131: Your Mental Wealth with Dr. Brad Klontz
Today’s guest is Dr. Brad Klontz. Brad is a clinical psychologist turned financial planner. He’s the Founder of the Financial Psychology Institute® and an Associate Professor of Practice in Financial Psychology at Creighton University Heider College of Business. He’s also a Managing Principal of Your Mental Wealth® Advisors, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a Former President of the Hawaii Psychological Association, and the co-author and editor of five books on the psychology of money.
After attempting to eliminate his student debt by investing in the stock market and losing big, Brad did a deep dive into his family history, the mental health of financial planners. He discovered that this aspect of mental health had long gone unaddressed, and has dedicated his career to the concept of what he calls Mental Wealth ever since.
Brad joins today’s podcast not just to share his story, but to help you better understand how your beliefs around money influence your financial behaviors, net worth, credit card debt, and more – and how to reassess and rethink what might not be serving you well, especially at this tumultuous time in our financial history.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why psychologists and other mental health professionals have a tendency to be money avoidant – and how this led Brad to conduct groundbreaking research that revealed behavioral patterns when it comes to people and money.
- What we can learn from our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ beliefs, hangups, and experiences when it comes to money – and why it’s so hard for some people to change their behavior, even when circumstances are constantly changing.
- Why emotions aren’t “good” or “bad” when it comes to investing, but simply part of the deal – and how to work to disconnect your feelings from your actions.
- The powerful forces that keep us working and accumulating wealth, rather than spending – and the thought processes people go through as they think about retirement.
- Why no one wants to budget – and how to talk to reframe budgeting in a more emotionally acceptable and fun way.
- How couples therapy reveals our inability to have normal conversations about topics that shouldn’t be taboo – and what often goes wrong when couples talk about money.
- Ways to use allowance to teach kids about money.
- “The belief that once I get this, then I’ll be happy and relaxed, is a fallacy. You’re never going to actually get there.” – Brad Klontz
Casey Weade: Brad, welcome to the podcast.
Brad Klontz: Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Casey Weade: Hey, Brad. It’s great to have another physician here on the podcast, and you were one in the area of clinical psychology and then you made this transition to where you are today, which is mainly financial planning but I know you’re involved in a lot of different things. You’re involved in the mental health world. You’re involved in the investment, the planning world. And so, maybe you can just kind of share with us how this transition happened. How did you go from clinical psychology to financial planner?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. Great question. Mainly because I screwed up around money. So, when I got out of graduate school, I owed $100,000 in student loan debt and I grew up lower middle class. You know, my mom, it’s so funny. She likes to say we were middle class except lower and I’m like, “Mom, no, they have names for that.” But, anyway, so I grew up in that frame of mind, but I had very conservative parents who were really focused on saving. They want to teach me to save. They didn’t have much money but it was something they were very concerned about and I was taught to never have any debt. So, this is one of the things I grew up with, like debt is bad. Don’t do it. To get to grad school, though, I had to take on student loans. So, I got out of school. I owed $100,000 in student loan debt. I was very uncomfortable with that, which is why I told you where I came from and I saw a friend of mine make $100,000 trading stocks in one year.
And I thought, great idea because this friend of mine knew nothing about the stock market and I knew nothing about the stock market. So, I thought this is something that I could do. And so, I sold what I had of value, which at that time was mainly a truck that I had, and I put all my money in the stock market and I was living life of a pauper. I had like a lawn chair for furniture. I was all in on this like I’m going to get out of debt. And I had a fabulous three months or so and then the tech bubble burst and agonizing experience. And for any listeners who have lived through that, they know what I’m talking about. Really difficult experience for me, watching my money melt away. As a clinical psychologist, thankfully, I think I blamed myself and this is one of the things we’ve done research on looking at what separates the ultra-wealthy from middle-class individuals. And one of those components is it’s called internal locus of control but essentially, it’s how much you take personal responsibility for what’s happening in your life.
So, luckily, I had been trained on internal locus of control, and I knew this was a good thing. So, I set about trying to blame myself for everything in my life, which is actually a really helpful way to go through life. And so, I thought, “Okay. So, why would a reasonably intelligent person do something so stupid with his money?” So, that was the question I was asking myself. And then what I did is I went into the literature in psychology, which is what we’re trained to do. Let’s find studies on it. What can we know about this? And there was nothing done basically. So, essentially, there were no studies done on the psychology of money and our relationship to money and so I sort of accidentally became one of the leading individuals in this field mainly because the field of psychology utterly ignored the topic of money. So, I sort of joke, within a matter of a few weeks, I became the world’s leading expert in financial psychology because psychologists have totally avoided the concept of money historically and I actually did a study on that, too. So, psychologists and mental health people have a tendency to be money avoidant, believing that there’s sort of a negative association with money or having money as bad or rich people are greedy, or there’s virtue in having less money, that kind of thing.
And so, the entire field was money avoidant. And what’s so interesting about it too, Casey, is that money is the biggest source of stress in the lives of Americans and it always has been, probably always will be, but it was an ignored topic in the field of psychology. So, anyway, that’s how I became really interested in it. I was trying to sort out my own beliefs around money, like why did I do what I did? And I actually got on a plane, went home, and I interviewed my family members, almost like an anthropologist like, “So, mom, what was it like for you growing up around money?” and I did the same thing with my father and I heard all these stories that had dated back generations in my family, which I had never heard of. And I was like, “Oh, my goodness.” So, all of a sudden, my behaviors around money, my beliefs around money started to make total sense to me.
So, why would a reasonably intelligent person do something so stupid with his money? Well, it traced all the way back into my family line and I could see the patterns, which was, frankly, a psychological relief for me. It’s like, well, no wonder I did something like that. It would have been really predicted to do something like that but these were stories nobody had ever talked about. And so, anyway, that’s one of my passions and you can probably hear in my voice that I’m passionate about this is the untold stories that lead to these beliefs that are clanking around in our subconscious minds, and they drive all of our financial behaviors.
Casey Weade: Well, I want to dig into your psychology a little bit around that experience. So, we’re talking about a very early experience in the stock market for you. And for me, this was the 2008 financial crisis. That’s when I got started in the business of financial planning. You got started following the tech bubble but both of our early experiences in investing resulted in some pretty significant losses and some painful experiences around the market. And I wonder how that has carried over to impact you today. I know for me, those early experiences, I recognize that I have a bias where I take a very some might say ultra-conservative approach with my own personal finances, probably because of those early experiences I had around money and also that what I saw of my grandparents, my dad, but then you’ve got other advisors that say started in the 80s or 90s, in a big bull market and they had a very good early experience. And I tend to think they continue to advise in a more aggressive way and take more of an aggressive approach to their personal finances, but I’m wondering how that impacted you personally to this day now we’re talking 20 years down the road.
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, it did have an impact on me for sure and I think, initially, I was very frightened after that. After you have that loss experience, your brain wants to make sure that you don’t have another loss experience. It’s sort of designed to protect you. And so, you have a tendency to avoid things that have bitten you, use that as an example. Like, if you’re bitten by a snake, your brain says stay away from anything slithering, right? And so, when you have a painful experience like that related to investing, it’s not uncommon at all for people to have an aversion towards investing or to be conservative. And so, that was certainly the case for me in the years that followed until I got more educated, until I started to read some of the research on investing and became a financial planner myself, but definitely had an impact on me. And this is something that we see culturally too like if you ever knew anyone who lived through the Great Depression, a lot of them became hoarders like ultra-conservative hoarders.
Like that’s one of the things I discovered in my family history is my grandfather lost all of his money and the family’s money when the banks collapsed in the Great Depression. And I didn’t know that story until my mother shared that with me after I was interviewing her. And what I didn’t know either is he died in his 90s and he never put $1 in the bank for the rest of his life. So, that sense of like I can’t trust banks was so hard-wired for him based on that experience. And so, when he died in his 90s, he kept all his money in a lockbox in his attic, like never even put it in the bank. And so, those types of experiences are very profound and sometimes they’re quite traumatic. And you talk back about 2008, I did a study on post-traumatic stress in financial planners back in 2008 and that’s exactly what we saw. So, I was trained to psychologists. I’m like, “Wow, these people seem to have some similar symptoms to people who’ve experienced a traumatic event,” and definitely the case. So, over 90% of the advisors that we studied had those symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
And if you had money in the market, you probably have some too because you watched it melt away, you’re worried about your retirement, some people were losing their homes, very traumatic experience for many, many people. The problem with those types of experiences is sometimes it clouds your vision about what’s happening in the future. And that’s why it’s so important to process that emotion and think about it and just really shine some light on it. Otherwise, you’ll end up like my grandfather who’s like you could never trust banks. And the interesting thing about those beliefs, in our research, we call them money scripts, is that they’re 100% accurate in a certain situation. So, for example, if my grandfather had that belief, he can’t trust banks, with your money before the Great Depression, he would have done fabulously. But the situation changed. So, federal government came in, starting to guarantee bank accounts. So, the situation changed and at that point, his belief became highly dysfunctional. Anyway, sorry about that.
Casey Weade: No, it’s all right. No, I’ve had a very similar experience with my grandparents, Great Depression-era, and were very conservative. I always kind of think back to a little game we used to play after my grandfather passed away. After my grandfather passed away, we’d go visit grandma, and we’d play a little game called find the money because the money was in the house somewhere. It was in these old coffee cans in the cellar and my grandfather laid carpet for a living so he lined underneath the carpet full of cash. It was just a different approach. And I think that fear or that concern sometimes I think there’s benefits from learning from that too, rather than just saying all these emotions are bad, all these stories are bad. I need to just move on past them and get educated. I still look back at my grandfather and go, well, he still was a carpet layer making in the peak of his earning years $40,000, $50,000, worth well over a million dollars when he passed away. He was still doing okay, did what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it. Maybe it’s not all bad. Maybe we can take something away from those experiences.
Now, do I put everything under my mattress and put it under my carpet today? No, absolutely not because I have educated myself on a better approach. However, I still think there’s some benefit from those scars of our past.
Brad Klontz: Absolutely, Casey. And there’s something in psychology called post-traumatic growth. And it’s that if we can go through these experiences, and by the way, everyone’s had a traumatic experience of some kind or very emotionally intense experience. And if we process those correctly, we’re actually better off frankly, on the other end for having that experience. We’ve learned new things, we have a new perspective, maybe we even have an appreciation for things that we didn’t quite appreciate or know how good we had it. And so, it’s an incredible learning opportunity as long as you process it correctly, and you think about it, and you work through some of those emotions. It can become damaging when it becomes something that we don’t ever want to look at it again. And we’ve sort of arrived at a conclusion around how the world works, and then we’re inflexible in our thinking, and that’s really one of the keys to success. It’s one of the keys to doing well and actually being well adjusted is something called open-mindedness and willing to be flexible in your thinking around things because circumstances are constantly changing.
The stock market is a great example, constantly changing. And if you have a certain set of rigid beliefs around how this is supposed to work, that’s when people have a tendency to get into trouble. These like beliefs, like for example, the belief that real estate will always go up in value. Like this was a very popular cultural belief. I don’t think as many people have that belief after 2008. It doesn’t always go up in value but that’s an example of a belief that if it’s rigidly held, it can really trip you up. So, having that flexibility and thinking is really key.
Casey Weade: Well, I’m wondering how we learn from these and teach from these points as advisors, or you individually. I know one of the questions you just brought up is what was money like when you were a kid? That was a question you’re asking say parents and grandparents and that’s another question that we always ask in the first visit with the families that we’re sitting down and consulting with. And I’m wondering how you best use that information. If the listeners sitting there, they’re asking themselves, “What was money like when I was a kid?” how do they then take that information, process it to benefit in the future?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, if you can think of three different intersecting circles with lines so think of a triangle and each edge of the triangle is a circle. And so, the top circle is your early experiences around money or we call them financial flashpoints in our writing and in our research, and those are those early memories you have around money, those early experiences. Sometimes again, it could be your grandparents’ experience that you never heard about, but they pass down the feelings and the beliefs. And then in another circle is your money scripts. So, these are your beliefs around money. So, you have these early experiences. We all have these experiences around money. They lead to a set of beliefs around money. How does money work? What do we know about rich people? What are your beliefs around poor people? What are your beliefs around buying things in terms of status, the importance of saving? All these things are beliefs that are directly related to experiences you had quite often as a child or even passed down to you from the grandparents and parents and grandparents. And then those things directly lead to your financial behaviors. And we’ve done studies on all of this actually. So, they all connect.
So, if we know your beliefs around money, we can predict your financial behaviors, your income, your net worth, your credit card debt, a whole host of financial behaviors based on these beliefs. So, to answer your question, Casey, it’s really important to know where you came from and those early experiences and then the next step is how did those experiences impact your beliefs around money, about retirement, about investing, about how money works in the world in relationships, like is it a dangerous topic in relationships to talk about, or is it something that can bring you closer? Did you grow up with parents and conflict around money? These things all lead to beliefs around money and all of our studies have shown those beliefs predict your financial behaviors and outcomes.
Casey Weade: Then I’m wondering if it’s even possible to change the behavior ultimately. And when I think about this, I go to those individuals that we’ll sit down with. I’m sure you’ve met them. Their parents lost everything in the stock market during the Great Depression. And then they lost half their life savings in the tech bubble, sold when the market was down, didn’t make up any of their losses, and they’re going, “You know what, the market is just a bad place to be. I shouldn’t be investing.” And then you might say, “Well, why can’t you invest today?” And they’ll say, “Well, I’m 65 years old. I can’t put any money in the stock market.” And then you have to go back and help them realize that had we done X, Y, and Z then over 30 years and you still have 30 years of investing when you’re 60, 65 years old, just not on all of your money. You can still afford some risk and it’s a good idea. Is it even possible to overcome that? And maybe it’s even necessary to overcome it in some circumstances.
Brad Klontz: Fabulous question. And the answer is it depends. So, for me and for you and for your listeners, if you think back to some of these early experiences like if you don’t know stories about your grandparents, your parents, try to find out some of what was passed down to you. Because sometimes just an awareness of that can totally shift your behavior. You think of it as an aha moment, and you’re like, “Oh, my goodness, I got so risky in the stock market because I’m sort of trying to do the opposite of my family who are ultra-conservative.” No wonder I got hurt. No wonder I took on more risk. And just seeing that pattern for some people, snap, you shift your beliefs because all of a sudden it makes sense and it’s in perspective. However, when you have emotional intensity associated with that belief, so for example, back to the Great Depression example, like if you live through the experience of poverty, not having enough to eat, worried about being able to survive in those situations, sometimes that can be a deeply traumatic experience, which leads to a bunch of emotions.
And so, the belief, for example, from people who lived through the Great Depression and people who grew up in poverty can be don’t there’s not enough money. There’s not enough money. And if that belief is really held intensely by emotion, that’s when it can become difficult to change. Sort of the iconic example, the topic of my first book was Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Great example of a guy who grew up in poverty and was traumatized by that, had this belief there’ll never be enough money and so went ahead and acquired a bunch of money, became extremely wealthy, but lived a life of abject poverty. So, he wasn’t heating his house, he was eating gruel. He was basically having that experience of poverty because he had so much fear around not having enough. And so, when there’s a lot of emotional intensity around it, that’s when it becomes more difficult to shift.
Casey Weade: So, would you say then emotions can be healthy when it comes to investing? We often hear, well, all emotions have to be removed. You have to think of this purely in a logical way. You need to take emotions out of investing. Are there still some uses for emotion? Because it sounds like there’s still benefits of having emotions involved in your investment decisions, but maybe it’s just those extreme emotions. Am I getting that correct?
Brad Klontz: Well, good luck getting rid of your emotions related to investing or anything else. I don’t see it that way. I think that you’re going to have emotions. So, emotions are just part of the deal. The question is, you know, what I’ve been telling people recently, too, is like, “Go ahead and panic. Just don’t do anything stupid.” It’s like panic is real. The feelings are real. “Oh no, I’m going to lose all my money.” And like the recent stock market experience is actually very similar to the last one and the one before that. The beliefs are all the same. The belief is that, “Oh, no, I’m going to lose all my money. Oh no, the market may never recover. But this time, it’s different.” That’s another one you see during all the crisis, “But this time, it’s different.” So, all the stuff you were saying work last time, you know, it’s not going to apply now this time. It’s different. You’re going to have those thoughts. You’re going to have the feelings that accompany those thoughts. And successful investor and advisors, they know that they’re going to have those feelings, and they experience those feelings.
And again, you’re going to experience them, but you don’t act on those feelings. That is, of course, the challenge. It’s like when we become emotionally charged, we become rationally challenged. We will do things that are self-destructive and we’ve all had this experience. I’ll give you an example. I’m sure you’ve had an argument with a loved one at some point in your life. If you could think of your spouse, your partner, if you have a teenage child, and what happens is the more emotionally aroused you get so the more upset you get, your prefrontal cortex, which is your thinking part of your brain, the part of your brain that’s around judgment, around foresight, around making wise decisions and thinking about consequences that part of your brain shuts off. So, essentially, your emotional brain gets really big. It shuts off your prefrontal cortex, part of your brain that’s responsible for good sound decision making.
And then you end up saying something or doing something that is out of character. Perhaps you regret it later. And what happens is about 20 minutes later, you calm down, your rational brain comes back online, and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I said that. I sound just like my father,” or whatever. It comes back on and then you evaluate what you did and then you have some remorse because you’re a thoughtful person, and then you go apologize to your wife or husband. But that’s what happens, right? That’s what happens to us emotionally. And so, when you’re in the midst of that emotional arousal, the key is to not act, basically, to not make a decision, especially around your finances. This part of your brain, this animal part of your brain, and the scientist part of your brain, it’s what’s kept us alive as a species for thousands of years because really, it’s sort of this fight-flight. It’s like there’s a threat, run away or fight to survive. It’s an on or off switch too. It’s not very refined in the sense of like, “Oh, how much should I worry about this?”
Because you think about it, if there’s a tiger right there, you can’t sit there and go, “Huh, I wonder if this is a tame tiger.” I mean, by the time you’ve done that, you’ve already been eaten, right? So, it makes you act immediately. And so, that’s your impulse is to act immediately and aggressively in some fashion. And knowing that, really helps. Just being aware that that’s how your brain works and if you act in the midst of that anxiety, and that intense emotion, it’s going to be self-destructive, typically when it comes to money.
Casey Weade: So, then the question is what do we do, right? I mean, we’re in this period of time. We’re here at the very beginning of April. It’s almost April 1 here so kind of an interesting time to be able to have what’s going on out there in the market and have this conversation. The market was down 30% at one point. I’m sure you had to field at least one phone call of someone that was concerned and said, “Hey, I’m panicking and I want out.” Get me out of the market. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to lose any more money. How did you address that individual? Did you just say, “Okay, don’t panic,” or, “Go ahead and panic?” How did that conversation go? What you have them do? Do we have to distract ourselves in some way?
Brad Klontz: Well, the panic is real and the fear is real. And so, first of all, what I do is I don’t tell people to calm down like that’s actually the worst thing. If you’ve ever really been upset and somebody tells you to calm down, I mean, you want to punch them in the nose, right?
Casey Weade: It hasn’t worked well with my wife. I’m still working on that myself.
Brad Klontz: Exactly. Yes, learn the lesson. And so, that’s not very helpful. So, people have legitimate fears. And so, there’s a few things that I do related to it. First of all, people have a right to self-determination so, essentially, I’ll say, “Look, hey, if you want to go to cash, look, at the end of this call, we’ll do it. I mean, this is your life, this is your money.” I mean, that’s always really important to just sort of reiterate for people. But just also understanding how the brain works, we’ll build in some conversations that can be actually really useful. So, for example, I’m sure you know a little bit about mental accounting. You’ve probably heard of it in terms of behavioral finance, but it’s sort of our natural tendency to want to put things into buckets and treat them differently. And so, one of the things I do with clients is harness that natural tendency, which by the way, screws up a lot of parts of your financial life but in this case, it really helps.
So, when you see the headline that says, “The stock market’s down 10%.” There’s red, there’s a bunch of flashing things, all these alert signs,” your palms are going to sweat, you’re going to get nervous, you’re going to start thinking, “Oh, no, I’m losing all my money,” but they’re talking about just, for example, one aspect of the market. So, they’re talking about the S&P 500, for example, is constantly being shown on television. Well, that’s large-cap US stocks. That’s one asset class. And so, one of the ways that I will help clients take in a more accurate look at what’s happening is to separate just, for example, equities in one bucket, bonds and cash in another bucket, and then examine those two buckets and how they’ve been doing. Yes, stocks are down 30%. Wow. Okay, well, 30% of your portfolio is in stocks, and 70% is in bonds or cash. So, let’s look how that’s doing. And so, just by separating that out, actually, calms most people down because it’s a more accurate reflection of what’s actually happening to their money. So, that’s one example that I found extremely helpful.
Casey Weade: Yeah. And I love the bucket discussion to have with families because I do think that the problems that come up in a retirement plan are psychological. So, if you look at your plan, and go, “Hey, I’ve got everything in this one portfolio and it just this one statement, in this one investment portfolio and it’s down X, it’s difficult to isolate the fixed income in there, the bonds and say, “Well, my near-term needs are taken care of. I can let those equities rebound.” So, I think there’s benefits in structuring plans in such a manner as well. And I’m wondering, we’re having this conversation a minute ago. You said we all have emotions. We’re all human. And so, there’s no way to eliminate the emotion altogether. We’re all going to have behavioral pitfalls. And when I spoke to Dr. Daniel Crosby not that long ago, also behavioral finance expert, and in his discussion, he said, he’s got his own issues, and he needs a coach with him to make sure that he doesn’t fall victim to his own behavioral pitfalls. And so, I’m wondering for you, what are your behavioral pitfalls that you still have to this day, and what do you do to keep them in check?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. No, that’s a really great question and really important question too. Because we all have them and one of the biggest vulnerabilities is if you believe you’re immune. That’s actually one of the sickest things that we can deal with as human beings that will sabotage us. It’s believing that all these other people have this issue. It’ll never happen to me. So, it’s actually a sign of your own psychological growth and evolution to sort of admit and be aware that you are human too, and you’re extremely vulnerable to this. And as advisors too, I’d say you’re even more vulnerable because it’s not just your retirement or it’s your parents’ retirement, your best friends’, your clients’ who you love like this isn’t Wall Street situation for most advisors, where they’ve never met any of the people there. These are people you love and care about. And so, as an advisor, you’re even perhaps more emotionally invested and involved and so it’s critical to understand that you are utterly susceptible to these things. And it actually helps you become less susceptible just by knowing that and admitting it.
But one of the things that I do is so I told you where I came from, a fear of not having enough combined with parents who were savers, like aggressive savers, like there’s not enough, we’re going to save so that’s sort of my upbringing. And so, I definitely have in the back of my mind, the sense that there’s not going to be enough money. Because it goes back for generations in my family. I’m very much aware of this voice. And what that has led to in my life is essentially workaholism. So, that’s one of the slippery slopes for me is being a total workaholic and I love my work. You know, don’t take it away from me. It’s not an issue. You know, so for me anyway, that’s one of my slippery slopes. And so, that’s something that I have to combat like on a daily basis, and I had to come up with my own little mantra. I call it a money mantra that to get me off the desk and go home to be with my family and my kids because that sort of drive to work and I understand what’s driving it too. It’s not just that I love what I’m doing. It’s also this underlying multi-generational fear of like being poor and not wanting that for my family.
So, that sort of is a driving force in my life. I’m aware of it, though, and therefore, I am not acting as a workaholic. I have the tendency but I cut it off and I go home and I’m there with my wife and kids and I have to actually tell myself this. I actually wrote it on a card that I would read every day for years. I actually did this. It’s like I’ve worked hard. I’m happy with what I did. I love my wife. I love my children. I’m going to go home right now and spend time with them. I’ve done enough for today. I literally had to say this to myself to override this programming.
Casey Weade: Well, you might have seen my exam come through that I took your survey or your quiz on your website, the KMBI survey, the Klontz Money Behavior Inventory. And I was only out of line on the workaholism line. So, that was a 3.6 on workaholism. Not wildly out of control but that was the only mark that was over 3. And I think that’s a common thing that we’re getting to see as financial planners and advisors. I mean, we’re typically working with wealthier individuals that have been focused on saving and accumulating and working. And now as we specialize and working with retirees, I know you work with a lot of retirees, when they make that transition into retirement, getting them to spend some money is one of the biggest hurdles that we have to go through. Right now or later this day I’ve got a review with a couple that we’ve been working with for six or seven years. And when we first met them, he didn’t think he could retire.
The number one reason he didn’t think he would retire is because he was making too much money. He was making over a million dollars a year and he goes, “Well, I just can’t walk away with this, walk away from this, right?” And the reality was he was making money for someone else, not himself because he was never going to spend what he had, driving an old car, sitting around, say $15 million, $20 million in net worth and I still have yet to get them to spend any of their life savings. And today we’re going to talk about it again. So, you are a clinical psychologist and I’m hoping you give me a little advice on how can I get them to spend some money because they’re just so used to living this conservative life accumulating. Finally, I got him to retire but I still can’t get them to really spend some money. What would your guidance be? What would you say to that individual?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, first of all, I can totally relate like some of our most successful clients are the ones who just saved and didn’t spend anything and worked really, really hard. And so, that is a really challenging shift for many people to make, the whole idea of accumulating versus actually, you want me to take money out of that? Are you kidding me? And one of the reasons they are where they are is because they’ve sort of kept it sacred. They’ve never allowed themselves to use that money to buy a bass boat or to go on a vacation or whatever it is. So, I can totally relate. And so, a few different things that come to mind. So, one is that a lot of people don’t have a really fleshed out vision of retirement so they don’t really have a clear, passionate sort of idea of who they want to be with, what they want to be doing, what it looks like, what it feels like. And that’s a really powerful one. So, we recently did a study where we put people into one of two groups. One was a financial literacy group where we taught people why they should save, how to save that kind of thing. The other one, what we had them do is create these really powerful vivid visions of their savings goals. And what we saw in that group was a 73% increase in savings, which is just amazing. The other group had about a 22% increase. So, the education helps but this vision is so critically important.
And so, what I find with a lot of people who struggle with experiencing retirement or even stopping working is a couple of things. Number one, work is probably giving them a tremendous amount of psychological benefit. So, it’s probably not just the money. It’s probably social, especially, not to stereotype, but if you’re a male, especially, just based on all the studies, a lot of times males aren’t very adept at creating social interactions and connections outside of work. And so, it’s a bit of a scary thing. It’s like I might lose all my friends. I might lose a lot of social interaction if I stop working. So, that’s one thing that might keep me going to work. The other thing is a sense of purpose. Like if my entire sense of purpose is built up in my image of myself as an earner or as a producer or as whatever that profession is, that could be another thing that can be, frankly, a loss to let go of. And so, those are powerful forces that will keep us working, frankly, and not stopping working or whatever your definition of retirement is.
And to really balance that out, you need to create a very specific exciting vision of what retirement is and why you want to do it. What’s so interesting if you haven’t done that, like people in my family, my father realized he wasn’t saving for retirement for years. When he sat down and thought about it, he realized it’s because in his mind, you retire, and then you die. You retire and then you’re useless. You’re of no benefit to the family. So, he realized, “Whoa, this is sort of like a deeply held thing that he saw in his family.” My great grandfather in his 90s he couldn’t walk and he would actually crawl out the front door and drag himself up on a golf cart and drive it over to a tractor and crawl up on top of the tractor to go work in the fields all day. So, this is the model my father grew up with. And it’s like, “Well, no wonder you’re resistant to retirement. You have like a terrible vision of retirement. So, retirement means you’re useless and then you die? We need to develop another vision of retirement.”
And so, I think sometimes that’s lacking for people. It’s like, “What is that exciting thing that’s going to get me up every day that’s going to meet my social needs, that’s going to meet my needs for purpose in life, and my self-esteem? And if I don’t have that, it’s really tough to pull the trigger.”
Casey Weade: Well, I want to get into the vision thing but I also want to address this from the inverse too because we have people that are overspending at the same time. One of our advisory team members we were working on a case together recently and said, “I just don’t know how to handle this,” because they’re spending $25,000 a month and they want to retire. They want to spend $25,000 a month. They’ve got less than $3 million safe retirement. We’re looking at, you know, roughly a 10% withdrawal rate from their portfolio and they’re upset saying, “This isn’t possible. I don’t know why we can’t do this. This seems perfectly acceptable if the markets average say 10% a year. Why can’t we take 10% out of the portfolio? We’re not cutting back.” I have trouble. How do you handle that conversation? One, you got to educate. And then two, you’ve probably got to figure out this emotional attachment to spending, but hey, I’m talking to the expert here.
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, that’s a very common disconnect for people. So, it could be a couple of things. Number one, it could be a lack of awareness on what they’re actually spending on like that is something that many of us are vulnerable. You know, I’m sure you’ve had the experience where you’ve looked back at either a credit card statement or something, you’re like, “Whoa, I can’t believe I spent that much in this one category.” It’s really easy to be unconscious and to slip into that unconsciousness. So, that’s one thing like just I would sort of assess their degree of consciousness around this. And some people can get really excited about becoming more conscious. Other people want to avoid it and not really think about it because it’s going to lead to some uncomfortable conversations. Another way to look at it too is budgeting, like this concept of having a budget. That probably excites your engineer clients, but nobody else.
Casey Weade: We have a ton of engineers.
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, most people don’t want to budget. You know, it sounds like it has the same sort of emotional impact as a diet and when you start to think about dieting, you think, “Okay, I’m going to start restricting myself. I’m going to take away pleasure. I’m going to cut out things that I love in my life.” No wonder people don’t want to do budgets. And so, a workaround that really helps psychologically is to think about a spending plan. So, one thing I would do with that couple is try to get really clear on what’s the most important thing to them in terms of what they want out of life and make sure you’re funding those and then you can look at the other stuff. It’s actually sort of going into a budget in a much more emotionally acceptable and fun way because you get to talk about what you really care about.
The other thing too and this is more directed to you as a financial planner, try to make it more visual for clients. So, it’s like many of us operate, we think people if you just give them the information, and we just talk about it, it all makes sense. It really doesn’t. We’re back to that emotional brain. That is what makes our decisions and it’s extremely visual. That’s why we’re so impacted by the numbers on the screen or they put graphs, right? And you’re like, “Whoa, the red. Oh, no. Scary.” That’s kind of how our brains work. And so, trying to make that message more visual for people, really powerful.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Another danger in some of those relationships is they’re going to be so stubborn and they’re going to continue to shop around until some advisor tells them, “Oh, yeah, we can do that.” That’s a sustainable withdrawal rate of 10% a year, which both of us know isn’t true. You mentioned vision. I don’t want to get off the track here but you mentioned vision a couple of times. You said you had a little vision kind of sound like a focus group that you’d put together where they kind of created this retirement or this vision for the future, based around their finances. I’m wondering we do this on the front end of our planning. This really comes down to purpose and meaning for us and I’m wondering what your method is to help people create a vision for their retirement. I find it’s incredibly difficult to create a vision prior to retirement. Now, once we get into retirement, maybe we’ve been there for a few months or a couple of years, it gets a little easier. What are we doing before we retire to best set ourselves up for that?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, what we found, again, is a massive increase in savings behavior when people got really specific around the goal. So, it was actually less about the mechanics. Everyone already knows what they should be doing, frankly. This is talking to a psychologist but, yeah, everyone already knows what they should be doing financially. That’s sort of one of the things we’ve discovered. And if they’re not doing it, it’s because there’s something missing psychologically. There’s something missing emotionally for them. And so, the more specific you can get about what it is you want, the more motivated you are going to be to get it. Because essentially, to save money for the future goes against our wiring as human beings. You’re actually asking yourself to do something that is the opposite of how we’re sort of wired to behave. And if you think about it, much of our development in terms of our brain and our species and how we look at the world was developed in hunter-gatherer tribes, right?
And so, this whole concept of sort of hoarding and holding on to things never happened. Number one, you had to share with everybody. Number two, you were mobile, so you couldn’t carry a bunch of stuff with you. So, you couldn’t really acquire a bunch of stuff. And so, we’re wired to not do that. We’re also wired to consume as much as possible right now because you’re not sure when there’s more coming. And so, many of our clients that we’re working with have already sort of overcome this natural wiring that people have. And one way to harness to get you to save more or really shift your behavior is to get extremely visual around why you want to do it, to begin with. And so, what we did in our studies, we’ve done it a few different ways but one of the ways we did it is have people basically essentially imagine themselves in the future. Like, who are you? Who are you with? What are you doing? What are you doing when you get up in the morning every day? How are you feeling? Where are you located?
So, one way to do it is conversationally, just sort of answering those questions. And then what works even better than that is actually having people create an actual vision, like, show it on paper. And so, what we did in our studies, we’ve done it a couple of different ways. But one way we did it was they had people either do drawings or cut out paper, magazine clipping, so you can think of like a vision board as being extremely powerful for people. It actually helps you motivate yourself to like forego pleasure right now for future benefits because you have to sort of override that natural instinct. And as we talked about, some of our clients get stuck in that and we got to reverse it and unwind it to get them to enjoy life because that’s the other irony here, too.
And you asked to me what do I do for myself too around my own issues? Well, my own issue is there’s not enough money. And so, my wife didn’t grow up like that. And so, I think it was probably one of the reasons I was attracted to her is because she seemed to be able to enjoy life a little bit more than I was. And so, it caused some stress in our relationship because at first, you’re attracted to that person and then later, you’re sort of freaked out and afraid that they’re going to ruin everything by having this different way of looking at the world. But essentially, that’s sort of the balance everybody really needs to achieve. And so, people who do best in retirement are ones who can actually enjoy some time off pre-retirement. Those are the people who are actually going to have the best benefit. And so, listeners out there if you don’t really enjoy your vacations because you’re such a workaholic, that’s sort of your goal is to find ways to enjoy that time off and find meaning in that and pleasure in that because that will lead to a more successful retirement for you. But really, essentially, it’s about that balance and trying to find, yes, save for the future and yes, you need to enjoy today too.
Casey Weade: Yeah. I bet there’s some out there going, is this guy an advisor? Because this doesn’t sound like a financial advisor I’ve ever spoken to before. Yeah, I think sometimes people will come in and they’ll sit down in our conference room, we start having a conversation like this. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. They go, “Why don’t you just tell me what to do with my money?” Get to it and tell me what to do with my money and that’s not where we start. That’s not what we stand for. And I wonder if this kind of comes back to you put together a financial life plan. What is the difference between a financial life plan and a financial plan? How do you tee that up and help people understand the difference?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. I mean, for me, it’s not so much of a formal document. The financial plan is an easier document to formalize. But for me, it’s like why are we doing this, to begin with? And it even goes to why am I even helping people with their money? It’s like, do I enjoy investments? Yes. Do I find it fascinating? Of course, I do. But that’s not why I’m in this business at all. I’m in this business because money is such a powerful influencer in people’s lives and it impacts every aspect of their life. And essentially, Casey, and I know you’ll totally agree with this. I want clients who are healthy, who are happy, who are living their best life. And money is a huge part of that. And so, for me, anyway, it’s less about what’s actually happening in the markets and investments, which is totally important, but what does that mean to you? And how does that matter? And how does that make your life better? I’m not interested in helping people achieve a goal that actually makes them more miserable or doesn’t sort of really meet what is most important to them. And so, anyway, for me, it’s like I can’t separate the two because I’m interested in people’s overall financial health, emotional health, relational health, and money has a huge impact in all those areas.
Casey Weade: Well, where do values fit into this process and vision and mission? We’ve got mission statements, vision statements. We’ve got values. We think of it from a corporate perspective. Where do those types of things come into play when we’re putting together a financial plan?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. I think, obviously, they manifest themselves in the “goals” like a retirement or a vacation, that kind of thing. So, you’re looking at your values, essentially, there. The opportunity, I think, for a lot of financial planners, and frankly, couples, too, is have they ever really talked about those values and those goals together. And this is another thing that can sort of trip up people’s experience of retirement. And that is where a couple’s never really sat down and shared, first of all, what are my own values? Why am I saving all this money? What’s the whole point? And whether that’s charitable giving or an experience, you want to make your life better for your children or there’s some sort of experience you want to have in life. It’s really helpful to flesh that out. And so, many of us just sort of go through life without ever really doing that. And then the incredible benefit too is having that conversation with your spouse or partner. Oh, my goodness, like that’s a conversation that a lot of people never really have. And so, there’s a tremendous opportunity as you’re discovering why you’re doing what you’re doing and what your retirement looks like for you, is that what does it look like for your spouse and your partner?
And sometimes it can be a little bit scary, right? Maybe you have totally different visions like one person imagines moving closer to the grandkids and spending a lot of time there. The other one wants to buy an RV and traveled through the United States and, of course, finding a way to meet both of those needs. But so many of us aren’t even really aware of the values ourselves. And so, I think that’s where financial planning can be really effective if you have a financial planner, such as yourself, who looks at things like that because you’ll help draw out what really matters to people. And actually, that’s one of the things we included in our study too, is like what are the values that are driving this passion for getting these certain things that you’re saving for.
Casey Weade: If you’ve got a couple that are listening in right now, and also I’ll say my wife and I were kind of like your wife, it sounds like in you, we’re a little different in the way that we grew up around money and the way we approach work and things like that. And we have to talk about those things on a regular basis. And if we’ve got someone listening, that’s married, maybe a couple listening right now, they’re getting ready to tune this off, they’re going to go back and have a conversation, what types of questions do you think that they should have prepared as they enter this conversation? And what kinds of things should they maybe avoid or pitfalls to watch out for?
Brad Klontz: Fabulous question. Money is the number one thing that couples fight about. I mean, it’s one of the top ones. It’s certainly the number one thing that couples divorce over in the early years of marriage, like this is a really hot topic for people. And a lot of times it’s because they come from different sides of the tracks or different family systems. They have different money scripts. And then basically, they fight about their money scripts, right? Like, “No, we need to save more. No, but we need to enjoy today,” and then what happens over time is these positions get more and more extreme, more and more extreme and entrenched. And after a while, you’re so far out on this belief that you don’t even believe it yourself here, but you’re trying to balance out your spouse who’s got it all wrong and you’re desperately worried about that. And so, couples have a tendency, like before a couple goes to therapy, for example, and this is an alarming statistic, but they’ve been fighting over the same issue for about seven years, seven years of combat around trying to convince the other person essentially that they’re wrong, and that you’re right. That’s essentially what happens.
It’s so interesting, too, is I’ve done a lot of couples therapy, and usually get somebody dragging the other person in and what they want is for you to help them tell the other person that they’re wrong because that’s how everyone goes to couples therapy. So, anyway, it’s a hot topic, and I’m giving you this framework because it’s a really critically important topic too and it’s one that people ignore talking about. It is not uncommon to find people who’ve been married 30 years who’ve actually never sat down and actually talk much about money. And what happens is they have these little fights as they’re walking by each other or snippy comments as they’re in the kitchen, but they’ve never really sat down and had the discussion they had on their third or fourth date around children, for example. Like at some point, as you’re dating, you’re like, “Hey, do you want to have kids? Do you not? How many?” This is a normal conversation but we have a tendency to skip right over that because as a culture, money is a taboo topic. And it’s something that people feel like they don’t want to talk about, and they don’t know how to talk about it.
Anyway, that’s the frame. And when I work with couples in conflict, they’ve never had the discussion they should have had on date number three or four. And so, what I like to do is take them away from whatever it is they’re in conflict around right now, which is typically some sort of spending thing or how much you want to help your kids or stepchildren, that kind of thing. Take it out of that and go back and have the conversation that you should have had around date three or four. It’s a powerful opportunity. When couples take me up on this, it goes well, and actually, it’ll loosen up some of what you’re fighting about currently because it’ll give you some perspective and It gives your partner an opportunity to talk about something maybe they’ve never talked about it. So, the conversation is basically it goes like this and it’s similar to what you and I’ve been talking about in this conversation. What was it like for you growing up around money?
And you listen to your partner talk about it. What did your mother teach you about money? What did your father teach you about money? What was your most joyful experience around money as a kid, your most painful experience around money? What was your socio-economic level? And how did you feel about it? Like that’s the important question, the follow-up question. How did you feel about it? Were you embarrassed? Were you proud? Were you ashamed? Like what emotion is attached to that because so much of our financial behavior, you can link to that just that alone, around how you compared yourself to others growing up and what it felt like. And just as an example, some people feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame because their family had more money than everyone else around them. And if you don’t work through that, what you’ll have a tendency to do is like sabotage yourself financially your whole life because you’ve associated this with a negative thing.
Or some people feel deeply ashamed or embarrassed that they didn’t have enough and they grew up feeling less than and so they’re never going to let that happen. So, they want to make sure that they have what I would say are more status items that are sort of telling the world, “Hey, I’m okay and I’m successful.” A lot of these link back to those early experiences around money. The other question is what are your biggest financial fears? What are you most worried about? What are your biggest financial goals? Most couples have never talked about this. And so, if you can go back and have that conversation, and then, of course, I always like to end it positively which is what are you most proud of your partner around finances? What pleases you the most and what are you most proud of and what’s helped you the most? And so, that’s one is those questions.
And the other part to that is incredibly important and it’s something that I train advisors on all across the country. And I know you’re been trained in this and you’re good at this, Casey. That is listening, right? That is like how to be a good listener. And so, the other partner then their job is to just listen and reflect, not to throw in your two cents, but to basically say, for example, so you grew up poor, and you felt embarrassed by that. Yes, that’s right. So, your job is to listen, is to listen and reflect. And I got to tell you, even that little nugget right there, if you’re good at listening and reflecting back what your partner said, it’s incredible for your relationship. And it’s the one tip that I could give anybody. It’s like the next time that your partner wants to talk about anything, just shift into listening mode a little bit and try to understand. So, what was it like for you? For example, sweetie, I’m really scared about the markets going down. Now, you might have a tendency to be like, “Just relax. Everything’s going to be fine.” Instead, say, “Well, what are you most afraid about?” Your partner will probably be shocked and maybe even fall over and faint if you’re doing a reflective response like that.
But anyway, so there is the opportunity. So, couples haven’t talked about this much. So, go back and have that conversation as if you’re curious, and you just met this person for the first time and you really want to understand them. So, number one, that you’re going to be able to talk about your own life history around money, which you’ve probably never done, number one. Number two, they’re going to be hearing about it and understanding you on a whole new level. And what I’ve found with couples who do that successfully, and by successfully, I mean, they’re good listeners, is that whatever it is they’re fighting about right now, it takes on a whole new meaning and a whole different perspective. And it loosens up sort of the sides we take, and people are much easier and better able to find a solution.
Casey Weade: Well, Brad, I feel a little 21 questions framework coming. We’re going to be able to go to your website, click on this 21 questions link to be able to have this conversation with our spouse, right? I think that’s a great idea. No, I think over time, we just tend to get away from having intentional conversations at all. We may have had some of these conversations at the front end of our relationship. However, people do change and as you said, we can potentially go further and further apart if we don’t continually address these things. And this conversation reminds me of a podcast that I listened to every once in a while, called ONE Extraordinary Marriage. I actually got the opportunity to see the two of them speak to a small group of fathers and husbands and they had developed a list of questions, which you can check out on their website. So, I’m just going to give them a little plug here, go check out ONE Extraordinary Marriage Podcast. And then on their website, they give you a wonderful list of questions and some of the questions that you’ve asked that you said you should ask here, they’re on this list.
My wife and I have just taken this list of questions to date night and sat down and had these intentional conversations and sometimes I just think there’s value in having them already written down. Don’t just try to pull them out of this conversation and start going back and having this conversation with your spouse. I think sit down, write down your questions, then make sure you can have a really intentional conversation. And I think this carries over to your kids too. I know you’re a father, and I’m a father. And I kind of want to wrap up this discussion with talking about as grandparents and as a parent, what can we be doing to create more potential from a financial perspective in our children? You know, a lot of people are saying that they just don’t teach these things in school like they should, and we have to do it at home. So, what would your guidance be? What are you doing personally to raise financially responsible children?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. First of all, I love your word, intentional. So critical in terms of those conversations with your partner and spouse and also with your kids. So, be intentional about your children, your grandchildren. You got to be thinking about how things are looking from their end. Like what is their experience around money, for example. Things have radically changed. So, it’s not uncommon for kids to rarely see money nowadays. If you really think about it, there’s not a lot of money changing hands. Quite often, it’s cards being swiped. It’s online clicks. So, think about what that does to their understanding around money and their relationship with money. Because, again, the human brain only it does best with concrete, visual things, and so do kids, obviously. That’s how they learn. And actually, in our studies, a lot of what we did is we took the stuff that you do in kindergarten, and we did it with adults, and wow, it really works, right? Because kids are visual, they’re kinesthetic. They want to see things. That’s how they learn. And so, be intentional about that.
So, one of the lost opportunities for people, for parents and grandparents around kids is allowance, just as an example. So, allowance is a very lost opportunity for many, many people because one of the common complaints I get is like, “I gave my kids this allowance and they blow it all on this or that.” And it’s like, well, of course, they did. You have to structure it. So, allowance is an opportunity to teach kids what you value around money. And so, for example, what I do with my son is he gets an allowance and we do it in cash because I want him to have that experience but it’s structured. So, he’s got four buckets, actually. He’s got a “spend it” bucket, a “save it” bucket, an “investment” bucket, and a “give it away” bucket. And so, we take his allowance, and we divide it up into those various buckets. And it offers the opportunity for us to talk about each one. So, what’s the difference between saving and investing? Actually, it’s so funny because, with my son, I’m kind of proud of this too, if I was to be totally honest but it’s hard to get him to spend any money and I’m like, “Yes. All right.” It’s getting passed down. But as we mentioned, that can be a problem, right?
Casey Weade: Yeah.
Brad Klontz: I want him to be able to spend money and to feel good about it and use money to enhance his life right now. So, anyway, it gives me a great opportunity to do that. And on the charitable side, we just started his allowance actually a year ago so we haven’t done this yet but we’ve already been talking about what we’re going to do with that giveaway money. And so, I think don’t make it too difficult for your children. Think about one or two or three charities that you really value and then talk about those and have your child decide which one they want to give that to. And then my plan is to actually take him to that place so we can give it in person so we can talk about it, look at it, have that feeling, have that experience because those are the memories that these kids are going to walk away with. Other little hacks are like if there’s a purchase for the family, like let’s just say a new television, just to make it easy. I’m sure you can go ahead and swipe your card and buy it.
How are you going to teach your kids and model for them that you’re saving for something? How are you going to model for them that you are comparison shopping, that kind of thing? So, try to structure it like, hey, this is what we want. Show them delayed gratification. Just even if it’s artificial, show them like, yes, we want to get this thing. We’re not doing it right now because we’re going to save up our money and this is how we’re going to do it. And then at the end, we’re going to go have this experience together.
Casey Weade: Well, we use a pretty similar approach. That reminds me of John Lanza, who created Money Mammals. He also wrote a book on raising money-conscious children, and this was Episode 5. If you’re a dad or a mom, you want to go back and listen to teaching your kids about money management. John Lanza does that for us in Episode 5, and I adopted his three jars, which are similar to yours. You just added one more jar. So, we’ve got the spend jar, the save jar, and we’ve got the share jar. So, we’ve got spend, save, and share. And I like integrating the investment jar as well. One of the things that he had brought up was kind of throwing some compound interest in there for the kids so I could visually see the additional dollars going in there as they put more in, you’re giving him more interest and it’s accumulating in that investment bucket. And so, always a fun thing.
My son wanted to watch Onward, the new Pixar film and I said, “Well, right now it’s $19.99.” And he said, “Well, how much is that?” I said, “It’s all of your spend money.” And he said, “Okay. Well, maybe we’ll wait on that one.” And so, he started to learn this delayed gratification. I think that’s just fantastic.
Brad Klontz: It’s incredible.
Casey Weade: He’s five years old.
Brad Klontz: Yes. Incredible.
Casey Weade: So, let’s wrap up our conversation with one or two final questions and I would like to ask you, how do you define meaning and purpose?
Brad Klontz: Well, I mean, I have a very specific meaning for myself and I think it’s actually you’d mentioned corporations and mission statements. I think it’s really important to develop your own mission statement. And so, I mean, for me personally, the mission statement I have is to help bring hope and healing to the world. And so, this is my mission statement. And so, in all of my activities for me, that’s my mission statement. And I’ll tell you what, it has tons of benefits. Like, for example, I don’t get nervous anymore doing media interviews, that kind of television stuff. I did it first because I was very much self-absorbed about how am I going to do, and how are people going to look at me. But just as an example, that mission statement for me really calms me down because really, what I want to do is there’s a listener on the other end of this, and I want to just give them a sense of hope and healing. And so, for me anyway, that mission statement drives everything in my life. And I strongly encourage people to just sit down and actually create one.
Casey Weade: Yeah, that’s awesome. I love that. And you mentioned retirement, you mentioned you’re kind of a workaholic, and you really enjoy your work. Much like myself, yeah, I really enjoy what I do. So, you’re probably one that doesn’t ever plan on to traditionally retire, which there’s more and more individuals like that today that aren’t really ever planning on retiring. But they still have a definition or an idea of retirement, sometimes a little different than others. What does retirement mean to you? What’s your definition of retirement?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. That’s a really, really good question. So, I guess for me, so there’s two parts to this. One is I’m going to call myself out right after I say this for my own shortcomings. But for me anyway, it’s being able to sort of do what I want, whenever I want, wherever I want and then here’s the second part, without this underlying need to make more money so that I have enough. And so, I’m saying that that’s my ideal, my vision of retirement, and then I’m calling myself out because I need to have that experience right now. And I know this, and so it’s something I practice, like, actually, I do have enough right now, Casey. And if you think back in times of humanity throughout the generations, many of us do in terms of what we need to survive and all that. And so, I already know that my ability to actually enjoy that on the other end is directly related to my ability to look at my life as being enough right now and having enough right now.
Because it’s the hedonic treadmill, man, like, we are wired to never have enough, to never be satisfied. And so, this belief that once I get this, then I’ll be happy, then I’ll be relaxed is a fallacy. You’re never going to actually get there. And so, the goal for me in my own life is to have that experience of abundance and enough right now.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Beautiful. Well said. And, Brad, thank you so much for joining. Can I ask, there’s someone that’s out there and they want to connect with you, they want to learn more, maybe they want to check out that survey that I found interesting, how can they learn more about you, Brad?
Brad Klontz: Yeah. So, probably my website, BradKlontz.com. It’s got a link to all my work and various activities.
Casey Weade: Awesome. Well, we will put that link in the show notes and I’m sure we will be talking more in the near future. Thank you!
Brad Klontz: Thank you!