How to Make Work Optional with Barrett Porter

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If Money Were Easy

Hosted by Mary Beth Storjohann and Neela Hummel

How to Make Work Optional with Barrett Porter

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If Money Were Easy
How to Make Work Optional with Barrett Porter

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Episode Summary

Whether you’re approaching 60 or you’re years away, it’s never too early to be curious what retirement might look like. Today, we’re joined by financial advisor Barrett Porter to help us explore the concept of retiring early and create a life where work is no longer a necessity. We dive into what options you have for retirement independence, the emotional readiness of actually retiring, and the idea of FIRE – what it truly means to have the option to retire at any moment. Barrett shares insights on how work is often tied to our identity and the struggles of envisioning a life beyond the career we’ve known for so long. We also hear inspiring stories of people who have successfully retired earlier than expected and how financial planning played a crucial role in their journey. Hear about the “Done by 60” concept, the benefits of downsizing or changing living arrangements, and how to financially navigate the uncertainties of project-based work. Join us in an enlightening conversation that can change the way you think about retirement and making work optional.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • A website to help you enjoy the glory decade
  • Comparing and contrasting the “Done By 60” movement with the FIRE movement
  • What “work optional” looks like for some clients
  • How some clients react emotionally when they’ve reached their work optional goal
  • What financial planning looks like when you can choose whether to work
  • How to plan for your future when your income ebbs and flows
  • What it means to live off your portfolio after you’ve saved up over the years
  • Housing and healthcare considerations when planning to make work optional
  • A few tricky points on how your home relates to your wealth
  • Creating a long-term care plan without using long-term care insurance

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

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Transcript of the Episode

Mary Beth (00:14):

Hey there. Welcome to the If Money Were Easy podcast, the show where we teach you how to expand what’s possible with your money. We’re your hosts Mary Beth Storjohann –

Neela (00:23):

And Neela Hummel –

Mary Beth (00:25):

Certified Financial Planners and Co-CEOs of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show we’re going to talk about how to make work optional. But before we jump in, a brief disclosure from our Director of Compliance. This podcast is for educational purposes and is not intended as investment, legal, or tax advice, any opinion shared is not an opinion of Abacus Wealth Partners.

Neela (00:49):

Joining us today on our podcast is Barrett Porter. Barrett is a Certified Financial Planner, financial advisor, partner, and Director of Advisory Services here at Abacus Wealth Partners. Barrett specializes in organizing the financial lives of pre-retiree LGBTQ, Baby Boomers, and writers and producers in the entertainment industry. Barrett has over 20 years of financial services experience and has been featured all over the media in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and Dow Jones Newswires. He currently writes financial blogs at, a site devoted to helping people achieve financial freedom just in time for their glory decade. When he’s not working on people’s finances, you can probably find Barrett heading down a mountain or heading onto a really crazy roller coaster. So welcome to the show, Barrett.

Barrett (01:51):

I am thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me.

Neela (01:54):

So Barrett, we’d love to dive into the work that you’ve done on the Done By 60 website. Can you tell us a little bit about what that means?

Barrett (02:03):

It’s strangely, even though it says Done By 60, in a weird way it’s kind of the opposite cause the whole point of it is to get people to think about what you’re going towards, not what you’re running from. I didn’t invent that idea of, you know, instead of retiring to this world of golf and crossword puzzles that it’s – you find that most people want financial independence to happen by some age. I use 60 because the average person tends to have pretty good health, a lot of willingness, and desire to still travel. They still have their knees and hips hopefully. Obviously not everyone is so lucky, but most of us do. But somewhere around, you know, 70, 75, things start to change for us, right? We still may be kind of healthy in the mind, but things don’t always work as well. I go on scuba trips and I notice some of the people who are now in their seventies and eighties, they’re struggling to get in the boat, you know, without getting a lot of help with their gear. So this Done By 60 idea is all about having the freedom to slow down and to fill in the blank, pick a different type of work, travel your tail off, slow down to a part-time schedule with whatever you’re doing if you have a job that allows for that. But all of it in the name of what you said, the glory decade, something I found on Google years ago is the sixties, the glory decade. So I’ll pause, but that’s what it means.

Mary Beth (03:25):

So I have a maybe loaded question: making work optional. Done By 60, what’s the difference between this movement, this Done By 60 movement and the FIRE movement?

Barrett (03:39):

I’m glad I heard about this FIRE thing. Uh, <laughs>, my understanding of FIRE is that it’s meant to retire, right? It’s retire early, so make as much money as you can, stop, and then figure out what to do with your life. And the people I’ve come across, I’ve certainly have had a few friends who stop working entirely and they never stop traveling and partying and having fundraisers and cocktail parties and they seem fine. But I see more people that lose their sense of identity and you know, cause we all know that work is something that we link up to. It does link up with our identity. All the people we meet and the friends we make, we’re adding value to the world in some way. So a lot of people struggle with that idea of stopping. So I think the Done By 60 in this context is meant to just give you the freedom to kind of pause and maybe in your fifties you’re already thinking about it, right? I know for me, I’ve imagined a life where I moved to the mountains and I’m still doing financial planning, but I might be doing third gear instead of fifth gear, right? I’m doing fewer hours in the week, or I’m working with people that don’t have as much income. You know, you’re working your own hours, you’re traveling two or three months per year instead of two to four weeks per year. It’s that kind of thing. Does that answer the question? Cause I, I think that’s what FIRE is. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Mary Beth (04:55):

Financial independence, retire early. FIRE is a movement to completely stop working. And I think it can be interpreted in a way in that you retire from the job that sucks your soul to have the option to pursue the thing that excites you. But it does mean retire early.

Neela (05:15):

I really like that Barrett because it’s almost this idea – instead of treating work as this evil thing, it’s turning into it and saying, “Hey, you know, work – right or wrong – is woven into a lot of our identities.” And so instead of just fighting to get through your working years so that you can live independently, it’s more, “Hey, how do I kind of create some optionality and do a part-time work schedule? What is the life I want that integrates work in some capacity?” depending on who you are and your career and if that really works for you.

Barrett (05:46):

Yeah, look, with FIRE, I don’t wanna stereotype, but my guess is there’s a lot of people – it feels like those are the almost gig economy mindset or people that want to learn how to make a buck and not learn how to have necessarily a kind of deep skillset where they would be happy to do it for 20 or 30 years. So I’m speaking more to the mindset of somebody who believes in a long career that changes and has all these turns along the way. But at some point something can change at your company, the person you work for, they retire now you don’t like your new boss, or we’re not good at predicting what we want 20 or 30 years out. We kind of think we are, but we find that once people actually hit 40, it’s not what they thought at 30. But when you’re 50, you kind of know what you want 60 to look like. So I’m speaking more to that career mindset and I apologize if I offended anybody in the FIRE community <laughs>.

Neela (06:39):

<Laughs>. And it sounds like honestly, you know, the FIRE movement and what you’ve talked about is your work optional financial independence. I mean, y’all have two letters in common, which is financial independence. It’s just, is it retire early or is it work optional? It’s kind of two paths.

Mary Beth (06:56):

I really wanna know, is it WOFI? Is it WOFI? Super. W O F I. How are we saying this? Barrett, you lead the way here.

Barrett (07:04):

I’m gonna go with WOFI.

Mary Beth (07:06):


Neela (07:07):


Barrett (07:08):

Yeah, I it’s like niche or niche. I don’t think there’s a right answer. I think people have to decide. I did have a client call me a WOFI Diva and he was teasing me because I was like giving him financial advice from Mammoth and he’s like, “Really? I’ve been with you as a client for a month and you’re already up in the mountains on a Wednesday.” I’m like, “Yeah.”

Neela (07:428):

Practice what you preach.

Mary Beth (07:25):

Also modeling. Modeling.

Neela (07:31):

I think WOFI needs a mascot. I’m just gonna put that out there. Just something to work on.

Mary Beth (07:36):

But we’re saying it’s WOFI not WOFI. So if it’s WOFI, WOFI does need a mascot.

Barrett (07:40):

Let’s do a survey. Please send the survey out to your people.

Mary Beth (07:44):

Okay. <laughs>. Welcome to the WOFI movement. Welcome to the WOFI movement. We’ll play with that. Okay, so talk to us more. So making work optional, kind of unwinding yourself from work, the clients you’re working with, what does work optionality look like for them? What does it mean to them and what does it do in their lives? Are you finding that work is optional and people are still staying? Are they staying longer in their careers anyways but they have that peace of mind and confidence they could cut and run? Or are people eager to ease into this optionality and make some sort of changes and take different risks?

Barrett (08:16):

Yeah, it’s strangely, there’s a lot of people I’ve worked with who say they can’t even think about what that next decade will look like until they’ve reached it, right? That they can’t just at the age of 53 say, “I still need to save another $300,000, but I’m already designing the next chapter.” They’re just too busy, too consumed by life and work to get there. And I’d say about, don’t call me out on my stats here, but a good third of the people I’ve worked with as they approach 60 say they’re going to retire at 60 or 62 and then they add two to five years because their boss says, “Please don’t go.” Or they just, their arm’s twisted or they’re just not ready. There’s this really scary thing that people start to face that this is the most amount of money they’re ever going to have. And I think as they start to realize how much of their identity is wrapped up in their career, that the reality of stopping becomes a little scarier. But they still want to know they can, right? That at any moment they can just say, “Okay, that’s it, I’m done.” So I think the moment of knowing they can is everything and much more than actually doing it.

Mary Beth (09:20):

What a light bulb moment. You just said something, this is the most money they’re ever going to have. When you hit that peak, you’re making that turn, you’ve reached the peak of your career of your financial wealth and then you have to jump off the cliff and be okay with starting to spend it down and what an emotional journey that is for so many people. And I don’t know that that perspective, we talk about that as much, right? We talk about transitioning to retirement and obviously we as planners know, there’s the decumulation, the cash flow planning that comes along with it. But I don’t know if we ever actually talk about, “Hey, how do you feel about this number? This might be the highest it ever is, right? Does that sit well with you? What kinda concerns do you have going forward?” I mean, we obviously don’t address it that way, but it’s really interesting. That is like the underlying layer there.

Barrett (10:05):

I’ve had this one particular woman, big executive in one of the big studios, and she had trouble adjusting to this idea. She’s like, “Every two weeks, whatever happens in the markets or whatever happens in my life, I know there’s more money being dumped into my bank,” and just now with you, they don’t understand how distribution systems from a portfolio work the way advisors do. So there’s this helplessness of like, “All right, you’re gonna tell me how much I can have and you’re gonna set this up.” But there’s that weird feeling of knowing that there’s not money going back in regardless of what happens. So when they take money out and the market drops, it’s like a double whammy of helplessness and they just feel this strange feeling that they’ve been so trained for decades to not have that. And so I don’t think most of us quite realize the emotional experience of that person when they’re hitting the top of the mountain and going to the other side.

Neela (10:55):


Mary Beth (10:56):

Restriction you must feel on the other side of it.

Neela (10:58):

Yeah. So it sounds like, I think we’ve all seen this too, is that the financial, the pure numbers piece of it doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a financial calculus that you’re probably getting to with your clients, but it sounds like there’s a huge emotional component, too. How do you feel about being at your peak earnings or at having the most money you will ever have, and then what is next? What does that actually look like? How do you approach those conversations?

Barrett (11:22):

I wouldn’t want to create a stress that wasn’t there. It’s like, “Hey, just so you know, this is the most – “

Neela (11:28):

Don’t freak out –

Mary Beth (11:29):

“Would you like to work together? It’s all downhill from here. Literally <laughs>, it’s literally all downhill. <laughs>.”

Barrett (11:36):

The wake up call for me was more of the person shifting from a mindset of always being fed income to fed from a portfolio that they don’t really understand. We understand what the investments are, we understand best case, worst case scenarios and risk and reward. The client doesn’t. They’re still just kind of trusting our advice that they’re going to be okay. But it’s a very different world than going from the world where they understand their value and their kind of human capital and getting a paycheck to this. And so I, I think it’s hard on them.

Mary Beth (12:09):

So when we do plan for work optional, going to the numbers, how does somebody do this type of planning? We kind of talk about goals and visioning, but what are you talking clients through? What do you need? How are you helping them to get on track to reach this point? What’s the under the hood planning entail in – not too technical planning speak obviously <laughs>.

Barrett (12:27):

Yeah, let’s assume that any client you can model out what life looks like, when can you retire and how much can you spend in retirement. Where it can be interesting is if somebody does want to say slow down, right? So what does slow down mean? It means that they might not have the ability to save anymore to their nest egg, but they don’t necessarily have to draw from it, right? So maybe they’re earning just enough to cover their expenses or maybe they’re adding to a retirement account to get the tax benefits, but they’re actually then starting to live off their investment portfolio a little bit. There’s these little tax maneuvers you can play with people once their income drops as well, which I find really interesting is once people hit 60, if their income falls down, that creates a really unique – there’s kind of this bridge period where your tax bracket can be really low. But I think that’s, that’s one piece, right, is just addressing if someone wants to earn less. But the other one is waking people up, pushing them a little bit on are they thinking about every rock they can lift in order to reach that date a little sooner? We had some clients recently that were sitting on a four million dollar home and their kids were grown up, they had moved out and now it’s more space than they could ever need. And so they finally sold the property and got a smaller place. And so now the – all that excess cash allowed them to spend a lot more. So I think, that to me, is one really obvious example of how people can accelerate their WOFI moment.

Neela (13:55):

Yeah. So taking a look at the landscape, what are all the tools that you actually have at your disposal and which one of them or multiple ones are you willing to pull in order to get you closer to that goal sooner?

Barrett (14:26):


Neela (14:27):

So you work with a lot of people in the entertainment industry. How do you feel like this work intersects with their unique planning needs?

Barrett (14:16):

Uh, well the ones we work with, not everybody in the entertainment business has volatile income and I, I’m really referring to project-based work. So if you’re an actor or now we have a strike going on, even a writer that’s not facing a strike has a lot of uncertainty over the next project. So that person has a great deal of income in one year, very little the next, maybe none the next, back to a lot. The income comes in spurts where it might come in for a period of three or four months and they have to figure out how to create runway for a period beyond that. And all the while they’re also just trying to focus with how busy they are. And so we’re throwing all these things at them around how to save in taxes and trying to systematize, “How do you save for a future when you don’t even know what you’re spending can be today?” Like that person three years from now may have a lifestyle bump that’s twice as high as what they’re used to today. So now you’re planning to save for a lifestyle that matches that. So there’s all these variables that mix together that makes it very hard for them to just simply save for the future. It’s like, “How much can they spend now? How much they need to put into some kind of reserve place so that if they have two years of no work, they’ve got extra runway for that. And then again, how long will they have to work when they have a job that produces all of that?”

Mary Beth (15:37):

So we’re talking about the technical and the planning, but what’s the emotional impact of the work? And having to go through these questions and the financial journey of not knowing, of having to plan for two years. Are people stressed? Are they up for it? Are you finding they’re ready to follow the action plan that you’re putting into place? So I think there’s a lot of people beyond entertainment that are just living in the gig economy. There’s a feast or famine type situation. And so I think the psychology, the financial psychology behind it is always really interesting to me of the mindset of coming into that.

Barrett (16:06):

Yeah, I mean, I’ve tried different things with people and sometimes the idea of just doing good old-fashioned financial plans where you say how much do you spend and let’s model that going forward. You can’t always do that for some kinds of workers. And I found this one person said, ‘Look, let’s set up a small goal. Gimme a small win. Let’s get our first two million.” You know? So for a successful actor with now two kids and a partner and spouse, that first two million was easy. It’s like, “I can see that. So you’re telling me let’s just max out to that one retirement account, which is 50 grand, whatever surplus I get, let’s get that into the account and once we get to the first two million, let’s talk again.” We’re kind of getting to that place where, how can I live off my investments if I’m an actor, writer, director, whatever it is, or someone like you said, doesn’t work in Hollywood. But if you’re in some other industry with that kind of uncertainty, get to a place where you can live off your investments at a bare minimum lifestyle. So you might say, “Just keep the lights on if I – I don’t wanna lose my home, so will two million in my portfolio allow me to draw on the income from that? Well let’s get to that point.” And so set the smaller goal without trying to do this perfect detail-oriented plan that incorporates social security and future pensions and all those other things and set something a little more simple. And that has worked for some of the people in the industry.

Neela (17:25):

And it also sounds like really capitalizing on the big years.

Barrett (17:29):


Neela (17:29):

Every so often the big years come and what you do in those big years can really set you up for success. Whether your goal is to put a hundred thousand dollars away or several million dollars like you were talking about.

Barrett (17:40):

And that is the biggest – well with some, some people in the industry are, they have saver archetypes. The ones that come from more of a spending just let it go. Wanna, you know, rub elbows with, with the industry, they earn their first million and all of a sudden they’re buying a home or three million or they’re going out and buying four cars. That does happen. So I do feel part of our job is to be bad cop a little bit and not to tell them they can’t enjoy the good years and go upgrade their lifestyle, but to always remind them what their future self is going to need and and be their sanity check on what could be overconfidence – when people are feeling really good about the work they’re getting, they can sometimes forget about that possibility that the rug just gets pulled out. So we kind of have to be the bad cop a little bit with that.

Mary Beth (18:27):

So whether it’s FIRE or WOFI or retirement and you know, the idea of living off your portfolio, what does that mean? I think we have a spectrum of listeners in terms of financial education. Is that where you’re spending down the core portfolio? We did mention income merit, but tell us a little bit about what that could look like for a work optional. What does it mean to live off your portfolio?

Barrett (18:51):

So keeping it, you know, simple version of this cause you can use software to get more precise. The classic retirement plan that advisors often run for people is somewhere around 67 years old. The goal might be, “I wanna spend down my wealth. I’ve worked hard to build it up, now I want to spend it down,” so they come up with some rate that is sustainable, right? So someone might say, “You can take out 4% to 5% of your portfolio. So if you have a million dollars saved up, maybe you’re drawing $40,000 to $50,000 and you model that and you say, “All right, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll never run outta money, but you may die with less than a million.” The “live off your investments” is basically doing a really conservative version of that and saying, “For every million dollars I’ve saved up, look at it as the income on the portfolio.” So if you imagine that dividends and interest in a typical portfolio might be 2% to 3% of it, you can spend that. So basically you’re shoveling that into your bank to spend, but you’re leaving the principle balance alone. It’ll go up and down, but 10 or 20 years from now, it’s unlikely that your balance will actually be lower. It’ll probably keep pace with inflation. You’re not robbing your future self from being able to retire on that big bucket that you need. You’re just kind of skimming off the surface a little bit so that you can maybe earn something right in your portfolio. Kind of subsidizes whatever the shortfall is. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Mary Beth (20:13):

Yep. Perfect.

Neela (20:13):

It’s also that idea, it sounds like that it kind of connects to what are your larger goals? Is there a reason that you would wanna hold onto a larger portfolio balance? Do you have a greater desire for intergenerational wealth transfer? Do you have kids or loved ones that you wanna be able to take care of? Do you need to be more conservative or do you want to be, and so you can kind of pick whichever path you want where you’re like, “Hey, I’ve worked for it. I wanna spend this down as close as I can cause I really wanna enjoy it.” Or you take a more conservative approach if that really lines up with your goals.

Barrett (20:45):

Yeah, nobody seems to wanna leave big buckets of money to their kids anymore.

Mary Beth (20:50):

<laughs> Interesting.

Neela (20:52):

Data point, what’s happening?

Barrett (20:54):

I mean look, I have a small data, uh, sample size here. But you do see a pattern of people are more, seem to be either trapped or willing to help their kids until a later age, right? Maybe they’re still not the old stereotype of, “My kid’s in my basement. They’re living off me for free.” Although that is a thing.

Neela (21:13):

Also, what’s a basement? We live in California. <laughs>.

Barrett (21:16):

Right? I’m from New Jersey. A basement is below level one <laughs>. Usually it depends on how you sort of position it. If I tell someone, “Hey look, your kids are gonna get a lot of money, is it a priority that they get at least three million or are you okay knowing that it might be something between a few hundred thousand and two million?” They’re like, “Yeah, I’m fine with them just getting whatever they get. How do I maximize my lifestyle?” The idea of dying broke, you know, spending all of your wealth down. It’s really hard to do that well. So there’s going to be something left unless you’re a chronic over-spender.

Neela (21:52):

It reminds me, Mary Beth probably you might use this with your kids as well, is, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

Mary Beth (21:57):

No, we have, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit,” but yes.

Neela (22:00):

Ooh, I love that.

Mary Beth (22:01):

Same thing. Yes. Yours rhymes better. We picked ours up from another first grader who said it to my daughter first, so that we’re like “Yeah, that’s great.” So, yes. So with the planning that goes into this two-part question: One, how does a home factor – your primary residence – factor into your planning for work optionality? And also healthcare planning. Where does that fall into play and how do those throw wrenches or not?

Barrett (22:28):

Well, I jumped a little bit ahead. The home, it’s really delicate cause you don’t want to just come up to someone and run a plan and say, “Hey, your plan does really well as long as you just sell your home.” Right? It’s your home. Especially if people have been there for 10, 20 years. I think you kind of have to show what is the consequence of it. Like, you get to choose. And if I say as a result of selling your home, “Here’s how much more you could spend on experiences…” And I think younger generations especially are starting to share that they value experiences more than things. I don’t think a home is a thing. A home is an experience, right? You have a yard and there’s a lot of things that happen in a home that isn’t just –

Mary Beth (23:06):

My home is experience. Okay? It’s a lot of upkeep, upkeep this experience.

Neela (23:10):

<Laughs> Mine is a circus, which is another type of experience. So <laughs>.

Mary Beth (23:16):


Barrett (23:16):

So, I think that it’s just, it’s showing very clearly if you do this, like what is the most important thing? And if you really don’t need this much square footage in your life, if you now can kind of downsize and have the same enjoyment or you want experiences, maybe it’s sell and go rent or sell and get something smaller and then you show as a result of that. You know, we’re always reminding clients of this. I think there’s a big myth with real estate, it’s amazing at helping you with wealth creation, but at some point all that equity cannot be an ATM machine. You can’t just easily start drawing 4% of your home to spend on other things, right? That’s harder to do. So converting a lot of that equity into spendable cash and then moving the rest of it into either a renting situation or a smaller home does actually create more money for spending. Which could mean you could retire sooner or hit your WOFI moment sooner, that kind of thing. So it really just depends on what someone’s home situation is and how open they are to that idea. Like, are they giving up travel unless they do it? And that’s up to them to decide. It’s just me pulling levers and showing them what’s possible.

Neela (24:23):

It’s like a diversifier but also creates more liquidity. Cause like you’re saying, you can have a big house, but if you want to tap some of that equity, you can’t just sell a bathroom. I mean maybe you can, maybe there’s like an Uber you can –

Mary Beth (24:23):

There’s probably an Uber for bathroom.

Neela (24:37):

But also – ask so many questions about this idea of downsizing so that you get just as much enjoyment, right? And you’re using the amount of house that you would actually need and then you have all this extra that you can then enjoy, whether through other experiences like travel or, you know, what have you.

Barrett (24:54):

Well, it kind of relates to – Mary Beth, you mentioned healthcare. There’s this weird thing that people think renting is this kind of like failure thing.

Mary Beth (25:05):

Yes. I was actually just thinking that.

Barrett (25:06):

It’s like, oh my gosh, it’s, it’s gotta be the biggest myth in our industry. And so when you show someone their plan and – look if, if you’re gonna stay in a home for at least seven, eight years or longer on the “going up the mountain”, owning a home usually makes sense for most people. But at some point if your goal is to maximize the enjoyment of your life and travel and spend down, then selling is one way to help with that. It’s not failure, it’s time to cash out what you’ve been building up. It also creates portability. Right now you’ve got a rental property and if your hips go out and you can’t do two floors anymore or you want to move into some senior living community or an over 55 place or whatever that is, it’s a little easier to move if you’re signing a month-to-month lease or a lease selling your home like very quickly when you have to. I’ve had those clients where mom has to move to a facility and the daughter took a year to try to sell the property and deal with all this stuff that goes into that. That’s very wasteful, right? Property is not being used by anybody. So I think portability becomes important to some people as they get older.

Mary Beth (26:12):

Go back into healthcare, you tied the healthcare into the –

Barrett (26:14):

So on one front, healthcare to me – you see the stats – healthcare costs do go up, but maybe I’m being naive. We typically assume that Medicare, if people are using the system, Medicare costs are reasonable. It’s easy to model what those costs are gonna be for them. And you know, if you retire early, we now have a system that keeps those costs lower than they were years ago because of some law changes. When you say it, are you talking about just nursing costs? How do you prepare for that?

Mary Beth (26:42):

The impact. Yeah, exactly. The long-term planning of it all.

Barrett (26:46):

Yeah, you know what? I’m surprised I didn’t get into more trouble a few years ago. I wrote a blog basically saying like, “Why you don’t need long-term care.” And a lot of people were not happy with it <laughs>. The insurance, sorry, not the care.

Mary Beth (26:57):

The insurance companies.

Barrett (26:58):

I was basically just, “Here’s eight reasons as to why you should never waste your money on this thing.” There is a scenario where long-term care insurance can make sense for people, but it has gotten so expensive relative to the future benefit that whenever we model things out, we usually find people are okay to self-insure. As long as you prepare for what happened if the cost happened and then what resources do you have to take care of it? A home is obviously one asset that can be used, right? If you’ve got a lot of equity and you’re prepared to do something like a reverse mortgage or you pull some equity out or selling, that usually would be enough to cover what would be the average three years of a long-term care, worst case scenario or call it middle case scenario, right? Not the worst, but say $300,000.

Neela (28:06):

So this can help you in creating a long-term care plan without necessarily utilizing long-term care insurance.

Barrett (27:53):

I agree with whatever my own comment, yes. I think if you view the home… if you see the home as an asset that can be tapped to help with future nursing costs that surprise you, then it makes needing the insurance less necessary.

Neela (28:10):

And if Uber for bathrooms takes off, then maybe you don’t have to go through the headache of selling your house and you can have a passive income stream of letting people use your bathroom. There you go. So there you go.

Mary Beth (28:19):

Great. That’s the future business idea right there we’re looking for.

Neela (28:23):

You heard it here first folks <laughs>.

Mary Beth (28:26):

I love it. All right, we have reached the point in the episode where we are going to transition to our closing questions. So hopefully you have these, and if you don’t, we’re gonna go on the fly. What is the best financial advice you have ever received?

Barrett (28:40):

So, I was a business development specialist at my first job in financial services. I was not an advisor. And my boss, I said, “Look, I, it’s kind of a side hustle.” I said, “I’m licensed now. I want to go sell some stuff and make some money, kind of being like a stockbroker.” And he said, “All right, if you don’t want to get sued, just go sell this one fund.” And so I did. I went, found my first client. That was an entry point to me discovering this whole industry of like being an advisor. Cause I was a recruiter at the time and this was me just toying around with the idea of being an advisor. So it’s not really financial advice, but his bad advice to me is what launched me into this career and it’s why I’m sitting here with you right now.

Mary Beth (29:20):

I love that.

Neela (29:21):

Interesting. Okay, question number two. What’s your favorite money mistake you’ve made and why?

Barrett (29:28):

I was a bellboy at the Hyatt Hotel when some woman who lived in this hotel, a nice hotel, we figured she obviously knows what she’s doing. She came down and gave all the guys at the bell desk – she, uh, gave us advice, “You should invest in this penny stock,” of some kind that dealt with like waste management. And she says, “Even Al Gore’s investing in this stuff.” And we’re like, “What? You must know something.” So we all do it. I invest like $300, which was at that time, that’s probably like four days worth of pay. I lost every cent. You know, these penny stocks, these pink sheet stocks. Think of like Wolf of Wall Street. But we learned weeks later her advice was coming home from her fortune teller and she told us after she gave us the advice. It’s like, okay, so this was like my first wake up call into finance about getting a hot tip from someone who felt really smart who could never steer us wrong. And yeah, there you go.

Mary Beth (30:224):

Love it. I did not expect a fortune teller to come into that story. No. So that was fun.

Neela (30:30):

But I’m delighted.

Mary Beth (30:30):

A fun turn of events. Okay, final question. Fill in the blank. If money were easy…

Barrett (30:38):

I don’t know if I’m answering this the right way, but I’m gonna say I wouldn’t appreciate things that cost a lot of money.

Mary Beth (30:44):

I like that. Ooh, I think you’re interesting. It perfectly opens to your own interpretation.

Barrett (30:50):


Mary Beth (30:51):

Wonderful. All right, Barrett, thank you for being on the show with us today. Can you please tell our listeners how they can find you, contact you, hunt you down on the internet?

Barrett (31:00):

Well, now if we say it that way, I’m not sure if I wanted to contact you.

Neela (31:03):

<Laughs> Slash send you cookies, right?

Barrett (31:07):

Uh, if they’re not Harry & David’s, if they’re coming from, uh, one of the many other companies or Sidebar donuts.

Mary Beth (31:12):

Thank you.

Barrett (31:12):

It’s fine.

Mary Beth (31:13):

Thank you. But thank you for clarifying that. And where can they find you?

Barrett (31:16): You can see we all have our faces and bios and people can contact us through the website if they wish.

Neela (31:25):

Thanks Barrett.

Mary Beth (31:26):

Thanks y’all.

Neela (31:28):

Thank you for listening to today’s episode of If Money Were Easy. If you’re looking for more information on how you can expand what’s possible with your money, head to That’s for more analysis and resources created by our team.

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