93: Financial Health in Recovery (Sort Of)

We are talking financial health. In recovery, we mention physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, but we never talk about financial health. Money and finances are a huge trigger for many people early in recovery. Also, many people in recovery have never been exposed to the idea of any healthy balance with their financial picture. It’s an often overlooked aspect of recovery. We have Pete on to help us explore the topic of financial health. We look at creating a budget, what to do about some of the debt we might have when entering recovery, and the importance of starting some form of savings. We go further into investing, and prioritizing what financial aspect of our lives needs attention first. Listen in as we talk financial health and help yourself get your finances straight. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy who’s extremely vague about money and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we have pete here today hey guys i’m pete i’m an addict and uh i love money and how about finances awesome so uh we’re going to talk about

Financial Health

financial health today which i think is a topic in recovery that we never ever talk about honestly i don’t remember in detox ever encountering any financial planning advice i don’t remember that in early recovery in fact i think we’ve kind of talked about in our traditions uh you know 12-step programs almost suggest that the less money we have the better off we are in a way in our traditions and i’ve found that completely fascinating and it’s not a wonder that none of us become rich because of that suggestion but of course as an addict it’s like drugs money and sex that’s the trifecta of a happy life sex drugs and rock and roll right so yeah so uh just before we get started i did want to thank uh sarah and julie for their continued contributions and uh maybe maybe you guys don’t want to listen to the financial health episode because they might suggest you don’t donate to giving your money to us right don’t donate to shitty podcasts that’s dumb um so yeah don’t don’t take what we say today too seriously if you are helping us out but let’s uh let’s hop into our financial health topic so pete why don’t you tell us a little bit about why you’re here today sure um well as an addict you know i want to give back i want to get back to the community and help as many people as i can um i’ve got a really busy life i’ve got a young child i’ve got you know a full-time job got a house working a program recovery work in a program of recovering from chronic pain as well and you know um if i can get an opportunity to give back and and help some people i’d love to do it that’s so interesting that you you said you have a little kid and the first thing i think of is i want to say congratulations right because it seems appropriate i’m like congratulations you had sex like what is that congratulations that comes up when people say that right it’s like when people’s i we were somewhere yesterday and they i have a two-year-old and they’re like oh she’s so adorable and like the natural thing is to say thank you but i’m like i didn’t do nothing to make that like it just happened i didn’t

so if when we’re talking about financial health i think the interesting part for people that come into recovery we are probably in some of the worst financial shape of anybody out there i would imagine like okay so you’re talking about the the the crackhead right like and i’m not talking about any crackhead me right i smoked crack i shot coke like i did not have money at the end of my using i could not get money from anybody personally much less a private loan or anything i was in

Debt

debt i if anybody had ever given me a credit card i had found out the passcode to get the money off of that credit card and overextended it or when it stopped letting me do that i was like buying cartons of cigarettes and selling them half price with it right like i was just wrecking my my credit i was wrecking everything about finances i and billy kind of mentioned this a few minutes ago before we started recording like i had been exposed to the idea of having a bank account investing money a little tiny bit that wasn’t really something we weren’t rich growing up like we didn’t we weren’t investors right we just had a couple of dollars to throw into a cd or something but some of these concepts were familiar to me but but like billy said i’ve run into quite a few people who their home life and upbringing no they’ve never heard of a bank account you know they might not have a license or or an id or a social security card or so what one maybe why do we always avoid this conversation about money and two where do we even start sure so you know for your first question why do we avoid it it’s because money is uncomfortable you know and it’s kind of like talking about sex you know either you love to have sex and talk about it or you’re just kind of like that’s something i want to keep to myself you know i know a lot of people that are very open about their finances and to me i’m kind of like you know i i’m not the type of person that wants to put my

Financial Situation

financial situation out there um so you know to get started in life you know as you come into recovery and we were talking about this before we started as well you know if you’re if you’re in a recovery house or a halfway house and you’ve gotten a job your first step really just needs to be start saving that money because when you get out on your own you’re going to need to have a question you don’t need to have six or eight months of expenses as you’re starting out but you need to get in your mind you need to make a budget and you can write it down or which i would recommend writing it down or if you have it in your head at least you know i have this much money coming in each month i know my rent is this i know my phone bill is going to be this you need to have those expenses covered and before you can talk about savings and before you can talk about investing you need to have a a really good understanding of your ins and outs in that budget and what do i have a buffer for do i have 50 bucks a paycheck that i can put into a savings account what are my short-term saving goals you know do i want to get a vehicle which as we also talked about i don’t think that that should be your top priority if you’re able to have that job and work it without a vehicle then that that is an expense that you don’t need right away hmm that’s interesting because i feel like one of the reasons or at least the justifications that’s always given for getting a vehicle is that gives me access to get better jobs it does but i think as you’re starting out that you know you have to take baby steps you know with that movie what about bob it’s all baby steps man you know one step at a time and the first thing you need to do i would think the first thing that i would want would be a roof over my head you know get that apartment make sure that you’re you’re covering your rent each month so you don’t get evicted and have that expense um you know if you look at your finances either on a weekly basis if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly take it to the month you know multiply it out by two or four and say okay at the end of the month i’m making two thousand dollars in cash that’s what i’m bringing home my rent’s 500 bucks my pay my phone bill is 150. so that gives you what 13.50 left and you have food electricity water all those bills yeah you have to incorporate all of those and then what you have left at the end of the month that is that is what you can start either saving or putting towards you know your next big expense that you want to uh purchase i noticed you didn’t mention any allowance in there well no so but that’s that’s a really good point i mean obviously you have to have some spending money you know yeah you know that you’re going to go out after meetings you know you’re going to meet friends for coffee so yeah give yourself a couple hundred bucks or a hundred bucks um a paycheck whatever it is but you gotta stick to it too it takes discipline and and it’s i i know that that’s not easy and that’s a terrible word but um you know when you come into recovery i mean you’re you’re basically starting your life over right and you’re you’re starting this new way of living and you’re hanging out with people that have started their new way of living so these are just steps and suggestions that will help you start to gain a grasp and understanding of your

Financial Picture

financial picture at that point so i’m curious because i i grew up in baltimore right and my idea was yeah you you can walk to work like there’s 48 different places within five minutes i can walk to how many plus is accessible right the buses i was walking [ _ ] that bus but yeah like there was options for getting around without a car and it’s interesting that you mentioned that like the car is not the most important because i look at life out here in cecil county and i’m like well christ you’re not working if you don’t have a car well that’s that’s a really good point and i think that um your circumstances will dictate that right but you know i’ve just seen it time and time again where i i see young people come into the program and they’re just focused on that car you know that car is the thing that they need and then it’ll be okay and then life will be better and they end up just going down route 40 and going to baltimore and just starting all over again and reinventing that wheel and and that is that is my that is why my suggestion to not get a car right away is the way that i validate is because i just see it over and over you know and once you get that little thought in your mind you know you can’t get it out and so no car is like removing access to the it is to the ease of drugs in your mind okay it does what about people who who money’s such a big trigger for how do they help themselves with that so that so that’s difficult because i i know a lot of people too where you have money in your pocket it’s just burning a hole i can tell you what i do is you get a wife and then you just let her control all the money and then for years i try to do it and then i was like no why don’t you just do this and i’ll just get an allowance and that works better i i’m just there you go get away but you know what that that’s a really good point bill yeah i mean if you’re in a situation where say your parents take you back in or someone else does that you trust give them your money you know let them put it into the bank accounts let them give you an allowance you know sign an agreement if you want to whatever validates it for you that hey i’m going to give you my check you’re going to pay my bills and you’re going to give me my allowance for the week or two and when it’s gone it’s gone and and what that does too is that’ll hopefully will reinforce in your mind that i’ve got this amount of money to spend so what do i want to spend it on each week you know do i want to just uh you know let it burn at home do i want to go get like a ps5 right away is that my main goal and buy video games well that’s great but you know what you buy that ps5 you’re out of money for like two months man you know and with that like so that was my thing is you know we’d be doing okay i’d pay the

Bills

bills we’d have a little bit of extra money and in my head it’s like oh yeah a new uh softball bat and glove sounds like a great idea i can drop 300 on that and it sounds good in my head because it’s important to me but now what i find is when i have to go ask her about it before i spend that money you know it’s like it’s it’s just like anything with with addicts like my best thinking gets me into trouble all the time and i don’t go into most situations thinking i’m gonna just [ _ ] my whole life up right now with this decision you know what i mean like and i’m gonna do it anyway it’s like i go into it with the best intentions and the just some blinders or some naive you know thinking that gets me into trouble yeah and that’s a great point too i mean so ask your sponsor run it by him like hey yeah having that accountable person i want to buy a ps5 i’m 40 years old i can’t make ends meet is that a good idea right i can’t get my sponsors to ask me about serious stuff that’s their money so i mean that’s one of the things though like money is pretty serious i mean as we kind of touched on before this and i just before we got into this podcast did a little bit of looking into it and i mean i think the uh american psychiatric association said that 75 percent of families consider money a stressor so you figure you know if you had addicts i i know that number’s got to be higher for most addicts it’s probably got to be close to 99 of addicts are not financially stable people so that creates a huge amount of stress and a huge amount of worry and and problem that you know it’s hard to face sometimes but as you know as we’re talking about this is it a stressor because 95 of addicts don’t know how to manage their money right and just don’t know how to handle it they see it as you know their ticket to the candy store and their ticket back to baltimore or or whatever it is you know as opposed to hey this is this is like a means for me to live and a means for me to improve my life and slowly see things get better so so money in general i think it’s it’s a lot like an

Investment

investment okay so investments take time to compound okay you could put away 10 grand a year for five years and be like you know what great i got 55 000 at the end of this five years you know i’ve made i’ve made 10 in five years that that kind of sucks yeah but hey first of all it’s better than a savings account where you get point zero one percent okay you can’t even beat inflation but it’s time in the markets it’s time and investments that is where the magic works that’s where the compounding happens so you know five years doesn’t look that great but you know what 10 years looks a whole lot better 15 years way better 20 years amazing compounding is just you know they call it like the eighth wonder of the world some people do you know it’s mathematically it’s just it’s it’s a great concept and and it works but i guess where i was going with this is you know if you have that money that is your means to start slow and and that’s my point is you know compounding doesn’t happen overnight it happens over a long period of time whereas you know building your life back happens over a long period of time you know if if you’re starting over again at 25 26 you should have a you need to have an expectation that yeah i’m going to get a job i’m going to get a place to live i’m going to work a program and slowly things get better day by day not instantaneously instant gratification man yeah instant gratification is just it’s a myth it’s it’s what we love as addicts absolutely but that that doesn’t happen in the financial world unless you pick i mean okay so even if you picked out amazon right as a stock you would have waited 25 years to get that big bang that we’re having right now you know right and you would have seen it going down and up and down but that is where patience and time come into factor and isn’t some of it just luck i mean educated luck but still it’s like well so yes and no um basically if you if you want to go to the investment side of things um you know there there’s luck involved in in the sense that you know what the company is going to keep earning more and more money but there are different ways to evaluate a company and see whether or not hey is this company financially sound are they meeting all their debt obligations do they have all this extra cash coming in when you see that picture that’s when you say you know i can put a educated guess and an educated bet on that investment that it’s going to pay off and it’s going to get better over time if you look at a company and this is where a lot of people are getting caught up today okay so you’ve heard about zoom and you’ve heard about on a snowflake you know these companies that just took off during the pandemic like they were they were nothing stocks now they’re 500 600 bucks or look at tesla right those companies don’t have financially sound balance sheets okay they they benefited from having a technology that facilitated the state of the economy at that point you know the economies were shut down how do companies continue to do business well hey zoom was there for that’s an answer however it didn’t have all these cash flows and they just grew exponentially okay so that doesn’t happen all the time and you just need to be aware of that that well that’s what i mean by the luck like that just was a consequence of a pandemic that had nothing to do with yeah pandemics happened whatever 120 years i mean so our chances of seeing another pandemic are really slim right as we come out of this one so what you look for is more of a company that is always you know they’re growing they’re putting new products out there they’re they’ve got huge amounts of cash flow they meet their debt obligations and they continue to grow slowly as an addict a lot of us consume tobacco you know tobacco companies pay huge dividends and they are continually changing their product mix and changing their products to better society actually which is surprising but they’re increasing their cash flows they’re paying down their debt and you keep getting more and more in dividends every year they raise that dividend and what a dividend is just cash in your pocket if you own that stock they pay you to end the stock so i think that gets back to why i mean at least for me like it’s better to have smart people that know about money deal with my money than me doing the what’s the e-trade and all that other crap because and not that people can’t do that and you can’t spend a bunch of you got free time to sit around and investigate and learn but if you’d asked me i’d have thought cigarette companies have got to be going down like how could anybody want to still invest in a cigarette company like people need to stop saying even after you watch me every week yeah see but that’s the thing though that’s why that’s why it pays to investigate it because that is the common uh misconception that is out there about tobacco companies uh philip morris is a huge international uh tobacco company and their focus in the next 10 years they’re marlboro okay so they’re international marlboro their focus in the next 10 years is to do completely away with combustible cigarettes and go to um i forget icos i think is their product and that is their goal is to make society healthier but not having combustible cigarettes in society anymore and it’s it’s taken off but still keeping you addicted to this still keeping you addicted to the nicotine and their products but on a healthier level yeah so it and it’s it’s paying it’s paying off in europe right now and um they’ve got a huge market in japan and asia as well and i mean that’s the thing again when you look at a company can they adapt to changing environments yeah you know what 10 years ago cigarette companies they looked like wow there’s all these health concerns and you know people are really ceasing on smoking and you know they looked like they were ready to die but they adapted changed their way in the markets and here they are roaring back again a little bitter about this one i feel like they also got their hands in some legislative pockets [ _ ] over all the other companies that are playing if you look at that they’ve been in they’ve had legislative issues for 30 or 40 years so that landscape is nothing new to them they know how to navigate it they’ve got people in washington i mean and that’s and that’s up to your you as an investor that is your choice whether or not you choose to invest in a company that has that type of product you know that they refer to as esg environmental social and governance um and basically my point of view is if i buy stock and say philip morris or altria i’m buying stock from someone else that already bought that stock all i’m doing is buying stock that’s paying me a very healthy dividend and that is growing that dividend every single year so i take that money i reinvest it and we talked about compounding all that reinvestment if you just put down five thousand dollars and and you put in let’s say you get 100 shares of altria out of that well you’re getting three for 386 a year in dividends per share that’s 386 dollars you reinvest that that’s going to buy you what we’ll call it um about seven seven and a half shares your next year you reinvest that on top of the 386 and it just starts compounding again it’s really slow in the beginning it’s there for the first five years 10 12 13 years later you’re gonna you know double your share count now you’ve got 200 shares and you’re getting 786 plus whatever they increase that dividend to each year 386 one year 394 the next four to the next and it just keeps going up and that’s where the miracle of compounding happens so i could buy their stock and then the dividends could pay for the travel for me to drive to delaware because of their stupid [ _ ] rules that don’t let me buy these in maryland absolutely it really could you could you you have two different choices with your div well you have multiple choices with your dividends you could just take them and reinvest them as i am because i’m planning for my retirement and i figure as that compounds for 20 years then i’m going to have a nice little nest egg that’s a paying me well over two or three thousand dollars a loan from that one stock and b that price appreciation as well on top of that and see the compounding just the number of shares that have grown i’m going to have the benefit of that but you could also just take those dividends and put them into a saving into a savings account you get paid quarterly so you get four checks coming in each year and you can certainly use it to pay for your gas pay for your habit as well right if you

Budget

budget it out so yeah so i and and i find all that fascinating i don’t i don’t want to buy their stock because i want them to fail because they’re [ __ ] me over there yeah and i’m certainly not trying to sell tobacco stocks um that’s that’s a personal decision but the same concept exists with oil stocks because they’re they’re big dividend payers as well right it exists with any stock that pays a dividend really going back to a couple things that were said i found kind of interesting one you had brought up and i don’t know that we need to talk a lot about this but you brought up like the idea of it is healthy if you don’t feel in control of your money to allow someone close to you to do that and i but the first thing i thought of was how many of us or people like us that came from traumatic backgrounds really have somebody they trust to hold their money like sure well and and not just that but the i don’t know perception in the media that like bankers and and sort of not specifically you but like people like you are just definitely just my working money and making yourself rich and you know it’s like so theme that i i know that’s really because that’s that’s that’s a strange theme out there but i mean i would advocate for a financial advisor and that’s that’s exactly what you’re talking about and you know what so right whether that’s a family person or a professional person or just someone that you know and you know there are fees involved absolutely but you’re paying for a service right so do you want to turn around and just you know do work for your friends for free all the time i mean that is that is the business of it and and generally speaking that financial advisors overall they’re called fiduciaries and what that means yeah straight in there

so so a fiduciary their responsibility is you first okay your best interests are what they have to act on and if they don’t then they are breaking their fiduciary responsibility and they’re held liable for that as well so basically financial advisors i think um are worth the money if you find one that’s a good one or someone that you know um they do have your best financial interest in mind um so that would be another option if you don’t have anyone close to you that you know could help you manage your money to start not to be too social worky here but like thinking grand scheme big picture right uh i buy these stocks in philip morris who’s selling somewhat a healthier version of death yeah right look i vape i’m not criticizing whatever altruistically i’m giving them money to have to back them to be able to make more money for them no that’s a common misconception okay okay so so here’s how it works um okay that could be the case but it’s also very likely that’s not the only reason that could be the case is if philip morris decides to issue more stock on what they call a secondary offering and if you participate in that issuing directly at the correct time then you will be buying shares of that stock directly from philip morris and they will be using your cash generally what happens though is if you just go out to say any trade account you say i’m going to buy 50 shares of philip morris you’re buying it from someone else that’s selling it okay so your money that your your money goes into that person’s pocket phil morris never sees a dime of it ever and they pay you to have that stock so that’s that’s and i’m using philip morris as an example because they’re they’re known as a really good dividend stocks and they happen to be in tobacco which a lot of us love so i i’m not plea i’m not trying to sell it by any means no i just want to reiterate that but that is a common misconception that if if you buy a stock for a company then you’re backing that company well i’m hoping they do well yeah i mean what it means technically what it makes you is an owner of that company right so you own shares of that company and that means that if that company were to go bankrupt you’d be very last online to get anything left of that company um but yeah if you buy a stock you’re really not financially supporting that company okay but i’m sorry but i’m cheering them on right yeah and so you do better and you want more money from them right absolutely and i do know that you know from a world concept like generally the people that struggle with nicotine habits are the lower socioeconomic people so now every time i get that check there’s a part of me that’s got to think i’m benefiting from [ _ ] over poor people like there’s a altruistic well i mean but are you really [ _ ] over poor people i mean they they are addicted to the nicotine that’s correct now we’re getting into a philosophy yeah right so so yes you are benefiting from them paying for that product that that’s absolutely true i want to buy stocks in my crack dealer yeah you know i mean so philosophically speaking yeah he’s going to go public

he’s big time man yeah ipo next week this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org and consider donating to our calls

so when i first got clean like most people i was thousands of dollars in debt i had some my parents owned a business and so i was raised in a middle class family i had some concepts of investing money and stuff but i was in my early 20s um and i was thousands of dollars in debt and i got a decent job and then you know they had some things like a retirement plan and there was a guy there that basically i would say was the fiduciary for the company that i got i guess i would say for free that would come in and give us some advice um is it better to go look for someone on your own like your own personal advisor or is someone offered through an employer or one of those type things just as someone say just as good i know that’s a relative term but so so now now that brings that’s a good question and uh that brings up a number of topics okay so so one of the benefits of your 401k is when you get into tax planning okay so when you contribute to your 401k that becomes um pre-tax that’s a pre-tax contribution what that means is if if you make 10 000 a year and you’re putting 2000 into your 401k your taxes are only going to be for for that year you’re going to be taxed on that eight thousand dollars not to ten thousand dollars okay you pay taxes on your 401k as you withdraw it during retirement so that reduces your tax burden every year which is generally a benefit for everyone i could possibly think of the next benefit to a 401k is um we kind of talked about this a little bit beforehand is whether or not your employer does a match okay if they do a match what you want to make sure you’re doing is you’re contributing enough to obtain that match because you’re basically getting free money your employer is now giving you money towards your retirement um after that it’s going to become more of a tax balancing situation you can put more money into your 401k if you want to you can put up to 19 500 a year and that just reduces that tax burden that much and you pay for it later on in life um after they’ve up taxes yeah uh so that that’s a gamble and that’s a really good point though is you know a question you have to start asking yourself at some point and generally not when you’re starting out when you get to a later part of your life is you know how are my investments doing am i a rock star and i’ve got a ton of money and when that money starts coming out is that going to be more than what i’m making right now so in that regard your taxes could go up right so that means is it more beneficial for me to put less away into that investment vehicle pay taxes on my money now that i’m putting away so that i don’t pay taxes on it later on in life and then you’re gambling the taxes that i pay today are they less than what they’re going to be in the future or are they more than what they’re going to be in the future and and that’s a question that no one can really answer and that’s that’s going to have to be with some judgment and then again hey am i going to be pulling 200 grand out of my retirement account every single year in the future versus the 120 or the the 90 or the 80 that i’m making today and that’s that’s a judgment call so to to further answer your question after you decide what that judgment call is then yes you can either you know go open your own brokerage accounts you can put them into an ira which is another tax efficient vehicle or tax beneficiary vehicle or you can put them to a roth ira the benefit of a roth ira is that you’re putting taxed money into it so all that compounding that we’re talking about with philip morris all the dividends all that kind of stuff you never pay another diamond taxes on it when you take it out for a traditional ira it gets taxed when you take it out and you have required minimum distributions meaning after you’re seven and a half years old you have to take out you know four percent of it a year or whatever the amount is um that’s dictated at that time so so is a simple ira the same as their ir yeah okay so um i think that’s what we have now it’s just simple the the benefit to it is that it grows over time um without you paying the taxes until you take the money out but you do get taxed in the end um the the pro the only problem with the roth ira and it’s generally not a problem is that there are um there is a cap on how much you make each year and if you make over such-and-such amount then you you uh can’t can directly contribute to a roth ira you’d have to go the traditional route and then pay the taxes later on what do companies get out of match in that 401k uh they get employee retention really that’s it’s like health benefits yeah just something that you offer to try to get better employees yeah and they they probably i i would imagine that i i don’t know for certain i haven’t studied that they may get tax breaks on it too yeah as well but um yeah so so a lot of it is um you know employee retention is a big thing for companies and you know employees that generally want to do well and are planning for their finances would want to stay at a place that gives them a very healthy contribution and match too well and for my wife the reason it’s come up for voices of hope is just the the altruistic version she wants to she wants to invest in these people and have them living healthy financial a lot you know what i mean and trying to teach them and give them opportunity to i don’t see that in many companies like yeah yeah okay here i’ll buy that sure but a lot of places probably smaller privately owned companies more than your big giant corporation so you brought up the magic gambling thing earlier and that kind of like the the similarities to gambling and that kind of raised my eyebrows a little bit i was like huh i guess like stock market stuff like i’ve never thought of that but a lot of people with our kind of problem do have some gambling stuff i don’t personally that’s where i think the online yeah that’s a little crazy the day trading and coin and that’s the thing you get that rush out of it right you buy you buy a zoom at 50 and you actually sit on it for a month you know from may until june or july last year and you’re at you know 200 bucks you’re like oh my god that’s amazing you know um but again that’s that’s also i think gambling along with um investments is kind of like your day trading that that billy brought up and it’s kind of like people just they buy something they see it go up they sell it right away and it feels good to make more money you know it feels good to have that plenty of money in your pocket but that’s also a short-term gain where you get taxed the crap out of it versus a long term if you sit on it for a year so you know it’s it’s back to that word discipline you know so one of the things i kind of thought of in coming into this like we come in here you know we talked about the debt uh a lot of us have not healthy models of what to do right like we we don’t realize this we think we leave our childhood home and we’re just like oh now i can do what makes sense to me right but the truth is we learned two plus two was four in like first grade and that’s what we know now and it’s the same for what our parents modeled for us if our parents were unhealthy spenders or didn’t have good finances that’s exactly our normal like reserve behavior to take into the world and so it’s not mine i just got to defend my parents a little bit so we’re fighting that we don’t have the concept of budgeting because it wasn’t taught to us you know people always [ _ ] that’s not what’s taught in school we don’t learn how to do taxes it would suck if we did anyway um absolutely everything we got went to drugs basically at least if you were a person like me i know some people who did other stuff and were i guess manageable or whatever i was like i got nine bucks do i get a twinkie nope nope no i’ll steal a twinkie i’m gonna go get high with this nine bucks but i will say in fairness i was somewhat manageable but not terrible well i mean not great and then we have on top of that a lot of people have criminal records right which sure i don’t know specifically that there’s any like rules or laws around hey if you have a criminal record you can’t invest in a roth ira or something but they do keep us from living certain places they keep us from getting certain type of jobs so we’re working with a smaller amount of money or a limited capacity already how do we fight that against us you’re unlocking i guess my timing is impeccable that’s what i uh i i recently started reading a book it’s free online it’s a pdf and it was written back in the mid 90s and it’s called the millionaire next door and um what it points out is there’s there’s a huge huge misconception of what a millionaire looks like all right so so there’s there’s lots of them throughout the united states on you know hundreds of thousands and whatnot however most millionaires today have come from nothing they’ve had nothing they had no backing from their parents they never got an inheritance they did it all on their own a lot of them don’t work these high finance jobs or lawyer jobs you know lawyers you have this nurse’s mindset you know keeping up with the joneses that’s a lot of like a lawyer’s compares himself to another one he’s like oh i got to have this got to have that well you know he has all this nice stuff he looks like he’s doing great but he’s got nothing to fall back on right your millionaire next door could be a construction worker he could own an auto dealership a used car dealership he lives in a small house in a blue-collar neighborhood but the thing that they have in common is that you know they decided they were going to focus more on saving than spending so so more saving and less consumption overall and to your point of you know you weren’t brought up that way well that that’s that’s just that is a behavioral mindset that can hopefully be changed with education so you know what we’re talking about here is how do we bring in you know financial planning to people that are recovery houses stuff or that that’s the education that we’re hoping will help change the behavioral aspects of us always wanting to spend that money and having it burn a hole in our pocket those are all behavioral attributes that can hopefully be changed with education how many of the millionaires next door are in 12-step programs i don’t know that they actually interviewed anyone 500 000 millionaires next door and six six are addicts makes total sense i believe that actually um so do we need to legislatively fund some kind of like starter sobriety 12-step program program right or maybe there’s like a year of training maybe there is behavior modification training maybe there is educational finances and stuff we don’t normally think about how to get insurance how to navigate the world of like insurance claims and like all this [ _ ] that we don’t have would it be i i feel like i read all these articles that are like hey if we invested a million dollars in pre-healthcare we’d save eight billion on the back end like would that save us a lot of money as a society to invest in some kind of not just financial planning but like overall like education for people newly in recovery i mean i think absolutely but i’m in recovery so you know i’m supporting that i i you know i think that there’s still unfortunately a huge stigma out there against the recovery community you know and and people from from what i see a lot of people on that are not in our programs you know they they view the addict as as that addict on the street doesn’t matter if they’re uncovered or not they’re just that addict you know right and they could use a 12-step program and they could use behavioral modification and they could use um behavioral education to you know to enlighten them that you know there is life after those really tough times that a lot of us go through i mean you talk about stigma and and not to like point the finger at you but like that’s why we’re not doing video with you today and you’re a handsome fellow it’s not like you’re just in here and ugly and that’s why we don’t have you on right because there’s there’s still a stigma and there’s still concerns how will this affect my job and my career and my life unfortunately and you’re not wrong at all yeah absolutely it sucks yeah and i’m aware of that stigma which is why i’m trying to oh yeah that’s what i said i couldn’t blame you yeah um so let’s say what would your advice be for like the young young guy comes in he’s in a recovery house thousands of dollars in debt he’s got his 15 an hour job at amazon warehouse i mean where should he start should he start trying to pay off the debt should he start trying to save should he start you know what would you what would your advice to be to somebody coming in so again my my advice for step one always is to put together a budget okay just write it down on a piece of paper keep it in a notebook that you’re writing you know other notes in or whatnot but just have that budget and just visualize it and just say all right you know i have this money coming in what am i going to do with it well i think there’s a lot of options you have that obligations um if you can afford to pay some debt you know make a small debt payment each month commit to fifty dollars a month on something if you can work out a payment program with whomever your your lender is you don’t have to do that till you work step nine though that’s when you start doing those ends um you know uh you can do that but i i think that to start you want to get the budget you want to get some savings and again like i said i’ll reiterate you know when you’re starting out you’re not going to save up six to nine months of savings before you’re able to get out in your room but get that budget get a roof over your head get the job that that pays you that money and get a steady paycheck get a job that’s steady i mean waiting tables i know several people you know have like weighted tables and stuff and and the problem with that i used to be a waiter that the problem with it is that it’s not always steady money and especially you go through a pandemic i mean how many people lost their jobs right but you don’t know on a given night how much money do i have coming in the benefit of having a steady job of any source is that you have that weekly paycheck and if you work overtime you just have the benefit of more money coming in but you can at least count on a minimum amount every week where you can put together a budget that you know will work for you or work with someone to put together a budget that will and then yeah start making small debt payments save your money for your rent buy your food um i know i’ve read this advice the other day that i thought was really great is you know if if you’re really trying to to save money and make it you know yeah we all want to go out we want to go out to dinner we want to go out to dinner after meetings we’re going to meet up for coffee and stuff if you can’t afford it but you feel obligated then make alternate plans be like you know hey dinner sounds great but i just can’t do it why don’t we meet up for a cup of coffee afterwards or tell me where you’re going to get coffee afterwards and i’ll meet you there instead or hey can we do you know brunch on a saturday morning where it’s instead of a twenty dollar dinner you’re looking like a ten dollar brunch you know try to do alternate plans but still have that social engagement that you know makes you feel like you’re engaged with or i’ve noticed if you just say i don’t have the money or i can’t afford it usually the guy that’s not so good with money will offer to pay for you yeah that as well hey you know the people pleaser waste his finances it’s hot outside go meet for snowball you know i mean i took my son out for snowball yesterday was like three bucks for each of us so you know you you’ve mentioned savings a few times right and i obviously retirement planning i’m not trying to belittle the fact that these are things that are needed savings accounts completely useful i i can’t tell you how many people don’t budget at all like i think it’s a very high percentage of our population but i did take an economics class at one point and i remember the teacher saying the entire purpose of money is to be spent like it’s useless if it doesn’t get spent if it just sits and he wasn’t saying don’t plan for retirement but what do you think about that statement too so so that is more on an economic level when you talk about gdp and you talk about exchanges between countries uh i don’t know that it’s totally applicable in the sense of an individual because you you need to have savings you need to have a rainy day fund at some point in your life i mean you know everything be going great a recession hits you lose your job and then you can’t find another one because no one’s hiring unemployment benefits are going to be tight they may not pay for all your bills every month you’re going to have to have some sort of savings to fall back are you a christian i am a christian okay because there was that whole thing with jesus and the money in the bible where he was like give unto caesar what is caesar’s that was jesus advice too is to get rid of it let’s say you brought up something that i heard one time and i it sounded like good advice so i’ll ask it i had heard at one point that if you have credit card debt whatever money you have in savings you should just try to pay off your credit cards and use your credit cards as a rainy day fund versus having thousands of dollars sitting in savings but then having thousands of dollars of credit card debt because you’re paying higher interest on the credit card debt then you’re getting your return for the savings so so that’s a separate slope um yeah it’d be great if we had no credit card debt in the world i i completely agree um or as a as an individual not having credit card debt would be a huge debt relief burden however the only problem with that is if you blow your entire savings on your credit card trying to pay off a credit card and then if things were to happen and you live on your credit card if you don’t have any money at the end of the month to make your minimum payment on your credit card then you get late fees your credit starts going to [ _ ] and then um your interest rates and your credit cards go way up and that all just starts piling up very quickly you know a credit card payment at called eight percent versus one at 26 because you missed two payments in a row that’s a very different credit card payment right you know so my suggestion would be sure use some of your savings but make sure that you have enough to get through a month or two at least if things get bad and don’t spend it all on your credit card certainly try to pay it down and make those payments or make additional payments but try to keep some rainy day fund if you can and this was advice coming from trying to get out of credit card debt like not trying to maintain credit card debt but trying to get out yeah and and i’ve i’ve read a lot of i said and they they call it like the snowballing effect i forget the guy’s name he’s he’s interesting um you know tackling all your data at once and then you start saving well i i think that that’s i think that advice is i think that’s discipline to do that you gotta be really disciplined but you could still make payments towards your debt and you can make additional payments and still have some savings because you don’t you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future you know you just don’t know when that payment is going to turn off so that that payment being your salary you know you lose job your wife leaves a job um and and the amount of income you have coming in each month you don’t know if that’s going to cut in half or not so you’ve got to plan ahead and there’s times when when the credit card won’t be able to be used in the future depending on these circumstances that we can’t predict whereas that money that you supposedly have in savings will be accessible and be able to use no matter what right and so that i think kind of puts you in a scary situation too i think what you’re saying is yeah if i’m paying you know eight percent in credit card debt but i’m only getting one percent a month in interest and yeah but the moment that you spend that ten thousand dollars on a credit card debt and if it doesn’t pay it off then now you still have credit card debt you don’t have anything set in the map so i i don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the program debtors anonymous it’s like a 12-step program for financial ideals it’s a pretty interesting program i went a few times uh one of the first things i heard that really struck me was they said somebody identified because you know we say oh i’m jason i’m an addict in our meetings right in these meetings everybody kind of has their own thing that they say it’s a little interesting and one person said i’m so and so and i’m vague about money and that’s like one of their big ideals and it struck me and just like hit my nerve i was like i am the vaguest [ _ ] about money like i make some i spend some i have no and their idea is like you need to be on top of all of this right the more you know the better you should know to the penny what’s in your account at all times like this should be obvious to you and you should probably have a really good idea if there’s investment stuff i don’t think most people go in there have investment stuff but you should know what’s where how much it is and and not be clueless about it right and i just thought that was an interesting idea because i am vague about money like i don’t budget so much uh and more recently i’ve gotten a little better with this we have a basic budget i have an allowance so i know like this is what i get to spend per month on whatever the hell i want i think it’s hard to fight those frivolous urges sometimes right like because because buying [ _ ] feels good it’s a lot like the drugs gambling feels good buying [ _ ] feels good it fills that void for a while but another concept they have in those programs is the idea of some people are under earners and some people are over spenders right and you have to differentiate first to figure out which course of work you need to do in yourself but i think a lot of our population struggles with the under earning right like we come in we we a have very low self-esteem most of us and we think like i’m not worth going after these better paying jobs or i’ll never get that because i have this 10-year gap in my work history and how i think a lot of the struggle we have is that yeah hey i can write out this budget as many times as i want and every time it says i’m coming up 700 short a month to be able to afford life so what the [ _ ] do we do with that so so that’s tough right and that’s a tough situation to be in but again i think that um you know that’s going to be more of these little steps that you have to take okay you know if if you’re just starting out and you’re not making great money and you have low self-esteem well get that first job and just work it and you know if you start getting raises and things along the way that’s that’s going to make you feel better about your work ethic it’s going to help you start to feel like you know you are worth more you may not be able to save a dime to start with you know all of your money might go to your expenses you may not be able to pay any debt back right away and that’s fine you know i mean you hate to say if you’ve been in debt for years well you know what’s one more year at that point right so you have to just work at it day in and day out and just take it slow to begin with and and you know if you can’t afford the place where you’re living then try to find a place that’s you know cheaper and yeah it may not be your ideal place to live but if if you’re able to survive there and you’re able to cut back on expenses just to start then you can move into a nice place in the future when you’re when your income comes up and and starts growing a little bit but but again it’s it’s a lot of patience and it’s a lot of discipline and you know you should also i think put your priorities too you need food you need to have um a place to live at some point these are not once i mean you can’t live without food and you can’t live without shelter right so then look at you know do i need to have a two hundred dollar a month cable bill no you you don’t need cable at all right do people still do that yeah is there still cable is that anything yeah i have a cable bill we have cable too but you know with cable comes internet right so yeah yeah so uh i mean internet is interesting because it’s almost like it’s a necessity right i mean everything’s connected and and i wouldn’t fault you for having an internet bill nothing else so maybe like with all these people that struggle when we get clean with overeating we could just not eat for weeks at a time like i’ll just not eat this week i’ll save money and help my and water you know depending where you live water’s free and water will fill you up eventually right um but uh yeah i mean so so if you find yourself being really far in debt each month on your budget then you’re going to need to make some changes and whether it is cutting back on food you know do i need to spend do i need to go to the most high-end grocery store in town if i can get what i need to live and eat at the cheapest place in town and go there instead or you know do i go can i can i drive 10 minutes down the road to a lower income area and do my grocery shopping versus going to the most expensive place in the county or like for me it’s packing a lunch you know do i pack my lunch and take it to work each day or do i get it out all the time and it’s amazing how much money i will save yeah i mean i like to go out to lunch once a week when i go to the office and i mean i spend 15 bucks and that’s on one meal you know yeah and so if you multiply that by say two meals a day what if you went out for lunch and dinner every day and you ate cheap you’re still spending 30 days 210 dollars a week just by going out to eat i started taking my lunch to save money and now it’s like i am so [ _ ] lazy i’m not leaving work to go somewhere yeah and you know what that’s a behavioral modification yeah it’s so much easier there is a thing though that comes along with like what i fall into and trying to be disciplined and is with most things in life it’s like if i just try to stick to this rigid budget and save all the time eventually i get to a point where i’m like [ _ ] this i’m not doing this anymore it’s no fun i can’t even have a [ _ ] cup of coffee you know what i mean like well i spent four bucks at starbucks you know because i want to drink like but that’s why you give yourself that cup of coffee and you cut yourself a break and say all right you know yeah i i spent 50 bucks yesterday i’m an addict one is too many and a thousand never enough exactly you know i mean it’s kind of like dieting you have your cheat days right and you know what if you cheat and you [ __ ] up and you’re like i’ll get back on it tomorrow and that’s fine i mean it’s it’s you know that’s women’s aren’t perfect struggle is to get back on it tomorrow i think we have this like failure mechanism or something where it’s like oh i i’m not 100 per day so now i’m just all out yeah and it’s like we we struggle with that dude okay it’s a day right you both had one bad day just get back on it yeah i’ve been better with that lately and it’s so much easier i’ve been trying that too yeah i heard a thing one time it was the 80 20 rule it’s like if you can do something 80 of the time that’s good and you’re in good shape yeah um so back to the fiduciary ideas i love that um are there services or fiduciary services out there that are free or was like if you’re not someone that can afford to go to you know a professional as do banks offer those services are there places you can get at least some basic because i think of things like okay setting up a budget i don’t know that most people would know how to accurately set up a budget i always forget you know right that’s great how much do i spend on gas where should i spend on car

how do i factor in a monthly bill into my weekly budget because some weeks have five i mean some months have five weeks

multiply it by 52 for all the weeks and year divided by 12 for your monthly average well yes easy for smart math people but for some people they don’t know how to balance a checking account so what about that partner in your budget that’s for the thing you don’t predict right like that’s supposed to be part of your budget too like oh yeah that thing that’s gonna happen because there’s there’s always something that happens car bills car bills plumbing breaks whatever yeah i mean i i it all depends on what you can budget but i try to put away some money each paycheck just for car bills you know and and yeah it sounds like oh well dude if you put away 25 a paycheck you know that’s not going to catch anything about the car but that’s true but you know cars don’t break down every month they don’t break down every week they may break down every year and at the end of that year i’ve got 600 bucks to do some engine repairs and unfortunately maybe put the rest on a credit card or whatnot but you know it’s it’s the little it’s the little ideas and it’s the little amounts that up add up to larger sums in the end whether it’s compounding or you’re just saving in an envelope you know but no pro bono uh financial expertise that you’re aware of well so i think that’s a great question the expertise so some of it people just need basic understanding can we just all call you pete can you just give us your number well it’s gonna give out his cell number um the only thing i’m aware of and i think that’s a great question i i do know that i sometimes get emails from a couple of um credit unions that i’m a member of and they do have seminars you know maybe one night a month or every other month you have to look for advertisements um where they would get free counseling you know probably more like someone that you you’re speaking to someone with your 401k your company or they come in and talk to you about it i think it’s more along those lines it’s like an education session but i believe that that is available and then i think i i don’t want to speak for for bankers and you know that are in branches but i probably if you set up an appointment with them you’d probably be able to go over some of this stuff as well right so maybe checking with your bank checking with your employer seeing if they have a person that can help with their stuff that’s a great call that’s a great point i think hr would probably have an idea of either a he could talk to or they may have people that can help with that as well depending on the company that you’re right because and like at our company like the guy and he’s great he’s a nice guy he’s helped me over the years do different stuff we set up college savings for the kids and things like that but he also like it’s in his benefit to get me to invest in things because he gets whatever commission um but you know he’s i trust his advice you know and try to follow what he says and he doesn’t charge me money for it but he makes commission on it so to win win hopefully and there’s probably something to be said and i’m sure you want to navigate these waters cautiously but just asking some of the more senior members around the program like some of these people might have established money routines and if you talk to enough of them and ask them about what they do you’re going to run into some people that sound like they’re somewhat educated at least enough to help you start a budget and stuff like that like and that i think that’s something members who’ve been around a while probably are willing to help you with if they know that’s what you need and i don’t i mean nobody’s ever asked me i’m glad because i’m probably not the person to ask about you don’t ask me i mean i am definitely not i i’ve actually helped a couple of people in the program that have asked for help and setting up budgets and things over the years and um you know my advice i i i have two things that i think um are pretty easy and the first ones you know setting up a budget it could be as basic as i know i pay seven bills a month let me write them out what they are i know that i make this much of my money coming in each week with a paycheck and then you you know that just gives you a little financial picture the next step to that is something that i i actually do this i have a ton of savings accounts where i put money from each paycheck for different bills but also on a more immediate basis i also have it’s just called the envelope system it’s very basic you know you get 10 or 15 envelopes whatever it needs to be and you write that bill in each one and each paycheck you just put a portion of that bill in and then at the end of the month you have that money you pay your bill the next month you start over again with your first paycheck and you have to have the discipline not to go into those envelopes and steal that money from that bill but you know if you if you don’t have transportation or you don’t have a number of accounts and you don’t want to which is perfectly reasonable you know you can do something as easy as just setting up envelopes that you can just divide your money into it reminds me of a guy uh uzman who did a lot of convention shares and he talks about how attic man popped out and told him to open up one envelope or they were going to open up them all but they opened them up all anyway yeah it was funny um so would you say that there’s any difference between the financial suggestions somebody newly in recovery needs versus i mean obviously i’m not going to think somebody same age bracket in their life because they’ve probably let a different life have some different circumstances but basically for the teenager or the person entering adulthood and just starting with finances are those two pretty similar or is there a difference in their something they are applicable to anyone of any age it’s never too late to start a budget it’s never too late to start saving for retirement it’s better to start earlier than later but it’s never too late our student loans worth it i mean a lot of us come in recovery we want to get an education and do something different with our lives how tough is that to navigate because student loans are exorbitant i mean i can tell you right now my wife and i between the two of us have 250 000 in student loan debt wow and i mean i have a master’s she has a couple masters i think three now actually which is kind of ridiculous but right right um but it’s like that’s a house yeah that’s a [ _ ] mortgage and i don’t think that’s fair but that’s my own [ _ ] right i took it on so i knew it but what do you do with that so i think that education is a personal choice and i do believe that education is necessary in today’s world right um and i also think that an education is never a waste you know if if you choose to spend the 50 to 100 grand or whatever it is for your master’s degree that education is never going to be wasted on you and i think it’s a worthwhile investment um i paid off my student loans years ago um but you know i i i recall when i was spending or paying them and i’m sure i’d be willing to bet circumstances have not changed that much that the payments are either minimal or the negotiable so that if if you’re having a hard time paying that payment you call up the loan processor and you just renegotiate a lower payment each month and then extend it out you know further on so that you can make ends meet and then as your financial picture changes and if you start having more money coming in through your budget then you can make additional payments so we’re not going to raise that payment um you know and and that’s all due to personal circumstances i think but yeah i i think education is worthwhile i think it’s necessary i think the united states is falling behind a lot of the um eastern european countries and even the european countries in education as well and i think that in order to better american society education is needed yeah we’re coming up with some better avenues too for education without getting quite so into debt my wife’s doing a program now that’s not near as expensive and she was able to qualify for some sort of government grants yeah there’s a lot of um i forget what the name of it is right now uh pell grant yeah to cover a lot of her costs so it’s definitely worth looking into versus just going signing up and paying all the money you know trying to talk to somebody about what what grants and things are out there or what programs are there to help that and schools also have numerous numerous scholarships like things that aren’t advertised and maybe take unique circumstances and you gotta write an essay you gotta write an essay sure but you know i mean you could uh you know try to pursue those as well well and from a personal standpoint i think it’s very different an adult who’s in their late 20s early 30s or even a little later deciding to educate themselves versus a 17 year old kid making a decision about what they want to do with the next 30 years of their life i mean at 17 your brain’s not even fully developed and you’re signing that kid off for hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt because that’s what they’re supposed to do like i think that’s very different than an adult who probably is going to be more likely somebody coming into recovery that decides hey i think i want to go out and try to get an education to better my life now that i’m in recovery no we’re just like 17 year olds i still see myself in my brain we’ll see what happens i’m like [ _ ] it they’ll cancel it or i’ll die whatever uh so one of the aspects of financial planning that i feel like is never talked about that i hear and something that i did not live within for most of my life and i’m just starting to more recently is the idea of society is partly my responsibility right and uh all humanity if we’re not all doing well i’m not doing well right so like this idea that i guess it came from church a long time ago the idea of tithing right i’ll give 10 of my money to the church i don’t give it to church but i have come to the realization that i lived a lot of my years saying i believe in giving back to society and we should contribute and all this [ _ ] and didn’t actually live any of that right so i’ve chosen recently that 10 of my [ __ ] income goes back to the community in some way shape or form and i don’t we don’t talk about that in financial health and i guess from the standpoint of a professional that might not really be sound advice but to me it’s like that fills something else in my financial life which is like a fulfillment aspect and i guess somewhere i believe in this if i take care of the universe it’ll take care of me too is that any part of your financial planning advice absolutely um but that that’s also more on a personal level you know that’s going to vary from individual to individual yeah however you know along the lines of getting back to society you know that there were people that put into their plans that you know upon my death i want to give such-and-such amount to the university that i went to or to this foundation that i believe in or you know to this place that helped me out you know i would love to give back to um the the center that i went to to get the help that i needed you know i would love to i i don’t have the financial means right now but that is something that is on my radar as well but um yeah that is that is something that you know if a financial advisor would help guide you towards savings towards that and working that into your budget where you just say well i’m going to you know either do this on a on a monthly basis maybe you’re doing or if my plan is you know upon my death i want to leave 200 grand or whatever it is well that would just be part of the plan of how do we get there what investments do we need you know to build up that income to enable to leave it to them so that is something that’s very much in financial planning today and there’s an interesting movement you can research called effective altruism which gets more in line with the cigarette thing and you were talking about earlier and it’s like how do we how do we use our money to effectively further the growth of our society and our community so it’s pretty interesting so i’m looking to you got any more questions for pete i don’t think so all right well pete i i really appreciate you coming on today man i think this was interesting i i hope it helps people i know i feel like there’s so many aspects to the financial health and well-being of you know people like us members of 12-step programs people just coming into recovery i do think it’s as simple as hey let’s start with this budget and that can work so many wonders right and from there you know the the ways you can go with that are exponential um i guess what i learned today is play the lottery and spend all your paycheck on the lottery is step one step one we made a budget and we yeah we’re just gonna play the mega millions every day and hope for the best that’s what i got all right well thanks jason thanks billy i enjoyed talking to you yeah thanks man uh stay safe out there everybody we’ll see you next week

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