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


  • Ask Paula: Should I Raid My Retirement Savings to Pay for School?

    10/02/2020 Duración: 01h26min

    #241: Anton wants to accelerate his flight training so he can get hired within two to three months, rather than two to three years. He has to raid his retirement savings to achieve this. Should he? Linda and her husband have their eyes on early retirement, but they aren’t sure what their post-retirement lifestyle will cost. How can they budget for unknown expenses that include travel? Joseph contributes 15 percent of his income to both a Roth 457b and Roth IRA. He wants to retire before age 59.5. Given his early retirement goal, should he focus solely on his Roth 457b? Henry wants to know how rebalancing and dollar cost averaging interact with each other. Should he rebalance his all-equities portfolio? If so, what approach should he take? Joe maxes out his 401k and IRA each year. He can make after-tax 401k contributions, or fund his Vanguard taxable brokerage account. Which should he prioritize? As usual, my friend and former financial advisor, Joe Saul-Sehy, joins me on the show to answer these five listener

  • 10 Questions to Master Successful Investing, with David Stein

    07/02/2020 Duración: 01h18min

    #240: Are you investing, speculating, or gambling? What are the three drivers of asset performance? Are you aware of who’s getting a cut from your investments? Do you even know who’s on the other side of the trade? David Stein is the author of Money for the Rest of Us, a book that answers these questions. He’s the former Chief Investment Strategist & Chief Portfolio Strategist at Fund Evaluation Group, a $70 billion investment firm. If you’re thinking of adding a new investment to your portfolio, David’s investment philosophy and framework can help you avoid expensive mistakes. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula: Should I Put My Student Loans in Forbearance? Should I Buy a Vacation Rental? and More

    03/02/2020 Duración: 01h21min

    Lo is in a good spot with her career, but she’s struggling with a ton of student loan debt, and consequently, credit card debt. What should she do to manage it? Anonymous wants to know how to set up a backdoor Roth IRA. Eric and his wife own a property in Savannah, GA that brings in more money as an Airbnb than a traditional rental. They want to invest in more properties and are wondering if this model is the best path to take. James wants to own a vacation rental in the Vermont mountains that he can use when it’s vacant. What features or qualities would make a profitable vacation rental? What red flags should be on his radar? Ayesha is looking at buying a rental property that has a partial HUD claim on it. What kind of complications should she anticipate? Or should she let this property go completely? Shelbi and her husband own a rental property that they purchased for $178,000 that’s now valued at $300,000. They’re looking at a multitude of options - sell it, move into it, or keep it. What’s best given thei

  • How to Stop Making So Many Money Mistakes, with Jeff Kreisler

    27/01/2020 Duración: 01h06min

    #238: “If I had more willpower, I’d achieve my financial goals.” “I’m doomed to fail with money.” “I’m horrible for not keeping to a budget.” These are common thoughts, but they’re erroneous. You can’t willpower your way through money management, you’re not doomed to fail, and you’re not horrible for blowing your budget. You’re human, and humans make emotional decisions. Those emotional decisions don’t have to mean a financial death sentence, though. Jeff Kreisler, co-author of Dollars and Sense and Editor-in-Chief of, tells us how we can avoid common money mistakes and rewrite our financial future. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula and Joe -- Should I BUY a Business, Instead of Starting One?

    20/01/2020 Duración: 01h24min

    #237: Katie wants to know how to purchase a business that’s already cash-flow positive. What indicators can she look for? Rob will retire from the military with an inflation-adjusted pension. Does he need a bond allocation in his investment portfolio? Brian conquered a large sum of credit card debt, but still has student loan debt and a mortgage. Should he pay off his student loans, refinance them, or refinance his mortgage? Jeff is curious about the pros and cons of investment apps. When should you use them? Another Kati (without an e!) wants to live a healthy and wealthy life before she’s 70. Where should she allocate her savings so she can retire early? We answer these five questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • How We Saved $1 Million and Retired at 31 and 32, with Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

    13/01/2020 Duración: 01h11min

    #236: Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung achieved financial independence four years ago at age 31 and 32. They saved $1 million and live on $40,000 per year while traveling the world. Kristy and Bryce don’t worry about running out of money, they created new identities after quitting their jobs, and their community has quadrupled in size. Here’s how they achieved this lifestyle. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula: Sooo … I Quit My Job. What Type of Business Should I Start?

    06/01/2020 Duración: 01h09min

    #235: Anna has made the leap to self-employment … but what’s next? She lives in the Bay Area and she’s trying to choose between five business ideas; she needs to make enough money to stay in her high-cost area. Doug recently won $9,000 from an online poker side gig and is wondering how best to use the funds: pay off high-interest student loan debt, or keep it to increase his poker earning potential? Alex and his partner want to househack a single-family property with a mother-in-law suit. What should they consider as far as zoning goes? Darrell is on track to retire in two years at age 55 and wants to know what he should do with his primary residence. Should he rent it out? Or should he sell it and use the profit to invest in rental properties? Or use the profit to buy his retirement home? Mara is curious about 1031 exchanges. She has equity in a rental property that she’d like to harvest, but she wants more information before making the move. Michael and his wife are struggling with competing goals. They wan

  • 26 Easy Moves to Improve Your Finances in 2020

    03/01/2020 Duración: 01h05min

    #234: We review 26 quick, easy actions that improve your financial life, plus 10 new added bonus ideas that came directly from our community. We issue a challenge for you to tackle one action per week for the first 26 weeks (six months) of the year, so you’ll build stronger financial health by summertime. Download the free book that accompanies this episode at and join us in the 2020 One Tweak a Week challenge!

  • Ask Paula: How Can I Retire in 12 Years?

    31/12/2019 Duración: 01h13min

    #233: Deepak is considering downsizing his family’s home, but wants to know if the savings are worth the transaction costs he’ll have to pay. Anonymous and her husband hold $900,000 worth of privately-owned company stock. How should they plan for handling this money? Shelby is 25 years old and works for a company that awarded her restricted stock units. What should she do with these? Additionally, she traded in a 2013 Prius for a 2018 Subaru, for which she now owes $19,000. Should she sell it for a used vehicle or stick it out? Katelyn is interested in learning more about annuities. What should she know in order to make an informed decision? Max FI and his wife want to retire in 12 years. How should they invest to achieve this? Anonymous’s former employer offered a Roth and Traditional 401k, and his new employer only offers a Traditional option. How should he rollover his former Roth 401k? For more information, visit the show notes at

  • How to Avoid College Debt, with Anthony ONeal

    27/12/2019 Duración: 01h12min

    #232: Anthony ONeal is the bestselling author of Debt-Free Degree, a book that teaches parents how to help their children graduate from college without student loans. He’s part of the Dave Ramsey Solutions team, which teaches people how to pay off and avoid debt, and he's the co-author of Graduate Survival Guide, along with Rachel Cruze. Anthony joins us on this episode to share tips and hacks to help you save on tuition and find money for college. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula: How Can I Get My Spouse Interested in Frugality?

    16/12/2019 Duración: 54min

    #231: Avie needs to decide between two options: paying off a rental property, or funding a retirement account. Which should she choose? Lisa wants to know: when should you fund an HSA account? Sofia’s parents have lived with her for the past few years, but Sofia’s job is relocating her out-of-state. How can she transition her home to a rental for her parents? Jim is a saver and his wife is a spender. How can he interest her in frugality? Candice wants to know my thoughts about online real estate investment crowdfunding platforms. Good idea or bad idea? Kristen has a mortgage on her primary residence and a rental property. They have similar interest rates. Which should she pay off first? I tackle these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at 

  • How to Develop Emotional Agility, with Dr. Susan David

    09/12/2019 Duración: 01h21min

    #230: Dr. Susan David, a psychologist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, joins us to talk about emotional agility. Dr. David has researched emotional agility for around 20 years. A few years ago, she summarized her work on this concept for the Harvard Business Review. Her article became one of the most popular articles of the year, and the publishers heralded it as the Management Idea of the Year. Dr. David gave a TED talk on emotional agility, which went viral, gaining more than a million views. She then published a book called Emotional Agility which became a #1 Wall Street Journal Best Seller. The concept of emotional agility won the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award. She’s provided consulting around this concept with clients that include the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the NASDAQ, Google, and Microsoft. She joins us today to explain how to define emotional agility, how to develop it in your life, and how it applies to any goal that you want to pursue - whether that’s financial indepe

  • Ask Paula: Help! My Mom or Dad Took Out a Credit Card in My Name. Am I On the Hook?

    06/12/2019 Duración: 01h21min

    #229: Normally, we’re a once-a-week podcast, with episodes airing every Monday. But on the first Friday of every month, we have a First Friday bonus episode! Helen discovered that her mother fraudulently opened credit card accounts in her name. Eek! How can she protect herself? What will happen to these accounts once her mother passes away? Amelia and her husband cannot fire their financial advisor. How can they minimize the damage and maximize the benefit they receive from him in the meantime? Anonymous asks if she should live off an inheritance and max out her 401k contributions during her first year of working full-time. She wants to reduce her taxable income. Is this a good idea? A different anonymous caller read a USA Today article claiming that “index funds are in a bubble.” How true is this? How can index funds be in a bubble? Shawn is self-employed. He invests in a Solo 401k that features both a Roth and Traditional component. How should he manage this account? Another anonymous listener is thinking a

  • What I Learned from Losing $170 Million, with Noah Kagan

    02/12/2019 Duración: 01h05min

    #228: In November 2005, when Noah Kagan was 24, he was hired as Employee #30 at Facebook. His stock options would have been worth $170 million if he’d cashed out in 2014, he says. But he didn’t see a dime. In June 2006, merely 9 months after he started working at Facebook, Noah got fired. Instead of making $170 million, he made zero. He fell into a deep depression for a year. Then he rescued himself by becoming a serial entrepreneur. He tried his hand at a lot of things -- including developing Facebook games, selling discount cards, creating a payment processor in the gaming space -- but he’s best known for his two most successful companies. In 2010 he started a company, AppSumo, which offers discounts on small business software. By 2012, AppSumo was grossing $4 million per year in revenue, with annual net profits of $500,000. Yet Noah wasn’t fulfilled. He pivoted. In 2015 he started a sister company,, which develops marketing tools for websites and online businesses. In today’s episode, Noah and I d

  • Ask Paula: How Can I Get the Most from My Mini-Retirement?

    25/11/2019 Duración: 01h23min

    #227: Lien is taking a year off of work to live the van life with her husband. She wants to know how she can make the most of this sabbatical to figure out how to turn her less-than-inspiring career into a lifestyle that she loves. Lien called in again to say that she wants to start a new business and a family when she returns from her gap year. Her former job offered excellent health benefits and maternity leave, but she doesn’t really want to go back. What should she do? Eddie wants to build his real estate portfolio. How should he approach downpayments - put down more to net more profit, or put down less to acquire more properties? Wilson is wondering if it’s a good idea to partner with a friend on real estate ventures. What are the downsides? Wilson also wants to know about real estate business expenses, and the pros and cons of short-term rentals vs. long-term rentals. Sean has an inconsistent employment history and is struggling to find a lender that will give him a mortgage. He wants to know if there a

  • How to Make Time for Things That Matter, with John Zeratsky

    18/11/2019 Duración: 01h13min

    #226: Feeling time-crunched? Today’s episode is for you. Today’s episode features productivity expert John Zeratsky, who shares specific, action-packed time management strategies, with a focus on email management. If the term inbox zero sounds laughable, these strategies are up your alley. John’s interest in productivity began one winter morning in 2008, when he realized that the past few months had been an eerie blur. He realized that time was slipping away. He knew he needed to figure out a better way to manage his time - and his life. He started deep-diving into time management strategies and eventually co-authored a book, Make Time. If you want to learn how to redesign your daily schedule, you’ll enjoy this episode. For more information, visit the show notes at

  • Ask Paula: How to Invest for the Next Five Years

    11/11/2019 Duración: 01h25min

    #225: Lauren is 26 and earns $48,000 per year after taxes. She saves $12,000 annually in retirement accounts, and an additional $18,000 per year for a downpayment on a home. She wants to buy a home in the next five years. Where should she keep her savings in the meantime? Sawyer has a five-year financial independence plan. She owns two high-end condos in a NYC suburb. She lives in one unit and rents the other, but she’s bothered by the fact that she’s forgoing collecting rent on her home unit. Should she move? Katie’s husband is going to grad school and they want to pull money out of a Vanguard account to fund his tuition. Should they do this? Cassie is in the process of finalizing a divorce. She and her daughter will receive between $80,000 - $116,000. Should they use the funds to buy a home with a 20 percent down payment or pay off their $30,000 debt? Andy is curious: should you re-adjust the 4 percent withdrawal rule if your investment portfolio grows? Joe wants to become self-employed but is concerned abo

  • The Science of Rapid Learning, with Scott Young, author of Ultralearning

    04/11/2019 Duración: 01h30min

    #224: Scott Young, author of Wall Street Journal best-selling book Ultralearning, talks about the 9 principles of Ultralearning, which can help you learn new skills, reinvent yourself, stay relevant, and adapt to whatever life throws at you. If you think you know the best way to learn something, think again. This book will challenge your assumptions. Whether you want to develop hard skills to become more valuable at your job, soft skills for your journey to self-improvement, or you want to honor your love for learning, these 9 principles will help you become more effective at developing new skills. If you enjoyed my interviews with James Clear or Cal Newport, you’ll enjoy this one. For more information, visit the show notes at 

  • Ask Paula: Should I Choose This or That? How to Weigh the Tradeoffs

    01/11/2019 Duración: 01h25min

    #223: Elizabeth is curious to know: what does a good net worth breakdown look like? Is it appropriate to have a lot of your net worth tied up in real estate? Marie wants to start her own business, but she’s living paycheck-to-paycheck. Is incurring debt her only option to make this dream a reality? Bria wants to take a second mini-retirement and has a good chunk of money saved up. She wants to come back to the workforce with a cash cushion. What should she do with her money while traveling? Connor is facing a dilemma. Is he correct in not prioritizing 401k contributions given that his employer doesn’t offer a match, combined with his goal for financial independence? Is his strategy of using his savings for real estate investing better? Caroline is wondering: should she aggressively pay off her home and her rental properties, or use her excess savings to fund a brokerage account? Anonymous is relocating from Southern California to Florida. She wants to know if she should rent an apartment and buy a rental prop

  • Seven Ways to Escape the Rat Race - with Michael Robinson

    28/10/2019 Duración: 01h02min

    #222: Michael Robinson and his wife, Ellen, achieved financial independence at age 33. They ‘retired’ (they still enjoy working) three years later at age 36 on two five-figure incomes. Today, Michael and Ellen are raising their two children to be bilingual by slow traveling throughout Latin America. Michael and Ellen blog about their FIRE adventures at They believe that “the Uncommon Dream is the dream pursued – the dream met with planning, action, and sacrifice. With just a dream and those three tools, you can accomplish almost anything.” Today, Michael joins us on the show to talk about the seven ways that he and Ellen escaped the rat race and achieved FI at 33. If you enjoy hearing stories and case studies from people in this community who have reached FI, then you’ll love this interview. For the full show notes, go here:

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