly? Like, so who is an explorer? What should they be working on, and how do they then advance to the next, uh, stage of their journey?
Right. There are five stages that you have to go through to reach complete financial independence.
The first stage is what I call the explorer stage. That’s where you’re working on financial stability. So you might feel out of control with your finances. You’re not able to pay for your expenses with your income, and so you just need to get to stability. The second stage after that is called the cadet stage.
That’s where you’re working on debt freedom, and this is working your way out of consumer debt. So credit cards or any high interest rate debts that you wanna get rid of, I don’t typically include the mortgage or student loan here, just because it could be enormous and take forever. And once you are consumer debt free, you move on to the next stage, the aviator stage.
And by the way, if you can’t tell, I love just like the keeping in theme with my, with my brand journey to launch, I couldn, I had no idea. So like we’re launching in a rocket, I just envisioned someone preparing to, you know, take their own flight and spaceship up. But the third stage is the aviator stage.
That is where you’re working on financial security. So you pay it off the consumer debt and now you can. Focus your money on investing in building assets, which are very important if you wanna reach financial independence. Once you have assets at a certain extent or point, you can move on to the next stage, which is stage four.
The commander stage, this is the stage I’m currently in. It is the work flexibility stage where work is flexible. Doesn’t mean you never have to work again, but you can take a break from a job, you can leave a relationship or just any situation that is not serving to you because you have the money enabled to support that decision.
You can travel, you can have kids, you can do something different. And so work flexible is a stage I believe everyone can reach. And the final stage is the captain stage. That is the ultimate. That is you never have to work again because you have all the money you need and that is the five stages to reach financial independence that you travel through.
I love that you talk about a lot of the people in that first stage or, or not in the first stage, excuse me, on that top stage. People that, that are still working, but they’re just doing it because they love it. Like you’ve got a subheader of one of your chapters saying something like, are you really chasing financial independence?
Or do you, do you just hate your job? Right. And I think there’s a big difference between those two things,
isn’t there? Yeah. I think most people, their reason for trying to achieve financial independence is because they don’t enjoy what they do or the situation they’re in, which is totally fine, whatever gets you started.
But I think ultimately, I think the journey to what we wanna do starts internally in a lot of ways because money can solve a lot of problems, but it also doesn’t solve a lot of problems. And it’s important to understand what your enough point is, how far you wanna take it, how intense you want to be. But this idea that, you know, most of the people that I know that either have reached like the further stages, the sage I’m in, or even stage five, they’re bringing in more money than they did when they were working, or they are working because they actually enjoy it.
And so I think most people do wanna work and do something. I think friction is good in, you know, having something that you’re working towards, I think is good in life. But what happens is, you know, you assume that you don’t wanna do anything, and that’s not necessarily the case. You just haven’t found what you wanna do yet.
Or maybe you’re not working in a great environment or with great people, but it serves you to figure out what that looks like on the pathway so you can enjoy the journey while you’re working to complete financial independence.
It was so interesting that I’ve, uh, been reading your fascinating book over the past several days, and then just maybe an hour before you and I, uh, started chatting, I’m reading this post by a friend of mine talking about how she, after saying she would never have a W2 job again.
She has a W2 job, but Jamila, it was on her terms because she did that mindset shift that you talked about. Like she knows what she’s looking for, exactly what this means, exactly, what it doesn’t mean, and so she was willing to go back and the, the number of people, by the way, I. Who were on this thread that are already financially independent who said, yeah, I’d go back if I found like the right thing.
’cause I think that’s most of us, like we’re just looking for this harmony and this meaning. But at the same time, I love what you say as kind of the closeout of this. Like even if you love your job now, like if you’re hanging out with us, you’re a stacker who loves your job. You may not always love your job.
So there’s still no downside to going through Jamila’s stages. It’s
not, there’s no way. What happens to is a person, you become on this journey and there’s so many things you cannot account for. Like I tried my best in the book to help you figure out your initial plan and figure out how to recalibrate when you need to.
But there’s so many things that you don’t understand can happen for you once you start. There’s so many more opportunities. Things can happen a lot faster than you think, but you have to start. And so I think that’s the amazing thing about it is you are your best asset. You become different because you have to do things differently or that account or that that’s the best part of the journey.
It’s kind of like this internal self-discovery. You can change your mind, your goals may change. It’s who you are becoming on this pathway that I think is the most interesting. I could
feel it that day of Manhattan. And I feel it from you every time we talk. Your book is called Your Journey to Financial Freedom.
It’s about damn time Jamila, by the way, that you did this. Uh, and it’s available last week everywhere, right?
Yeah, you can find it wherever books are sold. bookshop.org, your independent bookstore, target, Amazon, all the places. But you can go to your journey to financial freedom.com to really see where it’s at.
And yeah, check me out at Journey to launch on all social media
platforms. And I have to ask this while we have you there. I know it’s important usually to have one call to action, but for you, we have to have two. There’s gotta be something coming up on the podcast Jamila, that you haven’t told anybody that’s a complete secret that you can just share First here, let’s do some, uh, Jamila Suran Journey to Launch podcast.
Breaking news, what’s, what’s coming up.
Oh my gosh, I don’t know. And this, okay, I have to forward, think this comes out right after the book. Honestly, I don’t know, Joe. I hope, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s coming up.
You can just laugh about it. That’s fine. I’ve had people do that. They’re like, you know, Joe, you’ll be
I don’t know. Listen, I hope, whatever. I hope by the time you’re listening to this, you know, I’ve released all expectations. I want the book to obviously do well, but I’ve done the work already and the best I can do now is to try to have as many people learn about it. And so I hope by the time this comes out, no matter what has happened externally in terms of validation, that I continue to have the feeling that I feel of being proud of the work that I’ve done and that I know it can be life changing if someone picks it up because my life changed because of this and I just can’t wait for people to read it.
can’t wait either. Jamila, thank you so much for hanging out with us again. I, we, we don’t get to talk often enough. Every time I talk to you, have a great time. Thank you so much. Thanks so much,
This is Darryl from Pennsylvania. When I’m not busy arguing with a 4-year-old, I’m Stacking. Benjamins. No daddy.
Big thanks to Jamila. You know, oh gee, on Friday we talked about the difference between advanced advice and beginner advice. Jamila makes a great point. I think it’s really important to do this assessment that she’s got to, uh, to, to kind of figure out where am I at? Like, don’t get too far ahead of yourself ’cause we discussed, then you can really do some damage.
I know we all want to go to 11 right away, but that can upset the Apple cartt as mom says. Well,
it’s true with everything, right? I mean, you can’t, if, if all of a sudden you decide that you wanna start eating healthy and you cut out all your carbs, you know you’re gonna feel like crap for a long time. If you haven’t skied all year and you’re like, it’s ski season, I’m gonna do that.
Uh, double black diamond in the back where all the cool guys are. You are gonna probably die. I’m not sure what would happen if you went over there, but death is an option for sure. That’s what would happen to me. So it’s the same thing with money. You can’t, there’s a reason why we have an order of operations and there’s a reason why when you look back and you ask people who are successful money, people ask them what made them successful or what they did.
You never hear, it’s it, it’s not people going, well, I took all my money and I bought this one penny stock and that turned into gazillions of dollars. Or I bought $5 scratchers. You know what I mean? Like it’s, I bought a house I could afford. I paid off my debt quickly. I. Didn’t go to college and rack up a bunch of debt.
You know, there I lived within my means. I built a cash reserve. Like it’s all the same stuff. I was talking to my kids about this the other day ’cause. I dunno if you can tell, but I got a little something going on up here right now. What?
Facial hair. Facial hair? Yeah.
Congestion, as it were.
And my son goes, my, we were driving and my, my son goes, dad, you know you have to, you have to drink this tea. I said, oh, what tea? And he’s like, oh, tears cancer. And it like, like, go hold on, time out. Stop. No, it doesn’t. He’s like, no, this guy, he drank it like every day for 21 days, and his stage four cancer went away.
I’m like, all right, hold on. Let’s, let’s have this, let’s have this little chat about, like, stuff on the Internet’s not always exactly true. I mean, but he was, I mean, he was a, he was legit. Like, no, no, this, this will help you. He was trying to be helpful. Yeah. I’ve seen this happen at the airport. I’ve seen people like literally walk through the gate with a suitcase, take a picture of them like on the stairs, going up to the Gulf Stream.
And then walk back and drive in their car and go away. You know, it’s like, just ’cause they said it happened on the internet. Doug. What? You know, it’s like I put all my money in GameStop. I remember this meeting I had with a, with a client or a potential client, years and years and years ago, he made some comment about how, uh, you know, he was only gonna put his money in his company stock.
And it was a big auto manufacturer who had gone down a whole bunch and then had recovered a nice amount, but nowhere near back to where it was. Rivian, you know, picture stock went from 30 down to a dollar, it’s back to 12 bucks. Right. And he, and he was like, all about the fact that he had done this and timed it exactly right.
He doesn’t need help from a planner. He, he, he sold all his stock here and he bought it all back here today. I said, why are you still working? And he said, what are you talking about? I said, well, because if you had the, you know, if you did it with the money, you said you did the math checks, that you’d have like $11 million right now.
What? Well, if you had all of your 401k, you said you timed it out exactly right and bought the stock at a dollar and you had a million bucks and now it’s at $11. You have $11 million while, are you still working? Well, it didn’t exactly work like that. Oh, it didn’t exactly work like that. How much do you have in your 401k bill?
200,000. Oh, okay. So you know what our minds process of what we did, the story that we’re telling ourselves and what actually happened is a whole different thing also. So make the recipe the way that it needs to be made, man. Like look at Warren Buffett. Charlie Munger, to some extent, Dave Ramsey. You know what I mean?
Like. Build the pyramid the way that it needs to be
built. I feel like we all know that and people are, you know, listening to us right now, og and they’re going, yeah, I know. Yeah. But as exactly, as soon as I finish effing up this entire thing, I’ll build that foundation. You know, right after I get all crazy about this one last thing, I will finally do it the right way.
Chuck wafer, wafer, God, it’s just never not fun. Uh, Chuck Wafer talked about that, uh, what was it last week, wasn’t it, Joe? Where last Monday? Yeah. Because so much of those kinds of decisions, I. Our backward looking view on those events is emotionally based. And he talked about how we make moves too quickly without sort of checking our emotions first.
And so it either gets us into those penny stocks or those kinds of, you know, or it puts rose colored glasses on our historical view of what happened. Like the guy you’re talking about, og. Yep. Those emotions are powerful.
Episode numbers 1,444. If people want to go back and listen to Chuck talk about, uh, some of that good self stuff, we’re talking about leadership, but leadership all begins with, uh, controlling your brain at home and actually putting that, that foundation that Jamila talked about to work.
So glad she could be our mentor today. Hey, uh, time for us to throw out the lifeline. This is a part of the show where we help a stacker get better with their money. If you have a question and you’d like us to answer it on the show, head to stacky Benjamins dot com slash voicemail and we’re happy to answer your question as well.
Uh, today we’re gonna answer a question from Chris. Hey man. Hey guys. Chris
from Texas. I’m back for a second question after you helped me with my first one, about five 20 nines. And it’s so exciting to think that after this I’ll have twice as many Stacking Benjamins shirts as Doug.
But to my question, now that our son is here, we need to get our estate planning in order to give you some better context to our situation. I think it’s pretty straightforward. It’s my wife, myself, and our son. We have our home and our various retirement brokerage and savings accounts. The idea has been to have one more child, but who knows if we will, because our son has spent the last 10 months making his best case to be an only child.
Would you say, based on our situation, that we could use a service like Trust and Will, will Maker, or perhaps another you recommend or is our better option to find a local attorney that handles estate planning? Just curious what types of situations would lean towards the online service versus the in-person, attorney.
Doug. All jokes aside, if you guys send me a Doug 2024 shirt, I’ll probably support the cause and post the pictures wearing it during
our travels. Oh, thanks. Oh, trying to change the shirt. He wants to change the shirt. Why wouldn’t you approved? Yeah. You know what, Chris, with that question, we’ll totally do it.
Yeah, absolutely. And, and by the way, I wanna check Chris’s math. You don’t have double the number of shirts that Doug has. You have 5,000 times more shirts than Doug. You have 25,000 times more shirts than Infinity. More than Infinity, more shirts than Doug has.
Zero times. An increase on zero is
Whatever number you wanna make
up, is infinity a number or is it
a concept? It’s a concept. It doesn’t
mean it can’t be a number. You may not know this og, but black is not a color. Infinity is similar to that.
Indeed, I do. I just know that one is the loneliest number. That’s all I know. Let’s, let’s get to it.
Chris. Uh, let’s answer Chris’s question. Does he do one of these, uh, these free will peeps out there or low-cost will providers or does he go to the local attorney who’s gonna charge more?
Well, yeah, I was gonna say they’re definitely not free. Um, there’s been a lot of increased technology and lowering of that cost in that space in terms of estate planning.
I think that what we want to do here is when, when we think about life insurance, think about what problem are we trying to solve and where’s the best solution for, for how to solve that. When you add a child to the mix and you’re talking about guardianship and you’re talking about establishing a trust so that your kid doesn’t get all your money at 18 and putting some rules in place around your belief system with money.
How you would hope that kid would be educated in that over those years. I think it does make sense to at least explore that conversation with somebody who specializes in it. If you’re single and you’re like, I just need to make sure that, you know, if I hit my bus, my mom’s not dragged through court for any reason.
You can solve a lot of that with just making sure that you have your beneficiaries correct on your, on your accounts. Some stuff you can’t put a beneficiary on, right? You can’t beneficiary your car, for example, or whatever. And so you need to have a process for that. But the whole idea with proper estate planning is that it removes the additional stress of having to go to court, hire a lawyer, go through the process of going, who gets what and how’s this gonna go?
Because you’re introducing a variable there that. You don’t have control over at that point, right? So you and your wife decide, Hey, if something bad happens to us, we wanna have, you know, my brother be in charge of my kid, and we want this pe these people to be in charge of the money. And you guys write that all up in your estate plan and you get it all documented and it’s done correctly, then it happens that way.
If you don’t do it all of that way or you write it on a napkin, although I did, I do ju I I did read that they accepted Aretha Franklin’s napkin as the estate plan. I don’t know if you saw that. Remember that whole conversation that she Oh yeah, yeah. Wrote it on a Wendy’s napkin or something. That’s a,
that, that’s a headline I wanna even dive into more in a future episode.
Yeah. Well, in any event, they accepted it, but they accepted it after, you know what, it’s been three years of legal battles and the court costs. And what happens is your sister shows up and says, no, I think that the little kid should be with me. And you and your wife wanted it to be with. Your brother for reasons that you guys decided and now, and now you’re taking that control away from you and putting it in the hands of a third party, which doesn’t make it bad, it just makes it different.
You know what I mean? So I think it would be perfectly fine. And frankly, I think any reasonable estate planning attorney would, would be okay with this, is if you were upfront with them and said, Hey, honestly, I don’t know that I need to do this through, you know, a local estate planning professional and they’re gonna charge whatever they charge.
Or can I pull this off by doing it on trust and mold.com or, you know, or one of these other kind of online sites. If they’re not convincing enough and can’t point out the benefits of having somebody local or having somebody who specializes in you, then yeah, I think, I think, uh, you can knock it out online.
I do believe, however, that as you add more complexity, and certainly with the guardianship and trust work, when it comes to money, you can’t leave your kid your money, you gotta leave it in a trust. You’re gonna want to have somebody. A little bit more, uh, little bit more invested in you than online.com, whatever.
But I think if, to quote UOG, if the barrier to you getting it done is going to be getting in your car and going to an attorney and sitting with a local attorney, then use the one online because at least you’ve got. Done. You’ve got some things done. And to hear the horror story about that, go back and listen to us talking to Tiffany Aliche about her husband dying at 41 and just the, you know, she had 95% of it together and still had just nightmare, still was estate stuff.
The first thing your family’s gonna do is they are going to seek out an attorney when you pass away to help sort through the stuff. And what I like OG is that you have, uh, you know, you’ve kind of pre, pre-chosen that attorney. Like, like you’re like, Hey, this is the person and you got to sit down with ’em.
They knew you a little bit. So if something happens to you in the next five to 10 years, the attorney goes, oh yeah, I remember that meeting. We did this, we did this, we had this, we had this, we did this thing. Um, I think that’s also very helpful.
Yeah. Well, and, and all of these things should work together, right?
Your financial plan should work within the confines of your estate plan and so and so forth. You know, your taxes and all that sort of stuff in a, in a perfect world. So it’s not a bad idea to have a resource there because you’re right. That’s the first thing that, the first thing that your sister-in-Law’s gonna do you guys get hit by a bus, is she’s gonna call an attorney and go, what do I do?
And it would be a lot more helpful if she already knew there was a big binder sitting on the shelf that has a card in it, and here’s all the documents that you need and you know, all that stuff. So she’s not gonna call an online
place, I guarantee that. Right? Right. Does anybody remember my intentions when I filled this out?
Filled out this form? Right. Well, I mean, even
in the sense that you could do it online, print it all off, put it in the binder. Your sister-in-law is still calling an attorney. You know what I mean? She’s not gonna do it herself. Probably. That’d be my guess. And guess what? The attorney’s gonna cost money anyway.
I. Probably the say more, more than if you would’ve just dealt with them to begin with. You know? Well,
if you pre chose the attorney, you know, this is the person that my family, I, I want my family to, uh, deal with versus people that are, you know, going back again to Tiffany Aliche. They’re emotional, they’re going through all the stuff, and then they’re just calling a name and, and who knows what you’re gonna get then.
Thanks for the question, Chris. And, uh, Doug
2020 shirt or 2024? That’d be funny. Let’s end to the 2021. We still got a bunch of those on reserve, don’t we?
Well keep ’em guessing. I remember OG when, when we were at FinCon in New Orleans, you were there for a piece of it, but not for this piece. A bunch of us wore Doug 2024 T-shirts out to lunch together and we’re walking down the street and the Saints had a game that night.
So the streets are just packed with people and people keep looking at us all in these red white and blue Doug t-shirts and somebody said, Hey, who’s Doug to Tina on our team who handles our YouTube page and Tina turns around and goes, Joe’s mom’s neighbor, and just keeps walking. Duh. Just keep ’em guessing.
happy to we’re vote for that guy then.
It would’ve been great if we would’ve actually, you know, we could’ve started a ground swell movement right there. We could’ve, wasn’t the guy from North Dakota named Doug?
The guy who just dropped outta the election. Yeah,
yeah. The loser who didn’t have the staying power.
Well it’s probably ’cause people were wondering about the two different Dougs who just, he realized
couldn’t compete. He cornered the Doug market and he was like, I can’t
compete with this guy. And, and isn’t it the New Orleans fan base that says who dat? Or is it Whoe?
dat? Who dat. So I think I would fit in perfectly there if we, to OGs point, we needed to corner the market in that particular fan base.
And they’d be like, who dat Doug? You know, they’d be like. Missed opportunity,
Doug, but we’ll get it back. We’ll get it back. Okay? So in this case, Chris, we’re making an exception for you. Doug 2024. Amen. If you’ve got a question for us, again, stacky Benjamins dot com slash voicemail. But you know what? If you are not here with one specific question, you’re more concerned about the market.
And it’s funny, looking at 20, 24 people, big question. I’m seeing online a lot, og, is there a recession coming or not? Did we sidestep it? Did we not sidestep it? Like what’s the future hold? What’s gonna happen election year? All that stuff. If you’re concerned about all of that and more, and you’re wondering about what your plan should look like with your money, OG and his team are taking clients.
So at the stacky Benjamins dot com slash og, that’s the link to their calendar and we’ll get you set up for a first meeting so you can talk about how his team can work with you and your team to make, uh, great 2024 decisions, not just voting for Doug, but even. Equally as good financial decisions. Stack Benjamins dot com slash og.
That brings us to the final, the final segment of today. This, uh, Hanukkah or, or
Chauka. Yeah. Again, nobody knows how to
spell this word. Yeah, we’re right squarely in the middle of, uh, of, of Hanukkah for those people that, uh, celebrate. And man, we’re doing some celebrating here in the basement. We just got, uh, Spotify’s Unwrapped.
Doug. This was cool looking. Oh, gee, you haven’t seen this. Have you? Did you look through these numbers? OG. Nope. No. Oh, well we’re about to go there. Yeah,
Joe, some really cool stats. Uh, our growth was huge this year in Spotify. 57% of our listeners on Spotify discovered us just this past year. That’s pretty
Yeah. We’re a podcast that traditionally has had huge number percentage wise of our is on Apple and Apple’s always had us on their top charts. It’s been an easy place for people to find us on Apple. I, I think guys with a Stitcher going under and us also talking about, we have the new polls on Spotify.
We have q and a on Spotify where we can put episodes up that we point people to. We point to other podcasts on our Spotify page. Like there’s more and more interactive things we can do there. So I think we talked about Spotify so much this year, Doug that that’s why Spotify became a much bigger platform for us.
More engagement, more, more ways for our listeners to sort of actively engage with the, to heckle. Heckle. Yeah. Right, right. You know what was interesting, another stat I thought was really interesting was of those 57%, you know, new listeners on Spotify, a whole bunch of them. First episode they listened to was actually a rewind
That was neat. David Hoag from, uh, Nova and who also is a commentator for CBS News, he’s their science guy. He had a list of money savings hacks from a few years ago. We, we love that episode, so we replayed it. But definitely people looking for money saving hacks doesn’t surprise me. Uh uh, that was a big one.
Our biggest one. Do you see what our biggest one was? Our biggest episode on Spotify this year was 12 Simple Steps to Financial Independence, which was the name of a blog post over at Financial Tortoise that we commentated on. And we went through the 12 simple steps back at the end of February this year.
That’s a February 23rd episode. That’s with, uh, og with you, with Len and Paulette, uh, round table talking about that. That was, that was number one. How about the number of countries we’re in guys, og any
guess number of countries?
Yeah. Uh, let’s see. There’s a hundred, I think there’s what, 192 total? So I’m gonna say, uh, greater than half.
Um, uh, 106.
Well, I wish, but it’s not far from that. We’re in 88 countries, which is pretty amazing ’cause a lot of those countries probably have never heard of a podcast. So the, the other, wow, that might be a stretch. They’ve got like strings and soup cans for their communication. So we got all the other ones, but, but 88 countries is, is pretty incredible.
And we got a whole bunch of new listeners in places you would not, would not think, which is super cool. Know Nigeria, Kenya, Chile. And that’s the right way to say that.
Peru, you know, it’s cool that, uh, Nigeria was our number one. Growth country outside the United States and Kenya, our number two growth country outside the United States.
Wow. USA, by the way, only 90% of our listeners in the United States with a, with a name like Stacking Benjamins. Right, right. You’d think that, uh, we’d be 96, 90 7%. So for all of you joining us from around the world, we’re so happy that you’re here with us. The top three genres our listeners listen to when they’re listening to podcast on Spotify.
No surprise here, by the way. Not at all. What are they? Doug.
Business number one. Comedy number two. This guy right here. And news
number three, it sounds like what we do, business, comedy, and news we’re right, right there. Musical taste pop was number one. Rap number two, rock number three. Uh, the way people shared our stuff.
People shared a lot of our stuff off of Spotify. 46% of people texted about our show right from the Spotify link. 35% provided a direct link to the show or, or directly linked to the show.
9% of people use WhatsApp.
Our most shared episode. The Silicon Valley Bank collapsed the special episode. That was a Tuesday. And uh, people shared the heck outta it. We heard from a lot of you that you, uh, shared that episode with friends and certainly when there’s big news like that, we will do that.
We did that later in the year. Of course, guys, with our special election episode. Episode 1435
you know what I liked more about the investing in election year episode as a special episode is you didn’t make me get on the horn on a Sunday night like we had to, to seize that moment on the Silicon Valley Bank. We were,
we were going crazy then to make sure we got that out, uh, as quickly as possible.
But remember, we didn’t know, OG if that was the start of a, of a bigger, uh, bigger problem if we were gonna see more banks collapse. Like there was a lot of worry out there as there always
is, and yet turns out much ado about nothing unless you had money in that account. And then much ado about something.
. You know
what else is coming up later this week on Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin, that’s December 14th. Our writer Lisa Curry is filming a standup special at Comedy on State. In Madison, Wisconsin. So if you live anywhere in that, really the whole Midwest, you should hop in your car and head over to Madison, Wisconsin, great town.
And, uh, she’s got a show at seven 30 and a show at 10 o’clock at Comedy on State. And, uh, she’s gonna be filming a special, which hopefully soon you’re gonna see on Netflix or anyone. One of the major streaming platforms.
She’s, for people that don’t know Lisa’s, uh, Lisa’s background. She’s open for comedian Jim Jeffries as he went on his world tour.
She’s written for the Daily Show. Of course, top of all that she writes for us. And she’s
even entertained our troops. Speaking of a Monday episode. Yes. Where we we toast the troops. She’s even entertained our troops.
Yeah. Fabulously funny. We, we crack up at our writing meetings with all the stuff Lisa does.
She’s recording both of ’em. So you could see yourself on TV if you go, uh, Thursday night. All right. Uh, that’s gonna do it for today, man. We stacked a lot today, but what are the top three things on our to-do? List Doug?
Well, Joe first, assess your spot on Jamila’s stages and get to work. By knowing where you are, you can focus on your best course of action and stop wasting time.
Second, someone reaching out to you who sounds like me asking for money. I didn’t write that. Lisa must read that.
I just took a shot at myself. Keep
keep going. While I have done that before, I probably wouldn’t ask you. Yes, you have at the least. Reach out to me through a different channel so you know it isn’t just a scammer in some crazy AI scheme. This is the worst to-do list ever. But what’s on my to-Do list those two a day workouts Sound way difficult.
My brains come up with a much better solution. Take a long Epsom salt bath and try for Iron Man again next year. That’ll give me just the time I need probably to win the damn thing. Thanks to Jamila Sufran for joining us today. You can find her book, your Journey to Financial Freedom, A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Wealth and Happiness, wherever books are Sold.
We’ll also include links in our show notes at Stacking Benjamins dot com. This show is The Property of SB Podcasts LC copyright 2023, and is created by Joe Sulci 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 Eichenberg. 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. Wanna chat with friends about the show later? Mom’s friend Gertrude and Kate Kin 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.