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Let’s talk about managing finances as a family…
Figuring out your finances when you’re single is difficult enough –– add in a partner and kids, and you’re suddenly working in a completely different framework.
It’s important to understand how adding a partner or kids into the mix might change how you view your financial life and goals. Today’s guest is here to talk about how he and his wife have learned through trial and error how to adjust their mindsets around money, teach their children about finances, and build a life they love.
Andy Hill is the founder of Marriage, Kids, and Money and is what the industry calls “Coast FI/RE.” He started Marriage, Kids, and Money to share about his journey to financial independence and how he’s building a financial foundation with and for his family.
Fun fact: back when HFK first started, Andy was one of our contributors to our blog! So he’s basically HFK Family now.What you’ll learn:
How Andy and his wife went from being on separate pages to creating financial goals together
How Andy and his wife are instilling financial values in their children, including giving
Andy’s journey to Coast FI/RE (and what that really means)
The biggest lesson he’s learned teaching his kids about money
Andy Hill is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money – a platform dedicated to helping young families build wealth and happiness.
Andy’s advice and personal finance experience have been featured in major media outlets like CNBC, Forbes, MarketWatch, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and NBC News. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers, and viewers across the world.
When he’s not “talking money,” Andy enjoys watching his kids play soccer, singing karaoke with his wife, and watching Marvel movies.
Skillshare – https://skillshare.com/FFPOD
Tori Dunlap (00:00:00):
Welcome back. Welcome back financial feminists. We are so glad you’re here. Thanks for joining us yet again, if you’re an oldie but goodie, welcome back. If you are new to the show, well, welcome. Happy to have ya. Before we dive into today’s episode, we want to remind you about some of the resources outside of the Financial Feminist podcast. First up, we have a YouTube channel where you can watch videos from each episode. If you’re the kind of person who wants to see the faces that the voices are coming out of, then head on over to our YouTube channel. Second, we have show notes for every single episode. They’re detailed. They give you links and places to go to learn more and to deep dive further on these topics. We always link them in the episode notes, the description of the episode and this is where you can find those resources, links for guests and so much more.
Tori Dunlap (00:00:46):
We’re also always causing some mayhem on social media. So if you are not following at Her First $100K on Instagram or TikTok, what you’re doing? We would love to see you over there. And if you are that person who’s maybe been kind of passively listening to the show and you’re like, okay, I’m actually finally ready to apply some of these things, or I’m ready to figure out where I should go to start, you can go to herfirst$100k.com/start. We give you a step by step guide through actualizing your money goals, figuring out where you’re at in your financial journey and then how you can do things like pay off debt, invest, save money, be a more mindful spender. All of that is at herfirst$100k.com/start. All right, I am so excited to bring on today’s guest, who is a friend of mine.
Tori Dunlap (00:01:32):
We go way back in the personal finance community. He and I have been supporters of each other’s work for a long time. And I am even more excited because y’all have been asking for it. We’ve gotten voicemails, and emails, and direct messages, and carrier pigeons and all of the rest of it, about how to manage finances as a family. How to manage finances with a partner. How to teach children to be financially minded. And as someone who does not have children, I can only offer so much. So we reached out to our good friend, Andy Hill, from Marriage, Kids, and Money to join us for today’s episode. Andy Hill is an award-winning family, finance coach behind Marriage, Kids, and Money. A platform dedicated to helping young families build wealth and happiness. Andy’s advice and personal finance experience have been featured in major media outlets like CNBC, Forbes, MarketWatch, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and NBC news. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world.
Tori Dunlap (00:02:32):
When he’s not talking money, Andy enjoys watching his kids play soccer, singing karaoke with his wife and watching Marvel movies. We have a great time during this episode talking about Andy’s journey to financial independence or FIRE, which we’ll explain in the episode, how he teaches his kids about money and how he and his wife stay on the same page about finances. As well as some of the challenges that they’ve had and how they’ve overcome those conversations and overcome those challenges. Andy is one of the kindest people, we go way back. He’s just been such an incredible support of our work and is so not only well spoken, but just so good at drilling down on these topics and making them incredibly accessible. His heart for teaching financial literacy is just so big.
Tori Dunlap (00:03:13):
There’s so much to take from this episode, whether or not you plan on having children or have children. There is something to learn from him today, every day, all day. Let’s go ahead and get into it. I have been privileged enough and lucky enough to come on your show a couple of times, and now that I have a show and especially coming out more frequently, I knew I had to have you on. So I’m so excited to have you. Thanks for being here.
Andy Hill (00:03:53):
Well, thank you. I really appreciate that and congratulations on your success. I think what you’re doing is really cool and it’s something that is new, but needs to be the conversation out there. So I’m happy to be on it.
Tori Dunlap (00:04:09):
I really appreciate it. Yeah, you and I go way back in the personal finance community.
Andy Hill (00:04:12):
Yes, I will thank you for hiring me for freelance writing very early on in my journey. So thank you. Thanks for giving me a shot.
Tori Dunlap (00:04:20):
Oh, of course. Yeah, I was working at a FinTech company, that was my nine to five when I was running Her First $100K on the side. And then I went to my boss and I was like, Andy’s really great, we should hire him to freelance write. So, oh, that’s sweet. Yeah, we go way back. I think I met you at FinCon. I think that was the first time we had met and you already had the podcast and you were cooking.
Andy Hill (00:04:42):
was doing my best trying, I think I was there and 2017 was my first time. So yeah, loving it.
Tori Dunlap (00:04:46):
Yeah. And I think that was my first one too. Maybe no, I think 2018.
Andy Hill (00:04:51):
Yeah. Orlando, we’re there.
Tori Dunlap (00:04:53):
Yeah. Orlando. Exactly.
Andy Hill (00:04:55):
Tori Dunlap (00:04:57):
I love to start this question especially with other financial experts we have on the show. What is your first money memory? What is the first time you remember thinking about money?
Andy Hill (00:05:05):
Oh, I like that. Well, I like to think of it in two different ways. Like you, I will attribute a lot of my success to my parents. I am very blessed to have two great parents and I think of those memories that you’re talking about in two different ways. My first memory for my mom is her taking me to get my first savings account at the bank. We were living in Atlanta at the time. And I remember the little pass book where you used to write your balances in it and stuff like that. And it was one of those things where she talked to me about the importance of putting away money for a time when you’re going to need it. And that stuck with me. So mom definitely on the saving side. And then dad definitely had me know the importance of working hard.
Andy Hill (00:05:54):
And if you want something, you got to work for it. And he showed me why it was important to get a job. Even at an early age, I used to hustle and sell molly candy. It was like candy boxes for our football team. And whoever sold the most candy gets the bike. And so dad’s like, go for it. And I sold the most candy that year and then the three following years after that. So dad taught me the hustle mindset, mom taught me the importance of saving and I combined it. It all worked out.
Tori Dunlap (00:06:29):
I didn’t realize I was talking to four year running Willy Wonka.
Andy Hill (00:06:33):
Oh yeah, this is a proper Pee Wee football candy selling. So I think that based on the amount of candy sales that I did, I probably should have gotten maybe 10 bikes, but I got one bike. But that was good enough for me at the time at being 10 years old.
Tori Dunlap (00:06:48):
Yeah, for me it was very similar. Yeah, it was like I had just actually had this memory now you’re talking about… I haven’t thought about this in years, but they would send out I think the Christmas books and you could order wrapping paper. Do you remember these?
Andy Hill (00:07:04):
Yes, I do.
Tori Dunlap (00:07:05):
I had completely forgotten that these were a thing until this moment.
Andy Hill (00:07:07):
And they say go hustle kids.
Tori Dunlap (00:07:09):
Yeah. I had forgotten about that till now. Yeah, you sell wrapping paper or it was Christmas gifts.
Andy Hill (00:07:15):
Now that I think about it, this might be one of them using a lot of child labor to sell a lot of things.
Tori Dunlap (00:07:21):
I was just going to say this seems a little suspicious. Well, and you know about my vending machines, of course. And that was a voluntary thing, but yeah, I’m thinking about I had completely forgotten about that. I think that we were raising money for something but I don’t [inaudible 00:07:37]it was.
Andy Hill (00:07:36):
Hopefully there was some nonprofit or charity involved with either one of the things we were doing and not some-
Tori Dunlap (00:07:41):
Right. And so yeah, same as girl scout cookies or that kind of thing. We’re learning a lot of that from a pretty young age I’m realizing. Maybe we need to do a whole episode about that, I’m like you actually have been managing your money for a lot longer than you think.
Andy Hill (00:07:55):
Absolutely. It teaches entrepreneurship for sure.
Tori Dunlap (00:07:57):
Totally. One of the things we’ll continue to talk about on the podcast is the FIRE movement. For those who haven’t heard of it, it stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. And depending on who you talk to, there’s different goals and motivations. But I think largely the general goal is trying to make work optional, meaning that you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. That you have enough in investments, enough in savings, that you are what they call financially independent, meaning that you never have to work another day in your life if you don’t want to. So for you, what initially interested you about the FIRE movement or about becoming financially independent?
Andy Hill (00:08:33):
Yeah. I heard about the FIRE movement probably six or seven years ago from a podcast Financial Rockstar with Scott Alan Turner. A really cool guy. I didn’t know anything about it. I said, what? You can make enough so I don’t have to work this soul sucking job that I have. Okay, this is very interesting. And it was all about the independence part. I was like, okay, wow, if I can become independent from needing to work, then I don’t need to anymore. And I was in a position at that time. I was a young dad. I had a four year old daughter and a two year old son and I was working in a career that I really did not have a lot of passion towards. It was one of those things where I had started working in event marketing when I was 22.
Andy Hill (00:09:21):
And it was cool because you could travel around the country, travel around the world and do really cool things. Even I worked in luxury automotive marketing, so it’s like, hey, I get to be with cool cars, travel around. That’s really neat. But by the time you turn into a married and you’re a dad, it’s like, okay, the luster kind of loses itself. It’s like, okay, working weekends and doing all nighters, this isn’t as fun anymore. And it wasn’t always like that but even sometimes it was not as appealing. So I got to a point where I’m like, okay, I need out of this. But we were used to making the money we were making. My wife was a stay at home mom at the time and I had two little kids. I had a lot of responsibilities. So the FIRE movement to me when I heard about it was like, this is it. This is the way out. And I quickly learned a lot more about it after that.
Tori Dunlap (00:10:13):
What was the initial thing that really hooked you besides financial independence? Was there a blog post? Was there a podcast episode where you were like, oh, this is possible potentially?
Andy Hill (00:10:25):
I think just generally I’ve always been math centric or facts centric. So when you learn about the compound interest and you learn how, hey, if you invest this much, you can have that much by this time and you’d be able to have some freedom. When you have a higher income… I think I was making at this time that I learned maybe making $160,000 a year. A really good income I’m like, wow, if I could save half of this, I could be out of here in 10 years. And so by hearing that math problem, I’m like, wow, this could be really fantastic. And then I could be able to do more of the stuff that I want to do. And so I slowly started to bring this stuff up to my wife and she thought it was neat, but also it sounded like a lot of deprivation to her. And it also didn’t sound like a lot of fun. But she loved me and she wanted the best for me, so she indulged some of my madness at the time.
Tori Dunlap (00:11:22):
Yeah. I want to talk about this because you and I think have similar perspectives of this. If I’m a listener and I hear $160,000, I go, well, I’m not making that. So is financial independence possible for me? Because I think for many years right there was kind of like it was the very stereotypical tech bro who bikes to work, or who makes it, or who is somebody who is a high earner and that’s the only way it’s possible. So can we talk about that a little bit?
Andy Hill (00:11:52):
Absolutely. And to some extent I agree with that a lot because, because I like math and you look at the numbers, it’s like, okay, you need to make a lot of money and invest a lot of it if you want to do this in a short period of time. And even for me who was making a really good amount of money, I quickly found out that it was very difficult to not need to work for another 60 years or whatever it is. And so I think it became disheartening for me, even at that level of income that I have. And I know that was higher than a lot of people in our country. So I feel like what I transitioned into and I hope that people do, I think that they could take the spirit of financial independence and FIRE and just create their own
versions of it because that’s what I ended up doing.
Andy Hill (00:12:44):
I ended up quickly learning that, okay, I’m either going to make my wife so upset that she divorces me or I’m going to deprive my children from the things they need. And it just didn’t seem like the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. And then I quickly realized it’s like, well I don’t want to do nothing. I want to contribute. I want to help people. I want to do something where I feel like I’m really giving back into the world. And so my mind sort of shifted into say, well, this is really nearly impossible for most people in our country. And that’s why I think I started to create my own version of what financial independence meant for me.
Tori Dunlap (00:13:24):
Yeah. And I think one of the things that was really interesting to me when I started crunching my own numbers was it was like, it wasn’t necessarily about how much you were making. It was about the portion of your paycheck you were saving in addition to how much you were spending. It’s obviously easier, it’s way easier if you’re making a substantial amount of money. But one of the ways that you can increase your contributions or increase the likelihood of you being able to retire even three years earlier or five years earlier, is by figuring out what are your annual expenses and can I increase how much I’m contributing to my savings or investments by a percentage of point, 2% points, even 5%, 10% working up from there because again, I hear $160,000. And it’s almost like I put myself again in the shoes of the listener where I’m like, well, that’s not possible for me.
Tori Dunlap (00:14:18):
So I’m just like I’m not going to do any of it. And it’s like, no, there’s parts of course that you can do that, you can contribute. Even if you’re not making $160,000 a year, or even if for me you don’t have a multi seven figure business there are things you can do. Again, to your point about the spirit of financial independence, where it’s strategies of course around saving and increasing your investments without you being like, okay, I can’t do any of it. So I’m just not going to worry about it. And finding out what financial independence means to you. So I know that you kind of switched from going bounce to the wall like, I’m going to do FIRE to this idea of Coast FIRE. Can you explain what the difference is and why you kind of slowed your role a little bit?
Andy Hill (00:15:03):
Absolutely. Well, with Coast FIRE, essentially what it says is save a bunch for your traditional retirement, so that you get to a point in your call it your thirties or your forties where you say, okay, I’ve invested enough where I could choose to stop contributing to my traditional retirement accounts. And with time and compound interest, it’s still going to take me to that million or multimillion dollar level that I need in my sixties so that I can traditionally retire comfortably and not worry anymore. That was actually pretty relieving for me to see when you did those calculations to say, wow. So for our family, we have around $550,000 at 40 in traditional retirement savings vehicles. If we just let time and compound interest do their thing for the next call at 25 years, we’ll have around three million with a 7% interest rate.
Andy Hill (00:16:04):
So traditionally the market’s done 10% average will take 3% inflation. I know it’s a lot higher lately, but on average, 3% still makes sense. Three million dollars with the 4% rule, that’ll give us $120,000 per year to live on. Since we live comfortably right now on 60 to $70,000 here in lovely Michigan, that’s going to be plenty for us, so that made me feel a lot more relieved. So when I made that decision to say, okay, Coast FIRE, that’s our version of financial independence and that makes us feel good. Now that we’ve taken care of retirement, essentially creating our own pension and we paid off our mortgage. All we really need to do now is just find work that we can enjoy. And that takes care of our comfortable living expenses. At that point, I just felt, wait, I don’t have to save 70, 80% of my income and try to put it in a taxable brokerage and then try to live off of it. Those are nice goals and all, but I think that Coast FIRE lets us breathe out a little bit easier.
Tori Dunlap (00:17:10):
Well, and the definition of the word Coast FIRE, you’re easing off the gas. So the idea is you’ve put enough money into a retirement account or into multiple retirement accounts, that if you let compound interest do its thing forever, you can afford to never contribute another penny if you don’t want to. And for a lot of people that’s much more attainable than saying I’m going to completely retire and never work again at 35 or whatever age.
Andy Hill (00:17:36):
Exactly. And I love those stories. They’re very romantic and I love romantic stories. But they’re very difficult for most everybody, even for a guy that was making some really good money for a period of time during the crux of my career, I would say that traditional definition is very difficult.
Tori Dunlap (00:18:06):
And 99.9% of the time it has some sort of privilege involved in it. So for me, that is my story actually, if I could retire tomorrow and never work another day and be fine, but I’m assuming that my life is not going to be any different. I have put in some buffer, but I’m currently a single woman who doesn’t have children, who doesn’t have a spouse. And so my lifestyle probably will change eventually whether that’s… I don’t know what that looks like yet, but there’s a ton of privilege in that of like I don’t have children. Also, I’m able bodied. I make a good money now, I’ve built a business that supports me. So there’s a lot o
f factors to just financial independence in general. And we’ll link it in the show notes, but there’s like Barista FIRE where there’s so many versions of financial independence. Barista FIRE is like I’m working at Starbucks to get my health insurance and to just make some money, but otherwise I’m financial independent.
Tori Dunlap (00:19:02):
So there’s so many variations of this and there’s so many different levers, I guess that you’re pulling of like how much money is this person making? Where do they live? For me in Seattle the cost of living’s much higher, but also I don’t have children. So there’s a lot of different aspects or kind of perspectives. I don’t know.
Andy Hill (00:19:20):
Take your own flavor that meets your own flavor of financial independence. I think that’s… Like I know you talk about a lot everybody’s situation is different, personal finance is personal. There is no one right way. There’s no one size fits all. And I think sometimes when content is created out there, out in the personal finance world, it’s like this way or the highway and I don’t really believe that.
Tori Dunlap (00:19:42):
Yeah. Factors, I think is the word I’m looking for, we found it. I’m over here cussing up a storm, trying to figure out what my word is. All right, your podcast, Marriage, Kids and Money, we’ll talk about the kids in a second, but I would love to talk about marriage first. I know the story, but I want folks to know the story and you kind of alluded to this already. Were you and Nicole, your wife on the same page money wise when you first met? And if you weren’t, how did you find compromises? What did that look like trying to be two individuals who were coming together to manage their money?
Andy Hill (00:20:15):
Yeah. When we got together we had a lot of commonalities because we were young, we were in our twenties and we were just having lots of fun. And we both liked going out, having good times with our friends, enjoying all of the money that we had coming in, nothing wrong with it. Really no regrets at all. We got a certain amount of I think combined we were probably making 130 together. She was making 70, I was making 60 and when we got married it’s like, boom, double income. This is great. Now we can have more fun together because we’re living together. It was fantastic. And so with that, we would spend nearly all of it and just have a really good time. It really wasn’t until we learned that we were going to be parents, that something changed in my brain a little bit more and kind of reminded me of some lessons maybe that my mom taught me. That, hey, maybe I should put away some more of this money or do things with this money to protect my family and give them a great future.
Andy Hill (00:21:08):
And so for me, the first thing that popped up into my brain was, wow, okay, I accumulated $30,000 of student loans here. Nicole’s got a car loan, maybe instead of using all that 130 that we have combined, why don’t we live on half of it. And just clobber that debt so we can be debt free parents when Zoe comes into the world. And so I brought this idea up to Nicole. I thought it was a great idea and she’s like, that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. That sounds like you want to live on half of what we are bringing in and why would we do that? And for me I’m like, no, if we eliminate the debt, then we’ll have a better future. And then Zoe will have mom and dad won’t fight as much and she’s like gig it.
Tori Dunlap (00:21:49):
Right. With the numbers, she’ll save money eventually. It’s going to be potentially uncomfortable right now or temporarily uncomfortable. It’ll be better later.
Andy Hill (00:21:57):
We’re doing the math thing again being like, hey, if we have 50 now, we’ll have zero and then our net worth will go up and she’s like, dude, I got to go to work. And so I’m like, okay, well, what did I do wrong? Let me try this conversation again. So I thought about it from her perspective. I’m like, she doesn’t care about numbers like you do, Andy. What does she care about right now? Well, she’s at a job that she really doesn’t like and she eventually wants to become a stay at home mom. She’s had that in her heart that’s what she wants to do. Okay, why don’t you re-approach this conversation a little differently. So I did and I said, “Hey Nicole, if we were able to do X, Y, and Z with our money over the next three years, we could build this sort of ladder for you to go from full-time at your job to part-time at your job to eventually stay at home mom. How would you like to see how that plan could go? I’m going to get some pizza and some wine, let’s talk it over.”
Andy Hill (00:22:45):
And she goes, “That sounds good. Let’s talk about that.” So when I reassessed it from her perspective, the conversation went a lot easier. Instead of me trying to jam spreadsheets or whatever, just say, no, I know more. I’ve read some books than you do. I approached it from her shoes and then the conversation went a lot better. And so from that point on, we were able to work together on that specific goal. But yes, over the 12 years of our marriage, I’ve forgotten that fact quite a few times and that’s let us down some paths.
Tori Dunlap (00:23:23):
No, but I want to flag that. It’s one of the questions we get all the time of how do I manage money with somebody else? How do I manage money in a couple? This is how you do it y’all, is one you
make it fun. You make it like an actual date where you’re like, okay, it’s something we can look forward to. Two is you’re designating actual specific time to have a conversation about money. We’ve talked about this, I believe in episode 11 around financial self care and making a money date. I was specifically rather than when she’s leaving for work or when one of you is busy, it’s very specific designated time to sit down and have a conversation about money. And the third most powerful thing that you did, is you brought in how are we going to use money as a tool to build the life that we both want, rather than I just want this because of net worth.
Tori Dunlap (00:24:11):
Or I just want this because I stay home mom. No, like how do we both collectively use money as a tool to create the life that we want. And I think beautifully you were like, okay, I realized this is not going to motivate her. She doesn’t give shit. So what does she give a shit about? What does she care about? Oh, she wants to be a stay at home mom, how can we use money as a tool in order for her to potentially have that? And that’s the key with all of this. It’s giving it a why, giving it a purpose and finding the commonality between you two of like how can we have this conversation in a way that’s productive and also exciting, not depressing or scary or intimidating, so that was a beautiful example.
Andy Hill (00:24:50):
And thinking of it from the benefits as opposed to the numbers too, it’s like don’t think about debt freedom, or just getting rid of your student loans, or living on a budget or whatever. Those are just numbered figures. It’s like what is that going to provide? Why would I be doing that? Oh, okay, I can work part-time at this job that I’m not interested in. I can eventually be at home with my kids, that’s great or vice versa. I can have enough financial stability and strength to start that small business I’ve always wanted to do so I can get a… Those are the real reasons to do all of this stuff that we’re talking about as opposed to the financial numbers.
Tori Dunlap (00:25:29):
Right. Yeah, the number on the paper, becoming debt free. We’ve had the debt free guys on the podcast too and they’re great. And I think we all in the personal finance community, all of us who are like-minded. The why is so important both when you’re getting started, and they also talk about, they actually went into credit card debt, got out of it and then went back into credit card debt. And they realized the why is the thing that motivates you not just to set the goal, but when things are hard. When you don’t want to save more money and when you’re tired of continuing to pay off your debt, it’s the why that keeps you going.
Tori Dunlap (00:26:05):
Just like with any goal it’s the, oh, I want to feel stronger that’s why I get up and go to the gym every morning. Or I want to show up better at my relationships that’s why I keep going to therapy. So even when things are harder, figuring out what that why is, is so important because it’s not just going to be the thing that gets you started. It’s the thing that maintains that consistency when she hits the fan or when things are really difficult.
Andy Hill (00:26:28):
It will absolutely.
Tori Dunlap (00:26:30):
Yeah, no, I love that. That was a great example. For you what has been the biggest surprise when you and Nicole started managing your money together? Was there a moment that everything clicked?
Andy Hill (00:26:43):
I would say the biggest surprise for me early on was how long it took me to consistently think things from her perspective. Honestly, I think I’m a slow learner. But I think for so long I would just see the mathematical answers of, okay, this is the right way. This’ll help us and I really wouldn’t think about it from her perspective. And for her, when we think about different things like living in a nicer house, for me I grew up in a house and I liked it just fine. For her she grew up in a situation where she grew up with a single mom and three kids in a small apartment. And so for her, a nice house in the suburbs with your kids meant success for her. We’ve had a lot of conversations about this even in our therapy conversations as well.
Andy Hill (00:27:37):
We ended up going through some marriage counseling during some times where I wasn’t listening very well, and I was very pressed with my job and we ended up going to therapy for that. But through some of those conversations I realized, wow, this stuff is a lot more deeply rooted than I originally thought. And for myself as well, I have a lot of reasons that I want to save or reasons that I want to do what I want to do. And it kind of all stems from my childhood and through some of those deeper conversations, I was able to learn a lot of that. And I have to continue to remind myself, this is why she’s motivated the way she is and this is why I’m motivated the way I am. That doesn’t mean I should abandon the way I am for all that she needs. I think it’s important for us to bring both of those things to the table to say, here’s important to me, here’s important to you.
Andy Hill (00:28:27):
What is our way to find compromise in the middle where we can both have a little bit of what we want, and that becomes us as opposed to my way or your way. And we’re able to do that best when we carve out time, to your point, Tory. This isn’t in passing, this is d
edicated, hey, we’re going to set aside some time in the morning before the kids get up to have coffee together, just to talk about the important things. We’re going to dedicate time on Sundays to look over our calendar about what’s going on in our budget to say, hey, how are we spending money in alignment for how we want to move towards the future that we want to have as a family. It’s carving out that time. And when we don’t carve out that time, that’s when things get tight. That’s when the fights happen. That’s when you’re being difficult, I’m being difficult, it’s all just baking out the time. So if you want to be married or you want to have a really committed relationship, a good relationship, you got to bake out the time for it.
Tori Dunlap (00:29:28):
Well, and it’s proactive rather than reactive. And it’s often from a place of excitement rather than I think typically when it’s happening last minute. It’s yeah, you have some beef with the other person. So thank you for your vulnerability.
Andy Hill (00:29:42):
Tori Dunlap (00:29:43):
I think it’s so important to talk about therapy and talk about couples counseling. These are not bad shameful things. These are good things that you do in order to improve your relationships. So thank you for sharing that. You offered the perfect transition you didn’t even know it, about these kind of money beliefs or the things that happen when we’re young. So we know that research… And I talk about this more in my book, but that research has found that kids are largely cemented in their money habits by age seven. It happens really fast. So now if we’re transitioning to thinking about, okay, the marriage, kids and money part, talking about kids, what are some age appropriate ways to start introducing a healthier mindset about money? And what did that look like as your kids have continued to grow?
Andy Hill (00:30:31):
For us, we wanted our kids to understand how money works. And the best way for a child to learn is to have some in their hands. So in order to have some in their hands, we wanted them to show some effort because then we want to show them that’s where money comes from. You work hard, you get a reward. When they’re young, it’s like, give me candy. But hey, if you get the money then you can get the candy. So for us we said, well, if you get to sell the candy, you get the bike. So you start with the candy, sell that and then you get the reward. But our quickest way for us to do that was allow them to do age appropriate chores around the house, because we had a lot going on at the house. So even at age four, I believe for my daughter, Zoe, she was helping to put the laundry in the dryer, to use the little vacuum, to empty the little garbage cans, things like that with my help of course.
Andy Hill (00:31:26):
And then as she gets older, the chores get a little bit more difficult, a little bit more age appropriate. But for every time that she would help out with a chore, we would give a dollar for every year that she was. So four years old, she’d get four dollars a week and then my son the same thing. And with that money, we would allow them to spend it. We would allow them to save it, invest it and also talk about giving as well. So right now at their age, they’re 10 and seven, we use ally because they’re great. I love those digital buckets that they have. And we separate it into those four buckets, spending, saving, investing and giving. And with each of those buckets, we’re able to have great conversations with them about the importance of spending smart, the importance of giving a portion, the importance of investing a portion and saving as well.
Andy Hill (00:32:15):
So each of those buckets end up being conversations, because we feel like by giving them money and putting in their hands… Yeah, they’re going to make mistakes with it, but it’s better for them to make mistakes with it at 10 years old than 40 years old. 10 years old with five bucks instead of 40 years old with 50,000 bucks, won’t you rather be making the mistake now. So because I feel like-
Tori Dunlap (00:32:35):
Five dollar mistakes rather than the $50,000 mistakes. Yes, please.
Andy Hill (00:32:38):
And those are the real lessons that we remember, I think if we both think back to being a kid, we remember more lessons for things that we did well or messed up on than things our parents told us to do, because we know that we can only tell them so much, they really have to experience it. So by giving them money, letting them mess up with it and have some trial and error, I think that’s really the best way we’ve taught our kids about money so far.
Tori Dunlap (00:33:13):
And I love the split, the conversations that happen with, okay, go spend your money, think about it. But ultimately that’s your money to spend versus saving. What’s the difference between saving in this bucket versus investing in this bucket. And then I think one thing you were talking about on social media that I saw was they get to pick the charity that they contribute to. Can you talk a bit about that? I think it was Zoe’s time to pick and she was going through that. Can you tell me about that?
Andy Hill (00:33:39):
Yeah, absolutely. So once a quarter, we get together for our big give. And we look at all the money that they had, originally it was in physical jars but now we do the digital jars just because it’s a little easier. And what we do is we sit down, we go over and we look how much money they have, it could be 12 bucks, could be $10, whatever they’ve accumulated over that period of time. And we get some milkshakes and we have a little bit of fun. And then we talk about what they’re thankful for in their life. Calvin loves the roof over his head. He loves that he’s able to sleep in a warm house. So for him, he wanted to give to a charity called Say Detroit locally here and Michigan that helps people who are homeless find a place to live. Zoe’s heart is called towards animals.
Andy Hill (00:34:20):
So she wants to give to the World Wildlife Foundation. And so having conversations about what they’re interested in, or what they’re thankful for or what they like is a great place to start for us. And if they don’t know, or if they say, I don’t know, I pick two or three charities that they might be interested in. Go on their website, show them videos about what they’d be contributing to and how they’d be helping, because I think these types of conversations spur more, I guess growth for somebody as a young person than other conversations. Because I think at this point in time, they’re going to be learning what they really care about, what they want to do, what wrong they want to write in the world as they grow older. And maybe that will help them to move towards a career or a cause or a passion that they love.
Andy Hill (00:35:05):
And in turn, maybe have a career that they love and not be in a position like their dad was, where they needed to find their way out of a career. So I guess we’re trying to align their passions and let them know that what I believe, a true path to happiness is service and giving back. And whether that’s on a podcast like you are with Financial Feminist or physically giving to a charity or volunteer work, I think doing service in the world is a really great way to bring the happiness. Not only for yourself but the people you’re impacting.
Tori Dunlap (00:35:39):
Yeah. I always joke I can never get through a podcast episode without crying. No, you said so many beautiful things, literally your thing about taking your kids and going to get milkshakes. It’s going to make me cry but my vending machine business, I went out with my dad a Saturday, once a month. And that was our time where we went out once a month, Saturday morning for God, 11 years. We did that for so long together and yes, it was getting the money and getting the quarters out of the vending machines. But it was the conversations that we had and the time we spent together and the things I learned. And so I think even just like your milkshake memory, immediately that brings back all of the memories that I had with my dad of having really good conversations about everything. But then also about how to manage money.
Tori Dunlap (00:36:30):
And what I really do appreciate too, is it opens up these conversations. I think again, we think money is taboo or intimidating or scary. Especially if we have this perspective with ourselves that money is scary, how are we going to teach kids about money? And I think you’re doing it in a beautiful, really accessible way where it’s like, again, let’s find the things that you care about. Let’s have conversations about how the world works. Let’s talk about problems that are outside of our house that we hopefully help solve. I just think that’s absolutely beautiful and it’s such a sustainable way. It’s making me emotional. It’s such a sustainable way to have these conversations, especially for kids who are trying to figure out how the world works. It’s just beautiful.
Andy Hill (00:37:18):
Yeah, and knowing that they come from a privileged background is important for us to talk about as well. There are kids just your age that are in a different situation. So if have the means, if our cup is full, what can we do to give to some other folks that maybe don’t have as much.
Tori Dunlap (00:37:38):
Yeah, and open up those conversations through money, through this potentially intimidating thing. I think that’s beautiful. Have you started including, especially Zoe… I know Zoe’s older. Have you started including them in conversations around specifically investing or financial independence, or is it too early for those conversations?
Andy Hill (00:37:58):
I would say Zoe and I are at sort of the initial stages of talking about what investing really is besides, hey, dad puts a little bit of money in this investing thing and then that goes into Vanguard or whatever. For her we’ve played around… So I have her on my podcast every once in a month and we do a little money quiz. So we talk about important things that are going on there and I do it in a kid friendly way. And so I think it was last month we talked about how prices are very expensive for homes right now. And people are having a difficult time getting a home. So for her we talked about why we have an investing bucket for her. So we say, hey, that money that we have for your investing bucket, it’s essentially a kid’s brokerage account UTMA with Vanguard.
Andy Hill (00:38:40):
We talk about, okay, if we let this grow over the next call it 20 years, let’s see what happens in this calculator. So I’ll pull up a compound interest calculator and I’ll say, “Hey, based on what you have right now and if we keep putting money into it, this will grow to this level and allow you to be able to have ess
entially a home down payment.” And so we put in the numbers and I hit the calculate button and she made an audible, whoa, when she saw the compound interest start do its thing. And it was like 20 years, and then she goes to me, “Hey dad, what about three years?” And I said, “Well, compound interest doesn’t work that great in three years but let’s see what it does.” So we put it in there and her $2,500 went to $3,000 or something like that. She’s like, oh, okay. She’s like, okay, so we got to leave it in there for a long time. And I said, “Yes.” So it’s just conversations like that, very initial stages. I’m not going to crack the code here at 10.
Tori Dunlap (00:39:36):
You’re not doing the seven to 8% interest and the 4% withdrawal rate, and also inflation. You’re not doing that but-
Andy Hill (00:39:39):
It’s just conversations to let her know that big goals need some time for investing and a big goal for her would be home ownership. That would be sort of her first thing when in her late twenties, thirties, whatever it is, ends up being. And so that’s her first investing goal that we’re trying to talk to her about. And that’s important, which is fun.
Tori Dunlap (00:39:57):
Yeah. In what concrete ways are those conversations different with Zoe than with Calvin, because he’s a couple years younger?
Andy Hill (00:40:03):
Yeah, I would say at seven years old, Calvin is drawn to the conversation about charitable giving and so we have a lot more conversations about that. He doesn’t grasp as much of the investing stuff, but he’s the hey, I’ve got a certain amount of money on my debit card that I can spend and I need to make sure I check with dad first to look at the balance to make sure I don’t overspend it. And I have a bunch of money in my savings and I’m very excited about buying a computer like my sister just bought. So things like that are pretty fun to have with him right now.
Tori Dunlap (00:40:35):
Yeah. You find it’s a little more spending motivated it sounds like, or spending and giving motivated.
Andy Hill (00:40:40):
Yeah, absolutely. He gets excited when it’s the big give time. He gets really excited. He’s been giving to Say Detroit for three years now and he actually got invited on Mitch Albom’s live radio show at four years old for his, I think it was his seven dollar donation that he did to save Say Detroit. It was one of the coolest moments of my life to be able to be there next to my son while he’s being interviewed by Mitch Albom about his donation.
Tori Dunlap (00:41:11):
I’m like crying again. That’s so cool.
Andy Hill (00:41:13):
It’s very cool.
Tori Dunlap (00:41:13):
We’ll link it. Well maybe find the interview, will you send us the interview we link it.
Andy Hill (00:41:16):
Yeah, you got it on YouTube. It’s got three views. It’s probably me and you and my mom.
Tori Dunlap (00:41:21):
Yay. We’ll give it more views. Oh, I’m so excited. I can’t wait. I’m literally going to go and watch it after this. Oh, he’s the cutest, that’ll be so fun. Oh my gosh. So for you with Coast FIRE, with managing your money, helping your kids manage money, how has your perspective generally changed from when you first started this journey to now as a husband, and a father and also someone who is of course trying to grow your independence for your own goals? What sort of mindset shifts have happened from the first day you got started to now?
Andy Hill (00:41:57):
Yeah, in the beginning it was like, okay, what can I do to protect my family and give them a great life? And I think I went from protection to, okay, how can I have more time with them now that I’ve protected them? How can I change my life? How can I change my financial situation so that I can own more of my time? And that became my driving force for 10 years until I made my transition out of corporate America a few years ago. And went from whatever 40 to 60 hour week to a 25 hour work week as a solopreneur at home. And it was good timing because the pandemic came around and the kids were home from school for a really long time. And it was just ideal because I needed to be home and that ability to do that was great. So I think it went from what can I do to protect them to what can I do to own more of my time, so that I can be a present father.
Andy Hill (00:42:51):
And let them have memories like you have with your dad, where you’re just around and you’re able to be there for those conversations, those moments when they want to talk to you about that thing that happened at school and you’re there to listen to it. And it’s been really a blessing to be able to own more of my time to be the PTO treasurer right now. I’m the assistant soccer coach for my son’s team. It’s just those little moments where I’m involved in the community. I’m there for those conversations. And now I’m obsessed with owning more of my time and also doing work that fulfills me, and giving back and helping people. So that’s the shift of the conversation, at least from my perspective. And then for my wife, during the time when I went back to… I said I’m going to go for this entrepreneurship thing full time, she graciously said, okay, well, I’ll go back part-time after the stay at home mom thing and then eventually full-time. And now that we’ve gotten to a position of more financial stability together, she’s going back to school.
Andy Hill (00:43:54):
She wants to try to be an aesthetician. That’s her goal right now. She wants to do a complete career change and say, hey, I’m going to do something completely new. So with that stability, and plan and these great conversations we’ve been able to have, she’s going back to school for six months and she’s excited about a new career path. So lots of things happen in here at the hill house.
Tori Dunlap (00:44:13):
Yeah. I think last time I chatted with you because I interviewed you for my book. I think you were in the pickup line. You were picking up, was it Zoe or Calvin from school?
Andy Hill (00:44:24):
Yeah. Both of them. They still go to the same elementary school. Yap.
Tori Dunlap (00:44:26):
Yeah. And so that flexibility that it offers you, I think is so powerful and so cool.
Andy Hill (00:44:32):
Absolutely. I would say probably of the 10% of dads that are there, it’s lot of moms. So it’s a nice thing to, I guess have some diversity of who they’re seeing for the pickup. And now my wife and I kind of split it. So I drop them off in the morning and Nicole picks them up at the end of the day. So I think it’s important for them to have a great relationship with both of us.
Tori Dunlap (00:44:54):
Yeah. Speaking of that, actually diversity, you and I have discussed this a little bit. Are you finding that you’re having to have, or you are wanting to have different conversations about money with Zoe who’s a girl than Calvin who’s a boy? Because I think a lot of the things I see is it’s like, if you’re taught about money at all, boys are taught very different things about money than girls are. So are you having different conversations with her? What does that look like?
Andy Hill (00:45:21):
I think both Nicole and I have conversations with her about the importance of her having her own independence with money as a young woman. And I guess the power that comes with that so that when she is a young woman, she can make a lot of choices that are best for her, whether that is in a romantic relationship or a business relationship, where she doesn’t feel stuck either way. That is the last thing that I want for my daughter. And with that comes the strength that she’s going to give to herself. It’s less of female financial empowerment and more of like she’s going to come out empowered. She’s already powerful. I love her. I’m the biggest Zoe fan. But she’s growing up knowing that she has control of her own destiny.
Andy Hill (00:46:18):
And with that from the financial side, she’s got her own money in her own hand. She’s going to spend it how she wants to spend it. And yes, with some oversight for mom and dad that she’s not doing anything out of bounds. But we want her to have that power early so that she can make some moves that are best for her as a young woman.
Tori Dunlap (00:46:43):
Right. And we know from statistics that especially with violent, romantic relationships, we know that the number one reason women aren’t able to leave is because they financially are not able to. They can’t afford an apartment on their own. They don’t have access to their own bank account. They don’t have access to their own money or their dependence on somebody else for that money. So I think that’s so crucial and important.
Andy Hill (00:47:09):
Yeah. And it’s a societal stiff shift that’s still happening. It wasn’t until the mid ’70s that women couldn’t get credit cards in their own name, it had to be in their husband’s name. So that’s not that long ago really when you think about it. So a lot of that still lingers and we are all about empowering her to be the steward of her own life.
Tori Dunlap (00:47:31):
I love that. What’s been the most surprising thing about teaching your kids about money?
Andy Hill (00:47:36):
I would say sometimes my wife reminds me where I’m like, oh, I really want to make sure that Zoe understands this concept. My wife continues to remind me, she goes, “Hey pal, they’re light years ahead of some other kids their age.” I’m like, okay. Yeah, you’re right.
Tori Dunlap (00:47:54):
Oh God. The fact that you’re even talking about money in general, even if you didn’t teach them any concepts. Yeah, huge.
Andy Hill (00:47:58):
So I have to calm myself down. But some of the things that I’m excited about that I didn’t even think about becoming a parent is all of the different investing goals that you can take advantage of, for children at a young age, if you have the extra dollars and the means to do. We’re investing for both of them in three different ways. We’re investing for their college through a 529. We’re investing for that home down payment through a kid’s brokerage account and then investing for their future retirement through a Roth IRA. They can only do that if they have earned income. And since they’re a part of my business as co-hosts, photography talent and videographers for my social media, we can invest for their future retirement at seven eventually for their 65. Talk about compound interest.
Tori Dunlap (00:48:45):
I love it, Andy. Oh, it’s so good.
Andy Hill (00:48:47):
So just breaking up those investing goals. When we talk about the timeframe of compound interest, it always like, hey, the earlier you start the better. How about zero years old? That’s a great age to start for college investing. So you got 20 years before you need that money or whatever it was for Calvin five years old for Roth IRA. That’s a big timeframe to let compound interest do its thing. And then hopefully by that time they have the habits of contributing 10% of their money, 15% or whatever it ends up being to those buckets because they know that’s just what I do with money so that I can have these things later on in life.
Tori Dunlap (00:49:22):
I think it’s so important to touch on and you can speak to this uniquely as someone who was chasing financial independence, or pursuing financial independence while also of course trying to take care of kids. I see this especially with mothers, is that they often unknowingly sacrifice their own retirement in order to try to save for their children’s college, because typically they’ve had student loans. They’re like, I don’t want to do that to my kid. So I’m going to try to get them as close to debt free as possible. And often of course what happens is that they are not contributing as much as they need for retirement. And what I tell them often, it’s sucks to take out student loans. It’s not a fun thing, but your child can take out student loans. They have that option. There is no retirement loan and retirement is the biggest expense of your life. So for you in terms of prioritizing, what did that look like in your life between making sure your own oxygen mask was good before you tried to help your kids establish their financial standing?
Andy Hill (00:50:25):
Yeah, I would say that is a very good point to make because I think some people will say, well, at least my kids will have it better than I will. But your kids still might be taking care of you in retirement then, if you do not have the money set aside to take care of yourself. And we do have a retirement crisis on our hands currently and in the next couple of decades, for sure. So I would say a lot of these conversations about Roth IRAs for your kids or UTMAs or things like that, are really nice to have but you definitely need to take care of your retirement first. And you should say, hey, whether that’s a certain percentage that I’m always going to be contributing to my retirement, that’s fantastic. Or if you eventually get to this Coast FIRE kind of situation where you’re like, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. That’s fantastic.
Andy Hill (00:51:11):
But yes, I would echo that 100% that taking care of your future retirement needs, making sure you have money set aside for emergencies because you don’t want to in your 60s or 70s or 80s, come to your kids to say, I need to live with you. I don’t have any more money. Or, hey, I need some financial assistance. Hey, remember I paid for that college. I need that assistance now. It’s like, no, take advantage of the time that you have decades before you’re retiring to take advantage of compound interest because like you said, there are no retirement loans. So for us I would say we did our best to make sure that we’re going to be set for retirement. And then now we are privileged enough to be able to take advantage of these nice things for our kids. And when I say contributing to their accounts, it’s very micro at this point. My late mother-in-law started the brokerage account for each of my kids with $1000 in each of them. And then since then, it’s just been a portion of the kids chore money that goes into it each month.
Andy Hill (00:52:12):
But over time it starts to build, which is really neat for them to see. So these aren’t wildly large accounts. I think maybe both the kids have a couple of grand in each of their brokerages. But I think having the conversations and talking about where they go eventually is pretty exciting.
Tori Dunlap (00:52:28):
That’s amazing. And again with compound interest, as it’s like even with a couple of dollars as time is more important than the amount of money, so that’ll grow into something later. We’ve touched on this a bit, but for you, everybody has that why or that motivation with getting their finances together, becoming financially independent. What is your why and has it changed over time?
Andy Hill (00:52:52):
It’s definitely changed over time. There was a period of time where my wife wanted to move out of my bachelor pad bungalow, and move to a nicer suburb when we were expecting our second child. And for me at that point, I was like, I don’t want to. I’ve got this job that I don’t like and a mortgage that I don’t really even want to pay for. I don’t want to get a bigger mortgage with a more responsibility. And so for us at that time, my why was like get me out of this situation where I feel like I need to have this job that I have, or that I need to be paying this bigger mortgage payment. And since I had that why at that period of time, it was a conversation that Nicole and I had. I said, “Okay, we’ll do this house thing, but we got to pay this thing off fast.” Because the first goal around I had with home ownership was no good and now I feel trapped. And that was an agreement that we had.
Andy Hill (00:53:50):
So my why at that time was like, get me out of the situation. I love my wife and I love my kids, I didn’t want out of that. I wanted out of the pressure of needing to make the amount of money I was making and working in a career that I didn’t like. So for me it went from I need independence, and now my why is really to help my kids have a great life. Honestly, I want to continue to teach them ways to not need to worry about their financial situation. Or not need to worry about where they’re working and really just enjoy life a little bit more so that they can give back, so that they can do work that really fulfills them. So I went from a position of restriction to a position of being able to help and teach my kids.
Tori Dunlap (00:54:43):
Yeah. And not to psychoanalyze you, I feel like it was very scarcity driven. It sounds like in the early days, rather than abundance, right?
Andy Hill (00:54:52):
Tori Dunlap (00:54:52):
So it was feeling pressure or feeling like how am I going to make this work as opposed to now, especially it sounds like Nicole’s I think influenced this a little bit. But it’s like, how do we enjoy what we have right now.
Andy Hill (00:55:05):
And now since I’m doing work that I love, Nicole and I have sort of flipped. I’m like, hey, let’s go on more vacations. Let’s buy this hot tub. Let’s get this new car. I’ve definitely been the instigator of spending a lot over the past two years. And Nicole and I talked about it. She’s like yeah, it’s because you like what you do and you’re not worried as much. So we went from saving 50% of our income for like almost 10 years on average, to about saving 10% of our income now. And I’m not worried at all. We went 50% to 10% and I feel great about it. We are saving a lot less and we’re still on this family financial independence journey, but it’s different now. And yes, we’re appreciative of all the heavy lifting that income did for us and all the things that we were able to do. But now we don’t need to save as much.
Tori Dunlap (00:56:01):
I have the industry question because for so long you were very public. Okay, I’m doing this blog, I’m running this business about financial independence. Did you get any flack from anybody when you reeled it back?
Andy Hill (00:56:11):
Yes, I did. I got some notes that were saying, hey, you were so hardcore about FIRE and your financial independence. And now all I hear you talk about is spending and enjoying your money. What’s up? It’s like you did all these things and you don’t appreciate all that they did for you. And so it was interesting. It was a thoughtful comment. It wasn’t attacking and such, but yeah, I got a bit of that. So I responded, I actually did one of my most popular episodes is called 50% to 10%. And it’s that transition of going from, I need to save because I want out to, wow, I enjoy my every day and now saving and investing a little bit is totally fine because we’re enjoying more of our time today. So yeah, I got a little flack from that. But I think that if I can be a promoter of utilizing your money to enjoy your life, I think that’s more important than a hardcore savings.
Tori Dunlap (00:57:19):
Agreed. And I say industry question because I think unless you’re in the personal finance world, this doesn’t really matter. But I think there is this weird glorification of deep sacrifice, and of don’t have like nice things to increase your savings percentage. And of course, that’s not what we do here at HFK. We don’t do that shit. But it weirdly in the personal finance community, it’s lauded and chased of like basically you should make your life miserable. And you shouldn’t use toilet paper and you should do all these crazy things in order to save money.
Andy Hill (00:57:55):
Brown bananas. I don’t know if you remember that brown bananas, it was like in Wall Street journal or New York Times like a big piece. And it was about the FIRE movement and unfortunately it got that sort of-
Tori Dunlap (00:58:07):
She was lived in Seattle too. Brown banana lady lived in Seattle.
Andy Hill (00:58:10):
That was a bummer.
Tori Dunlap (00:58:11):
Still might be.
Andy Hill (00:58:12):
And maybe they misquoted her and they kind of gave her… They grabbed one headline that sounded really… But that’s-
Tori Dunlap (00:58:18):
Can you remind us what it is? Can you explain what that headline was?
Andy Hill (00:58:21):
Well, essentially the newspaper article was about the FIRE movement. It was sort of an overall view of here’s what it’s all about. And the unfortunate example they used was this woman who was quoted was talking about, hey, I wait until the bananas have expired, just a few days after they’ve expired at the grocery store so that I can get them for 35 cents instead of 70 cents, something like that. And that was their definition or their example of the FIRE movement. And unfortunately, I think that was an unfair depiction. It was probably an unfair depiction of the woman too and all that she had done to get the position she was in. I feel like it makes for good press to make fun of people sometimes unfortunately. I think that’s part of what the FIRE movement is. It’s big savings rates and a little bit of deprivation to get there for a payoff at the end.
Andy Hill (00:59:17):
Unfortunately, I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the FIRE movement that at the end of that rainbow, it’s not as sunshine as they were expecting. So having learned from that, I decided over the past five years with help from my wife, that why don’t we start to sip some of that stuff that you’re hoping for at the end of retirement or the end of early retirement now to see if you even like it, oh, when I early retire I’m going to learn to play the guitar. Why don’t you try to take a couple guitar lessons right now to see if you actually will even do it.
Tori Dunlap (00:59:50):
And figure it out if you actually want to do it.
Andy Hill (00:59:52):
Or we’re going to go on the biggest epic vacation, why don’t we go on a vacation now while we have the opportunity to make memories with our kids. So I think I learned a lot during the path and I’ve sort of come back from the FIRE mountain and coming back down being like, hey, you can make your own version. You don’t have to be so hardcore. Find some work you love. If you really don’t like your job right now, try to find something else.
Tori Dunlap (01:00:19):
Yeah, and also one deprivation isn’t the answer. We know diets fail. We know that psychologically. And the other thing I think that is extremely important to mention here is… Especially with that brown banana idea, this is a choice and it’s glorified as something that a smart person does in order to save money when that is the actual real life. That’s not a choice for millions of people. So there’s like sacrifice deprivation, like its gets glorified for certain people is the very thing that many people that’s their everyday life, that they’re also then shamed for not being able to save more money. So I think that’s one criticism that I think is very necessary and is part of the conversation. It’s like you can’t glorify some behavior just because this person makes six figures, but only lives on a very small amount of money. When in actuality these sorts of sacrifices are decisions that this person is making, optionally are this other person’s required every day. Like that’s their only option. That’s not a choice anymore.
Andy Hill (01:01:32):
I agree. And if we get to that point where we’ve saved so much that we don’t have to work anymore, and we can live on our 20 or $30,000 a year in investments, I think a lot of us would want to try to find some work that brought us some happiness and meaning too. So if we can find a way to do that earlier, that can be a great path. And everybody’s situation is different. Especially geography, we’re talking from Seattle to Michigan, the cost of living situation’s very different.
Tori Dunlap (01:02:03):
And I’m in New York City right now. I’m recording t
his in New York City. So things are very different. And again, as we’ve talked about a million times, there’s only so much about personal finance you can actually control. Very little of it as actually personal decisions, most of it is your circumstances and your privilege or lack thereof. And so of the things you can control, it’s like how do we hopefully optimize them to give you the best life possible and to make sure that you’re balancing saving while also not completely depriving yourself of everything that brings you joy.
Andy Hill (01:02:34):
Tori Dunlap (01:02:35):
And I think you’ve found a happy balance of that. If parents are listening, what’s like the biggest piece of advice you have for raising financially minded, smart kids?
Andy Hill (01:02:43):
Oh yeah. I would say the biggest piece of advice I would have for parents who are looking to help their kids be smart with money, or just have that knowledge is to allow them to make mistakes with money. I’ll just make it easy right there, put money in their hands after they’ve earned it, which is good, but allow them to make mistakes with it. If they went and used that $10 that they got from birthday money and bought $10 worth of gumballs, and now they don’t have enough money to buy the toy they want, that’s a lesson right there. That’s something that they’re going to learn to be like, oh, okay, if I used some of it for a candy and some of it for the other thing. Those are the learning lessons that as adults, if we didn’t have a lot of chance to play around with money or learn with money, that we’re going to learn with our first paycheck of thousands of dollars, or our car or whatever and that’s going to be much more painful.
Andy Hill (01:03:37):
So let them make mistakes early with their money, and they’re going to learn from it and it’s going to be fantastic for the future. I think that goes well with anything, put it in people’s hands and let them figure it out. Honestly, trial and error it’s a great way to learn.
Tori Dunlap (01:03:53):
Yeah. Andy, so appreciative of your work, of your vulnerability, all of it. Thank you, where can people find you?
Andy Hill (01:04:00):
Yeah, I have a podcast called Marriage, Kids and Money. If you’re listening to this podcast right now, just type in Marriage, Kids and Money and your favorite podcast player. If you want to learn how we paid off our mortgage in under five years, I have a free gift for your audience at MarriageKidsandMoney.com/free gift I give. It’s free. It’s just the 10 steps that we took to pay it off and find our own version of family financial independence.
Tori Dunlap (01:04:23):
Amazing. Thanks for being here.
Andy Hill (01:04:24):
Thank you, Tori.
Tori Dunlap (01:04:27):
Thank you again to Andy hill for joining us for this episode, whether you have kids, planning to have kids or the cool childless aunt to your friend’s kids, I’m waving really hard or want nothing to do with kids, I hope you got something out of that episode. If you want to learn more about Andy or follow his work, we’ve linked his platforms on our show notes page, along with some more resources including our favorite money tools, articles and so much more. Seriously, if you’re skipping on the show notes, you’re missing a lot. And while you’re still here, please make sure to follow and subscribe to Financial Feminist if you haven’t already. Leaving a review as well, probably hopefully a positive one because if you don’t like the show, don’t listen to the show. But leaving a positive review is one of the best things you can do to let us know if you’re enjoying the show and let others know that you recommend it.
Tori Dunlap (01:05:07):
If you’re not sure what to write in these reviews, let us know maybe your dream guests or topics, share a money win with us. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. We have so much more come in your way financial feminists. Thanks for your support of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you later. Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist at Her First $100k podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristen Fields, marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Olivia Coning, Cherise Wade, Alena Helzer, Paulina Isaac, Sophia Cohen, Valerie Oresko, Jonah Cohen and Ana Alexandra, research by Ariel Johnson, audio engineering by Austin Fields, promotional graphics by Mary Stratton, photography by Sarah Wolfe and theme music by Jonah Cohen and sound. A huge thanks to the entire Her First $100K team and community for supporting the show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First $100K, our guests, episode show notes and our upcoming book also titled Financial Feminist, visit herfirst$100k.com.