197: Getting and Growing Mo’ Money with Joe Saul-Sehy

By August 25, 2017Podcasts

 

Personal finance podcaster Joe Saul-Sehy lets us in on the secrets to making more money, handling it properly, and watching it grow.

You’ll Learn:

  1. The first key to making more money
  2. Important benefits that you might have overlooked
  3. The top money management lesson that rich people use

About Joe

Before starting Stacking Benjamins Joe Saul-Sehy was a financial planner for 16 years and a media representative for one of nation’s biggest financial companies. He leads a team of people who are located across the United States. He communicates difficult concepts in a way that makes them accessible to the average person. He also gives presentations at major companies and to large audiences. Joe is a huge fan of exceptional customer service and loves to model companies like Disney, Nordstrom and Cherry Republic.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Joe Saul-Sehy Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Joe, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Joe Saul-Sehy
I can’t believe I made it. Am I really here?

Pete Mockaitis
You’re really here. You made it.

Joe Saul-Sehy
It’s fantastic.

Pete Mockaitis
Good work. Well, so you’ve made a number of places on your career journey and I know you could probably regale us with some tales. But just to get oriented and have some laughs along the way, could you give us maybe the three-minute version of your career journey from DJ to financial planner to right now?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Right. So we went to this wedding when I was 16 years old and my dad was drunk, which doesn’t happen a lot, and the disc jockey really stunk. And he did something really cool, I think this is cool for anybody who’s a parent out there listening. He said, “You know, I think you and your brother could do a better job at this, and you guys write up a business plan.” And he taught us how to write a business plan, he financed our operation, and for 10 years I disc jockeyed weddings, fraternity parties, we had three systems at one point.

And so I learned how to be comfortable in front of groups of people which was important throughout my career. I think it’s important for anybody. I love Toastmasters for that reason. But when I first became a financial planner, DJ-ing had nothing to do with it, I was actually an English major in college and I was not doing very well at my own personal financial situation.

But I had a friend who worked at a financial firm who said, this is a quote, “We normally don’t hire people like you but I think you’d be good at this,” because of the fact that, had I not been a farm kid who didn’t know anything what an engineer was, I totally have an engineer personality. I’m curious. I want to know how things are. I would constantly, during my first years of financial planner, take books to the bathroom with me. It’s kind of gross but it was those few minutes that I had where I could learn. And every meeting I went into, there was something I didn’t know and I would go teach myself that thing so I would never be without that piece of information again.

And then I could talk about money in a way that most people understand money. We’re all making the same mistakes with our cash. I got to see 200 families I was working with for 16 years, and I got to see so many people behind the curtain that nobody else gets to see. None of us know what’s going on. We’re all messing it up. And I could talk like another guy that came from that place originally.

But, at age 40, I had this mentor who one day quit. And in my job, when you quit, Pete, you don’t tell everybody you’re quitting. You take the files, like if you remember the movie Jerry Maguire, you take the files and at midnight you leave, and then everybody starts calling the client. Well, this guy left our financial firm and he gave two weeks’ notice and said, “Listen, I’m working 14 hours at a time, I’m putting in these monster weeks, I like financial planning, I don’t love it, and I’m working too much to discover what I really love. And I’ve been lucky enough to put away some savings and I’m going to go figure out what other mountains there are to climb,” which was powerful for me at a landmark year like 40 to have that happen to somebody close to me. He actually went and climbed Mt. Everest twice. So when he said mountains to climb he really meant it.

For me, I looked at that figuratively. I had two young kids, I had twins. I had built a big business, not a huge business, but a big business that was sellable, so I sold it at 40 and I actually went to become a high school teacher and a track coach. And while I was in classes, learning how to become a high school teacher, I was pretty bored with school and my classes kept telling me how tough being a teacher was going to be.

I love teachers and the job they do, but we all know how tough it is and how the education system doesn’t work the way that it should. And so I realized I’ve been teaching people a lot about money, that was my favorite part of the job, so I established the thing that later on became The Stacking Benjamins podcast where I get to teach people about money my way.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s great. So, Stacking Benjamins, it’s about teaching money your way. And what does that mean in terms of the flavor or vibe that we’ll get over there?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Well, don’t tell anybody this, and I know nobody listens to the show so this is our secret.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s cold, Joe. You don’t have to rub in that your numbers is better than mine.

Joe Saul-Sehy
I’m not saying that at all. Well, we joke about that with our show that we have these secrets. But our show is based on the science of play, and the reason I say don’t tell anybody that is because we never talk about that on the show. What we talk about is if you learn anything listening to Stacking Benjamins keep it to yourself because I believe that if it’s playful and if you don’t think that you’re learning and you’re instead having a good time, you’re going to learn a ton of stuff.

So instead of trying to be Dave Ramsey or Suze Ormond, some big names in the financial world, I decided that we wanted to be the first word. And I modeled the show a lot in tone after Car Talk. And for people that don’t know Car Talk, it’s this NPR show that was very popular for a long time, these guys Click and Clack, one of them passed away recently, but they still air old episodes.

And, you know, Pete, you listen to this show and you think you’re not learning anything about cars because you’re just having a good time listening to these guys who love cars. And so we decided we’d do the same thing with money in Stacking Benjamins and that’s what we try to do. We try to have a lot of fun and we really try not to teach anything but we want to show you in a very simple way where some places are to start.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool, Joe. Well, now I want more play in my podcast world. At the same time I’m also so into, I really am, I’m into the how to be awesome at your job, and I want every last delicious drop of insights from every guest.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Oh, boy.

Pete Mockaitis
So you’re on the spot, Joe. You’re under the pressure cooker.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Sweating already.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. Well, that’s fun. Thank you so much for sharing. And so, now, let it begin. The interrogation commences. Alright. So it’s funny, we’ve deliberately not talked to financial people but you made it sound so fun and you made it really connected to work and how good work can lead to money which leads to enjoying your work more and life more. And so I think that’s just a bull’s eye for what we’re about this time.

So could you maybe lay it out for us, from what you’ve seen amongst clients and all your vantage points, what are some of the best ways professionals can upgrade their game at the workplace in ways that ultimately show up in terms of their money, their compensation?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Yeah, and I would help people with this and I think a lot of financial professionals don’t do this, and they probably should. I felt like I was my client’s agent and there’s two halves of the equation, right? Make more money and watch how you spend that money. So make more money, I think, starts off with something that this management guru, I followed for a long time, Tom Peters is his name. A lot of people might not be familiar with Tom Peters.

If you like Tom Peters, by the way, or if you’ve never heard of him and you’re going out to discover Tom Peters who has a lot of great writing, you have to be okay with the F-bomb, I just got to say that right away because Tom Peters swears a ton.

Pete Mockaitis
It’s so funny because I’ve read In Search of Excellence. I thought, “Oh, this is very professional.” And then I saw his interviews, I was like, “Whoa.”

Joe Saul-Sehy
Yeah, he gets that feedback all the time but he’s got a great book over 20 years old called The Pursuit of Wow, and in that book it was the first time I was introduced to this concept of a waiter shows up at work, and you think to yourself, no matter what your job is, you want to think to yourself, “What do I need to know? What is it that I don’t know about my job that I really need to know to be better?” Stop thinking that the trainers at work are the ones who are responsible for training you on your career.

Obviously, people listening to this podcast, nodding their heads, because the reason they’re listening to you, Pete, is because they want to be better at their job. But I think this idea of taking control, and not enough people do, and they feel like they stink because they don’t get enough training. Forget the people you work for, forget the company you work for, think of yourself as a free agent. And as a free agent, “How can I make more money? I can make more money by being so good at my job that people can’t ignore me.”

And if my current company is ignoring me, guess what? There’s other people out there that won’t ignore me. And I think that’s the key to the whole thing, that when you set your own training program up to win, I think that’s the first key to making more money.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So you’re just getting really clear on the answers to the questions, “What do I need to know?” in order to be awesome in this role. And then how you just go about acquiring the knowledge, it’s kind of like the one-two punch there.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Absolutely. So it depends on how you learn, right? I mean, for people listening to this show, it’s things like listening to this podcast. But a lot of the times, so I listen to two different types of podcasts. I listen to podcasts to learn, I listen to podcasts for entertainment. And another favorite book I have is by a guy Austin Kleon who wrote Steal Like an Artist. And he talks about taking things that are fun that are in your life and adding those to the equation.

So, as an example, when it comes to what I do with money podcast, people would never think that, “Oh, why would you have fun with a money podcast. In fact, if you ever read any of the negative criticisms about my show it’s that we goof around too much. And yet those people are missing the point of this whole science that’s behind our show.

I don’t want to stink at my show. I don’t want my show to just be goofy for no reason. It’s goofy because when you look at the science of play that’s how people learn. So it’s a podcast, it’s reading, taking stuff to the bathroom, it’s deciding which voices you hear from most. So I think there’s two sides to the equation. There’s, “Who are the best teachers?” and there’s, “How do I, as an individual, learn?” And I think if you can put those two things together so that you get more signal and less noise you’re more likely to be successful.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. I like that. I dig it. And so then I’d love to get some perspective there. You talked about the books, and the podcasts, and the resources. I’d also like to get your take on how do you gather the true answer to the question, “What do I need to know here?” Because what’s intriguing is, for example, I think of my buddy who’s a lawyer, and his impression in the early days of law school, or just out of law school rather, was that being an awesome lawyer is about crafting the most beautifully-written argued motions and submitting them to judges. He’s like crafting works of art.

And he said, “This is an outstanding motion and I am crafting it and, therefore, I am an outstanding lawyer.” But he learned pretty quickly that that really wasn’t what made for an outstanding lawyer over there which was rather kind of about billable hours and serving clients well and quickly, and a case load and, in fact, creating these masterful briefs was kind of contrary to what winning meant there. And so I’d love it if you can shed some light on best practices for uncovering, in the first place, the true, “What do I need to know?”

Joe Saul-Sehy
Well, for me, it’s something that’s very difficult, was very difficult. It’s not difficult for me anymore but it was difficult at the start. I very much am a bowl in the China shop. I believe what I believe, and I believe it very strongly. I have a Gordon Ramsay personality in a lot of ways, a Simon Cowell, for people that remember him. He’s just a little… yeah, but you know what’s funny, Pete, is that you nod your head, right? Whenever he would give his advice to the person, you go, “Oh, yeah. I believe that. Boy, I would never tell that person that but they totally could do that better.”

But I believe that we need that person in our corner, and as somebody who has been formerly a money coach for people, I have a coach in my corner, her name is Mary Lou. Mary Lou thinks about the world a lot differently than I do, and I try to surround myself with people who are alpha people, I feel like in a lot of situations I am, who look at the world differently than I do.

I look at the world very much glass half full. Mary Lou looks at the world glass half empty. I look at opportunities. She looks at problems. And so when Mary Lou and I meet three times a month, and we’re looking at my business, she’s looking at a piece of the business that I’m not and she asks me questions about my blindside, and I think having somebody who can make me more well-rounded to see the things that I wouldn’t more naturally see myself is a huge part of winning.

We all like feeling great about ourselves and having people around us who are yes-men, so to speak, who say, “Yeah, Joe, you’re fantastic.” I want somebody who’s going to tell me, “No, Joe, you’re really messing this part of your game up, and you need to do a better job.” I think we all do better when we have that person in our corner. I think that’s what it takes.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So that kind of is the knowledge acquisition piece of things. And so, let’s say, you went and did it, nice work. You learned what needed to be learned and you’re crushing it. What would you say are some of the tactical things a person in that position should be thinking about or executing in order to seek the promotion to get the raise?

Joe Saul-Sehy
You know, to get the promotion I think there’s two things involved. Number one is you’ve got to be good at your job, but number two, and this is the sad thing, is that you have to be a cheerleader. And a lot of people that are great their job that I know think, “Well, if I just keep doing a better and better job my boss is going to know it,” right?

And a lot of times your boss might know it but your boss also isn’t the one with the purse strings especially in a bigger company. So, in that case, I have to give my boss enough ammunition to be able to tell their bosses exactly why I deserve more money, why I deserve the promotion and why I deserve the raise.

So I want to come armed to my boss, and not just at my review, even though there’s lots of studies that, and I know you know all these studies already, that show that the six weeks leading up to a review is the most important time and that’s the piece that your boss actually remembers. But I want to be continuously bringing them facts and figures about stuff that I’ve done that are over and above the call of duty.

So using places like Glassdoor to find out, or the Department of Labor website to find out what people around me are being paid, I want to know that information. I want to know what I’m doing versus what the average person is doing in my role that is more important and is bringing more to the bottom line of that company than anybody else is bringing.

You know, facts and figures work. Emotions really don’t work. If I go into my boss and I say, “You know what, Pete, I really need more cash because I’ve got twins at home and college ain’t cheap, baby. I need more money,” which I’ve had people, when I manage people in the past, I’ve had people make that raise pitch to me before, and I think, “I’d love to give you more money. If I were made of money I would love to absolutely do it.”

I, personally, believe it or not, as a money guy, I’m not money-motivated. I love sharing the wealth with my team and with the people around me. But you’ve got to bring to me exactly what the stats are and why you’re going to add more if I pay you more.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Cool. And so could you maybe give us an example in which someone put that package together and they made a compelling case and made you go, “Yup, it’s yours”?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Well, I’ll tell you, I had an engineering client that I totally helped do this. And he was in a small niche place of engineering which was sound design. This is actually kind of cool, and I know we probably don’t have time for this, but his job, you know when you close a car door and it has a sound to it? His job was to make the car doors sound more confident. So if you’re test driving a car you felt like it was put together better.

Yeah, isn’t that cool? I thought that’s such a great job that there’s people that actually make things sound better.

Pete Mockaitis
I thought it just what it was, like given the shapes of this car, this is what it will sound like when you close it. I didn’t know someone is working on that.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Someone is actually making it sound, yeah. And you know like the spitting noise in a Harley-Davidson, like they have engineers that make it spit the way you think it’s supposed to spit so that you’re more like to buy it.

But, anyway, so that’s his job. So he went and looked, he was making $85,000 a year at the time. Now these are older numbers because I’ve been out of the field for eight years. But he was making $85,000 a year. I told him let’s go look and see what other sound design people around him are making. And it turned out that the average person with his experience doing what he was doing was making about $95,000, and yet some of the things, the specific skills that he brought to the table for his boss that he was doing on their team, when we looked at the average person, they were doing those specific things.

He had two different computer platforms that he had experience in that the average person didn’t have experience in. So he was able to go to his boss and tell his boss, “Listen, I know the average person is making 95,000. I’m already doing these things for you which I think is worth more than that on the open market. I’m hoping, at the very least, you can bring me up to 95,000 bucks.”

The cool thing was his boss brought him up to 92,000. The better thing was though was that once my client knew exactly what the market was he actually made a move to another company up to 114,000 so he’s able to get a nice pay raise just by knowing what the market bore.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. That’s so good. And so when you’re making the actual request you’re bringing the facts and the argument to bear. Any other sorts of finishes or polishes that you want to consider in presenting that as effectively as possible?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Well, I think there’s something to remember which happened to me. One of the best things ever to happen to me was I got fired from a job. And if you’ve never been fired, it’s a remarkable experience that changes the trajectory of your career if you’re open to that, right? It’s humbling and horrible. I thought for a while that I was smarter than my boss and, frankly, I probably was. But the bad news was, what I didn’t realize was that my boss was the one that was in charge, and my job is to make my boss look good and to have my boss’ back.

So I know, we have an HR segment on Stacking Benjamins, and a lot of the letters that people send in are all about bad, well, I’m singing to the choir here, man. There are so many people out there that are working for bad bosses. Just remember your bosses are the one that’s going to have to make that decision. Because when I got canned I realized that I didn’t get canned because I didn’t know what I was doing. I got canned because my boss really didn’t like me and because I continually told her that I was way smarter than she was, and that was a bad tactic.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Noted. Do’s and don’ts. We got a clear don’t.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Right. Right.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright. So don’t do that. And anything else with regard to the communication itself or should we move on?

Joe Saul-Sehy
I think, really, that’s what I bring to the table. Remember who’s in charge and then bring facts not emotions, and I think you’re going to be better off than most people asking for a raise. Oh, there is one more thing.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, good.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Man, we had statistics about this. Just recently there was a study, I’m not going to get the name of the study right now, most people don’t ask. Most people never ask for a raise. You have to make it clear that you’re asking for more money.

Pete Mockaitis
Yes. Cool. And also when it comes to asking for more money there is the salary component which is conspicuous and front center right there. But when it comes to your overall financial health and wellbeing, the benefits side of things can be also quite impactful. Are there any sort of just no duh things we should be doing with regard to looking at our benefits and getting those working for us?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Oh, I’ve got a bunch of these. This is fun. See, this is where we can geek out on some financial stuff because, you’re right, most people don’t even look at their benefits package. When you ask them how much they make, they know what their take-home is, they know what their overall salary, but, man, that benefits package can add a lot to the equation.

So let’s start with accidental death and dismemberment insurance. A lot of businesses have this coverage.

Pete Mockaitis
Right from the start I always say that.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Yes, that’s right where you want your podcast to start. You know you should title this episode that. I’m sure that’s going to bring in listeners.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s handy.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Yeah. But I would look at somebody’s package and they have accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and this is insurance where if you put your hand in a piece of heavy machinery, or you lose an eye maybe you’ll get two times, three times this X amount of money. Well, most people listening to this probably don’t do that.

So if you’re somebody that does put your hands in heavy machinery or you have a dangerous job, accidental death and dismemberment insurance might be important. But you know what’s more important? Disability coverage. And so what I would often do when I was a financial planner is I would recommend that people cut out their accidental death and dismemberment insurance, go to the max on their disability coverage and end up with insurance that fits your lifestyle much, much better than having both of those.

If people have legal, I would see companies would offer legal coverage. Sign up for it for one year, have an attorney do your estate plan for much, much, much less money than you can get it done retail, and then un-sign up the next year when you don’t need it anymore because you don’t have to go redo your will every single year, so I like that one.

And then a lot of people have now HSAs, these health savings accounts that are attached to their health insurance. And if you’re somebody who’s healthy, a lot of people think, “Well, I don’t really need to save into that HSA.” I’ll tell you what’s cool, the HSA, the way the rules work, you can pack money into that and essentially, after you get to retirement age, that money is just like additional retirement savings. And so there’s not that many restrictions on getting at the money when you get into retirement, so packing money into an HSA, if you have it available, is a great way to get more money saved and maybe retire early.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s cool. So you’re saying the HSA is a sneaky means by which we might exceed, say, a 401k, or a Roth, or you’re saying the maximum is bigger than what a maximum might be?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Yes, absolutely. And I see people that contribute to the two of those plans like a Roth into a 401k and they have this HSA that’s empty, they’re like, “Oh, where do I save more?” Great spot.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s cool. Alright. So, now, let’s talk then on the flipside. I think that when I am chatting with folks about their career options and maybe the jobs or roles that they would like, it’s interesting, I see that a lot of people, they’ll say they require a minimum salary, and it’s great to have standards and goals and such. But the flipside, sometimes there are really cool, great-fitting roles which don’t happen to have as delicious a salary attached to them. It might be in the non-profit or artistic kinds of spaces which are maybe less lucrative but more of a something that lights you up.

So you’ve got some compelling stuff about like saving 50% of income and so I would love to hear what might be some of your top cost-cutting moves that could enable some listeners here to maybe entertain, forbid I even say it, taking a role that has less compensation but more happiness for them?

Joe Saul-Sehy
You know, I love the fact that we talk about this second because when we talk about money most people start here with cutting the budget. And there’s this awesome quote, and I don’t know who said it. I wish I had a machine where I could look that up, Pete, who said this. But it’s, “You can’t shrink your way to greatness,” and I totally agree with that. Let’s look at income first and expand that, and then I love taking on stuff that maybe pays less but that you’re passionate about.

So it all comes down to decisions and priorities, and we had a guest recently, this financial writer, Ana Davis, on the Stacking Benjamins show, and she saved $15,000 a year just by getting more organized. And what’s cool was every single thing that she talked about was just a little thing. And the biggest one of all, believe it or not, was just looking at the subscriptions, the automatic subscriptions she has, and cutting some of those. And what’s a pain in the butt, most people go, “Oh, I got to look through my bank statement. I got all this stuff. I’ll do that later.”

Well, what’s cool is there’s a couple of apps you can use which will do it very quickly. And not only will they do it quickly, they will also, if you give them permission, they will cancel it for you. So they’ll tell you every single subscription you have and they’ll ask you, “Do you want us to cancel this for you?” And you say, “Yes, yes, yes,” and boom, they’re gone.

And one of them is called Clarity Money. And Clarity Money does a lot of the same stuff that a lot of people have heard of Mint.com where you can look at a snapshot of your life, one spot. Clarity Money does that but they also do subscriptions, so I really like that one. If you just want the subscription part, there is a startup that Ashton Kutcher actually, the actor, he is a big-time backer of, and it’s called AskTrim. So the app is called Trim, and if you look up AskTrim, look up that app, you’ll find that they will cut all your subscriptions for you.

So, for her, that was $450 a month. That’s just a ton of money. She said one of the subscriptions was to a dating service and she has a young baby. She’s like, “I haven’t dated like 18 months.” So that’s $250 a year just by getting rid of the dating service she’s not using.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s great. Okay. So, boom, you can accelerate your savings by zeroing on these subscriptions, maybe you have even forgotten about them, and so there’s quick money to be acquired there. What are some of your other favorite moves?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Oh, man, I absolutely love looking at your tax refund because of the fact that, what do most people do, they get this big fat tax refund at the end of the year and they blow it on something that was inconsequential that they don’t remember two months later. Well, you can get that money in your paycheck instead and save it.

So if you’re getting a $2500 tax refund, let’s say, every year, go to HR and work with them on changing that up so you get all that money in your paycheck. Now, you and I know that if you get that money in your paycheck what you’re going to do with it, instead of blowing it at the end of the year, you’re just going to blow it every month, right?

So what we do, I like taking your money and having it sent to a savings account. Now most people use direct deposit, but when they use direct deposit they don’t use it in a way that helps them build cash. So let’s direct deposit but instead of direct depositing to your checking account, direct deposit to a savings account. And I like direct depositing to a savings account that’s kind of out of reach.

And when I was a financial planner we would use a savings account that was like across town and we would get rid of the ATM card, get rid of the checks so that if you really had an emergency you had a couple of choices. You could drive across town and get it, right? Or you could find a different way. And what’s funny is if we setup these conditions for our brain where we have to think about something, a lot of the time the easy solution of, “I’ll just whip out the debit card,” goes away and we find other ways around that.

But then what we do is we then have a second deposit – because banks are happy to do this – that goes between that savings account and our checking account. So, now, instead of spending every dollar that comes in and going, “Oh, crap, I’m out of money,” instead I have my direct deposit from work go to this savings, and then I have a different number, whatever I need to live, I have that go into my checking account every month. So I’m paying myself a different number than what the company is doing.

And, essentially, what I’ve done is I’ve changed it so now my lifestyle is not exactly what the company is paying me, and my salary at work isn’t dictating my life. I’m dictating my life. I’m the one in charge of how much money I spend, I know how much money that is, and it’s not because I got a 5% raise I spend 5% more money. I decide when I give myself a lifestyle raise.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, I love that so much. And with that automation it’s amazing how you can just entirely forget about it, and then when you look at it, it’s like, “Oh, hey. Cool. There’s a bunch of money around. That’s mine.”

Joe Saul-Sehy
Right. Especially if somebody here listening gets a commission, because especially my clients with a commission, they live on this boom-bust lifestyle, where they’re eating ramen, ramen, ramen. Bam! Big steak dinner, big screen TV, ramen, ramen, ramen, right? If you do it this way the company pays that big commission into that savings account, and then you can slowly dole it out. So instead of having this boom-bust lifestyle you can live on the same amount every month or every paycheck.

Pete Mockaitis
So you’re saying HR can handle this level of sophistication such that I say, “Hey, you give me this many dollars in my checking every two weeks or twice a month,” and then you put all other dollars that are due to me over here in this savings and they’ll just do that for you.

Joe Saul-Sehy
No, no, no. Well, yeah, they might. I wouldn’t trust them to do that. They’ll mess it up. Here’s what I would do. I would send it all to that savings account, just trust HR to get it all into one account.

Pete Mockaitis
I’m with you. That’s better.

Joe Saul-Sehy
And then the bank, with the bank, have an automatic transfer, you know, whatever, if it’s weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, whatever you want to do, they’ll do it because they want you to keep your money with them, have them transfer it over.

Pete Mockaitis
That makes way more sense. Thank you. So the HR request is just for sort of like the tax situation.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Yeah, for the tax situation, say, “You know what, I’m getting a $2500 refund. How do I fix my withholding so I no longer get that? I don’t want to owe but how do I make it…?” And they’ll help you play with it. The bad news is, we could go into it but it’s a little more art than science, and you might have to change it a few times but you can get it fairly close.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. And then there may be changes like Illinois just increased their state income taxes on us, so it happens. Okay. So good. Alright. So we talked about bringing in more income. We talked about reducing expenses. And so tell me, Joe, once we have this pile of cash that’s building up, what are some of your favorite perspectives in terms of deploying that in terms of smart investing?

Joe Saul-Sehy
You know, I think that investing is such a difficult place to talk about because of the fact that there’s… it all depends on where we start from, right? If we’re starting from ground zero, just like my daughter just graduated from college, and now she, literally, last weekend we moved her to Kansas City, she starts her new job next week. She’s starting from zip. And then there’s people out there that already have some savings. So I’ll give you kind of the pyramid of where we start and people can figure out where they fit on that pyramid.

The first thing to do is to make sure that you have money in an emergency spot because, and people don’t like me to say that, by the way, because the first thing somebody is doing right now is they’re yelling at their device going, “I have credit cards at 18% or 21%, I’ll pay those first because money in a savings account earns what?” If I’m getting a top rate, maybe 1%, maybe a little higher than that. If you’re in a brick and mortar bank it’s going to be half that. So that sounds stupid. Why would I set an emergency fund aside and not put it all toward my credit card?

Well, here’s what I would always see that would happen, Pete. People go along putting every extra dollar that they have toward that credit      card, never put any money in savings, and then their mufflers are dragging behind their car. Guess where they got to go then for money? They’re going to go right back to the credit card. And you’ll see these people that get so used to that behavior of whipping out the credit card every time they need money that they end up doing it more often. And we want to get rid of that.

There’s the leaves and then there’s the root of the problem. The root of the problem is you get used to that motion of flipping out that credit card, and we got to get used to cash instead at first. So what I like doing is I like putting money in savings, get used to when there’s emergency, muffler is dragging behind my car, I go to that savings account. And then as I’m paying off debt, I’m paying it off a little more slowly. But guess what would always happen? The debt would be paid off, and it gets paid off for good and we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

So I like, number one, emergency fund. Number two, I like paying off debt. We can talk about how to do that if you’d like, but generally starting with the highest interest rate working down. Not always the best way to go but that’s a great place to start. And then when you start investing, you know, studies show that these active managers out there trying to beat the market, that they have a really tough time doing that. There are people that do that but predicting who’s going to do it next year is the difficult thing.

So instead of playing that game, mutual funds and exchange traded funds that buy the indexes like the SMP 500 index or the total market index. And if you can put money into those to start with, based on your timeframe I think that’s a great place to start as with an index fund or two, and then get more, then you take it from there. It doesn’t have to be complicated to win with money.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Sounds good. Sounds good. And recently I saw you did a little summary tidbit insight from 500 episodes, some huge money lessons. Is there any huge money lesson that we didn’t cover that you’d like to mention right now before we hear about some of your favorite things?

Joe Saul-Sehy
I had a really, really wealthy person tell this to me. Not early in my career but early enough that I realized that this was so… and I saw it over and over. Everybody thinks that great money management is about discipline, right? “I got to get more discipline with my money.” You look at your bank statement, like, “Oh, if I had some discipline I didn’t buy that stuff.” It’s not about discipline. Nobody has discipline.

The people that are really knocking it out of the park with their money, those people are people that have automation. And so what they do is they are smart enough to recognize when they make a brilliant flipping move, right? And then when they make that brilliant move one time, instead of trying to remember to do that over and over again, which is what most of us do, they figure out how to automate that so that brilliant move happens on its own over and over.

So what we talked about setting up your direct deposit the right way, about having money go automatically into your HSA, about maybe having the right budget and using some of these apps that will look at your stuff for you. The more we can automate great stuff, and the less we think about it, the more we can think about the thing that we can drive and the thing that we can most drive is making more money.

And so the stuff that you and I talked about early on about getting a bigger paycheck, getting a raise, that stuff, if we can focus on that and our money takes care of itself on the backend, that’s when you’re really kicking ass.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Cool. Well, now, can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Oh, my favorite quote is from Nike, it was the quote that they had before “Just Do It.” Just Do It resonates with me but I love this one, they said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” I’m a guy who feels a lot of fear. I’m constantly afraid of the next thing. I always think, “Oh, this is going to be so tough.” And you know what? Once I do it, it’s much better. So I’m constantly telling myself that mantra, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you. And how about a favorite book?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Oh, I love that book I referenced earlier, the Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon. I’ve got the biggest crush on Austin Kleon’s work. I think it’s so easy to read and I think that if you’re stealing stuff the right way, everything you do informs your work. My podcast is a collection of eight of my favorite podcasts, and I’ve stolen them in a way where I really haven’t stolen them. I’ve taken the stuff that I like and I’ve made it mine. And I think no matter what your career is, if you find people that inspire you and things that inspire you, steal it. Don’t plagiarize but incorporate it.

Pete Mockaitis
I dig it. And how about a favorite tool?

Joe Saul-Sehy
This is funny. This is the question I sweated over. Isn’t that funny?

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I appreciate you sweating and prepping.

Joe Saul-Sehy
People like you and I, we use all kinds of tools, and I’m like, “Oh, which one do I like the best?” You know what I like? I use a Mac, I like the Do Not Disturb option on my computer because I have ADD in a bad way and, man, when I shut off my notifications, I shut off all my notifications and I can focus on the task at hand and really get into it, I get much, much more done. So my favorite tool? The Do Not Disturb option on my computer.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you so much. You know, my phone default is Do Not Disturb.

Joe Saul-Sehy
So awesome.

Pete Mockaitis
And it’s so funny, whenever I hear a ding I’m like, “What’s happening? This shouldn’t be the case. This is wrong.” My wife just accepts that she has call to me twice in order for it to ring through, as does my mother. I love these women very much, you know. But it’s so true. If I get distracted it really does take me a good 12 minutes, like, “Wait, what were we doing? Oh, yeah, yes, yes. I was deep in a profound place of creativity. That’s right. That’s what I was doing.”

Joe Saul-Sehy
Cheryl says to me all the time, my spouse, she says, “Don’t you ever answer your phone?” “No, I’m sorry. I don’t.”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So turn on Do Not Disturb in the notification center. Okay. I did that, and that’s awesome. Cool. Thank you. You just transformed my life. Look at you.

Joe Saul-Sehy
My job here is done. Almost. I know you’ve got more, so I know it’s not done.

Pete Mockaitis
How about a favorite habit?

Joe Saul-Sehy
You know, I like to procrastinate as much as the next person. Rick Pitino, the coach at Louisville, I heard him speak once, and he had this great piece of advice. Exercise first thing in the morning because your brain doesn’t know what the hell you’re doing. And if I could have my running shoes on, and I’m out there doing it before my brain wakes up, my whole day is awesome after that.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Thank you. And is there a particular nugget that you share that gets folks really kind of nodding their heads, taking notes, resonating?

Joe Saul-Sehy
I’ve been sharing this a lot lately, Pete, which is lately I’ve lost 30 pounds, I’ve run 11 marathons, I’m signed up for number 12 and number 13, and I’m finishing my book and I’m this massive action guy, and I’ve always been an active guy but right now I’m massive action. And people ask me what that’s all about. I was having a discussion with my coach, Mary Lou, who I referenced earlier, and we got on this topic, I don’t know who brought it up, but it really resonated with me which was, “Write your own story.”

We’re all waiting, me included, for the perfect time to start. Like I’m thinking that I’m always prepping for that perfect time, right? And I thought, “That’s crap. Now is the perfect time. I’ve got to be the one who’s in charge of my company, of my life, of my weight, of the way I look. There’s never going to be the perfect time.”

So it’s funny that people ask me how I lost 30 pounds in like three and a half months. I just said, “I have to because I’m writing my own story. Nobody else is shoveling this stuff in my pie hole. I’m the one doing it. And I stop, and all of a sudden things changed.” And my productivity on my book, write your story. Don’t let anybody else write your story. Write your own.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. And, Joe, if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Joe Saul-Sehy
Well, our podcast, after they get done listening to your awesome podcast, which, like you said, yours is you get so in depth and I love the show, Pete. I’m so happy you invited me on. Thank you very much. But my show is the exact opposite. If you want to just play and learn nothing about money every Monday, Wednesday, Friday wherever you find your podcast, like this one are sold, or listen to for free like this one, StackingBenjamins.com. And you can look me up on Twitter. I’m averagejoemoney on Twitter.

Pete Mockaitis
And do you have a final challenge or call to action you’d issue to folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Joe Saul-Sehy
I think I’d tell people to do the same thing that I just challenged myself to do. Don’t wait for somebody else to step forward and take control. If you’re in control you’re far more likely to get where you want for yourself.

Pete Mockaitis
Awesome. Joe, this has been so cool. Keep on rocking the podcast and all you’re up to.

Joe Saul-Sehy
Thanks a ton, Pete. Thanks again for having me.

Leave a Reply