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The 4 Steps to Financial Freedom and Debt-Free Wealth

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast
53 min read
The 4 Steps to Financial Freedom and Debt-Free Wealth

Want to work less and make more? With a forty-hour workweek, it seems hard to imagine a reality where you can do less but still get the same results. How can you fit an entire week’s worth of work into only one day’s working hours? Jason Wojo and Peter Kolat, hosts of The Lifeonaire Show, argue that it’s easier than you think to cut out much of your workday, enjoy your life more, and reach financial freedom faster.

Both Jason and Peter grew up in troubling financial environments—raised in households where fighting about money was the norm. As Jason and Peter grew up, took on careers, got married, and had families, they saw themselves falling into the same traps as their parents—taking on debt, overspending, and working far more than they had liked. After hitting “rock bottom”, they decided to take a step in the right direction and change their financial future.

With the help of a financially-free “vision”, Jason and Peter now live lives almost unrecognizable to their pasts. They now help others find their passions, chase their dreams, and achieve financial freedom with ease. So, if you’re tired of the grind, the stress, and the financial anxiety, you may want to consider becoming a “Lifeonaire” like Jason and Peter.

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Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast show number 307, where we interview Jason and Peter from the Lifeonaire podcast, and talk about living your best life.

Jason:
So the first stage of everything, if you’re going to master your money, you need to have your vision. Now, that may sound completely insane because the vision has really not much to do with money at all, but what we found is that without … Your vision really gives you your why. Your vision characterizes the exact perfect life you want to have in every area. So when you have your vision and you know how much that costs, now you have an actual reason to go out and make the money. Making money in and of itself, at some point, is another zero in your bank account. You don’t feel any different.

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

Scott:
With me as always is my vision of a co-host, Mindy Jensen.

Mindy:
Aw, you’re so sweet, Scott. Scott and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else to introduce you to every money story because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone no matter when or where you’re starting.

Scott:
That’s right. Whether you want to retire early and travel the world going to make big time investments in assets real estate, start your own business or achieve your life vision, we’ll help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way so you can launch yourself towards those dreams.

Mindy:
Scott, today, we have Peter and Jason from the Lifeonaire podcast, and it is such a joy to talk to them again today.

Scott:
Yeah. They’re a lot of fun and really bring a really fresh perspective on how to live an intentional life and how money can play into that is a powerful tool.

Mindy:
Yeah. I really like your use of the word intention. I think that, in so many cases, people just let life drag them along, and life is going to drag you through the gutter if you let life drag you along, but if you sit down and you make a plan and you have, I mean, it’s got to be a loose plan, it can’t be … As soon as you make a plan, life’s like, “Nope, that’s not going to happen,” but you sit down and you make a plan, you have a vision, “This is what I want my life to be like,” and then you can back yourself into that life and it’s not going to happen overnight, but when you make plans to enjoy your life instead of to just get dragged along, your life is going to be so much better. Your enjoyment of your experience on this earth is going to be so much greater.

Scott:
Yeah. I think the most powerful lesson from today, and we’ll get into it much in great detail is turn what you want and have an artifact. They call it a vision document. They have a poll process with it. I got the same thing, but have an artifact. It’s a living, breathing artifact as they described it, you can change and all that stuff, and begin moving towards that. People will have their arguments, pros and cons for capitalism, United States, yada, yada, yada. Okay, but one of the benefits we have of living in this country in this time is that this is an option for many people to figure out what they want and begin backing into it intentionally and building a money plan that can support that. If you’re listening to this, hopefully, you believe that is the case or achievable for you as well.

Mindy:
Peter and Jason from Lifeonaire podcast, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I’m so excited to talk to you guys. It’s been a while.

Jason:
Yes. I’m so happy that you guys are here. So great to see you again, Mindy and Scott. This is fantastic, and my colleague, Peter, that I see quite frequently as well.

Peter:
Quite frequently. I’m surprised that she actually invited you here as well.

Mindy:
Well, really, I was going to just have Peter, but then Jason’s like, “I have to tag along, too. We’re a team.”

Mindy:
I’m like, “Fine,” but we are going to introduce you. If our listeners are not familiar, you are the hosts of the Lifeonaire podcast. You both have a different money story. So I want to share just a quick overview of where you were coming from before you joined in on this Lifeonaire program. Polish Peter, please share with us your money story. We’ll go with you first.

Peter:
Well, so yeah, I appreciate you. First and foremost, thank you so much for having us on here. My money story starts in Poland. So I was born in Poland in way back in the day, I’m going to make myself old, in the ’70s. For the first I would say nine years of my life, I lived in a communist country because up until late ’80s, Poland was communist. We lived in a 12-by-12 room. That was our living room, our kitchenette, our bedroom, our everything. The bathrooms were down the hallway because it was a community, a big building, so everybody used the same bathroom.

Peter:
So growing up in that environment, we were poor. We didn’t have any money, and one of the things that if you know anything about a communist country is that they provide you with a job, they provide you with some living expenses, but the way I look at it, they provide you just enough so you can survive, so you don’t have to go and speak up and all that stuff.

Peter:
So my growing up, my dad was an alcoholic. So we had a lot of fights in the household, whether it was about money, mostly was about money because he wanted to get some money and wanted to go and drink in the bar and all those kinds of things. So later on when I was eight years old, they got divorced. I lived with my uncle for a little while, and then when I was 14 and came to United States here and started learning the language and living here.

Peter:
As I came in later on in life and started learning about the personal development and money and getting into life on there and having those conversations with coaches in the mastermind, I discovered first time in my mid 30s that my money conversation equals fights and equals problems. So my whole life, I was living like whenever there was money, there was some problems that are going to be happening because when I was little, when I was growing up, anytime there was a conversation about money, it was a fight. It was a problem.

Peter:
So that was my disempowering way of living about money, and I could never have enough money because somehow they would magically leave or I would get rid of it or whatever case may be because guess what? Money equals problems. Does that make sense?

Mindy:
That makes a lot of sense. I mean, your experiences as a child with money is that it’s this huge thing to fight about. I mean, what’s the number one thing that people fight about? They fight about money, and you don’t have enough of it ever when you’re spending everything and you’re not saving and you’re not investing and you’re not … I mean, I’ve never lived in a communist country so I can’t say if there’s any way to invest other … Is there any way to invest?

Peter:
Not really. I mean, not that I know of growing up. I mean, you just go and work in a job and then you come home and do the same thing next day. So not that I know of.

Mindy:
Not that different from capitalism, frankly, unless you change the narrative. Okay. Jason, what does your five-minute money story look like?

Jason:
Yeah. So I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts of 18,000 people. My parents were middle class and my dad was a kind of guy who never spent money on anything. Meanwhile, my mom had all of these desires to buy stuff. So when they got divorced, she went crazy and spent money on everything. I think I got some of her traits because when I was younger, whenever I had money, I was buying stuff. I had motorcycles, and jet skis, and just a bunch of toys. I didn’t have a lot of debt because I didn’t have the capability to get debt because nobody would give me debt. I got, I think, a $500 credit limit, but what happened was as I got older and I started making actual money, I got a job, and had lines of credit and access to credit cards, I went a little bit crazy, too. I bought a brand new three-story home in a gated community. It’s a brick home and had all the trappings of success, but along with that, I also had a combined about $650,000 worth of debt. This isn’t because I have an apartment. This is consumer debt for the most part along with, oh, by the way, almost $90,000 of credit card debt.

Jason:
So I quickly found I dug myself a pretty deep hole that I had to get out of. The challenge I had was when I was younger, I would have these fun things and I didn’t have the debt and I felt I could enjoy them a whole lot more, but as soon as I took on the debt for me, all of a sudden, I had this huge obligation. I had to make money and I had to make a mortgage payment. I had to do all these things. So for me, it robbed the joy and the freedom out of the entire experience.

Jason:
So I realized, “Man, is this really what life is supposed to be like is just the pursuit of money only to buy things that I can’t even really enjoy because I feel guilty about or because I have a payment or because I don’t even have time because I’m working all the time?” So I really did a 180 from that point and it took me a long time to dig out of that hole. I’ll tell you, for me, I will never go back to having that debt, especially consumer debt and credit card debt. I felt that pain a lot, and I don’t want that for anybody because it was extremely painful.

Scott:
Well, can you give us a little bit more detail on rock bottom and then how long it took you to get out of debt and what you did?

Jason:
Yeah. So rock bottom for me was when I had to sell my house. I had gotten divorced from my wife. One of the main reasons, by the way, not the only reason, was that I was working so much. So from there, I ended up moving into one of my rehabs because I couldn’t afford a place to buy or rent. So I moved into one of my rehabs. I’m living on an air mattress, and I wasn’t there for years, but I was there for a period of just over a month maybe, maybe two months at the most. For me, that was rock bottom. I’m living no kitchen, nothing, just in a rehab.

Jason:
So for me, what I started doing was, first of all, I looked at, of course, I cut off all the spending. There was minimal spending. Then for me, the thing that was really important was really getting my business up and running because at the same time when I was making this money, I had the justification like, “Oh, well, I’m just getting started in real estate. I can afford to spend all this money. I can afford to do all this stuff because I’m going to make more money with my real estate deals,” but as soon as the feces hit the rotary blade device and now I couldn’t make those payments and my business crashed, now that’s when it really started accumulating.

Jason:
So it took me, Scott, it took me probably three years, if not longer. I haven’t tracked it exactly, but it’s at least three years. I went for the credit card debt first. I ended up selling that house that we were living in, lost 80 grand on that. I had to come to the table with 80 grand on that. So the whole thing imploded.

Jason:
So for me, it was really a matter of cutting all expenses, keeping it simple, and then really trying to focus on my business. I think there’s a limit, there’s a limit to how much you can cut realistically before there’s nothing left to cut and you have to, at some point, work on the income side of things, too. Dude, it was horrible. It was something I don’t want anybody to go through.

Scott:
How long ago was this?

Jason:
So that would’ve been … So the divorce was finalized in 2011, but we were separated before that. So this would be, I started accumulating that debt probably 2007 and then accumulated it for a few years, and then 2010 was probably when things hit its apex and I really had all this stuff under roof that I had to deal with now. So it took a couple years to get into it. It didn’t happen overnight, but it then also took just as long to dig out of it.

Scott:
Awesome. What is your situation with money today? What did you build towards once you paid off the debt?

Jason:
It is completely different. I have no consumer debt. I don’t have any credit card debt. I have a line of credit against my house that I keep there if I need it for investing. So I am looking to now do things in a debt-free manner. Before, I don’t know, there was something about the mentality I had where I’d see a real estate course and I’d buy it for two grand or three grand and I could justify it because I knew that someday it would make me money. To me, it was just deferred earnings, but I got behind and I couldn’t catch up.

Jason:
For me, one of the problems was, and by the way, I’m all for education. I think it’s incredibly important, but at that point in my life, I didn’t have any focus. I didn’t have any real drive or direction. So I’m just buying, “Hey, I’m going to get this course on this and this.” So I have a wholesaling course, rehabbing courses, notes courses, IRA courses, self-storage apartment. I mean, Scott, I have a very educated bookshelf and all of it-

Peter:
Buy a building courses.

Jason:
Yeah, all of these courses, and listen, again, I think education is crucial. You have to invest in yourself, but I just spent too much money on too many things when I didn’t have the money. So now, I’m not buying it if I don’t have the money for it. If I will save for it and some people are like, “Oh, that’s foolish,” even investments and stuff, anything I’m invested in right now for real estate, it’s debt free. So I’m doing joint ventures with other people. If I don’t have enough money to pull it down myself, I’m going to do a joint venture with somebody else so that there’s no mortgages, no debt. So for me, that’s just a little safer way that doesn’t stress me out and I don’t feel like I have to make a payment.

Scott:
When did Lifeonaire come into your mentality for your journey?

Jason:
So great question. So I started off in Lifeonaire as a student towards the end of 2009. So this is right when I’m getting all this debt and I’m almost to the apex. I remember my coach was Steve Cook, and he’s telling me, “You got to work on some other stuff here and you got to start doing this.” For that point in my life I was like, “I just need to make more money. I need to make more money because of all this debt.”

Jason:
He’s like, “No. You hold on a second here.”

Jason:
One thing that he said to me, I’ll never forget, he said, “People think I have no debt because I make a lot of money.” He’s like, “I have a lot of money because I have no debt.” So that really hit me outside the head. So these days, now don’t get me wrong, we still have a business credit card. I still use it, but we pay it off every month. We’ve never carried a balance, and Lifeonaire is a debt-free company. So I’m really trying to maintain that.

Jason:
Now, you’re going to get some different people, some people that are saying, “Hey, with inflation stuff, is it wise to take out debt?” We could have that discussion as well. Maybe, maybe not for certain people, but it’s just very different. I was really very uncontrolled and had no discretion earlier with now much more intentional when I spent my money and where it goes.

Scott:
Awesome. Could both of you guys give us an overview of what Lifeonaire is as a philosophy or worldview or business or however you want to articulate it?

Jason:
Yeah. So Lifeonaire, it’s a company that’s focused around helping people live their best life, and what that means is determining exactly what you want that life to look like, which by the way many, many people think they know what they want, but they really don’t when they actually start to look at it, and then from there, once we’ve really characterized that and clarified it, now let’s talk about money, now let’s talk about business, now let’s figure out how to create the income you want in whatever your vision says 15 hours a week, 20 hours a week, whatever that is for you, but it’s all, all, all with the principle of life first.

Jason:
That’s where people get confused and business, which is supposed to set us free, ends up taking over our life and we’re spending all our time working when the whole time, this thing is supposed to be a good thing and now we’re like slaves to our business. So that’s what we try to prevent.

Scott:
So I want to come back to Peter’s story because we got a lot more of Jason’s here in a sec, but first, I want to ask a basic question, which is, how does Lifeonaire help people answer the question, “What do I want in life? What do I really want in life?” as you phrased it?

Peter:
Yeah. So I mean, that’s a really good question because a lot of people don’t even think about it because if you think about life, one of the things that it shows up is business, right? You want to work in a business or you work for somebody else. That’s a pretty clearly defined way of how you go about business plan. You have a business plan or the company has a business plan. There’s your job and it’s defined and you know what you want. Then what do I want in my life becomes this way back in a background.

Peter:
So what we do? We actually have this event. It’s a three-day workshop that we sit down and we help people craft that vision of what is it that you want your life to look like. We have them go through different exercises, start really looking from the different perspectives of, “What are my needs? What are my wants that I want in my life? What are my relationship? What they’re supposed to look like? Where is my spiritual?” Some people have a really strong spiritual needs that they need. So what does that look like? “How do I view my relationship with my kids, with my wife, with my significant others, with my bosses?” Whoever it might be, right? What those relationships supposed to look like?

Peter:
No regrets, what does that look like? So at the end of my life, I don’t sit here and have regrets now about what I should have done, could have. So there is all those different parts of that vision that we help people go and craft it and sit down when you try to get it down to a one-page document that is what we call the living, breathing life vision document that people live by to be able to go, “This is what I want ultimately to live life and here’s how I’m going to get to it.”

Scott:
Would either of you guys be comfortable sharing highlights from your document?

Peter:
Yeah. I don’t have a problem with that. Wojo?

Jason:
Yeah, go ahead, man.

Peter:
Yeah. So one of the things that I have on my vision is, and I can go into deep details, but at the top of my vision, I have this overarching statement for my entire vision and it says that I am a remarkable contribution to everyone I come in contact with, and by doing that, I get remarkable contribution in my life. So when it comes to looking at that, where’s the remarkable contribution is, that means that I’m in there listening, I’m helping them, and I am there for them. It’s about others. It’s not about me. Right?

Peter:
So when it comes to my relationship with my wife, when it comes to relationship with my kids, when it comes to business relationships, those are the things that are in back of my mind that I think, “Okay. How do I become a remarkable contribution to that particular person?” I’ll tell you, man, just that one element has changed how I view life, how I live life, and the people and the things that happened in my life. It’s incredible.

Scott:
Awesome. Now, what are the other elements of this page comprise of? Do they describe things about my personal life, spirituality, relationships, business? What is the structure of the document that Lifeonaire would produce here?

Jason:
Yeah. I was just going to say, there’s no formal way that we structure it, but the things we encourage people to think about are your relationships, personal, professional, family, and friends. We encourage people to think about their spiritual life, their hobbies, what do they do for personal gratification, their health, what does their health look like, their spiritual life, what does that look like. Peter mentioned no regrets. That’s a category that we have. We look at finances. We have a business vision as well.

Jason:
So these are just examples because some of these things are more important than others to certain people, and that’s fantastic, but what we’re looking for is, really, think of a bucket that has every component of life in it and everybody has a chance to make their own mix of what they want, but when you put your vision together, you want those things on there, but there’s no certain way to say it.

Jason:
So for instance, Scott, I have my latest vision pulled up right now. I have a headline. It says, “Walk in the light that he gives you.” My purpose, I live boldly to make a meaningful, permanent, and life-changing impact on others by loving them where they are and encourage them to pursue a life of true abundance and prosperity. So that’s my mantra statement that heads the whole thing off.

Jason:
Then under that, I have a list of characteristics of my life, and then for me, I put a gratitude list at the bottom that helps me focus it. So we’ve seen tremendous variability in how people do it, but what we’ve found is when we help them focus on all these different areas because it’s so easy to forget one little part of it, that is what gives them the clay to create that sculpture of their vision in the perfect way that they want to do it.

Jason:
By the way, we’re super careful not to influence them on this because so many people have been influenced by society or culture or by parents or whatever that they’re just adopting their vision instead of creating their own. So we’re just trying to give them raw material to pull it out of them.

Scott:
So you used the words living, breathing, and latest version of my vision to describe this document. So this is not something I’m going to set up once and forget about, not forget about, but it’ll just, “Oh, I got it right and that will never change and I’ll do that for the rest of my life.” It sounds this is something you come back to on a cadence.

Peter:
Yup. You don’t laminate it. That’s for sure. We actually had students come in, and one of my students came in and laminated the vision. It’s like, “Oh, I got it. I finished it.” Here’s the thing. We encourage all of our people at the events and our students to listen, “Post this vision where you see it every single day and read it,” because think about it. That’s what you’re putting into your mind. That’s what you’re going to be reading and that’s what you’re bringing into your life.

Peter:
When that becomes the focus of your life, “This is the life that I’m looking to get through life,” all of a sudden you become more intentional in life because you start asking that question, “Am I living my vision? Where am I now when it comes to …” Let’s say you put on your vision that, “I spend quality time with my kids.” Now, you have to go and take care of a job that’s at 8:00, 9:00 in the evening and one of your kids comes in and says, “Hey, listen. I want to go and play a game before I go to bed,” or “Can you come read me a story?” and it becomes very clear, “Okay. Do I go and do this thing or I go and live my vision and spend time with my kid?” and those kinds of things. So it becomes very clear of who you need to become in order to live that vision, which in turn helps you create the business that you need to be able to support that vision.

Scott:
I love this. I can go on this subject all day long. I do a very similar process. I have a half-page document that has our vision, my wife and I’s vision for our lives on it. It’s not very complex. It’s just a couple of paragraphs. “Here’s where we live. Here’s what our day-to-day looks like. Here’s how we interact with others. Here’s what our business looks like. Here’s what our family looks like,” and that’s what we want, and all of our goals cascade from that simple little document. We update it once a quarter. Sometimes every once in a while we’ll change something big about it, “Eh, we’re going to live here instead of here,” or whatever that is, but, really, it stopped moving as much for us in recent quarters and we can cascade all our goals in support of that vision.

Scott:
This is something we find on the money show all the time where we’re having a guest on the show and it’s like, “Well, what should I do with my money?”

Scott:
“Well, what do you want in your life that is directly related? Do you want to have the largest possible pile in 50 years? Well, we’re going to give you one set of financial advice. Do you want to have the most time in five years to do what you want? Well, then we’re going to give you a different set of advice because it just depends on what you want from best financial advice standpoint.”

Peter:
That’s a great thing that you just mentioned because what people tend to do, they tend to make decisions based on their current circumstance, of what’s happening in their life right now. What ends up happening, that’s why there’s the squirrels all over the place, right? They zigzag and they’re never able to get to where they really want to go. I call these squirrels.

Peter:
So when you just mention about what do you want your life to look like, that’s what this vision is about that we create them because now when you start making decisions and choices about your life and your business and what money choices you’re going to make, you’re going to make it based on that vision that you want to get to, and that’s a really important aspect.

Scott:
Let me ask you this. I don’t know. One thing I do or I feel really strongly about is because I take this very seriously because I’m a huge nerd. It sounds you guys are in complete alignment with that.

Peter:
Yes, not me. I’m not.

Scott:
I insist on being in what I call my peak state. I have to have my exercise in the morning, a cup of coffee, feel perfect that morning, usually on a trip or something before updating all of this stuff because if I’m not in that mindset, I’m going to come down or be pessimistic or not look at it with as a clean sheet of paper like it could be with that. Do you have any tips or tricks for the process of putting this document, this artifact together from a mindset standpoint?

Jason:
I think one huge point, man, is what Peter said is getting out of your own way of what your current circumstances are. That’s the first thing. So with that being said, I think when people come to our Get-A-Life Getaway, for instance, our whole purpose is to get them to dream. For some reason somehow as adults, that has sucked out of us. I think we become afraid to dream because we’re afraid of failure and being disappointed. How many times has someone tried to lose weight and they fail and they just give up and they don’t even try again and they just go through life complacent with where they are? So a lot of that is deprogramming and discerning what really happened to us, what beliefs did we adopt about ourselves about what’s possible, about what we’re capable of, about what we want.

Jason:
This is for everything. So some people are influenced to become CPAs or engineers or a physician. For instance, I wanted to be a physician because of the acknowledgement and my grandfather was a physician. So I wanted to be like that, but then I realized this wasn’t my dream, this was somebody else’s. So it’s really about letting go of all of that stuff, all those nats of life and really dreaming about what you really, really want. Some of the exercises we do at the event, for instance, to get you thinking that way is like, “Okay. Let’s say you won the lottery. You have more money than you know what to do with. Let’s get rid of, yeah, I know you’re going to buy your parents a house and I know you’re going to go buy a Lamborghini. Let’s get rid of that stuff. What are you going to do? What are you going to do with your days because I promise you, you’re not going to retire on a beach somewhere and drink mimosas all day because that’ll last you a few weeks, maybe a month if you’re a soldier, but what are you going to do?” So that’s an example or if you had a genie, if Peter was your Polish genie and you could make a wish, what would you want?

Peter:
Unlimited wishes. By the way, I give unlimited wishes, not just one, but think about it. When you start thinking that way, it changes your perspective of how you start to go after life.

Jason:
I once heard … You guys may be familiar with the book. I can’t recall the name of it. It has to do with Pixar and Disney and they talk about the different roles in the organization, and one of the roles is called the imagineer. Now, the imagineer’s role in the organizational structure is basically to think of the most outrageous, insane, fun, amazing thing you can, and then you pass it over later to see if it fits in, if it’s even possible by the laws of physics and if it fits into the business vision and the mission of the company and it’s profitable, blah, blah, blah. Let somebody else kill the dream, but your job as an imagineer is to think of the most crazy thing that you really, really want.

Jason:
Now, I’m not saying to dream big just dream big because here’s something that’s a little bit taboo. There are people that don’t want to make a million dollars a year and they’re totally happy with 75. So I’m not here to say you have to dream big only for the purposes of dreaming big, but I don’t want you to hold yourself back based on where you are and what you think you’re capable of. That’s a very big distinction.

Peter:
What ends up happening when you start dreaming big and you start putting that stuff on the paper, one of the things that goes back to money because of this podcast is about money, more money, more money kind of a thing, right? What ends up happening is at the end of it, we start looking like, “So how much is that going to cost you? What is that vision? What is that life going to cost you in actual dollars?” You start looking from that perspective and then you start looking, “Okay. How many hours do you want to work a week to live that vision?” because that becomes very clear. If I want to travel over the place, I probably don’t want to work 40, 60 hours a week because it’s going to be a conflict there, right? That’s when you start to design your life and you design your business in order to support that life.

Jason:
Scott, let me say, this is something that I think you’re going to be really interested, man. So when we have them create their vision and then put a financial price to it, eight times out of 10 people are astounded at how little that number is. When they really figure out what they want for their life, it’s so little, but then they’re like, “Well, hold on a second. If this is so attainable, why aren’t I doing it?” and it’s because they’ve spent a whole lot of money building up a lifestyle that doesn’t fuel their vision but that takes away from it. So it’s all this stuff you really don’t care about what you spend money on is now making that a little more difficult for you. So it’s a big aha moment for people when they realize whether they’re spending their money on vision stuff or non-vision stuff.

Scott:
What are some examples of those visions and surprisingly reasonable price tags for those visions?

Jason:
So a lot of people, at the end of the day, I’ll tell you, at the end of the day, people are like, “I want to be the best spouse,” or “I want to be the best dad. I want to be available for my friends. I want to be known as somebody who helps others. I want to volunteer my time. I want to do things like that,” and most of those things cost nothing, nothing or maybe they’re like, “Hey, I want to create memories with my family.” Sometimes people will say, “Hey, I want this exquisite safari in Africa,” and it’s just this huge thing, but more times than not, it’s like, “Hey, I just want to spend a weekend with my loved ones and let them know I care about them,” and those things not for everybody, but most people have at least half of their vision is stuff that doesn’t cost them anything or it’s very, very little.

Jason:
It’s not the Lamborghini, man. I’m telling you. Yes, that stuff’s fun and it has its place and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with it, nothing wrong with it at all, but most people can live a large portion of their vision on almost nothing.

Peter:
I love it. Listen, once you start really looking at those elements and what you want your life to look like, what you want to go after, you start to discover why do you want that, and you start to really look like, “Why do I want that?” We had one particular person just popped into my head. He came and he said he wanted to have jet skis. So he’s like, “Okay. Well, why do I want to have jet skis?” He started looking at all the reasons, “Because I want to be providing fun for my friends. I want to hang out with my friends. I want to go and spend time on the water with my friends because that was very cool, right?”

Peter:
So he started doing the jet ski thing and he discovered that the jet ski is not really that well because guess what? Everybody’s off somewhere on the jet ski on the lake and he’s not really spending quality time together with them. So then he’s looking at the boat. He wants to have a boat, right? He start looking at how much is it going to cost him to have the boat. Now, you have to hold a boat, right? Now, you have to buy a bigger car to get a boat, and all those kinds of things.

Peter:
Then when he started looking from outside the box, he discovered that he could, in his area, there was a marina where they have a membership and he pays monthly fee. He calls his boat ferry.

Jason:
Boat genie, yeah. Boat ferry?

Peter:
Yeah, and he just go and calls him up on the monthly fee, he calls him up and say, “Hey, listen. I’m coming to the marina,” and they get the boat ready for him. He gets in the boat. It’s fueled. He goes out, have fun with his family or his friends, and then when he’s about to come back, he calls the marina again, says, “I’m coming in,” and somebody picks it up, takes the boat, then he’s done with it. So he’s living his vision. He’s living what he wants to do to spend the quality time and all that kind stuff without all the other stuff that is required that a lot of people think is required to live that life.

Scott:
That’s like Hertz as the rental car ferry. Wonderful. Well, let’s go in. You guys have some frameworks to share. Actually, let’s quickly hear a recap of Peter’s money story. So how did you find your vision and then build wealth and start living the Lifeonaire life?

Peter:
Well, so yeah, I mean, that’s a great question because in 2011, I got divorced and it was part of the reason why I got divorced was the money conversation because I remember my kids. I had three kids, and at that time, they were very little. My oldest one was eight, and I remember going to the store and they would say, “Hey, Tata. Can I get this toy?” My first reaction was, what? “Can’t afford it,” right? So there is that money conversation. Then that conversation came up in the marriage. It came up in the relationships and things like that. So ultimately, that was part of the reason why I ended up divorced.

Peter:
So about year and a half later, Wendy Patton, I don’t know if you guys know who Wendy Patton is, but she was in a group with this guy next to me. I don’t want to say his name, but she goes, “You know what? I know somebody else who is similar story to you. I’ll give you his number. You guys connect.” Me and Wojo have been talking ever since every single day. So through that relationship, I came into Lifeonaire and started getting into mastermind and getting on the right people and starting to discover what my money conversation was, and it was very disempowering. It was very like money equals problems, money equals fighting, and things like that.

Peter:
So I started learning about money, what money actually is, and it’s money is neutral, doesn’t have any feelings, just does what it does based on how you start to interact with it. As more I started learning about it and started using it as opposed to it using me because that’s what I was doing before, I started to manage my money a lot better, and I created my vision, and based on that vision, I start looking, “Okay. Where do I have my money go?” So that’s how I ended up getting out of that hole, become financially free to be able to go and help others discover what their money conversation is, and how do I invest my money, where do I put my money. I’m blessed to be able to do what I do in today’s world. I’m a coach and I help people discover their money conversation, their visions to help them live that life and use it to the best advantage that it can be.

Scott:
Love it. Well, can we go through some of the other items like the core tenets of maybe Lifeonaire’s money philosophy.

Jason:
So the first stage of everything, if you’re going to master your money, you need to have your vision. Now, that may sound completely insane because the vision has really not much to do with money at all, but what we found is that without … Your vision really gives you your why. Your vision characterizes the exact perfect life you want to have in every area. So when you have your vision and you know how much that costs, now you have an actual reason to go out and make the money.

Jason:
Making money in and of itself, at some point, it’s another zero in your bank account. You don’t feel any different. If your listeners don’t believe me, go ahead and try it yourself. You’ll find out eventually it doesn’t matter. At some point, just more money is just more money.

Jason:
So your vision is really the first step in this. After you’ve crafted your vision and put your time into that, the next stage actually gets into money. This is where stage two, so stage one is creating your vision, stage two is breaking even financially. What that means is you are making enough money to stay afloat. You’re not in the red every month. You’re making what you need to survive. A lot of people have created golden handcuffs in their lives and their monthly expenses are really high, and that makes it very hard for these people that want to quit their job to go out and try real estate, for instance, or run a business because they need to make 20 grand a month.

Jason:
Stage three is generating excess cash. So there’s two ways you can do this. One is by, obviously, cutting down on your expenses, and two is by increasing your income, which, again, self-evident, but what normally happens is when people start making more money, what do they do? They spend it, right? By the way, real estate investors, some of us are the worst ever, and by the way, I’m pointing a finger at myself here, too. When I do a flip, I’d make 30, 40 grand, and I’m all of a sudden meeting at Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s, and then I’m broke again after I spend all that money, and then it’s McDonald’s again. So don’t spend everything you make. This takes a lot of discipline, and I struggle with this because I did not have that built in and I didn’t learn that. So it took me a lot of years to really develop a discipline to save that money.

Jason:
Now, you could do anything you want with it. You could give it away. You can spend it, but ideally, what we want you to do is put it aside so that you can get to stage four. Stage four is, finally, and this is an important distinction, stage four is when you’re buying assets to pay for your lifestyle. You are putting your money into income-generating assets. Ideally, you’re doing this debt-free, the way that I mentioned before, for instance, joint venture partnering, things like that, so that you’re not taking on debt because what happens is if you take on debt, you are increasing what you need to make in stage two. So now, what you’re doing is going backwards a little bit. So that’s why you got to be really careful for that.

Jason:
The other huge distinction here is now in stage four versus stage two, our assets are generating our income versus us working for our money. Everybody just wants to go out and buy rentals and they’re not even making ends meet and they’re going to go out and buy rental and that rental’s going to make them rich. It doesn’t work that way. 99 times out of 100, you have to make ends meet first because what happens when your tenant moves out and they trash the place and you have to market it and you got to mortgage payment to make? You are going to get hosed and you’re going to get hurt. So you got to go through them in order.

Jason:
Now, the cool thing that happens, Scott, is once, let’s say, I’m going to use some easy math here. You need $4,000 a month to live. That’s your stage two needs. You buy your rental debt-free and it spits off $1,000 of cash flow. You just replaced 25% of what you need to make on your own back through your own energy and effort. So what that does is start to give you options. It starts to maybe you’re going to work a little bit less or maybe you’re going to do something different or maybe you can get a another job. It just gives you options.

Jason:
Then with this example, I know it’s a little bit overly simplistic and I’m skipping some details here, but with this example, you’d need four rental properties to cover your stage two needs. Then you have financial freedom. You need four grand a month. You’re making four grand through your assets. You become work optional, right? So it’s super simple and there’s some details with this, but that’s something really strongly that I think is a very, very powerful model to achieve financial freedom.

Mindy:
Okay. You have mentioned a couple of times doing this debt-free, and that is great once you have gotten to step four with a huge buffer, but the reality is houses in America cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars, and while you’re saving up for that purchase, you could be purchasing it with a 25% down payment or even doing some house hacking where you’re buying with a much lower down payment, three and a half or 5% as an owner occupant, living there for a year because we don’t promote mortgage fraud, and then moving out. Now, you have, ideally, a cash flowing asset with a lower down payment and then you can repeat again.

Mindy:
I get the concept of wanting to be debt-free. Coming from your background where you had that giant pile of consumer debt and $90,000 in credit card debt, taking on more debt on purpose can be, mentally, that can be a real wait. I want people listening to hear that, yes, you can use debt in an intelligent manner. I don’t agree that you should have 500 houses all leveraged to the hilt and really, really hope that everybody pays their rent this month because if they don’t, then I can’t pay my mortgage payments. That’s too much debt. That’s too much leverage. That is an unhealthy way to be investing, but if you’re putting 25% down, you’ve got a healthy reserve fund, which I am always encouraging people to put more in their reserve fund. You have a healthy reserve fund so you can’t foot the bill should something happen.

Mindy:
I mean, there’s this mindset where get as many rentals as you can. I don’t like that idea either because that’s just waiting for somebody, waiting for the house of cards to fall when, say, an unexpected event like a once in a hundred years pandemic pops up and your rent isn’t coming in, and also, you can’t remove them because there’s an eviction moratorium and all these circumstances outside of your control and what happens to you, the homeowner? So that’s not what I’m trying to say either, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on buying real estate without, and I’ve had a partner, and I don’t want any more partners, I want to do it all by myself because I’m not good at picking partners, real estate partners. I’m great at picking husband partners, but that’s not-

Jason:
Right, right, qualification there.

Mindy:
That’s not what we’re talking about here.

Peter:
One husband, right?

Mindy:
One husband, yes.

Peter:
One husband.

Mindy:
Yeah. I guess I should-

Jason:
Yeah, totally. Awesome points, Mindy. So let’s talk about it. So first of all, house hacking, I love the idea, and it fits some people’s vision and it doesn’t fit others. If you have a family, maybe you don’t want to move every two years. I think there’s also different versions of house hacking. So for instance, I’m selling my house now, we’re moving to a new house, and I could turn this into a rental, make great cash, but I don’t want to because the capital gains exclusion is worth it for me to just sell it and be done with it.

Jason:
However, I’m not mostly talking about personal residents here because that to me is a little bit of exception. What I’m talking about mostly is because even with your personal house, yes, maybe you’re going to short-term rental it or you’re going to have your Airbnb bedroom, make some income off it, which is a great idea, fantastic way to make your mortgage. A lot of people do that strategy with a duplex, for instance, but what I’m mostly really referring to in the four stages is let’s say you want, and it could be with anything. I’m involved in a storage facility like this, a couple storage facilities like this. So it works for anything.

Jason:
I think what I’ve seen, and the reason I like doing it debt-free and, by the way, we could talk about mortgages too because quite frankly, I’m wondering now with rates going up, is there some arbitrage play to get something with a small mortgage on it now? So I’m not completely against debt. I just want to make sure I’m clear on that, but I think for most people, one option that is not considered as carefully as it should is this idea of going not in business with each other, but what we encourage people to think about and see, again, see if it fits for them, is what about on a one-by-one property basis, especially for people that have no money, find people that have money.

Jason:
For instance, there’s a lot of business that goes on at Lifeonaire. We have a forum specifically for investors and people always have money to move and people always need money for deals. So what we oftentimes see is an investor will come to the table, maybe even with 100% of the money. One of these storage deals I’m in right now, the guy who found the deal and who manages it has 50% of the equity in the cash flow. The investors, myself being one of them, brought the cash to buy this thing, and this guy is getting half of the cash flow every month from the company, as well as on the back end, he’ll get 50% of the sale price, of the profit.

Jason:
So all I’m saying is this is a great option for people that don’t have money. Say, you haven’t put aside that money and you don’t want wait forever to … because, yeah, if you’re going to wait to buy cash for something, that’s going to take you some time, but what if you could partner with other people that already have it and make the cash flow that then now that cash flow will go towards your stage two needs and accelerate that snowball even further.

Jason:
So the four stages really about leveraging other people’s assets or other people’s cash to help you buy assets that will support your lifestyle, and those people are oftentimes, I mean, they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. They’re making a great return, too. So that’s just an option, I think. Certainly not the only way to do it, but the thing I like about it doing this way, now, yes, there’s absolutely some screening that has to be done in advance. Is this person ethical? Do they have the character or the capabilities, the competency to do this? Are they going to stay out of here? There’s some criteria here, but the thing I like about it is let’s say a rental, if your tenant doesn’t pay, there’s no mortgage payment to make and so nobody gets paid.

Jason:
The money partner doesn’t get any money, and the person boots on the ground doesn’t get any money either. So it’s in their best interest to get that thing performing again versus just having a mortgage payment to make because what I’ve seen is that when you have a payment to make on something, it brings out the emotion in us. I’ve seen this happen a lot of times with landlords who money’s tight and they don’t want to pay a $1,500 mortgage payment. So they look at Joe Smith, the tenant applicant, who by normal circumstances we call them red flags, but because we’re under a financial duress we say, “Ah, they’re orange. Maybe I’m being too hard. I need to relax. You know what? He seems like a good guy,” and then four months later you’re evicting him.

Jason:
So what we’re trying to do is take the emotion out of it and just minimize potential risk from having those payments, but to your point, there’s nothing wrong with the approach you mentioned either.

Scott:
I just think there’s something freeing if you look at it analytically and you say long term appreciation is going to be this, dadada, then you’re always going to conclude that your return on equity is going to be greater on average using a lot of leverage and a mortgage in real estate, but the counterpoint to that, I think, that the Lifeonaire approach brings is your lifestyle that you just said in your vision, and you put down your vision, says you need $4,000 a month. The simplest way to get there is with two or three paid off rental properties and you don’t have to worry about all of this other crap. You just buy your property with a mortgage, pay it off as soon as you can, do the next one, do the next one or get the three with a mortgage and then start paying them off, whatever it is, instead of getting 10, 15 more rentals and using the return on equity thing.

Scott:
I can’t help myself. I’m running BiggerPockets here and I’m just continuing to buy rentals, not crazily, but one at a time with another mortgage there, and I could have paid off two or three of those rentals and just have a completely chill, safe, predictable situation with that. That was probably going to produce worse ROI for me over the duration of my life, but maybe give me more LOI, if that’s a term I can invent here on the show, Lifeonaire on investing. I don’t know.

Jason:
Right. I like it, man.

Scott:
I think that’s the point that you guys are trying to convey here with this approach, is that right?

Jason:
That’s it, man. There’s no right or wrong. It’s only what your vision says. That’s really it. It’s all about just figuring it out and knowing what you’re doing going into it and realizing, “This is the strategy I’m going with, and this is why,” versus just thinking there’s one way to do it. That’s really the biggest thing that I think we’re trying to convey.

Mindy:
Yeah. I know more about Scott’s personal financial situation than maybe other people do, but I know that he’s investing from a position of financial strength and financial intelligence. He could have a whole lot more rentals if he-

Scott:
It’s position three in there or stage three in the prosperity, excess cash.

Mindy:
Yes. Well, but you’re also buying assets to pay for your lifestyle, but you’re not doing it in such a … I think there’s people who listen to podcasts and they think, “Oh, I need to have 412 rental properties.” No, if you’re making $30,000 a year, you probably don’t even need to have one rental property. You need to generate more income, and then when you want to start investing in real estate, start with one. I hear all these people like, “Oh, I need to get more. I need to get more. I need to get more.” I want you to have as many rentals as you can comfortably afford and sleep at night with, but you don’t need to have 500 rental properties in order to be successful. You don’t need to have this crazy amount of stress. I mean, I think back to March 2020 when they first announced the eviction moratorium and people were like, “How am I going to pay my mortgage?” Well, you should already have that mortgage payment in the bank and several months’ worth of mortgage payments, and you should be investing from a position of financial strength.

Mindy:
I think you can use leverage, but you have to use it intelligently, but also, there’s the people that, I mean, Jason, you’re not the only person who’s ever had multiple thousands of dollars in debt. So I hear from a lot of people who say, “I don’t want to take out a mortgage because I’m debt-free and I can’t put myself back into debt,” and that’s a valid way to invest, too.

Jason:
You don’t need 500 rentals to be successful. So this is where, I think, how do we define success, and everyone’s different. For me, it used to impress me a lot when someone made a lot of money, but now, I want to see if you have a lot of money and you have a great life. It’s just a different bar, a different metric that I’m using, but everybody has to determine that for themselves. If you want to be also wealthy-

Scott:
We defined success earlier with the vision statement. You create this artifact and then you achieve it. That looks best.

Jason:
That’s right. That’s right.

Scott:
I love it. So can you guys enlighten us on how working less can make you more money? I’m I’m very curious about this.

Jason:
Oh, dude, I love this. This is fantastic. So of course, so the first thing we do is their vision is going to tell you how much you can work and not jeopardize your vision, right? So most people we see that do their vision on average, again, no right or wrong, are working or have roughly 20 hours per week in their schedule that they can work without compromising some other area. So I’m always approached with people who are like, “Listen, there’s no way I can do this. There’s no possible way that I can make the money I need in 20 hours a week when right now I’m working 50.”

Jason:
So there’s four points of evidence that I love, that I rely on when it comes to this. The first one is the Pareto principle of 80/20. So I’ll say, “Okay. Let’s assume a 40-hour work week.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Pareto principle, it says that, and for our purposes, 80% of our results are going to come from 20% of our efforts. So what is 20% of an eight hour, sorry, of a 40-hour work week is eight hours. So what that principal is saying, and I know it’s not a hard and fast exact science, but it’s a general law that’s true, is saying that eight hours a week of our work is producing 80% of our results.

Jason:
The power to this is in layers and we can go down another 20% of the 80 and we can start doing that, but even stopping at that eight hour mark, that’s a groundbreaking revelation to really consider for a moment that 80% of the results in your business are coming from simply eight hours per week. When I’m presenting this, guys, I feel like I’m almost like a trial attorney here presenting the evidence.

Jason:
So the next one is like, “Okay. Here, how about this?” 2017, a study was done in the UK. They looked at 1,989 office workers, and they tracked them to see how much actual work they did during the day. So after tracking these people … What do you guys think the number is, by the way? Any ideas?

Mindy:
Five minutes?

Scott:
Eight hours.

Mindy:
Spoke it like a CEO.

Jason:
We have this fan here. Okay. We have this fan. It was actually two hours and 53 minutes, two hours and 53 minutes of actual work on an eight-hour workday. So let’s round that-

Scott:
Oh, I was saying eight hours a week. So yeah.

Jason:
Well, yeah, so out of a 40-hour work week, an eight-hour day, the study showed that the average office worker was working two hours and 53 minutes. So let’s say three hours a day, that’s only 15 hours a week. What that says explicitly is that these employees were getting all of the results of a 40-hour work week in 15 hours per week. So that’s piece number two.

Jason:
Piece number three is something called Parkinson’s law, which says that, and this is an economic principle, but basically, it has nothing to do with the horrible disease, and it basically says that how we do something will expand or contract based on availability, and it just is a real life example. When we’re in high school and we had a book report due in a week, it took us a week to get it done. If we had all semester to get it done, it took us a semester to get it done.

Jason:
So what this says is if you have 40 hours, 50 hours a week to work because, by the way, you don’t have a vision because, otherwise, if you had a vision, you’d know that you don’t have 40, 50 hours a week most likely, you can get the results you want in that smaller timeframe.

Jason:
The last example that I usually use to bring people home is, “Okay. Who here has ever gone on a vacation Saturday morning? First thing in the morning, you’re getting on that plane, and that Friday before you leave, you get more done than the previous Monday through Thursday, maybe even the last two weeks,” and everybody laughs. They laughed because it’s true.

Jason:
Now, how does that make sense? How is that possible? It’s because they had a why. They’re leaving on vacation. This is where I want to really say the vision gives you your why. So imagine having the chance to work in a very restricted timeline manner. This is where I want to also clear up. Some people think that Lifeonairers are just lazy and we’re all about just living the good life. That’s not true. Lifeonairers, by and large, are some of the hardest working people I know, but they do it within very, very narrowly defined windows so that they don’t compromise their vision.

Jason:
The way they do that is because now that they have a vision, they have a why, they don’t want to give up their time with their family. They’re not going to miss their kids’ dance recital. They’re not going to stop their reading time or their exercise or their workout, right? So they plow through these activities with their hair on fire a little bit because they have to.

Jason:
So it allows them to have both, and that’s where it’s really important for people to have both. So what I see is that people end up making more or the same as they were when they were working more hours in a much shorter timeframe. Now, yes, there are some things that-

Scott:
Do you have an example of a how, an example of someone who, “Hey, I’m working a full-time job and I use this principle and I was able to make essentially the same amount in way less time”? What are some examples of this?

Peter:
Yeah, because I was going to chime in not specifically for the full-time position, but for instance, like me, I mean, as you can see some of us work like their hair is on fire and they do a better job than others because I still have hair, the other guy not so much, but here’s the thing. When I have it on my vision and I pick up my kids, let’s say from school at 3:30. I used to pick them up when they were little at school. I work like my hair is on fire being very intentional in that particular time to be able to get to do what is on my vision. So that vision guides me of what I need to do in that specific timeframe that I have available that I put, let’s say, for my work hours to be able to go and do this. In today’s world-

Scott:
Maybe more literally, though. I think we all understand the concept, but more literally, “Hey, I’m working a job. How do I transition myself out of the job and make a similar level of income mechanically? Who’s going to pay me from my corporate job?” Do you have any examples of that?

Jason:
So yeah. So let me just first say that the example you’re asking for when somebody leaves their job is even more important because I don’t want you working on your business during your job. I think that’s stealing from your employer. So my encouragement is you have to get a few things done during late night hours. So there’s a gentleman I’m thinking of right now that was leaving his job. He went through a business breakdown. We walked him through what are all the roles in his business and what is he doing versus somebody else doing. He had this huge mind map of all of these activities that he was doing.

Jason:
Then I said, “Okay. So you know you need …” and I don’t remember the number. Let’s say it’s 40 grand a year to live, 50 grand a year. I said, “Okay. Let’s back calculate how many, and you want to work 20 hours a week once you’re out of your job. What’s the hourly wage that you can work on activities over that wage and everything else you have to get rid of?”

Jason:
So he hired two VAs. He had a contractor start. So instead of him managing the properties, he had a contractor do it. So his margins got a little slimmer, but he got a whole lot less time commitment on his end. So between his VAs, of course, he had a bookkeeper, two Vas, contractor. The contractor, also, he empowered him with a lot of other things that took his presence on the job site off the table. So it wasn’t a big deal.

Jason:
In fact, this is something that’s interesting that he found is that the reason he made more money was because he wasn’t getting around to doing all these things. So for instance, the VA was responsible for marketing. So this guy wasn’t getting the marketing out because he was so busy managing the job. So he hires the VA, which I think he paid $4 an hour to handle the marketing. Now, it’s getting done. Now, the marketing’s getting done. By the way, that created a new problem for him because now phone calls are coming in so he had to get rid of that, too. He hired a person off of, I think it was Craigslist to take those calls. It was a stay-at-home mom who had access to a phone and he felt that he wanted somebody local to him. So he had a stay-at-home mom answering the calls for commission only, paid her $500 for every deal that he bought. So that’s not any fixed overhead.

Jason:
So then the other, I don’t remember exactly what the other VA was doing, but the other thing was his projects moved a lot quicker. So he was making less money per project because he had a project manager, but he was having a hard time going over the property because he was at work all day. So things would start taking out longer because he’d get there at 6:00 PM and the guys haven’t been there all day and he didn’t know. So things were getting dragged out. Materials weren’t getting done because when he started off, he was lugging all the materials from Home Depot to the job site.

Jason:
So although he made less per deal, it went through faster. So over the course of a year, over a period of time, he’s doing better, and the deals are coming in and it really did a really good job of equalizing his cash flow, which as you know, real estate, it can be up and down, especially as a flipper.

Jason:
So that’s one guy who … By the way, this is something I really believe is true. If you can’t run your business in real estate part-time, I think you’re doing something wrong. You haven’t built the systems. You should have automated things. You should have outsourced and delegated things and things off your plate. It shouldn’t be a one-man or one-woman show. That’s a dangerous place to be in because if something happens to you, what happens to the business?

Scott:
I think this is really helpful. I think if I’m thinking about this, I mean, I’m an employee, right? My employment agreement says work 40 hours a week. So the only way I’m working less is if I exit that employment agreement and start something else or negotiate a part-time role with the employer. So the advice here is really more specific to either making that transition or if you can begin to own and operate your own business, and that is an accessible thing.

Scott:
The problem with that is if I own a, not the problem, one of the things you have to contend with if you own a business is that 80/20 rule is going to be all over the place. What many people do is if they get good at mastering that, just build a bigger and bigger business, bigger and more and more and more money, and all that kind of stuff. Instead, you don’t have to optimize for that. You can optimize for life and say, “Great. I’m backing into $50,000 a year with the least amount of income,” not the most hours per year and the largest amount of income, which is what most owners and CEOs are optimizing their businesses for. Is that right?

Jason:
Yeah, man, and one thing you said also struck something with me is that you’d be amazed at how many employers are open to the suggestion or the possibility that as long as you produce the results that you’re giving people, I’ve seen people not care as much about the hours. Even with COVID, for instance, we had students in Lifeonaire that swore their boss would never let them work from home, and then all of a sudden COVID hits, they’re working from home and they’re getting the results they want, and now they can work from home indefinitely now.

Jason:
So that differs, and that’s a one-off situation on your situation with your boss, but I’ve seen intelligent employers have that approach because, listen, I have employees and I know I’m not going to get eight hours a day out of them, but I do want certain results out of them, and if you can get it done in an hour, I want to reward you for how good you are. This is off the topic, by the way, but I think paying on hourly wages a lot of times does a disincentive to people to really produce the results they’re capable of.

Peter:
Yeah. I think one of the things that I want to add here that’s really important is the vision, that’s the guiding principle throughout the whole entire process. You really put on, “What do I want and why do I want it?” What we tend to do as human beings, we tend to look at when we don’t have the vision, we tend to look at, “Okay. I need to do this. How do I get this done? How, how, how, how, how?” and we start looking at ourselves that, “I got to do all of this.”

Peter:
What this process ends up doing is starts to ask you different questions and you get outside of yourself and you start maybe asking, “Who can come alongside with me to be able to do this? What are the things that I need to be focused on that are the most important things in order for me to get to where I want to go as opposed to doing everything?” That process really streamlines how you get out of that trap and this middle ground to be able to get to that vision that you want to live, especially the transition in times.

Scott:
Awesome. Well, Jason, Peter, we’ve learned a tremendous amount today. Thank you so much for sharing the vision, your personal money stories, four stages of financial prosperity, and I guess how to make more money in less time from this or at least get more life with less time, for sure. So this has been a really fun discussion and we really appreciate you coming on the show today.

Jason:
Thanks for having us guys. You guys are awesome. Big fan.

Peter:
Thank you.

Mindy:
Before we let you go, where can people find out more about you?

Jason:
Yes. The two best places is to go to Lifeonaire.com or you can head over to find our private Facebook page. If you just type in Lifeonaire, you’ll see it pop up in Facebook. That’s an awesome community of people that are like-minded or should I say life-minded, that are all about helping each other along that journey. That’s one cool thing is we really want to help people do that and have a very collaborative environment.

Mindy:
Awesome. Thank you so much, Peter and Jason. This was a lot of fun. It was nice to talk to you guys again.

Jason:
Same here guys. Thank you.

Peter:
Thank you.

Mindy:
Thank you. We’ll talk to you soon. Okay, Scott, that was Peter and Jason. That was so much fun. The thing that just keeps resonating after listening to that show is the vision statement. I think so many people skip this step or don’t put a lot of thought into this step and we really didn’t-

Scott:
… or they think it’s full of cheese. I thought it was a cheesy, these people with vision thing, but I’m like, “No. It’s a powerful tool.” You don’t have to spend a ton of money on producing a vision or whatever. Just go get a book or read a blog post or whatever, but put together an artifact, a document that has this thing and that says what you want and begin updating it on a regular cadence. I like to do it quarterly, and then back your goals based on that. It’s just that simple mechanism will produce a tremendous amount of power in your life over a five-year period. It won’t happen overnight, but it won’t take you 10 years to realize. Most of it will take you three, five, but it won’t take you 10, 20 to get a meaningfully better life or closer to what you think you want when you write down your vision.

Mindy:
Yeah. I am super excited for everybody listening to this to say, “Aha! I know what I need to do. I need to sit down and I need to write out my vision.” Give yourself a week. Give yourself a document on your phone that as you’re out taking a walk, “Ooh, I want this in there. I want that in there.” It’s not just one sentence. It’s not just one idea. It’s a living, breathing document. Don’t laminate it. It’s a living, breathing document, but give yourself some time to sit down and focus on it and see what it is that you want, and bookmark this, put a calendar note in your calendar for a year from today and look back at what you’ve done over a year. Do it for six months, do it for three months. Look at what I have been able to accomplish and see how your life has changed just because you’ve switched the way that you’re thinking about it.

Scott:
Yeah, love it. Again, I’ll reiterate what I said earlier, but I like to do this on trips. Every once in a while, I’ll do it. Once every couple quarters, I’ll do it for my house or whatever, but I like to do it like, “Oh, I’m at the beach,” or “I’m in Estes Park,” which is a nice town next to Rocky Mountain National Park here in Colorado or “I’m at Moab,” another area with some nice national parks, I’m in a new location doing something active, feeling good. I just find there’s a lot more clarity than doing that desk at the office or at your kitchen table because it’s hard to pop out and be like, “I have this one whole world of things I can do.”

Mindy:
Can you read this?

Scott:
Scott is a huge nerd. What?

Mindy:
I like to do this on vacation.

Scott:
I do. Hey. I mean, a little weekend trip, not my big vacation.

Mindy:
Big vacation.

Scott:
Although I would do it then, too.

Mindy:
I like to tease Scott, but I think that’s a really great point. You can’t do this in the middle of your everyday life when you’re trying to get lunches for your kids and make dinner and your kids are having 13 different conversations going around and your husband’s asking where his socks are, and maybe I’m describing my morning this morning, and your mind is in 50 different places. You’re going like this and you can’t concentrate. So I think that is a really great tip. Take a break, decompress, get up in the morning and it’s a great day, and I’ve had a great run, which I haven’t, but Scott has, and you’ve had a good morning. Take a shower. Have a cup of coffee or a nice breakfast and just sit down and think about it. If you’re married or in a significant relationship, talk with your partner about it. It doesn’t have to be something that you’re updating every quarter. It doesn’t have to be something that you come to right off the bat.

Scott:
If you’re trying to get your partner onboard, my tip would be come with a version that is somewhat mapped out loosely and put in the title, DRAFT, in all caps, and invite your partner to come in and change things or rewrite the whole thing or whatever, but come in with something and then make it completely open to changes or whatever with that. That, at least for me, was a positive way to introduce this concept. Me and my wife look really much forward to these little sessions every quarter.

Mindy:
We should have your wife on the show.

Scott:
Yeah. Maybe.

Mindy:
Maybe I’ll just go behind your back and get your wife on the show. Mindy and Virginia talk about Scott. Ooh, that’d be fun. Okay. Should we get out of here, Scott?

Scott:
Let’s do it.

Mindy:
From episode 307 of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, he is Scott Trench and I am Mindy Jensen saying, “Chop, chop, lollipop.”

 

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Links from the Show

  • Why healthy finances are key to keeping a family (and marriage) in-tact 
  • Hitting “rock bottom” and climbing out of credit card and consumer debt 
  • Building a rental property portfolio debt-free and how you can do it too
  • The four core tenants of money philosophy and why everything starts with your “vision”
  • The 80/20 Rule and why working less can help you make more money
  • Calculating the cost of financial freedom and why it’s probably less than you think
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

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