Joel Larsgaard & Matt Altmix: Our Top Personal Finance Hacks for Millenials | E282

Joel Larsgaard & Matt Altmix: Our Top Personal Finance Hacks for Millenials | E282

Joel Larsgaard & Matt Altmix: Our Top Personal Finance Hacks for Millenials | E282

While Joel Larsgaard had to watch his parents declare bankruptcy, Matt Altmix grew up in a financially healthy family where money was discussed. They met as adults and became best friends, bonding over real estate investing, personal finance, and craft beer. When they saw a need for a casual personal finance show, they launched How to Money, a podcast that has now been downloaded more than 40 million times over the past few years. In this episode, Joel and Matt share their best tips and tricks for staying ahead of your finances.

Joel Larsgaard is a former senior radio producer on the nationally syndicated Clark Howard Show. In pursuit of his dream to achieve financial freedom, he started working young and now manages a modest real estate portfolio.


Matt Altmix is a former wedding photographer and business owner. Before switching to photography, he worked in the advertising space as a designer. Matt also manages several investment properties.


In this episode, Hala, Joel, and Matt will discuss:

– The origin story of Joel & Matt’s podcast

– Why millennials are saving less

– Spending triggers and how to avoid them

– The 48-hour rule and other tips for curbing impulse buying

– The danger of the ‘buy now, pay later’ system

– How to improve your credit scores

– Tips and tricks to spend less and save more

– Homeownership vs. renting

– And other topics…


Joel Larsgaard is a former senior radio producer on the nationally syndicated Clark Howard Show. He started working young, first mowing lawns, then doing a three-hour shift at the Chick-fil-A across from his high school. He made only $24,000 a year at his first job in radio but saved up 20% to put down on his first house. In pursuit of his dream of achieving financial freedom, he became a part-time landlord with a modest real estate portfolio of seven properties in Atlanta.


Matt Altmix is a former wedding photographer turned full-time podcast host. Before switching to photography, he worked in the advertising space as a designer. While in school, he and his wife shared dreams of starting their own businesses. After they got married, they started Altmix Photography, running it together until Matt decided to focus on podcasting full-time. Matt also manages several investment properties.


Resources Mentioned:

How to Money Website:

How to Money Twitter:


 LinkedIn Secrets Masterclass, Have Job Security For Life:

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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Young and profiteers. Today we are talking all about personal finance because it's super important for us to have our personal finances in order so that we can be young and profiting now. And later on down the line, when we're 80, 90 years old, we don't want to have to keep working. We want to be old and profiting.

We want to make sure that our money that we make now is working for us later. And finance can be pretty boring, which is why I brought on Joel and Matt from the How To Money podcast, because they're all about making personal finance fun. And this is definitely going to be a fun conversation. We're going to talk all about personal financing, how to get into the right money mindset, how to not make money so taboo in terms of our conversations and talking about money with our friends.

We're going to talk about spending, saving hacks, And so much more. So this is going to be a fun conversation. I can't wait for it. So without further ado, Joel and Matt, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast. 

 Thanks for having us. Yeah, we're happy to be here. 

Yeah, I'm psyched for this interview. It's not often that I talk to two people at once, but two is always better than one. You guys are the host of the popular podcast called How to Money. So my first question is, how did you guys meet?

And what was the origin story of this podcast? 

[00:02:45] Matt Altmix: Oh, I'll kick it off. We are best buds, literally. IRL in real life. We are best friends. We met in our neighborhood that my wife and I purchased a home. You and your wife bought there. This is coming up on. We should have a friend aversary like 15 years ago now, right?

It's been a long, long time. And our wives hit it off as well. And we got to be best buds. And gosh, we saw a need. The short answer is, how did we start the podcast? We saw a need in the market for a show that was casual that felt like you're hanging out with. Two dudes who also happened to like craft beer because that's how a lot of our hangs Started it's the two of us were having a craft beer That was one of the things that united us back in the day And we would always find ourselves talking about not only money generally speaking but also real estate investing at the time We were both really ramping that up in both of our lives And so it basically started as a extension of our national friendship.

So that's not a podcast kicked it off. 

[00:03:43] Joel Larsgaard: And it's interesting, too, because Matt says we saw a need. There were so many personal finance podcasts out there. So in some ways, you could say, what need? There's so many people delivering that sort of content. I think there's always room. If you have a viewpoint, if you have a passion, there's always room for you in that space.

And it's something Matt and I thought we had a unique take and a different way of delivering really important content to people so that we could reach a set of folks who might not be interested in yesterday's sort of personal finance content. 

[00:04:13] Hala Taha: Yeah, and I know a big thing that you guys try to do is really make finance fun.

Why was it important for you to try to bring the fun into finance? Because I know you guys are like having beers on the show and just keeping it more casual. 

[00:04:26] Matt Altmix: I will say the early episodes we try to steer folks away from those because we did focus maybe a little too much literally on the beer because we would actually talk about the beer in the first 10 minutes of the episode.

We quickly learned, you know, it's nice to have that there, but let's put that to the back end of the podcast. But. The fun part of it, nobody wants to feel like they're sitting in Ben Stein's personal finance class where you're just sitting there being delivered the facts, because honestly, and we talked about this recently, the actual fundamentals, they're honestly not that difficult, but how can you deliver it in such a way that's engaging, that makes you want to engage with it as opposed to it being something that you feel like you have to do.

I don't know, there should be like this personal finance pinnacle that we're all striving towards as opposed to feeling like this drudgery that we're just bogged down with. 

[00:05:12] Hala Taha: I'm definitely going to talk to you guys about that later because I'm classic ADHD, finance is so boring, all I want to do is just make money and not pay attention to budgeting and all the boring stuff.

So we're going to talk about that. But first I want to talk about working with your friends. So, I had an experience. A while ago where I hired one of my closest friends and she became my stylist. She was like a on site producer and it was a terrible idea. It was terrible. It switched the dynamic. But then on the flip side.

My co workers who are now like on my executive team have become my best friends, but they started first as people who worked for me and then they became my friends and that has worked out. Okay. So just curious, working with your friends. I know you guys are with iHeart. You're definitely monetizing.

So it's not just for fun. It's a business. What's it like working with your friends? 

[00:06:05] Joel Larsgaard: Yes, definitely. It's our full time gig that we do 30 plus hours a week or whatever the two of us, I will say. I think the key for best friends working together is communication, but then the other thing, too, is having different skill sets and having complementary skill sets.

And that is one of the things that has been really, really helpful for us. We both have a passion for the information, but then when it comes to the tasks that each of us engage in, It's night and day the kind of things that we like Matt's very detail oriented. I'm super big picture oriented And so he compliments me in ways like if I was trying to do this on my own I would fall flat on my face and probably vice versa, right?

So like we really do need each other's talents to make it go It's kind of like you have friends and some of your friends, you know would be great travel friends You're like, let's go to the Azores for a week. This is gonna be great But other friends that you have, you're like, I don't think they're the kind of people I can travel with.

It's just a different kind of vibe. You don't get it with them. I think you have to think through the same thing. Maybe they're a great friend, but maybe we shouldn't be in this working relationship. Maybe that's not going to pan out as well. Yeah, I totally agree. Complimentary skill 

[00:07:06] Matt Altmix: sets. That's huge. 

[00:07:07] Hala Taha: And do you guys ever feel like you get sick of each other?

Like, all right, I've been working with you all week. I don't want to hang out with you and go to the pool party this weekend. Do you ever feel that way? 

[00:07:17] Matt Altmix: He gets, he gets that. I don't get that. Joel's like an extrovert to the max. He's a maximalist when it comes to social hangs, friends. I truly do get energized by being out and seeing folks.

It's just, I'm kind of a lazy extrovert. I'm not always going to initiate stuff, but when I get out there, man, I'm pumped. It's fun. I'm like shutting it down. I have to kind of get pulled away because the babysitter is trying to, you know, whatever. So I do feed off of the energy from hanging out with folks.

It's just, I also want to do other stuff. I want to be able to sit by myself and read some, I want to be able to go for a run by myself. I want to go get my workout and I want to. Organize my garage. You know, like they're like boring dad stuff that I want to do. How I was like, what are you talking about?


[00:08:04] Hala Taha: these things need to get done. Well, it sounds like you guys have a great working relationship and you figured out how to make it work for you. Both. I interview a lot of financial experts. And what I find is that usually people who dedicate their entire life to personal finance and teaching people about it tend to have some sort of trauma as a kid.

With money or something that really impacted them that made them say, I'm never going to be broke. This is never going to happen to me or my family. So I'm sure you guys have some sort of that with your lives. So why don't we start with Joel? 

[00:08:38] Joel Larsgaard: Therapy session time, Paula. I'm ready. I'm ready. Let's do this.

And it's true. It's funny. Matt and I actually have really different backgrounds too with how we came to be obsessed with personal finance or interested in it, at least probably obsessed. For me, it did stem from some trauma. My parents. Seriously, they're like my heroes. I look up to them. I want to be like my dad more than anybody else in this world, but he wasn't great with money.

And my mom wasn't great with money either. And so there were some significant issues that they came into. There were a lot of money fights at one point when I was about 12 years old, my parents declared bankruptcy. And after that, they had just bought this brand new Dodge Durango. And I still remember that it was going to be repossessed.

But we didn't know when that was going to happen. And so it was like this cloud hanging over our head. And finally, one morning the car was gone. It was out of the driveway. And so I just remember as a kid that hit me, I was like, I don't want to ever argue with my future spouse about money. I don't ever want to have these clouds hanging over my head where I feel like they're shifting sand that I'm standing on all the time.

And I don't think money is the end all be all solution to all problems, but my goodness, I at least want that not to be some sort of problem that I'm constantly facing in my life. So. It was this pivot moment for me as a child going through that. And I think it's funny. I had an older sister and a younger sister, and I think both of them, my older sister was off chasing boys.

My younger sister was like too young to really understand it. But for me, it left an indelible mark even more than it did for them. 

[00:10:03] Hala Taha: And so interesting to think about. What age you were at and what stage in life you were in and why it impacted you so much. What about you, Matt? 

[00:10:11] Matt Altmix: Boring story. I've got nothing.

I mean, I grew up, I would say in a great household that was, I would say, dare I say fortunate as far as my upbringing and money, it was talked about well, the prioritization of giving money away. So that was pretty high as well. The models that were set before me as far as how do I come into money? Oh, you have to work for it.

These are the sort of patterns that were laid out. And so I've, I'm certainly fortunate in that way. And so when it came to getting more into personal finance, it was more out of necessity. It was my wife and soon to be wife combining our finances and realizing, Oh man, this isn't something we've really talked about before.

And we were about to get married actually. And we were going to premarital counseling. And I realized enough at that point in life to know that, man, this needs to be something we're talking about. And we weren't talking about it in those little sessions. And so for me, it was, We got to find some shared language.

We need to read some books. We need to go to a a live money sort of conference where they're talking about these kind of things. And luckily she was totally game. She thought I was super nerdy, but it really helped us to get on the same page so that when we did have these discussions around money, A, we're speaking the same language, but we were able to quickly identify some of the different goals.

That we had for ourselves and for us, some of those early goals where we were fortunate to not have any debt. We both graduated student loan free. So for us, it was launching an initial business that we both knew that we wanted to be a part of that. We wanted to basically work together. So essentially, that was how it all started.

I sort of entered into the personal finance space. It was more out of necessity, taking some financial risks, realizing that if we don't have things buttoned up, how are we going to pay rent? How are we going to put food on the table? And then slowly kind of ramping it up from there. 

[00:12:00] Hala Taha: Yeah. Let me dig deeper on that because talking about money is so taboo at work.

People don't talk about money. Even couples don't talk about money. Families don't talk about money. People don't talk to, especially their kids about money. That's like a really weird thing to do as a parent. I think a lot of the times. So why is it so taboo? Like, why do you feel like people don't have these conversations and what's your recommendation in terms of the cadence of conversations and the type of conversations you should have?

[00:12:27] Matt Altmix: Well, I'll say the first thing you should ask all your friends is how much they make and how much they have invested. That's right. Let's start with Paula here. Let's say, you 

[00:12:35] Joel Larsgaard: know, so often it's because there's so much shame in regards to money. People feel shame in regards to how they handle money. It wasn't talked about growing up in the only way you hear about money oftentimes is in a negative context.

And then compound, maybe even some religious traditions. I think some things have become misinterpreted over the years and it's money is the root of all evil when it's not, it's the love of money. That's right. Yeah. So it's even just a misinterpretation of that original passage or whatever. But I think people feel that deeply and they don't have the tools.

I think personal finance education is just about to be required in half of the states. But when we were growing up, that wasn't the case. And so you didn't get any formal education. Your parents probably didn't talk about it much. And when you ask questions, they kind of like poo pooed it like, Hey, it's not okay to talk about money.

What are you doing? Why are you trying to broach the subject when you're just curious as a kid, you're very curious. And so I think we need to let that curiosity flow. And we actually need to lean into with kids. We need to start those conversations early and young. It doesn't have to be. Here's how much I make.

Here's our net worth. It doesn't have to get that serious. But like my little dude, he's four years old. We gave him a piggy bank the other day. He just likes putting the coins in it. It's like, how can we create a familiarity with money? And then we're planning a family vacation. How can we talk about, well, why do we choose this hotel over this one?

This one costs less money. Are we going to go to Disney or not? Because that's a really expensive trip. Those are the kind of conversations that we can have and maybe don't make it shameful about what we can't afford it. Right. I hate that cop out. Actually, we're choosing to do other things with our money that are really important to our family, too.

So I think it's important to have those discussions instead of shutting down the conversation or making it sound like we can't go to McDonald's tonight because it's too expensive and we can't afford it. That just feels like, okay, I'm just going to shut up and stop asking questions. Right. And as the kid, you feel out of place.

And so, no, you want to welcome those questions, welcome those conversations, but you also, you want to make sure you're encouraging them. 

[00:14:26] Hala Taha: I really like the fact that you're saying switch the dynamic of the messaging. It's not that we can't afford it. We have other priorities. And I think that's really healthy for kids because as a kid, if you hear, I can't afford, I can't afford, then you have this, Oh, money's so hard to get.

Money's so hard to achieve. Life is not abundant, but if you switch it as priorities, that's such a healthier way to learn about money as a kid. 

[00:14:48] Matt Altmix: The ability to second that was important because I think a lot of folks, they latch onto the, Oh, we can't afford that. And it's sort of like emotional, psychological cover for not spending money as opposed to choosing and being proactive with your money and how it is that you want to divert your funds.

That's huge. But the same model that Joel laid out when it comes to how it is, we talk about money with our kids, that's the same thing we can do with our friends as well in the workplace and just folks we know in the neighborhoods, just. Cool. You can start topical and oh man, you got the new, whatever.

We're talking recently about the Lexus GX. It looks freaking dope. And there's no way that either one of us are going to shitload the money to do that. But if someone does, okay, you start having that conversation. What's financing look like on that thing? You start at a more superficial surface level, and then you can slowly dig in deeper because I mean, money is an integral part of how we're able to, to Live and how we afford the things we do and how we choose to spend our time.

And so it seems like such a wasted opportunity to never talk about it. Again, you can't dive right into what's your savings rate? No, because that's just a little too much. You can't pry. I think people 

[00:15:57] Joel Larsgaard: are dying to talk about it, too. It is taboo and they're like, why? And then they feel like they can't broach this subject.

And it's the thing. It's the tool that we have to use every single day of our lives. Essentially, right? The money. It's a shame that it's a taboo because I think everybody really does want to get it out from under the shadows. They want to have discussions. They've got lots of questions about money, right?

But we've made it taboo and wrong and out of place to ask those questions. we're doing a disservice to people being able to grow and thrive and even ask about making more money. That's something you talk about a lot, Hala. And why is that not okay to want to make more money? And then we can talk about great things to do with it too, that are beautiful for your family, your community, for nonprofits that you love.

There's all sorts of great things you can do with money. And when we make money out to be the bad guy, it's really wrong for him. It really negatively impacts so many people. 

[00:16:46] Hala Taha: Yeah, and I know older generations and immigrant parents are really weird about talking about how much money they make. I know for a fact, like my mom on this podcast, I'll be like, Oh, I had a masterclass grand, blah, blah.

She's like, stop telling people how much money you make. It's rude. It's braggy. And I'm just like, but I'm trying to teach people that it's possible that you could be a female entrepreneur and make money. So like, what are your thoughts on that? Could it come off as braggy? If you're talking about your success in money or how do you feel like people should think about that?

[00:17:20] Matt Altmix: I think it depends on your relationship with that individual. Right? And so for you, whether it's on a podcast or whether it's being interviewed with somebody else, if they feel like they know you, I think it's fine to share things. And I don't know, so much of it comes down to the individual too. It's just like someone who creates content, any content creator, whether you're a writer, there's a lot of talk about, well, how do you interpret things that were written in the past?

And. just how the ideas of what's acceptable has changed over time. And to a certain extent, you can't, you can't worry about that too much. But, uh, I think so much of it comes down to relationship and the relationship you have with that individual, if specifically, if you're talking to somebody one on one.

And that's why I think, you know, I think, you know, It's so important to engage with folks around you. It's so important to talk about money in a way that feels normal as opposed to, let's say, if that's the first time you ever talked about money with a friend. It's just like, why are you telling me this?

This isn't something we ever talk about. And all of a sudden you're talking about just how well you've done. But if it's something that's already a part of the lexicon of your friendship, then all of a sudden it's totally normal. And I think it's totally cool. 

[00:18:25] Hala Taha: That makes sense. So how long ago did you guys start your show, your podcast?

[00:18:30] Joel Larsgaard: Almost six years ago now, I guess. Yeah. Right around six years ago, yeah. 

[00:18:33] Hala Taha: Oh, we started same time. We started same time, 2018 ish. 

[00:18:36] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. 

[00:18:38] Hala Taha: So we started around the same time. That's really interesting. Did it take off right away? Did it take a couple years? What was your growth like as a podcast?

[00:18:46] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah, a lot of growth happened. It's like slow and steady. And our philosophy early on was, let's be AAA at this. If we have to put in the time to be Major League, we don't have the time for that right now. We have day jobs, we have family, but we can't be single A. We can't just be complete bums here. We have to really amp up our game because we think we can create something great.

But in the beginning, the major league production was just out of the question. We didn't have the ability to actually pull that off. So AAA was kind of our mindset. We worked really hard to be consistent, to put a great product, but real thought into the episodes we were creating. So they'd be helpful.

They'd be distinct. They'd be different than a lot of the other podcasts out there on the market. And so we began to develop our tribe. That's when we caught iHeart's attention. And they were like, Hey, We're looking for a personal finance podcast over here. What do you think you guys want to come on? And that's really when the growth started to accelerate.

They certainly had a big megaphone and they turned it on, which really helped us find even more of our audience. 

[00:19:43] Hala Taha: Oh, they helped you grow your show. That's awesome. Yeah, 

[00:19:45] Joel Larsgaard: for sure. I don't know 

[00:19:46] Hala Taha: if you guys know this. I have a podcast network. 

[00:19:49] Matt Altmix: Yes. And it's actually 

[00:19:51] Hala Taha: the number one business and self improvement podcast network.

I signed Jenna Kutcher and Amy Porterfield and John Lee Dumas and Trent Shelton. So if iHeart doesn't work out, you guys have a home here. For sure. At Yap Media. So what do you guys have? Just curious. You have a guarantee at iHeart? Is that your structure with them? 

[00:20:07] Matt Altmix: We don't talk about this often.

Obviously, we don't talk about it. Well, I shouldn't say obviously. I'm sure there's plenty of personal finance shows where they do kind of dive into more than nuts and bolts, like a state of the union, but for a podcast on the back end. For our show, we do tend to focus on The day to day personal finance stuff.

We re signed with them for another couple of years. So, you know, we can talk to you about the beginning of 2026. That's right. That's right. But, uh, but yes, they've gotten, I'll 

[00:20:32] Hala Taha: be in 2020. I'm just, 

[00:20:34] Matt Altmix: honestly, we, we negotiated down from, I think they wanted three plus years and we're like, 

[00:20:39] Hala Taha: how about a long time or two or 

[00:20:41] Matt Altmix: even less?

And we were, we're willing to say, yeah, we'll probably do this for the next couple of years for sure. Cause I don't know. We love it. Yeah, that's, that's the thing when you, when you have something that you love to do. Like at this point, it's hard for us to envision doing anything else. Joel, he literally lives two miles that way.

I live two miles that way. We both either ride our bikes and you can see on the video here, this isn't a fancy spot. We rent a carriage house behind old hundred year old home here in our little town. We call it our clubhouse. We just hang out. We get to read about personal finance. We record episodes and hopefully put helpful content out there for folks to better their financial standing, but it fits in with the lifestyle we want to live.

[00:21:21] Hala Taha: Podcasting is awesome. I brought that up because I want people to understand that podcasting is really a business. All three of us have been doing this for six years. We built our shows to a certain amount. We were consistent. It takes time. This is not like a flash pan. You're going to make a lot of money, but if you're consistent with podcasting, It really is a cash cow, especially right now.

So congratulations on all your success of your show. You mentioned you're doing it full time. I know that previously you guys had your own gigs going on. You guys were on radio and photography, I believe. So are you doing this full time? This is your only gig or you guys got other things going on? 

[00:21:59] Matt Altmix: Full time.

Yeah, I believe we both invest in real estate. So like I mentioned, I guess earlier, we're kind of small time mom and pop style landlords. But other than that, this is where we pour most of our efforts. And that's not to say, and Joel kind of hinted at how much time we are giving it, it is our full time gig, but we're past the stage where it's so important to us that we're working nights and weekends.

We give ourselves a pretty dang posh schedule and like we're living the kind of lifestyle that we want to live right now. Joel's got three kids. I've got four. We've got other priorities within our community, other things that we want to do with our time now. And so the ability for us to come in here, work hard while we're here for sure.

But at the same time, know that, all right, I'm going to get out of here. I'm going to go spend some time with my family. That's what I want to do. That's 

[00:22:44] Joel Larsgaard: what a lot of people want too, right? And you can get caught up and consumed in growth, growth, growth, and you can have dollar signs over your eyeballs.

And it is a wonderful thing to make money and to work towards increasing your income. But it is another thing to be content with what you've achieved and actually begin to dial back a little bit too and just enjoy some of the fruits of your labor. So I think it's a really important message that we don't talk about very much in the personal finance community.

It's usually grind, grind, grind, get it, hustle. And there might be a season for that and a necessity for that to a certain degree, but then also maybe be willing to dial it back at some point when you've got other things that matter just as much. And that money gives you the flexibility to do that, right?

[00:23:20] Hala Taha: I love the fact that you just called it out. There's seasons for doing that. And sometimes you might need to take four years, nose to the ground, which sounds like we all did it, to grow your show. And then now you've got this huge audience that you can monetize and do other things to your point, hang out with your family, hang out with the community, have your own life, cause life is not just about work.

 So let's get into actually meat and potatoes finance things. You guys are really big advocates for having a why behind your money. So talk to me about why that's so important to have. 

[00:24:03] Matt Altmix: I would say if we're only looking at the nuts and bolts of personal finance and of money, what we're going to create and what we're going to turn into are a bunch of practitioners who know the right things to do, but then when the slightest little speed bumps comes along in our journey, it completely derails us.

Or. Maybe there aren't any speed bumps. Maybe there are very few hurdles. Maybe you're just, you are really talented at what it is that you do. In fact, you're a great practitioner of personal finances and some of the different tools and steps necessary to grow your net worth. Maybe you get to the end.

Holla, what's great about how we've gotten to be professionals. We're not talking about podcasting here. We're talking about careers. When you do something for hours a day, weeks, years, and even decades, you're going to get really good at something. And the temptation oftentimes is to continue to do that thing without really looking up and figuring out where you are, what it is that you're striving after.

And that's when you arrive at the end of a career, at the end of a stint at a company. And you're thinking, what am I doing with my life? What am I doing with my time? Do I want to be doing this? Do I find this fulfilling anymore? Or is it just typically in your 50s when you start asking that 

[00:25:14] Joel Larsgaard: question too, 

[00:25:15] Matt Altmix: right?

Yeah. on our show, we always, we call it the craft beer equivalent. What is it that you're spending money on right now in addition to being smart with your money and investing for the future, but there are small things in the here and now that help remind us as to why it is that we're being smart with our money because it's so important to help sustain us.

whether it's overcoming some of those obstacles in the moment or knowing why it is that you're seeking after pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

[00:25:43] Joel Larsgaard: There's this fancy psychological term called mimetic desire. And it basically means that so much of what we desire is based on what we see other people doing.

And it could be just the most basic example. I've got kids, so I see this all the time, something as stupid as a little 2 rubber ball. It could be unplayed with for months. One kid finds it and then everybody wants it, right? It's the dumbest thing. Why do you guys want this all of a sudden? And then the first kid says, I'm not interested anymore.

All of a sudden, nobody's interested in that ball. And we're like that as adults. It's amazing. We haven't lost some of that. That's the keeping up with the Joneses sort of belief, right? That we, oh, my neighbor got a brand new car. All of a sudden, my four year old car doesn't seem as fancy, as nice anymore, as posh.

I should upgrade too. And when we're basing our response and we're living life and we're spending money by reflecting what other people are doing, we're not actually working towards achieving our own goals that we've intrinsically come up with. And I think when we come up with that, why, when we say sit down with our spouse or ourselves, if we're single and just say, What is it that I care about?

What is it that we want to achieve? Do we really want to retire at 42 or what is it that we want money to do for us? Then you can funnel your money appropriately instead of just funneling it into the ways that most people do the stock American lifestyle. You're going to be happier because you're making those decisions on purpose instead of making them by default by osmosis for taking in the classic American lifestyle that most people are doing.

[00:27:08] Hala Taha: To me, that makes a lot of sense. Setting a vision so that you can actually manifest what you want, make the right decisions, not be making decisions to your point based on the Joneses next door and what they're doing. And if you don't know what you want, you're never going to achieve it. So it makes total sense.

So a big part of this. for families and things like that is creating a budget. Now, I brought this up earlier. I am like, total entrepreneur, always creating new offers, just making money, making money, making money. And I never think about budgeting. I just make more money. I literally don't have a budget. I have zero debt.

I'm doing good, but I don't think about a budget. Now, to me, it's really boring. How can we make budgeting more fun and not feel like it's, like, restrictive? 

[00:27:54] Matt Altmix: Joel's just patting me on the back over here because I'm more of the budget guy. Hala, I'll say first off that I think if that's working for you, that's totally fine.

I don't think that you, in particular, needs a budget because If you've got a system in place, if you are predisposed to work in a certain way and that's working for you, I think that that can be an excellent way for someone to go through life. You're 

[00:28:16] Joel Larsgaard: fueling yourself first and you're investing regularly and you've got no debt.

You've got good patterns and good behaviors. 

[00:28:21] Matt Altmix: You're living healthy and you don't need to put your nose in this. It's working out. But you also seem to be more of an outlier. I would say that you are great at launching things. You're quite entrepreneurial. And a lot of folks aren't. A lot of folks, they're more in the middle.

And so when it comes to making a budget, it's a way for them, when you've got perhaps scarcer resources, that you got to find a way to allocate those in a way, like Joel said, that aligns with your values. And that's all a budget is. People look at it as more of something that keeps you from living life.

This is one of the conversations that my wife and I had before we got married and we were talking about budgeting. And in fact, it's not keeping you from life, but it's sort of you proactively saying, this is how we're going to spend our money. We recently talked about how it's almost like a journal or a diary, but for your money, there's a whole lot of attention right now being paid towards mindfulness.

I think that's great. And oftentimes journaling and being reflective is a big part of that thinking through yourself, your life, how you feel. How it is you want to spend your time. That's what a budget is, but for your money budget, it's, it's numbers. In my mind, it's the diary equivalent, but for your finances.

And so the ability to decide where you're going to spend your money on purpose, as opposed to you accidentally spending your money, I think simply that's what a budget is. 

[00:29:42] Joel Larsgaard: Where the rubber meets the road. Most people don't know what they're spending. They don't know where their money is going. When you look at the numbers about subscriptions and stuff in this country, everything runs on subscription now, right?

And the average person assumes they're spending, I don't know, like a hundred bucks a month on subscriptions. And what they're actually spending is like 230 a month on subscriptions. And so it's that difference between what you think you're doing and there's extra money falling out the bottom for stuff that you don't actually care about.

And this happens all the time. Eating out has surpassed groceries. We used to spend two times the amount on groceries that we spend eating out. Now we spend more eating out than we do on groceries. I like eating out as much as the next person, but do it knowing the consequences, because the average meal that you pay for eating out of 16 bucks, the average meal cooked at home is four bucks.

And so what is it that you want? Do you want the down payment for the house or do you love eating out more than that? And it's okay to make either one of those choices as long as you're doing it with your eyes wide open and budgeting I think helps you do that. 

[00:30:39] Hala Taha: This reminds me of a conversation I had with Ramit Sethi and he talks about money dials and deciding what your dials are, where you're going to spend most of your money.

And it's okay. Some people want to spend it on designer bags. Some people want to spend it on vacation. Some people want to spend it on food. There's no right or wrong. Way to spend your money. It's your preferences, right? So I read an article, actually had a lot of stats about millennials that were really depressing.

It said 95 percent of millennials are saving less than the recommended amount. I think most of my listeners are millennials and we're not that young anymore. We're in our thirties. Some of them early forties, even. 

[00:31:16] Matt Altmix: That's La Sala. We're the geriatric millennials, right? 

[00:31:19] Hala Taha: Oh, I'm like middle millennial, you know?

Why do you guys think that we're unable to save or like our mindset is not there? What do you think is the blockers of us? Because I think it's a lot of mindset of why we're not saving 

[00:31:33] Joel Larsgaard: I think there's a lot of mindset because when you look at the numbers and we had Jean Twenge on our podcast not too long ago.

She is the foremost expert of generational differences And early on, it looked like millennials were behind the eight ball when it came to their finances. But current data shows that millennials are actually doing quite well when it comes to income. So the problem is, compared to previous generations at this stage in their life.

That's right. So millennials are doing better than you might think they are. And our culture is in like a dumeristic space. It's like, why would I even invest for tomorrow when tomorrow is going to be crap? Or why would I start saving? Because everything's going to hell in a handbasket. Of course, if you're nihilistic, why are you saving and investing?

If you don't think that there's a brighter tomorrow. And I think that there are things to be concerned about. I'm not Pollyanna. I'm not of the belief that everything is always getting better. But would you rather transport in a time capsule back to any other period in human history in any other place?

Most people, if asked that in a rational context, would say no. There's a reason people try to get into this country, for the most part, and not leave it, even though some people talk about it. So, I do think we have to change our perspective, we have to realize that We can, we have more control over our future than we think.

And even a small percentage or two that's allocated extra into savings or investing those little things, those small cuts, and then those small increases to saving and investing over time, when you understand the power of compounding returns, it makes a difference, but you have to start with that mindset that I can do that.

And that there's a reason to do it. 

[00:33:03] Hala Taha: I love that. I feel like for me, I should do like an app where I make myself look really old, put it on my refrigerator or something and be like, save for her because she's not going to be able to work on the computer 24 7 when she's 90 years old and can't see. 

[00:33:16] Matt Altmix: Have you done that with some of the different face apps before?

Because Joel and I have. You have? Hey, it's frightening. But, uh, But yes, I mean, we literally did that as a, It's just kind of fun to see what you might look like as an 80 year old, but also just to put you in touch with that future version of you, especially when you go into debt. Well, we haven't even talked about that, but just mindless spending the inability to save that money and stock it aside and invest in the market you're stealing from future you.

And so when you have a tangible image of yourself as an older person, for some folks who are more visual, I think it can be an incredible tool to help you to see that no, no, no, no, no. This isn't for tomorrow you to figure out, that's not a separate person, even though it feels like somebody that's completely removed, that is you and you're going to be dealing with the consequences of the actions or inactions that you're taking today.

[00:34:07] Hala Taha: I totally agree. And you guys were just talking about the importance of the little decisions that add up the compounding effect. So let's talk about mindful spending because I know you guys have a lot of hacks about this. What are some ways that we can become less impulsive with our spending and make better decisions?

[00:34:24] Joel Larsgaard: Delete TikTok off your phone and Instagram. It would be some truth to that, right? I mean, we would all be better if we did. There really is. Because, 

[00:34:31] Matt Altmix: I mean, you're talking about the memetic effects of psychology, and that has so much more to do with it than I think we even realize. Because we see it in, you know, Very obvious ways when you've got tiktok shop and Stanley water bottle and you've got ads being pushed to you and I'm like, Oh, I didn't know I needed those shorts, but I'm going to buy those.

So those are obvious forms. But even just the way we consume social media as opposed to actually relating with one another, you see things and you think, Oh, that's something I need to include. Oh, that's something I need to buy. As opposed to living more in community and interacting face to face and having real relationship.

In my mind, that becomes less of a priority a because you're just focused on more important things when you're hanging out with somebody as opposed to, oh, I like the way that jacket looks on on him or, oh, man, her shoes are those look awesome. Maybe I need a pair of those. We joke about social media, but I really don't.

And I don't want to be like the old, you know, like this old guy who's like, Oh, you got to delete the apps. But it's so freaking true. It's so true. 

[00:35:32] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah. And piggybacking on that, I do think serving somebody else. It's kind of crazy. It sounds really weird. But I think it takes your mind off yourself. And I think so much of the time we are more preoccupied with ourselves.

We don't hang out with other people. There's new stats about how much in person hangs teens have these days. And it's dropped dramatically communicating in nameless, faceless ways. We're communicating with potatoes on Twitter or whatever that little fake thing is. You know, I mean, there's fake profiles.

We're engaging with ridiculous things and the more face to face, interaction we have and the more we're able to get out of our own needs and wants and desires and able to See what somebody else needs. I think it's really helpful And just one of the practical thing is institute like a 48 hour rule, right?

So you see something you want and you're like, oh i'm pretty sure I need that or really really want that We'll have like a word doc for something like that put it in there and then say Every Saturday morning, I'm going to check and see what I put in there that week. I guarantee you a lot of those things you won't want to purchase anymore.

It was in the moment. It was impulsive. It felt like it was going to be so rewarding. And you're like, I don't even think I like that color anymore. So putting it on a delay cycle can really help you prevent those impulse purchases, which really mess up our 

[00:36:42] Matt Altmix: budgets. A big part of resisting some of that too, is being surrounded by folks who share the same values as you.

This is going back to the whole community aspect, but like I was talking about the new Lexus earlier and Joel and I, we like talking about cars, especially since we moved out of the city up into the burbs, cars are more a part of your life. But we almost make it a game to A, talk about the latest. Cool car.

That's kind of caught our eye, but then we embrace the hardship and the suck of having to run home in the rain. Literally Joel rode home in the middle of a thunder. Maybe the thunderstorm wasn't the smartest thing to embrace, but there are ways to change how it is that you think about something and all of a sudden it goes from being this thing that, Oh my gosh, someone else sees you and they feel bad for you.

They're sad that you have to deal with this. And you're like, no, no, no. I see this as something that's like making me stronger. This is something I want to do. And you can almost gamify it. I'm not saying that goading each other into making better decisions that are going to benefit us over the longterm.

And sometimes there's small things in the here. Every Monday we walk to our local coffee shop. Joel cortado. We catch up because sometimes we see each other over the weekends. Sometimes we don't going back to the whole. We need space, even though we're best friends, comment you made earlier. We're getting the nice coffee.

I'll walk out of there with like a 22 bag of heirloom coffee from Japan or something like that. And so there are small ways that you can splurge and treat yourself now, but at the same time avoiding some of the biggest things that set you back. And there's a reason why we're highlighting vehicles because that's, it's the second largest line item on people's budgets.

And when you make a mistake, when it comes to buying a vehicle and you're financing it and, oh, by the way, that's a. Well, that's I like that truck. Yeah, it's an 75, 000 vehicle. I guess I'll do the eight year payment 

[00:38:34] Joel Larsgaard: cycle so much money. 

[00:38:37] Matt Altmix: And so think about all the small things that don't even matter if you make this one big mistake when it comes to your finances.

[00:38:44] Hala Taha: I love the 48 hour rule. I have to say that I've been doing that a bit. I do a lot of shopping, right? I'm always paid. I'm an influencer. I have to go to conferences and do photo shoots. So I'm always looking for clothes and it's a lot of money. And lately I've been just like leaving it in my cart and then I'll come back two days, three days later.

And I'm like, what was I thinking? This is so ugly. Like, I don't even like this. So to your point, I think that's really helpful. Another tip that I saw that you guys had Is actually really interesting, which is trying to figure out how many hours you need to work to afford that thing. I love that tip. 

[00:39:20] Joel Larsgaard: It puts it in this other context.

It's not just numbers floating out of your bank account. It's hours that you've got to go into the office, especially if you don't like your job or you don't like your manager. This is a great way to think about it because you're like, Hmm, all of a sudden that dress or that new sweater or whatever it was.

Or the new bike that you want to buy anything that you want to consume figure out what's my hourly rate And how many hours of work does this cost me? It just puts it in this new context It makes it feel more visceral just like spending with cash oftentimes can feel more visceral than spending with the credit card We like credit cards nothing against credit cards In fact, you can get amazing rewards with credit cards if you use them wisely and you never carry a balance But thinking about what you're buying and doing the calculations, it's really quick It'll take two seconds Wait, buying this coffee is going to cost me a quarter of an hour of work or whatever it is, you know, willing to make that trade off, right?

Exactly. You're like, cool, 15 minutes of my time for this delicious coffee for the next two weeks. That's totally worth it. 

[00:40:17] Matt Altmix: It definitely opens your eyes in a different way. I like what you said. It changes the context. It reframes it from something that is limitless. Truly, there's no limit to the amount of money holla that you might earn in your lifetime, but there is a limit to the number of years and days that you're going to live.

And so when you make that transition from something that is Limitless that grows exponentially that can compound down to something. Like you said, that's incredibly visceral where the clock's ticking. Oh man, it's so much grittier. And that truly is where the rubber meets the road. 

[00:40:50] Hala Taha: Yeah. Now I had an ex boyfriend who spent way too much money.

Always wore Balenciaga. He wore the most expensive stuff. 

[00:40:58] Joel Larsgaard: Was he spending it on you though? 

[00:41:00] Hala Taha: He was spending it on me. 

[00:41:02] Joel Larsgaard: Okay. He was 

[00:41:03] Hala Taha: spending it on me, but I can afford my own stuff. Like I have my own designer problem, but he was really bad and he used to have the opposite strategy. He'd be like, okay, I'm buying this 2, 000 backpack.

If I wear it for two years, that means it's only going to cost 2. 75 a day. For the next two years if I wear this back and that's how he would decide everything that we do Oh if we buy this thing and you wear it for a year It's only three dollars a day and I'm like, this is death by a thousand cuts 

[00:41:30] Matt Altmix: He's created his own buy now pay later, right scenario where he's putting his entire life on payments as opposed to saving up and Well, he it sounds like hopefully he wasn't going into debt for that.

But man, yeah, that's That's absolutely what we try to avoid. 

[00:41:43] Joel Larsgaard: You mentioned buy now pay later. That's become so nefarious and it's not that even the way the system is set up is screwing you. It's your own psychology that's putting you over a barrel with buy now pay later. Because with credit cards, if you don't pay the bill at the end of the month, you're charged an exorbitant rate of interest.

With Buy Now Pay Later, you paid off before using installments, you don't ever pay any interest. But when you look at the stats, it's so nefarious. People that use Buy Now Pay Later, the shopping cart is so much larger. People are spending more every time they use it. They're buying stuff they didn't actually need.

Or maybe I'll throw that in there too. Because, well, when you chalk it up to four payments, it's almost nothing, right? And that's how we're bankrupting our futures. That's how we don't have enough money to save and invest. And we're trading the things that we can acquire in the here and now. And losing future freedom.

[00:42:26] Hala Taha: I know another big part of overspending is these triggers that people have. Everybody has their own triggers of what gets them to spend money. So can you talk to us about some of these triggers and how we can avoid them? 

[00:42:36] Matt Altmix: For me, it's honestly being faced with the actual ad. I like, I'll, I'll admit I'm not a big spender, but if I see something, and I think because I so rarely quote unquote splurge on myself, I oftentimes will find myself going down these paths where I'm spending money.

I don't, yeah, what do you think about triggers, Joel? I think typically, 

[00:43:00] Joel Larsgaard: for me, it's something for my family or whatever, and I'm more willing to spend on those things. And I'm kind of like you, Hala, where I have a sweet financial buffer, right? And I'm living life below my means. But then when it comes to something that gets presented like a camp right now, we're talking about summer camps for the kids.

And it's like, well, some of those things are crazy expensive. I'm like, we have the money, so let's do it. But sometimes a lack of money actually forces you to be more creative. And I think sometimes the way we I've been able to build up savings over time has made me be less creative. And I actually kind of missed that.

I kind of missed that impulse. The scrappiness. Yeah. Yeah. The scrappiness of youth and not having enough. And so I think that's probably what triggers me to spend is like, well, we have the money. Okay, let's do it. Why not? When we probably could find another way to skin that cat. 

[00:43:50] Matt Altmix: I'm thinking of other examples where folks oftentimes, if they're, for instance, stressed at work or they have a hard day or something like that, oftentimes that is the trigger for them to kind of remove themselves from that situation.

You do your online shopping, traditionally go for a walk in the mall, something like that. It's like treat yourself. Yeah. Yeah. I deserve it. Right. Take it back to Aziz. But the ability to, I think, find alternatives to that and replace those behaviors with something that you know is a little healthier, whether it's healthier for your wallet, or you can also couple it with something else that you know is healthier, healthier for your body, like going for a walk, calling up a friend where, hey, this is something you've talked about before.

So all of a sudden. Now you're accountability partners and you're like, man, I had such a hard day. I want to go and get whatever purse that I have an eye in that I found myself gravitating towards during my lunch in that way. I'm like hammering home the whole community best friends. 

[00:44:48] Hala Taha: No, but it's so true.

That's what I think about too. Like, I feel like a lot of the triggers is really just like jealousy of other people. Right. And like what they have and wanting to have that. Even though Ramit Sethi, for example, he's always talking about money dials and he says it's not right or wrong if you want to buy really expensive things, but if you're buying really designer expensive things, it's really probably like an insecurity issue at the root of it that you need to figure out how to be more whole, feel like you have more purpose, because otherwise you're just going to keep spending and spending and spending and you're never going to spend enough to buy happiness.

[00:45:24] Matt Altmix: That's how six figure earners live paycheck to paycheck because They are making the same mistakes that somebody fresh out of college might, but they're doing it with additional zeros at the end of the expense. Simultaneously. I don't think it's up to us to judge what it is that other folks want to spend money on as long as you're doing it intentionally.

But that is, I think what you're saying there's, there's a kernel of truth there, and that's when it comes to quote unquote, conspicuous consumption. And there's no additional value being provided by this product. It's not like you can put your finger on it and say, Oh, well, this has a lifetime warranty that I'm willing to pay a little bit more for that.

Oh, this is made with. Full grain leather as opposed to plastic or something, you know, it's like, okay, there are actual physical attributes associated with that. But beyond that, you get to a certain point in a signaling, in a signaling, you're buying it for the name. You're buying it because it's the latest, greatest, hottest thing.

You mentioned stainly water cups or whatever it's like, even though they fall over and leak everywhere. They're actually terrible cups, but they come in two colors and everyone's posting them. That's the slippery slope when it comes to luxury spending. Spending in ways that doesn't necessarily lead to additional utility.

[00:46:28] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah, there's a line from Fight Club. We're buying things to impress people that we don't even like. And I think that is a sad but true kind of reality of human existence is that oftentimes We are creatures that signal things to other people and it's okay. They're like, you want to signal something's like, Hey, guess what?

I brush my teeth every day. Right? Like that's a nice thing to signal to people. They actually, maybe you might want to have a conversation with you then. But then there are other ways in which we're signaling and we're doing like a distinct harm to ourselves financially in the process of that signaling.

And so that's where coming back to that why it's like so crucial. What is it that you want? What is it that you want? Because I guarantee you when you dial it back at the end of the day, there are ways that you wish your life was different. Going back to like my family, my mom didn't want to have to work.

That would have been her end all be all goal is to not have to work and be home with the kids more. I was a little hellion, so I don't know why that's what she wanted, but that was what she wanted, right? It was hard to achieve because of the spending habits they had in place and because they didn't have extra income coming from my dad having a more baller job or something like that, right?

But you can figure out how to actually get to the place you want to go. Everything, though, in this life involves trade offs. And so, for my mom to be able to stay home, it would have meant, Reducing spending and my dad probably getting a different job, right? It would have meant those things, but you have to come to grips with those things.

What is it that you really want? And do you actually want the fancy designer stuff or do you want more time optionality? Do you want more control over your days? Do you want to go work in an industry maybe that you even pays you less? For some people, that's the thing. It's like I'm working in this high 200 K job, but my goodness, I'd be so much happier if I went over to work here, but my lifestyle is so expensive that I can't afford to take a pay cut right now.

Okay. What is it that you actually want though? That's what you really have to wrestle with. 

[00:48:08] Hala Taha: Totally. My advice to my listeners out there is how can you build your confidence? Aside from buying things, is it acquiring new skills? Is it building your community to your point? Is it giving back? How do you build your confidence aside from buying really expensive things?

Okay, let's talk about money sucks. What are some of the common money sucks that you feel people are encountering that they don't even realize how big of a money suck this is? 

[00:48:34] Matt Altmix: Well, we already talked vehicles one, right? Yeah. I mean, we 

[00:48:37] Hala Taha: cars 

[00:48:37] Matt Altmix: will send me and you touched on subscriptions because what's so great about technology is that it allows us to do some amazing things, things that we never thought was possible.

But when that technology is then used against us or those techniques or a sales model is used in such a way. that it separates us from our money. I think that's when something that seems really small can just compound and become this incredibly large amount of money over time. And so in that way, automatic withdrawals from your paycheck to go to your 401k.

I love that you said it, you forget it. Maybe you revisit it once a year. Well, you know, let's take that from seven to eight percent of my pay. Oh, next year. Oh, let's take it from eight to nine. You only think about it once. I love that. But that same methodology is being used against us when it comes to subscriptions.

And so as Netflix or Amazon says, Oh, by the way, if you don't want ads anymore, it's going to cost you 2 more. And you're like, Oh, 99, it goes up just a little bit. It's not that much money, but every single month and as it builds over time, I think you can just take that entire. way of spending and apply it to a lot of different things in life, we certainly do lose a lot more money to subscriptions than we think.

I think debt is a money 

[00:49:47] Joel Larsgaard: suck. And not all debt is created equal. If you've got 3 percent mortgage debt, more power to you, I wouldn't be paying enough for hanging on to that thing for the rest of your life. I'm not paying off my mortgage debt anytime soon. But most other kinds of debt are working against you.

It's compounding returns, but in the opposite direction, right? And so if you think that that 3, 000 credit card debt, it's no big deal. And the average credit card balance, I think in the United States is over 6, 000. Now it is a big deal, especially in today's interest rate environment, where the average interest rate on a credit card is nearly 23%.

So that debt, taking it more seriously and creating, whether you prefer the debt snowball, the debt avalanche method, there are different ways to attack that debt, but coming up with a timeline for how quickly you can pay it off so that you can be rid of the car loan, never have one again, right? So that you can pay off your credit card debt.

The student loan debt, granted the save plans coming into existence, it's going to lower your payments dramatically and make it easier to receive forgiveness, which is great. How can you get rid of those debts sooner rather than later? Because then that allows you more of the flexibility, more freedom to save and invest more of your money.

[00:50:58] Hala Taha: I want to talk about credit scores really quick. I logged onto my app the other day and my credit score went down and I've been paying my bills and I'm like, what's going on? And then I think it's because I've been opening up cards and not using them because like everybody is like, open up this card, open up this card.

And I haven't been using them. And it actually has been negatively impacting my credit score. And I didn't know that. So how can we improve our credit scores quickly? Asking for a friend. 

[00:51:27] Matt Altmix: Like not for me personally, but I got this friend who likes Balenciaga or used to perhaps. Well, I'll say before we launch into the details, just broadly speaking, when it comes to credit scores, the way they're reported and the way the bureaus in particular handle our information and how poorly they do it, especially When I think a quarter of all reports have errors on there.

It sucks. It sucks that that's how it is because they are, they're not responsive. They consistently lose our data. They have data breaches and there's millions of social security numbers out there floating around. And then you file a dispute because there are inaccuracies and they say, what 

[00:52:05] Joel Larsgaard: are you talking about?

Nothing happens. That's your problem. Yeah. 

[00:52:07] Matt Altmix: And so it's an unfortunate game that we have to play. I hate that we have to play that game and I hope that there are new systems that come into play. But that being said, what you said is true. When you open up a new card again, we're not against credit cards because we think that there are ways that you can use them responsibly and where you can maximize the rewards that you're receiving.

But you are going to see a small ding every time you open a card. Now over the long haul, you will see your score go up because what you've done is you've expanded the amount of credit that's available to you. The banks say, Oh, well, we just offered her 19, 500 in additional credit, and she's only putting like a thousand on there.

That seems like a really prudent, nuanced approach to using that and the way the algorithms work. They reward you for that. So that's something to keep in mind is that in the short term, yes, if you are applying for a mortgage or any kind of loan right now, you don't want to upset the apple cart. You don't want to disturb.

The dust, I don't know, I'm picturing dust in the air for some reason, you want to let everything lie as is, but if you're talking about over months, over the course, it's like, oh, six, eight, nine months from now, oh yeah, go ahead, you can open an additional account, expand the amount of credit that's available to you, and by keeping your credit utilization rate low, that boosts 

[00:53:23] Joel Larsgaard: your credit score, and I just want to encourage you, Hala, don't open three credit cards at the same time, right, because Okay, You're going to miss out on all of the potential sign up bonuses that you could get.

And those can be really powerful towards it can be 75, 000 rewards points or something like that, which If it's a hotel card, that could be four free hotel night stays or it could be three free flights with an airline card. Keep track of that stuff. Try to stay organized because you don't want to miss out on the bonus that that card offers and some of the sweet rewards that you can get by using them.

So I think sometimes simplification is better for people. You know, if you go to the points guy website, it's all about having 32 credit cards or something like that and throw out your billfold and it just like keeps dropping and a lot of people, it's just overwhelming us too much. They can't handle that system.

So I think something like a three or four credit card system can work really well for most people getting the rewards, making sure that they know what credit cards they have, making sure they're paying that thing off on time and in full and not overdoing it, trying to optimize the system to the fullest.

I think some people are really into that and it makes sense to them and they keep Spreadsheet. And calendar reminders and all that stuff. If you're not going to play that game all the way to its fullest, then just simplify it. 

[00:54:31] Hala Taha: Yeah. Then you guys are making me be like, this is a task for my assistant because I never keep track of all these things.

Okay. So let's talk about paying yourself first. I know this is a big thing you guys talk about. I think it's important for my listeners to learn about it. 

[00:54:44] Matt Altmix: I think if you don't pay yourself first, there are going to be plenty of folks who step up to the plate and they're going to want to get paid before you.

And so it comes down to you as the individual to decide proactively, this is kind of a nod back towards budgeting, where your money is going to go. And speaking to subscriptions and auto enrolling in 401k plans, that's why I think that's so powerful, because that's money that gets diverted off the future you.

We're talking old holla that's there on the fridge that she gets to enjoy years from now. And it's not just that money is what that has grown into. It's just putting all those little dollars to work. One of the ways my dad, I remember as a kid that he explained compounding to me was just like, Hey, at a certain point, the money that you have invested.

It's going to start working harder for you than you can work for yourself. He equated it almost as like a roller coaster. It's like for most of your life, you're working, you're grinding, running up that hill, but then you get to the top and all of a sudden you can kind of take your foot off the brake a little bit.

And then as long as you are invested wisely, that money is going to take off without you. We're fans of work. We think that work and the ability to contribute to society and the value that you can provide other people. It's incredible. It's a huge part of what gives life meaning, but also the optionality, not having to work, choosing what work you want to pursue.

That's I think that's so important. That comes from being smart and paying yourself first, making sure that you're investing. 

[00:56:10] Joel Larsgaard: And I don't know about you. I'm not the most disciplined person. So automation is what helps me overcome my laziness. So automating it, having that 401k set up on repeat. It's like You just are used to living on less.

And once you get used to living on less, well, maybe every time you get a pay raise, you can only use half of that for yourself and put the rest into your 401k. So if you get a 4 percent raise, well, increase your contribution to your 401k by 2 percent and increase your take home pay by 2%. But you just kind of get used to living that lifestyle and you'll be shocked after 15, 20, 25 years, you're like, you go, you log into your 401k.

I mean, you're probably doing it once a year anyway, or whatever, but. You log in and you're just like, Holy crap, how did it get to be like this? It was little dribs and drabs. It was the dollar cost averaging, which is the fancy way for saying putting money in with every paycheck. It was that and it worked.

And for most people, it's like they just don't pay themselves first. They're not automating it. And because of that, it takes discipline to stick money in. And because it takes discipline, they avoid it or they don't do it. And their laziness overcomes them. So let that automation be your friend and paying yourself first.

[00:57:11] Hala Taha: Okay. We're just about out of time. I'm going to ask you guys one more question and then we're going to end the interview with the questions I ask all of my guests at the end of the show. So my last question is about emergency savings. So again, I was reading this article about millennials and it was really depressing and they said 69 percent of millennial households have less than a thousand dollars in emergency savings.

[00:57:31] Matt Altmix: Yeah, that's crazy to me. That's not enough money. So this is, this is the number, Matt, tell them the number. We know the number. 2, 467. You need to take your 1, 000 emergency fund up to at least that because for a lot of folks, the vast majority of folks, that's going to get them past some of those hurdles that they're going to face on their journey.

But then beyond that, you need to have a lot more than just that much money because like that will get you through your car breaking down that might pay for some medical expenses, perhaps that pop up. That doesn't account for getting laid off. That doesn't account for some of the larger headwinds that we face in life.

And so having a solid three to six months set aside is what we advocate for. And honestly, the more uncertain or precarious your financial situation is, you need to have even more than that. If you are an entrepreneur, and you've got five kids, and you've got a bunch of crazy financial goals, well, I know you're going to want to channel a lot of your dollars towards those goals.

But honestly, Oh, and you're a single income household. Okay, so you're telling me all of this is writing on that single leg of the stool and if that one leg gets swept out from under you, you're in the dirt. You're on your face. And so having even beyond that personally, I like to have something closer to nine plus months of living expenses to the side.

But that's personal. That's because my wife and I, we we are a single income household and it gives us it's Just that peace of mind knowing that we've got money in the bank money without a name on it that we can fall back on where things to hit the fan. 

[00:59:04] Joel Larsgaard: And I think people hear that number maybe and especially if they're the kind of person who has less than a thousand bucks saved and they're like 2000.

How am I going to get there? How am I going to get there? Please teach me that. And there are a lot of ways that we can reduce our spending. And not even really feel any sort of pain in our lives. Lots of times when you reduce spending, it means not going out to eat. It means missing out on a hangout with friends, like going to the concert or whatever.

But what about those recurring monthly bills? Look into those first and your cell phone service. I pay 15 a month for my cell phone service. People are like, what? How do you even pay for that? How does it cost that little? Well, these new cell phone providers like Mint Mobile or Google Fi is another one.

There's some Boost Mobile. They're way cheaper. And then a lot of the mainstream providers, but it's not like you're like missing out on anything. It's the same network. They're just as good. Same network, right? Or think about your insurance costs. I saved 500 a year just the other night calling my insurance company and saying like, What do I need to do to reduce my insurance costs?

And we talked about a couple different things, one of which was them tracking my driving, one of which was me taking a 25 defensive driving course. I did it in no time and literally saved me a bunch of money. So there's a lot of ways we write a lot about this on how to money. com, but there's so many ways that you can save money in little dribs and drabs here and there.

That's going to add up to monumental savings over time. You can save that I guarantee in six months if you read some of our stuff and then you apply it. 

[01:00:23] Hala Taha: Okay, I actually have one more question because I think it's super relevant for everybody. It's home ownership Versus renting. I'm actually debating myself.

I don't own a home yet Should I go for it on a home or should I rent? I guess what are the pros and cons because a lot of people think the American dream is owning a home and everything like this But is that the right way we should be thinking? 

[01:00:45] Joel Larsgaard: lots of people are going to Make it sound like homeowner.

There's like a cult of home ownership in this country, and it's you buy a home because it's the best way to grow wealth. The truth is buying a home is not the best way to grow wealth. Buying a home, you do it for other reasons, right? And just like you would rent for other reasons, if you are constantly on the move, you're like, I don't know, I might live it.

You said you didn't know where you're going to be in two years. You might be in San Francisco. You might be in Berlin. Like who knows where you're going to be, right? So if that's the case, and you're like, I'm all over the place. I have no idea if I want to put roots down here. Yeah. Well, then there's no point in buying a home because the transaction costs involved in buying and selling.

And so I would encourage people who don't know where they're going to be in the next couple of years to rent. And even if you know you're going to be in that place, run the numbers. The numbers are worse for homebuyers versus renters than they've been in a long time in this country. The discrepancy between the average mortgage payment because of higher home costs, higher interest rates versus what rent is going for, the average rent and rents are actually softening in much of the country.

So if it's a purely financial decision and the other thing renters need to do, the way renters can come out ahead is if you're renting and paying a lot less than you would have been for that mortgage. Investing the difference that you would have paid for that mortgage. That's how you're going to find yourself growing your wealth in a big way as a renter, which is also just the much easier way of doing it as 

[01:02:03] Matt Altmix: well, because that's one of the things how it doesn't surprise me that you don't own a home because you are focused on so many other things in your life.

You are focused on growing a business. You want to launch something new. And so there are a lot of responsibilities that come with owning a home. And so if it's a personal goal of yours, if you are in a neighborhood, Or there's a part of town or maybe you've got family that lives there and you're like, I'm always going to be coming back here.

Even if I go and live somewhere for two, three years, I'm going to end up back here. Okay, I could see that making sense. But you want to make sure like three years I think is these days the minimum. But honestly, closer to five plus years is how long you need to be living somewhere before this transaction costs make sense because you can't count on the market going up.

And it comes down to what you want your life to look like. There's just. A lot more responsibility when it comes to home ownership. And the reason it is typically the American dream is because, going back to behavior and habits, you have to make your mortgage payment. Otherwise, the bank comes after you and they foreclose on your house.

There's nobody holding you to investing for your future in your retirement account. And so the reason that so many, the vast majority of Americans have so much of their wealth tied up in their home is because they have to in order to continue to live there. There's nobody saying, Hey, in order to keep working here, you need to set aside 10 percent of your paycheck every month towards your retirement.

Nobody's doing that. But if you can tell yourself, well, that's what I'm going to do instead. You can mentally account for the fact that you're not building up equity. You don't have to fix whatever gets broken. You call the, what are they called? Maintenance guy, the super they're going to show up and take care of that for you.


[01:03:43] Joel Larsgaard: correlation, not causation, right? So you see, Oh, the wealthiest households own a home. Why is that? It's, it's not because it's the best investment typically. Right. And although we, even though we've seen real estate prices skyrocket over the last few years, it doesn't mean that, Oh, what happened over the last three years is that trend is going to continue.

In fact, predictions are that home prices are going to level out over the next few years. That's anybody's guess, right? That's market prediction sort of stuff. It's correlation, not causation. Really the causation, what's going to make you the most money is lowering your monthly payment and investing as much as possible.


[01:04:12] Hala Taha: I love it. You guys gave awesome financial advice. This was a really fun interview. I'm really happy you guys came on the show. I'm going to end with two last questions. They don't have to be related to the topic of the episode. So just answer them how you want. What is one actionable thing our young and profiteers can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?

[01:04:32] Matt Altmix: I would say do nothing. And what I mean by that is to just take 30 minutes. of silence. Take some time, slow down, eliminate the distractions from your life, the distractions that keep you productive, that cause you to be efficient at your job, all the things that you get pats on the back for. And to think for a second, reflect on what it is that you want your life to look like.

At various points in the podcast, we've talked about being intentional, spend your money proactively, but essentially what you're doing is designing your life. And that's happening, whether you realize it or not, it's happening by default, the way that the world and culture and those around you that they are steering you, or you can decide how it is that you want your life to look like.

And that therefore, then has an impact on the kind of work you do, the amount of money that you're saving and setting aside. The amount of money that you're spending is totally fine to spend a large portion of your money if that's what you want your life to look like. And that's what I think sort of right the ship for a lot of folks.

That they're not doing. And instead they're, we just live in a world of distractions. And I think the more we can eliminate distractions from our life, it's going to allow us to live in a very intentional way. 

[01:05:47] Hala Taha: I think that's great advice. 

[01:05:48] Joel Larsgaard: I'm going to say invest in yourself. This is something you talk about quite frequently.

I think, especially if you're a numbers nerd, start to think about investing and average 10 percent return to the stock market year over year, and you funnel all your money in that direction. And that's not necessarily a problem that most people have, but I think it can become a problem as you become more interested in personal finances.

That maybe you're not thinking about your human capital and your potential to earn more. You're not thinking as deeply as significantly about building your own business. Maybe if that's what you're interested in or shifting careers and doing something completely different. And that often costs money.

Like my wife's going back. She's in grad school right now. We're paying for that in cash. It's expensive. But it's going to be worth it at the end of the day. I think it's really important to think about your human capital and funneling money into that direction to don't see it as a detraction from your investments growing.

It's actually the best thing you can do because in so many ways it's going to increase your marketability. It's going to increase your value on the market and it's going to increase your abilities then maybe to be successful when you do start that business. You're going to be earning more, which means you can invest more later on too.

[01:06:51] Hala Taha: I love that. And investing in yourself with skills sometimes doesn't even cost any money, it costs time. Okay, last question. And this is about your secret to profiting in life. What is your secret to profiting in life? And this is again, beyond business, money, just generally, what is your secret to profiting in life?

[01:07:09] Joel Larsgaard: I think for me, it's realizing that money is a tool. And I think for so many people, like money is the goal. And if money is the goal, you're never going to be happy. But if you can think of money as a tool and you can reframe the way you view it, money is not this thing to grasp after. I gotta have that. I gotta have more of that.

It becomes this treadmill that you never get off and ultimately you're never satisfied. So if you can see money as what it is, it is a tool to be able to help you achieve those things that you care about and that you want in life and you put it in its proper place. To me, that's the 

[01:07:39] Matt Altmix: secret. I'll say. We had a guest on recently and he said he thinks the number one life hack is marrying the right person or finding the right life partner.

And so I think that that is absolutely true and I'll kind of second that. But I think oftentimes folks are hunting and searching for the right person. Because you hear that advice and you're thinking, well, I haven't found that person yet. I'll keep swiping left. Yeah, and we're so obsessed with making a mistake.

Yeah. And not committing and working on yourself, honestly, it's like so much of it, I think it's not finding the right person that's going to compliment you and you're going to be this power couple and you're going to get ahead in life, but it's you becoming the person that you know that you're capable of being and what you're able to bring to the table as opposed to more of a consumption mindset.

And like, let me go out there and find the best thing that's out there for me. It's more about becoming that person that you know you're capable of, I think. 

[01:08:37] Hala Taha: I love that. So like not trying to fill a hole that you have, be complete and then you'll be the right partner for somebody. So it makes a lot of sense.

 I know you guys have the How To Money podcast, everybody can find you there. Where do you want to point people to? Where can everybody find you and learn more about what you guys do? 

[01:08:54] Joel Larsgaard: The other big place is how to money. com. We write articles there all the time. So the podcast is three times a week.

And then the website is there just to serve people. If you're like, how do I do a backdoor Roth IRA, like a contribution, that kind of stuff. We've got that there. And the how to money newsletter comes out every Tuesday. You can sign up for that at how to money. com slash newsletter. It's encouraging and chock full of helpful advice to keep you going on your money journey.

[01:09:14] Hala Taha: Amazing. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us on young and profiting podcast. 

[01:09:19] Joel Larsgaard: Thanks for inviting us. Thank you. 

[01:09:20] Hala Taha: Well, I just had such a great time with Matt and Joel. That was really entertaining. What a great way to explore personal finance topics and how fun that they got to start a podcast where they can kick back and have a beer with their best friend while giving their listeners something to think about.

Money, however, is not something that a lot of people feel comfortable talking about. And it's a shame because we can learn a lot about money from listening to others. How to make it, how to save it, how to keep it. I know I learned a lot from talking with Matt and Joel. Here are a few things that I'm taking away from today's conversation.

First, reframing your approach to your budget. People tend to look at budget as something that keeps you from living your life, but it can really be something that helps you do what you want in life. You just have to be a little bit mindful. If you love to eat out, that's great, but just know that you're probably going to pay four times more for that meal than you would have eating at home.

I also love the 48 hour rule. It's so simple but very effective. If you see something you want to buy online, but put it in the shopping cart for a couple of days and come back later, if it's not calling to you anymore, then it probably wasn't meant to be. Now, if you're like me and you just buy a lot, and let's say you did the 48 hour rule, you bought what you bought, and now you've got it at home and it's sitting in your closet for weeks and you haven't worn it, pay attention to your return policies, okay?

A lot of places online now allow 60 days to return. Some still are 30 days, but a lot now with online shopping, it's 60 days, that's a lot of time. If you haven't worn your clothes. In three to five weeks, your new clothes. Return it. Don't take off the tags until you've worn it. If you haven't worn your item before the return date, return it.

So give yourself a deadline. If I haven't worn this in four weeks, I'm returning it. If I haven't worn this in three weeks, I'm returning it. That's what I do now. I put all my new clothes in one section of my closet. And if I haven't worn it in a certain amount of weeks, it gets returned. Even if I love the thing.

Even if it looks great on me. I return it because I know. That the occasion's never going to come up and that this is just going to sit and rot in my closet until it's out of style. And I've wasted so much money on clothes doing that. So there's a tip for you. I hope you guys take it. The last thing that I took away was emergency savings.

Americans are not saving enough for emergencies. We need to have a couple of thousand dollars in case something goes wrong. You never know when your car is going to break down, when some unexpected medical expense is going to crop up. Make sure you're saving for those emergencies. It will be a lifeline between jobs if you need it as well.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Young and Profiting Podcast. You dear listeners are the lifeline that makes this podcast possible. So if you listened, learned and profited from this conversation today, Please spread the love and share this episode with your friends and family. Text the link to this episode to somebody who you think could benefit from it.

And I bet that they thank you. It's a great way to network with people. And while you've got your phone handy, please take some time to thank Me and everybody who works hard on the show by writing us a five star Apple podcast review. If you go look on there, we've got thousands of reviews because we have amazing listeners like you who take the time to give us that social proof so that the next young and profiter that lands on my page feels motivated and inspired to tune in and give young and profiting a try, please write a review.

Give us that social proof. You can also find me on Instagram at Yap with Hala. What? And you can find all of our videos uploaded on YouTube. In fact, we're about to start an in person podcast studio. I'm so excited for this. I can't wait. I feel like it's going to really take the podcast to the next level, especially on YouTube.

Before we wrap, I always have to say thank you so much to my incredible Yap production team. You guys are awesome. Thank you for all that you do. You guys are best in class. I'm so thankful for all your hard work. I couldn't do this without you. This is your host, Halataha, AKA the podcast princess, signing off. 

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