BiggerPockets Money Podcast 89: Retire Before Mom & Dad with Rob Berger

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 89: Retire Before Mom & Dad with Rob Berger

49 min read
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Rob Berger grew up with a figurative Rich Dad, Poor Dad—except it was a rich dad and poor mom. While his mother almost lost her house after his parents divorced, his father was filthy rich, picking him up in a Rolls-Royce for weekend visits.

Throughout high school and college, he spent every dime he made and graduated with around $55,000 in debt—and a wife.

Upon graduating law school, he thought, “If I don’t save something, it would be a missed opportunity—even if it was $100 a month.”

Keeping up with the (lawyer) Joneses took him in a big way—fancy car, fancy watch, etc. It wasn’t until he started listening to Dave Ramsey and hearing all those people scream, “I’M DEBT-FREE!!!” that it clicked. He didn’t want the fancy things anymore; he wanted to be debt-free.

He started saving in his retirement accounts, while simultaneously paying down debt. His reasoning: “It would be insanity to forgo contributions to your 401(k) so you could pay off your 6 percent student loan debt or credit card debt you can transfer to a 0 percent card. Even if you don’t have a match, you only have that one year to contribute. When the year is gone, that opportunity is gone.”

Rob discovered that small changes in his daily habits didn’t have a very big impact on his daily life, but these small changes had a HUGE impact on his net worth. As he turned down opportunities to spend money, he saw his net worth skyrocket—until his money was earning more than he was!

Rob has taken everything he learned on his own journey and put these tips into a book aimed not at early retirement but financial independence—encouraging everyone to attain the freedom to pursue their best life.

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Scott: Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast show number 89 with Rob Berger.
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 had money or wants more. This is the BiggerPockets and Money Podcast.
How is it going everybody, I’m Scott Trench. I’m here with my cohost Mindy Jensen. How are you doing today, Mindy?

Mindy: Scott, I’m having a great day. How are you doing today?

Scott: I am doing fantastic. It’s another beautiful day here in Colorado. We had a great discussion with Rob who has a very successful money story with a lot of really cool ups and downs and just always a privilege to talk about money.

Mindy: You know what? It is a privilege. It is a very fun experience that we get to chat about money and help people learn little tips and tricks that they can add to their own life to further themselves down the financial independence path. And I just, I really love hearing from people who are listening and saying, you know, I got this out of it, I got that out of it. Can you cover this topic, can you cover that topic? If you have a comment or a question or a suggestion or constructive feedback, please send a note to [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]

Scott: Or as long as it’s constructive criticism and all that kind of stuff or a suggestion. Mindy and I saw that at the show where we just kind of talked about how to buy your first house where we just the two of us people seem to really like that. And so if you have other topics that you’d like us to cover, just me and Mindy in kind of that, that style format, we’d be happy to do that as well. So send some suggestions to the places Mindy just mentioned.

Mindy: Awesome. So today we’re talking to Rob Berger who has, he was the founder of He also has written a book called Retire Before Mom and Dad and financial education in America in schools is nonexistent and we’re hoping to change that. And he wrote a book aimed at younger people generally but old people can read it too. I’m going to read it, but aimed at younger people. Hey, here’s some information that you need that can set you up. A little tweaks that you’re really not going to recognize or notice. Recognize isn’t the right word. You’re not going to really notice a big change in your life but they have huge impacts on your financial future. I really love that he took the time to share that with people. Because at this age I know everything but back in my twenties when I really knew everything, I didn’t know everything. And if I had just made a few changes, I’d be a trillionaire by now.

Scott: Yup.

Mindy: That’s a real term Scott, just so you know.

Scott: I agree [inaudible 00:02:56] 43 zeros after the one, right?

Mindy: Yes. And Warren Buffett would be calling me for advice, probably Bill Gates too.

Scott: Yeah, they don’t already?

Mindy: Well, you know, Bill Gates and I share a birthday and someday he’ll never know that. Okay. Enough about me. We should bring in Rob.
Rob Berger, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. How are you today?

Rob: I am doing great guys. How are you?

Mindy: I’m doing fantastic. I am very thankful to PT from FinCon and PT Money for introducing us because I have heard that you have a fascinating, very unique story with money. Tell us where your journey with money begins.

Rob: So my journey, I didn’t realize it was a journey at the time but it started as a kid. If you’re familiar with rich Dad Poor Dad, that was my life actually. My parents divorced and they both remarried. I lived with my mom and my stepdad and we were the poor dad family. And my dad remarried and he had a business and he became the rich dad. And so my day to day life was very middle class.
At one point it was a struggle for my parents, because of a failed business. I have a vivid memory of my mom sitting me down and saying, we’re going to move, we’ve lost the house. I was a teenager and we’re not sure where we’re going to live. And they ended up not losing it kind of in a freakish way, honestly. But that was sort of, you know, there were times when the power was turned off, didn’t really go hungry but money was a constant issue. And then on the weekends, my dad would pick me up in his Rolls and put me in the backseat and show for me through the Wendy’s drive-thru like I was someone important.
And the Wendy’s and McDonald’s folks, they’d look in the back and wonder who I was. And that was just sort of a fantasy world that I inhabited on the weekends. But that wasn’t my reality. That was my dad’s reality, but not mine. My reality was struggles with money. I kind of saw both sides of it. My father had the country club membership, the pool in the backyard. But that’s not where I lived. So I saw rich dad, poor dad. And I guess that was my real life growing up.

Mindy: So as you got older, did your dad stay filthy rich with his Rolls-Royce and chauffeuring you to Wendy’s like the rockstar that you are?

Rob: Rockstar that I am. That’s a good question. And unfortunately it has a sad turn of events. My father died in a car accident. And I was 12. That’s life, right? I mean, these things happen. It happens to all of us eventually. He was 39 and so, but I’ll tell you the one thing and this really isn’t about money but the best thing that happened to me as a kid in terms of all of the things we are talking about, was that my stepmother and my mom got along beautifully. They always did. And that made a huge difference growing up.
So after my father passed away, I still had a great relationship with my stepmother. We stayed close. She passed away a few years ago. But we were close and so it kind of took an unexpected turn. I think it probably turned out that my father wasn’t, he’d made a lot of money but he spent a lot of money. He was sort of that kind of money person. He wasn’t wealthy, I don’t think but lived what looked like a wealthy lifestyle.

Scott: Did this kind of manifest itself in any discussions growing up around money or kind of how you began to think about money in terms of making it, earning it, investing it?

Rob: Well, I [inaudible 00:06:52] of course I was 12 when he died, so part of that might’ve might’ve been my age, but I was pretty young. And with my parents the only discussions around money were that we didn’t have much but that was a motivator for me. I had a paper route when I was 14. In Ohio where I grew up you could get a “real” job at like a fast food restaurant at 16. So literally on my 16th birthday, my mom took me around and I applied to a number of jobs, got one and worked. I’ve been working ever since. I wasn’t very good with money at that point. That’s maybe worth talking about but I certainly made my own money to spend and I think that instilled in me a work ethic that served me well.

Scott: What do you mean by you weren’t good with money, were you just spending it right away or?

Rob: Yeah, I’ve spent every dollar I made until I got through college. Once I got through college and law school, something snapped in me and changed completely. But up until then, yeah, I spent every dime I made.

Scott: So did that translate to a kind of high-flying lifestyle in high school and college or did that or was that kind of going towards tuition or what did that kind of manifest itself like?

Rob: You have to remember I was making $3 and 35 cents an hour, that was minimum wage, which I guess I’m showing my age here, so I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t call it a high-flying lifestyle, but it paid for the movie tickets and popcorn and eating out and kind of things that the kids do. And I eventually was able to get a car and that helped me pay for the car insurance and the gas. But yeah, so high-flying lifestyle no, but it got me through high school and college.

Scott: Got it. Did you go to law school right after college?

Rob: I did.

Scott: What did your position look like right upon graduation?

Rob: I had a negative net worth of $55,000. We had basically no assets. We had a used car that actually got stolen, I went to school in Boston. The car got stolen and completely ripped apart. Anyway, so we had that car because they recovered it and we kind of glued it back together. And so that was our only asset. And then I had $55,000 in student loans.

Mindy: You say we, were you married at the time?

Rob: I got married young my wife and I, in fact, we just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. And so we got married. I was 21, almost 22, so I had more or less finished undergrad. I finished undergrad in three years more or less. Worked for a year while I took one or two more classes and then went to law school and we got married during that time.
So then she went up to Boston with me and helped get me through law school and then we moved down to Washington, D.C. and I returned the favor and helped her get through grad school.

Mindy: You’re just choosing all these expensive places to live?

Rob: Yeah. Well we still live here, so yeah, it’s tough.

Mindy: The negative net worth of 55,000, that was your student loans?

Rob: Right.

Mindy: And was your wife working while you were in school?

Rob: She was, I mean she didn’t make a ton of money. She was working at a housing company, like Section 8 (housing) helping folks who need help with with housing. It fed us and paid the rent but we still needed to borrow, law school tuition is expensive and so we still had to borrow money to get through law school.

Mindy: And then after law school you worked as a practicing attorney?

Rob: I did.

Mindy: So you were just rolling in the cash?

Rob: Rolling in the cash. Not exactly. I went to work for a big law firm. By the standards of 1992, I made a lot of money right out of law school but of course most of it went to those school loans. So it’s not quite as luxurious as you might think. And I did that for 10 years. Typical track made partner 10 years. And then I took a six figure pay cut and went in house to work at a company because I wanted to do something different. And then three years later I took another pay cut. I was going in reverse, I took another pay cut and went to work for the government.

Mindy: You said that after college, after law school, something clicked?

Rob: Yeah.

Mindy: What clicked, what was that thing? Do you have a defining moment that you finally figured it all out?

Rob: I have two defining moments. The first one was after law school where I realized that if I didn’t save at least something from each paycheck, I felt like it was a missed opportunity. It was like all I was doing was working to survive and even if it was 100 bucks a month, I wanted to save something. And so it was then that I started saving. That was the first one. But I also started over time to live the lawyer lifestyle and [inaudible 00:11:35] in June of 2005.

Scott: How long into your career was that?

Rob: I graduated law school in ’92 so I’m a slow learner. It took me a while to figure this out. That was worth 13 years.

Scott: And what happened to your financial position throughout that time. You were saving something so you had some retirement I presume but what was kind of the general trend with how you allocated your net worth?

Rob: We were certainly saving, most of it is you said was in retirement accounts. We had some saved outside of retirement accounts. That was important to me as well but we had debt, right? I still trying to think, I’m, I’m pretty sure I still had student loans and my wife did. We had a mortgage, we had a home equity line of credit. We had credit card debt. We weren’t drowning. We were getting by. I would say we were probably typical.

Scott: Got it. When you think about this moment where you kind of were like, hey, I’d rather have that debt free lifestyle then all these luxuries, what changed about your financial position and how you accumulated that cash? I know you obviously cut some things you’re able to save more. Does that manifest itself in paying off debt or piling up a bank account or what’d that look like?

Rob: It was a little of both. I’m a big believer in trying to tackle multiple goals at one time. This idea of, you know, pay off all your debt first or all your non-mortgage debt and then invest I think is probably the worst financial advice I’ve ever heard. So I was tackling both. It’s certainly giving up some things like the country club membership and it turns out I’m just as happy without belonging to an expensive country club. So that’s kind of nice. And so it was a combination of both. I wanted to max out my retirement accounts. I wanted to save some beyond that and that I wanted to tackle debt. So I kind of did a little of everything.

Mindy: You just said something that was really, really interesting to me. You said that trying to do one thing and then another thing and another thing is the worst financial advice you’ve ever heard. Why do you say that?

Rob: There’s a couple of reasons, but if you put it in the context of paying off debt versus investing. So there’s a couple things. One, imagine you’ve got a 401k and it’s got a match, right? It would be insanity to forego that so you can pay off 6% debt, student loan debt or credit card debt that you can transfer to a 0% balance transfer card any way or just other low interest debt. That’s just crazy. And even if you don’t have matching you have an opportunity each year to contribute to a retirement account when the year’s gone, that opportunity is gone. It starts all over. But you’ve lost that opportunity.
And the other thing is, you may have some plan to be debt free and whatever, five years, maybe it’ll work out that way but in my experience, it’s sort of two steps forward, one step back. So that five year plan could end up being seven, eight, 10 years. Are you really not going to invest during that entire time because of some notion that you’ve just got to get rid of all your debt? I just think that’s not the optimal approach.

Scott: How much of your approach was changed because you dived into kind of studying your position and figuring out what an optimal approach will look like or how to kind of go about this? Was there a lot of self-education in this period or was it pretty straight forward for you?

Rob: It was a little of both, but I mean it was all just self-education. I didn’t hire a financial planner. You know, I read a lot of books. Of course I ended up starting Dough Roller in ’07 but by then I’d kind of figured out I think what was the right approach for me by that point. But it was a lot of reading. A lot of it was understanding investing. That was probably the biggest part of it.
Managing the debt I think is the easy part. I mean it doesn’t feel like it’s the easy part when you’re trying to get out of debt. But I mean, in terms of priorities and how much debt, what debt should you try to tackle first and should you do other things like say for a child’s education or buy a home? To me, those, you know, they take some thought but they’re not that difficult. The investing piece, I had to learn a lot.

Mindy: How did you learn that because you were investing, I think that we’re about the same age and I also made 3.35 an hour at my first job at Dairy Queen. Shout out to Berkshire Hathaway. How did you learn about investing before the internet was invented?

Rob: One was practice in the sense of, you know, I made a lot of mistakes to begin with. My first 401k I had no idea. I looked down the [inaudible 00:16:14] just pick the funds with the highest 10 year average return.

Mindy: Past performance is not indicative of future [inaudible 00:16:20]

Rob: [inaudible 00:16:24] right. That’s true. We might not repeat but sometimes it rhymes. I don’t know. But that’s how I did it to start with. And frankly that was better than doing nothing. But I had no concept of asset classes, asset allocation, stocks versus bonds. And so that all came from reading.

Mindy: Oh, just like the Internet.

Rob: Yeah. Except I turn to books probably more.

Scott: I had to go to the library, that sounds-

Mindy: Scott, in the old days there was no internet. If you wanted to look something up, you had to drive to the library, look through that giant card catalog with little drawers.

Scott: Hey, I do have a library card. And I think that probably puts me into less like I got to be in the 20th percentile of millennials.

Rob: When was the last time you used it?

Scott: A couple of months ago.

Rob: Oh, good. Strong.

Mindy: Scott’s an avid reader. He’s just slightly younger than you and I.

Scott: How did this transform your net worth over that period? So you start, you have this epiphany and you cut out all this stuff and you start applying yourself to kind of figuring out an optimal blend that you think works for a situation. What does that look like over the next couple of years up until that transition point where you took that pay cut?

Rob: Well, it grew substantially. The first thing and the most important thing we did in terms of debt was just stop borrowing more. And we turned down opportunities to get stuff in exchange for 0% interest and all those sorts of things. We started paying cash for cars, which meant in part we didn’t get cars that were maybe as nice as we might’ve purchased had we financed it. So that helped our net worth longterm. And then just consistently doing the basic things.
Saving as much towards your retirement as you can saving beyond retirement accounts, which I think is really important if you know, to take some time to get there. But I think it’s really important. And what happens is it’s just snowballs, right? When you first start to save all the work is on you, it’s all of your work. You hopefully spend less than you make, you invest it and your account doesn’t grow that much. But when you’ve done it for 10 years or 15 years, all of a sudden the returns on the account over time are far more than you’re putting in. And then it just snowballs and takes on a life of its own. And so like today our investments make more than I make. Of course we’ve been at it 30 years, so it takes some time.

Scott: Well with that, what I want to kind of get to the bottom of is how important was this net worth growing and these accounts beginning to snowball. How important was that to your decision to ultimately take a pay cut and do work that you were more interested in? What was the relationship between that and that lifestyle?

Rob: That’s a great question. And it’s something that I talk about in my book because when people think about retirement savings, they think about something they’re going to save for that they’ll spend 30 or 40 or 50 years from now. That doesn’t sound very appealing, but one of the points that I make is your net worth, if you will, can have a tangible effect on your life even without spending the money.
So when I took that pay cut, I was able to do it without worry. We lived a modest lifestyle relative to our income to begin with. So we weren’t spending every dime we made. So yeah, that shrunk our cushion quite a lot. But we had money in the bank to fall back on if we needed to. Without that the job change may have never happened. I would have been sort of handcuffed to a job that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Scott: Love it. In my experience in talking to a lot of people about this exact situation, it seems to me that it’s a sliding scale. It’s different for everybody but the bigger your pile is, you know, to in eloquently described you’re growing net worth in a variety of places that you’re doing it, it seems the easier that decision is over time. What were some of the keys to the exact situation that you created for yourself in terms of why that let you make that change?

Rob: The key to me is comparing your annual expenses to your net worth. That’s the relationship that matters. For long could you live on the money you’ve got in the bank, invested and so on. And I don’t remember what it was when I took the first big pay cut, but certainly it was years we could have gone years without any income. Of course my pay cut fortunately wasn’t quite that severe. And frankly on that second job, the second job didn’t work out when I left the law firm. I mean it worked out in terms of my relationship with the company, but it didn’t work out in the sense that I didn’t really like the job or the company I was working for. Or maybe that’s too strong.
But there were issues there, and I can remember being in a very difficult meeting with someone and he was screaming and yelling at someone else and I thought I can walk out of this job tomorrow. Today I could leave this meeting right now and walk out the door and never come back. We’d be fine financially. To me that’s a very tangible way that your wealth, wealth that you’ll never spend or at least you may not ever spend, can have a tangible effect on your life. And in fact, it was shortly after that meeting that I did leave and went and took another pay cut to go work for the government.

Mindy: So this is something that I think is really, really important. I want to just touch on this again, early financial independence or financial independence in general is not about quitting your job necessarily. It’s about giving yourself the freedom to do what you want when you want. So right now I have a job that I love. I was gonna say 10 years ago, 10 years ago I was a stay-at-home mom.
20 years ago, I did not have a job that I loved. I had a job that I had to go to because I didn’t have enough money in the bank to walk away and I needed to pay my mortgage and I needed to pay my rent, my expenses. And so I was stuck there and I didn’t love it and I really wish that I could quit every single day. And having that freedom, it’s like I love my job now. It’s so amazing and I choose to work here, but I don’t have to work here. It’s just, it’s nice to be able to make decisions not based on income. It’s so freeing.

Rob: And part of it is to me is liking what you do, but also how. For me, I work at Forbes now. I don’t need to work at Forbes. I could retire but I work from home. I enjoy the work I do. I work with great people. It still gave me time to finish, retire before mom and dad. It’s much about a lifestyle as well as it is the specific job that you’re doing. At least for me it is.

Mindy: I didn’t know you worked at Forbes?

Rob: I do. I’m an editor. I’m a deputy editor.

Mindy: Okay, cool.

Scott: I do want to hear about the transition to Forbes, but let’s pick up where we left off with the government job. You’ve got many years times your annual expenditures. It doesn’t work out this next job and you go to this government job, what does that look like and how does your position change from there?

Rob: The government job was a pay cut again but still certainly a comfortable salary. Nothing like a private law firm. And it was a wonderful job. I loved what I did there. And it was at that point that I started Just really at that point it’s just a hobby. It’d been a couple of years since I had that Dave Ramsey Show experience and I wanted to write about it. And eventually I ended up going back to my old law firm working there for a few years and then retiring from law.
During that time Dough Roller grew and grew and grew into a moneymaking business. Again, it wasn’t the plan. I was as surprised as anyone but what we did or what we didn’t do is change our lifestyle. So we didn’t change our lifestyle at all. Any extra money the website made went to pay down debt. And that’s one of the nice things about a side hustle. I think there’s just a psychological component to a side hustle where you view that money differently than you do your regular job income. Even though at the end of the day it’s just money and you can do whatever you want with it.
Well, what we decided to do was just pay down debt. And over time we ended up becoming debt free. I mean, it took a while. It didn’t happen overnight. And if I’m going too fast to this story but I ended up selling Dough Roller almost two years ago. And that’s when I completely retired. I still do the podcast, Dough Roller Money Podcast. I love doing the podcast. And a month later Forbes called me. I’d been a contributor at Forbes for five years probably. And the [inaudible 00:25:33] Bureau Chief called me and said, would you like to be an editor? And I thought to myself no, I don’t think so. I’m good. But we started talking and it seemed like, yeah, well this might be fun. So that’s what I did. And that’s been about a year and a half, I guess.

Scott: With the job at the government.I am guessing here so let me know if I’m completely wrong but was there a reduction in the average weekly hours that you are working compared with private law that you were doing previously?

Rob: Definitely compared to private law, it was probably comparable when I was in house. In private law you’re basically they’re wanting you to build 2,000 hours a year and that’s billable. So that’s not administrative time, obviously not vacation. And there were years when I would build 2,400. Now, a lot of that was travel. And as I look back on it there were some great experiences there, but it was hard on the family. That was one of the reasons I left was a better balance between work and life. But the government job was comparable. I mean we worked hard there, it wasn’t, don’t imagine a 30 hour work week but it was probably more like a 40 or 45 hour work week.

Scott: Got it. And the reason I asked that is because, do you think that that transition, it sounds like the in house [inaudible 00:26:56] job was similar but was that what kind of allowed you the extra time to begin Dough Roller?

Rob: Maybe to some extent. That’s a whole nother story. I think leaving the culture of big law changed my mindset about what makes me happy and about money. And so to me that was probably a big turning point. But when I started the site I was up seven days a week, 5:00 AM, two hours working on the site for two years [inaudible 00:27:26] I did that and I worked on it on the subway to work in DC, worked on it at lunch, worked on it on the way back. I certainly would have been much harder, well some ways it would’ve been much harder had I still been at the law firm. I traveled a lot. So maybe that might’ve made things actually easier in an odd way. I don’t know. But it was, I mean, I was highly motivated for reasons that frankly, I don’t fully understand why I would do that but I did it and it was a lot of fun.

Scott: What did the trajectory of that business look like? I’ve had experiences with other people who have started blogs say the early years are harder. What did it look like and when did you kind of like, hey, this might be a real business or a real thing here, when did that moment happen for you?

Rob: The first six months I made $100. And I was really excited about that $100 I got to tell you. The next year I think I made 30 and I remember we gave half of it to charity.

Scott: $30?

Rob: No, 30,000.

Mindy: Oh, I was going to say you gave 15 whole dollars to charity. You’re so generous.

Rob: Sorry. That’s a good clarification.

Mindy: Wait. How do you go from making $100 in six months to $30,000 in 18 months?

Rob: When I started, I knew nothing about blogging, WordPress, SEO, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing. I’d never heard of bigger [inaudible 00:28:49] I just heard of nothing. I was nothing. So a lot of it was a learning curve. And then over time, I think once you’ve published enough content, it takes time for the search engines to sort of recognize your site and say, okay, this might be a website we want to send some of our searchers to, if you will.
And so it’s very much, it’s like the flywheel concept, it’s really hard to get moving but once you start spinning it, it gets easier. And that’s very much true. It’s true with compounding of returns in the beginning. It just doesn’t seem like anything’s happening. But then enough time goes by and you see the compounding wealth. It’s the same with the blog. The year after that I hit six figures.

Mindy: What, you hit six figures in year three?

Rob: Yeah.

Mindy: Okay. Wow. Oh, so-

Scott: And that was 2010, right? 2009?

Rob: 2009.

Scott: That’s a very impressive start to a business.

Rob: Well, and the nice thing was, so we’d already really cut back on the way we were spending four or five years earlier and had really been focusing on debt before we had this money. And as I said, I was telling my wife the other day, we’ve spent on almost nothing other than taxes, charity in debt. We’ve spent almost nothing of the money from the dollar made from that point forward, including the money that was generated when we sold the company. We spent almost none of it.

Mindy: You said you treated Dough Roller money different than salary money, side hustle money is different and you use it to pay down debt. Was this still your student loan debt? Was this just other random debt? And when did you finish your debt pay down and did that include your mortgage?

Rob: Right, so it did include student loans to begin with. One of the things I look at when I’m paying down debt is not just how big the balance is or what the interest rate is. You know, the whole debt snowball versus debt avalanche debate. But I also look at the type of debt. I’m much more comfortable paying off a home equity line of credit than I am say an installment loan like a car or a student loan. Because I know that if I need, if something happens and I need some credit back, I can go hit the home equity line of credit again for more money. You can’t do that with an installment loan.
I tended to focus on the home equity line of credit. And then when I felt really comfortable, I put more money towards installment loans. And we were out of all of our non-mortgage debt by probably 2014 I would say. Now keep in mind though, we had not changed our lifestyle one bit and so we were still spending less than I made from my regular job, which at this point would have been the law firm. And so we just hadn’t changed our lifestyle. And then I think paid off the mortgage by 2016.

Scott: Nice. What prompted the decision to then sell the business?

Rob: I wasn’t looking to sell it. A company approached me and then another company approached me. The number was such that it just made sense and I thought it would free me up like to finish retire before mom and dad, which is a book that I’d been working on for like three or four years before that. There were just other things. Life is short. In some ways it’s the same reason I left the partnership, the law firm the first time. It was this sense that you’ve got one life to live and I just want to do different things. And so I’d built the blog, it’d been 10 or 11 years. The offer was right. I liked the company I was selling it to and it would allow me to do other things.
Now at the time I didn’t envision going to work for Forbes that wasn’t part of my plan. But I have other things that I want to do that I’m going to start pursuing here soon and in fact going to be working on a second book and it would’ve been hard to do those things had I continued to run Dough Roller.

Scott: Got it. So once that changed you were then able to, what was, you know, you’ve articulated several of these points around the discussion we’ve had previously, but can you sum up one more time what happened after the sale and what you kind of went on to do with your lifestyle there?

Rob: So the lifestyle didn’t change. I know that sounds so boring, doesn’t it?

Mindy: The best money stories are boring money stories.

Rob: In fact, so I had leased a car, which I don’t recommend but it was for tax reasons and my business and the lease was up in July. I didn’t get another car. My wife thinks I’ll cave and eventually get a car which is fine. I might. But our lifestyle, it’s like life will be easier. The fewer cars you own, the better life can be. I understand you have people have to have cars, whatever. But our lifestyle didn’t change at all and it still hasn’t. And so after I sold it, I continued to do the podcast started to work for Forbes. And fast forward now a year, year and a half. And here I am talking to you guys. There it is.

Mindy: Okay. So you said you’ve been working on this book for a while now. What prompted you to write Retire Before Mom and Dad?

Rob: As part of my podcast, I cover investing a lot, building wealth, spending less than you make and saving the difference, compounding. And it resonated with a lot of people based on the emails that I received, the Facebook group. And I didn’t think there was a book out there quite like it where you actually walk through the power of compounding, not just in some sort of vague, if you save x dollars, you end up with y in 45 years. The book certainly talks about that but it actually gets into the detail and talks about how small changes in your daily habits, what kind of effect does that have on building wealth and how soon you achieve financial freedom and how to even [inaudible 00:35:00] maybe bigger changes that you might be able to make effect compounding and your wealth. And then walk through in some detail how to go about doing that.
The goal was a very practical book that will take someone who has no knowledge or limited experience with investing and it gets them very comfortable with the idea of putting their money in a 401k or an IRA. I talk to a lot of folks and I’ll ask them, so are you investing in your 401k or an IRA? Yes I am. Oh, what are you investing in? Well, I’m not sure. Okay, well how much does it cost? Well, I don’t know. Do you understand the impact that fees will have on your wealth over time? They don’t. So we walk through it but that’s the kind of book that I wanted to write. It’s not a 60,000 foot overview of personal finance. It’s roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your hands dirty. And that’s what it is.

Scott: What are some of the kind of the big levers if you will that you think are the most important things for anybody to read this book to think about in their financial position?

Rob: The first is the power of compounding. If you tell someone making whatever 40 or 50 grand that they can become a millionaire, it doesn’t resonate. The numbers just don’t work. How can, you know, I’m not making a good salary but I’m not making six figures. I can save so much. I just can’t possibly happen. And it’s because our minds don’t intuitively grasp compound returns.
The whole first part of the book, the book’s in five parts. Part one is all on that because at the end of the day that’s what’s going to power our wealth. We got to save to get the ball rolling but it’s the compound returns that power the wealth. And that’s true for you and me. It’s true for Warren Buffet. It’s true for everyone. And then I spend two parts on the book talking about financial freedom and how to achieve it and some ways that you can make some seemingly small changes in your life that have really big impact on wealth. And we get very specific and I talk about sort of life experiments that you can run. I think we get into this sort of routine of life and there’s nothing wrong with that but we spend money out of habit and routine. It’s just sort of our daily life.
When I was working, it was Starbucks every morning, not to [inaudible 00:37:22] lattes. I love lattes, but you got into this habit, I’d eat out at lunch and we’d do the same vacation every year. And it was just sort of this routine. And what I found was we could actually change that if we want to. You know what? We’re going to be just as happy. We have far more control over what makes us happy than we think we do. And therefore we have far more control over how we spend our money. So the book really dives into that and the third part is how to invest. And I get very specific.
We talk about specific mutual funds, approaches to investing. We talk about retirement accounts, how to open up your first IRA or start investing in your 401k. The goal is to, when folks are done they can start investing with some confidence that they know what they’re doing. And I think that’s critical. And then the last we do talk some about debt and priorities, which we’ve mentioned earlier in the show and how to think about those issues and how they should affect building wealth. In some ways it kind of covers just about everything you need really I think, to make sound financial decisions and get started on the right track.

Scott: Love it. What do you kind of think about in terms of the end game? How does it look like to prepare yourself for the actual early retirement itself?

Rob: That’s a good question. I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ll tell you when I know the answer to that I’ll call you guys back and let you know. So one secret to the book, which won’t be secret anymore, while it gives you the math of early retirement, I’m not pushing early retirement. And it would be odd if I did. I suppose since I’m working and I don’t have to. I’m really pushing early financial freedom or financial independence. And to me, once you achieve that and even as you’re moving towards it, what that looks like is going to be very different.
For some it might look like early retirement, right? For others they might be behind a microphone doing a podcast. They might start a business, they may work for a charity, they may write the book that they’ve always wanted to write. They may spend more time with family. There is no that, that really is something that each of us individually have to decide. And our decisions in that regard may change over time. That’s okay too.

Mindy: That just goes back to my point earlier that it’s not about quitting your job, it’s about being able to make decisions that make you happy. And I absolutely 20 years ago would have been like, I can’t wait to quit. And now it’s more like I choose to do this, I get to do what I love. I have kids who are in school 35 hours a week, 40 weeks a year, I need something to do while they’re in school. And this job fills that time very nicely and I enjoy it very much. And once you hit financial freedom, you can also find something that occupies your time, that you enjoy as much as I enjoy this.

Scott: And on that note, what I think is interesting is here are the three of us, right? We all you know, have achieved a level of net worth that is many times our spending and technically therefore probably in a financial freedom. I’m guessing for both of you guys obviously and yet we all work. And what does that working allow us to do? Or at least in my case, it allows me to maintain a far more aggressive asset allocation than I would if I depended on that income generally.
And so that’s where I think this whole sliding scale of financial freedom is so interesting and important because I consider myself financially free. Yet, if I were not to work anymore, I would clearly change my asset allocation and all that kind of stuff and invest according to a different set of principles. But it just, I don’t know, that’s an interesting philosophical play I don’t know how far that rabbit hole goes.

Rob: I would add this. I think we can build up in our minds just how wonderful financial freedom would be as this sort of great place. And if I can just get there, I’ll be happy. And I do think it’s a goal worth pursuing and that was a goal that I wanted to pursue. But our basic level of happiness is primarily not going to change dramatically in our lifetime. And so if you’re miserable before you quit work, if that’s your desire the chances are you may not be much happier after you quit work.
Now you may have a bad work situation, but sometimes we can put too much on the future and the grass is always greener kind of thing. And after we achieve financial freedom, we still had the same struggles, not financially but the dishwasher breaks and it’s still a pain. I guess it’s a little easier because you can afford to fix it but it’s a hassle and we have two children and we love them both and they can both drive us crazy, right? So hopefully they’re not listening. If they are, you guys know it’s true.
It’s a great thing to achieve and it’s what I try to help people achieve in the book. But it’s still you when you arrive you can’t leave yourself behind. You’re still there. I don’t want to throw what blanket on the whole financial thing. [inaudible 00:42:42] when people go like, well, I’m not going to buy your book now Rob. I mean, that sounds horrible.

Scott: Yeah, no, absolutely.

Rob: I think, life is hard truthfully. And I think the sooner we realize that the better life gets.

Mindy: And I think shedding light on it from the other side of financial freedom is really important because there are a lot of people who are like, oh, I’m going to get to financial independence and then I am golden. Everything is going to just be unicorns and rainbows. And that’s not true. My husband no longer works. He had a very stressful job with the government. He wrote the software that gives you a unit of blood when you need, if you’re a veteran. So there’s the potential to kill somebody. There’s the math and science behind like matching blood with people. And it was just really stressful.
And he discovered this whole thing because he had a very stressful day. He thought there was a bug in the code that was going to kill somebody. And he’s like, how do I quit my job? I can’t do this forever. And Mr Money Mustache popped up and he’s like, oh wait, I could like this math makes sense and I can do this. But then once he got to that point, yeah, we’ve got two kids. They still fight all the time. In fact, there are days… No, they’re perfect in every way. There are days that I am leaving for work and they’re fighting at the table and I’m like, wow, I love my job so much that I’m excited to be going there. Sorry, you’re stuck at home with the girls fighting horribly fighting. Oh my goodness. MMA has nothing on my two girls. Those guys would get in a ring with my girls and tap out. Sorry, I’m out, I can’t handle this. It’s definitely not life changing.
It’s life changing. But it doesn’t alter your reality. You still have to deal with like my [inaudible 00:44:33] is open, stuck open in my bathroom and it’s really disgusting because I have now an open line to the sewer. I don’t know if you know this, but it doesn’t smell pretty. So I have to fix that. I have to come up with a way to fix that, hopefully not cutting into the wall and my dishwasher still broke like three times and like it’s still stuff happens and you just deal with it and you move on. But it doesn’t just make everything perfect in every way.
I think there’s not enough people talking about what happens after you reach financial independence. If you have like, how do you spend your weekends now when you’re having a job, that’s what you’re going to be doing full time. If all you’re doing is watching TV and eating chips on the couch, life after retirement is going to be a whole lot of watching TV and eating chips on the couch. And that’s not really a productive way to spend your life. Although Scott and I have talked as soon as he retires in a 100 years, he’s going to play video games for six months straight.

Scott: [inaudible 00:45:28] They’re going to get better every year, which is why the stakes are so high for-

Rob: So if you retired today, what video game would you play for six months?

Scott: I just work relentlessly and love doing that. So the reality is-

Rob: Well you don’t have a video game. I mean do you have a Twitch? Are you on [inaudible 00:45:48] What’s your channel?

Scott: I do have an Xbox and I play some RPGs occasionally but the problem is like the games that you like want to play that are really competitive. You have to put in a tremendous amount of hours and there’s like a 13 year old kid with a really high pitched voice on the other end of it who’s destroying you and it’s just not good for the morale and you’re like, what am I doing? The dream I paint isn’t really the reality that I-.

Rob: I’m a chess player and I go to tournaments and the 13 year old kids destroy me in chess. So it’s no fun, no matter what game you choose.

Scott: There you go.

Mindy: There aren’t a lot of 13 year old Pac-Man aficionados.

Rob: That’s true.

Mindy: That should be your game of choice.

Rob: Miss Pac-Man was my game also Donkey Kong Jr. I was a champion at Donkey Kong Jr. but that was a long time ago.

Mindy: My brother just went to a Smash Con, which is a Super Smash Brothers tournament or whatever. It’s right near my hometown in Maryland. And apparently people fly in from all over the world who are professionals that play this game in these tournaments to win prize money. So that’s what I’ll do when I-

Rob: I’m old enough to remember going to the pizza joint and playing pong and then Space Invaders was sort of the first arcade game that at least I remember then Asteroids.

Mindy: I had Pawn. It was one game console. You plugged it into your TV and then you like, yeah. Really dating ourselves. Remember Rob when your mom said you’ll never make money playing video games, go do something else. And now there’s people that make money playing video games. Like that’s their job.

Rob: Mrs. Jones, she was my ninth grade typing teacher and she got mad at me one day when I said, I’ll never type, I don’t even know why I’m taking this class.

Mindy: I took typing, it wasn’t even a keyboard and he was like, typewriter [inaudible 00:47:38]Scott’s like, I don’t even know what the typewriter is.

Scott: Typing was the best class. All the classes I took in elementary school, that was the one that translates [inaudible 00:47:48]

Mindy: We didn’t have computers at elementary. Okay, this is, nobody’s going to want to listen how old I am.

Scott: The point I think of all of this is like, hey, early retirement and early financial freedom, you know, whatever you want to call it, financial independence. There’s a million buzz words out there. I use financial freedom for a variety of reasons. But the reason why we’re talking about this and believe it is because it is so empowering and does have the power to completely change your life in a lot of ways.
It won’t be an overnight cure to happiness versus unhappiness but it’s a heck of a lot better to be able to say, you know what? I could leave this job tomorrow and go take another job and then act on that because you don’t need the money and you can bit by bit give yourself a higher probability of a better day to day life and situation. And listening to BiggerPockets money and reading, Rob, your book, Retire Before Mom and Dad, you know, those types of actions can increase the odds of that. It just give those, make these things better. Because Mindy, for all the troubles you’re having with your sewer line and your dishwasher, how much worse would it be if you didn’t have the funds or didn’t have the time or a bill or option to go and take care of those? If you weren’t managing your money longterm, the right way.

Mindy: Yes. It would be infinitely worse if I had to live with that forever, that would be gross. I was disgusted that I had to live with it yesterday. It’s absolutely, that was a really great sum up of all of that. We’ve been talking about early financial freedom, just it’s not financial freedom, it’s lifestyle freedom and you now have the freedom to live the lifestyle that you want.

Scott: Yeah. And if I’m being honest you don’t really need that much money to play video games all day. I could have got there a long time ago. I know a lot of people who have no money and play video games all day. So that doesn’t seem to be a barrier.

Mindy: I know a lot of people who have no money and play video games all day and that’s why they have no money is because they play video games all day. They need to play it even more and get better and be a professional and go to Smash Con.

Rob: Did you ever play Rip-Off? That was my favorite video game growing up.

Scott: [inaudible 00:49:54] I never played Rip-Off. I’m such a [inaudible 00:49:55]

Mindy: Scott, is it time for the famous four?

Scott: Let’s do it.

Mindy: This is the time of show that we bring in our famous four questions. These are the same four questions and one command that we ask of all of our guests. Rob Burger. Are you ready?

Rob: Well, I guess so. Sure.

Mindy: It sounds so ominous. I’m just going to ask you, what is your favorite finance book?

Rob: I’m scared to death but yeah, go ahead. What do you got?

Mindy: What is your favorite finance book?

Rob: Well, guess I won’t say mine. I’ve read a lot of them. I think the one book that’s not a finance book but I think it can help you with money is The Power of Habit by Duhigg. Because I think so much of how we spend our money is born from habit. And I know what James Clear came out with Atomic Habits so that’s a related concept and a very good book. I think those can help you a lot, not just in finance but in other areas of your life. Even just to start to think about how much of your daily life is born out of habit. And by the way, once you identify a habit that you want to change and you change it and you’re miserable, right? Whatever that habit might be. But you go a couple of weeks, two, three weeks and then you’re no longer miserable anymore.
Whatever it was that you gave up or whatever it might be. You don’t even miss it. And once you do that, even one time, it shows you just how much control if you want to you can really exercise over your likes, your dislikes, your habits, how you spend your money. Those would be the books that I would, you know, outside the world of finance. But I think can have a big application to how you spend your money.

Mindy: Well, you made the point earlier that when you were working, you had the same habits. Starbucks every day and going out to lunch every day and bring your lunch one day and see what happens. Or make coffee at home one day and see what happens. Oh wow this tastes terrible. Okay. How do I make this taste as good as what I was going out?

Rob: Yeah. What I found like with with the lunch, it wasn’t that I wanted to eat out. It’s that I wanted to get out of the office. And so when I started, when I take my lunch, I would just leave the office and I actually, I got what I wanted out of the lunchtime. But it wasn’t about buying the lunch. And I used to get mochas five, six, seven times a week, every day almost. And when I cut that out more for health reasons, I was miserable for three weeks. All I could think about were mochas. I haven’t had one in two or three years and don’t miss it at all. We have a lot more control over what makes us happy than we think.

Mindy: And just because you cut something out, does it mean you can’t add it back in if you discover, hey, this is something that I really need. Liz from Frugalwoods was on episode way back on episode 10, and she said that when I discovered financial independence, I cut out everything including yoga and including like seltzer water. She’s like, I really wanted seltzer water back. I really wanted yoga back. I found a way to make yoga more affordable. I found a way to make seltzer water more affordable. And I think The Power of Habit is a great book to just open your mind to these. Like, look at this, explore this, explore that. So great answer.

Rob: Yes. I’m one for one.

Mindy: Yes, one for one. Okay, Scott?

Scott: What was your biggest money mistake?

Rob: Well, I’ve made several. My biggest money mistake was this. When I was selling my business, I had some tax advice that would enable me to pay a lot less in taxes from the transaction. But it required all of these structured companies and transferring money from here to there. And I went down that path and I paid a lot of money for them to set this up or to begin the process. And after a while it just didn’t feel right. And I had a lawyer look at it, I analyzed it myself, even though I’m no tax expert. And I think strictly speaking, it was consistent with the letter of the tax law, but it didn’t feel right. I said to them, I remember calling the account and I said, I’m not going forward with this and I know it’s going to make me pay a ton more in taxes. That’s what I’m going to do. So in the end, I think I got to the right decision, at least the right decision for me. But it cost me, I don’t even, do I have to say how much it cost me? It cost me a lot of money and a lot of time-

Mindy: Five figures, six figures?

Rob: It was five figures.

Mindy: Five figures, okay. That’s a lot of money.

Rob: And a lot of aggravation. That my biggest money mistake, there are many but that’s a good one.

Mindy: Would that have caused an audit? Would the IRS have said, hey, this isn’t cool if you had gone through with it?

Rob: I don’t know. The audits get triggered in a couple of different ways. Some of them are random. No, I don’t know that it would have, I mean, not necessarily. And the fact that I ended up paying every dime I could have possibly paid doesn’t mean I won’t get audited.

Mindy: True.

Rob: The IRS could be listening to this show right now.

Mindy: Actually I have a friend who works at the IRS and I think he listens so-

Rob: Well, I paid a boatload.

Scott: I thought he was retired early Mindy?

Mindy: He went back to work. Scott knows him too.

Scott: I think that’s great. And I think that’s a really interesting biggest money mistake. I don’t think we’ve ever heard one like that before. But if I hear you, what you’re saying is, hey, here’s a situation that would have changed the way that I’m going to realize this income to my great advantage, which doesn’t sit right, there doesn’t, it seems to be like a lot of assumptions that are being called out there and instead I’m going to just go ahead and I’m going to call it this other way that’s much less favorable. I’m going to forego all the time and money I’ve invested and I’m going to pay all that to those guys and pay the higher tax bill. And the money was [inaudible 00:56:11] out again is not even that you paid the higher amount of taxes.

Rob: Oh no.

Scott: You went down the other way in the first place. Even when you knew and your alarm bell was, hey, I’m not sure that this doesn’t sit right.

Rob: Yeah.

Scott: I hope that you listeners one day have this problem and can think back to this because I could tell you that I don’t have that much experience in this, but I do have some and there’s some weird stuff. And if you don’t understand what’s going on something’s not right. And I really respect how you handled that.

Rob: Well, Mindy mentioned Berkshire here earlier and Dairy Queen, you know, Charlie Monger in a speech he gave and commencement speech had said, basically, just pay your taxes. Don’t try to come up with some complicated way, even if it’s strictly may be permitted to avoid the taxes. And I’ll tell you just to get kind of personal. Our son’s a Marine and I thought if he can make that kind of sacrifice, then really do I want to be sitting here in my comfortable office paying accountants a lot of money to come up with this complicated structure to avoid paying my taxes. And don’t get me wrong, take every tax break you can get that’s legitimate and no questions asked. But it just didn’t feel right.

Scott: Fair enough.

Mindy: Yeah. You have to be able to sleep at night.
What is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Rob: Can I give two? Well, the first one would be start investing today, even if it’s whatever, $25 a month. And even if you’re scared, that’s actually the best time. If you’re scared but you’re young and you can start even with a small amount of money, whether it’s in a 401k at work or an IRA start investing today. And yes, I know people [00:58:06] loans, they have other financial priorities but even if it’s a small amount of money. The experience will be worth it and you’ll start to get the process rolling for compounding which takes time. Kind of related to that is never stop learning. I continue to learn about investing and managing money today. You’re not going to know everything right away or even maybe a lot when you’re getting started. And you’ll have a lot of questions but be curious, read a lot, listen to the BiggerPockets Podcast and just keep learning. So I guess they’re kind of related.

Scott: Sorry, In my mind is still spinning and I’m giving away that I’m still on the last question in my head a little bit here, but a quick question around that mistake one more time. Was any part of that due to factors that may have been in your control to set up earlier in the process? So if you had gone back five years were there things you could’ve done to avoid or make that tax situation more clear?

Rob: No, and here was the issue I think. When we first started going down this path, I had no plans to sell the site. And again, I only understand half of what they did, but the tax ramifications if I had not sold, were different than when I ended up selling. And so when I decided to sell and I looked at the ramifications of the taxes, it was one of those deals that just seemed too good to be true. When I still own the business, there were some tax benefits to what we were doing, but they weren’t so at least to my mind over the top. It had nothing to do with like should I’ve done this five years ago or no.

Scott: Okay, got it. Just wondering if that was a lesson someone could take away, but sounds like [inaudible 01:00:08] Most difficult question of the famous four here. What is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Rob: Well, I’m not very funny. I guess if I tell a joke, I tell a lawyer’s joke because I was a lawyer. But they’re really kind of stupid. Do I have to tell it?

Mindy: Yes.

Rob: What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

Mindy: A good start.

Rob: See? You’ve already heard this.

Mindy: Sorry, I’m supposed to say[inaudible 01:00:35]

Rob: Let me think.

Mindy: But I like that one.

Rob: Okay. How about this one? There’s an engineer and a doctor and a lawyer, and they’re, they’re having a debate and the engineer’s trying to show that engineering’s the most important career and endeavor and he goes all the way back to the creation of the earth. When God created the earth, that was an engineering feat. I mean, engineering is the best. And the doctor said, yeah, I don’t know. I mean, after that he created Adam and eve. It’s a medical. I think that’s the best. And the lawyer said, well, I’ve got you both beat because it was all created out of chaos. Who Do you think created the chaos? See, I don’t normally tell these at parties and now you can see why.

Scott: You’re going to start now, right?

Rob: No, I’m absolutely not going to start now.

Mindy: Most of the time these jokes are terrible and I don’t laugh. And I laughed at yours.

Rob: Well, you’re so kind.

Mindy: The bottom of the ocean joke. That’s-

Rob: It’s an old one.

Mindy: But it’s funny, I like it. Okay. Rob, tell me where people can find out more about you. That’s my command.

Rob: Oh my. Well, they can go to They can find out, oh, I guess, yeah, there, that’d be a good place to start. And on Twitter and Facebook, just search my name and happy to connect that way as well.

Mindy: So you’re Rob on Twitter and Rob on Facebook?

Rob: I think it’s Robert_a_Berger on Twitter.

Mindy: Well then you have to say that otherwise people are going to connect with Rob at Twitter.

Scott: And we put a link to these places in the show notes, right?

Mindy: Yes. Oh and tell me where people can find your book and what’s it called?

Rob: It’s called Retire Before Mom and Dad. The simple numbers behind a lifetime of financial freedom. And it’s pretty much available everywhere but I think most people probably go to Amazon and that’s where you’ll find it. And then so it’s in hard copy and Kindle or Ebook. The audible or audio version is coming out soon. I narrated it and the sound engineers are working to try and make me sound pretty.

Mindy: So the book is Retired Before Mom and Dad available virtually everywhere. Rob, thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate your point of view. This was a great show.

Scott: Yeah, it was.

Mindy: [crosstalk 01:03:10] I take notes as we were recording and I’ve got like 12 quotes to pull out. No, that’s a good thing. That means you said things that I liked.

Rob: Nice, nailed it.

Mindy: Nailed it. Yes.

Rob: I just saw that show for the first time.

Mindy: The TV, on yeah, that’s [crosstalk 01:03:31] on Netflix there’s a cooking show called Nailed It!

Rob: Don’t you think though if you’ve watched Nailed It! Don’t you watch and think some of these cakes are impossible but I could do better than that. Nope?

Mindy: Yes. As I’m watching, I think to myself why are they having these novice bakers tried to make that, there’s no way. I could do better than what ever they did. Have they even ever been in a kitchen? I think Scott is kind of the perfect contestant for that show. And I say this, I have alluded to, I’ve teased Scott a couple of times during this episode. I’m the president of his fan club. Just so you know, I think the world of Scott.
If you’d like to join, we meet on Tuesdays at four. But Scott has many talents I don’t think baking is one of them.

Scott: I think that’s-

Rob: Fair enough. I can tell you it’s not one of my talents either.

Mindy: So you guys are the ones that they put on this show. Show some of these [inaudible 01:04:30]

Rob: You at least watch because they all seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. [inaudible 01:04:36] You watch some old shows to at least get some idea of what not to do.

Mindy: Well I would but they’re not calling me to be on that show. We are going to get out of here now. Because nobody wants to listen to us review the show.

Rob: Thank you. Will you both be at FinCon? Neither?

Mindy: I will be at FinCon.

Scott: I will not.

Rob: Scott won’t?

Scott: I won’t be. And I love FinCon. I just, I’ve been taken about 15 to 20 trips this year so I just, you know, this is one of those ones that I was like, you know what, I don’t really want yet another trip coming up in September alone.

Rob: Mindy if I can, I’ll catch your panel. What Day is it?

Mindy: I think it’s on Thursday. It is the same time that pro-networking is.

Rob: Okay, I’m speaking on Friday.

Mindy: And what are you speaking about?

Rob: How to build $1 million blog.

Mindy: Ooh, I will catch your panel because building $1 million blog sounds like something I want to do.

Rob: Be warned. It’s just me. It’s not a panel.

Mindy: I’m sorry, your presentation.

Rob: So you may or may not want to come after [inaudible 01:05:49]

Mindy: No, I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Rob: Well I had a lot of fun.

Mindy: Yeah. Well great. Thank you so much and thanks again to PT for connecting us to Rob.

Rob: There you go.

Mindy: Yeah. So there we are from episode 89 of the BiggerPockets of Money Podcast. This is Mindy, embarrassingly saying goodbye.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Rob’s journey with money
  • Real-life rich dad, poor dad experience
  • Saving money for retirement
  • How his lifestyle and mindset changed transitioning from a law firm job to a government job
  • Psychological component of a side hustle
  • Making $100 in 6 months to $30K in 18 months doing blogs
  • How he treated his salary money vs. side hustle money
  • The moment he paid down his debts
  • The reason why he sold his business
  • Writing the book Retire Before Mom and Dad
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Tweetable Topics:

  • “When the year is gone, the opportunity is gone.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The fewer cars you own, the better life can be.” (Tweet This!)
  • “After we achieve financial freedom, we still have the same struggles.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Rob

Throughout high school and college, Rob Berger spent every dime he made and graduated with $55K in debt. Keeping up with the (lawyer) Joneses took him in a big way. It wasn’t until he started listening to Dave Ramsey that he decided he didn’t want the fancy things anymore; he wanted to be debt-free. Here's his story.