Afford Anything | Make Smart Choices About Your Money, Time And Productivity



You can afford anything, but not everything. We make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention and ultimately, our life. Every decision is a trade-off against another choice.But how deeply do we contemplate these choices? Are we settling for the default mode? Or are we ruthlessly optimizing around a deliberate life?Host Paula Pant interviews a diverse array of entrepreneurs, early retirees, millionaires, investors, artists, adventurers, scientists, psychologists, productivity experts, world travelers and regular people, exploring the tough work of living a truly excellent life.Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at


  • How Your Personality Affects Your Finances, with Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw

    04/05/2020 Duración: 01h13min

    #255: When a crisis hits, do you stay calm and collected, or do you launch yourself down a rabbit hole of worry and worst-case scenarios? When the stock market spirals downward, do you shrug and stay the course, or do warning bells explode in your brain? When news of the pandemic hit, was your first instinct to form a calm and reasoned action plan, or rush to the store to buy months of supplies? Your personality influences your reactions to these scenarios. Today’s guest, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw, has a Ph.D. in applied psychology and is the founder of DataPoints, a research firm based on the science of building wealth. What links between personality and money management has research uncovered? We discuss this topic in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula: Should I Invest During the Pandemic?

    01/05/2020 Duración: 01h19min

    Lydia earns income as both a 1099 contract worker and a part-time W2 employee. She filed for unemployment as a W2 worker, but can’t find information on how to file as a contractor. Is there a process contractors can follow to file for unemployment? Florina and her husband have $70,000 in cash to invest. Where should they put this money in light of the current market? Ali and his wife saved eight months of living expenses in their emergency fund in case they get laid off during the pandemic. Is this too excessive? Danielle wants to take advantage of pandemic stock prices - what should she invest in? Anonymous in Real Estate wants to buy a multifamily property with the equity in their first rental as a downpayment. Their husband doesn’t want three mortgages. Should they accelerate mortgage pay-down and be one mortgage down in four years? I answer these five questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at

  • PSA Thursday: How Bad Is the Stock Market Crash?

    30/04/2020 Duración: 28min

    Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. Today, our focus is on money - specifically, the stock market. Why did it crash in March? What effect did that have on us as a society? Why has it rebounded in the middle of a shutdown, and what does that mean? Are valuations too high relative to earnings? How can we handle our investments and retirement savings at a time when the movements of the market seem irrational and unpredictable? We explore these questions in today's episode.

  • The Thinker's Guide to Market Volatility, with Dr. Steve Wendel and Sam Lamas

    27/04/2020 Duración: 01h09min

    Dr. Steve Wendel is a behavioral economist and the head of behavioral science at Morningstar, an independent investment research firm. Samantha Lamas is also a behavioral researcher at Morningstar. They discuss the hidden biases in our decision making and how these hidden biases affect us - particularly during this pandemic and during times of high anxiety and stress. They also discuss techniques that will help us avoid deceiving ourselves. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula: Will the Stimulus Cause Massive Inflation?

    20/04/2020 Duración: 01h18min

    The government issued a $2 trillion stimulus. How will that affect the economy? Could we endure massive inflation or hyperinflation? Bradley kicks off today’s Ask Paula episode with this timely question. What inflation rate will we see in 2020, and how can we prepare? How should we hedge against hyperinflation? Anonymous Retiree (whom we call Sequencing Sally) is 64 and retired last year. She lives off of monthly withdrawals from a Vanguard portfolio. Given the bear market, should she leave her portfolio alone and spend from an emergency fund? Additionally, her target allocation is off-kilter. Should she rebalance now or later? Jay wants to reach financial independence in five years, but she’s in a job that will pay her $270,000 student loan balance if she stays there for another 17 years. Should she stay, or quit and face the balance? Jan has $500,000 in a managed fund with a three percent annual fee. He wants to move his funds into his Vanguard personal brokerage account, without incurring a ton of taxes fr

  • PSA Thursday: 31 Tips to Stay Productive as you Work From Home

    16/04/2020 Duración: 59min

    Download the 31 Tips to Stay Productive as you Work From Home at

  • From High School Dropout to Successful Entrepreneur, Author and World Traveler -- with Chris Guillebeau

    13/04/2020 Duración: 01h07min

    #251: Do you love the idea of making money on your own -- without a boss? Can you imagine deciding how you spend each day? Are you bored and looking for a challenge? Do you love the thought of adventure? Today’s guest, Chris Guillebeau, knows all about hustling, living an unconventional life, working towards seemingly impossible goals, and combining his interests into an epic lifestyle business that brings him freedom and joy. Chris is the New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Non-Conformity, The $100 Startup, and The Pursuit of Happiness. He has traveled to 193 countries, served four years as a volunteer on a hospital ship in West Africa, and is a successful speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Oh yeah, and he’s a high school dropout. (A super accomplished high school dropout.) How did Chris accomplish so much without a high school degree? How did he forge a path toward his goals despite depression and anxiety? What advice does he have for aspiring side hustlers and entrepreneurs? Find out in today’s

  • PSA Thursday: How to Build an Emergency Fund During an Emergency

    10/04/2020 Duración: 39min

    A weekly segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. Here's how to build an emergency fund during an emergency, and how the bear market affects your investment strategy.

  • Ethical Investing 101, with Dr. Jon Hale, Head of Sustainability Research for Morningstar

    08/04/2020 Duración: 01h10min

    #250: Should we invest in sustainable funds? If we choose sustainable funds, will our investment returns suffer? Will our expense ratios be sky-high? What drawbacks might we face? How do we know that these funds are actually ethical? And what choices are out there for people who want to invest ethically or sustainably? We invited Dr. Jon Hale to our show today to answer these questions. Dr. Jon Hale is a chartered financial analyst and the global head of sustainability research for Morningstar. He directs Morningstar’s research on sustainable investing, which launched with the Morningstar Sustainability Rating for Funds in 2016. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • How to Talk to Your Parents About Retirement and Beyond — with Cameron Huddleston

    03/04/2020 Duración: 01h14min

    #249: I’m recovering from Covid-19 at the moment, so I couldn't put together a new episode this week. But in honor of the First Friday of the month, I wanted to re-air this interview with Cameron Huddleston, which we originally aired in August 2019. In this interview, we discuss how to have those important but awkward conversations with your parents and grandparents about estate planning, wills, trusts, power of attorney, and more.

  • PSA Thursday: I Tested Positive for Coronavirus. Here's What It Feels Like.

    02/04/2020 Duración: 26min

    Paula describes the experience of having Covid-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

  • Covid-19 and the Bear Market

    25/03/2020 Duración: 01h02min

    #248: We are living in a time of extreme uncertainty. Many of us are questioning how we can best use the funds we have to survive it. “Should I sell the funds I have invested in the market, or keep contributing?” “Should I continue with my plans to invest in real estate?” “Should I hoard all of my cash in case this gets worse?!” My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me on today’s show to shed light on the answers and how to handle the stock market collapse.   Here are the key points we discuss in this episode: Don’t panic sell and convert paper losses into real losses. Stay the course. If this is your first bear market, welcome to being a real investor! This is how you grow in the long-term. Dollar-cost averaging is your best friend. How this upcoming recession might be different. The silver lining? The economy was doing well going into this. But the speed at which our markets recover depends on the speed and dedication with which we flatten the curve. The financial principles

  • OMG Monday: Welp, I Have a Fever of 102.3 Degrees

    23/03/2020 Duración: 05min

    It's Quarantine Day 10, and thank goodness I've been staying in, because yesterday I learned that I have a 102.3 degree fever. I don't know if it's Covid-19 or if it's a fever with extraordinarily bad timing.

  • PSA Thursday: Social Distancing is Social Solidarity

    19/03/2020 Duración: 20min

    A new segment giving tips to help flatten the curve and manage your money during this global event.

  • Ask Paula: Is the Stock Market Going to Crash in 2020? How Should I Invest in a Bear Market?

    16/03/2020 Duración: 01h35min

    #247: Caroline wants to buy her first home in Denver, CO. How can she calculate how much mortgage she can comfortably afford? Anne plans to retire later this year on rental income (woohoo!). She’s saved up a hefty emergency fund for her properties, and she wants to know 1) if she should invest a portion of this in index funds, and 2) whether she should rebalance her portfolio to account for this huge cash allocation. Anonymous Nurse has over $100,000 in debt, not including their mortgage. They want to invest in rental properties, but with so much debt, they're thinking of selling their home or renting it out. Which option is best given their interest in real estate? Joy wants to know if she should put $50,000 towards her primary residence mortgage, or use it as a downpayment on her first rental property. What are the pros and cons of each option? Anonymous owns a cash-flow positive condo...on leased land. The land will revert back to the owners in 32 years. When is the best time to sell this property? I answe

  • Pain, Grief, and the Pursuit of Financial Independence, with Jillian Johnsrud 

    09/03/2020 Duración: 01h08min

    #246: At 19 years old, after completing her first year of college, Jillian married her husband.  During their first year of marriage, they lived in a camper and earned a combined salary of $12,000. One year later, Jillian's husband graduated college and joined the military. They relocated to Washington D.C., where they earned a combined $60,000 per year. They saved half of their income and used that savings to chip away at $55,000 of debt. At 22 years old, Jillian and her husband adopted a son. Not long after that, they had a biological newborn. At 24 years old, they accumulated their first $100,000. Jillian and her husband remained committed to saving half of their income. This allowed them to buy a house in cash, invest in two rental properties, and invest in index funds. At 32 years old, Jillian and her husband achieved financial independence. All on a modest five-figure income.  How did Jillian and her husband live on $12,000 per year? How did they save $100,000 after three years on a $60,000 per year sal

  • Ask Paula: I’m 24 and Won a $1 Million Settlement. How Should I Handle This Money?

    06/03/2020 Duración: 01h20min

    #245: Joe has a 24-year-old friend who won a $1 million settlement. How can she use this money to set herself up for financial independence? Jay is 52 years old and wants to retire at 59.5. He began investing in individual stocks to achieve this goal, and has had excellent returns so far. Is this a sound plan for early retirement? Or should he work until age 62 for Social Security? Steve is 54 years old. He plans to retire at 60, which is when he can collect 67 percent of his pension. A Vanguard advisor suggested that he direct some of his 403b contributions as Roth contributions, rather than pre-tax contributions. Should he act on this suggestion? Anonymous in New York City wants to invest their HSA contributions this year, but the expense ratios seem high. Can they move their HSA to a different provider? What fees are normal for HSAs? Brit has a similar question. She wants to know: is it possible to invest in the S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Free Index through Vanguard? My friend and former financial advisor, Jo

  • Why I Quit My Job with No Savings When My Wife Was Five Months Pregnant (and What Happened Next?!), with Grant Baldwin

    02/03/2020 Duración: 01h17min

    #244: Grant Baldwin felt burned out. He worked as a youth pastor, which felt like a 24/7 profession. He had to attend student events held late into the night, which left him exhausted. One night, he came home to find his wife crying. She told him that she felt like she had a roommate, rather than a husband, because he was gone so often. So Grant did something drastic: he quit his job, with negligible savings, when his wife was four to five months pregnant. For the following year, he waited tables and worked odd jobs, cobbling together gig-economy money while raising a newborn. During his rare unscheduled moments, he started crafting a new career for himself as a self-employed public speaker. Today, Grant Baldwin is a speaker, entrepreneur, coach, and author of The Successful Speaker. He’s earned multiple seven-figures in speaking fees and has helped over 2,000 people become professional speakers. He shares how he made his dream a reality in this episode. For more information, visit the show notes at https://a

  • Ask Paula: How Can I Retire in 10 Years with Rental Properties?

    27/02/2020 Duración: 01h13min

    #243: Adam is 23 years old and wants to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible. However, he’s nervous about investing in the stock market and real estate. How can he overcome his fears? Paris, age 35, has a similar question. She earns $150,000 per year, is debt-free, and doesn’t own a home. How can she reach financial independence in less than 10 years? Paul wants to househack his first home, but none of the properties he's seen meet the one percent rule. He doesn’t want to rent forever. Does he need to compromise on his commute time, or wait until he finds an undervalued gem? Anonymous Househacker rents an apartment with three bedrooms, two of which he rents out on an inconsistent, short-term basis. They want to know: does the money they earn count as rental income if they aren’t making a profit on it? Ben is a real estate investor who’s curious about growing his portfolio from four units to 20 units. What’s the best approach to take? I answer these five listener questions in today’s episode.

  • The Art of Trusting Your Most Dangerous Ideas, with Ash Ambirge, The Middle Finger Project

    17/02/2020 Duración: 01h12min

    #242: Ash Ambirge grew up in a trailer park in Pennsylvania. She never met her father. Her disabled mother, who raised her on government assistance, passed away when she was 20. Her childhood goal? To join the middle class. She dreamed of becoming one of those people who eats lemon pepper chicken. What’s more middle-class than that?  She attended college on a full scholarship. When she graduated and accepted her first cushy office job, earning $30,000 per year, she blew her paychecks. She bought a brand-new car, rented a luxury apartment and financed a $5,000 mattress. Yet despite her material luxury, she felt that some important element was lacking. In her quest to find meaningful and creative work, she launched The Middle Finger Project, a company that teaches skills like entrepreneurship, battling perfectionism, and trusting your most dangerous ideas.  She joins us on today’s podcast episode to share her incredible story about struggling to join the middle class, shrugging off a conventional career, and tr

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