BiggerPockets Money Podcast

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 131: Investing Made Simple With Kevin Matthews II

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Kevin Matthews II started paying attention to finance way back in 6th grade—because his parents said they wouldn’t buy him any more video games. He’d have to buy them himself.

Kevin’s parents telling him “no” propelled him into becoming a lifelong planner, saving up for purchases rather than buying and figuring out how to pay it off later. And he parlayed his planning skills into a career as a financial advisor, eventually being named one of Investopedia’s Top 100 Advisors in 2017.

Kevin is passionate about teaching people—specifically millennials—how to manage their money. In fact, he’s SO passionate about educating people how to alter their financial lives, he almost missed the birth of his first child in order to make a video about how $2,000 can turn your kids into millionaires! (Spoiler: He made it back to the room in time.)

Kevin wants you to know how to invest and how to manage your money, so that you can further yourself down the path to financial independence. Kevin has an excellent video called “3 Ways to Get Started Investing” that discusses tactics we’ve never heard of!

Kevin credits consistency in investing with his client’s financial successes. He also believes that patience is the number one thing investors need—a point that’s been hit home so clearly in the past few months—and that a lack of patience is the biggest mistake investors are making today.

Kevin also shares tips for teaching your children about investing to get them used to seeing ups and downs, so they don’t lose their patience when they start investing with real dollars.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast show number 131 where we interview Kevin Matthews II from BuildingBread.com and hear his story of financial success starting in sixth grade.

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Kevin:
There’s nothing, absolutely nothing happens overnight. Take things piece by piece and stay in your lane. Find out emotionally, financially what your lane is and stick to it. and don’t try to compare yourself to other people and try and put yourself up against where you think you should be. Just stay in your lane, stay focused, and know that nothing’s going to happen overnight.

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen and with me as always is my gleaming beaming cohost Scott Trench.

Scott:
You are just a shining example of how to really bring an energetic intro to the show, Mindy. Thank you.

Mindy:
Scott and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else, and show you that by following the proven steps, you can put yourself on the road to early financial freedom and get money out of the way so you can lead your best life.

Scott:
That's right. Whether you want to retire early and travel the world, go on to make big time investments in assets like real estate, start your own business, or just learn how to buy your first fractional share of a stock, we'll help you build a position capable of launching yourself towards those dreams.

Mindy:
Scott, I am super pumped to have Kevin on the show today. Today, we don’t normally talk about stock picking, and we don’t normally talk about anything other than index funds and real estate as investment strategies on this show, but Kevin has some pretty great tips for starting off when you want to learn how to invest, and he’s not against stock picking as long as you’re doing it from a position of knowledge, a position of research and understanding what you’re investing in.

Scott:
I have a lot of respect for his approach. We’re going to start off with his childhood and how he got familiar with building wealth in general, some great lessons from his parents involving video games I might add. And I think that his exposure to millionaires early in his career really I think helped guide a lot of his thinking. And I think it’s just incredible approach. I think he’s going to be very successful with it. Well, he already has been very successful with it. I think he’s going to help a lot of people.
If you're listening to this, you're going to get exposure to a great framework for attacking financial independence, and then I think you're also going to get some tips and tricks if you're new to this about literally how to go about getting started in investing.

Mindy:
You’re going to get some tips and tricks if you’re not new to this. I did not know about fractional shares. I mean I did, but not really and he explains it really, really well. I didn’t know about paper trading where you’re just like testing the waters, which I think is a really great way to introduce this to children in a tangible way where they can actually see what happens. Because it’s kind of boring to say, “Oh, for the past 20 years, this is what the stock has done.”
But when you’re doing it in real time, when you’re looking at the stock market every day or every week in relationship to what you’ve chosen, that’s just so much more powerful. Look at all the money you could have made, or look at all the money you could have lost, and maybe the volatility doesn’t help you out. Maybe the volatility pumps you up and you want to win like you and Kevin.

Scott:
That’s right.

Mindy:
Kevin Matthews II, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. I am thrilled to have you here today. I really want to hear your story because you sent me a note that said your journey with money begins kind of in a very specific place in sixth grade when your parents by accident forced you to become your own financial planner. So first off, I love your parents for doing this, and it seems like maybe that changed kind of the direction of your financial life?

Kevin:
Yeah, yeah, I definitely think it did. It’s funny because parents raise you a certain way, and I don’t think that, hey, let me force them to be a financial planner is the way to go. But I’m glad that they did and so that’s a great story.

Mindy:
Well, tell me about that. How did they force you by accident?

Kevin:
Yeah. When I was a kid, this was late ’90s, early 2000s, I was really big into the Game Boy video games. And my parents said, “Look, right now we’re tired of buying you these games. They’re too expensive. You need to figure out how to do this on your own,” and that was it. So what I did, I got a monthly allowance. It was actually every two weeks I would get an allowance like $10, and they would give me $5 every day for lunch. So I used to get this little middle school planner, the whole time management thing they teach you in sixth grade.
So I opened it up and figured out, well, look, if I can save $2 every week, five days, that’s $10 plus my allowance, I can buy these video games every single month. So I started to use that planner to figure out when I was getting paid, when school was out for like spring break and summers and budgeted out exactly how and when I was going to afford things. That was like the very basic cashflow planning that financial planners use all the time.

Mindy:
I’m laughing because that planner is actually supposed to be for homework.

Kevin:
Right. Well, you would literally see dollar signs and video game releases on this day. Therefore, I need to save eight weeks out. And then I would even like have calculations how much sales tax was at that time. In Oklahoma, it was 7.79%. So I knew exactly to the dollar how much I needed to have because I didn’t want to get there and be embarrassed like, “Hey, you still owe $8 in taxes.”

Scott:
Do you still have your collection?

Kevin:
I do. Well, the planners, yes, the video games, no.

Mindy:
Oh, you kept the planners? That’s awesome.

Kevin:
Yeah. I have the majority of my planners and the vast majority of my yearbooks going all the way back to like fifth grade.

Mindy:
This speaks to your mindset though because you weren’t just like, oh, a video game’s 20 bucks, therefore I need 20 bucks.

Kevin:
Yeah.

Mindy:
You’re thinking way ahead. That’s pretty impressive.

Scott:
How long do this period continue for? It sounds like this was sixth grade. Did it go through all of middle school and high school?

Kevin:
Yeah. I mean, it went through… I mean, it still continues to this day. It just kind of evolved. So it went from video games to how to afford prom, to what am I doing with this internship money. For example, I worked at Google in 2010. I knew I wanted to live off campus for the first time, which required me to have rent. So what I did was like, look, we have a 10 week internship. How much can I save now to sustain myself when I get back to campus? So it’s the exact same skills, just the goals were a lot less trivial.

Mindy:
So your parents were obviously financial planners or accountants or something that were teaching you this, right?

Kevin:
Not at all. My dad was a firefighter. Now, my mom worked in a bank, so there’s credit there. But other than that, no. They were just like, “We’re not paying for this.” I don’t think that they thought that I would still figure out ways to get what I needed.

Mindy:
They just didn’t want to pay for your video game habit.

Kevin:
Yeah. They were like, “Yeah, we’re not paying for this anymore.”

Mindy:
Good for them. It is hard. As a parent, it is hard to say no when your lovely child is looking up at you with those eyes and saying, “Would you please buy me this?”

Kevin:
Right.

Mindy:
I’m so pleased that they were able to instill this in you at such an early age.

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I have a two year old now, and it’s kind of hard to say no for certain things, for those ice cream or an extra sandwich or something. I’m not sure how they had the strength to turn me down as cute as I thought I was.

Mindy:
Well, you’re still cute.

Kevin:
I appreciate it.

Mindy:
We just interviewed Tiffany Aliche a couple of weeks ago on the podcast to talk about how to teach your kids about money. And Scott asked her, “Oh, so is this going well?” And she’s like, “No, not at all.” And I’m like that is so good to hear because I feel like I know what I’m doing and then you see me parenting and you’re like, “What a fake! She doesn’t know anything. She keeps caving.” It was nice to hear that she’s not 100% successful either.

Scott:
Well, the theme was align what your kid wants with what you want, right? Whether it was necessarily completely intentional or just a matter of getting you to stop asking for money for video games, your parents were able to do that with the system.

Kevin:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Were you also saving your lunch money?

Kevin:
Yeah, I would save lunch money too. For those $5 a day, I would say, “Well, look, I can just spend $3 and be fine.” And we used to have like chicken strip basket with fries for like $3 and you get a drink or whatever else. I was like, well, I don’t need all of that. I can just get these chicken strips and be fine for the rest of the day.

Mindy:
Okay. How did this translate into you becoming a financial planner?

Kevin:
For me, it started to become fun just to figure out how much money I could have if I did these specific actions and if I could arrive on schedule, if you would. So naturally that starts to become retirement planning. It starts to become buying stocks. It starts to become more sophisticated when you say cashflow planning. So that was one of the things I started to become a lot more interested in because it was a game within a game. Yes, I can go buy the game on like Friday the 24th, cool, but it was also the successful of like, hey, I actually saved $37 and however many cents.
So that became the goal too. Moving into the financial planning space is essentially doing that same thing, but for hundreds of people at a time. How much do I need to save for college for my kids? How much do I need to save for retirement? What stocks shall I invest to make me a millionaire in 15 years? So it started to be the same thing, but again, on a bigger scale, more sophisticated scale. And for me, it became a lot more fun.

Scott:
What were some of the big moments over the journey through high school, college and entering the workforce that made you self-actualize this? Was it something you studied in college that you were deciding this or afterwards? How’d that work?

Kevin:
I think my first internship was the thing that kind of really solidified it and that’s when I started BuildingBread, my financial literacy company. This was back in 2010. It’ll actually be 10 years this September. I can’t believe I’ve been so consistent with something for so long. But I interned at a company and it was an investment company, so they manage the 401ks. And at this time in 2010, I had no idea what the stock market was. My parents had never talked about the stock market. They had never really invested in that way. So I go into this completely blind.
And I was frustrated, I was upset because I got there early. I was the first one there and last one to leave and just didn’t really understand until five days before the internship was over. At that point, that’s when I realized like, oh, this is why we’re doing it. This is why it’s important, and here’s how it relates to everything I’ve been doing up to this point. So I started my journey there and creating this company and becoming a financial planner to make that stuff very simple and tangible for people like me that didn’t have that type of background.

Scott:
When you first discovered this concept of investing and those types of things, were you really gung ho stock picker or did you go right into index funds or funds that maybe your company offered? What was that process like for you?

Kevin:
I started gung ho on the index funds first. There was a lot of data that supported that as well, and it’s kind of what they fed you too at the job that I was at. And then I started to work my way backwards into individual stocks. The majority of my money, the majority of my clients that I speak to still kind of gravitate towards index funds. But for me, I do pick a few stocks every now and then to kind of enhance that a bit.

Scott:
Got it.

Mindy:
Okay. That was going to be one of my questions is what do you think of index funds. That’s interesting. Most people I think and maybe just because I’ve been doing this so long, most people start with individual stocks, pick a bad one, lose their shirt, and then discover index funds and then go that way, so that’s interesting. How much of your stock portfolio personally are you putting into individual funds versus index funds?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing an individual stock as long as you do your research and you know what you’re talking about, you know what you’re investing in, or you’re just testing the waters and buying a couple of shares, a little bit. I think it’s okay to play a little bit.

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I would say the way my portfolio is set up right now, I’m at about 85% in stocks in general and 15% in bonds. So of the 85%, I would say close to 80% of that is in index funds. The remaining 20 is split up from a few individual stocks.

Mindy:
Okay. That’s okay. What about you, Scott? Are you in index funds or individual stocks?

Scott:
I’m in almost entirely index funds with a small smattering, I’d say close to 5%, in individual stocks. Usually just stuff that I happened to hold from years ago, not new stuff that I’m buying.

Mindy:
Yeah. All my new purchases are index funds. Most of my new purchases are index funds. My husband does a lot of this. He’s super tech heavy. All he does is read tech news. I don’t want to say all day long because he does other things, but all his news time is on tech news and he’s just fascinated by it. He’s got 20 years of tech knowledge, tech news that he’s been reading. It’s a different story for him.

Scott:
This internship, it occurred in college. Is that right?

Kevin:
Right.

Scott:
When was this kind of transition in your thinking around… It sounded like very good basic money management skills layering in investing. When did the transition point for you come where you began to approach wealth building or financial freedom specifically in your journey?

Kevin:
I would say about 2012. I would say, no, about 2014 or so. That’s why first I had started my career as a teacher in Dallas, Texas. I did Teach For America. And that was a way to not only give back to my community, but also help me become a lot better in what I do. Because unbeknownst to me, teaching is nothing but presentations and communications all day every day. You’re talking about Pythagorean theorem seven times a day, and you get very good at PowerPoint and very good at presenting and speaking to people. So from there, that’s when I first officially got into finance as a financial advisor.
And that’s where I really saw how people both my age and up really create it well. When I would sit down with a client and sit down and say, “Hey, look, how did you get your first million? How did you get to this point?” And that really opened my eyes to see so many different ways of people who had created financial freedom, what they did, how they got there. And then I started to pick up from each client what I wanted to learn, what I wanted to take, and how to kind of model my life after a few things that they did.

Scott:
What were some of the big themes and findings in that study?

Kevin:
Some of it was just being very, very consistent. Very rarely did I get a client that’s like, “Hey, I inherited $3 million and now I’m rich.” Most of them like, hey, I started a company and it was a small maybe a restaurant, maybe two or three branches, and then we started to build up. I saw a lot of firefighters and teachers who had just done it for a really long time, and then I saw others who worked in tech and invested very early. And that tech company happened to blow up as well. But those were a lot of the three archetypes.
It was the people that were super consistent, stayed at one job for a while, maybe they had one or two, and had like a side hustle or a side business that really kind of resonated for me.

Scott:
And what were some of the characteristics of those super consistent people? What did they do really well in your opinion in addition to the obvious of being consistent?

Kevin:
Yeah, yeah. Other than being consistent, they always seemed really low-key. You couldn’t really just look and say like, “Oh, this person has money.” I could never actually tell. Those who look like it were normally doctors, but again, the people who resonated with me were like, “Yeah, I was a firefighter for 20 years.” Others were like, “I was a teacher or professor.” They were really low-key. You couldn’t really just pick them out, and they were usually very, very chill.
You get clients that’s like, “Oh my god, I need to sell everything today. I need to buy. I need to come in here and make noise and yell to this person on the phone.” That was never them, which is always great for me as well.

Mindy:
That’s very interesting. It sounds like this little book called The Millionaire Next Door where Thomas Stanley said the number one car that the millionaire next door drives is not a Mercedes or a BMW. It’s a Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mindy:
Which I would not recommend because then all your friends are going to ask you to help them move.

Kevin:
Right.

Mindy:
I haven’t read the updated version, but I would think something like a Honda Accord or a Honda Civic or something.

Kevin:
Yeah. The other thing that I noticed too… So yeah, the Honda Accord, the Civics, Toyotas. But like it was anytime that they had an older car, like 10 years or plus, that was very well taken care of. You could always tell by how well they took care of the car. Not just like the outside and stuff. I mean, maintenance and everything. Because when they would come in, they say, “Yeah, I’ve had this car since 2005.” In their budget, in their cash sheet, they would tell you how well they took care of that car, how many miles they had on it, and it was always pristine from a maintenance perspective.
And that’s something I’ve always noticed too. Whether it was grandma, grandpa, middle aged guy, their cars were well taken care of. And I’m assuming that’s because they care about the value and not having to go out and get a new purchase and consistently spend on that.

Mindy:
When you take care of a modern car, it will last you a really long time.

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mindy:
You know what, Scott? We should talk to somebody about proper automotive maintenance. Because I grew up, my dad worked on cars. He was in the military, and he worked… He was in the auto pool or whatever it’s called. So I always watched my dad work on cars, and he drilled it into my head, “You change your oil every 3,000 miles.” And now it’s like different, the cars will tell you. But you don’t know what you don’t know. So if you don’t take care of your car, you’re going to have problems. I think my sister-in-law went something like 20,000 miles without changing her oil and it was like tar. Yeah. Yeah.
She doesn’t have that car anymore. But you don’t know what you don’t know. And these people who take the time to learn about the things that they don’t know, investing and how to take care of your car and general house maintenance and all of these things are generally more successful because they’re curious and they want to take care of the things that they have so they last a long time.

Kevin:
I think there is somewhat of a parallel there too because the research… And I explain this sometimes in my clients too is that before you jump in any stock, before you jump in any mutual fund, you want to be able to test drive it before you get into it. Before I jump into a company like Hertz, which is not a great stock right now, I want to know how much money it has made or lost in the last five years. But the same thing comes with a car, in that you start to ask people how well the car last.
You may test drive it, but also you want to know how the maintenance record is, how expensive is it to get XYZ repaired. That is the exact same skill as you move into the stock because you ask very similar questions about how well a company has done, what are the fees with a certain fund. And it’s a very, very similar skillset. It’s probably why that’s one of the parallel there.

Scott:
How would you describe generally the professions of these people?

Kevin:
General professions? I mean, it’s kind of all over the place. I would say usually a stable career, which is not everybody. So again, government positions, I would say not as well, city, state, local, federal, teaching, firefighters. I’ve seen a few police officers as well. Some who are in banking careers. I’ve seen that, but not like the investment banking, but just mid level branch manager type of roles. I’ve seen that as well.

Scott:
Got it. Okay, so nothing crazy on that front either that’s kind of standing out about these folks.

Kevin:
Yeah, not many. You have some tech people too. But other than that, pretty normal.

Scott:
At what point in your career were you exposed to this kind of information and these types of people? Was this right away or right after graduating college with your company? Or how did that work?

Kevin:
I experienced it personally within two years of graduating college. I always read like The Millionaire Next Door and the follow up books, so I had exposure there via reading and listening to other stories, but I didn’t get to see it up close and personal until about 2014.

Scott:
Got it. How did your journey with money then evolve in maybe the years? How would you describe the starting points and then acceleration points since graduating college?

Kevin:
I would say that starting point was being exposed to like 2014-2015. I always say things really started to accelerate for me once I moved to New York City, and I got out of my comfort zone. So I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I moved to Dallas, and it’s relatively close to home. But because things are cheap, things are normal, I didn’t have to pay a million dollars rent, I was comfortable. I didn’t feel like I had to save aggressively because I didn’t have to. I got to New York City and life was completely changed. So I had to learn that I need to be a lot more aggressive.
I need to do more because rent went from $900 a month to $3,000, and I was no longer single. I was married. I had the real weight and responsibility of you need to do a bit more to get to where you want to go. So I had to be a little more aggressive and learn a little bit more about individual stocks. I had to ramp up my company because it was more of a hobby than a business, and then I had to look for other ways to increase my income to make sure that I could arrive on schedule to where I wanted to be.

Scott:
So how’d you do that? How’d you make ends meet on the income front.

Kevin:
On the income front, I switched jobs a few times. So I went from you could call it company hopping every 18 months or so. I had to reassess my value in the market and say, “Look, I’m worth this. I feel like this is what I’ve done for this company. You need to meet this level or I could go somewhere else.” Doing that. Each time I moved, I made an extra $20,000 by switching roles. There’s a study by Forbes that shows that those who do switch jobs around the two year mark tend to make more. I hit my first six figure job by doing that. I increased the revenue for my company.
Instead of just doing… I had a book out, so that helped, but I also started teaching online classes. I started teaching and talking at universities. I started traveling a bit more to speak to help increase income there as well.

Scott:
Awesome.

Mindy:
This is a common theme that we have heard from several of our past guests. A Purple Life and Financial Mechanic both would move jobs every 18 months or so to increase, because your company is not just going to give you a big old raise for no reason. But when you go out to a new company, they’re like, “Oh, we’re hiring. We know it’s going to be this much money,” so that’s how they were able to push their income as well, which is really interesting. I am older and where I come from, you don’t job hop.
You stay at the same company, because if you don’t, then you look like a job hopper and why would I hire you when I can hire this other person who has a history of staying at a company? And it doesn’t really seem like that’s true any longer.

Kevin:
Depending on the field. I think the field really matters. When I was in finance, no one really cared. I think it was something that they expected that after a while, you’re going to switch. But I’ve been some interviews where they said, “Hey, look, you haven’t been in a job more than three years,” which is true. I’m like, “No. Are you going to hire me or no? Do you want two and a half or three years of very good performance, or do you want somebody average?” Which is not something I would say in the interview, but that’s kind of how I felt. So yeah, sometimes it’s hindered me, other times it hasn’t.

Mindy:
Yeah, and you just have to find somebody that it doesn’t hinder you.

Kevin:
Right.

Mindy:
Okay. You posted a video on Instagram the other day that I thought was brilliant. The title was Every Investor Needs This One Thing, which you don't tell until you listen to the video, but I'm going to bring it up. You said, "If you don't have patience, you're not going to cut it as an investor period." That is kind of true all across the board. We have a rather volatile stock market right now. I don't know if you saw. I actually didn't even look up the numbers, and we're recording this a couple of weeks in advance, so I'm not sure that it really…
I certainly can’t say what’s going to happen in two weeks, but we’ve had some really crazy sharp up and sharp down in the last few weeks. So if you don’t have patience, you’re not going to cut it as an investor. That is smart advice. We had an interview back on episode 119. It aired on April 6th right when the stock market with the whole coronavirus was just coming out and the market was down and then down more and down more. But the Mad Fientist said in that interview that he thought he was prepared for risk.
But when the bottom dropped out and so many of his gains were wiped out in one day, he’s like, “You know what? I realized I’m not so excited about all this risk.” And he was going to take that opportunity to… He’s going to write down his feelings, and then when the market stabilized, he was going to reevaluate his portfolio. Let’s talk about your portfolio balance. You said you have 15% bonds. When people are considering their diversification, how can they balance risk with safety and growth with lack of opportunity for loss when the market drops?

Kevin:
Right. I think other than patience, the other most important thing, if you will, is figuring out who you are as an investor. Because when someone says, “Oh, Amazon’s the greatest stock in the world or Tesla,” it’ll fit for some people, it won’t fit for everyone because how that stock arrives is really going to weigh on you emotionally. And the easiest way or the technical way is to do what’s called a risk tolerance questionnaire. You answer five or six questions. It’ll say based on the questions that you answered, you should have X amount in stocks, X amount in bonds.
That’s the scientific way. Another way, a rule of thumb could be taking the Rule of 110. We’re just taking 110 minus your current age and that will give you a roundabout way to figure that out as well. So for example, I’m 30. I would 110 minus 30, that’d give me 80. So 80% of my money should be in bonds, the remaining 20… I’m sorry. 80% should be in stocks. 80% should be in stocks, 20% be in bonds, and that’s the roundabout way to do it.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Rule of 110 before. Scott, have you? Am I just missing something?

Scott:
I’ve heard rules of that sort of as well. Personally, I’m more of the… Who I am as an investor is I need to know that what I’m doing is going to have the highest probability of mathematical success long-term. And so I’m very fine with 100% stock allocation. And for me, even as I’m starting to get a little older here and… Well, 30, but hey, I have 100% stock allocation and I like that because it means that I think I’ll have the highest probability of building long-term wealth. And my defense mechanism is just to save much more than I…
At a much higher and higher rate with each passing month to get around the volatility problems that come along with that.

Mindy:
What a Scott way to answer that question. Okay. So Kevin, what are some mistakes that you see new investors making?

Kevin:
Mistakes, there are a lot of mistakes out there. The first one is lack of patience. And I think we have a misconception for the majority of us, especially if you’re new, is that you buy a stock one time and then you wake up two weeks later and now you’re rich, which is not really the case. When I bought my first stock, which was right after 2008, I bought Citi because my finance professor said, “Look, Citi is not going to go bankrupt forever. You should buy it now where it’s cheap.” So I bought it. I waited three months. I had made like $2. I was like, what it does?
That was like $300 investment. I’m like, what is this? This is lame. How dare you lie to me? Well, the truth is five or six years later, that investment nearly tripled. So I could have a thousand dollars by just sitting there and waiting. However, if I kept putting in $300 a month, $300 a year, I would have been tremendously better off. So the key is be consistent and be patient. Not every stock is going to double overnight. The other thing is get an idea for how the stock has done in the past.
Sometimes people just, oh my god, my friend made 40% last night, not really knowing that it was just a blip or a mistake or just something random happened. When you can configure out, whether it's American Airlines that's been down 60% over the last 10 years, that will give you an idea like, hey, maybe this is not the place I want to put my money because I know that this stock hasn't been good since the last recession.

Scott:
Those highly consistent millionaires you mentioned earlier, how often do you think they’re checking their portfolio balances?

Kevin:
Studies say four times a year is as much as you should do. You shouldn’t do more than that. If you’re starting to check weekly or monthly and making those changes, you tend to make more mistakes. A lot of the millionaires that I’ve had the privilege of meeting, they would tend to do four times a year. Definitely semiannually. That was like, hey, look, it’s been six months. We need to come in and sit down and make some changes. Those are only time they made changes, but they were consistent in adding money every month.
So they would give me a call and say, “Look, I’m making a deposit. Make sure it goes into,” the investment that they already had. But very rarely did I get someone say, “Hey, look, I need to sell everything,” because things weren’t where they wanted them to be.

Scott:
One question or hypothesis that’s kind of brimming for me right now is this idea that these people managing cash very tight. It’s maybe a lack of patience tied to a low savings rate or living right around what you’re making comes in. Are you noticing that with new investors at all? Do you think there’s a tie there between those two philosophies?

Kevin:
There are certainly some, but I haven’t seen a correlation. I’ve seen people that have 30, 40, 50,000 in savings. They don’t actually need the money that they’re investing, but just don’t like the thought of losses. I’m in several Facebook groups and people will email me like, “Oh my god, I lost 20,000 on my 401k,” and they’ll be like 40. I’m like, “Do you need the money now? Were you going to use the money today anyway?” And now they’re fine, right? The funny thing is we tend to check it when things aren’t great.
I’ve never gotten so many messages about 401k or people even knew how to log in until the market dropped. So I wouldn’t say that everyone… The majority of the complaints come from across the board. I think we’re just so risk-averse and we have such a visceral reaction to losses that when the market is up, it’s like, “Oh, okay, that’s great. No big deal.” No one’s as excited, but they get very excited in a negative way when things are down.

Scott:
Let me as you this then, do you think that the fear of loss here and the panic is a personality trait with some investors, or do you think it’s an educational gap, or both?

Kevin:
I think it’s both. I think it’s more of a psychological trait where we react differently to losses. But I would say the same thing. Psychologically, we remember the hurricane. We remember the blizzard. We remember the crazy ice storm. We don’t always remember all the perfect weather days that we’ve ever had. Oh, I remember that one time the weather was perfect. We went down and had a picnic, and it was an amazing day. You remember the hurricane a lot more. Hurricane Sandy, when I was in New York, I remember that vividly. The perfect day that I went to the park? I couldn’t tell you when that was.
I think the disasters and the losses just stick in our mind a lot more than the perfect days or the perfect investments that have been solid for years.

Scott:
It’s interesting and maybe it’s just because I’ve read so many books in the subject and host this podcast and think about it all the time. But when coronavirus came, we obviously talked about it, but not for a second was I worried about my long-term strategy or my overall approach and those types of things. I don’t know if that’s just me or if that’s just the amount of work and time I’ve put into developing my philosophy to handle, to prepare for that circumstance. Just kind of interesting discussion point, but yeah, I bet you it probably is something that’s been impacted both ways.
And of course, the downturns are much more memorable than the 10 years of good times, right?

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott:
Give or take.

Mindy:
Well, the 10 years of good times, oh look, my portfolio. If you check your portfolio every single day, oh, my portfolio is up $1.50. My portfolio is up $.75. My portfolio is up $12. And then when the downturn comes, my portfolio is down $150,000. You're going up the stairs incrementally, but you're dropping off a cliff. So of course, that's going to be more. If I dropped a dollar, I wouldn't notice it. It would be a blip. It's these giant things that are so disruptive that are so memorable unfortunately.

Kevin:
Yeah. That’s a good point too.

Mindy:
So I read an article just today that said the median retirement savings balance among baby boomers is $144,000, which I read that on Fool.com, The Motley Fool. I believe what they’re saying, but it seems so unbelievable to me because they’re so close to retirement. And your main audience is millennials. There’s no shortage of articles saying how everything you guys are doing is financially wrong. How can millennials avoid this mistake, this imminent retirement with $144,000 coming up?

Kevin:
There's the realistic answer and the unrealistic answer. The unrealistic answer is if we could just erase student loans, we would easily hit that number. But the realistic answer would be getting involved as much as we can, as early as we can. And while there are plenty of articles that say we do not have our things together, there are a few that do suggest that we are saving more earlier on than what baby boomers did even though it's a smaller amount. As you'll likely see, the millennials are more likely to be on Robinhood, more likely to be on Cash App for investing purposes, which is good.
If you’re trying to get a share of Amazon that’s $2,000 plus, that’s very difficult to get. But with fractional shares, you can start to kind of build your wealth at smaller increments and hopefully start to close that wealth gap between us and baby boomers.

Mindy:
You know, I think that’s a really good answer. You said we’re investing smaller amounts, but earlier more consistently. All the millennials I know are not this financial mess that they are made out to be in the media.

Scott:
I wonder if we’re a little bias from interacting with a lot of people in the fire community. You and I, Mindy.

Mindy:
Yeah, I guess.

Scott:
But I've read some studies as well that kind of suggest that one in six millennials has a six figure plus net worth and is kind of off to the races there to a certain degree. And so I wonder in conjunction with your great comment about student loans if there's just going to be an even bigger income inequality and wealth inequality gap within the millennial cohort than there was amongst boomers and some of the generations given some of those circumstances? Who's getting started now? Who's got the anchors of those student loans and those types of things? There'd be some interesting questions.

Kevin:
Yeah. I think it definitely will be. I’ve always said, especially during the coronavirus, that those who are investing in 2020 are going to be the ones that are going to create wealth in 2030 and 2040. By putting it now, like everybody… The way I say it is 10 years from now you’re going to wish you started 10 years ago. Back in 2010, I wished I could have put every dime I had in Apple. I wish I could have put everything in Amazon 10 years ago because the time is going to pass regardless. So starting now is 99% of the time going to benefit in the future.
But as you mentioned, because the economic world has changed between boomers and millennials, that gap is going to be there by default. Housing is more expensive. Obviously college is more expensive. Even though millennials are the highest educated generation, we are the lowest paid. So you could have a master's degree, you could have a bachelor's degree, but you're not going to get paid what they were getting paid and everything is more expensive, including healthcare. So to close that gap is going to take bigger policy changes to kind of even things out.
But by default, even if millennials saved the same amount of money that boomers are, that gap is still going to exist because the cost around it are a lot higher.

Scott:
Got it. Going back to your kind of personal journey, what’s kind of like your end goal? What are you looking to achieve over the next couple of years, or what’s the end point for you?

Kevin:
So for me, personally I feel like my mission and purpose is to make investing simple for others. Because we have a misconception or reality rather that investing has to be complicated, that you need to know math and geometry and all these other charting techniques to be successful when it’s not necessarily the case. An index fund can do wonders for you. Regular simple stocks like a Microsoft or a Costco can do amazing things for you, and you don’t have to be some mad genius, so that’s a part of it.
And I want to make sure that investing education and wealth education is accessible. That you don’t have to have a quarter million dollars to access someone who has a wealth of knowledge.

Scott:
Nice.

Mindy:
Yeah. This goes back to… We had an interview with Kyle Mast, who was a CFP, and he suggests once you have started saving for retirement, sit down and speak with this a fee-only CFP who can give you advice to help you on your way. It doesn’t have to be an every month conversation. It can be once and that directs your path for a while. And then a few years or maybe even 10 years down the road, you sit down with them again, overview what you’ve got, where you’re going, and that’ll help you again. Yes, you’re on the right path. Hey, maybe let’s tweak some things. I think having some advice…
There’s no need for you to figure it out all on your own. This is kind of the core tenets of BiggerPockets.com with regards to real estate investing. We want to help you be as successful as you can as a real estate investor. You don’t need to make all the mistakes that I’ve made. You can learn from my lesson. You can learn the lessons that I learned at the School of Hard Knocks and take that and run and you’ll just be more successful down the road. So speaking with a financial planner who can give you that little boost and you benefit from all of their knowledge is an excellent, excellent piece of advice.
Okay. Moving on, you have a video on your site called How $2,000 Can Make Your Kids Millionaires. Tell me about that.

Kevin:
Yeah. It was March 21, 2018, and my wife was going into labor. We were in New York City, and my son was on the process of being born. They said, “Hey, look, she’s X centimeters dilated. You’ve got about two or three hours.” So at that moment, I said, look, let me run downstairs. Let me record this video because I want to tell the world how I’m going to essential guarantee that my son is going to become a millionaire. So I run downstairs, take the elevator, and I’m like… You’ll see in the video I’m walking around in the lobby.
I’m talking how I’m going to open a custodial account, how I’m going to put in around $2,000 a year, and how overtime that he can become a millionaire as early as 40. We put in more. If the investments take off, he can get there less. But the key is taking time to do that because he’s going to have 40 years before he turns 40 and that’s just essentially straight compounding without him putting in a dime. When he gets a job, gets a 401k, he can obviously accelerate that process. So I recorded the video.
It’s probably nine minutes, less than 10 minutes long. I go back upstairs and two minutes later my son is actually born.

Mindy:
Oh my god.

Kevin:
Yeah. I very nearly missed the birth of my son because of recording that video. I got back up there. This is starting right now. I’m like, you told me I had three hours. What happened?

Mindy:
Okay. So let’s rephrase that. You are so dedicated to helping people learn about finance that you almost missed the birth of your child in order to share this very important piece of advice.

Kevin:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
Also, pro tip, don’t ever believe the doctor when they say you’ve got three hours. You might have three minutes. That baby is coming when that baby wants to come and they don’t care what your watch says. So that’s to both of you, Kevin, if you have more kids, Scott, when you have kids. Don’t leave the room.

Kevin:
Yeah. I’ve learned my lesson. We have a baby girl on the way. I’m not leaving the room.

Mindy:
Oh yay, babies!

Kevin:
After that, I just think we were… With a new kid and everything, we’re just so focused on him. I recorded it. I didn’t really think much would happen. I was like, look, let me just say this stuff. Get this out here now. And I came back and it was like 2,000 shares or something. So I was like, oh my god, people actually [inaudible 00:42:25]

Mindy:
So we will link to that in the show notes, which can be found at BiggerPockets.com/moneyshow131. We’ll link to that video so people can see what you almost missed the birth of your child for the video that was so important you almost missed the birth of your first child.

Kevin:
Right.

Mindy:
And also probably don’t share this episode with her so she doesn’t remember. You almost missed the birth of this baby for what? Okay, Kevin, you also have a really interesting webinar called Three Ways to Start Investing. Can you give us a little overview on what those three ways are?

Kevin:
Yeah. So I created this because a lot of… At least a lot of my audience are trying to figure out where to start investing and how to start. And that people want to invest, they want to take care of their financial future, but they’re not sure like, what do I do first and how do I get into this? So my three ways that I almost always suggest, so number one is starting with fractional shares. That’s going to allow you to start earlier and to start compounding as soon as you can.
So instead of spending $2,000 for like an Amazon or something of that nature, you can start with 200 and be a lot more diversified by doing that as well, so that’s number…

Scott:
I got a question on that. Sorry. Some people seem to get really hung up with respect to getting started in investing on the mechanical actual literal process of transacting on shares. And I’ll admit, I have no idea how to go about purchasing a fractional share. Could you walk us through quickly just how you would go about doing that?

Kevin:
Yeah. For many apps nowadays, it’s a lot easier than it what it used to be. So essentially if I am going to let’s say Cash App, Public is a new app that does this as well, even Fidelity, Essentially you will go in and say, “Look, I want a share of this company.” And instead of picking how many shares you want, you click how many dollars you want. So you would say, “I want $100 of this stock,” and it will do the math for you to tell you how many shares you get. But essentially you’re investing by the dollar amount and it would divide up that share into how many pieces you could afford.

Scott:
You're saying most major brokerage apps will offer this now. I use Robinhood and I don't know if that's a feature or not. I haven't checked.

Kevin:
Robinhood just rolled out their feature. There are some that are still in waiting list, but that just started just a few weeks ago. Fidelity has done it for a few months. Charles Schwab just started. I just saw a commercial about that. And then Cash App and Public are the ones that come to mind first that allow you to do that.

Scott:
Okay. So if you’re listening mechanically, well, all you got to do is open up a major brokerage app. It sounds like pretty much any of them, but specifically some of the ones you just rolled out, and you go in and you buy a… You just type in the dollar amount and you’ll buy fractional shares instead of a full share at a time.

Kevin:
Exactly. Yup.

Mindy:
Now, when I go to sell that, let’s say I own 37% of a share of Amazon through this fractional thing. When I go to sell it, I sell 37%, not $200. Whatever 37% of the share is worth, right?

Kevin:
Correct. So again, I would always kind of put it in dollar terms because one, that helps. We all understand dollars is one, but also it makes it more tangible for all investors. Let’s say you invest $200 in Amazon or whatever stock, when you sell, you can say, “I want $150 sold out of this.” And again, it will do the share percentage amount for you. But it’s saying essentially I’m getting $150 out of this stock, so I can go do whatever it is I’m doing.

Scott:
Got it. Okay.

Mindy:
Okay. Okay. So you would potentially own still a fraction of that.

Kevin:
Correct.

Mindy:
That’s interesting. I would have to wrap my head around that because I have always just bought actual shares.

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). The thing that I enjoy about it is because for new investors, a lot of people think that there’s a magic number of shares that you should have. So I’m picking Amazon because I just know it’s expensive. One share of Amazon is like, I don’t know, whatever time you listen to this, $2,500, right? But a share of Walmart could be $100. So I own one in one share, but 90% of my money is in one stock, which is dangerous. So instead of going by one share and one share, I’m getting one share of a bunch of companies.
I can say instead of that, I’m going to put $200 in Amazon, $200 in Walmart, $200 in Apple so I’m even across the board. It’s going to be 10% of Amazon, maybe two shares of Walmart, and then maybe a half of Apple. So my money is even because I’ve got 200, 200 and 200 as opposed to one share a piece where I’ve got 2,001 stock, 101 stock, and like 50 in another.

Scott:
This is great for a number of reasons. And my thing that’s getting me excited about this is supposed you’re starting off in the journey, you’re saving 100 bucks or 250 bucks a month, right? Well, one share of VOO, which is an index fund that I invest in, right, is like $240. So unless you happen to save right on that amount and that happens to be priced in that range, you maybe buying the difference between one in two shares that month, which is horribly inefficient especially in getting started there. So I love this concept. I heard about it, and I just didn’t know how to mechanically transact them.

Kevin:
Right. Right. And then like you said, for my son, let’s say I’m only investing $100 a month, as you mentioned, if I’m only depositing $100 a month, it’ll take me close to two years to afford a share that’s $1,000. It’ll take me one year assuming the stock does not move. If the stock continues to grow, I may never catch up by only doing $100 a month. Instead, I can start investing now and get tiny, tiny shares along the way.

Scott:
Love it.

Mindy:
I like this from a different perspective. My experience, my husband did invest in Apple in like 2007 or something, and you saw how it grew. But because we had a nominal amount of money invested in one stock, the growth of our portfolio was based on… I think at one point our portfolio was 33% Apple, which is not the best should something happen to them. I wanted to be more diversified.
We wanted to be more diversified, and this way, I like the way that you explained it, instead of one big thing of Amazon and one thing of Walmart and one thing, you got a little bit of everything, and then all of my money isn’t in one stock, which is very interesting. Now, what about fees associated with investing in this way? I would assume that there is some sort of fee involved.

Kevin:
For most of them, at least for individual stocks, there aren’t. Again, the Fidelity’s, the Robinhood’s, they don’t have any fess on commissions. So for the most part, you’re not going to see a fee.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s interesting.

Scott:
That’s excellent.

Kevin:
Yeah. Robinhood was the major app that kind of pushed that. But again, Fidelity just switched away from the commission only fees. I think it used to be like $3 to $5 every time you buy or sell. So it moved away from that I think last year. So at least on the individual stocks, if you’re buying individual stocks and for some ETFs as well, you’re not going to see those fees.

Scott:
Got it.

Mindy:
Interesting.

Scott:
So you had three points in this webinar I believe. We’ve only covered the first one.

Mindy:
Yeah. We got fixated on the first one.

Scott:
What are points two and three here?

Kevin:
Yeah. So point number two is to learn how to paper trade, so essentially that is a simulation. If you’re unfamiliar with the stock market, before you jump in, essentially what you do is… You can do this at like an Investopedia is one app, where you say, “Look, I have $1,000.” You put in whatever amount, and essentially you can buy whatever stocks you want in a simulator. And it will tell you based on real data and real stocks how much you would have made or lost over a period of time.
So for example, I can say for the next three months, I’m going to invest in this. I think that GM or GE, or I’m just looking around the room trying to pick stocks, Microsoft, those are going to be the good stocks. I can wait three months and it’ll show me if you invested X amount of money in these stocks, you would have made or lost money. So what tells me is, one, how would I react to risk? Am I good at understanding the stock market? Am I good at picking stocks, or should I just go to an index fund?
So those ways that you can understand how the market works and to figure out whether or not it matches up with your expectations. You would have thought that Microsoft would have doubled, but in reality you made $5. You could understand this is what I should do and this is what to expect, so I’m not going into it expecting things to make me rich overnight or also drop overnight. You can get to simulate that before you actually do it.

Mindy:
Well, that’s very interesting. That’s a good way to test it while you’re saving money or while you’re paying down debt or until you’re ready. That’s one of the things we talk about at BiggerPockets is analyze deals and look at these properties that you’re not ready to invest yet, but you can still learn about the thing, about the niche that you’re looking for. That’s awesome.

Kevin:
That’s what I did. When I started, I did it. So I got some friends… The cool thing about it, at least on Investopedia, is that you can invite people to do it with you. So we kind of have a competition. So for an entire year, it was like my sophomore or junior year, me and my two friends did it. We started out with a simulation of $100,000 and who made the most money of the year won. So we had to really understand how the market worked and how my best friend was up and he was bragging for the first three months and then his portfolio just tanked.
But you got to say like, oh, just because you start ahead doesn’t mean you’re going to end that way. For a year, I got to save and understand how the market worked before putting my actual money into it and that was an experience that was extremely valuable.

Mindy:
I’m going to make my kids do this. This is something really interesting that you can use to teach your kids. Maybe older kids. Maybe like teenagers in high school even. Just hey, this is what you can do. This is how you can make money. This is how you can grow your wealth and prepare for retirement. Like I said, my daughter wants to retire from school. She’s 10. No, you can’t retire from school. You have to graduate from high school, but look at what you can do with the money that you have.
Instead of buying candy and yarn, you can buy stocks, you can invest in stocks using these little fractional shares, so these all build together. Yeah, I think that’s fun. I think that’s great. We’ll include a link to that in the show notes as well, the Investopedia thing as well. Okay. What’s the third way to start investing?

Kevin:
Yeah. So the third one is something I’ve kind of come up on over the last I would say 18 months or so, and this is called fund hacking. Obviously like I’m big on index funds, but there are other mutual funds that are out there. The cool thing is for 99% of mutual funds, they will give you the holdings. So they would tell you exactly what this fund is investing in. That can be a good place just to give you a gut check to determine whether you think a stock is good or not. For example, there are funds that are like a growth fund.
These companies, whether it be Vanguard, JP Morgan, whoever, they’ll put together a fund that says, “These stocks are supposed to grow. These stocks are supposed to create dividends in the future.” Well, if you look at their holdings, you can determine of that list, which one of these stocks that you want to hold to kind of give a little bit of safety. Because if you know that Fidelity and Vanguard are putting billions of dollars on these stocks, that they are likely solid, and that can kind of narrow down the list of the thousand and thousand stocks that you may want to consider investing in.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s interesting. You only hear about the big ones. I’m sure in these funds, there’s others that are just as good, but aren’t just as sexy as FANG or that kind of thing. Oh, that’s great.

Kevin:
Yeah. The thing is too, obviously these have like hundreds of stocks in there, you can invest in some of those. I wouldn’t suggest doing all of them because that’s a lot of work, but there’s a top 10 or top 25 in that. You can start to pick out the ones that you like. You can do the paper trading thing and figure out how well they would have done. Depending on the app that you use, you can invest in those without the fee, so there’s an advantage there too. You buy the fund, but you’re going to have to pay fee.
You get a Fidelity Excel sheet, it’ll give you everything they invest in. So you can say, “Look, I like five through six. I’m going to invest in these. I can do it for free,” and then you can figure out how to start investing and whether that’s going to be a good idea for you or a bad idea for you.

Mindy:
These are three ideas we’ve never heard before, Scott.

Scott:
Yeah, these are great.

Mindy:
This is awesome.

Scott:
I think it’s a function of the fact that you and I, Mindy, are so pro index fund and we don’t really talk about the selection of individual stocks or those types of things. And so we don’t get enough good ideas on how to go about that because that is a function that a lot of people believe strongly in, just like we believe strongly in real estate here at BiggerPockets. It’s kind of an area I think that we have to do a lot more digging and thinking in, and I think these are really great points and ways to get started in making that accessible to people. So thank you, Kevin.

Kevin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mindy:
And I think a hybrid solution is perfectly valid. I’ve got index funds, but I also have individual stocks. If you really like an individual stock, try it out. Try the paper trade or throw some money in there. Don’t throw all your money into one stock. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying it out and testing the waters and seeing maybe you will have success, maybe you will not have so much success. But if you’re not throwing tons, like a large percentage of your net worth into one thing, what’s the harm? Is that irresponsible of me to say, Scott, what’s the harm?

Scott:
I think that there’s folks that feel very strongly pro index fund and there’s folks that feel very strongly about how they can pick winners on the market. Probably there’s a lot of merits to both arguments there I think for a lot of it. So I don’t know if there’s a right answer here. I think that if the idea of picking stocks appeals to you and you think you can pick some winners, maybe you have a little bit of a gamer’s mentality like perhaps Kevin and I share to a certain extent, maybe if that’s the way to go about it, that was…
While I lost money picking stocks personally, the fact of the matter is that because I was excited about that, I saved harder and got more aggressive about my other stuff to get going so I could have more money to invest to try in the market. For me, it was a great… Index fund investing would not have motivated me at the beginning of my journey the same way that this did.

Mindy:
Oh, and anything that gets you investing.

Scott:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Okay. Okay. That’s valid. Kevin, is there anything else you would like to share before we move onto our famous four questions?

Kevin:
No, that’s it.

Mindy:
Okay. These the same four questions that we ask of all our guests. Kevin, what is your favorite finance book?

Kevin:
Mine is Broke Millennial Takes On Investing.

Mindy:
Oh yay!

Scott:
All right.

Mindy:
Erin Lowry.

Kevin:
Yup.

Mindy:
Erin is awesome. I noticed you were with her on a conference or a summit or something. She’s fantastic, and she’s got a third book coming out. Very exciting about that.

Kevin:
She does. I’m excited about that one.

Scott:
She’s in New York City as well, right?

Kevin:
She is.

Scott:
Is she located nearby where you are? I don’t know my New York City layout very well.

Kevin:
So I just recently relocated to North Caroline, but when I was in Harlem, she was in Queens. So not too far.

Scott:
Got it. Okay. Awesome. Very cool. What were the episodes with Erin, Mindy? Do you remember off the top of your head?

Mindy:
Erin’s episodes were episode number 24 and episode number 81.

Scott:
Awesome. And we had some great discussions with her. I think specifically the most recent one was about kind of how to bring up touchy subjects around personal finance with your spouse, which she is a champion at discussing and kind of providing mental frameworks for how to go about these types of things. All right. So Kevin, what was your biggest money mistake?

Kevin:
My biggest money mistake was not paying my student loans when I didn't have to. It was part of the agreement with Teach For America. I got $10,000 to pay at the end of the program on my loans, which I used the entire $10,000 for to move. However, I didn't have to make any additional payments for like a year and a half, maybe two years. What I wished I would have done is continuously pay on those loans and just knock them out. So I could have been student loan debt free two, two and a half, almost three years ago.
But I was like, “Hey, I don’t have any payments,” and just focused on other areas. Thankfully, I was investing so I didn’t waste the time, but I think I would have been better off also paying down those loans too.

Scott:
Let me ask you the hard question then, do you think that your investing produced better returns than had you applied that to your student loan payment looking back?

Kevin:
Looking back, it’s easy to kind of do the math, but yeah, investing would have paid out more in terms of paying up the loans. I just don’t like the bill.

Scott:
All right. It’s more of that, going back to what you said earlier, about knowing yourself as an investor. You would have preferred to be debt free than to have the extra incremental investment portfolio at the end of it. Is that correct?

Kevin:
I would say I just would have preferred having paid down more. Because I think I would prefer having a larger investment portfolio, so I don’t regret that part, but just the fact that I could have… Even if it was just $100 a month, it could have been better off.

Scott:
Got it.

Kevin:
So just doing nothing is like, man, I should have done something with it.

Scott:
Fair enough. I like it.

Mindy:
What is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Kevin:
There’s nothing, absolutely nothing happens overnight. Take things piece by piece and stay in your lane. Find out emotionally, financially what your lane is and stick to it. and don’t try to compare yourself to other people and try and put yourself up against where you think you should be. Just stay in your lane, stay focused, and know that nothing’s going to happen overnight.

Scott:
Love it.

Mindy:
Excellent.

Scott:
What is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Kevin:
So I’m more of a situational comedian, so I have to be in the room. So I would say as a dad joke, why did Snoop Dogg carry around an umbrella?

Mindy:
Oh, I know this. For the rain, but that’s right.

Kevin:
It’s fo drizzle.

Mindy:
Yes.

Scott:
Oh, excellent.

Mindy:
I have one because-

Scott:
I thought I’ve heard that one, and I forget.

Mindy:
Okay. I have one. Because your website is called BuildingBread.com, why is money called dough? Because we all knead it. K-N-E-A-D.

Kevin:
See? I need to use that one. I definitely need to use that one.

Scott:
More bread jokes should be the yeast of your worries since we’re pretty much done here.

Mindy:
Oh god, I quit. Oh, that’s horrible.

Scott:
Kevin, where can we find out more about you?

Kevin:
You can find me on all things social media @BuildingBread.

Mindy:
@BuildingBread. Awesome. Kevin, this was fantastic. I’m super happy that you were able to join us today. Thank you so much for your time.

Kevin:
Thank you. I appreciate the invite.

Mindy:
Okay. That was Kevin Matthews II from BuildingBread.com. Scott, what are your opinions of that show?

Scott:
I thought it was great. I really enjoyed talking to Kevin. I think he’s got a great framework for approaching wealth building. Obviously started in sixth grade. I learned a lot of little tips and tricks, and I think it was a good show to kind of help me reset a little bit and back down from maybe my too dogmatic approach to index fund investing and saying, “Maybe there is some room for a small percentage of one’s portfolio for some stock picking in some situations, and here’s how to go about it and think through that.”

Mindy:
Absolutely. I love the fractional share idea. I love the paper trading idea. I mean, that’s just… That I think as a trick for… Not trick, a tip for helping your children start to understand the stock market. That’s brilliant. I’ve not heard that before. I haven’t heard the fractional share thing either, and I’m super excited to sit down with my kids and show them this and introduce them to different types of learning about the stock market.

Scott:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
This show ran a little bit long. Should we get out of here today?

Scott:
Let’s do it.

Mindy:
Okay. From episode 131 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, he is Scott Trench, I am Mindy Jensen, and we need a clever bit about money and bread.

Scott:
Dough.

Mindy:
Okay. There you go. We’re saying goodbye and Scott is saying dough.

Scott:
An expression of dismay or content when things go poorly or not as planned.

Mindy:
Coined by Homer Simpson.

Scott:
That’s right.

Mindy:
Okay. Bye, bye.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Kevin’s financial journey
  • How he’s saving his lunch money
  • Becoming a financial planner
  • Individual stocks vs. index funds
  • When he discovered and committed to financial freedom
  • Mistakes that he sees new investors make
  • What his end-goal looks like
  • How $2,000 can make your kids millionaires
  • 3 ways to get started investing
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books:

Connect with Kevin:

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast is for anyone who has money… or want to have more! Join BiggerPockets Community Manager and Podcast Director Mindy Jensen and CEO Scott Trench weekly for the BiggerP...
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    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied 4 days ago
    Careful with replicating a mutual fund yourself. Most of the time you cannot see ALL of the holdings of a particular mutual fund on a site like Morningstar or wherever. Often they list list only the top ten (or so) stocks in the fund. If you actually buy the mutual fund, you should receive an annual report that lists all the holdings, but that is just a snapshot in time at the time the report was prepared. Mutual fund managers are always tweaking the holdings, so by the time you receive the report, the holding might be somewhat different... You might be surprised that by percentage, the mutual find has only a little bit of each particular stock. Often the top holding is only about 5%. By the time you get down to the hundredth stock, it might be just a small fraction of a percent of the total fund. Keep in mind that nearly study after study has found that active managers do no better than an index fund. When people talk about index funds, they usually mean broadly-based funds. Over the past decade, index fund designers have rolled out all sort of "index" funds that are sort of misnomers. For example, they define a narrow sector and create and "index fund" of that sector. https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/investing-basics/investment-products/mutual-funds-and-exchange-traded-3 The converse also occurs. You pay a higher fee for an "actively managed fund" only to discover it is just a replication of a far cheaper index fund.
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied 4 days ago
    Is there something that can be done about the fact that BP comments have not allowed paragraph breaks for quite a while now?