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Optimizing Every Channel to Achieve Financial Freedom with Grant Sabatier

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast
60 min read
Optimizing Every Channel to Achieve Financial Freedom with Grant Sabatier

Grant grew up knowing his parents didn’t have much money. He recognized their constant stress about finances throughout his childhood, and one of his first memories was his dad telling him, “Money is freedom.”

Graduating from college in the middle of the Great Recession didn’t do much for his financial outlook. After bouncing around four different jobs, he landed back at home, unemployed and sleeping in the same bed he did when he was seven.

Then, one day he woke up and wanted to go to Chipotle but had less than $3 in his bank account. He was 24 years old. As trivial as it may seem, this was the wakeup call he needed to turn the corner and figure out his finances—once and for all.

Enter Google Mobile Ads. Grant realized the demand for digital advertising professionals was rising; he made a goal to make $1 million in that arena as soon as possible.

Google taught him everything he needed to know—for free—and Grant landed the first job he applied for.

He hit the million dollar mark in five years, six months, and three days. Grant now spends his time helping others figure out their finances so that they can live their best life, doing things they love every single day, through his blog Millennial Money and new book Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need.

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Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, show number 58 where we interview Grant Sabatier from Millennial Money.

The financial freedom I think has never been more accessible to more people and I almost think it’s a human right that people shouldn’t have to wake up every day stressed about money. They should be out living lives that they love because we only get one shot at this.

It’s time for a new American dream, one that doesn’t involve working in a cubicle for 40 years barely scraping by. Whether you’re looking to get your financial house in order, invest the money you already have or discover new paths for wealth creation, you’re in the right place.

This show is for anyone who has money or wants more, this is the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

Scott: How’s it going everybody? I’m Scott Trench and I’m here with my co-host Miss Mindy Jensen. How are you doing today Mindy?

Mindy: I’m doing fantastic Scott. How are you today?

Scott: I am doing great. I love Grant. I think we think about things in a very similar manner when it comes to money. And I just really enjoyed the discussion we had with him today, I think it’s going to be a fantastic episode. Really he’s kind of putting a lot of thought I think for anybody that’s interested in financial freedom.

But we both kind of share that approach that’s a little hyper aggressive and then in the early couple of years in the journey to kick start the approach towards financial freedom, and then to begin settling back into exactly what you like once you’ve kind of made some of that quick progress in those first couple of years.

Mindy: Yeah. I liked the episode today because it’s not just the same spend less. And while I think spend less is a very valid point I think most people do have a lot of things that they can cut out of their day to day lives that they won’t miss, one thing that he says is there’s only so much you can cut. But there’s no limit to how much you can make.

And that’s something that I think that a lot of people don’t really think about, they don’t really consider, “Oh I make $60,000 in my day to day life, that’s what I can do, that’s my income.” Well it doesn’t have to be. Like we said in the side hustle episode with Nick Lopper, it doesn’t have to be just your income.

You can have side hustles, you can make more in your day to day life just by reevaluating what your market rate is. This episode was just tip after tip after tip after bombs of knowledge and it was just fantastic.

Scott: Yeah I mean you’re going to hear his incredible story for the first 30 minutes or so and then we go right into tips how do we help people in various scenarios starting on the journey to financial freedom? And I loved like you just mentioned that he approaches it from an income perspective rather than savings perspective.

Obviously we’re not diminishing the importance of savings, it’s just there’s more scalable opportunity there. And look, I operate I think sometimes from too much of the assumption personally that most people are doing everything they can to optimize an income front and there’s no more room for growth.

And I think he’s just such obvious common sensical tips of how to approach your career and just take a step back. And do this in the next month and see what happens, really do offer a way to significantly increase income for potentially a lot of you who’re listening in a pretty short period of time, three to six months maybe a year.

Mindy: Well and he attended YouTube University I mean or Google AdWords University whatever it was called. He learned how to do an entirely new thing in what did he say- two weeks or four day or something like- it’s just this really small amount of time, you can change your whole career direction. There’s never been a better time to- what did he say- there’s never been a time where you can make more money?

Scott: I forget his exact quote, you’ll hear it later on the show but I think it was something to the effect of hey never before in history have you been able to get so much data on exactly what you should be paid, and what your benefit should be, and then be able to apply it so instantly to positive effect. I’m sure I’m butchering that but-

Mindy: Yeah well and we’ll let him say it in a few minutes. But what I’m talking about is he graduated- I didn’t really bring this up- he graduated with a degree in philosophy which is not the most lucrative degree you can get. It’s got some practical applications and thinking and whatever but there’s not a lot of hard and fast jobs at least not in 2010 that were looking for degrees in philosophy.

He saw Google AdWords or mobile ads or something, he clicked on that he’s like, “Wow, I can change the whole course of my career.” And he did so and it took very little time. What did he say? Like two weeks I think it took him to learn how to do this and start making money.

Scott: Yeah absolutely and I can relate entirely to that.

Mindy: Yeah. Okay but let’s not rehash his whole story let him tell his story. Before we bring him in let’s hear a note from today’s show sponsor.

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Mindy: Okay, huge thanks to today’s show sponsor. Before we bring in Grant I wanted to just share that he has written a book called Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need. And this book is available at financialfreedombook.com in like 5,000 languages. So if you’re listening to this show in English but you speak a different language you can order in every language that it’s available at financialfreedombook.com.

Grant Sabatier from Millennial Money, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. How is it going to day?

Grant: It’s great. Glad to be here, excited.

Mindy: Very excited to have you. Let’s jump right into it because I know you’ve got a ton of things to talk about. Can you walk us through where your journey with money begins?

Grant: Yeah so my journey with money really begins about the time I was four or five. My parents grew up with very little money. When I was six months old, they moved to the Washington DC suburbs and were very kind of low class compared to the neighborhood they moved into, the city they moved into. Like my father used to get one pair of pants for a year and my mother grew up on a really small farm.

So they moved east to give me a better opportunity. And I always kind of felt that, they talked about it. It was very present in our household. But money was a really stressful thing. And interestingly enough, one of the first things that I remember my father telling me was that money is freedom. I was probably four or five and I never knew really kind of what he meant by that until I actually had him on my own podcast.

He was the first episode of the Financial Freedom Show and we got to dive deep into what he meant by that. and he really saw money and moving east as kind of a way to get out of this cycle of poverty that he grew up in. so it was always very present, I knew my parents didn’t have a lot of money, I knew that they talked about it a lot.

And it was something that was always present in our household. And yeah so it’s played a huge part in my life. It was a lot of stress for most of my life and I think it’s not lost on me why I now write about money and I’ve thought so hard about it since that time.

Scott: So what did your money journey look like kind of entering into adulthood?

Grant: Yeah so I went to college, studied philosophy. I took out some loans, I got some good scholarships. I went in just wanting to think, wanting to write. I got out and bounced around about four different jobs, this was the great recession this is 2007 to 2010. I never kind of found my right fit. Worked at like a call center analytics company, I worked as a researcher at a small newspaper. I got laid off two of those four times.

One time my boss clearly told me you’re not making our company enough money. So I was just like my head was all over the place. I realized that I traded about 4,700 hours of my life for $85,000 after taxes during those four years. So some jobs paid okay, most of them didn’t so really my kind of real journey with money starts at the age of 24.

I moved back home with my parents. They said that I could crash with them for three months but they weren’t going to give me a dime. So literally I was like 24 years old sleeping in the same bed that I slept in as a seven year old kid. And I go down to dinner and I just get this kind of extremely disappointed looks from my parents being like, “How did you end up back here?”

And I would say I really didn’t have great money habits as a young twenty something. I went out and spent everything that I made and the first paycheck that I ever got I just blew it. And my real actual money journey didn’t start till I was 24 when I was like, “Hey working in a cubicle sacks, getting laid off sacks. I don’t want to be doing this forever.”

And the same token, I was 24 my parents were at that time in their late fifties, they were both still working. My parents are in their 60s now they’re both still working. A lot of their friends are still working in kind of the middle class America, retirement is talked about nonstop. So it’s something my parents talked about, it’s something their friends talked about.

So for me I was like there has to be some other way to do this thing than just bare down because even my parents were like, “Yeah you’re going to have save 30, 40 years.” And I was just like, “I can’t do this.” I literally had post-traumatic stress syndrome from I had the crappy, crappy cubicle job, crappy bosses and I was like, “I can’t do this again.”

Scott: So you mentioned a couple of points that I think, hey four years of my life for $85,000 after taxes, I’m back living with my parents. I don’t want this kind of concept of working till I’m 60 and not being able to retire, all that kind of stuff. Was this a gradual buildup of these things over time or was there a moment in time where you kind of made a hard transition in how you’re going to approach your finances?

Grant: Yeah. So it was August 25th 2010 was the “aha” moment for me.

Scott: So specific.

Grant: I remember the day man I took a screenshot of my bank account it’s on my website, it’s in the book. And it was the day I woke up and I had two dollars and 26 cents in my bank account. I’d wanted to go to Chipotle, I knew I didn’t have a lot of money left but I was just like, “I’ve got to have enough for a burrito.”

And I literally didn’t have enough to buy a burrito. So I was like I just felt terrible, I’d already sent out over 200 resumes the past couple of months to different jobs, all different types of industries everything you could think about. And I hadn’t gotten a single email back so I was pretty low that day. And I went out and I literally just laid down in my backyard that I’d laid down as a kid.

And I was just like in tears and I was like, “I got to figure this thing out.” So that was kind of the hard stop for me. About a week later I was doing a search on my phone and I saw a Google mobile Ad and I’d never seen one before. And I was like, “Oh what’s this?” and then I just Googled Google Mobile Ads.

And I read pretty quickly the demand for people who ran Google campaigns was growing, that you could get between 10 and 20% of media spend to run these ads that they were jobs. So I was like, “I need to have a whole new skill set,” because I really didn’t have any marketable skills and I also didn’t know what I wanted to do.

But once I had that sort of resolution to try to make a million dollars as quickly as possible, sometime in the next couple of weeks after that kind of breakdown in August I was like, “I want to make a million dollars as quickly as possible.” And then that was my sole goal for the next five years pretty relentlessly nonstop. That was the big aha moment for me.

Scott: Once you made that change things turn- you have a pretty incredible story over that five years. Could you start walking us through some of the highlights of that? Like let’s talk about the first step with the mobile ads.

Grant: Yeah absolutely. So learned that there were jobs running Google campaigns and best of all you could get certified by Google for free. So at the time it was called Google AdWords University. And you could learn how to run Google campaigns and get certified. It’s simple you take a test you get the certification.

So I did that, I put it on my LinkedIn profile, I put it on my resume. And literally the first digital marketing agency job that I applied to, I got the job. They were looking for people to run Google campaigns and the first client I actually had was this website called Cubs World. So I was running Google campaigns selling Chicago Cubs hats and jerseys. And I’d never run-

Scott: You supported them in their World Series right?

Grant: Yeah absolutely. But Google AdWords I mean literally probably every dollar that I’ve made in my entire career, my entire FI journey all traces back to the series of free YouTube videos and getting this free Google certification. I mean and this is something- I shout it to the rooftops, every Lift, every Uber I’m in I tell people about become Google AdWords certified.

You don’t even need a college degree and go run campaigns. There’s so much demand it’s just growing. And I feel very grateful that I did that simple Google search. So I got the job, I was making $50,000 at a small agency in Chicago and I went in with the explicit goal of okay I’m going to save a million dollars. How do I do it?

Okay $50,000 is not enough money to get me there as fast as I want to. But I moved to Chicago I lived in the crappiest apartment ever. My wife then girlfriend wouldn’t even come over to my apartment. I needed a car to get to my job and so I bought a $700 Nissan Maxima on Craigslist. And I just banked every dollar I made.

And I stayed at the office and I felt grateful because it was about a 30-person company so I spent a lot of time with like the SEO guys and the web developers and the designers. But most importantly I spent time with the sales team. And one of the things that I realized was that they got all these calls from companies that wanted digital marketing help that just didn’t have budgets that were at the level that my agency wanted to work with them.

So I was able to eventually start working with some of those clients that didn’t have enough money to work with my company but needed someone to help them with digital marketing campaigns. But that was a little bit later further down the road. Probably about three and a half months in I looked on Craigslist and I got my first side hustle client what was for a small law firm.

I built a $500 WordPress website. And I’d never built a WordPress website before. So once again went to YouTube, watched the videos watched the tutorials built somewhat junky website now in retrospect. But I got the $500, I was like, “This is incredible,” it was the first money that I’d like really ever made outside of a full time job.

So I felt empowered, I felt in control and I was like, “I’m going to do more of this.” So I really got on this lawyer, I was like, “Can you help do that? You know anyone else who needs websites, know any friends.” He ended up introducing me to kind of a little association of small lawyers in Chicago and through that I was able to get more and more engagements.

And then finally three months later I sold a $50,000 website to kind of a midsized firm in Chicago and I underbid a big agency by about half. And literally I just swung for the fences. I was like I’ll get this started in two weeks, $50,000, I used the same template that I’d used for the $500 website and they bought it.

And I did the website in like four days I made $50,000, I remember going down to my mailbox and my hands were clammy when I opened the mailbox because of the first check. They’d paid me $25,000 cheque and I was like, “Anything is possible in life.” And I felt so happy and I invested all the money at that time in index funds.

I was a huge fan of like the Coffee House Investor and the Bogleheads Guide to Investing and I was off to the races. And by the end of that year I’d made almost $300,000 from my side hustles doing so many different things, not just website building but flipping Volkswagen camper vans, flipping vintage mopeds, I was writing whitepapers.

I invested in a small moving company, I was like watching my neighbor’s cat, I just literally every minute that I had, I was like a 24 year-old just like all the time always on all energy. And I was investing all the money. That year I saved about 82% of the money that I made. And then it was off to the races and kind of the next five years were a lot of the same.

I launched two digital agencies myself, I continued side hustling as much as I could. To be honest I was a lot more hardcore now in retrospect that I probably would have been. I mean it took me a while to realize that I had a lot of the freedom that I was looking for much earlier. I didn’t need to have a million dollars or get to FI, I really already had a lot of that freedom.

But it almost felt like post-traumatic stress where I was like, “I got to escape.” And then once I started seeing my investing balances grow I just kept at it. And it took me five years, three months and six days to get there to when I had $1.25million in my investment accounts.

And that day I also took a screenshot of my bank account. And I’d never had taken a deeper breath. I remember just waking up and just literally sobbing being like oh my gosh I made this happen. And then I slept for like a week.

Mindy: Slept for like a week. So I think this is really interesting. So many people have this mentality of oh no I can’t do this, I could never do that. You didn’t just sit around. And like Patrice Washington from episode 50, they were real estate agents and mortgage brokers in 2008 when the whole economy crushed.

And instead of just sitting around and licking their wounds, her husband took a job as a Taco Bell manager just so he could make sure he had food on the table. And here’s you telling basically the same thing, look you’re not going to sit there and just somebody is going to give you a million dollars. You went out and you tried this and you tried this, and you tried this.

And you were watching cats. That can’t pay a lot of money but it’s also how difficult is that to do. I mean as long as you’re not allergic to cats you basically just have to give them food and water and scoop their litter. I mean it’s not a difficult thing, it’s just a few more dollars in your pocket and you were flipping mopeds.

I don’t imagine there’s a huge moped market either but hey every dollar is another dollar. And you were saving 82% of like all income and still living kind of well. Where were you in Chicago when that your girlfriend wouldn’t even come to your apartment?

Grant: Yeah so I lived in Bucktown it’s like Western in McLain. It’s over in this area it’s a nice area but I lived like right by the train so the train was really loud. I live right next to an exhaust shop so there was always like people coming in, there were two shootings when I lived there the first year that I lived there in the alleyway.

And it was just a crappy building you know what I mean. It was crappy I mean the thing about me is like I’m pretty flexible and I probably actually would have stayed there longer than I did. But my wife was just like, “You got to get out of here.” And thankfully that I started investing in real estate. But I think when you really firmly commit to something especially trying to reach FI as quickly as possible, I mean the gains compound. The energy compounds.

It’s like I realized pretty quickly that I could accelerate the rate of compounding that was my huge thing. It was no longer like save five to 10%, I was like if I can save a million dollars by 30 I probably don’t need any money for the rest of my life. I realized that the whole idea of saving as much as early and often as you can was a much sounder strategy than kind of rolling the dice and banking on a really uncertain future in a lot of cases.

Mindy: So you’ve mentioned a million dollars several times. And there was actually a tweet over the weekend where someone was like if I have to read this thing about finding a million dollars or saving a million dollars again I’m going to get to frustrated. Why is a million dollars such a thing? And Aaron Brooke Millennials said, “Well a million dollars allows you to live off of $40,000 per the 4% rule.” Had you heard of the 4% rule? You said a million dollars but where did you come up with that number?

Grant: Yeah so a million dollars was pulled out of the air. I mean it was just like middle class like I haven’t seen a million dollars, like I don’t even know any millionaires I’m going to be a millionaire. That’s just as sophisticated as I was when I started. And interestingly enough it wasn’t until about two and a half years, late 2012 when I first discovered Brandon the Mad Fientist.

He was the first FI blogger that I discovered and at first I was like, “Whoa other people are doing this. And this guy has got a lot of great strength, jeez.” So finding him, I remember finding his site and just reading everything that he’d written and I was like, “Oh my gosh this is pure gold.” And then I discovered Pete and there were a few other at the time but not many.

Mid-2012 there were not many people writing about this at all. So I felt really kind of happy that there were other people out there doing this because I didn’t feel so alone because that was the big thing for me, is that I tried to read books on retirement. But they were all so dry and so boring. I read some great investing books, I read some great entrepreneurship books during this period.

But in terms of like retirement, planning for retirement, none of it was built around trying to retire as early as possible. And early retirement like the stuff that was written it was like really academic and written for people who like retire at 51. And I was like, “I don’t even know how to make sense of any of this. And when I discovered Brandon it was like such a great- I’ve told him that story many times, just like oh man.

I was like seriously man I wouldn’t exist without you, I’m such a fanboy. Once I got into it, then obviously the trinity study, all these numbers. But the thing about it, even the more I research and the more I dive in, those models are nice starting points. But one of the things I quickly realized when I did my first retirement calculator calculation, it said I needed $3.5 million to retire.

And I had like nothing and I was like $3.5 million, how am I going to get there? So I was just like I got to get to a million first. That’s the first stop on this journey. And one of the things is I think the FI community, the personal finance industry, the money world, I think they sell a level of precision that’s just completely unrealistic.

So I also realized that how can I even begin to figure out how much money I’m going to need for the rest of my life when who I am this year I’m very different than who I was two years ago and three years ago. So I think what’s more important is understanding what you enjoy and how much money it takes to live a life you really love.

And then longitudinally make sure you’re moving in the right direction. And I knew there was going to be a lot of margin of error but I didn’t sweat it too much because once I got to the million dollars then I kept saving more and making more. And for me it’s kind of does it pass the sniff test?

And one of the things I know in the future is if everything breaks down and the stock market blows up, I’ll at least have enough saved and can really ratchet back my own lifestyle in order to live forever. So I never got super granular with the spreadsheets.

I was just like instead of spending all my time trying to optimize my expenses and track everything perfectly, I’m going to go out and try to make as much money as possible and invest my energy there. And then I eventually got to a point where I was like completely burnt out and I was like okay, I have enough for now. I’m going to exit the corporate world, leave my agencies.

And I also realized that I hadn’t taken advantage of all the freedom that I’d been able to buy myself. So now I’m at a point in my life where just having the space and time which leads to meditate and grow and exist and be is so much richer, and has made my life richer than money ever could. And yeah that was I’m not very focused on the numbers now.

Money to me has a lot of diminishing returns. Now I’m more focused on helping my friends who’re really stressed. And I think most people are kind of two or three steps away from a life that they’d really love. So I’m writing more about that and thinking more about that. Money often factors into that but a lot of people are stuck in their lives.

And I got unstuck and now I’m completely dedicated to helping those around me and anyone else out there that feels stuck find a way out. Because it’s literally never been easier in history to make more money. And even like Brandon says it’s like here in the US it’s like because of the favorable tax treatment, because of all the income opportunities because of the ability to control your cost of living, it’s never been easier to reach FI.

So incredibly exciting time for those people who are willing to make some small changes in their life. Financial freedom I think has never been more accessible to more people. And I almost think it’s a human right that people shouldn’t have to wake up every day stressed about money. They should be out living lives that they love because we only get one shot at this.

Scott: So earlier on and I want to kind of jump back to this because when I look at your remarkable story of how you kind of went from two dollars to $1.2 million in five years, it seems like the key leverage points that you went after were entrepreneurship and then an extraordinarily low savings rate. So it was basically earn as much money as possible, spend as little money as possible, and then attempt to build assets and I’m assuming invest aggressively.

So you’re really optimizing every channel of financial independence. And the one that stood out the most for me was that you went and took the free online course. And I want to chime in because when I graduated college, I was going to start a job as a finance professional. And I felt that my four year degree in economics with a minor in finance gave me no preparation for on-the-job training.

And I tool a free YouTube course took me two weeks. I did it two weeks before I started my job and that propelled me to be way more effective at that job. And I think that that is really one of the things that sticks out to me is you going out and doing like most people don’t do that. Most people don’t read a book or study a subject to learn a new skill. You can literally do Google Ads.

Grant: Oh yeah.

Scott: In two weeks and be right up there with any industry professional not any industry professional but get a job and begin working on it within four days, right. And that mindset applied to a bunch of different things, applied to all these different side projects; watching cats, whatever it is you’re going to find an opportunity that’s scalable that you enjoy that you can go after if you’re trying them one after the other relentlessly, right.

So if you’re listening to this and you’re in your early to mid-20s like this is it, right. That’s your chance. You can’t do this if you have a family and it’s 10 years down the road, it’s much harder, right and you’re likely to miss out, right.

Grant: Yeah. No even energy, I mean just the amount of energy that I had at 24 compared to now at 33 is vastly different. So the whole idea is the paradox is that when you’re younger, time is more valuable from an income building and compounding perspective. It’s also more valuable because you have more of it and you can leverage it in that sense.

But time seriously collapses as you get older, and in a way that as more- there’s kind of like the curve you have more responsibilities but then you literally have less time. And I’ve studied this intensely just the fact that we have at least half of our life experiences by the age of seven. And by the age of 26 there’s actually a marked acceleration of time because that’s the moment in which we’ve had over 80% of the experiences that we’re going to have in life.

So new experiences actually elongate time in a way that few other things do. That’s why you go on vacation and the first couple of days that you’re there it feels so new, time feels like it slows down. That’s the beautiful thing about travel, it actually expands time. And for me I’m infinitely fascinated by both time and money as human inventions.

And the thing is we embed both of them with so much meaning, so much power. We put all of our emotions into them but if you actually step back and look at money and time as both human inventions, and you embed them with your own meaning, I mean the relationship between time and money, this is the biggest myth in I think the entire world.

One of them is that people think that time is money. And time is not money, time is so much more valuable, so much more rich than money. And you actually can get to a place whether it’s through investing in real estate or hiring some employees to do the work instead of you. You can get in a place where the relationship between time and money is no longer linear.

And once you get to that place, it gives you more of both. And that’s one of the things, is as long as people keep believing that time is money and that they need to trade their time for money, they’re always going to be kind of held hostage by that simple idea. So that’s why when you’re young you have more time, so make the most of it in that sense.

And it’s all about not wasting time at the end of the day. So if you just do a couple of things right you’re going to buy significant amounts of freedom not even in the future just in the next couple of years. And that’s the biggest takeaway for me on this whole journey is that you don’t need millions of dollars or to become FI to get so many of the benefits.

Just get like two years of expenses saved, and then figure out what you want to do with your life. You know what I mean, leave the crappy job, take some time off, take a deep breath whatever it may be, like you do not need millions of dollars to be financially free.

Scott: Yeah and I think what your story demonstrates, what this is, is that all out approach, right. Maximizing a potential in all these areas, saves you time right. Because time is money until you create a situation where it’s not, right.

Grant: Absolutely.

Scott: An immediate income earner earning 100 grand with little to no relative invested wealth, time is money, right.

Grant: Right, absolutely.

Scott: But as you save your first $500,000 million dollars you’re moving towards that and building a really solid financial freedom foundation, the change that you’re talking about becomes true. And the stakes I think are so high to do this, and that’s why I’m so passionate about this job, what I do here, what me Mindy and you do.

I think the stakes are really high. You need to get on the other side of this as early in life as you can with regards to where you’re starting. But you need to do this, the stakes are very high and life becomes very different afterwards right.

And the time that you can apply that pressure in that extreme way that you did in all four of those areas, extremely low savings, extreme effort on every front with a much vast majority of your time on a daily basis, both earned income and entrepreneurial efforts. And then total dedication of your portfolio to the most aggressive assets, right.

The time to do that is in your 20s because the risk becomes intolerable later and later. So I just like want to point that out, if you’re listening to this and you know someone who’s in their 20s and could be persuaded like this is the right approach, two three four years of this and the rest of your life I totally, the world is your oyster.

Mindy: I’m going to jump in here really quick because you are both slightly younger than me, and I’m going to stick up for all of the people who did not discover this in their 20s. When I was in my 20s this was not a thing, nobody- well except Vicky, nobody was talking about this. There were no blogs I mean there wasn’t even the internet when I was in my 20s.

But you can still do this even if you’re older, even if you have a family. I don’t recommend you quit your job that is putting food on the table because you have nothing in savings, I don’t recommend you quit your job and then go try to figure out YouTube University.

Maybe Google Ads isn’t the thing for you but there are always things you can do on the side. So I just want to clarify that I’m sure neither of you guys are saying don’t do this unless you’re 20, but you just have so much more room for growth when you do it when you’re 20. But you can still do it when you’re older, okay.

Scott: Absolutely.

Grant: Yeah I think money only matters if it helps you live a life that you love. And that’s one of the things that I actually didn’t even realize when I was going through this process. I had to get out the other side and kind of detox from it until I realized that. And when I read Scott’s book Set For Life, I’d already become FI and Scott was on my podcast.

And literally it was kind of like looking in a mirror but I was saying, “Oh man this dude is so hardcore. I’m not this hardcore.” But then I realized that oh yeah I am this hardcore. But one of the things you’re absolutely right it all comes down to tradeoffs and this is the big thing. We live in such an all or nothing world where people are like, “I’m either an entrepreneur or I’m not.”

Or, “I’m either going to dive into this thing, do everything perfectly or I’m going to do nothing.” And what this all comes down to is you get like 90% of the benefits just doing a couple of these things, you know what I mean. Just realizing that there’s a limit to how much money you can cut back. There’s just going to be a limit.

Things like even as you write about Scott, there’s a limit to how much like those small things in your life, those are the ones that are probably giving you the most joy, so don’t cut them out. Focus on just cutting back your housing expense. Just the path is so simple and you don’t have to go all out, you don’t have to change your entire lifestyle.

No matter when you’re starting, just a few of these simple switches are going to give you a lot more options and choice and freedom in your life, and then you can do whatever you want with that. It’s incredibly empowering I mean that’s the beautiful thing about this, it’s like you’re in a crappy situation you’re not stuck there.

These tools are out there they’re available. There’s more and more people that are doing this. It’s not like we’re the first people treading this path, there’s everyday success stories of people who’ve done it different ways and been creative about all their different streams. And that’s the beautiful thing because it’s like so empowering.

I mean it’s so empowering just to live life on your own terms and you can do that at any age no matter where you’re starting. I get emails from people in their 50s and they’re like, “I’m just getting started.” And I’m like, “Here are the four things that really matter and it’s up to you to make the choice of actually implementing this or not.

Mindy: Okay. So let’s shift a little bit and start looking at how we can help people who may be just coming to this concept for the first time. Where does somebody start? What is a good first step for somebody maybe just discovered this concept of financial independence and, oh I want to do that I don’t know where to begin.”

Grant: Yeah so I think the personal finance industry always tells you to start with your expenses and to start with your budget. But I think that’s absolutely one of the worst pieces of advice out there. First off I think that budget reinforce the scarcity mindset. They force you to look at those small purchases that in reality are the things that often make you happiest or give you the most joy.

So let’s put the budget to the side for a second and focus first on optimizing where you’re currently making money. So there’s always going to be a limit to how much you can cut back but there’s not going to be a limit to how much you can make. But a majority of Americans are actually leaving money on the table just because they’re not doing things like taking full advantage of their benefits at work.

This is one of the things that just blows my mind is that your company no matter where you work they likely have some benefits that you’re not taking full advantage of. So schedule a 20 minute meeting with your HR department, go in and ask about all the benefits that you have and if you’re taking full advantage of them.

And then the second thing I recommend once again on the income side of the coin is making sure that you’re making as much money as you can in your full time job. A majority of Americans are actually getting paid under their market rate, and it’s never been easier to go out for example and figure out how much money you should be making in your job based on your skills and experience.

So we spend literally over 2,000 hours working for money per year, but we spend like less than 30 minutes on our own career optimization. So go out and dedicate a couple of hours to for example going on Glass Door or Due.com checking what people with your experience and job title are getting paid for their jobs.

One huge piece of advice, go out and talk to recruiters in your industry, because these recruiters are literally paid when they help you find a job. These are people are going to know what jobs are out there, how much money you should be making based on your experience.

And they’re going to give you tips around skills that you don’t have that you can add to your current skillset in order to be more marketable either at your current company or in other companies. I always say that skills are future currency. The more diverse your skillset, I can guarantee the more money you’re going to make not only today but for the rest of your life.

So talk to recruiters and see what you should be getting paid. And then the final thing is just go out and actually look for research in your industry. And this is one of the things I get emails all the time. Hey I’m living in Syracuse New York and I work in IT and I’m making $70,000 but I really don’t see how I can make more money.

The beautiful thing today is that so many companies are looking for remote workers that you can literally live in Syracuse and with a decent cost of living and get a job in New York City doing the same thing that you do but do it remotely. Make twice as much money and then bank the difference. And you don’t even have to move to a different city.

And you can do that just simply no matter where you are, look at the biggest city near you and just Google Chicago IT recruiting company. And then call them up, talk to some recruiters and be like, “Hey I like in Des Moines Iowa but I’m looking for work remote opportunities with companies in the IT industry in Chicago.

That’s the fastest way to get paid more money as well as be able to do it in your own time. So a lot of people focus on the expenses and how much money we’re spending. But like I said there’s a limit to how much you can cut back, there’s not a limit to how much you can make. And even if you don’t like your full time job, that’s the place right now where you’re going to be able to make more money in order to save it.

And if not, you’re going to talk to some recruiter who’s going to find you a better job or you’re going to learn hey instead of going after being an art director I should be a creative director and I can make $70,000 more dollars in two years. And that was the biggest thing for me is like I think the Google AdWords in a vast majority of US cities you can get to six figures starting from nothing in two years or less because there’s such a high demand.

The acceleration path, the promotion path is so clear cut. So focus on optimizing your full time job first because you definitely don’t want to be leaving any money on the table. And the last thing is a vast majority of companies now are willing to negotiate work remote opportunities but most people don’t even ask.

Just start at one day a week and see how you feel and see how your boss feels, because in this sort of time-money linear relationship, there’s nothing that’s going to have the biggest quality of life impact than being able to work remotely, and have more control over your time instead of having to show up at an office and commute. Even if you want to go into the office, just having the flexibility and the opportunity leaves you a lot more freedom in your life.

Scott: That’s awesome advice. That’s really for hey I got a job and I want to earn more money on the income front. And I agree that probably one of the fastest ways you can really begin scaling your income at a meaningful way in a short period of time.

But suppose that you’re in a profession that doesn’t have the ability to rise the ranks like that. Like maybe you’re an accountant or something like that where there’s a kind of a set career track even in various different companies. How do you think about earning more money outside of that career track?

Grant: That’s a great question. So first you always want to start with the skills that you currently have. So one of the things before I get into that, a majority of people think about side hustling all wrong. They think, “Okay I’m going to go out and drive for Lift or drive for Uber, pick up a couple jobs on Upwork. But there’s a huge difference between side hustling for someone else and side hustling for yourself.

So you can only drive so many hours with Lift or with Uber. And what you’re getting paid is still being controlled by someone else. You only have so many hours of your life that you can trade and drive. You can’t drive 24 hours a day. But what there’s not a limit to is connecting supply and demand. So I always tell people, become your own Uber.

Uber doesn’t drive their own cars, all they’re doing is connecting people who need rides with people who will give rides. And anyone can become an Uber in their industry. So as long as say you’re an accountant to your point, if you’re going out and you have to trade your time, sure you can charge more per hour, if there’s demand for your services.

But even better, instead of selling your own time, start brokering other’s time. And so start an accounting firm that specializes in helping online entrepreneurs for example. And then hire a couple young accountants who are familiar with creating courses and building online communities and who are accountants.

And all of a sudden go out and connect online entrepreneurs who need accountants for their online businesses with accountants who are experienced in that industry. So all of a sudden as an accountant you’re no longer just trading your own time for money, you’re brokering others. And that’s the beautiful thing today because you don’t have to hire a bunch of full time employees in order to broker this type of supply and demand.

So instead of just doing the work yourself, sell it and then have someone else do the work and facilitate that connection. And you can do that in any industry with any job whether you’re a lawyer or an accountant or no matter what you’re doing. And the second thing is side hustling is so amazing. It’s an amazing way to get paid for doing something that you love.

And I think a lot of people they see people making money online and they’re like, “Oh I want to go do that, or I want to do this.” But like anything in life you can only do something that you don’t like doing for so long even if you’re making money. And the chances that you’re going to be successful if you’re doing something that you don’t like or love are much lower anyway.

And that’s the beautiful thing today because if you compare your skills and your hobbies and you look for overlap between the two, it’s never been easier to go out and actually get paid to do something you enjoy as opposed to just something that you of as a job.

Scott: I think that’s fantastic advice and I love that what you’re talking about is something that’s scalable. Right it an outcome based thing rather than a time based side hustle, right. I think that’s correct but what if I’m earning $50,000 a year and I feel optimized in that front in my full time job and I’ve got less than $10,000 in liquidity and savings that I can access to go after this.

I may feel that point and may be hard for us to convince that person from this podcast that there are position to go out and hire a couple of accountants for example, right, but they’re not even paid level one accountant how are they going to pay three accountant salaries right?

Grant: Right.

Scott: So what’s kind of that baby step in that direction that you might say? What’s the path toward- because when you’re talking about your side hustle right, you earned $500 with one website and then a couple of progressions later now you’re earning 100 times that.

Grant: So like anything in life it’s all about feeling it out and seeing what works and what doesn’t. so for someone who’s making $50,000 in their full time job and they’re like, “Hey I want to make some money on the side”, we live in a world that tells them, “Oh you have jump off and now be a full time entrepreneur.”

But the best thing for that person to do is go out no matter where you can and find one person to offer accounting services to on the side and see how it makes you feel. Just feel it out because maybe you won’t like doing it. Maybe you’ll do it and be like, “Oh I had to chase down my clients and they wouldn’t pay their invoices and this got really complicated.

And getting emails at 2AM from this person really stressed me out and gosh I’m happier in my full time job because I can leave at 5:30 and then I can go home and not have to think about work.” And that’s completely cool. Like if that’s you, great. Then if that’s the case and you don’t want lump something on the side, make sure that you’re at least on the career track based on the skills you have.

And that’d be the second that I’d note. Look at those people who are above you and figure out how you can jump levels faster. So what’s the difference between a Level I accountant and a Level III accountant or the person at that next level? Is it simply hours of experience? We used to live in a world where you had to put in your dues, two to three years and then you’ll get your promotion.

I don’t believe in that at all anymore, like yes experience is extremely valuable. But I think in a lot of cases skills can tramp experience. So figure out okay what are the people at the higher level of my firm doing that I could do and how can learn that. And if you don’t have an answer to that, it’s probably enough evidence that you should be looking to work at a different firm when you could accelerate that process.

I mean it’s not lost on anyone that whenever you look for a new job your market rates are then reassessed. So if you look at people over their career, if you jump jobs every two to three years, you statistically end up making between two and $300,000 more in your career lifetime simply because leaving to a new company forces you to reevaluate your market rate.

You don’t have to do that by any means but test it out, see how you feel. Get a client on the side. The one big piece of advice that I have for everyone that wants to side hustle that tells me, “Oh well I can’t go out and sell a client.” This is the biggest bear, “How do I get my first client or how do I build a business?”

And the whole idea is there’s so much demand for example for accounting services or digital marketing services and in some cases legal services, that simply just act as a back office freelancer or a contractor. And then work for agencies who are doing the selling for you.

So just a simple case study, I had a buddy who was making about $4,000 a month running digital marketing campaign and agency. He hated his boss, hated the company, was forced to work just like so much overtime. And he was like, “I want to be a freelancer.”

But he’s kind of a shy guy he’s like, “I can’t go out and win clients, how do I go against these big agencies?” And I was like, “Dude just contact the recruiters in your agency and tell them that you’re willing to work as a freelancer to agencies that need back office, back campaign management support. And let the agencies do the selling.”

This is the big thing in the digital marketing world, is that agencies often hire contractors or freelancers because if they lose a big account and they don’t do that then they have to fire everybody. So what he was able to do is he actually got hooked in with eight different digital marketing agencies in Chicago and now he’s the contractor for these agencies. He’s making $100,000 a month.

Mindy: A month?

Grant: A month. He went from $4,000 to $100,000 a month now working as a back office. Doesn’t have to do any selling, these agencies reach out to him and they say, “Hey we got this client can you do this, can you do that?” and now he has so much work he tried to do all himself but he can’t.

But he’s hired another one of his friends. So all of a sudden going from being a salaries $4000 a month employee he is a backend, he runs PPC campaigns for big agencies in Chicago who there’s so much demand for that. He’s making over $100,000 per month.

Scott: I think it’s fantastic and I could not agree more with the concept that skills should tramp experience, right.

Grant: Right

Scott: When I started my career I was a financial analyst right and in that world, it’s not as true. The time and experience really does seem to tramp whether or not you can just do the work or not, right. And because of that, in my first year I was on the short path to my financial freedom, it became glaringly obvious that if I stayed in that track, and there’s not really like a lot of financial analyst contractors out there.

You really need to be like an employee of a company to get all of the sensitive information. So it became exceedingly clear very quickly that there was no upside in this career unless in a similar company setting unless I quit and do something like investment banking and put in the ridiculous hours or went in a totally different direction.

So I left and went on a different career track that had scalability, right exactly what you’re saying. Start a bunch side hustles, I did all that. If you’re working at a job that is super time consuming and all of the skill comes as a result of years and years of experience in that career, then that’s a slow path toward financial freedom. And you got to assess and you got to make the assessment early.

Now I got a tough question for you. Suppose that I’m 10 years into that career, right. I’m assuming that should I have 10 years into that career and I’m a director of finance, right. And I’m making 125, so that’s not a joke money. What do I do then? Do I really consider this? Because the upside is there, but I’m also potentially foregoing my very nice salary that I’ve now earned into because of those years of experience going in.

Grant: Just because you’ve earned something isn’t enough to keep you there. I mean I hear this all the time, people are, “I put in my 10 years I got to the job. Even though I don’t like it I spent 10 years getting here.” What matter is do you love your life? Are you enjoying your life? Does it make you happy?

So I flip that on you and ask if that person’s making 125K and they like their job and they like their co-workers and they’re showing up every day and they go home at 6PM and hang out with their kids and they like their life and they take a couple of vacations a year and they’re happy, congratulations. You won the game.

That’s it, you’ve won the game. You know what I mean you don’t need millions of dollars in that case, you don’t need to financially independent. You’ve won the game. You’re living a happy life that’s sustainable that you can afford. Hopefully you’re saving 20, 30% of your income.

But if you’re 10 years in and say you’re 38, and you’re making 125K and you’re hearing this and you’ve been stressed all week and you haven’t slept. And you’re not spending time with your young kids. And you feel like they’re growing up too fast and you feel really stuck in your life, that’s a whole different scenario, right.

And I would encourage that person to make a transition or plan for a transition in the next three to six months and start unpacking where you’re at. How much money do you have saved? Can you take a couple months off to make a pivot? And then like I said, let’s go back to talking to recruiters.

Dude, you have 10 years of experience in this particular industry with probably a great skillset, is there a company that you could move to where you could get paid the same amount of money but work less time? Then you free up time to spend more time with your kids or do something.

Is there a less stressful job? Is there another more lucrative career that might pay you double the amount of money but have the same amount of time tradeoff? Move over into private equity. I get these questions all the time where, “Oh my gosh I’m working 100 hours a week I’m in private equity. And I can’t sleep and it’s so crazy.”

You have to remember that a vast majority of companies, they’re just legal pyramid schemes. That’s what they are. They’re built to make people at the top more money, whether it’s a shareholder or whoever it is. So you have to just decide am I willing to climb this pyramid and make those tradeoffs in private equity?

That tradeoff is insanely high. You make 80K a year for three or four years then bump up to like 350, you know what I mean. So the net ROI over time, but at the end of the day, the most important question is are you living a life that you love? And if you say yes to that no matter how much how much money you’re making or where you’re at or what you’re doing, then you’ve won the game.

But if you’re stressed out, there’s often a couple small decisions that you can make that can give you a lot more happiness and flexibility in your life.

Mindy: Okay so, this brings up a really great comment and I’m glad you said this, because I have a job that I love. I see myself doing this for at least another 10 years, I’ve got kids in school. But it’s like 35hours a week for 40 weeks a year. So I need something to do with my time and I had the job that sacked and I quit when I got pregnant and had a baby and I was very happy to quit.

And now I’m very happy to stay here. And I think that not all jobs sack and you don’t have to have this FI mentality, “Oh well I hate my job so I’m leaving.” My sister loved her job, absolutely could not talk more great things about it and then her boss left and she got a new one. And she’s like, “Oh my God now I know what you’re talking about when you hated your job so much.”

She didn’t go down the FI path because she loved her job she never wanted to quit. That’s just a really great reason to do this to, because you love your job, what’s to say you’re not going to get cancer tomorrow? I have a friend whose husband has metastatic pancreatic cancer, that’s not a great diagnosis. You go through your FI because you want to lead this best life.

You want to make sure your kids are taken care of, you never know what’s going to happen. And just because you love your job now doesn’t mean that your boss is not going to leave and you’re going to get some-I don’t want to say the word Nazi but you could get some really awful person who comes in and changes absolutely everything that you love about it.

So just because you love it now doesn’t mean that you’re always going to love it. And I love that concept you’ve won the game. I totally won the game with this job but I went through a lot of really crappy losing seasons to get to this winning super bowl win that I have.

Grant: Yeah this moment is all there is I mean that’s all there is. And the thing is you might not have the next moment and so I also think me personally I was addicted to FI. And FI can be money addiction in another form just like chasing that next promotion or the million dollars, over optimizing. I mean Brandon had talked a lot about this, just deprivation generally.

And honestly I probably going back I feel very grateful for what I went through and what I learned. But I probably would have stopped to smell the roses a little bit more along the way. And I feel grateful that I made it through. But that’s the thing is FI all this comes down to is money gives you the ability to have more control over the time and space in your life to do what you want with it.

And that’s why I call the book Financial Freedom because it’s like financial freedom means something different to so many people. FI is one thing. It’s like, how much money do I have? Do I have enough money for the rest of my life? But financial freedom for someone might be just not having any debts so they can sleep at night.

For someone else it might be having a year expenses, so if they get fired they don’t have to worry so much. So they whole idea is once again we live in a world where there’s so much precision around money that’s being sold, and so much fear that’s cultivated. And we have to make sure especially sharing the FI path that we don’t share that as well or support that as well.

All that money is for is to help you live a life that you love, to help other people live a life that they love, to impact the world, to change lives whatever it may be. And there’s no perfect number, there’s no perfect strategy. The whole idea is are you waking up an enjoying your life and how is money helping you do that?

And that’s what it comes down to and the beautiful this is that it’s never been easier to have a great moment, have a great time, have a great day, spend more time with your kids. And asking yourself that question of what kind of life do I want to live as the leading question, and then maybe saying, “I’m willing to get paid half the amount of money because I get off at three and I can pick up my kids and that’s what makes me happy.”

Or I can take a month off but I’m not making as much money as I could. And this is the thing. It’s not all money, money, optimize, optimize. And in fact I think that kind of the quantified self-movement often how do you live when you’re scheduling every 15 minutes of your day? I don’t think I could live that way because to me life happens when you’re open to it, when you exist.

When you put your phone in your pocket or leave it at home and take a breath and say hello to the person next to you. That’s where life happens. Life is the unexpected, it’s not the optimized in my case. And it took me a while to learn that, I mean these are all perspectives, that’s what I learned since I read the book. Because I’m like, “I can close that door, I can shut that chapter.”

And looking back I did some things that I wouldn’t do again, I made some tradeoffs that I wouldn’t do again. But the beautiful thing is that it’s so easy for so many people to get more freedom and time in their life no matter what that freedom means. And it’s a joy that we get to share that with others and help others do it. Because like I said this is all we have. Time is much more rich and valuable than money.

Mindy: I love it, I can’t top that. Time is much more valuable and rich than money. Okay. It is time now to move on to our famous four questions. These are the same five questions that we ask of all of our guests, four questions and a command. I will command you at the end.

Grant: Cool.

Mindy: What is your favorite finance book?

Grant: Your Money Your Life Vicki Robin Joe Dominguez. I read in September 2010. Simple premise, what are you willing to trade your life for? Completely changed my life. I interpreted it, now knowing Vicki and working with Vicki, I interpreted it much different than she intended. My interpretation was, “Oh if I’m trading my life energy for money, I need to make as much money as possible.” Which wasn’t her intention at all. But yeah best book on money period.

Scott: Love it. What would you say your biggest money mistake in maybe those first couple years were?

Grant: Probably my biggest money mistake was I actually didn’t invest in real estate soon enough. So I’m a huge believer now after talking to so many people and reading so many books and just spending my life now writing about this, that real estate is by far the fastest path to FI hands down. I mean just two or three properties-

Scott: After entrepreneurship and these side hustles after 350k.

Grant: Yeah, preaching to the choir here. But I would have invested in real estate sooner and I probably would have made more investments in real estate. I never actually house hacked myself, I just lived in a crappy apartment. I probably could have lived in a nicer apartment and had a couple of roommates. So that would have been the biggest thing that I would have done.

Scott: Love it. I love how your mistake is an opportunity cost right. I think most people say, “I took out a bad debt on this car or whatever.” No it’s if you’re really kind of optimizing here it’s always I failed to invest in the appropriate opportunity. That’s has been my philosophy.

Grant: Yeah saving is an opportunity not a sacrifice. And even debt I wish people stopped talking about debt because debt is the biggest excuse and crutch that most people use not to save or not to go out and make more money. Like I had like over $20,000 in credit card debt in 2010 and I was just like, “If I just let this hold me back, it’s counterproductive. I’m going to go out and make $20,000 and pay it off in one fast swoop instead of try to chip away at it.

Scott: Love it.

Mindy: Yeah that’s fantastic. And you’re right, debt is the biggest crutch and excuse that people use. Oh I can’t do it I’m in debt. Well then get out of debt.

Grant: Or just don’t think about it for a while and go out and make more money and then deal with it later. It’s just like gosh any excuse, people just come up with excuses and that’s fine. I mean that’s up to them. But you can’t say that this isn’t rocket science. None of this stuff that we talked about is rocket science. It’s like just do it for a little while. You don’t have to do it forever, do it for three years.

And you’re going to be better than 99.9% of people in the world and then go back to living that life that you were living before if you want to. But it’s all about having that cushion and just doing this for a little while. It’s not all or nothing, just because you don’t like your living situation or your apartment sucks doesn’t mean that you have to live there in two years.

Just do it for a while and bank the difference. I figured that every $700 that I was saving per month living in a crappy apartment now, because of all the investing that used, I saved like over $20,000 in two years, that’s worth over $300,000 now because I invested it in Facebook and Amazon.

And I feel grateful that I started investing in 2010. And that’s the one question I get are like, “Oh you got lucky you started investing in 2010.” And I was like, “Well I set myself up for luck, it’s like I was ready when it came. Sure it would have taken me maybe three to five years longer.

Scott: You also got lucky by investing in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, here 2018. Right so you’ll be lucky again maybe you won’t but-

Grant: Yeah set yourself up for luck. I just wish that people took some pressure off themselves. I think money people feel so much pressure and you can just feel like do better than you’re doing and keep doing better every month. But don’t stress if you fall off the boat and spend too much money this month and spend too much money.

It’s one of those things where it’s like as long as you’re moving in the right direction, good is better than nothing. You don’t have to be best, you don’t have to understand everything, you don’t have to have it all figured out. Just get started and it’s going to be messy for a while and you’re going to mess up and you’re going to fall off.

But the beautiful thing about money is that it grows if you keep adding to it and if you keep investing. Even if you didn’t invest this month or didn’t invest as much. And at the end of the day I always recommend to people, it’s like look back at what you spent the past month, and look through that lens of did we enjoy what we spent our money on?

And maybe you spent too much money but you had a killer month and it was amazing, you won the game. Sure you didn’t save as much as you wanted but you had an awesome month. That’s a month that you’re never going to get back. So take deep breaths, start over again and then maybe use that information to re-optimize how you’re spending money.

And in January when you can’t go outside spend less but in July when you can travel all the time, spend more. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Take it easy this is all relative. This is life we’re going to make mistakes. So make sure you’re having a good time.

Mindy: Okay. Well I think that kind of jumped the gun for the next question which is what is the best piece of advice for people who are just starting out? Kind of everything you just said.

Grant: Yeah. I mean I think the biggest thing whether you’re in a relationship or doing this by yourself, just sit down and write down what the perfect day looks like for you, the perfect week. Just write some things down. It can just be a scribble like what do you enjoy doing? Okay I like walking my dog in the park I like having bears with my friends, I like playing in fantasies football league.

I like reading books, I like doing XY and Z. and then step back and actually ask yourself how much money it costs to live that day or live that week or live that life. And this is one of the things is a vast majority of those things that tend to make us happiest cost very little if any money at all. So realign your life so that you can do more of those things. You know what I mean.

It’s like you talk to like I don’t know if you know Alec Honnold the really famous mountain climber, he just climbed El Capitan in Yosemite, Free Solo great documentary I highly recommend it. But he’s just like, “I get paid to do what I love and I mean that’s what it’s about. He gets to do what makes him happy, he gets to go out.

So if you really enjoy reading and writing and travelling just make sure you set your life up to do a lot of that and figure out how much money it costs to do that. Don’t just think, “Oh I need this promotion or this job,” because arguably with more money and promotions often comes more expectation and more responsibility.

So even thought you might want that promotion and want to make $50,000 more, your boss is going to expect you to stay later and they’re going to expect a lot more from you. So if you’re happy with how much money you’re making and it fuels your lifestyle, once again you’ve probably won the game.

Scott: I love it. Alright what is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Grant: Gosh I was thinking about this. So I’m kind of a spur of the moment joke person. I’m not someone that comes prepared with jokes to tell, that’s kind of not me. So I’m kind of more opportunistic where I look for that particular thing that’s happening in the moment. And I often make reference back to for example maybe a current event.

So I often have a lot of political jokes which I make sure I will not bring here on this podcast. But I’m more of opportunistic. I don’t think that I have like a prepared party joke. I’m more in the moment and that’s kind of how I live my life.

Scott: Alright. We often get a good one from our audience.

Grant: That’s fine I mean I think they’re often inappropriate. That’s one of the things too.

Mindy: We’re not against inappropriate jokes as long as it’s well just say in advance.

Grant: These are like after three glasses of wine inappropriate jokes. I might have said some to you Scott after a drink.

Scott: Alright I got one from Ivan here. He says, did you hear about the claustrophobic astronaut?

Grant: No.

Scott: He just needed a little space.

Grant: That’s good.

Mindy: Thanks Ivan, that was awesome.

Scott: Yeah.

Mindy: Okay. Grant Sabatier, tell me where people can find out more about you.

Scott: Yeah. So I’m going to do the shameless plug. I have a book that’s coming out this week, Financial Freedom there you go. A Proven Path to All the Money You’ll Ever Need, financialfreedombook.com, millennialmoney.com, @millennialmoney on Twitter and yeah. I’m so stocked 2019 I’m doing a 40 city book tour starting in March and then 17 international cities.

So I’m going to take this message around the world and help people hopefully have less stress around money and live lives that they enjoy and realize that money is not the goal time is.

Scott: And by the way I’ll say I got the chance to read the book early and loved it. And I think that we think very similarly in terms of how we kind of approach the challenge or money and really kind of out it so. Yeah go check it. When is it getting released again?

Grant: February 5th.

Scott: February 5th.

Mindy: That’s tomorrow Scott.

Grant: By it today and you’ll get delivered tomorrow.

Mindy: Perfect. Alright Grant thank you so much for taking time out of your day to share just knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb. I’m typing furiously trying to get all these quotes in and I’m failing miserably. I’m going to have to go back and listen to it again to get these all in but this was fabulous. Thank you so much.

Grant: Yeah thank you. Thanks for all you do it’s fun to be on this journey with you both and hope you have a good day.

Mindy: Thanks you too. We’ll talk to your soon.

Scott: Thank you. Alright that was Grant Sabatier from Millennial Money or should we say new author here of Financial Freedom. Again you could by that at financialfreedombook.com. I thought it was great so go check it out and that will be released tomorrow so congrats to Grant for releasing a book.

Mindy: Yeah that was really one of the best episodes we have had so far Scott. Just knowledge bomb after tip after actionable bit of information that you can take and apply to your life and really just further yourself down the financial path. I really thought it was very interesting, he said you only have to do this for a few years.

You don’t have to actually reach financial independence, and like I said, my sister has a job that she doesn’t really love anymore but she used to. And having the freedom of having a large cash cushion would have allowed here to go and find a new job without having to worry about being able to pay her mortgage and put food on the table and sort of thing.

So I think that’s a bit of information that we haven’t heard before is you don’t have to follow this all the way to the end. Anything you’re doing, any progress that you’re making is better than doing nothing.

Scott: Yeah and I can relate to that entirely because when I started on the journey to financial freedom as an individual I remember going through that phase of just optimizing and depriving of everything, right making these like fairly large sacrifices, moving to places that were well below my means, biking in cold weather, preparing six days’ worth of meals in advance.

Having minute by minute the whole day planned out to maximize opportunity maximize learning maximize income potential future growth all that kind of stuff. And I did that for a year or two it was pretty hardcore. Sometimes I forget how hardcore it was. But after that I built a base of financial stability from which I could scale and that became less meaningful.

So now I don’t have to optimize on every single front, and I can kind of enjoy and I’m going to continue course through have my wealth grow and all that kind of stuff. I can relate exactly to what Grant is talking about. And we got another guy here at the office called Craig Cullop he’s been on one of the episodes I forget which one.

Mindy: Show 45.

Scott: Yeah he’s currently doing that, right. And again all of us know like the goal is not to live 50 years in complete all out optimization every front in the pursuit of making more money. That’s ridiculous right. That’s totally defeating the purpose of life and financial freedom. But if you can do that for a couple of years you might explode past all of that and be able to do whatever you want and live exactly the lifestyle you want within three, four, five years to the letter especially if you started the position of little to nothing.

Mindy: That was great. Scott I wanted to mention because this is BiggerPockets Money but primarily BiggerPockets is real estate investing. And while Grant’s primary investment is not real estate his biggest money mistake was not investing in real estate early enough. And I wanted to just remind everybody that BiggerPockets.com is a real estate investing website.

We have a forum where you can talk about all of the things that you are interested in doing. You can ask questions to get answers to specific situations that you’re encountering. There’s a blog, we have two podcasts, the money podcast and also the real estate investing podcast.

And we have this new thing called Deal Diaries where you can go onto your profile and share your experiences. It helps give a little bit of I don’t want to say legitimacy because that makes it sound like if you don’t have this you’re not legitimate. But it helps lend to your site credibility, right.

Filling out all the information about deals that you’ve had, partnerships that you’ve made with people that you’ve found on BiggerPockets. That’s another great thing that you can use BiggerPockets for. So I just wanted to remind everybody, it’s a new year new you, all of that BiggerPockets.com is a really fantastic place to go to learn how to invest in real estate.

Scott: Yeah and our philosophy always boils down to your odds of success increase if you can see and hear and learn from stories from people who are like you, near you succeeding on the journey to financial freedom through real estate. And that’s what we’re trying to do enmasse with these deal diaries. So please do post them and go check them out if you’re interested.

Mindy: Awesome. Okay should we get out of here Scott?

Scott: Let’s do it.

Mindy: Okay from episode 58 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, this is Scott Trench and Mindy Jensen saying sayonara.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Grant’s money journey
  • On looking at money as a stressful thing
  • Living with his parents again after working in a cubicle for four years
  • How Google Mobile Ads helped him
  • Getting Google AdWords certification for free
  • How running Google Ads campaigns helped him achieve financial freedom
  • On earning almost $300,000 building websites and flipping mopeds as a side hustle
  • On saving 82% of his income
  • How he got $1.25 million in his investment account in five years
  • On having the “spend less, save more, and take free online courses” mindset
  • Looking at time and money as human inventions
  • Good step for people who just discovered the concept of financial independence
  • The advantages of working remotely
  • The difference between side hustling for someone else and side hustling for yourself
  • On living a life you love regardless of the amount of money you are making
  • The differences between financial independence and financial freedom
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “I think when you really firmly commit to something, especially trying to reach FI as quickly as possible, the gains compound, the energy compounds.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The whole idea of saving as much as early and often as you can was a much sounder strategy than rolling the dice and banking on an uncertain future.” (Tweet This!)
  • “As long as people keep believing that time is money and that they need to trade their time for money, they’re always going to be held hostage by that simple idea.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Money gives you the ability to have more control over the time and space in your life to do what you want with it.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Life is the unexpected, it is not the optimized.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Time is much more rich and valuable than money.” (Tweet This!)
  • “With more money and promotions often comes more expectation and more responsibility.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Skills are future currency.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Grant

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.