FIRE Movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

Updated : Oct 23, 2019 in Articles

FIRE Movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early)


it’s the weekend and you have financial
questions that need answering that can only mean one thing
it’s time for Jill on money the show that takes the mystery out of your
finances here’s your host Jill Schlesinger welcome welcome
it is Memorial Day weekend and I know this is the program that takes the
mystery out of your financial life and we are delighted that you are joining us
however this is an important day because early weekend Memorial Day itself Monday
obviously the the markets are all closed and let’s just take a moment here to
remember why you get Monday off you don’t get Monday off just have barbecues
or the unofficial start to summer even though always in the Northeast it’s cold
Memorial Day honors men and women who died while serving in the US military it
originated after the Civil War it did not become an official federal holiday
until 1971 all right so what can you do for Memorial Day maybe you will go to a
parade maybe you’ll have a memorial service for somebody maybe you’ll visit
a cemetery but as somebody who is a member of a military family who lost
somebody I think that it’s really important that families feel like even
those who didn’t lose a family member or a friend or know anybody that even those
who are completely on the surface unaffected by some of these terrible
terrible losses that you remember and I even again I you don’t have to go to a
parade you don’t have to do anything but I do think it’s very it’s a nice idea to
for at some point to take a moment on Monday or even during this weekend –
just think about all of those military personnel who died in any war so I think
that it’s uh I know it sort of seems like a bummer right like it like oye
talk and bringing me down it’s just because it’s so important okay
so Memorial Day yes unofficial start to summer I’m happy that it is getting to
be that time also but just let’s remember why we are celebrating or
taking that day off just think about it okay sounds good okay now on to the
program this is Jill on money and we are broadcasting live from the Capital One
Bank studios in New York and what we’d love to do is to hear from you because
that is kind of the the lifeblood of the program our email address is ask Jill at
Jill on money.com that’s ask Jill at Jill on money comm
alternatively if you’re poking around the website and by the way which you
should do that lots of great information resources and all that fun stuff once
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a television appearance or reading one of my columns don’t forget you can
always hit the contact us button from right there right there on the website
so let us now start to turn back to you and take some calls we’re starting with
Ronnie from Connecticut hi Ronnie hi thanks so I’m a recent grad and
hoping to one day semi retire early I’d like to have enough money you know saved
up so really cover most of the bills and just work hard time doing things that I
like mm-hmm well wait a minute you just started working and now you want to
retire have to plan ahead right yes absalom cold are you
uh twenty-four gesture okay and what do you do for a living
some a budget analyst right now okay you’re using your retirement account
offered through your employer yep and I also have a IRA okay so how much do you
earn about 58 a year and how much are you putting away into that 401k and how
much you putting away into the IRA so for the 401k it’s about 10 percent and
then for the IRA I max it out oh great and it’s a Roth IRA yep both 401k and
both or Roth great fantastic so you’re putting away some good cash are you
living at home are you living in a cheap rental how are you saving all this money
yep for now living at home while I save up get my own place but in the mean time
trying to take advantage of it as much as I can okay yeah no kidding right
thank you so look it’s hard to know really what
your expenses are at this point right because you’re saving a ton of money
which is great and I encourage you to do that however when you have to go out and
pay for your own rent how much do you think that’s going to be so rent around
here is probably around thirteen fourteen hundred okay so that’s not too
bad on your income once I mean have you looked at your expenses and said to
yourself okay once I have that fourteen hundred dollars a month
what do you think you can still sock away as much money into your retirement
accounts yeah I think I would because I don’t have any student loans and my car
is all paid off though I really don’t have much expenses once I move out
besides you know actual living expenses sure and you know obviously like food
and stuff like that mm-hmm oh yeah I think I would be able to
maintain it okay that’s great so all right here’s what I’m going to suggest
to you we don’t know have enough information at this point but you’re on
a great path one thing you can do is you can play with some different retirement
calculators to give you might give you a better sense of kind of
how you would do going forward there’s tons of free calculators I asked you a
bunch of questions and you can kind of go from from that point and you can
check back in with this you know every year or so there is also a calculator
you can pay for it’s called es planner yes planner com is a very good piece of
software and it’s not that expensive but it’s very it’s a little bit more
detailed okay I think that beyond that at this point you’re doing what you
should be doing I think that once you move out of your parents house what you
should do is see how you absorb the rent if things are going fine with the rent
and presuming that again you have no debt and you have six to twelve months
of your expenses that’s in the bank a nice emergency reserve fund you can
actually increase your your Roth 401k to put a little bit more away and if you
can do that then you’re going to accelerate your retirement path all that
being said Ronnie my man it’s a long way between here and there let’s see what
happens you know and so I love that you are really psyched about this I do want
to of course caution you that so many things in life are variable I think it’s
great to be able to plan now and work really hard and keep pushing that money
aside but you know if in ten years you called me up and said hey I’m married I
have three kids and there’s no way I’m retiring when I’m 45 to 50 I also were
gonna give you a free pass on that okay we are gonna take a quick little break
now what you can do is while we’re doing this break and paying some bills you can
go to the website go to Jill on money.com that’s it very easy and go
check out our updated Resource Center because I used to have the 10 questions
to ask a financial advisor now I have 13 questions and some of those questions
you’ve got to ask yourselves so go to jail on money.com click on the resource
button and you can find out all about what you should be questioning around
financial advice we’ll be right back welcome back to jail on money where Jill
Schlesinger takes the mystery out of your finances your back it’s Jill on
money we are here to take the mystery out of your financial life
even on Memorial Day weekend we can only do that if we hear from you our email
addresses ask Jill at Jill on money.com or you can click on the contact us
button on our website Jill on money.com so just go ahead and do that will ya we
are going to start this segment out with a call from Phil from Tennessee hi Phil
well thank you so I don’t know 15 years or so ago my employer you know like a
lot of other employers decided to get rid of the traditional defined benefit
pension and you know move everybody to a 401k you know they up their matching and
all which was nice I didn’t have to do that I guess but one thing they did do
is they created this thing they called a personal pension account and it seems to
act or has acted like a savings account and grown very slowly but it never went
down like even during the financial crisis you know it just kind of grew
it’s very small poor interest rate but anyway I’m 58 and I’m looking to retire
and start a new career and I’ve got this choice to make of what to do with this
account they’re basically saying I can take a lump sum they will purchase an
annuity for me and you know there’s like a hundred different flavors of the
annuities between me and my wife and you know does it disappear when I die does
it disappear when she dies does it stay level so the last ones eyes you know all
that kind of thing but in the fine print it does talk about that it subsidized
for people that are retiring early and implies that the subsidy gets smaller
and smaller the closer you get to 65 I found a calculator on the internet
somewhere where I could compare a lump sum with an annuity
put all the interest rate to kind of see you know what might be the best choice
and for somebody fifty-eight like myself opposed to live 30 years the I just took
one example if I just did it for myself until I die say I live 30 years it would
pay eleven hundred fifty two dollars a month and according to the calculator
said that’s about seven and three-quarters percent whoa whoa that’s
awesome and I was yeah that’s not that pretty good that’s awesome because
that’s remember one thing about that is it’s a guarantee so it’s it’s one thing
to say you know Oh 7.75% in you know last year you might say to
yourself oh but the stock market did so much better but this is a seven point
seven five percent guarantee for thirty years that’s a huge number so yeah and
you know there was a bunch of different options and I don’t remember all the
numbers but you know it obviously went down if I did to cover my wife’s life
there’s all kinds of options you know like seventy five percent after I die
for my wife or 50 percent after I die for my wife or you know all that kind of
stuff so let me ask you a question when you ran all those different scenarios
was it basically like somewhere between five six seven percent based on whatever
scenario you chose I don’t have that number for you I guess my initial
reaction you know I’ve been hearing for you know twenty years from the prayed
for us and people like you and all annuities they’re bad idea don’t go buy
one right right no no I don’t think annuities are all bad I think guarantees
are great let’s talk more about what’s going on in your financial life so
you’re 58 you’re gonna retire you’re 59 and you have a wife also and how old is
she okay and does she work okay alright and
how much do you earn right now fill only four to
again 184 yes how much do you guys need to live on oh good question I mean we
almost got the house paid off we only owe like 26 thousand on the house I
think I do that one more still in college so for the next year or so you
know I mean to make money and like I’m gonna take another job and I’m gonna
make almost as much my new job it’s just that I’m technically retired for my
current job okay so that’s good to know all right five I
intend to walk till I can qualify for Medicare at least all right so you’re
good till 65 the personal pension savings account how much money is in
there right now all right and tell me about the rest of
your retirement savings what else do you have I have about 150,000 in a hole okay
I’ve got about 20,000 in an IRA I’ve got my wife’s got 115,000 in an IRA we’ve
got not as much taxable you know outside of retirement things I like we did go to
private schools and college and everything this we got about 26,000 in
savings we got I’ve got about 7,000 and passion our
brokerage account we got ninety four thousand dollars in
stock and my current employer do you have to exercise that when you leave
when you retire no I can basically do nothing ahead of
you know I’ll just sit there and wait until I decide what to do later I got
you but you’re thinking that I might as well start the clock because it is see
it seems that that subsidized part of the pension of the personal pension is
reduced as you get older so I are you saying to me that you think what you’re
what you’re contemplating is sort of work for another year let this thing go
for another year and then at the moment you do retire that you will annuitize
this potentially or should you roll it into just a general IRA rollover which
you would me do with your current 401k is that about the right question
Oh maybe a little different I guess I was thinking if it’s only on 80% you
know if it wasn’t what for their subsidy I would probably just roll it into my
401k and invested a little more aggressively sure but since there’s this
subsidy I’m wondering well gosh when I turn 59 and a half and like nine months
do I just go ahead and take the annuity to have a you know to get as much of the
subsidy as I can right go ahead and even start taking it even though I’m still
gonna work another seven years right even though you don’t need the money I
get you when you are telling me about the annuity that annuity that you you
feel pretty confident about I mean I again let’s it’s your straight life and
I probably wouldn’t have you do straight life but let’s let’s make up some
numbers let’s pretend that you just do sort of a a joint and fifty like a fifty
percent for your wife would get fifty percent of it because it’s nice of a
little income maybe if it were like a guarantee of say five or six percent for
thirty years that’s a pretty nice guarantee to have I know it’s not a huge
dollar amount relative to your overall net worth but if we presume when you are
sixty-five that you will need I mean you sound like you’re good savers so I’m
kind of I’m trying to go backwards and say that you know if you make 200 grand
how much you’re really spending he’s spending ten grand a month is that
possible like after college and after I the house
is paid off or does that seem high so maybe eight grand a month does that seem
reasonable and you think that’s even high don’t you let’s say that you travel
a lot why shouldn’t you travel you worked hard you need 96 grandi you need
a hundred grand a year right how much will you get in Social Security for both
of you like the maximum benefit cuz I paid enough for the last several years
I’ve made more than the maximum mm-hmm you know that they would hold on and
then she’ll get half of yours presumably I guess I haven’t really looked into
that yeah so we need to give you we need to get you somewhere around five grand a
month from your portfolio which I mean so here’s the here’s the benefit of like
taking this money as an annuity okay number wanted to guarantee and you
know I’m gonna make you go do a little homework and follow up with me just in
terms of letting me know what the interest rate is if you did it like with
a joint and survivor benefit because if you’re thinking about this if you needed
eight thousand bucks a month and with Social Security as well as this annuity
you could get half of that guaranteed with no risk then the only thing you
need to worry about is pulling money out of your portfolio which is you know
basically nine is like a million bucks to give you the extra money then you can
do that very easily and I think it’s nice to have the income that’s like half
of your needs are covered just by social security in this pension income okay
when we return we are going to get more in depth on your financial life don’t
forget you can always reach us ask Jill at Jill on money.com we’ll be right back follow Jill on Twitter and Instagram for
more personal finance content just use the handle at Jill on money now back to
the show you’re back it’s Jill on money it is called graduation time and you
know what that means we’re gonna be talking about those jobs that are good
jobs bad jobs I have a funny wallet hub study best and worst entry-level jobs I
know this is shocking but the top 5 best entry-level jobs according to this
wallet hub survey are some form of engineers electrical engineer number one
systems engineer number two plain old engineer number three environmental
health and safety engineer number four number five hardware engineer mark that
baby is going to be an engineer there’s a web app developer number six
electrical engineer electronics engineer number seven industrial engineer number
eight architect number nine that’s interesting and operations research
analyst number ten highest by the way a highest average starting salary tax
attorney but you have to go to both if to go to law school and then you also
have to be studying tax which sounds like you’re putting needles in my eyes
if I had to do that tax attorneys starting salary ninety seven thousand
five hundred fifty nine dollars hmm all right you know worst entry-level jobs
are the ones that are tough ones sheet metal Oh a machinist sheet metal
mechanic building inspector carpenter aircraft painter tool and die maker
automotive mechanic floor assembler boiler maker and welder I don’t know I
think that tells you everything you need to know about the job market in total
okay now let’s talk about one of these new folks here’s McKenzie who is about
to wrap up schooling and I’m looking at different places to work my question one
of my potential employers offers a dollar-for-dollar
matching program up to four percent I already have a Roth IRA that I
contribute to and I don’t know if I should just say no to the free money
answer say yes to the free money McKenzie
yes okay I don’t care she says I might move around from different employers to
make sure I find a good fit I don’t feel like it’s a good idea to have the 401k
cuz I may leave a company year later and then the money we just have to be
converted to my Roth or just sit by itself but what is that so who cares you
got four percent of free money when do you walk down the street and and like
stomp on eight hundred dollars and and say I don’t need it it’s too much
trouble so if you left big deal you could roll
it into another retirement account you could roll it into another employers
account you can put it in an IRA rollover who cares take the money take
the money all right oh brother
okay here’s a question from Carol my husband retired in 2018 after 45 years
of service as a software engineer he’s got a consulting contract for with a
company for future work so last year he received a w-2 for income while he was
an employee and then a 1099 Mis see miscellaneous for the consulting work
done after he retired so my tax program wants to give him the
deduction for his conduct consulting income I’m not sure that he’s eligible
do you know whether he is entitled to this deduction q-b i deduction I know
I’m just trying to thank qualified business I don’t know I mean I don’t
know if you look this was asked before tax season so I’m getting I’m late to
the party we didn’t get this in time mark so I don’t know I would think that
on that income you might be able to get it but I would double check and if you
had any question and you maybe went on an extension or you find a different
answer then you can always recharacterize and file another return
but now that tax season is over maybe you should talk to tax preparer or a CPA
who can help you navigate that particular transition okay Luke was
recently speaking with a he puts in quotation marks financial advisor about
next steps now that he’s fully funded his emergency fund and maxes out his 401
K and an IRA Luke says I have no dependents I may someday but not in a
plan at this point so when the advisors suggested whole life insurance I was
surprised seems like an incredibly long payback period to access the cash value
where I’m locked into a firm monthly payment its what I’m trying to avoid is
there ever a time when whole life insurance can be a good investment
vehicle yeah when I guess when someone else is paying the premium not you
this is not a financial adviser this is a salesperson skip it and by the way I
don’t why invest in an insurance product when you don’t have any insurance need
you don’t mention your tax bracket Luke but my guess is pay the tax because you
say you’re putting money into a Roth IRA so you make under a certain amount of
money pay the tax use a plain old investment platform like Vanguard
Charles Schwab zero price maybe use betterment anything that will help you
with the investment side or do it yourself and do not buy a life insurance
product when there is absolutely no insurance need okay here’s a note from
fern my two sons are construction workers one is a journeyman electrician
the other a heavy quit equipment operator most of the jobs are away from
home long drives away they have Motel and meal expenses and mileage expenses
these deductions have stopped right because they have no deductions could
probably wage-earners they’re probably w-2 employees they still have the
expenses it takes a big chunk out of their wages it’s it is not hardly worth
working really I think that’s probably a little bit of an overstatement is there
a solution yeah you can do two things one is you can you know bite the bullet
and pay and realize that I bet their tax bracket went down or two you can say I
don’t want to be a full-time employee I will be self-employed then I have to pay
both sides of Social Security the employer and the employee oh and then I
also have to pay my own taxes I have to have my own and shirt light health
insurance and I have to create my own retirement plan those are your two
choices I don’t like questions like this life’s not that unfair calm down
everybody okay the email I found a little angry in that moment I’m not
really angry it’s just that like you know come on guys it’s taxes relax not
of not of tons of options here ask Jill at Jill on money.com
maybe I was too mean you guys can tell me and let us know if you have questions
concerns issues hop on through the website Jill on
money.com you can sign up for a free weekly newsletter right there we’ll be
right back if you’ve missed any part of the show or want to check out a past
she’ll go to jail on money.com for more great personal finance content you’re
back with jill on money happy almost graduation if you are almost graduated
from high school or college I love this email cracked me up from Laurie who
wants to brag about her son Nathan he graduated from Michigan State University
in 2015 he had $65,000 in debt and as of yesterday he’s paid off more than 40
thousand of that debt all while making about $60,000 a year I think he’s
fantastic he was actually physically ill when he found out that it that the loans
accrued interest while he was still in school hey gang there’s a difference
between subsidized and unsubsidized loans Marc when I was on CTM and I was
talking about the loan issue I got so many people who came up to me after and
said they had no idea that an unsubsidized loan the interest rate
clock starts wall beds in school I know that you okay for the judgmental people
out there calm down I know that like you think everyone should know this but it’s
not readily available and there are no explanations of what these terms mean
sometimes so Nathan says Nathan’s mother said that
that was a big surprise to him okay and she also says parent loans are killers
his dad has said he would help him but never could financially now the only
loans that nathan has left are the ones that are in his name and he’s only got
about 25 grand to go and by the way these loans don’t get paid off if you
make the minimum payment right you’ve got to actually pay more than what your
minimum payment is right all right Sandra writes she and her husband have
been married before they children from prior marriages and they
don’t have children together they live in Pennsylvania they own their home and
a rental home and their have joint they must be joint tenants or maybe they
have community property not sure but they’re both listed on the deeds of both
houses in our wills we each have left our half of the houses
to our children in the event we die before our spouse question does the will
override the deed if we had just the deed the surviving spouse would be the
sole heir I just want to be sure what the surviving spouse would be legally
required to do I so enjoy your segments on CBS and I so enjoy that you too enjoy
them all right mark let’s think about this for a second I believe that the the
contract meaning the deed or a contract would be a 401k beneficiary designation
or a life insurance designation I believe that that’s what rules and I
think what would happen is that if you died before your husband and you own the
property jointly the property would go to him directly but if you were tenants
in common versus so okay so for joint tenants the your share goes to him
automatically but if your tenants in common it means your share can go to
whomever you want so I have to go back to the house deed and we have to
understand how the house is owned right joint tenancy with rights of
survivorship or entirety would mean that spouse one dies spouse two gets the
share of the house tenants in common would mean that the asset is split in
half and your half could go to your kids now the other thing you should probably
do is if you’re asking me this question I’m wondering whether you want to go
back and talk to your attorney as well just to double-check okay that would
make me feel a little bit better because I don’t want you to have any any worries
about this all right here’s another trust in a state question from Sharon
her husband 77 and fifty-five and he’s retired and she just
retired he has adult children from a previous marriage he set up a trust for
me last year after we were married hmm wonder if she gets along with the kids
his former wife and he have a matter marital settlement agreement which
transfers through the divorce in it his kids received 25 percent of his assets
upon death any advice you can provide to avoid potential pitfalls or solutions to
this future situation Trust is valued at three million dollars our marital
residence is with rights of survivorship and worth about six hundred thousand you
know what Sharon here’s my advice this sounds like a
cluster you know what and I am NOT clear that your estate documents are
harmonized with his divorce degree so I think you need to go back to the
attorney and make sure that all of this works together because if it’s not
managed correctly it will turn into a pain in the neck okay
so let’s be clear about what you have how it works with the divorce decree you
know and then go from there okay how much time what do we got a minute and a
half I can’t do this in a minute and a half well let me just do it quickly Jill
is has an inherited IRA her mother passed away last year she didn’t put but
her IRA didn’t get put in my name until early 2019 I’m generally you must be she
says I know I have to begin taking our MDS according to that I have to take the
RMD this year but since it wasn’t established in my name till this year
does that mean I don’t have to take the RMD till 2020 thanks in advance all
right let me do this quickly go back to the place where the where the IRA is
held and talk to them because now what we need to know also is was she taking
distributions herself because that too would actually guide you as to whether
or not you need to take your required minimum distribution go back to the
place where the IRA was held if they establish the new account for you the
answer will be easy because they have all the information
you need ok you are listening to Jill on money if you’ve got financial questions
give us a holler our email addresses ask Jill and Jill on money.com
and don’t forget you can subscribe to our podcast you can get it on Apple
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it out all right we will be right back you’re back it’s Jill on money and
before we close out the hour I want to get to an email question remember you
can send us an email it’s ask Jill at Jill on money.com you can also go to our
website Jill on money.com and you can there’s a little bright button mark has
it put in a little sort of oblong circle ish shape contact but while you’re there
you can watch some old segments you can read stuff that I’m writing listen to
old shows you can buy the book and there’s a great resource tab so check it
out okay so this is a question about somebody who wants to transition into
financial planning and the question is what route do you go and the choices are
go to st. John’s University for an MBA and finance another 45 Grand
or go to a hostel which is a local school on Long Island for executive
certificate in financial planning 4500 okay if you’re going to be in the
financial planning business I think what you ought to do is you probably want to
go to the financial planning route but the question is the financial planning
certificate it doesn’t really mean anything is unless they’re getting you
prepped to pass the Certified Financial Planner Board of standards exam so what
I would do is I would go to the CFP website which is CFP net for people who
are thinking about the certified financial plan
our profession and then what you need to do is to figure out whether this is one
of those programs that the CFP board not sanctions but sort of says hey this is
part of the family and so I think the the answer is not that if you’re going
to become a financial planner I wouldn’t say getting an MBA in finance is going
to actually serve you very well on the other hand I really want you to check in
with the CFP board to see you’re obviously in New York or Queens or Long
Island then that find out what the best program best cheapest program for you to
take that would prepare you to actually sit for that CFP exam and you can also
try to get an internship to get those hours of experience all that fun stuff
okay now you have been listening to the first hour of the Jill on Money program
we are broadcasting live from the Capital One Bank Studios in New York if
you’ve got a financial question let us know it’s ask Jill at Jill on money.com
we’ll be right back it’s the weekend and that can only mean
one thing you’re listening to Jill on money the show that takes the mystery
out of your finances here’s your host Jill Schlesinger you are back it’s our
number two of Jill on money we have been getting some questions here and there
and about this thing called the fire movement no not those two documentaries
which are totally different we’re talking about fire financial
independence retire early and so we wanted to get one of the people who is
really part of that movement his name is grant Sabatier
and his book is called financial freedom a proven path to all the money you will
ever need and his websites called millennial money.com
I brought grant on because I wanted people to hear what his story was like
now it’s not it’s not necessarily going to sync up exactly with your story or
your kids story but it’s interesting nonetheless we are broadcasting live
from the policy genius studios so stay tuned here is our interview with grant
Sabatier my parents let me start there really quickly they grew up in rural
Indiana like one-stoplight town had nothing growing up we’re very poor like
one pair of pants per year type four and then they ended up having me after not
thinking they could have kids they got pregnant in their late 20s and decided
that they wanted to give me a different opportunity and so they moved from rural
India and I left all their families the only people who have ever done this and
they moved to the suburbs of Washington DC and my mom was a secretary for a
number of years and my dad actually cleaned office buildings and so they
really kind of started from the bottom and I was always in my class the kid
with the least amount of money I never felt deprived I always felt like I had
opportunities I knew my parents we’re making a lot of sacrifices for me but I
could tell that being outside the DC suburbs there’s quite a bit of money
that I you know always had the least amount of my soccer team money was
something that stressed my parents out they talked about it you know something
that was always very present and my father used to tell me two things
when I was a kid these are some of my earliest memories life is a beach and
money is freedom and I didn’t know as like a five year old kid what either of
those meant and I actually had the opportunity last year when I launched my
financial freedom podcast to bring my dad on as the first guest and I asked
him I said what do you mean by money is freedom and so he got to unpack you know
how he always viewed money and was diligent about saving even though he
didn’t make a lot and so it’s it’s not lost on me or anyone that I you know had
such a kind of intimate relationship with money from a young age and it’s
always something that I’ve been fascinated by and now I feel grateful
that I you know I’m able to do this did you feel stress when you were young
about money I didn’t feel stress but I felt my parents stress certainly I was
an only child you know we were kind of the three of us we were a unit and so I
knew it was something that stressed them out everything from I remember one year
they had a hard time making the payment for my soccer team you know I remember
that very vividly and so it was always something but on the flip side I knew
that they were giving the opportunity so that was always kind of embedded in me
and then when you fast-forward and I had to move back home at 24 I felt quite a
bit of shame around they had given me so much opportunity and made so many
sacrifices for me and my parents are in their mid 60’s now and they’re still
both working you know they didn’t start saving for retirement until they were in
their 50s and you know they’ve done incredibly well with what they had and
I’m extremely proud of them but certainly money was something that was
was very stressful in our house so you grew up outside of DC in the suburbs and
then you went to college yep and where did that take you yeah so
I was kind of the kid who did everything he was supposed to do you worked hard
curious graduated number two in my class I’d end up going to the University of
Chicago the one thing about me is I’m really really intense like a lot of
people ask me like how did you become financially independent in a millionaire
in five years from nothing and you have to realize that that’s like all I did I
really wanted to get a job by the time I graduated college and I got one at a
company two hours outside of Chicago and one of the northern suburbs that you
know when you call in to Airlines or any company and it’s like this
maybe monitored for quality assurance I worked for the company that listened to
those calls and so that’s what I did like is it’s sort of some dystopian
situation where I was commuting waking up at 4:00 every day so it was the job
that I got I was excited I was making $42,000 but I ended up bouncing around
for different jobs over about a three-year period because I never quite
found the right fit I mean that commute really killed me I ended up getting laid
off seven months later because I wasn’t going through enough calls and so that’s
I wasn’t making the company enough money and then I went to another somewhat
related company and I couldn’t kind of find my fit I really wanted to be a
writer that’s what I really wanted to do so I was writing fiction I was you know
trying to do that on the side but that work ended up being so sort of
soul-crushing space to do that how many years did you
bounce around like that it’s like two and a half almost three years at that
point did you say I got a move like I got a move home or because because
financial reality or because you just wanted I mean sometimes you just want to
nest you want to like I want to regroup and there’s nothing wrong with that so
what was the motivation for you to go back home I just completely ran out of
money I got $400 and I wasn’t gonna be able to
pay my rent and my girlfriend is now my wife she was
like had roommates and so I couldn’t really crash there and you know it
became a situation where she was a little like what are you doing with your
life she was in graduate school at the time and so I moved back to my parents
had a reset they said that I could stay there for three months which i think is
amazing in the book I read that and I was like I thought that was an
interesting thing that it really they’re like okay the clock is ticking here we
go and you’re gonna contribute also to this household right yeah and my father
actually said it was one of the toughest things that he had to do as a parent
being like we’re not gonna give you any money you know put this constriction you
know I probably would have like blasted out of there
you know anyway as quickly as I could because I just had so much emotion
around it and I didn’t want to be twenty-four living back with my parents
but you know they made sure obviously putting that bookend that hey you know
you got to take this seriously you got to get out and they didn’t really ask me
much how things were going during the period nag you know they didn’t nag me
but like you know we come down I feel like a child like sitting down at dinner
you know it’s sit around and we’d be talking about something else but you
could tell you know when you’re talking to someone and then look in their face
they’re thinking about for other things yes a here’s your
mother’s like I want to ask him how many job interviews he write but I don’t want
to say that because that’s gonna make him go off right and just worry just
general worry in their eyes just kind of like concern of like is he okay you know
what’s he going to do so I felt all of that and also I knew how much my parents
had sacrificed for me and so I had that kind of double whammy where it’s like
okay you know always kind of doing well by them was important to me it’s like
you’re the good boy and you’ve got that great guilt that’s firing you up so and
also as you said you know you’re hyper focused on projects and so I just was
doing a simple google search on my phone and I saw a Google mobile ad and they
were pretty new at the time this is 2010 and I was like oh what’s this I hadn’t
seen a Google ad on my phone so then I just googled Google mobile ad and the
first thing that came up was an article from emarketer that was like google
campaign management jobs are gonna grow 300 percent by 2020 I was like oh wow
there’s demand for people to do this what is this second result Google
AdWords University which is basically or watched a two-minute video on how Google
advertising works and it’s actually really fascinating because it’s really
competitive it’s a real-time auction bidding system and I was like oh this is
really cool and then next to it it was like do you want a job running who
campaigns get Google AdWords certified for free and so you could take a test
that Google administered for free and if you got certification you know you could
throw on your resume and so I looked at it briefly and I was like oh wow so take
me about an hour to do and they had all the free tutorials and all the videos so
I spent the next 30 days watching every single video in the AdWords University
and also watching additional videos on YouTube completely over prepared for the
test I mean I probably could have taken it after the first week I got certified
then I just googled Google ad campaign manager job Chicago because I wanted to
get back to Chicago she’s a girlfriend is there exactly I applied to three jobs
but the first one that I applied to I ended up getting about a week and a half
later we’ll get back to our interview with Grant in just a second
hey Mark let’s post up that article I wrote on the fire movement financial
independence retire early my Tribune article that might be interesting for
you guys to check out and also just check out the website Jill on money calm
check sign up for our free weekly newsletter we’ll be right back if you’ve
missed any part of the show or want to check out a past show go to jail on
money.com for more great personal finance content
you’re back its Jill on money and we are talking to a young millennial in fact a
guy who created a website called millennial money.com his name is grant
Sabatier and he wrote a book called financial freedom and in the book he
outlines one of the big motivations he had in turning his life around not that
I think everyone should do this it doesn’t work for you know sort of the
run-of-the-mill person to say I want to accumulate X amount of dollars in a
certain time because you know I’d like to do the real planning but it gave
grant a kick in the pants so check it out $1,000,000 was the goal was he able
to do it here’s more of our interview with Grant Sabatier when you thought to
yourself a million dollars financial independence did you really know it what
that meant or was it just like I want a million dollars because there’s a good
round number yeah it was that simple I was just like I want to save a million
dollars and I’m gonna figure this I’m gonna see I’m gonna try to get there as
quickly as possible I also bought into the idea of how much is enough and so
going into my first job immediately even making $50,000 I was saving 60% of my
income how was that possible because you’ve shacking up with a girlfriend at
that time shacked up with the girlfriend and then I ended up upsetting a roommate
so I got kicked out of that apartment so I got my own apartment so I got an $800
a month apartment in Chicago that was really kind of crappy in a bad
neighborhood I needed a car and so I got an $800 Nissan Maxima and I just I was
working all the time so it wasn’t slightly spent no money I was either
like working or reading about money cuz I knew I figured out that I could
actually accelerate the rate of compounding and that was a huge moment
for me so I didn’t know what kind of where I was going the million dollars is
what I wanted to save I knew I was I was saving a high for
my income but then I did the math and I was like even saving 60% of my $50,000
income it’s gonna take me maybe 22 years to get there so I need to make more
money and then and so how did you make more money oh yeah so this is the fun
part so three months in I’d learned enough about digital marketing I’d
learned how to build my first website I was building WordPress websites which
now are really easy you can do with one click it was easy back then but you
still had to do it and so I went on Craigslist and I literally just searched
in the classified ad section and there was a lawyer who was looking for a
website Laura needs website need $500 budget reached out to him I was like
I’ll do it and so I basically got paid to learn how to build a website so I
used a template that I bought for $49 i customized it I delivered the website to
him he was super happy and I was like hey do you have anyone else then you
know that needs website so he goes I might so through the next three months
he introduced me to some of his friends and I got hooked into a local
Association of realtor’s in Chicago and at the end of that next three months so
I’d been six months since I learned digital marketing I sold my first
$50,000 website oh that’s awesome and so I had made more money in this one
and it’s so funny because I sold the project and basically I told them it
would take at least you know a month and a half to deliver maybe a month month
and a half and I finished it in four days and so I actually had to wait two
and a half weeks and I usually but that was like a lot of people like how did
you go from five hundred dollars to fifty thousand dollars I had nothing to
lose and then I started to unpack really what motivates people to buy and the
perception of value and I you know I was I’m like a I really try to figure how
people think and I realized that the woman who was buying the website for me
the head of marketing for this law firm she wanted a nice website but that was
table stakes what she really wanted was to look good to her partners and so I
focused on selling her on the idea that hey once a week I’m gonna send you an
email that you can send to your boss right you know and right here in like
I’m gonna give you the metrics to deliver absolutely ended up building my
whole career on that where I focused on doesn’t matter how hard you work in life
and everything that happens behind the door what matters is the perception of
the value of what you’re selling to the person you’re selling it to and so I
really fell in love with that and sales strategy and storytelling and by the end
of that first year I was making fifty thousand dollars is my salary but I’d
made over three hundred thousand dollars run
Google AdWords campaigns for realtor’s for a dentist’s office you know I was
had my hands and a lot of different things and at this time your
girlfriend’s in grad school right she’s in grad school yeah she’s working hard
so hard you go work fine I got things to do right right okay so that wasn’t it
wasn’t like there because some people would be like maybe have stress in your
relationship if you’re so plunged in but if you’re both killing yourselves and
working really hard it’s kind of like great timing let’s do it now while we’re
young and we got energy right yeah it’s perfect and so she works in academia and
she was actually doing a lot of her research overseas for two of the five
years that I became financially independent and that was actually really
helpful because it’s like you’re checking in with your partner once a
week or a couple of times a week on skype and then you can just focus on I
mean that’s why this is so much easier to become financially independent for
someone in their 20s doesn’t mean that you can’t do it or shouldn’t you know
pursue it in your 30s and 40s but I went all-in and I made trade-offs that I
wouldn’t make again and I also in writing the book realized that I didn’t
even need millions of dollars or to be financially independent I already had so
many of the benefits of what I was looking for early on I just was so
driven to get there and one of the things is you don’t need millions of
dollars to feel free and it’s a great point I mean I just interviewed this
woman who wrote a really interesting book about the state of Employment right
now right it’s called the job and one of the things that she talked about was
that Millennials especially or just-so have so much anxiety around their work
life sure and it’s and obviously if you’re feeling anxiety you don’t perform
at your peak right right but they she also said that one of the things that
people crave is consistency and another thing they crave is to have some
semblance of control it sounds to me like you are more interested in the
control factor then you’ll kill yourself working you don’t need it to be someone
sending you a half a million dollar paycheck every year right but that you
could be in control seem to seems to be a big motivator for you yeah absolutely
we all have the illusion of control I mean the paradox is the most beautiful
things in life tend to be those things that are actually unexpected and so even
though we try to organize all areas and control everything in our life it’s
often those unexpected things and so it took me becoming financially independent
and learn some of these / I’d say life lessons that I was just
so hyper-focused I actually talked a lot about burnout in the book you know I
feel like especially for Millennials I just turned 34 I’m on the older end of
Millennials yes I feel like the experience that I have a couple years
later than it catches up with the rest of the generation and so it’s pretty
interesting like I am the digital native I got a used laptop when I was seven
years old I mean I’ve been I’m most comfortable in my life at my computer
keyboard literally and that’s one of the things that I think now we’re reaching a
point where money as a pathway to freedom you don’t need millions of
dollars just having six months of expenses or a year of expenses gives you
so many more options and I knew that but I was just you know really on this path
to escape when now looking back it’s like I would have done a much more
balanced job I think of along the way I I honestly I lost my you know half of my
twenties on this and I feel grateful that now I have the ability to you know
do what I want with my life and I think the sacrifice was more of an opportunity
it was worth it but you know I didn’t go to the concerts with my friends that now
I kind of wish I would have I didn’t one of the things you don’t realize when
you’re in your 20s is that hey I had so much energy then and I took advantage of
it but you don’t realize how much you’re going to grow and change you know as a
person and so I was like oh I’ll always have that opportunity and now the
friends that I could have gone to you know Coachella with or you know Bonnaroo
all these festivals and travel Europe with one of my good friends in the
middle of this wanted me to go on this trip for two months to Europe I didn’t
go with him and now you realize okay now all my friends have families and now
they’re not in that same headspace you kind of think you’re always going to
have these opportunities and so that’s one of the reasons why I think a more
balanced approach I’m by far kind of on the extreme end but I feel like an
explorer like I’ve gone to the edge of money literally the edge of money I’ve
unpacked this human invention I’ve looked at it from every angle I’ve read
all the books I’ve talked to thousands of people written you know over 700,000
words about it now and now I’ve been to the edge and I’ve come kind of back from
the edge and this is my report and so from your report in financial freedom a
proven path to the money you will ever need who are you
writing this for I’m writing it for everyone you know I started writing it
for my 24 year old self and then since I started millennial money in 2015 I’ve
had over 17,000 reader emails of people I got one this morning that just
literally brought me to tears and these are people there’s so many people out
there struggling with money in their life and money is something that there’s
so much fear so much emotion people think it’s so complicated and I you know
it’s why I dedicated the book to anyone who stressed about money and once more
from life like I hear you like I’m writing it for people who feel stuck in
their life and and and are looking for that breath of air because I truly
believe that money anything in life money is the pathway to freedom money
gives you time and space but money only matters if it helps you live a life that
you love okay we’ll get back to our interview in just a second hey during
the break go to the website Jill on money.com and why don’t you go buy the
book my book that is the dumb thing smart people do with their money 13 ways
to write your financial wrongs a very lovely companion to grants book okay
we’ll be right back Twitter Instagram Facebook YouTube
cheese all over the place go to jail on money.com to find it all now back to the
show with Jill Schlesinger you’re back its Jill on money and we’re gonna
conclude our interview with grant Sabatier in just a minute I just want to
remind you that all the ideas around the fire movement the financial independence
retire early all of those ideas are grounded in really good stuff so don’t
get thrown off by the fact that it’s a millennial telling you what to do with
your money it can actually be seen as just a refreshing update to a previous
goal that you may have had just like your path to controlling your money so
here is more of our interview with author and millennial grant Sabatier I
think what you’re doing is amazing it really is and I think that you want to
basically empower somebody but you don’t say that being rich is empowerment you
say like your knowledge your ability to make a difference it doesn’t mean you
know sometimes when I I come off the air you know someone will say to me but like
I just can’t put away $50 a week I really can’t afford it right and I’m
like well what do you think you can afford mm-hmm but just tell me what you
think well I could do 10 or a great do ten right like do something so you feel
like you’re controlling some piece of your financial life so what is the
pushback that you get it I mean the message is so perfect I don’t get what
like would push back against it I think people who are afraid of truly going
inside and questioning their life I think it’s so easy in life to chase that
next thing it makes us feel good it’s always easier to kind of like close our
eyes and try to get the next job promotion or the next dollar amount the
tougher work is to stop and actually unpack what does make you happy what do
you actually want in life because the most important question isn’t how much
money do you need the most important question is what kind of life do you
want to live and then how much money do you need to live that life and a lot of
people don’t know what makes them happy and they don’t know they’re why or their
purpose and we live in a culture now that’s like be happy be happy be happy
be happy but happiness shouldn’t be the goal to be fully alive
you’d be the goal right I mean your life is not peaches and cream right life is
hard and there are hard things you went through a really hard time in your life
total your parents have had hard times in their life but that is life it’s not
like you cannot be machines like choose to be happy like I always thought that
was such BS like that crap happens like I’m not gonna be happy about that
right right the whole idea I realized through this whole process that it
really what I was chasing it wasn’t about the money at all I was looking for
peace and it comes back to this idea I felt like I needed a lot more money than
in reality I probably did to feel at peace and so a lot of people in their
life that I talked to so many people they don’t have enough money saved and
they feel stuck they’ve built their debt responsibilities and they feel stuck in
their life and when you’re stuck in life it’s incredibly hard to get perspective
on your life and so money the whole idea of the 7 levels of financial freedom
forget the million dollars in financial independence just get to that next level
and the most important one is level 3 which is breathing room and that’s when
you have six months of expenses and it might take you a year or two years to
get there that is an extremely noble goal forget about the world telling you
you need five million dollars to retire forget about all that and this is one of
the biggest things this has drove me crazy is that like the entire personal
finance world tells you to budget and cut back on all those small little
purchases but it’s those purchases that make up life and give you the most joy
you know I love the Murray condos like blowing up again because it’s like I
feel like she and I need to get a room together it’s like one of my life goals
right now but it’s true because the small things like the cup of coffee or
the glass of wine and the concert tickets those are the things that make
us happy Asst I agree with you world to cut them I totally agree I said I was
talking about like marketing my own book and I look sort of an offhanded way I
said to my editor I’m like if you feel like you’re counting lattes you’ve lost
that is the most the the part of me that’s like I’m not I’m not here to tell
you not to have fun I agree with you like figure out what makes you happy
it’s that latte makes you happy then maybe something else has to give but
like go have a latte with your friends right have fun right and he exactly have
fun I enjoy your life but the thing is a lot of the money world that I found and
I’m part of the money world now but I’m in my own terms is you know 90 plus
percent of it I think is scammy greedy money follows money and so that’s the
the rapid filled stream that I’m walking up you know I went to I was invited to a
wealth summit and I just saw recently three thousand people I was supposed to
speak at it and then I declined right before I went on because I saw they were
selling these scammy products to people you know tax lien software stuff that
like people just starting investing should never buy and I think that like
most of the money world and what people see is that and so trying to speak kind
of truth within that is where you get the blowback um even you know running
Facebook ads for example for my book continued to get banned the Facebook ads
and I actually had to have a call with Facebook because like 99% of the people
that advertise a money book on Facebook they’re scamming me they’re using it for
top of the funnel to sell and I don’t sell a 10,000 K package I don’t do money
coaching I’m not an advisor I have nothing at stake here
share exactly like a 14 dollar book I have nothing that I make two dollars
from you know I mean like I’m not making any money off of this I’m just trying to
get this to his broad a base of people as possible but fighting that resistance
fighting money is very powerful because it’s it’s it’s profitable to keep people
in the dark you know it’s a it’s a tough world and I’m just trying to shine a
light and really empower people because you money all it is money is a human
invention it didn’t exist you know 5,000 years it’s just a human
invention and our culture embeds it was so much power and meaning and stress and
fear but you can choose what money means to you you have that power you don’t
have to you don’t have to buy into the fear of how you grew up around it or
money’s bad or money’s good like money can be literally whatever you want it to
be yes it’s a means to an exchange to get you somewhere but the emotions you
put into it and that’s one of the things I recommend
spending five minutes a day with your money I did it this morning when I had
my first cup of coffee I call it now my money meditation where it’s like just
spending five minutes a day with your money if it starts to become more
familiar to you and what is that what does that mean for you when you say
spend five minutes with my money yeah so I just open up my mint personal tracking
app and just look at my net worth and you know
what I spent yesterday and what charges have come in and all my investments and
it’s just like spending time with a close friend it’s like spinning and
demystifying a topic that for many people is super scary and it breeds
anxiety yeah exactly and it’s something when you spend five minutes a day with
it money starts to be something that’s not this abstract stressful thing it’s
something familiar you know it and then actually I spend the rest of my day
spending less because I’m interested in my net worth growing and it’s something
that is kind of weird for the first 30 days but after 30 days you actually get
excited to look at your money because you start seeing it go up you feel more
intimate you feel more close feels like a familiar friend and the closer we get
with money the better relationship we end up having with it then the less
emotional we are about investing thanks so much to Grant Sabatier for
joining us and if you’ve got more questions about the fire movement hop
onto our website Jill on money comm Mark’s gonna post these notes and there
will be a great link to an article I wrote so check it out financial
independence retire early it’s Jill on money we’ll be right back welcome back to jail on money where Jill
Schlesinger takes the mystery out of your finances you are back with Jill on
money if you’ve got a financial question we’d love to hear from you our email
address is ask Jill at Jill on money.com our website is coincidentally called
what is that mark Jill on money.com and there you will find all the great
content that we create and that can be anything from a television segment an
old radio show a podcast perhaps you would like to sign up for our free
weekly newsletter maybe you’d like to purchase the book all the resources that
we mentioned do you have some resources you want us to add to the list
send them over mark we’ll check it out so this spring I’ve been on kind of
major league book tour and I was at a fantastic event at WTIC in Hartford
Connecticut thank you all who showed up hundreds of you it was tremendous while
I was there I’m schmoozing with a crowd before the whole thing started and the
guy hands me a letter and he says my name is Dennis I’ve been listening to
for a while and I written something up about the college loan crisis can you
give me your opinion so I read it and it’s kind of interesting and I love it
when you guys come up with solutions to what is obviously a chronic problem in
the economy in the markets for consumers so here’s what Dennis is has said he
wrote this is not about loan forgiveness college loans should and will be repaid
however it is a plan to make the repayment more doable and he thinks free
college tuition won’t work nothing’s free there’s always a cost that’s going
to be borne by all taxpayers for this you know what is true I just wanted like
give you a like pop in here with a little
toriel the problem with free college tuition is that sometimes it has been
seen as a benefit to just one sliver of the population so it may not be the very
best way to proceed okay Dennis continues to write a college education
should be affordable not free today’s college graduates though are saddled
with enormous debt and just when they’re starting out and need to be saving for
other life events so here are his suggestions let’s see what you think
mark mandatory comprehensive counseling at high school levels for students and
parents regarding borrowing for college I like that one
okay then he says loans for college should not be more expensive than home
mortgages or car loans thumbs down from mark right well I mean look the problem
is we’re not underwriting on these loans they have to be more expensive
theoretically because there is no there is no underwriting meaning that no
lender is coming in and saying hey Jill and Mark you have a new baby and this is
I’m just joking this is the hypothetical cuz I’m not having a baby with Mark but
mark is having a baby so in other words no one is coming and saying how much do
you make or if you’re a student how much you going to make what is your field of
study so without underwriting it has to be
more expensive so I don’t think that one’s gonna work Dennis college loans
are not secured they’re also not forgivable in bankruptcy okay here’s
this is interesting this is a good one while working college graduates should
be able to have deductions from paychecks paid directly automatically to
lenders on a pre-tax basis you like that kind of like a 401k that’s an
interesting one I like that and then he thinks wouldn’t it be cool if employers
could contribute a match that would be similar to a 401k match I think that’s
kind of good I like that I think other ideas that I would consider in addition
to Dennis’s because I think dennis has some really good ideas here I think that
we should HAP total student student loans at a
certain level including private loans so I think if it’s a if it’s you know
generally speaking parent loans and student loans they used to be capped way
back when no longer are they capped and I think they probably should be subject
to underwriting I hate to tell you that so I think that refinancing college
loans would be great but even that I think that there should be a uniform way
that we present college financial aid grant loan information I think the
college should have to be on the hook for explaining what all the differences
is are I think that we have to give people a projected payment upon
graduation with a loan I think that we should be very careful about making sure
that kids understand when they do work-study that that money is gonna just
come to them in a bank okay you know hit their bank account and then they have to
use it to then do something with it that and so instead I might say wouldn’t it
be better for a work-study if the money that they earned went directly to the
institution to defray some of the costs anyway there’s a lot going on here I
know it’s you know look we are now graduation season for high school as
well if you’re talking to your kids about college funding and they’re
seniors in high school or they’re about to become juniors you too late and don’t
don’t not have the conversation but you got to have these conversations earlier
you must must must when you’re a freshman in high school that’s when you
start talking to the kids if you want some more help about college and some
resources you have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau they’ve got
the money as you grow website and the architect of that website was Beth
kobliner she’s a friend of the show Beth kobliner with a cake kobliner calm we
need to talk College and then you’ve got to check out money – mentor.com
money – mentor.com that’s a free resource whoo which will allow your
kids to be much more involved in the process okay it’s not just all college
funding but that was this segment it’s Jill on money when we return more of
your questions hey by the way don’t forget go check out your 529 plans if
you’re saving for college okay we’ll be right back you’re back with Jill on
money and before we finish out the show I have a great follow up question from
Jess who had asked us about surrendering surrendering a life insurance contract
and she’s I asked her to give me some information and she did some homework
and including figuring out the surrender charge on her current policy which is
about twelve hundred bucks so not too bad and it only on the anniversary the
policy it goes down a tiny bit not by a lot so anyway it looks to me like the
1215 dollars that’s the surrender charge she’d have to pay to get out and I asked
her about whether there would be a tax due and remember you may not remember
but in this call Jess had said there were two policies one was very old and
that because that policy was old it had built up a bunch of cash and also that
cash is now greater than the amount of money that was put into this policy and
the other one that has been combined so long story short Jess’s taxable event by
cashing out the policy eighteen thousand eight hundred dollars that’s a big
number she wants to know is it capital gains or income tax it’s actually income
tax and she said she asked you know do you think I should surrender or not I
and she writes I feel like I should still surrender even though I have to
pay taxes on it do you agree the answer is I think yes Jess had told us that she
makes about fifty thousand dollars a year which would put her squarely in the
twenty two percent tax bracket and by adding that $18,000 she remains
in the 22 percent tax bracket so I’d go ahead pay the surrender pay the tax do
and you know essentially just make sure that the insurance company if they offer
to withhold taxes do it if not make sure that you just know that there’s gonna be
some money that you got to pay a little extra money on this keep it in cash for
next tax year okay so keep about 20% of it in in cash of that cash out that you
get okay that’s it that is the show we have been broadcasting live from the
policy genius Studios here in New York policy genius is the easy way to compare
and buy insurance thank you so much for listening you have any questions hop on
to the website Jill on money.com send us a note from
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you next week

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