020: Financial Independence vs. Financial Freedom with Garrett Gunderson
I’ve been following and admiring Garrett Gunderson for years.
Garrett is the founder and Chief Wealth Architect of Wealth Factory, as well as the New York Times bestselling author of Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity and 5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose.
Garrett is extraordinary in how he lives his life, fulfills his purpose, and especially how he helps others. He has set out to help over 1 million people achieve real financial independence over the course of his lifetime. He knows that it’s not just a question of hard work that separates rich from poor – it’s a matter of methodology and philosophy – as well as the fact that affluent people often get much better financial advice than everyone else.
Today, Garrett joins the podcast to share his story, talk about what retirement really is (and why it can be so wonderful for some and miserable for others), and how to stop doing the things you hate.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why Garrett doesn’t want money to be the primary excuse as to why people don’t do the things they want in life.
- The key difference between financial independence vs. financial freedom.
- Why vision is the rarest commodity in the world – and how Garrett helps people find it as they approach retirement.
- The importance of relationship capital – and how Garrett presells his books long before he’s even finished writing them.
- How to distill your philosophy and values for future generations as you design a trust for your family.
- Why taxes are the most immediate return we get – and why you should be thinking about your taxes far more than just from January to April. (And how you can tell if you’re overpaying on your taxes)
- How to use Garrett’s Cash Flow Index Tool to quickly and safely eliminate your debt.
“I want to make sure people have a game worth winning — that the juice is worth the squeeze and money is no longer a primary excuse for the things they wish they could do in life.” – Garrett Gunderson
“Purpose lives in the heart, not on a wall. It’s something that is at your core – it resonates.” – Garrett Gunderson
Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity
5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose
What Would the Rockefellers Do?: How the Wealthy Get and Stay That Way, and How You Can Too
The Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy that will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life
Garrett Gunderson’s Cash Flow Index Tool
Casey: Today’s guest is Garrett Gunderson. Garrett is the founder and chief wealth architect of Wealth Factory, a company specializing in helping entrepreneurs and business owners recover cash flow and build the lives they love; New York Times best-selling author of Killing Sacred Cows and most recently a book titled 5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose. He has appeared on ABC’s Good Money, Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox, CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, and his firm has made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing companies in the US.
Garrett will start by sharing with us his thoughts on how you can uncover truly deep meaning in your life and your retirement, how you can clarify your purpose and make an impact every single day. And later on, we’re going to get into one of his other best-selling books What Would the Rockefellers Do? illustrating the strategies used to preserve wealth for generations. From there, we will get into one of my favorite topics of Garrett’s and one of his most controversial, the dangers of 401(k) investing and how to find out if you’re overpaying on taxes. It would mean the world to me if you would leave an honest review after your listen. And without further ado, I give you Garrett Gunderson.
Casey: Welcome to the Retire With Purpose Podcast. This is your host, Casey Weade, and today we have a very special guest with us, Garrett Gunderson of the Wealth Factory. And so many other awesome places out there in the world today, this is going to bring a tremendous value to your ears and, Garrett, just welcome to the podcast. So excited to have you here.
Garrett: Thanks for having me, Casey. I appreciate it, man.
Casey: Well, this has been something I look forward to for a long time. I’ve been following you for years, your advice, just the things you do in your personal life, the way you treat your life, your vision, live your purpose, help other people, the way you treat your family, the time you spend with them. There are so many great things that I’ve learned from you over the years and I’m ready to learn more.
Garrett: Awesome. My kids just said, “Do we have to go to the cabin again this weekend?” and I’m like, “Oh, your problems that we’re taking you up to the cabin so often.” Yeah. So, I think they’re saying they want a little less time with us this week.
Casey: A lot of entrepreneurs really struggle with spending that time with family and you seem to really pull it off well and I know that, to me, I don’t think there’s anything as permanent balance, but you seem to strive pretty hard hit that balance on a regular basis.
Garrett: Yeah. Harmony and depth are the two things I go for. Like, depth is just the quality of time more than the quantity of time because I do feel like it’s hard to be in balance. We’re almost always out of balance. I travel to speak. On writing a book, I’m a bit of out of balance but I am saying how can I have harmony in these areas of my life whether it’s my health and fitness, whether it’s my mindset, whether it’s my purpose, whether it’s my kind of like the social aspect of my life and quality of life and my finances, business and money. So, I give me permission not to feel guilty if there’s moments where it ebbs and flows. As long as I’m creating that depth in there where just five really quality minutes with the kid to make a huge difference. It doesn’t have to be five days because five distracted days would mean less than the five quality minutes.
Casey: That’s awesome. Now, I know who you are and I followed you for quite some time but we’ve got a lot of people here that are listening that aren’t sure who Garrett Gunderson is. So, maybe just start by sharing with us a little about what you do and why you do it.
Garrett: So, I’m an author and a speaker, a content creator, and the visionary behind Wealth Factory and the reason we do what we do is because my great-grandfather in 1913 left San Giovanni, Italy because he was being overly taxed by the mob and the government. He wasn’t able to actually provide for his family. I know we say put food on the table in today’s world but he was struggling to actually put enough food on the table and feed them so he had to leave to North America to create a better life for them and was separated for seven years. By being separated, he lived in a tent, saved up money until he could finally buy a house and became a coal miner. So, I think what if he would’ve had Wealth Factory? What difference would’ve that made? Could he have avoided being separated from his family? Because highly, highly affluent and wealthy people typically have really good financial advice. The rest of the world, it’s more of crapshoot whether they get good financial advice because do they have the right financial team, the right financial philosophies?
And it’s not just hard work that separates the rich from the poor. It’s not only hard work, it’s the philosophies and methodologies. So, I feel this passion around bringing this information to the world so that it can become implemented and they can improve their lives and live the life that they love and build a legacy that lasts because my great-grandfather built a legacy but it was missing that love part. It was all about hard work. It was all about sacrifice. It’s all about playing not to lose. Now, I want to make sure that people have a game worth winning and that the juices worth the squeeze and then money is no longer a primary reason or excuse why they would do or not do something. It’s only a consideration, not the premier consideration because then they have financial freedom and then they can create success on their terms. So, I came from a coal mining family and a coal mining town, and I happen to have an aptitude and gift for the financial world, and I like to make that more simple and I like to share the whole picture without holding anything back.
Casey: Well, you’ve written several books and it sounds like you’ve got a lot of different irons in the fire with that explanation and people might wonder, “Well, who’s this guy that just wrote this book, 5 Day Weekend because it doesn’t sound like he’s really living in a five-day weekend lifestyle?” You know what, I originally got this book in the office. I had all my staff was kind of standing around and I opened it up and I said, “Why would I want to live a five-day weekend? I mean, I am ready to go to work by Sunday. I hit Friday and I’m kind of depressed because I’ve got to wait until Monday to get back in the office.” And so, why would anybody want a five-day weekend?
Garrett: Because what the book is really about isn’t about just doing nothing. It’s about having the financial infrastructure that you only have to maintain, monitor and manage for two days. You have five days of full choice without money being the constraint meaning when you have enough cash flow to cover your life expenses, you get to choose and invent what you want as the artist of your life. So, it doesn’t mean that you’re just traveling all the time, but it could for some. For others, it might be in that thing they always want to develop. Maybe they’re like me and they want to write a book or maybe they want to increase the skill or maybe they want to launch a business like it’s not about retiring from purpose. It’s about retiring from worry and the things they hate doing and that’s a different thought process.
Casey: Yeah. Retiring with purpose, not from purpose.
Casey: And so, I think this kind of leads us into your discussion on financial independence versus financial freedom and as I was talking with another member of our advisor staff here a moment ago, we asked that question, “What’s the difference between financial freedom and financial independence?” because I think most people kind of feel those two things go hand-in-hand.
Garrett: Yeah. All right. So, I’m going to begin with the definition of financial independence. It’s where you have a recurring revenue and that revenue’s typically coming from assets and investments that create cash flow to cover life’s basic expenses. So, it just covers your livelihood. That’s financial independence. You’re independent from having to show up to work the next day to cover your expenses and your bills. That’s financial independence. Financial freedom, on the other hand, is a state of mind. It’s a state of being. That’s that state where let’s say there are three measures of worth and the first measure of worth is price. That’s what you pay. Most of society stops there. They think about price and that’s why we look at retailer stores and there’s always these major sales and discounts that incentivize people to go out and buy something. Price is your only consideration. It’s kind of a dangerous place. The second consideration of work is cost. Cost is the economic impact so there are some things that have a high price and a low cost. You get the right financial person in your life and team.
They might be more than anyone else you’d pay for but they’re providing more benefit, either in performance or savings or being comprehensive. So, all of a sudden, the cost is less because of the net impact. In economics, it’s opportunity cost so let’s say that I spend $2,000 on an account but they save me $10,000. Over my previous account, it was only $1,500. Higher price, lower cost though because I am going to put more money in my pocket and that’s the first step of thinking like an investor. The third piece of our measure of wealth is value. Value is a personal feeling of satisfaction. It’s a personal perspective. So, we’re financially free when we go value first, cost second, price third. We’re not financially free when we have price as our only consideration or the main consideration. So, it’s a state of mind where money is not the primary reason or excuse why we do or don’t do something. That’s financial freedom. Still a consideration, still mindful about it, it just doesn’t dictate our actions.
Casey: And those actions ultimately get dictated by a purpose. Would that be correct when it comes to financial freedom?
Garrett: Yeah. It’s where, you know, when you have a magnificent purpose it’s clear and makes sense and the purpose is more than just the money that you earn. The money would be the byproduct of the purpose. When you have that, and it compels you, and it excites you where Friday, it’s like, “Oh man, I can’t wait to get until Monday,” that’s when you’re really dialed in on purpose. I think the clearest purpose was in 1961 where JFK said, “We’re going to land a man on the moon and return them safely home within this decade.” That’s purpose. NASA knew what they were doing. It wasn’t we want to be the best space program. What does that mean? They didn’t have enough teeth to it. Purpose lives in the heart, not on a wall. It’s something that is in your core resonates. And by the way, it’s probably the most attractive thing to get other people support is when you’re dialed in on purpose.
Casey: Well, I think this kind of brings us to somewhat of a fluffy discussion for some where I hear this word, “Oh, let’s talk about purpose,” and for somebody, “I don’t want to hear this guy has to say about purpose and me finding my purpose,” but I find a lot of retirees have actually crossed that bridge once they step into retirement. Now they go, “Uh-oh, now this kind of sucks. Now, I thought I’d play golf every day.” My dad retired at 52 and then two years later his golf game fell apart and he went back to work and started a career that he really loved. And I find it really important to help people develop that purpose before they step into what you might call financial independence so that they can actually have financial freedom. And I really want to walk people through your process that you’ve used for people that you’ve worked with to help them find that passion, that fire, and that purpose. How do we define that if basically we’ve just been waking up every morning going to work doing the 9-to-5 and now he said, “Well, now I actually have the ability to do it. I just don’t know how to go about it because it’s been 40 years.”
Garrett: Well, purpose has this cousin called vision, and vision is the container in which we live our life. It’s the big piece. And so, vision is the rarest commodity in the world and when most people think of earning or doing, they think about work but the hardest work there is, is thinking. And in today’s world we’re paid so much more for our brains than our brawn and so we have to almost break those habits of just doing, doing, doing and start thinking a little bit and say, “What’s my vision? So, for purpose, it comes down to soul purpose, S-O-U-L, and it breaks down into three categories to start with. One is what are your values? What are the values that make sense because it’s what you pay attention to, what you consider to be important? When you get really clear about your values, you now know what to pay attention to, and what to say no to because we have too many distractions that are disguised as an opportunity. The second thing is we’ve got to get really clear of our passions. Now, passion alone isn’t enough. I can throw a rock on any corner and the speaker is talking about passion but passion without purpose is distraction meaning when we’re really excited about things, we have to really consider is it valuable? And where are we going to focus on so we don’t get diversified or distracted?
So, what are your top passions? Those things that are your drivers, the things that you’re paying attention to, the things that you would do what you got paid or not, and the things that you want to read about, learn about, and that you would start defending if someone talked about. Then we add inability. What are your abilities? I went to a program called Strategic Coach and they define them in four ways. One is what are we incompetent in? So, those are not our abilities. Those are the things we should delegate and eliminate. What are we competent in? They’re that we do but don’t provide us energy. What are things we’re excellent at? Excellence is we probably do it better than anyone we know but we’re not necessarily energized or lit up about it so the line of demarcation is when we move from excellent to unique. Unique is it actually calls to us. It’s something that we can be energized by the other day. I do some things where people are like, “Man, you’ve been speaking all day. Are you tired?” I’m like, “I feel great because I’m speaking but if I’m facilitating after a day, I might be laying on the ground because I’m so exhausted because it’s not what I’m unique at.”
So, when we find where we’re unique at, that’s the ability part. We combine it with our passions, which is the fuel for those abilities and in our value so that we could stay the course because Warren Buffett says the difference between successful investors and highly successful investors, the successful investors are addicted to yes and highly successful ones say no unless it’s perfectly aligned with their vision and values. So, once we have those ingredients, that makes you unique when you take your passions, abilities, and values because other people might have similarities, but it’s the combination that makes people most unique. Then you say what’s the most compelling vision that would compel me to utilize those in a way that’s meaningful to me and that drives me to do something. So, that’s where purpose becomes really powerful. We have this sole purpose. It’s whether we’re aligned with that sole purpose or acting in accordance with that sole purpose and we’re evolving and continuing to expand that sole purpose as our purpose remains bigger.
And I think purpose that the thing that makes it magical is if we don’t know how to achieve it, A, and, B, if we’re ambitious to achieve it but we’re also a little bit nervous whether we can or not because if its other than that, if it’s something we know that we can achieve, it’s just a goal. Its purpose whether it goes beyond our lifetime and when we look at the icons of the world whether that’s an Elon Musk or a Steve Jobs or we could name a number of people, their purpose was greater than their bank account even though a lot of them are billionaires because they never retire because they said my purpose still continues. So, you might have to reengage and redefine it because I think that the non-health factors that create death the quickest are a lack of purpose, lack of control over our money, and lack of control over our relationships or our loss of relationships. People require relationships to stay alive, even if it’s with a plant. I mean, the bottom line is you kill relationships for people, and they die. You kill purpose from people and they die.
When my grandfather died, my grandmother’s purpose was him. She got out his pills every day. She got out his clothes. She told him how to drive when he drove. She planned every moment of his life and all of a sudden it was gone so was her purpose and all of a sudden, she went from being a great help, that ironically was heart failure that killed her, which I think was because of the emotional state. So, that was a long answer to your question but I think it has a lot of the nuggets that say, “Hey, purpose is what creates the container of which we operate and know what to say yes or no to so that we’re not just doing work for work’s sake. We’re doing work for purpose sake and if our purpose is bigger than any problems we faced, we can get through it. If our purpose is smaller, the problem is suffocated.
Casey: So, does the process kind of – it sounds like it starts with values. Let’s identify your personal values then identify our passion out of those values, our abilities, and ultimately that can lead us to a vision. Does that sound about right?
Garrett: Yeah. And we’ll ask them to figure out sole purpose like what are like last 10 questions and we have a brainstorm like where do they feel energized? Where do they feel like they got great ability? And we even have them go and ask people in their life so they can get insight because sometimes we’re too close to it and we discount the things we’re very best at and we create this thing called the sole purpose will which what are the commonalities that keep coming up from ability? Do you keep coming up with the word organization or creation or speaking or writing like what are those things? And then you put out in the sole purpose will so you say, “Here’s my top abilities,” and you start to uncover that. Then on the value side, we just go through an exercise where they circle different values and then they continue to refine it by going through the exercise. If you can only keep one, what is your main core value? And then we get them down to where they have five that really speaks to them and so that’s the exercise on that side.
So, now we’ve got abilities and values. Passion is actually pretty simple. In that exercise, we just ask these 25 questions and have them rank these questions zero to four, and then the things the things that rank the highest unveil what those actions are so that they can kind of categorize them, and then the purpose part is where we’re just asking questions that elevate them to get even clearer about who they are and what they truly want to do without money being the factor because I think most people, they declare their purpose based upon their existing financial circumstance, and the magic in it is to declare your purpose as if finance wasn’t an obstacle. It was actually an ally. And I’ve even found in my own life when I said, “Oh, I want to be a New York Times bestseller,” and I told my wife that was my purpose at the time. She’s like, “That’s a goal, dude. That’s not a purpose.” I’m like, “But I don’t even know how to get there.” She goes, “You’re going to get there like purpose is so much bigger than that.” And then I start seeing that, yeah, maybe I shot low out of my lack of knowledge or my lack of financial wherewithal at the time.
And so, now I’ve been able to uncover that further and have a purpose of 1 million people becoming economically independent before I hit the gray, of looking and creating a format that impacts every first-generation entrepreneur to create a legacy that last and build the life that they love. Genes are family’s financial future and destiny but the world will look different from the years after I’m gone because of the insight and information that I bring to that. That’s much bigger purpose than what I started with.
Casey: Well, it seems like this is a story that younger people have paid attention to for maybe a long time. It made a lot more sense for younger individuals to say, “Hey, I’ve got 40 years ahead of me. I’ve got 30 years to live my career. I need to define what my values are, what my purpose is, and so that I can live in the career and enjoy that every single day. And then we get to retirement and we go, “Well, maybe I don’t have time for this anymore. Maybe I don’t have time for that purpose.” I was going to save this question for later but I’ve got a fan that had emailed the question over that they would love to hear your answer and I think it speaks to this. So, this is from Philip Stalter and Philip had spent the last 40 years working at the same company as a union electrical worker. Forty years at the same company and now he’s got a pension. He’s got social security. He always thought that would be enough.
And really, it might be enough to take him through retirement, but he’s got concerns about his pension. It looks like it’s only going to pay out about 70% of their original promised benefits and it may not be there all together at some point in the future. And he says this, he said, “I’ve never run my own business, but it seems like the most dependable income. However, retirement age seems like the wrong time to start. Should I do this? Should I not? What could I do in order to find this new business that I should be in and this new purpose?” Here’s somebody that’s at a point in their life where they’ve spent 40 years doing something they probably didn’t absolutely love and now they’re going, you know, now I not only want to live this purpose and find this business, but I need to.
Garrett: Right. And so, let me say this, like, now is a fine time to do it. Your age doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter when I was a teenager and I started a business. I just use what makes me when I’m young having an advantage and a lot of people only look at the disadvantage. So, you come with a lot of insight, even though you may not have all the entrepreneurial skill. I want you to be really calculating carefully. You don’t need to invest money to make business work. You don’t need to go and take a bunch of cash out or anything and put it in the business. We’re in the business world today, where if you could think of how to win then play, that’s the methodology for business. So, how can it be profitable right from the get-go and focus on cash flow? And it doesn’t mean that you have to have all the resources because there’s a value equation that I think defines business. From the value equation is that money is a byproduct or financial capital is a byproduct of two more precious forms of capital.
The first form of capital is mental capital. So, you got experience and knowledge. What is your mental capital? What’s your ideas, knowledge, wisdom, systems, tools? Document it and get clear about it. That’s your intellectual property and that’s going to be critical in launching this business. Then the second form of capital that drives all financial capital is relationship capital. Relationship capital are people, networks, organizations, subscribers, family, friends, clients, mentors, like what is your relationship capital? Because I had a radio show where I brought this author on, Rich Christiansen. He wrote the Zigzag Principle which is a fantastic book for anyone starting a business. He talked about how he started all 17 of his businesses with less than $5,000 and sold them all for multi-millions. Now, he started more than 17 but he had 17 that were successful and he said, “Well, that’s just not true.” I said, “Tell me about your last business. Who was your first client?” It turned out that his first client was P. Diddy or Puff Daddy or Sean Combs. I don’t know which name he goes by but the rapper. I’m like, “Wow. A startup business getting him as a client, how is that possible?” He goes, “Well, he was a client from another business.” I’m like, “Right. You have Relationship Capital.” So, I think that as the world is working, we tend not to tap into our relationship capital.
So, if I was going to come out within like I’m coming out with a new book, Women in Play, I’ll start preselling that when the manuscript’s done before it’s actually fully edited, before it comes out in the marketplace by giving people additional resources upfront which might be anything from interviews to resources that we’ve already created that will be worth as much if not more than the book, and already presell a boatload of those copies of the book so that when it comes out like I presold 22,000 copies of Killing Sacred Cows before its official release date. That’s Women in Play. The NFL already won on Super Bowl. I don’t know who’s going. Hopefully, the Bears pull a miracle but I’m saying I don’t know who’s going to the Super Bowl but the NFL already sold the TV rights. They already have the NFL experience plan. They already know who’s doing the concerts and we don’t know if it’s going to be a good game and they’ve already won before the game’s played. I mean, the Statue of Liberty did the same thing. When the Statue of Liberty came to New York, it was a gift from France but they didn’t have a platform that they gifted. They didn’t have a place for tourists to go see it. So, they went out to the New York newspapers and said, “Hey, if you could donate six cents, then you’re going to be able to come and see the Statue of Liberty, the first day that it’s erected and opened,” because they prefunded the platform.
So, in your own business, where do you have existing fans? Where do you have existing people that you could serve even if you’re just launching it? You could sell it at a discount because they become a testimony on our case study. Be thinking cash flow first, existing people that would adore or want your services over 40 years of relationships that you built and then you can absolutely do this at any age. And one of your advantages at your age is going to be that you have relationship capital over most people who are just starting out in their teens and twenties so tap into it. Be okay asking for support and test your ideas on people that are writing checks and have them pay upfront for it. I love like crowdfunding when you look at Indiegogo and Kickstarter that people are making money and getting the cash upfront to the people who actually want to use the service rather than investors. It’s cutting out the middleman and going right to that individual.
Casey: What about somebody that’s not looking to start a new income or a new business? They’re not looking to generate income because maybe they just don’t need the income. They don’t want to go through it, but what they are searching for is they’re searching for happiness. They want to have the most filling retirement they possibly can and, in your book, 5 Day Weekend, you had stated to create freedom through generosity and then you shared three things that can really lead to true happiness. Can we cover those things, helping people traveling more supporting a cause?
Garrett: Man, you’re going to have to like I will be really candid. I didn’t write that part of the book. My co-author that wrote the last section. So, if you’ll tell me what each of those three things are, I can expand on it, but I can at least use my parents as an example here like my dad was a coal miner. He retired recently and I feel like he’s really happy because he gardens, he spends a lot of time with his grandkids, and he works on our family cabin on a regular basis, and then he goes golfing with his friends, and then he still goes and sees his mom on a regular basis who’s my grandma who’s still alive. So, he’s found a way to be fully engaged in life doing the things that he was doing kind of as a side before he got retired, he’s now doing on a daily basis.
Casey: So, it sounds like the insight is he had these hobbies, he had something set up already that he really enjoyed doing day in day out. He just didn’t have the opportunity to fully develop and spend the time into those activities that he really did once he retired. So, he didn’t find all kinds of new things to do. It was pulling some of those things from the past and making them a passion or making them the future.
Garrett: Absolutely. And so, I was asking him what he’s watching on Netflix the other day. He goes, “Man, I just didn’t have a lot of time because we’ve been golfing. We’ve been doing the stuff at the cabin. We’ve been watching the grandkids like he’s keeping his days pretty unfulfilled. They just redid the bathroom in their house like he’s always got something going on. Our deal was I pay for the cabin. He manages and takes care of the cabin. So, that’s a good deal for me. I don’t like taking care of those things. He’s pretty good at it.
Casey: If you’re ready to take the next step towards securing the confident retirement you’ve always wanted, then stop by RetireWithPurpose.com. You have three options to get started. If you want to stay on top of current retirement trends, you can sign up for my weekend reading for retirees where I offer up four trending articles on retirement from experts in the field with my own personal insights directly to your inbox every single Friday. Or maybe you’re ready to see what a purpose-based retirement strategy would look like for you, then apply to receive a free copy of one of my latest retirement planning books. And if you have specific questions you’d like to get professional guidance on, you can sign up for a complimentary consultation. It’s up to you. Again, that’s RetireWithPurpose.com. Now, back to the podcast.
Casey: Well, I think I want to move on to some of the more technical aspects, some more specific advice that you’ve offered, and I want to start here with the book What Would the Rockefellers Do? and that was one of your first books that really got your name out there. I mean, the question is, what would the Rockefellers do and who cares?
Garrett: Well, I think why it matters is because if we look at another family just before the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts who built an empire in the 1800s that was at the time had more money than the US Treasury. They found a way to squander it. I mean, the Vanderbilts had 10 homes in Manhattan that they own that they don’t own because they got torn down. They don’t own The Breakers anymore in Rhode Island. It’s a Museum that’s state-owned. They don’t own the Biltmore Estate in the Carolinas anymore. It’s owned by someone else and so I think it’s the government. So, they squandered a fortune because they didn’t understand the right processes and methodologies. They didn’t have the appropriate conversations so that wealth in transfer. I mean, Anderson Cooper is an heir of the Vanderbilts who didn’t get any money from the Vanderbilts having to take press credentials to get where he is today on CNN. So, now we look at the Rockefeller family. The Rockefeller family’s on their sixth generation, 153 families living off the trust but not as entitled spoiled brats. We’ve got senators, bank presidents.
So, what’s the difference between the two? Well, it was the methodologies that they used. It was the structures that they set up and beyond even what I put in the book, although even beyond what the Rockefellers have done using the court what they’ve done to demonstrate this, I call it the family legacy ring. It’s meat gathering resources and consolidating them on how you stack the odds in your favor to transfer wealth for generations to come, abolishing, and eliminate entitlement and really enjoy life along the way. So, the family legacy ring starts with having a family office. So, a family office was one of the key factors the Rockefellers invented. They had their own financial team just for the Rockefeller family.
Now, most of us that’s not going to apply. We can’t just have one group that only works with us and no one else but you can have a comprehensive, communicating, and coordinated financial group so that your attorney and your accountant communicates. So, your financial advisor and your insurance advisor communicate so that everything is working cohesively. That is such a strategic advantage because my great-grandfather that left Italy never have that and therefore, there’s things slipping through the cracks. There are issues that come up. I know that before I have that, my attorney and accountant didn’t agree. So, one month you have an LLC. The other one had an S corp and they had to deal with it with the IRS because it was done inappropriately or improperly, so that was no fun.
The second thing is the family constitution. The family constitution is rather than just having legal ease govern your trust, you actually have your own words where you’ve distilled your philosophies and values to leave a signpost for future generations and that becomes what guides the trust more than just giving your kids money when they turn certain ages and they may or may not be prepared for it. So, I even have a Board of Directors inside of my trust that they’re not paid right now on the live. They only get paid when I die, but each they’re representing a key characteristic that I would plan on teaching my kids if I’m around and would only have them teach if I’m not around, and then they actually utilize the family constitution that I wrote as a way to govern the trust. Think about the U.S. Constitution, 4,400 words that changed the world forever. Every nation pretty much has a Constitution now but the US one was the first one that ever existed and now it’s something that, when followed, has been extraordinarily useful for the nation with the most prosperity. So, what can you do to create prosperity for your posterity and make sure that they’re actually learning from you, to me, that’s the most important book I’ve ever written and I’m rewriting it right now and refining it to distill it even further to give these great philosophies and guidelines that are allowing them to have more freedom without making all of the mistakes from the beginning and having a guideline or I mean like every church has a book, every organization has some type of cultural guidelines or mission and vision. What about your family having that? That’s what the family constitution is about.
And then the third piece is the family retreat structure. To me, this is the game changer. It’s everything from your mission statement for your family, your values, your rules, and I even have a family crest that we’re having built into a shield that will be a 3D representation, not just something by a piece of paper. Because we have those things in the business, this represents my accredited network. There’s an image there. Why don’t I have an image for the Gunderson family? So, we created that with a lot of symbolism to encapsulate who we are. Then part of family retreat structure is we do meetings twice a month. We have one coming up on this weekend where we go through. We read it as a family. We do gratitude exercises as a family. We talk about how we could support each other and then we talk about the initiatives and then the kids also talk about ways that they can earn money, which I pay them a lot more for using their brain and their physical abilities so I keep paying them. I underpay them for picking up the house and sweeping and fixing things but I’m overpaying them for memorizing great things, reading books, and doing reports because that’s what I’m trying to train them to do.
And then there’s other traditions and rituals that you create within that structure that reinforce the family being together because once out of my family, the non-Italian side, had no family traditions and rituals so I don’t talk about them as much. The Italian side had all these traditions and rituals which allowed me to have my grandfather be my hero because of the time I spent with him because of traditions that had me learn certain things at certain ages. And so, we’re doing that with our kids when they turn 12. We want to take them to a third world country and spend an extended period of time where I can talk to them. When they turn 14, I wanted them to hike a major peak so this is a personal victory for them that builds confidence versus the public victory which could create arrogance. It’s little things like the rules we have in our family when our kids get on the flight with us and my wife and I fly first class and we put them in coach and they go, “What does it take to fly up there?” I’m like, “Oh, you earn that. You were born into this side but you earn this side.” So, there’s all these kinds of things that go into the family retreat.
And at the center of all that is cash flow banking which is having the type of insurance policy that lives a day longer than the individual so it replenishes the trust in case it was lost to business losses and mistakes, economic downturns. So, the money will be there for generations to come. That’s what holds these three concentric circles together of the family office, the family constitution, and the family retreat is cash flow banking which is a Rockefeller method of replenishing the trust where my family can pay me interest rather than banks and institutions. I can give them a better interest rate because I’ve cut out the middleman and if they make mistakes or we need to bolster it because of inflation or increased taxes, that continues to be replenished through a permanent death benefit that comes back tax-free to the trust generations to come.
Casey: Well, I think that point there this cash flow banking concept has, it was in your Killing Sacred Cows, it’s been in What Would the Rockefellers Do? and it’s also become one of the biggest criticisms of you and your advice from what I’ve seen, in addition to this seemingly hatred for 401(k)s and traditional investments. And I even had the opportunity to read something in The White Coat Investor that was written on Killing Sacred Cows and you gave a pretty extensive rebuttal and also acceptance of I think some compliments that were given to you along the way but…
Garrett: White Coat Investor who’s very against permanent insurance, I felt like he complimented me as much as he probably would in some in that philosophy but, yeah.
Casey: Well, let’s talk about that. It does seem like that you’ve got somebody here that you hear all the time. You have 401(k) so the best place to go. You need to put 10% of your 401(k) over here and you’re recommending, well, maybe we shouldn’t put in the 401(k). Maybe we should look at allocating these dollars to your cash flow banking concept and you would at 15% instead of 10%. So, let’s just cover this. Why not a 401(k)? Why cash flow banking? Do you really think one is better than the other or they’re both useful tools for the right person given their own investment DNA?
Garrett: Well, because my philosophy is create economic independence first, the 401(k) is not supportive of economic independence. It’s supportive of retirement. So, it’s not creating cash flow. It’s an accumulation vehicle and could it be the right thing for the right person? Yes. I have a few concerns about it. So, my first concern is limited amounts that you can borrow from it typically. So, if the right opportunities come, your money’s kind of locked away. The second thing is it’s not a tax savings vehicle. It’s a tax deferral vehicle and if you’re deferring tax, the questions you have to ask is, number one, will I be at a lower tax bracket in the future? And, number two, if I am, is that a good idea? So, is the government going to lower the taxes in the future? I mean, they recently lowered the top bracket a couple of percents but they’re $21 trillion in debt and the way that they pay for that debt is through taxation. So, my concern is, 10, 20, 30 years from now, it’s an unknown uncertain future and it’s easy to get money in the plan. What’s your exit strategy to get money out?
The second thing is where is the cash flow coming in that plan? And if you’re not economically independent, well, you’re not saving a percentage of your money and trying to earn a percentage on that money. I love to see people, I mean, 100% of their lifestyle expenses handled from their investments so that all of their active income can be reinvested because that’s a 10 times advantage. Someone saving 10%, trying to earn 10% on 10%, that’s a fraction of a fraction. What if you had 100% of your income that you actively earn could go towards building more assets, that’s a 10 times advantage. So, that’s why I like economic independence first. When it comes to insurance and cash value insurance, in particular, the White Coat Investor makes good points about people that get into it, they underfund it, there were companies that take far too long for it to come together, and a lot of people end up canceling it which becomes very expensive insurance if they do that early on. All valid points.
So, I like to see it where it’s more cash heavy and I like to see it as a way that people store their money, not as the primary purpose or way that they earn their money. I don’t see it as an investor DNA tool. An investment DNA defined is it’s your core competencies, your core values. It’s your drivers combined for focus in things that make sense for you as an investor. So, you invest in the things that you know, not in things that you don’t know so that you’re aligned and more related to it because risk is in the investments and the investor. So, this is a storage tank for your money and that cash value is available when there’s a time of a downturn and opportunities become more rapid. It’s the time to store money where things are overinflated, they’re overvalued, or you don’t feel like allocating money towards anything that has the degree of risk, so it can be a tool to store cash where it’s protected from liability and bankruptcy, purely protected in 43 states, partially protected in some and other states, protected from tax and giving you a tax advantage because it’s FICO meaning you can pull your money that you put in out first tax-free where most of its taxable first.
You can borrow from it to avoid tax. You could pay it back in and you got the death benefit that you kind of come back in and replenish everything for your family or for the trust in the future. So, I don’t see it as an investment per se. I see it as a saving and storage vehicle that turbocharges your savings accounts that has a disadvantage in the first few years and an advantage after that, once you’ve covered some of the upfront cost of acquiring a policy like that.
Casey: Well, let’s be very clear for everyone. We’re talking to someone that’s here that doesn’t sell life insurance, who doesn’t sell financial products, and is still having this conversation which I think it’s pretty interesting because they usually hear this type of advisor or even a conversation like this from someone who has a vested interest in them buying a whole life policy or an index universal life policy or some type of cash value life insurance policy and I think one of the biggest arguments that was also brought up in White Coat Investor and I’ve got to say it here. Now, I’ve been doing cash flow banking and utilizing this concept for the last 10 years, and so I really understand it. I think there’s other people that don’t and they’re going to go, “Well, I can put money in my 401(k). It’s going to average 7% to 10%. That’s what my broker told me. Or I can put it over here in this cash value life insurance policy that’s overfunded and I can take money out tax-free. But I only make 4% to 5%. I mean, why would I only want to make for 4% to 5% when I can make 7 to 10 over here, by putting money in the market?”
Garrett: Yeah. And that’s why the cash value insurance is great for the cash value but it’s extraordinary for the death benefit. The death benefit, the way I look at it is you don’t build net worth. You buy it. The death benefit is a future amount of income that will come in tax-free to your state and by knowing that, we can boost your cash flow and other assets 20% or as high as 50% so that person taking their pension like my dad when he’s retired, we said take the max that they’ll give you every month because when you die they’ll stop paying it but the death benefit will come and take care of mom if you don’t outlive her.” And so, he did and that boosted that cash flow 20% by taking the maximum option or if someone has a paid off home, they can actually use the death benefit as collateral and do a reverse mortgage in retirement and get a tax-free sum of money from the bank and then the death benefit pays back the bank when they die, like those are the basic strategies. There’s more advanced strategies with charitable giving, with paying down here and accelerate the rate at which you can spend your retirement assets and replenish it with it. But the death benefit actually gives you this huge boost.
Let me make it really simple. In the 1950s, GE did this thing called nonqualified deferred compensation. All that meant was it was a private plan that they were administering for their key executives. What they want to do is recruit the best executives to take their business to the next level. What were places they weren’t number one in their category? What could they do to recruit the very best? They offer the pension so if you’ll work here for an amount time, we’ll give you a pension and the people said, “Great.” And what GE said was, “Well, how do we do this without harming our cash flow because we’ve just increased the payment by getting this great executive?” And what they did was they took and bought cash value life insurance. They then supplemented the pension with the cash value but then that executive eventually died and then it came back from the death benefit tax-free to GE. So, they replenished all their money and got a rate of return from the death benefit. It was the death benefit that provided the most value there where other advisors might say, “Well, you’re not going to need the insurance,” and that might be true. You don’t need it. The bottom line is it’s nice to have because it’s coming back in and you benefit from it. So, as we show people how to benefit from their death benefit while they’re alive, it brings out more value.
The second thing is you’re not going to keep that cash value in there forever. Either you use cash value to buy businesses, to buy real estate, to invest in a TV studio, to pay off high interest loan or high interest rate American Express when I was launching Killing Sacred Cows, to do remnant rate, which got me a 66% discount on Wall Street Journal, New York Times ads with my cash value by having the money earlier and upfront. So, you use the cash when the investments are right where in most retirement plans, you’re just kind of riding it out. So, yeah, maybe you get 7% or 9% depending on what the market actually does, net of fees, but you still have to pay tax on the backend where you’re not paying tax on that 4% to 5% that you burned inside of a plan of insurance and you’re using that cash for other things when opportunities arise, if they arise. If they don’t, I’m actually totally cool with 4% or 5% because it’s already more than I’m paying in any interest if I choose to borrow and I can always take distributions or dividends off the $1 million I’ve gathered there and I’m really building for me most of my wealth inside of my business. So, even if you have a 401(k), one of the best allies or friends for that 401(k) is a life insurance death benefit because it’s going to be a strategy of how you might be able to get more of that money out of there and spend more of it in the future.
Casey: Well, it’s been a very consistent theme of yours, this discussion about taxes from each and every single one of your books. I don’t think you ever put anything out that didn’t have something to do with taxes. So, why such a big emphasis on taxes? And, ultimately, how can someone tell if they’re overpaying on taxes?
Garrett: I just feel like taxes are our most immediate return that we could possibly get and it’s our most guaranteed return. Most people overpay taxes and here’s the easiest way you know. You only talk to your accountants between January and April or you do your taxes yourself. We now have 199A that was released with the Trump Plan. A lot more people are going to overpay taxes because a lot of people are still interpreting what all these changes mean. So, if you don’t have a bookkeeper or someone that’s getting you data on time, you’re not meeting with your tax team on a quarterly basis, you don’t have a way to reclassify your income removing from active to passive, ordinary income to capital gains, or taxable to tax-free, and you don’t know what tax arbitrage is, you’re probably overpaying taxes. If you haven’t fully documented all of your expenses that can become deductions and turn them into deductions, you’re probably overpaying taxes. You have kids and you’re not paying, then you’re probably overpaying taxes. If you haven’t heard of the Augusta Rule, you’re probably overpaying taxes.
So, most people are because we’re not experts in accounting. I’m not a CPA. I’m just an entrepreneur that thinks about taxes and obsesses about it because it’s an immediate return. As a matter of fact, today, the day that we’re recording this, I have a meeting with a tax strategist, a CPA, a tax attorney, and my controller for an hour where we’re just going to brainstorm on what are all the different things that we could possibly do to save on taxes and we’re talking about this year and next year. Not last year. Because the corporate taxes are due here in a minute of the time of this, but like you got to be proactive and if you don’t have a second set of eyes on your taxes every three years, you’re probably overpaying because a different set of eyes can ask you different questions and look at it different ways and you go back and amend returns if you miss something that you could’ve otherwise have.
Casey: Just having a second set of eyes, having a second opinion, having somebody looking over your shoulder making sure you’re not missing out on anything and I’ve got so many examples of CPAs that we’ve worked with that know the tax code better than I do, they just needed a different way of looking at that tax return in the first place.
Garrett: I think I overpaid my taxes last year not by a lot but I’m super mindful and doing all this because it’s just so much that you can do that they’re always coming out with.
Casey: Well, let’s talk about a couple specific topics that come up in regular conversations with the families we work with and one is budgeting, one is debt, and so I want to talk about budgeting because when we have some – we send out a factfinder before the visit, before they come in for that first visit, and we want them to sit down and start to do a budget, start to figure out how much you’re spending each and every month, and 9 out of 10 times it’s not filled in. They don’t know how to fill it in. They’ve never even done a budget because they’ve been living this lifestyle that they always had enough. They didn’t have to live on a budget and now we go, “Oh no. Now, I’ve got to sit down and build a budget. I don’t even know where to start. And you have something you like to say a lot, which is, “Budgeting sucks.” So, what’s that mean to you? And how would you walk a pre-retiree through this process of really identifying that important number? Or is it even an important number?
Garrett: It is. What you’re talking about is the income statement, right, just knowing how much money is coming in and where exactly it’s going out. I call it mindful cash management. You got to have a snapshot what I would call a financial scorecard of where you are today and then the key is to go through that and say, “Oh, let’s list these four types of expenses on there.” So, an income statement, your income versus your expenses. When you look at the expenses, you first say, is there anything destructive on here? Something I’m paying for every month that I’m not even using. That’s destructive, right? Number two, what are my lifestyle expenses? Are you paying cash for those? Lifestyle expenses are great. You just don’t borrow to consume. You manage them and you never borrow. The third type of expense is your projected expenses. That’s like your assurances, your corporate structures, your estate plans, it’s everything that transfers risk. They’re important and you want to address those. Some people neglect them and therefore, that could creep in and hurt you in other ways. Then the fourth type of expenses is productive expense. It’s those things you’re paying for that add more money to your life than what you’re paying for. It’s not just enjoyment and entertainment. It’s really things that you can measure that are adding to the bottom line.
So, you classify those four types of expenses and then once you have this report, then you just want to have it coming to you in some way shape or form once a week or once a month to say, “Am I staying within the bounds?” I call it mindful cash management. It’s not budgeting and eliminating everything because there’s three ways to live within your means. Budgeting is one where it’s all about elimination and cutting back, but the other two ways are a little bit more fun. One is to be more efficient. So, that’s eliminating destructive expenses, saving on tax, saving on interest, saving on non performing investment fees which might be legal fees, admin fees inside of a 401(k). And then on insurance, is there any duplicate covers their cost with insurance? Once we know those four factors, the four Is, IRS, interest, investment insurance, we can put more money in your pocket. That’s being efficient.
The third way to live within your means is to expand your means. Where could you invest more money to create more cash flow? Either in yourself or an investment so that cash flow is coming in on a recurring basis. That’s what we’re looking at. And you got to know where you stand because you might find destructive expenses or you might find untapped resources or you might find like this one woman that we met with said that she spent maybe $1,500 a month on going out to eat. What we found is she spent $5,900 per month. That became destructive for her. Now, we went through and found out how to save her $89,000 in tax. That helped. That was great but that’s not the only thing we want to do. We want to make sure that gets captured somewhere and it becomes part of her life. So, really you having people do what you would call a budget is essential. It’s a snapshot of where they exist. Budgeting, when they start restricting and constraining where they stop investing in themselves or in things that are productive is where it becomes a sucky situation.
Casey: That makes a lot of sense and another thing that you talk about is debt and a lot of the families that come in, they sit down, and they have credit cards, they have mortgages, they have loans that are out there, and they want to know how do I first attacked this debt? Where do I start? You cover that in 5 Day Weekend with something called the cash flow index which I thought was pretty cool and something that we’re definitely going to be incorporating into our meeting process as we meet with people and you have this discussion of debt versus liabilities. What are your thoughts on debt?
Garrett: Okay. So, first, we have to define what debt really is because it’s misidentified and mislabeled. So, we take a balance sheet. A balance sheet is simply our assets versus our liabilities. When we have more assets than liabilities, that’s equity. When we have more liabilities than assets, that’s debt. So, debt is a function of our liabilities which are our recurring expenses versus the assets we have and if we were to liquidate our assets and still owe something, that’s debt. Most people think every loan is debt. But we can have a loan that put us in equity. I could buy a piece of real estate that’s really worth $200,000, but because of the desperate situation, I picked it up for $100,000. If I borrow the $100,000, I’m $100,00 in equity, but most people would say they’re $100,000 in debt. So, what I like to do is not talk about good debt or bad debt. I want people to be out of debt meaning they don’t owe more than what they have. I like to think it efficient or inefficient loans. So, if we have loans, it’s not loaning efficient loans or an inefficient loan and the best way to determine that is cash flow index. Our cash flow index is you take the loan balance and you divide it by the minimum monthly payment.
So, every loan individually that you have, what’s the loan balance what you currently owe divide it by the minimum required monthly payment, it spits out a number. If it’s less than 50, that’s an inefficient loan meaning you borrowed a relatively small amount or you only have a small amount left on what you borrowed in relationship to the payment you’re making. So, it’s a cash hog. It’s harming your economic independence. If that loan’s above 100, that’s an efficient loan. It’s highly efficient meaning you’ve borrowed a decent amount of money and you have a relatively low payment. So, only attack one loan at a time and attack the one with the lowest cash flow index because it’s going to free up cash flow the fastest that’s going to help you become economically independent, that’s going to help you get better debt-to-income as a borrower, which is going to make you a better borrower if you have to get other loans. It might mean that at that point, you can now attack, once one loan’s paid off with more bigger and more cash, the next loan you’re trying to eliminate.
But the question you have to ask is do you want to eliminate the loan or not? Some, the answer might be yes and that’s your objective. Some, it might be no like, “I don’t care. I have a mortgage on my house. I don’t on my cabin. I don’t have car loans but I wouldn’t mind if I did, because there are assets backing it, but they’re not necessarily cash flowing assets. So, I chose to pay them off.” It just gave my wife peace of mind. Great. Did it make economic sense? Well, maybe, maybe not because I can earn a higher interest rate than what they’re charging me on those. So, I look at both the economics behind something and the peace of mind and I use the cash flow index with any of my clients to determine which loans to pay off first not necessarily the interest rate.
Casey: What I’m telling you that cash flow index is a very powerful tool. We’ll have that in the show notes so don’t jot that down while you’re driving down the highway. Right now, it will be in the show notes for the podcast and the question of the day I think is very consistent with the families we meet with and that is, “Can I retire with a mortgage?” or their end retirement they say, “Well, should I go ahead and pick up a mortgage?” And I think you answered that there that it’s kind of up to the individual and you don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. Is that the correct?
Garrett: I don’t see it as a bad thing. I don’t do it just for tax purposes. Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog. I do it for cash flow and use of my resources, purposes, and then mindset. I have a good friend that he wanted to start a business and his wife said, “Well, if you’ll pay off the mortgage then I can support it better,” and he didn’t really want to because he had such a low-interest rate, less than 4%. But when he paid it off, she felt better and then she supported in the businesses more and then those businesses sold so it ends being a great investment for him. Economically, he could’ve out earned it but you can’t really deal with the level of guilt, stress, and frustration. So, the person is the greatest asset. You are. Personal finance needs to be personal. So, there’s the objective of paying off a loan and bears the method which is the cash flow index. I typically would never pay extra to a mortgage. I would save it in cash value then when the cash values got enough cash, if I really want to pay off the mortgage, I pull out the cash value paid off. That’s what I do with my cabin, paid it off for my cash values.
Casey: That’s great. That’s actually the exact thing that my wife and I have done the other day. We are sitting on our deck and I said, “What would financial freedom mean to you?” and she said, “Well, it be not having any more debt. It would be paying off the mortgage.” So, it might actually be having enough in our cash value policy that we could actually pay off mortgage at any given time. That frees up that liquidity, we have our cash, we’re crediting more interest, and we’re paying an interest, and we’ve got some deductions so really, I think it’s really powerful advice there. Now, before I step in this very stock question, some high-level questions, I know you’ve been getting in the stand-up comedy here recently and I’m wondering if you can share any jokes that might be coming out as a really good hit on stage?
Garrett: So, my son just turned 13, which officially makes him a teenager, but I know the exact moment he became an adolescent because we always play this game would you rather and he’d be like, “Dad, would you rather be Batman or Spider-Man?” Well, the other day we’re walking he’s like, “Dad, would you rather touch a girl’s butt or her boobs?” That tells me two things. Number one, he’s becoming a man. Number two, there’s other parts of the woman he’s yet to discover. So, that’s just one of the jokes that I’ve been telling lately and then I go into a whole set about it, about my kids being romance terrorists and sleep terrorists when they’re younger, but now my 13-year-old is a wingman, shut the door for me at night so, I mean, my compadre there. So, yeah, I’ve got about 35 minutes’ worth of stage material and another 20 minutes I’m looking to refine. It’s a little sloppy still.
Casey: Now, I’m curious myself. Where can we catch some of your stand up?
Garrett: I’ve been doing it at events I’m speaking out now. Probably half the events I speak at, they ask me to do standup. So far, the comedy clubs I’ve been doing is Wise Guys in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and West Jordan. I’ve done a little bit in Mesa Theater. I’ve been invited to potentially do something this month in Toronto because I’m already speaking there. So, probably the best way is August of 2019 I’ll be doing a headliner at Wise Guys in Salt Lake. That’s probably going to be the best way. I’m also going to start putting out some clips. I just want the clips to be nice and clean and tidy and neat and not too edgy because I’ve been tinkering with it. Some have been slightly edgy. I don’t have a foul mouth onstage but I find that I look a little bit like Jesus and so I can let people know that I’m not Jesus from stage and that gets pretty good a reaction sometimes too.
Casey: Yeah. I think keyword was sometimes I think that flopped one time for you.
Casey: Some work, some don’t.
Garrett: You got to try it.
Casey: All right. So, as we wrap up, I always like to ask one question of all of our guests and that is if you could use, well, let’s not even use one word. Let’s just say if you could describe retirement, what does retirement mean to you?
Garrett: Retire from the things you hate.
Casey: I love that and that’s not just about you. It might be thought of as Kary Oberbrunner was on as one of our first podcast guests and he said, “Day job the dream job.” That can really be retirement and so I love that. And number two is what is the best life advice that you’ve received?
Garrett: I think that the best life advice was I had a friend, John, tell me, “You and your wife should put each other first. That should be your top priority,” and I’m really invested in my marriage and that was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and that we had kids at the time, we were at kind of a top spot in our marriage where we’re just doing okay and kind of getting through, and that just took everything to a different level.
Casey: And what are a couple things that you, I mean, this might be selfish for myself here but my wife and I we just celebrated our seventh anniversary and I want to make sure that I’m making that a top priority every day and in life and part of my purpose. What are some of the things that you do and some of the strategies you use to make sure that you fulfill that?
Garrett: Well, look, now I’m going to give you a killer resource. It’s not behind any opt-in but FreedomFrastTrack.com/Marriage is my wife and I being interviewed by two different people and then it’s my agenda. We do a weekly meeting, my wife and I, where we go through and I say, “Hey, rate me on a scale of one to ten how I’m doing as a husband. What are you most excited about with our future?” We always have a trip on the books to look forward to so there’s probably something exciting. We have 14 days away from our kids when they were young every year where we traveled internationally just the two of us. We usually break it up into two trips. So, we had time for each other. When I made mistakes and said something dumb or was insensitive, this doesn’t happen too often but I’d ask for a do-over, and it would allow us to kind of release it, let it go, and just like one time I literally walked in. I was an A-hole because I had a rough day and I just said, “You know, if I had a do-over,” I went back outside, drove my car around the block and came back in as a different person.
So, there’s some of that too. Actually, on my wall over here I have like date night is essential. You got to have date night on a regular basis and plan it out and everything that you do in business that works, use some of those same things in your marriage. Are you reading books, read books about how to have an extraordinary marriage? Do you have a vision for your business? Have a vision for your marriage. I believe in being an extraordinary husband and a romantic, that changes how I show up at my marriage. So, they’re just a few highlights and tidbits there.
Casey: Full of wisdom, full of advice. Is there any last piece of guidance or advice or anything that I didn’t touch on that you’d like to share?
Garrett: I feel like it was pretty comprehensive. We covered a lot in a short period of time. So, you’re more than well prepared. You’re extraordinarily well-prepared, know the stuff inside and out, so I really appreciate the questions and the professionalism.
Casey: Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us here on the show. I hope that I get to see some your stand up in person and have the opportunity to shake your hand. Thank you.
Garrett: We’d love to have you come see it, man.
Casey: We’ll catch you hopefully again right here on Retire With Purpose.
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