Sam Dogen, the founder of Financial Samurai, spent ten years working in the finance industry, studied economics at William & Mary, got his MBA from UC Berkeley, saved aggressively, diversified his investments, and retired aged 34.
In 2009, the world was falling apart due to the recession, and Sam’s net worth was taking a beating, so he decided to start a personal finance site to help himself and others make sense of chaos. Financial Samurai is in its 13th year of operation in 2021 and is one of the world’s largest independently-owned free-to-access personal finance sites.
Sam joins Rich on the Paychecks and Balances podcast to share his philosophy of ‘save until it hurts’ and why that idea is central to how he lives his life.
‘The great thing is planning is free, thinking ahead is free.”’ – Sam Dogen
He discusses why he started the Financial Samurai blog and the tipping point that made him sure it would be successful. Sam and Rich also dive into the detail of his recent article on wealth, opportunity, and racial discrimination and discuss why he’s so passionate about working to safeguard his children’s futures.
- Previous Episode: PB51: $500K Revisited ft. Financial Samurai
Connect with Sam Dogan:
Hey, what's good, this is Rich, and you're listening to Paychecks and Balances, where it's all about showing you what's possible in work, money and life. And before getting into today's episode, I wanted to remind you to check out the blog because there are articles upon articles up from the P&B team of writers. There are things on blockchain cryptocurrency for the everyday person like us making things super accessible and easy to understand. Also we have an article up on talking money with your family and a lot more. So if you haven't jumped by the Paychecks and Balances blog, be sure to do that - new content going up every week. And if you've been on the email list, the newsletter is coming back very soon. And if you're not, and would like to join the free Paychecks and Balances email community for the monthly digest of what's happening in work money and life, plus other exclusive content visit paychecksandbalances/email. Feel like I haven't said that in a while since it's been a few weeks since I've been on the microphone. And on today's show, I'm chatting with Financial Samurai, Sam Dogan, and Sam runs a highly successful blog you might have heard of it before it's called Financial Samurai. And he's been doing this for a long time over a decade. And he's getting a lot of passive income revenue. He's generating some of that through real estate, he's got other things that are going on. And what I really loved about this conversation is that he was so unapologetically him, and also so candid and talking about the value of planning, fatherhood, negotiating severance for your work situation, real estate, and a lot more. And personally, it was just a conversation that I needed. And I feel like that's been a theme, this season of the podcast where I'm talking to guests, right at the time where I'm thinking about something or it's given me a perspective that I need to make a decision in my life. So here's my chat with Sam, I hope you get as much out of it as I did. And most importantly, I hope you enjoy. Sam, welcome to the podcast. Thanks very much. Now, I gave people a little bit about your background in the intro. But for those that are not familiar, tell the P&B family a little bit about yourself.
Sure, I worked in finance for 13 years, New York City for a couple of years, San Francisco for 11 years, left my day job in 2012, negotiated a severance then I've been free ever since. Since then I've traveled a lot, got my wife to negotiate a severance in 2015. And also just leave the corporate world behind. So we've just been trying to live our lives. We've been writing a lot of content on Financial Samurai three times a week, ever since 2009. And we're now parents, stay at home parents to two small children.
Now I'm gonna get into it with a fairly value driven question based off of something you just said, Because consistency is what comes out to me three times a week, every year, since 2012. You said it was
2009 when I started financial samurai, and definitely since 2012 when I left my day job.
Gotcha. Gotcha. So how else has that consistency showed up and helped you because I imagine it shows up in other areas too.
I mean, it shows up a lot. I used to play a lot of tennis when I was a kid. And so one of the things that I wanted to do was develop a topspin one handed backhand. But I was never really good at it in high school, so I just slice. And then when I was 30 years old, I just got back into league tennis. And I said you know I want to develop a topspin backhand. So I just consistently hit the ball over and over again for ever. And now well, but two, three years later, I have a very consistent one handed backhand. So I just realized, if you just do the work, eventually it'll start clicking, whether it's in your mind or in your body, your muscle memory, it'll just clicked. And so I decided I'm going to do publish three times a week, and maybe even a newsletter one time a week for 10 plus years, and see what happens. And so the result is good stuff.
And when was the inflection I'm gonna call it the inflection point. But when was the point where you knew financial Samurai was really gonna take off or that it was destined for great things because I feel like there's like that tipping point for everyone. We're like, Alright, this thing is really starting to move.
Once I started in 2009 and October 2011, I was in santorini greece first time, I was really starting to slack off at my job and in the sense that I would take six weeks of vacation a year which is kind of unheard of in finance, but that was what was allotted to me. So I took it and then while I was in central Rena in Greece, I got a message from my phone after hiking the hills at a bar and this guy said I would like to pay you 11 $100 to advertise on financial Samurai just put up my link and At the time, I was drinking an overpriced beer. And I was thinking 1100 bucks buys a lot of beer. And so I said, Okay, send me the code is on my iPhone Wi Fi. I put it up in 30 minutes. And then he sent me the money in 30 minutes. And I thought, wow, maybe maybe I could do this and generate a lot of supplemental income. And so, at that time, October 2011, about two years, two and a half years later, I thought, okay, maybe this can be great. You know, it's gonna be great if I leave my job, and I can do something and make, you know, I know, several $1,000 years and live a decent life in Hawaii, you know, surfing and just chilling out. But the real catalyst was negotiating my severance in 2012, being able to negotiate the severance enabled me to collect about five years of living expenses, normal living expenses. And that was when I was like, well, I wanted to work in finance until 40. I was 34. At the time, the summons bought me about five years of my life back. Wow. Go for it. So I went.
Now, I don't think that I knew that it was five years worth of life covered. And I'm sure there were there were other things because we definitely talked about the the segment's before. And I want to talk a little bit more about the process of actually negotiating that is, especially now. But yeah, I didn't know. Wow, that is a mighty fine negotiation. Good, sir.
Well, well, the thing is, so in finance, or the higher up you go, you more and more of your compensation is in deferred stock. And that stock for me was deferred over, I believe it was four years. And so if you work for four years, every single year later, you have four years of deferred comp. So that's like one year, and I was there for 11 years ago. And also they forced us management forced us 2008 or nine, to invest a lot of our bonus in these quote, toxic acids, mortgage backed securities, they're all blowing up back in 2008 2009 2010. So they forced us to buy our own crap, the company's own crap, we had nothing to do with it. But they're like, well, we're gonna do the right thing and spread out all the misery and crap to our employees. And there's nothing we could do. So I don't know, something like 50,000 of my bonus went into the crap. And that was a smart thing for the manager to do to get the crap off their balance sheet and into their employees hands. But the crap turned out to be great investments, because they were all purchased in 2008 2009. So they ended up being like triples and quadruples. And so it turned out well, but it had a seven year I think was called bullet. Or what that means that you don't get your money back until after seven years. Gotcha. It's like a seven year Cliff or like a vet. It's almost Yeah, something like that. Yeah, something like that. And so I had to wait seven years from 2010. So I was getting paid my deferred stock and cash compensation from 2012 to 20. Like 1516. And then I got that bullet payment. 2017. So can you believe that like I left in 2012 I finally made my last payment 2017. That was i was i was psyched. That's insane. It
reminds me of there's a I don't know if it's Bobby Bonilla. Bonilla yet. There's a baseball player. So is that him? who signed like the smartest contract in history?
Oh, he's a great contract. It's Yeah, I mean, it's, it's like an annuity that keeps on paying. It's unbelievable. Yeah,
I pretty much I want to say it's like for the rest of his life. Don't quote me on that. It's something crazy. But he took this extended long term where every year the Met, so this has to cut him a check. And I didn't know that even when, even in terms of what you're talking about, that it could go five years out, which is incredible. But I'm sure especially now because you've probably heard of the great resignation. And just kind of where people are now where we're coming out of the pandemic, as of this recording, we might be going right back into it in terms of the lockdown and everything else, at least out here in California. We never know. But people have had all it is time to reflect they're realizing that what they're doing today and may not be what they want to do in the future, even you know, a few months from now. So there's how you thought about negotiating your way out then I'm curious if anything has changed about that now and there's anything different and how you would advise someone go about negotiating their way to freedom right now.
I mean, now employees I guess employees were able to walk work from home have the most leverage I've seen in a long time. Seems like people are getting paid well benefits are going up flexibility to work from home or not have to work at all work two jobs and your employer doesn't even know about that. I just said I was playing softball a friend of mine. He he went to Chicago for like a week and Then he's going to see his parents for another week. And he's going on another vacation. I was like, Wait, how can you afford so much vacation? He's like, 2026 year old guy. And he's like, well, employers just allow me to work from anywhere and do what I want. And so that really got me thinking, like, wow, I mean, if you want to leave your day job, now, you've got tremendous leverage to either ask for your raise or promotion, or, or negotiate your severance, because, you know, they want to make employees as happy as long as possible until they can find your replacement. So you can approach it in a win win scenario, where I'm gonna be able to find my replacement, train him or her for three to six months, whatever it takes, so that, you know, nothing skips a beat. And in return, please give me all my deferred Google stock compensation, and please give me servants, I've been here for whatever, seven, nine years, you know, I'd appreciate it. And it works. And my biggest disappointment, since writing my book on how to engineer a layoff in 2012, is that not more people have adopted this type of strategy to exit the workforce. It's a no brainer,
but it's scary as hell, let's be real. Like for a lot of people, that's like a scary, that's a scary thought. Because I've seen situations where, maybe not specifically this, but people they go in, they say something about taking a leave, or they say something about, you know, another opportunity, and then they get let go the next day. You know, so for the average person, and I think especially with us being in, in tech in and in Silicon Valley, we probably have like a different perspective. And I think we exist in like a bubble in itself. In some ways. That's like, a pretty scary thing to do. If you're also worried about security in itself, you know,
it's the same shade of scariness. If you plan to, let's say, retire early and never work again, what's the downside of you trying to negotiate severance. And I think a lot of people just don't plan and think things through, which is the whole purpose of that my book that I've read, and then also, a lot of the articles that I've written, if you plan to quit your job and join a competitor for 30% more money, well, you have a window of opportunity. And you have a grace period where you don't have to work between those jobs, you know, don't quit Friday and join Monday, you have an opportunity to try to negotiate your severance as well, I mean, think about, let's say in the NBA, you have a five year contract, and you get fired after two years with $50 million left on your five year contract, you can rework your contract, or you can kind of get paid double for a while. I mean, this is at least for coaches, you know, coaches, they can make double money for a couple of years, because they got a contract, employee has to pay it. But they got fired, and someone else wants to hire their services. So you have to be a Goliath for yourself. That's one of the main messages, empower people to fight as hard for themselves, as they do for other people. And as corporations do for themselves. I love the idea of fighting as hard for ourselves. Because I think,
within this people still feel this, this obligation. And I felt this myself, even with something as simple as taking vacation time, there's still times where
when I put the time in, like, I feel like a guilt about that, even though it's my time to have off, you know,
even though it's my right to take care of. So first, that's still a bit of a struggle. So I can only imagine the amount of struggle that other folks may have if they've never even thought about putting themselves first even because I even think about people who, during this recession, they've said, you know, maybe I'm not gonna press as hard about salary. And I'm like, Well, what is your skill set and talent have to do with the market, like the company will will do what it needs to retain the people that that it needs? Because I've actually seen people even go like, Well, you know, times are a bit more difficult. And so like, I don't want to rock the boat. Have you come across any of that?
Well, I haven't been in a corporate setting since 2012. But the people
Well, I mean, just in people, you know, because I'm sure whether tenants or otherwise, and we'll talk about real estate, but I'm, I'm curious if in your travels, you've come across any of that.
I just see people all the time, selling themselves short. They don't believe in their abilities. They feel they don't deserve it, then I don't know I maybe it's a male thing. I think there's like some study that says then males believe more in their abilities until they get them you know, they want that money before they're able to get there and women are more cautious in terms of fighting for themselves. But whatever that stereotype is, I know myself I I bet on myself, right? I bet on myself. I left my job in 2012 because six figure job, and I wanted my time and I believe I wouldn't fail. I believed I wouldn't be on the streets, but I plan I planned very meticulously. And the great thing is planning is free thinking ahead is free. You know, whether it's for your career or as an investor, as an investor, I'm always trying to predict the future, whether I get a right or wrong is a different, different scenario. But you're always trying to think about various scenarios that could happen, and you have a game plan to invest accordingly. And that's what you got to do for your career as well.
I love the idea of planning is free, I actually had to write that down. That might be the episode name, who knows at this point. But it's so true, because I know for self one thing I even struggled with is just getting into a more what I'll call a standard routine in terms of how I think about things. Because when you act reactively, you know, sometimes you don't make the best decisions, a lot of times you end up making the more emotional decision, which is not the best decision. Now, when we talk about planning, maybe if you could give just just like a couple of things that people really need to think about in advance, especially if they're struggling with having that type of conversation, what are just kind of maybe a couple of things, or a couple of tips that come to mind as far as the planning aspect of it for someone who's trying to parachute out?
Well, so it's called pre mortem, understanding the pre mortem, instead of the post mortem. I forgot where I was reading this, but the advices. So you know, after you get in a car accident, let's say, God forbid, your days confused, you might be injured yet you don't know what you're doing. But if you pre mortem it by saying, if you get in a car accident, these are the people to call, this is where your insurances, and all that things should hopefully go more smoothly. So when it comes to leaving your day job, pre mortem, is so what are the scenarios that would happen? If you were to try to negotiate a severance, for example, one scenario is to say, okay, your manager says, Okay, let's talk, let's talk about what are the things that you need to be happy here. So one scenario is you fail your severance, but they make you happier, they give you a raise promotion, and less work to do. How will you feel about that? So if you don't prepare for how will you feel about that, in that scenario, you might Bumble things around and say, Oh, you know, I can't handle it, I quit. You know, there's a lot on your brain, just short circuit. So that's one scenario. The other scenario is, well, that's ridiculous. Why the hell are we going to pay you to leave? You know, and then your manager who has never experienced this type of conversation himself before, then kind of gets all hot and bothered, that would be major storms,
I would not know if someone came to me with that. I'd be like, let me talk to HR.
And then you get offended, you might get offended. You're like, Wait, what? Why are you hiding, but I'm opening my heart to you and telling you, this is what I would like. And I think I can make it a win win scenario. And then, but your manager has nothing, nothing to do with it. And it's just a really awkward situation. And then, and then I don't know, something bad happens, where they say, you know what, I don't think your heart is into it. But we can't fire you. Because that would be that would open up lawsuits, because there's no, there's no track record of six months bad performance, you've actually been a great performer. So you're just like stuck in the muck? Well, what will happen then? And then and then the other scenario might be? Well, actually, thank you for coming. And bringing this to my attention, because we're actually going through another round of layoffs, as part of the calling process we do every year, the bottom 510 percent gets called every single year. Let's talk about how you think this would pan out? And how you can help us transition properly, or, you know, help promote your junior into your role? How do you envision this playing out? And what would you like for your sevens? If you have a plan for that? Well, then, you know, you've talked to three other three or four other people who got let go, you know that every year they work, they got two or three weeks of severance pay, you know, they got six months of free health care, and so forth. So if you plan for those three scenarios, you're probably going to be very well prepared. Come negotiation time. So that's an example.
I think people should think similarly, even when it's just salad, it pretty much any type of negotiation, that planning is free. And that upfront thought about the different different scenarios is going to be important. We're heading in toward the end of the year for which I can't believe I'm saying that it's August, and I'm saying we're heading toward the end of the year. But that is performance review season for a lot of people. And that's another time to think about all the scenarios in terms of the conversations you might be having with your manager about what your future looks like. And if you do have a plan to ultimately exit like is that something that is going to be part of those conversations?
So I know that we wanted to talk about a piece that you recently wrote and it was perfectly timed three white tenants, one Asian landlord a story about opportunity so people might hear that headline And I think a lot of different things. I read the article, I thought it was very interesting. It actually reminded me of many a conversation I've had about why certain populations, groups, whatever words we want to use are able to create businesses generate businesses create generational wealth, that type of thing. I was curious about the motivation, like what was it that led you to write this in the first place? Because it's very thorough, which all your stuff is, I was wondering what was going through your mind when this idea came about?
Well, you know, over the past couple of years, there's been a lot of discussion about racial inequity, and opportunities, opportunity, and the case shape recovery, you know, in the investor class has done well since the pandemic began. Whereas the non investing class has done poorly. It got me really thinking about, you know, the stop agent, hate movement, all that stuff, it got me thinking about my own story, and why I've been so diligent in trying to build a real estate portfolio, and also maintain a small business, which is financial samurai. And it hit me that actually, all my tenants are white. here in San Francisco, I got three tenants, and they're all white. And I'm the Asian landlord. And there are a lot of Asian landlords here in San Francisco, it's about a 50% of population is Asian and, and real estate is really a valuable asset class in the Asian community, because it's a tangible asset that really just doesn't go poof and lose half its value in one week or one day. So it's been a bedrock of wealth building for the Asian community. And I think for many communities, and so it just got me thinking, and to trust, speak to people, and say, Don't rely on society to try to get you paid, promote, and help you get to the promised land, because we're all looking after our own. And I used, for example, the interns for Donald Trump, for example. And, you know, they're like, they all look like him. And I looked at the interns for Barack Obama. And most of them all look like him, it was a very obvious, obvious choosing of who you want to take care of, and who you want to employ. And I looked at other platforms, like, you know, the editors, and writers at Huffington Post, they were all women, and they were mostly white women. And I thought to myself, I don't see anybody like me, an Asian American person in positions of power, or very few people, I just, it's just very hard to see any kind of opportunity. And the reality is, we all tend to take care of the people we like, and the people we'd like tend to be people of our similar backgrounds.
Yeah, it's a fact. I mean, we see it in, you might even referenced this in the article, I think you did, like referral networks in corporate America, like, why it looks the way it does, especially in Silicon Valley. People refer people that look like them, who refer people who look like them, who promote people who look like them.
Yeah, and I don't think we can finger point and say this is discrimination is just a natural human tendency to take care of people who you like, and who you hang out with. Just Just look around at the people you hang out with. And, you know, you look in at the personal finance community, or the fire community, it's very homogenous community. And so you're gonna have the same people get interviewed get opportunities, if you look at the media, the finance, media covering personal finance, people look quite similar as well. And then so they pull upon the people that they're familiar with. And I recognize that as a serious disadvantage ever since I was kid, I grew up in Asia for 13 years. And I came to Virginia for high school and college. And there's not many Asian Americans or Asian people in Virginia. And so I recognize that that disadvantage early on, really early on. So I told myself, man, I'm gonna have to, I got to find some way. So I'm going to, I'm going to work as hard as I can save as much money as I can and reinvest as much money as I can into hopefully, more stable passive investments. And so I came across real estate, real estate is a no brainer to me, where I reinvested 80 plus percent of my savings and bonuses into real estate while I was working in equities and finance, and, and then just this whole thing, the issue with the hate and all that since the pandemic began, made me realize, man, I can't quit financial samurai, I can't, I can't quit now, after 12 years, I gotta keep it going for another 1520 years, until my kids are like 25. And then you hand it over to sword. Yeah, I mean, the thing is, is like I now I just worried about my kids, where he's only my boys only four years old. My daughter's only 1220 months old. But I I kind of go through this trauma. If I think about how their lives will be over the next 20 to 25 years. Will anybody fight for them? Are people going to kick them down because they don't look like the majority and I and I worry about them. And as any parent will worry about their child. So I said, You know what, worst case scenario, they can't get into a good university. They can't get a great job with Google. It's too competitive. And they just don't have a lot of direction. Well, worst case scenario, they can be property managers for the real estate portfolio. That gives them some purpose, right? The real estate portfolio that I'm building, there's always something that you got to do, you know, maintenance, dealing with tenants, finding new tenants and so forth. Or over the next 15 years, I'm going to teach them about online marketing, writing PR, yeah. Audio, podcasting, video, finance, anything that has to do with running a business online, I'm going to teach them that, so that if they end up with no job, no opportunities, nothing. At least they can work for the family business.
Wow. I mean, that is many a generational wealth story.
I mean, that's what that's what I'm thinking because it was so damn hard for me. And I know going through difficult things will, I think, make you a better person, a stronger person. But I just got this insurance. I want insurance underneath insurance, just in case. Because I think the world is getting smaller, it's getting more competitive. You know, I look at you and your previous guest, Roger, and I'm thinking Wow, you guys, I had no idea you guys worked at Google. And you know, you guys went to great private schools. Right? You went to Cornell? Yeah. I think Roger went to I forgot Case Western somewhere. I don't think there's I couldn't have gotten into those schools. First of all, I couldn't have gotten into your universities. I couldn't have I can't get a job at Google. I tried in 2012 or something, or 2011. Yeah, don't many rejections. It's like No way. So if my kids are going to be like me, pretty average, then I think life is going to be difficult. So it's up to parents to figure out how we can help.
So interesting, because you, you say pretty average. And I get how you mean that I totally understand how you mean that but to someone listening, and anyone who probably goes and looks you up, it's like average, like this is freaking incredible. Like, how is this average? You know, it's
average, because I went to a state school. And I think I got lucky a lot. So I can I can assume that my kids gonna get lucky. Yeah, they're gonna be lucky because they have parents who care for them. But I don't think anybody like, there's so much luck. There's so much luck, you know, me getting the phone handed to me by my VP who said, Oh, do you want a job opportunity in San Francisco? Because she knew I was kind of on the I was on the cutting block in New York City.
That's like, I won't get philosophical with it. But when I think about what you said about consistency, and probably relationship building, I'm assuming there are probably some other things that like you've done well, over time, to where even if you were going to be on the chopping block in one place, there were people who would look out for you elsewhere, right?
Yeah, I mean, sure. You know, consistency is like one thing, you can control, you control, you can control your work ethic. And that's the one thing I'm going to tell my kids and that's one thing I tell myself, you might not be very good at something, but you can control, being consistent and continuing to do what you promised to do. Keep and over times, unless you're extremely unlucky, something positive is going to happen to you last 10 years, you know, recording your podcasts once a week, for 10 years, something great is gonna happen to you some opportunity that you won't expect.
It's funny, you say that, just given. I'm fresh off of a podcast conference a couple of weeks ago, and I went into that saying this year is the year something life changing is gonna happen. And there are things that have happened. But and I love that, that attitude of if you just keep going, something good is bound to happen unless you're an incredibly unlucky person. But I feel like you're not an incredibly unlucky person. If you move intentionally. I do think a lot of times and I did this from for many years as well, that there's there's the all of the societal and everything else. But there are a lot of times where we let life kind of happen to us. And we are I don't want to use the word victim. But we're kind of just like, the result of how life is happening to us versus taking control. And I'm listening to what you're describing and about how you're going to teach your children and to me, I hear less about this specific business and but I hear more about like, here's how to take control of your life. And here's how to navigate if you run into a difficult situation like I hear more about the ingenuity in that then any particular you know, lane that they might go into when they grow up.
Yeah, so many unknown variables in the future. So it goes back to your pre mortem planning. You know, I have one story where I decided to coach High School tennis back in 2017. You know, when my wife was pregnant with our son, and my friends said, Why the hell are you going to coach High School tennis? Don't you have other better things to do? You know, the pay was like $1,000 a month for three months season. And I told them, Well, you know, I hear all these stories about the difficulty of being a parent to a teenager, especially to boys. And I like Teaching, I think my writing comes across as someone who likes to educate and teach and banter with people. So I said, why not be a high school tennis coach to try to understand what my boy might be like 1415 years in the future when he's a teenager, so I can be better prepared. Why not? And he said, You're crazy. But okay, how fun.
Is that is crazy, but I love it. I love it. Again, it's intentionality in a different way. Now, on the real estate front, it's something that you've gotten into, we talked a little bit about why you decided to write the article, we talked about some of the other things as it relates to family and why building this generational wealth is important. But I know that there were some other points that you wanted to highlight in particular, I think even around you know, how you ended up with having three white tenants and, and I know something else you've said in the article is that you don't look for any particular person, you just look for whoever's qualified to take the spots, and that happens to be who lives in the properties that you own. So can you talk a little bit about that, too,
I just decided to analyze my tenants backgrounds, and figure out, you know, what, what makes them special, because at the end of the day, I'm looking for good people with good finances, who are going to take care of the property and pay on time, right? That's, that's all I want. And I'm going to provide the best product possible as a attended landlord fixes everything and make sure you get what you want. And you get what you pay for. And so I just remember looking at my tenants backgrounds, and my latest tenant, one is a CFO of a successful startup that might get bought for hundreds of millions of dollars. So go IPO, they went to Stanford Business School and another tenant. I see. I think he worked at Google. He worked at Google as a product manager. So I know how much I mean, if you're working at Google, as a product manager, you're probably making lash I know what he's making, but you know, you probably making like 300 $500,000. And you know, he's since moved on from Google to another great job at a pre IPO company, and they're gonna crush it. They're gonna crush it, you know? Yeah, they pay a lot for rent relatively, but they're, they're going to crush it, their kids are going to have great opportunities. And I think to myself, well, am I crushing it? I don't think I'm crushing it. I don't know. I'm not writing the Google Wave or the pre IPO startup wave. And someone told me something really interesting. He said, we're just playing tennis. And he said, Well, you're, you're kind of the dummy, who decided to stay in San Francisco and not latch on to any any high growth startup or tech company. And then he immediately made me feel poor, because he was actually a really rich guy. I've been He's like, why don't you go to Hawaii. And I was I'm trying to go to Hawaii Ben man, but I can't, every time I try to leave, they pull me back in. And I thought to myself, yeah, this is strategically unsound to stay in one of the most expensive cities in the country, not latch myself on to a very wealthy or high growing company. Because not only do I not make that money, I also don't build that network of friends within a powerful company that can help me or my family get ahead in the future. So think about that, for those of you guys who are working at a successful company, is that your network, you don't know when you're going to need them, but they'll come in handy one day, hmm.
I always tell people that you never know where someone else is going to land. So these people that you work with today, even if you don't, even if you can't wait for that person to be gone. Like you never know where some of these folks are going to land. And when you might need to contact someone and say, Hey, you know, I'm interested in a role at your company. Or even worse, as you probably know, happens, a resume comes in somebody, a recruiter comes to you says, Hey, I know you worked at this company, do you know this person? Or that person was trashed? Now you're not getting an interview? Or that person is not getting an interview? Oh, you know?
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, you black getting blackballed is very apparent and very, something people need to be aware about, because it's a small community.
Yeah, it's it's a very real thing. But on the other side of that, there is the network. And I say even with people who work at the companies like the Googles, the apples, all these companies, it's kind of accepted and known that when you leave, you have maybe one or two opportunities to leverage that company name and leverage those relationships and ultimately go and be successful. But after that, it does kind of lose the luster. It's like, Okay, why hasn't anything that you've done since then? worked out, but like that capital is, is huge. A lot of people leave their companies and go to run their businesses full time. And they'll make their company that they worked for full time, their first client, that's an option as well. Maybe someone can even negotiate that, you know,
yeah, you never know your examples remind me of, I guess, to two important things that I found very compelling and one is to be good at something, to be very good at something to be in the top 1% of something, anything and then to to be likeable, you know, to be likable and and what I found on my journey on financial Samurai is that I've written very unlikable articles out there that have angered a lot of people. And that I've said that I'm in a bubble and whatever, whatever and a lot of other mean things. And that is also something that I think about a lot more now that I have children and after the pandemic, you know, do I want to write something that will make me be more unlikable? Or do I want to be more balanced in my approach, so it seems like it's a natural course of action, the larger are, the longer you are around, the more you kind of hug the middle, which is kind of sad. But that's also kind of the reality.
It makes sense. Just as you just see, and you hear more, you learn more, we all grow. Because even if you think about a lot of what we see now, where people there they go, and dig up tweets from someone from 12 years ago. I mean, like the way that we talked and thought, a decade ago, even some of the stuff that I said, like I went and deleted everything as far as I went, like, 12 years back, and I was like, a no one coming from me when I run for office. And somebody is probably already screenshotted stuff.
But it's interesting, it's it's one of those things where it's just the law of numbers too. And you're not going to please everyone. And even like, you know, let's say a million people come and read your site a month. And if only just 1% of people hate your guts, there are some best 10,000 people you know, so it's interesting on this journey, at the end of the day, I think it's important for us, as people who put things out there to stay true to what we believe in, to respect other people's perspectives, I always try to respect and, and share other people's perspectives. But the problem is, is like on social media and going across the country, everybody just, it seems kind of divided the country, which is so sad in the way we think, whether it's from vaccines to ideologies, but if we all kind of travel more, more people, not just hanging out with people who look like us, I think things would be better.
I totally agree with that. And I know there are people who are listening in and they're thinking of all the other structures and everything in place, and we are thinking about those two, but we've also got to think about the lives that like we live today. And I know what many of the folks in the audience for this show look like and then the type of things that they're into. And for a lot of us, if we have that level of intentionality. And if we do prioritize it, it may take some time, but you know, the the traveling the experiences, I know that those are things that I want to do a lot more of, and I know at the point that I've got young podcasters, running around the crib, that there's already an experience that I want for them. And this is interesting, I feel like ultimately, a lot of times in the personal finance space. And this is gonna sound like a pivot, but it's related. It's all about the the struggle story. And a lot of us have have had struggled stories in terms of how we've gotten to where we are today. And there's nothing wrong with wrong with that. And I wouldn't take anything away from that. But I don't aspire for my kids to have a struggle story. And sometimes I feel like, within some of these spaces, we'll turn our nose up at people who are successful, but did not have a struggle story. And I'm like, I don't want my kids to struggle. You don't want your kids to struggle. So ideally, like no one has to have a struggle story because we're doing the right things in terms of building our wealth and setting our kids and our families up so that they can then do the same. And that's how it starts to snowball generationally with real estate being a part of that, you know,
yeah, not struggle to the point of mental illness and trauma. Definitely struggle somewhat, because it makes the success, all that sweeter. And when you speak of struggle, I really empathize with your story where you're sharing how you almost got expelled in middle school. The reason why that really spoke to me it was because I almost got expelled in middle school as well when I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is during the Gulf War. We were just rascal kids and I had friends from a competing rival school who decided to play a prank on our school and basically call it like a threat to the school. And then the school our school had to be evacuated. Because of this this bomb threat was so now looking back it was it was terrible. But as kids and middle schoolers, were just prank calling from a public phone. Remember, the principal interviewing all of us? That just you know we would talk and there's like 10 of us and but nobody would out anybody. Yeah. And we just code was just silence. And I didn't get expelled. But there was this one kid who did. And I don't know how he got caught. I guess someone said something somewhere. But I was just like, wow, that was like a big lesson as a 13 year old Kid got expelled, learn how to stay quiet and be loyal to your friends. Not mess up, mess things up too bad.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your first name and email address below to receive the biweekly newsletter and periodic updates to help you win financially and professionally.
Get Our Newsletter!
Join our free email community to get our newsletter with actionable tips and interesting reads to help you navigate your finances and career.