184: Justin Donald Interviews Casey Weade: Create Your Job Optional Lifestyle
Today, the tables are turned, as my good friend Justin Donald interviews me on the Lifestyle Investor podcast. Justin is a family man, entrepreneur, speaker, and the author of The Lifestyle Investor: The 10 Commandments of Cashflow Investing for Passive Income and Financial Freedom.
In this episode, we discuss the investing strategies and philosophies that have allowed both of us to design the life of our dreams. Join us as we talk all about money, goals, and what it takes to create a life of meaning and purpose.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Not all financial advisors are created equal! What you NEED to know before you start working with one!
- Why focusing on money & “things” is a recipe for disappointing life — and how to shift your focus to create more meaning and purpose.
- What should you do if you haven’t found your “passion” yet? Casey’s suggestion may surprise you!
- What a successful financial plan looks like — and how it can help you live a “Job Optional” lifestyle.
- Why a lack of intention and worrying about the future stops us from spending enough time where life is actually happening.
- The #1 priority your Financial Advisor should be helping you with so you can live life with purpose.
- How your emotional dependence on money is holding you back from becoming a Lifestyle Investor.
- How Casey’s grandparents’ financial philosophies influenced his life.
- Why “net givers” get the greatest returns — in all areas of life!
- "Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker." - Joe Polish
- "It doesn’t matter if you’ve got $10 million or you’re $10 million in the hole, we’re going to spend time making a positive impact on your life." - Casey Weade
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Justin Donald: So, we are pleased to have you. How are you?
Casey Weade: Hey, I'm doing great, JD. It's awesome to be interviewed by someone that I can also call a wonderful friend and one of the best people that I know so thanks for having me on. I'm just looking forward to having a great conversation like we always do. So, it should be pretty natural.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you for the kind words. I can equally say I'm thrilled to have you on and someone that I look up to and someone that I have the utmost respect for, not just as a family man and as a parent and as a husband, but also as a businessman. And you really have just done well in life in general. So, I'm excited for you to share just some of your strategies to success across the board.
Casey Weade: I'm looking forward to sharing, Justin.
Justin Donald: Well, I thought it'd be really fun to talk a little bit about how we first met. It's kind of a fun story, right?
Casey Weade: Yeah. It's nice that we have the opportunity to get to know one another and I have several relationships that have developed in this way. When you get to be really good friends and then you say, “Oh, well, we could be doing collaborations together. We could have a business relationship at the same time. And so, that's awesome that we had the opportunity to meet and develop a personal friendship before we get to this one.
Justin Donald: In fact, we just took an epic trip to Blackberry Farm, which is in the Smoky Mountains. We brought our wives, attended with some other good friends, and what a wonderful trip that was. We just had a blast talking, eating great food, doing some cool experiences. I mean, it was wonderful.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, some of our favorite things would be food and wine so we sit pretty well together.
Justin Donald: We do. We do. And we got into some really good wine.
Casey Weade: That we did. Thanks to you, guys. I would say I'm more of a novice. You guys are very, very well experienced in the wine world so you opened my eyes up to new things.
Justin Donald: I love it. Well, it happens to be a passion so that's cool. Well, I'm excited to dig in more because you have experienced a high level of success with a firm that specializes here in financial services. And I for one can tell you that and tell everyone that not all financial firms are created equal and not all financial experts are created equal. And so, one of the cool things about you and your team is you do things different and there's a lot that is different in my opinion, but I'd love to hear from your lens how you specialize and differentiate from other groups that are out there.
Casey Weade: Well, we believe in planning with purpose and I know that can sound a little cliche, but if you look back at the history of this particular profession, there wasn't a whole lot of intention or purpose when it was being conducted. If we go back to the 80s, I mean, you remember the whole days when people are on the phone selling stocks and they evolved, and brokers, you'd meet with a broker or they'd sell you a mutual fund, sell you a bond or a stock portfolio. And then we fast forward to today where a lot of those things have become commodities and if you want to go build a bond portfolio or a stock portfolio or buy many different insurance products at the same time, you can go out and do those things on your own. And being that this industry has become so commoditized, I think it's setting in firms like ours, really drastically apart from the others and that is because we're starting with the purpose in mind. Most of the time you meet with a financial planner, they're not asking you, "Hey, what's your purpose? What are your values? What's your vision for the future? What means the most to you in life? What was money like when you were a kid?” Most of the time, they just want to get to the dollars and cents.
We have been criticized in the media for the amount of time that we spend with the families that we work with before they even start to work with us. I have one couple that I actually just talked to this past week that said, “Hey, I want to introduce you to my friend,” and they said, "The reason we want to introduce you is because you were willing to spend so much time with us.” We had six meetings, at least two hours at a time, 12 hours of just face-to-face time, in addition to a good 20 hours of planning time, and then continuing that conversation a day. And we've been criticized for that time because advisors say, “Hey, I'll just send you out this factfinder, fill it out, send it back. I'll know your income. I've got your tax return.” If you're lucky, they're looking at your taxes. Yeah, they're looking at putting all these things into some financial planning program and saying, “Hey, here are some adjustments you need to make. I'm going to sell this investment product, that insurance product, and you're on your way.” And that can really be damaging for the individual that's sitting across the table. You can do someone a disservice by putting them into retirement. Not everybody should retire. We should be starting with purpose and designing the whole financial plan around that individual’s purpose in life. It's not just about getting the biggest return. Everybody is so unique that everyone we work with has a totally unique plan and that's because we led with purpose before we even got to the dollars and cents.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It makes sense that you're having such great customer retention and such raving fans because you are spending that quality time. It is a different approach. It's not the typical cookie-cutter let's get people in and out as fast as we can and schedule as many new clients as we can to build business. And I think really the business that you've done it's a testament to who you are, who you are training in your organization, the culture that you guys have created. It's just awesome. I mean, we were talking even before this podcast, and the last several times we've gotten together about the tremendous growth that your companies had, and just such a huge number of huge, I guess, high-level amount of assets under management. And I'd love for you to share with the listeners just some of those successes that we could celebrate with you.
Casey Weade: Well, we've come a long ways and it's strange looking back from where we were just a few short years ago to where we find ourselves today. I started in this business because my dad was in the finance business. He was a financial advisor and in that industry for about 40 years. He'd picked me up in middle school and take me on appointments with him. And I got to meet the people that he was working with and see the impact that he was making in their lives. When I got out of college, I didn't want to work with dad. I wanted to go to Wall Street. I wanted to do the whole Wall Street thing and he said, "Why don't you come join me? I'm ready to retire.” And so, I did. At first, it was just my dad and I. I ended up buying him out after a couple of years and I bought him out in 2011. When I went through the buyout and we had one employee at that time, we were doing probably the neighborhood of somewhere between 10 million and 20 million in new assets every year. And since then, we've grown to over $120 million in new assets coming in on an annual basis. And we've got a growth rate that's maybe in that 30%, 35% range roughly and that's always been a number that's been important for me is to see 25% a year.
If you grow at 25% a year, then you're going to double every three years in that annual production, those new assets that are coming in the door. And now we have 30 team members and we're probably going to find ourselves in the 50 range sometime in the next three or four years. So, we continue to grow. We continue to be able to give back. We have many milestones that we could go on and on about but for me, it's just so amazing coming into the office and seeing so many faces that are so grateful to be here and to have us on their side at the same time. It's pretty rewarding on a daily basis.
Justin Donald: Well, that's exceptional and it begs the question of, where did you get the drive and desire initially to do it? I mean, you talked a little bit about your dad and partnering up with him, but at first, not wanting to do it and then kind of wanting to pave your own path. But I'm actually curious, what was it? Or when was it that you got interested in financial services?
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, I'm not going to give you the cliche sob story. I've heard it too many times and I think it's just a load of bull quite frankly, "Oh, well, when I was a kid, I saw this.” The reality is we start working because we need money, right? I got into this business because I needed to make a living and I saw dad had done quite well over time. I had always been really good at setting goals and accomplishing those things and I was really good at planning, making money, and accomplishing goals. I think for me that the drive in large part on getting that money, getting started, having that business that would give me total independence, having the ability to spend more time with my family was at the core of that. When I was a kid, dad did retire in his mid-50s temporarily after running a large insurance agency with, I don't know, a couple of thousand agents across the country. And at that time before he had actually retired, he wasn't there a whole lot, quite frankly, and he knows that. He regrets those things. He shared with me the regret that he had when he was a kid or when I was a kid, and not being able to be there for a lot of the things that he would have liked to have been there for.
I remember my dad was getting his securities license and I walked into the room and interrupted him in the middle, and he got mad at me. Really, I'll never forget just the look in his eye and how I had to leave the room. I never wanted my kids to feel that. When I set out on this journey, I said, "When we have kids, I'm going to have the freedom to be there for them every second. I'm never going to miss a game. I'm going to be the one to take them to school and be the one to pick them up. I'm going to be there for my wife. I’m going to be there for my family in a way that my dad wished he would have been.” And I don't downplay what he did either. He worked really hard in order to give us everything that we had, and I'm grateful for the hard work and everything that he did. However, he should have done it earlier. He should have put that blood, sweat, and tears in when he was in his 20s, when he was in his teen years, rather than, say, going to the military and not choosing the options that could set him up for that independence so he could spend that quality time with his family so he wouldn't have those regrets. And so, that was my major driver when I was in my early 20s was, “Hey, I need to be a millionaire by the time I'm 30 so that I can do whatever I want.” And maybe that means continuing to work. Maybe more than anything else that means that I can spend more time with my family.
So, for me, that was at the core of drive year-after-year was okay, I need to get to a point where I don't have to do this anymore because I'm going to have kids soon and I don't want them walking in on me when I'm working and having one of the most vivid memories of their childhood, the me sending them out of the room.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It's neat to hear that story and kind of what forms and molds us when we're young. And I've got a very similar story and my dad worked a lot of hours, and he wasn't around a lot. Because of that, and I love him, I've got a great relationship with my dad. I know, by the way, you have a great relationship with your dad, too.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Better than ever. When we started working together, it ballooned. I've truly understood him. He truly understood me and what made us tick because we spent that time working together for a couple of years. So, that was really valuable. And really, you and I wouldn't be here if we didn't see your dads working that hard and that's one of the things that I struggle with, too. I worked really hard so I wouldn't have to work hard so like be there for the kids. How do I instill that work ethic in them? Double-edged sword potentially. We have to be very intentional.
Justin Donald: Right. And so, one of the great things I learned from my dad that you learned from your dad is that work ethic and, by the way, if you do it right and if you put boundaries in place, that work ethic is amazing. It sounds like you've done such a great job of that. In fact, I'd love to go down the path of lifestyle because that's something that is important to both of us. You know, when I coined the brand here, The Lifestyle Investor, it was the purpose in it was to choose lifestyle first and to choose family and friends and relationships and experiences in today first, but not necessarily sacrificing tomorrow either that it's not an and/or but it's an and-both. So, I'm curious to get your perspective on lifestyle.
Casey Weade: Well, I would say I had a realization. I was always, as I said, I was a weird kid. I was that kid that was in elementary school that was writing his goals down the sheet of paper and stick them on the mirror. And at that time, those goals were more about getting the next wakeboard or saving enough to get a car at some point. I was always working towards goals and I always had a plan to get from point A to point B. However, eventually, I got to this place where I was sitting back down, I pulled out my goal sheet, and as I was reviewing the goals that I had in order to set the next stage of goals for myself, I'm looking down the list, and they're mostly about money, they're mostly about things, and I don't need any more things. I've got a nice car, I've got a nice house, I don't need a bigger house, I don't need more cars, I don't need a nicer car. I've got everything. I've got a college fund. We have everything monetarily that we need. And my goals have always been about these money and things that were really not that important to me at my core. And so, I had to start shifting that goal to something that was much more meaningful. And for me, that was just helping people.
I went through a time of struggle, where I just felt a little disillusioned, and said, “Well, what do I do now? Do I just quit? Do I just quit and drop everything? I'll retire and I'll go spend time with my family?” And I had an opportunity to do that. When our second son was born, we had six months that we lived in Cincinnati while he was very sick and so I didn't work basically for six months, and I lost my mind. It wasn't healthy. Yeah. This guy needs something to work towards every single day, every single year but I needed a different balance in my life too. I know that I need to continue that part of me that's always goal setting. However, those goals had to shift because it wasn't about money anymore and that's the beauty of getting to a financially independent place. That's the beauty of becoming job optional. It's not that you retire. It's not that you just go do whatever you want every single day. It's you have the ability to truly design that life that is much more fulfilling than worrying about making that next dollar. And too many people get caught up in this rat race of looking at their scorecards, their balance sheet going, “I've got a million, need to get to 2 million. Oh, I need to get 2.2 million. Need to get to 20 million.” They get on this rat race and it's not about that because what are you going to do with the money at the end of the day? You need to have something that drives you that's so much more powerful than that.
And for me, I don't think it has to be much more complex than helping people and that comes in different forms. I get the opportunity to help people on the air, I get the opportunity to help fans, to help clients, to help our team members, help people in the community, help my family and design my schedule the way that I need it to be designed in order to balance all the things that I really value in my life. I need to be able to get my workout in, I need to be able to spend quality time with my kids, with my family, with my wife, I need to be able to work. I need to be able to focus on personal growth. I need that balance. And so, I've designed my schedule in such a way to do that. One, I know I don't necessarily need to be here. I've designed a business that can operate without me. And quite honestly, when I left for six months, it grew by 50%. So, I think they need me to leave sometimes just to relieve some pressure. But I've set it up so that every year my wife and I, we sit down, we plan out the year. Now, this is the year of COVID so it's a little bit of a wrench in our plans this year. However, we know, hey, these are the things that we're going to do for personal growth. These are our trips that we're going to spend one-on-one together, our marriage retreats.
These are the things that we're going to do as a family. These are our date nights. These are our date weekends. And this is the hours that I'm going to work. These are the weeks that I'm going to work. It's all pretty well organized in any given year. And that gives me the balance that helps me get to where I want to go. So, I don’t know if you want to go down the road of schedule or where you want to go with that, but to me, that's kind of balanced, right?
Justin Donald: Well, I love the way you look at it and I love the priority that you have made in your life in terms of lifestyle and what's most important to you. I mean, you are one of the most physically fit, strongest people I know so I know that you make time for yourself there, and that's fantastic. I know that's also important to your wife as well which I think it's great. I think you designing this life intentionally has also just built you so much freedom, even for the newest addition to your family that I'd love to celebrate with you right now. I'd love to have you share a story of your new adoption that just went through.
Casey Weade: Yeah. We had our little baby girl about a month old now. So, the dark circles under my eyes are reminiscent of a newborn in the household. But, yeah, that's been quite a journey for us. It started a couple of years ago and we had two failed adoptions along the way and then we were finally connected at about midnight. I got a call at midnight about four weeks ago and I picked up the phone and the other line said, “Hey, I need you to come pick up your little girl.” And so, we picked up, didn't sleep that night, got to Utah at six in the morning, and had our little girl in arms by that afternoon. What was really amazing about that, for me, is the process, the journey was amazing but none of that would have happened without my wife. And most people they see this whole thing that we experienced, “Wow, that was amazing,” but really, it was my wife's idea, one, and it wasn't just her idea when we got married. This was something that started when she was 12 years old. She's wanted to adopt since she was 12 years old and have the opportunity to provide the life that she hoped that she had when she was a kid, the family that she hoped that she would have had when she was a kid. And so, this was truly fulfilling a lifelong dream for my wife.
Justin Donald: That is so cool. And obviously knowing your wife, I know that passion that she has, and we just had so much fun. My wife adores your wife and you know what, the two of us are blessed because we have traded up in the game of wives. We both have great women that just care for us and love us well and love our kids well. They are just great support systems for us. And so, man, I just feel blessed every time I get a chance to hang out with other couples that really do relationships well and treat each other right and really value their spouse. I just think that's so great. Had you not taken the time to set up your life to have the opportunity or possibility of just taking off whenever you need to or supporting your wife in the way that you do where she doesn't have to work but she can work and she can be focused on more missional work or homeschooling or whatever it is that she's passionate about. I mean, had you not done that, your life would look wholly different. And so, I think that this is a great segue into your book, your most recent book, and I love the title, Job Optional.
Casey Weade: Well, I also want to say I think there's something that a lot of people get wrong along the way and that's when they first start. For younger individuals, I guess I hear this all the time. I've seen it with millennials. I go, “Ah, I don't like that job. Haven't found my dream job yet. I haven't found my dream job yet.” Do you think that anybody goes, “Oh, I just cannot wait to be a financial planner?” And actually, I started as an insurance salesman. Nobody says, “I can't wait to be an insurance salesman.” You think I love that job? I was passionate about it? No. You develop that over time. You have to develop that and you have to stay on the grind in order to ever have that opportunity to have the financial freedom and ultimately, find that passion. I truly believe that you are not going to discover your passion on day one. It's going to be an evolution and you have to get through some things you just don't like along the way. We all have to do things we don't like. And dad was big on sacrifice. I learned a lot about him when it comes to sacrifice. I just knew I didn't want to do it my whole life.
Justin Donald: I think that's a great point. There's no doubt about it. Sometimes what it is it's not about the activity that we're doing. It's the bigger picture of what that activity is creating in our life. And so, I'm glad that you mentioned that. I'm curious because you and I speak a very similar language. I mean, we could talk finances all day long. I mean, we could talk about investment opportunities, and we didn't…
Casey Weade: We have. Last time we were in the car, we talked about insurance for a good hour, I believe.
Justin Donald: That's right. I mean, it's fun which is great. And we share this joy, number one, of not having to work but getting to work. And then we also share this joy of educating people to be able to do the same thing. And so, I'd love to know some of the key takeaways that you'd love to share with our audience here on Job Optional.
Casey Weade: You know, to me, I just see far too many individuals that are doing kind of what I used to do where I'm setting goals and always looking into the future. And I spent a lot of time not being, even with my wife not being intentional with her early on in our marriage, not being intentional. And I could have created something that bled into my kids if I wasn't careful and I think far too often we have put ourselves in a position where we're always worried about what's next or thinking about what's next. And then we're reminiscing on our past mistakes and what got us to where we're at today and we're not spending enough time where life's actually happening, which is right now. Life is actually happening here. When you and I are having this conversation, this is life, right? But many times, I've seen too many individuals that are sitting here, thinking about the election, "Oh, boy, an election is going to happen and then after the election, then the market might crash, and what's the Fed going to do with interest rates or tax rates going to go through the roof next year?” All these concerns that really, for many people, they do have to do with money, right, and money can do a lot of things in our life. It can cause a lot of damage but it can create some wonderful experiences in our life.
I think one of the best benefits of setting up your financial life appropriately is supporting that purpose, which at its core, it should be to not think about money. I mean, we're going to talk about money but we shouldn't even, I'm hoping that the listeners listening about money so that they don't have to think about money for the rest of their lives, right? They're trying to get to that point where they’re job optional and that's what I've seen with the families that we've worked with year-after-year and then myself is once they get to that point where they don't have to work anymore then they can truly live life in the now. But the thing that's often keeping them from doing that is that worry about what's next in these other areas as I said, and most of the time, they've been meeting with a financial advisor or doing things on their own and it's all been about more, more, more, accumulation, accumulation. Risk at all costs, right? How do I get the biggest return this year and next year, and that creates a lot of anxiety in individuals, where first I think your first goal, especially, once you achieve financial freedom, once you get to this place where you found, yes, I have enough, your number one priority should be taking a look at your liabilities.
What are your biggest risks that you have financially? Because those are the things that are causing you anxiety. And in the book, we first start with your purpose, your meaning. Why are you doing this in the first place? Why are you even opening this book? Why are you thinking about money right now? Because that's what we want to set you up to be able to focus all of your time and energy on and be intentional around. And then we get into the liabilities, right? What are those liabilities? Well, some are concerned about an emergency they may face in the future. How am I going to put a new roof on the house? What if the market crashes? So, am I going to have enough income? If I lose my job, am I going to have enough income? What about inflation? What about taxes? What about if I pass away? What if I have a major healthcare concern? So, we break down all of those liabilities that can be clearly defined but these are the major risks that we face and the major things that are keeping us up at night and it really just irritates me that we don't ever address these things in many times. We're still just focusing and meeting with a financial advisor so they can get us a bigger return every year. You don't need a financial advisor to give you a bigger return. You know this as well as I do. You can do that on your own. Go buy an S&P 500 index fund.
You'll probably beat almost every hedge fund manager and financial advisor out there in the world but it's not going to give you the peace of mind you're going to get from a financial advisor who has put together a plan so that you know, "No matter what happens next, I'm okay. Doesn't matter what tax policy does because I've got tax flexibility. I've got tax-free accounts. I've got a tax strategy in place. It'll be there no matter what. I've got guaranteed income the rest of my life. I can always fall back on them. I've got an emergency fund. I've got health care taken care of.” If you can clear all of that stuff out of your head, then you can start living life in the now. And that's what I've seen with the clients that we work with is they do some really cool stuff. Many times, they keep working, one. Yeah, especially business owners. They go, "Oh, I don't have to do this anymore. Well, this is fun now. I think I'm going to keep working now that I don't need the money and have to worry about things year-over-year. I can really enjoy this business.” I've seen individuals write books, start new businesses, rekindle a relationship with a spouse that might be falling apart, go back and start spending quality time with their kids and grandkids that didn't get while they're working. You know, so much can happen once we start living today.
Justin Donald: I love it. I love so many of those concepts. In fact, my book is about to drop, The Lifestyle Investor, on December 8, and I discuss a lot of these things and so I love that there is information out there to help people on this journey of being able to move past needing a job, but rather having the opportunity to spend their life intentionally working and doing something that they love and impacting people in their circle of influence in a way that offers significance to them. I think that’s so great.
Casey Weade: There’s a huge impact that that can make in the world. I mean, that is not something you're doing for someone else. You're doing that for many someone else’s. That one person that you helped create that lifestyle, that one person that we help get job optional, if you think about what really fuels people, what really makes them sleep well at night and wake up excited in the morning, I don't think there's an instance where it's not about helping someone else. It's always about helping someone else, and you allow them to focus more time in that area of their life, then you're multiplying that impact in the world. I think in the world of retirees and the individuals that we work with that are in the 50s, the 60s, which is the majority of individuals we work with, they're in their 50s, in their 60s, they have so much to give back, such beautiful life experiences, so much to share with the world, so many areas that they can give back and help. And it's such a large generation that it could make a monumental impact generation after generation.
Justin Donald: There's no doubt. I'm so curious to talk about this next topic because you and I have discussed passive investments and what I coin lifestyle investing and I know that over time, your strategy has changed. In fact, you and I have worked on a handful of deals together. We're in a bunch of deals together and that's so fun. I want to know how your view of investing has, I guess, changed, morphed, gotten a little more solidified as the years have gone on from when you were brand new in the business and in the industry to where you are today.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, I think when I first exited college with a finance degree, spent time in investment programs and investment competitions, I really thought I had it figured out. Yeah, I thought, “Oh, man, I can trade this market all day. I'm going to make all kinds of money and, yeah, this is what people need to be doing.” I had a real high-risk tolerance and I felt like everyone that I met with should too. They should be in these investments that can make bigger returns. Why would they only want to make 4% a year when they have all these other opportunities? And what I found over time is that it's not about the money. It's not about the return, right? That extra 1% return that they could get if they took on a little bit more risk for many, it's not going to change their lives, right? If someone has a million dollars and they turn that million into 2 million from age 60 to 70, it's not going to change your life. Now, if that million goes from a million to 500,000 from 60 to 70, it changes their life and they're not so concerned with growing that asset anymore. They have enough. They just want to know that they can do the things that they love and spend time doing the things that they truly enjoy.
And that rubbed off on me over time. I think dad continually hammered that into my head as well where I remember, during the financial crisis, I had done really well on some Bank of America stock and I just couldn't wait to tell dad, “Look at how much money I made.” It’s like, “Hey, I just got a 30% return on this position,” and he's going, "Okay. Well, how much did you make?” It's like, “Well, $1,000 turned into $1,300.” And he goes, “Yeah. Is that going to change your life?” No, that's not going to change your life. We just focus so much on getting these big returns and kind of lose track of what's really important. I found over time, many of the families that we're working with, they say, "Hey, just make me 4% to 6% don't lose. Yeah, I'm cool with that.” And dad's that way now. I've presented him some of the deals you and I have worked on together and I think they're great deals or I wouldn't have done it myself. I think they're relatively conservative at the same time, but there's risk involved. And dad goes, “I'm cool with 4%. I mean, we could probably get more if we go down this route, but I don't really need to at this point in life. I don't need more things to track. I don't need to have to worry about what these investments are doing. I just want to get a decent return year-over-year.”
And so, that's really become at the core of the things that have become a big part of my philosophy is, "Hey, just give me 4% to 6%. I'll be okay.” I know that if I just continue to save, I’m pretty frugal as it is, I continue to save, which I have done, I get to this point where, "Hey, I make 4% to 6%. I'm never going to run out of money. I'm fine. I don't need more money. So, why would I reach for 10% to 15%?” And that has evolved a little bit since working with you. So, I went from this point where I was very aggressive. As a kid, I realized that that's not for everyone, and the vast majority of people it's just not for and I really focused my own financial life on building this foundation of knowing, "Hey, I'm okay.” And now I've gotten to that point where we have everything that we need and it's kind of fun to do some things that are a little high risk. Some of the investments that you've introduced me to, it's fun, and I think that's what it has to be. I think you first need to start building this base, this foundation so that you know you don't have to work anymore no matter what happens in the stock market, no matter what happens in DC or abroad, and then you can start exploring, then you can start exploring into some of these other areas where you can have interest and really have fun doing it.
Yeah. I hate to use the word gambling, but there's an element of gamble in there. There's an element of gamble whenever you're taking on some risk. And if you're comfortable and you enjoy a little bit of gambling, then you should do it with a small portion of your portfolio that you can afford that risk with and still sleep well at night but that isn't for everyone either. So, I just think my philosophy has just become much more individualized over time. Everyone's so unique. It needs to be so unique to their own personal situation. When we're in college and when we're getting our certified financial planner designations and we're getting our CHFCs, we're going through all this formal education, we start thinking everybody should take an academic approach where there's this, "Hey, you plug in the numbers. We know everything. This is the perfect strategy for you,” but it's not. There is not one perfect strategy for anyone. And I guess that's one of the things that also really irritates me about the financial industry is there's a lot of individuals out there talking heads, financial advisors that want to beat their chests and say, “I have the perfect investment. I have the perfect solution. This is the perfect financial plan. All those products are bad. We need to use all these products,” and that's just not the case.
It's completely false. It's completely arrogant and ignorant to think that you have all of the answers that apply to everyone. Everyone needs to build it to their own unique situation and that's, I guess, been a bit of an evolution in my way of thinking.
Justin Donald: That's great and it's interesting to think about it. I always share with people that the first thing you want to do is you want to get cash flow that covers all of your expenses, and just your bare minimum to survive expenses, then eventually your lifestyle expenses. But I always say that once you have that done, the emotional dependency that there once was for money changes. It shifts. And what maybe you would have never done before in terms of an investment, you might actually consider doing. And one of the things I love about some of the investments that we do is we actually get to impact entrepreneurs but we get to do it in a calculated and safe way but we get to impact teams of people, and we get to impact companies and help them scale. And so, that is really just so fun to me and to a lot of the people in our investment network and the lifestyle investor group.
Casey Weade: I think it's a natural progression as an investor is that you start, you get real aggressive. You're doing everything you can to get the return, and then you go, “Oh, I think I'm doing pretty good.” I can dial it back down a little bit and get comfortable, make sure I have everything, and they go, “Okay. Well, now I have some extra cash. Where can I put this to make a bigger impact?” And in this instance, as you said, there's actually coaching opportunities here, right? There's a real opportunity to help someone else create a business and take it to the next level. And I get a real kick out of that. I think one of the things I have the most fun with today is coaching other entrepreneurs and spending time sharing with them my experiences, the mistakes I've made, and to help them live a better life.
Justin Donald: Yeah. There's no doubt about that. I'm real curious for you. You've talked a lot about your dad so I know your dad had to be a big influence in your life. I'm curious, who are some of the other great influences in your life? Who's had the greatest impact? And maybe this is as a child, maybe this is as a young Casey Weade, pre-professional, Casey Weade. Maybe it's someone that's kind of helped you scale your business. Maybe it's just someone that has totally impacted your mindset and has helped create a paradigm shift. I'm curious who some of those great influencers are in your world?
Casey Weade: Well, a few years ago, I had someone asked me that question and they said, "So, who's your mentor?” And at the time, I said, “I don't have a mentor.” And as I've continued to dwell on that question ever since because, "Really? I don't have a mentor?” I didn't have anyone that I really looked up to that got me to this point. And through a lot of reflection, I discovered I've had a lot of mentors. I've had a lot of individuals that have made a huge impact in my life and helped me achieve what I have in many different areas of my life. I could throw out our mutual friend, Jon Vroman, Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach. I could go back to my parents. I could go all the way back to my grandparents as well. And I feel like I need to probably bring up my grandparents more than anything else because the name that you see on the wall behind me, those are my grandparents’ names. Howard Weade is my grandfather on my dad's side. Ralph Bailey was on the other side, my mom's dad. And so, we decided to put those two names together to form the company, Howard Bailey, because of the lessons that they taught me as a child, that I wanted to make sure we're incorporated into the values that we have as a firm.
I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as a kid. Howard and Ralph were a big part of my life because my parents did work really hard. When I was a kid, they traveled a lot, they enjoyed traveling the world. I got dropped off on my grandparents’ doorstep a lot and spent a lot of time with them. And Howard was one of those just traditional blue-collar country. He's working on the farm, he's working in the factories, he’s laying carpet for a living, worked his tail off, always had multiple jobs. And it was also one of the Great Depression generation era individuals that had a good portion of their life savings tied away in the house, in the walls, under the carpet and also in Maxwell Coffee House cans, down in the cellar. And for me, that was pretty enlightening to see this family, this guy that never as a family, as a household they never made more than $40,000 together combined income for the rest of their whole lives. Never inherited anything. They just worked hard, they saved, and they died millionaires, right? And you go, I would have never guessed that they were millionaires. I would have never guessed that they were millionaires and they never worried about money at all.
In large part, that was because they had such a conservative approach to their finances. They always knew that they had it. They always worked really hard and that was really inspiring and enlightening to me all at the same time. I mean, we don't have to have high paying jobs. We don't have to get big returns and take big risks in order to be millionaires. And more than anything else is just humbleness, right? You would have never guessed that they had a million dollars but they were some of the most humble people that you would have ever met. And my wife and I, we say all the time, "What is our number one value? What means the most to us?” And we say humility. That's the one thing. We want to make sure we teach our kids more than anything else. And Ralph Bailey at the other end of that spectrum, this is a guy that he's not going to die with anything, right? He's giving it all away. Hardworking guy, very involved in the education system in the state of Indiana, won the highest award from the governor of the State of Indiana for his work in education.
So, for me, he always pushed me personal growth and education. He was the one that first got me involved in, well, between him, my dad, and my mom, there was always an element of personal growth. They were always reading books. They were always introducing me to different concepts. And that was what my mom and my grandfather both won awards for in the state was the work and personal growth when it came to working with children in the state. And so, for me, there's an element of personal growth. There's an element of giving back. My grandfather's given everything away and he's going to die really fulfilled. He is 93 and he's very energetic. He's very happy. He's very fulfilled. And it wasn't about the money to him. It was about impacting others’ lives. And so, for me, that's where it's really about helping people. How do I help people? Now, I think I can help even more people if I have a foundation, a financial foundation that I know I'm always going to be okay whatever happens, and then when I pass away, I can leave the bulk of that charity. But today, I know I can have a bigger impact if I don't have to worry about money. And so, for me, my grandparents are probably the biggest influence in my life outside of my parents.
Justin Donald: That is such a cool story. I just love knowing that about you and about really the genesis and origin of the name of the business that you show up to and you represent every single day, professionally. That is just so neat. And what great principles and guidelines to live your life by to be a good steward of your money, but yet to also be very charitable and to give and to help people out. I just think that that is so powerful.
Casey Weade: I think combining those two philosophies has been really helpful. I don't know that one would be good just to simply follow that one but together, along with some of the things my parents instilled in me, it was a pretty good recipe for success.
Justin Donald: No kidding. Well, I have just enjoyed our time so much. I can't believe it's already flown by this quickly. I'm actually curious if you have any last thoughts or comments or things that you'd like to discuss before we wrap up?
Casey Weade: Well, Justin, I don't know that I have anything else that's really on my mind right now. I hope and I think what's really important about what we've done here, as a business, is something that I hope that other individuals do. We live by something we call our brand DNA and that is we know we can't work with everyone but we can help everyone. There's just not enough time in the day that we can work with every single person that comes in our office, but we give every single person time. It doesn't matter if you've got $10 million or you’re $10 million in the hole. We're going to spend time making a positive impact in your life and getting you on the right track. And that is the goal in every avenue of our business and the things that we put out there from books to TV shows to radio shows to podcasts. I think there's a lack of success for many individuals because they don't have that. They want to hold something back. How many New York Times bestselling books have you read that were just glorified business cards? You go, “I just read that whole book. I wasted eight hours of my life. I didn't learn a single thing. Now, I have to call them to find anything out and actually benefit from this.”
And I know the book you wrote was about actually telling people and giving people things, actionable items they could go and implement into their financial life. It wasn't a sales pitch. And I think that's what we have to keep in mind as you're growing a business, as you're doing anything that benefits someone else, that's the core. It's the value that you give back to the world. And what I say life gives to the giver and takes from the taker, and if you can always be a net giver, then I think you'll always see continued growth in every aspect of your life.
Justin Donald: That is well said, Casey. I love it. Where can our listeners reach you online?
Casey Weade: Well, RetireWithPurpose.com is where you're going to find all of the different things that we have authored out there, all the resources that we have, that will also lead you back to our company, HowardBailey.com, but Retire With Purpose is a cool place to go and find a free chapter of my book there. You have downloads, Retire With Purpose Podcasts, past TV shows, radio shows, connects you to our YouTube channel, our Facebook channel. That will get you connected to every outlet that Howard Bailey and myself have put out there.
Justin Donald: I love it. You've got it all. Well, one thing I will say I love and just closing comments, I just love to encourage our listeners to take one step forward and do something more than you did yesterday, especially when it comes to your financial life to financial freedom to earning passive income to having an opportunity to create the life that you desire. It's just from taking one step further than what you did yesterday. So, I have really enjoyed our time here today, Casey. Thank you so much, and we'll look forward to talking with you soon.
Casey Weade: I'll give you a hug soon, I'm sure.
Justin Donald: Sounds good.
Casey Weade: Thanks, buddy.