S2E13: Investing While In Debt and the Other Money Questions
S2E13: Investing While In Debt and the Other Money Questions
Should you invest while you’re in debt? If you’re searching for answers as a new investor, often you’ll find different answers! Joining this episode is writer and money expert, Miranda Marquit. We’re here today to help find clarity on that and other questions that may arise as you progress into an expert investor.
This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.
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Hi there happy money people, and welcome back to Your World, Your Money. This is your host, Mary. Hi, and I'm happy to be back with you all and continue our conversation around investing. Last week, we had an amazing chat with the absolutely lovely Erin Lowry of Broke Millennial, who gave us really great tips and basic principles for people who are thinking about breaking into the world of investing.
That's right, and this is your co-host Nolan, and I'm really thrilled to have another amazing guest with us today who has written a tremendous amount about the ins and outs of investing and all things money. Joining us today is a writer on all things money, Miranda Marquit.
Hello, thank you for having me on today.
Yeah, we are so thrilled to have you. I'm going to give our listeners just a little bit of background. So Miranda has been writing on money topics for more than 15 years. She's contributed to numerous media outlets, including NPR, Market Watch, Fox Business, The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and more. Additionally, Miranda is considered a financial expert and has been quoted in various media — including Marketplace, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal — discussing a variety of financial and investment topics. She is the co-host of the MONEY podcast produced by Money Talks News. When she’s not writing or talking about money, Miranda enjoys reading, board games, travel, and the outdoors. She lives in Idaho with her teenage son.
Welcome Miranda, we're so excited to have you. And you know, those news outlets, I don't know. Maybe people have heard of them thinking they're not big or anything.
So last week, as Mary mentioned, we had this great discussion with Erin Lowry who gave us some really helpful basics to think about investing - things like keeping an eye on retirement, starting early, always be thinking about compound interest, but this week we wanted to tackle some of the topics that may be genuinely confusing to someone who's getting into investing, who may sometimes find conflicting advice as they do internet research online, as they're starting to think and dive into this world.
Yeah, that's right. Nolan. There are questions for example, that we want to dive into, like, does it ever make sense to invest while you're in debt? It can be a genuinely tricky question. There are lots of other ones out there too. So like, you know, when does it make sense to find a financial planner and all of the fun, little stereotypes around that one and how diversified should your investments be? And do I have to be diversified in my investments? The answer to that one is yes, but we'll also talk about the other question. So those are some of the fun questions that we want to dive into today with Miranda.
First of all, I would just recommend if folks haven't listened to Erin yet, go back and do that. I know Erin, she is really good people. So definitely go back and listen to that. If you haven't listened to Erin already. And also just kind of a disclaimer here, one of the things about investing in all things money and personal finance is what it comes down to in the end is very personal. What works for you? What works with your value system and where you're at in your own finances and your own personal, like what your stomach can handle. Like, it's very important to remember this, as we start talking about investing, especially investing while you're in debt, when we're talking about debt and when you're talking about investing, it's all about what your stomach can handle. So like, I think it's important to keep all of that in mind before we dive in.
I absolutely love this and it's making me laugh because I'm over here, like, oh, I'm a like food allergic to like 50,000 things on the planet. So I'm like, wait, what could my stomach handle? All right, we're going to do like yogurt and sweet potatoes. And like, that's the level of risk we're going for over here.
Perfect. I mean, you know, and that's great. There's something for everybody.
You know, to the people out there that can just like eat Siracha straight. We love you. We love your risk tolerance. We love you.
I know we're not putting value judgments on the food diets or financial diets that we're discussing today.
That's right. That's right.
So Miranda, let's start with you. I'm really curious about your life and how you got into this work. How did you start writing about money as your main topic? Um, tell us about your personal money learning journey.
Yeah, so that's actually kind of funny. So I started university as a physics major and when I switched, yeah. When I switched out, I finally switched over to communications and political science and went on to get a master's degree in journalism. I just sort of assumed I would cover science. And so I did, I actually started writing for a couple of science publications and doing that, but I also needed to make money. And so I was writing for a content mill and somebody approached me and saw that, I posted consistently, that my stuff didn't totally suck. And they were like, well, maybe, maybe you could write for us, we're doing this corporate thing. And it was at the, it was the Dawn. It was the Dawn of blogging as a marketing tool way back in 2000 and like five or something. Like I am an internet dinosaur, but anyway, so it was way back then. And they said, Oh, we're doing this. Somebody needs content for a retirement blog. And we want you to provide this content. And I was like, I don't know anything about money or like, whatever. I mean, all I know is that I don't have it because I'm a writer. And so they were like, well, you know, you write about science and science and money. It's all just math. So away I went and I started learning and I started talking to experts and I started learning more about money. And then I started developing my own money style as I learned more. And pretty soon I realized that writing about money pays better than writing about science, which is sad, but true and started shifting over more toward money. And then I finally went ahead and I got my MBA recently and just went all in on money things. So here we are.
Nice, congrats on the MBA.
So I want to ask one really important question here at the start. Important question. I know, which is, you said, we mentioned at the top in your bio that you love board games and we love board games too. So what do you think is your favorite board game that helps teach money or investment principles? And you can't say monopoly, no one likes monopoly.
Nobody likes monopoly and also monopoly is...okay. I'm not sure I can swear on this. So we'll just move on. So I actually like this, uh, I like this game called Acquire. It's this really fun kind of merger game called Acquire. And you can buy stocks in these companies. You can try and merge companies. It's about mergers and acquisitions. And it's a fun little board with actual buildings that you're like trying to like make a big footprint with. It's fun. And the thing that it taught me the most when I love playing it, it's super fun, but it always reminds me of how much I hate investing in individual equities, how much I like indexing because I'm boring AF. And so I just want to index. And so yes, but Acquire is a really fun game. I really enjoy it. And it's just always a good reminder for me that you can't ever predict what's going to happen next. You can't ever predict what's happening in the markets. And when all else fails, boring indexing is like the way to go.
I just looked that up. This looks fantastic. So let's dive in and get into the nitty-gritty good stuff. Um, and tackle one of the biggest investing questions that there is out there. To be or not to be. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. That's just like a life question for all of our people. Hamlet - what he meant to ask was is it investing or not investing while you're in debt? We could Google this right now and find good arguments for both sides. Also, you know, Googling the, to be, or not to be, Hamlet has some great pros and cons going on for them, but we want to dive into your thoughts and you know, how we can even get this conversation started.
Yeah. So, I mean, I think once again, it goes back to what I said at the beginning, where is your stomach at? Where is your risk tolerance at? And I think you were talking about how last time Erin talked about making sure you're getting that retirement, taking care of that. And so if you do have access to a tax advantage retirement plan, it's great to get started. Even if it's a few bucks, each paycheck, if your employer offers you a match, that's free money. So don't leave that on the table. So no matter where you're at in your debt journey, if you can at least get a little bit going into a tax advantage retirement account, that can usually help you move forward. Now I said, it's not for everybody, that's with everything. And you got to see where your stomach's at. But I personally, even when I had credit card debt, I still wanted to make sure I was taking advantage of whatever free money was there, whatever tax-efficient money was there.
Even if I was putting more toward paying down my debt, I still wanted to put a little bit of a chunk into that retirement account. So that's something to think about. Now, when we're talking about beyond a retirement account, this is where it starts to really get personal and where you're at. So I'm a little bit unconventional in the world of personal finance and fire and whatever you want to call it. Because one of my favorite things to do is to use low-interest debt as a way for me to move forward. So for instance, if I'm going to buy a car, it's a depreciating asset, it's going to lose value. And so I go ahead. If I can get 1.9% financing or 2.9% financing, I will do that. And I will leave my money in the market. I could pay off the car. Yes, I could pay for the car. Yes. But if it's a low enough interest rate, I will leave my money in the market instead because I will get a better return in the market and I can pay off the car in three years or five years. And so when you've got that high-interest debt, when you've got that high-interest rate debt like credit cards, it's like, okay, I'm going to throw a few bucks toward my retirement account, make sure I'm at least starting that. And now I'm going to tackle that high-interest debt as quickly as possible before I start investing in taxable accounts or really ramping other things up. So that's something to think about as well because you've really got to take a look at the kind of debt you're talking about here. And I'm the same way about a mortgage. I don't have one right now. I am team rent. So whatever, but when I did have a mortgage, once again, I was not in a hurry to pay it down that quickly. I had a low-interest rate and I was fairly certain that market returns over time were going to beat that mortgage interest rate. Plus I was getting a tax deduction for my mortgage interest. Oh yeah. And you can get a tax deduction for your student loan interest too. Absolutely. Yeah. In the US. So it really just comes down to where is your comfort level? What kind of debt are we talking about here? I do not recommend, I mean, if you want to do this, it's your money, but I do not recommend running up the credit card, throwing a bunch of money into dogecoin and then crossing your fingers. I do not recommend this. This is not something that I recommend as a debt repayment strategy.
It seems a little bit risky. Yes. But no, I mean, I think if you, if you look at the type of debt you have, uh, the interest rate and just kind of look at overall general market return over the long haul, not short-term because that can be very volatile and depressing. But if you look at it over the long term, kind of weigh that and figure out what is comfortable for you, what makes sense for your situation? Because, you know, there is no replacing time in the market.
Yeah. And to pull out a couple of really important pieces that you mentioned, it sounds like almost like a rule of thumb could almost be balancing the interest rates and like what your comfort level is with the interest rates that you're working with. So, you know, if you're working with a really high-interest rate, you know, you balance that against your goals and be like, okay, so that's got to go down first, but if you have interest rates that you're like, you know what, I can make more than that in the market, let's do it. And maybe that is like a little rule that people can look at when they're looking at their option of, okay, well, this is the debts that I have. Do I invest? And it's okay, well, let's balance these interest rates. Like how do they balance out? And can you stomach it? So that's, that's one thing that you mentioned that I really wanted to highlight, because that was my takeaway, as you were talking, I was like, Oh, that's, that's absolutely great.
Yeah. And once again, it does go back to here. So like, I know people very smart, intelligent, financially sound people who are just like, I can't stomach any amount of debt. I can't stomach knowing any of it's out there. I have to tackle this first and I have to get rid of the debt. It doesn't matter what the interest rate is. It doesn't matter what kind of debt it is I have to get rid of it. And that's fine too, if that is where you are at, then there's nothing wrong with that. And, and do that by all means like, you do have to find what's comfortable for you, but do keep in mind that compounding returns in the market, especially over a long period of time. And when I talk about long time, I'm like talking 10 to 30 years. Like we've got to expand that timeframe. I'm not talking about like, hoping that you're hoping that Elon Musk helps Bitcoin again next week. So we're talking about a long period of time here.
I was listening to tech crunch this morning and they were talking about dogecoin. And literally, they were like, Oh yes. And as one of the meme coins, and I was like, I'm sorry, I live in a world where meme coins is a category.
Yes, yes it is. I actually do have, disclaimer, I do have some dose for funsies, but this is money that I can afford to lose. And I fully expect that I will probably lose some of it. So like, this is funsies, this is fun money. This is not money that I'm actually trying to like, do anything with
One way I want to pivot off of this is how should people be thinking about realistic market returns? I'm worried that there's because of the meme coins, because of memes stocks, that new investors might have an unrealistic expectation about how to weigh these judgments about when their market returns are going to be much higher than other say, moderate to high-interest debt they have, do you have advice on, on how to think through that?
Yeah. So one of the best things you can do is look through and look at the indexes, right? The index performances over time. And one of the most popular ones folks use as a benchmark is the S&P 500. And so since 1926, the S&P 500 offers annualized returns of close to 10%. So it's in that ballpark. So it's not unreasonable to say, okay, if I am invested in an S&P 500 index product, either a mutual fund or an ETF, an exchange-traded fund, if I invest in one of these things, it is not unreasonable to expect that over time. Once again, these are annualized returns. So there can be years when the S&P 500 just totally tanks and loses, but we're talking over time. And if you talk over a historical period of time, there has been no 20 year period of time where the stock market as a whole has lost.
So the S&P 500 tracks, the 500 largest capitalization stocks in the United States. And so you can kind of get a feel for how the market overall does. And this is why I index. This is why I'm boring AF is because I know what my goals are. And I know that the bulk of my wealth building is in this sort of thing where I'm basically essentially saying, I don't care if I beat the market. I just need the market to do its thing for me to meet my own personal long-term wealth goals. You can use that kind of as a rule, when I am planning, how much to set aside, I get super conservative about my annualized potential returns. And I usually figure it about, uh, an 8% annualized return, even though I know the market's probably going to do better than that.
I am very conservative and doing that and saying, okay, this is how much I need to set aside in my tax advantage retirement account to build wealth for the next 20 years, I base it on an 8%. That way I'm over, you know, I'm making sure I put extra in, and then the extra money I have, I can do other things with, right? So I do have a travel fund that I keep in a taxable investment account. And those kinds of numbers worked out a little bit differently, but if you're wanting something realistic, when you're talking about market returns, something in the ballpark of 10% makes a lot of sense. So, yeah, but it is, I mean, people get excited about investing. And I love when people get excited about investing, because they see all this stuff. They're like, you know, they see things like SPACs NIFDS, you know, coins, meme stocks, GameStop, all the things.
I'm excited that they're excited about it. But the problem is, is you have to, like you said, take a step back. Let's be a little bit realistic and let's talk about what you can truly expect. And one of the problems with fads and everything else is once the mainstream gets a hold of it, it's all over. I have a friend yesterday who's like, well, my mom bought dogecoin. So I think it's run its course. Like, so it's, you kind of have to realize that when these trendy things come up, when everybody's talking about, and everybody's doing it, that's a pretty good indication that we're approaching some sort of a peak and it might recover later. You never know it might recover later and might go up again later over time. But when everybody's talking about it and everybody wants it, we're probably approaching some sort of a peak and it's time to like, think about it a little bit.
Yeah. When we had Erin on here, she actually said something exactly to this effect. That was so powerful. And I loved it when she said it. And it was really just the fact that if you're hearing about a trend on the news or on SNL, you're too late to that trend, like, we're so excited that you're excited, be excited, but sorry, love you're a little too late to that one, but yeah. Yeah. And on this topic of trend, I think it would be really great to talk a little bit about active versus passive investing. Because in my mind, a lot of us think like, oh, this trend that I just caught on to, okay, let's go chase after it. And sometimes we just need to be a little bit more passive and think about the longer term. And I also love that you say like boring AF with the indices and I'm over here, like money loves boring AF. So like money lives for these boring AF indices. So talk to us a little bit about active versus passive investing and, you know, any advice you might have for a new investor that might be seeing these trends and thinking, oh, should I go do that? Versus hang on was more looking at 40 years, 40 years.
So, yes, because I am lazy and boring. A lot of people view index funds as kind of a form of passive investing, mostly because basically I'm just saying, okay, I'm throwing my money at an index and not doing anything else. Right. I'm not trying to use leverage. I'm not trying to trade in and out of a position. I'm not trying to buy an individual stock and then sell it later for a big profit. I'm literally just, and I, I have automatic, it's all automatic investment plans. I don't even have to physically be like, well, I would like to go. I'd like to log into my bank account today and transfer the money. Now it's just automatic. Every single week, the same amount of money goes into various different goals that I have that are attached to investment accounts. So yes, it's as I'm as lazy as I can possibly be.
And I like it because when I check, when I look every three to four months to see how like those portfolios are doing, I'm happy. Most of them pay dividends. And so those dividends are reinvested automatically. So dividend is an extra payout that comes just from being a shareholder. And so when you get that payout and you automatically have it reinvested, then you're buying more shares. And then the next time you get a payout, it's going to be a bigger payout because you have more shares and so it just sorts of moves on automatic. And if you are consistent about putting that money in there, and as your financial situation improves, and you increase how much money you're putting in there, then it just sort of starts to snowball over time. And that's the beauty of compounding returns. Now with active investing, it can be a lot of fun.
There's a lot of adrenaline there. I've done my turn with options. I've, I've done it. There could be a lot of adrenaline. It could be a lot of fun. And when I do that kind of thing though, and I've done individual stocks, I have a few individual stocks right now. And like I said, I have some crypto and that's all money that I know that I can afford to lose. And it can be fun because like you're trading and you're looking at it and you're going like, well today I'm up $3,000 and it's exciting. But you know, the problem is, is you're not actually, you don't actually have that $3,000 unless you take your profits and move on. You do not have that $3,000 because tomorrow you could be down $5,000. And once again, you haven't lost that $5,000 unless you close out of your position.
And so you really have to kind of weigh that and think about that. And active trading can be a real roller coaster and it can be a lot of fun and it can really get that adrenaline going, but it can also be a really good way to lose money, especially if we're talking about ongoing trading fees. Now there are places that you can go, uh, that make it easy, that don't charge a lot of money for trading. Um, and so you don't have to worry about that. Uh, but at the same time, um, they've done studies and active traders in general, as, as you know, average across the population. We all like to think we're geniuses who can do this. We're not, but, uh, across the population in general, uh, those who stick with a consistent strategy of just putting the same amount of money in regularly over time, end up seeing better results than people who are constantly trading and trying to make it happen.
Yeah. I think that's the exact right attitude. And I don't think it can be hammered home enough that active investing is gambling and as good gamblers know, speculation, at least well, and you don't want to bet on bad odds and you should just always be aware of your own fallibility and ability to know that like the market knows more than I do. Like it's, the odds are not in your favor, that market, right.
You are a special person. You're a very special person listener, but the stock market is more special than you. It will win. So you can walk away knowing that. And I think one more thing that I'd love if you just share a little bit about before Nolan goes into the next question. For our listeners, that passive investing, where you said, like, you just kind of allocate it and it does it automatically, that's easy to do, like for our listeners, that might be new investors. That's not as scary, like big thing. Like you can do that. Like you can set it up automatically. Right?
Yeah. And the thing I like about indexing is that, like I said earlier, you are looking at the market as a whole. You don't have to try and pick a winner. You don't have to try and figure out is this particular thing is going to win. If it's going to be the right thing, because you are getting a piece of everything. And so I like it because you can start with as little as, you know, 10 bucks a week and just automatically set that up and just get started that way and just start building that way. And then, like I said, as your financial situation improves, as you free up a little bit more money, you can increase how much you're setting aside. Each time when I first started investing, I was investing in a mutual fund, 50 bucks a month. That was it. And it seems like such a small amount. And it seemed like silly, right? Like it seems kind of silly, but the reality of the situation was what I was doing was by saying, I'm going to prioritize this $50 a month for my future. That was setting me up for a habit. And that was setting me up to change my mindset. And so when I did have more money, when I paid down a little more of that high-interest credit card debt, when I paid down some of the other stuff, when I started making a little bit more money, I was able to say, okay, now I'm going to boost that up. And I'm going to start setting aside a hundred dollars a month and then $150 a month. And once you start seeing how that works and how your portfolio is growing and how the dividends start coming in, and those are reinvested.
And once you start seeing that stuff, then you're, then it becomes like this game of, okay, how much can I put in now? Where can I free up some money? Where am I spending money? That's not serving me. Where am I spending money? That's not bringing it's the Marie Kondo way of money. Where am I spending money? That's not bringing joy to my life. Do I need another touch cut? No, I do not like, you know, do I need more books? Yes. You always need more books, spend money on books, but I don't need more little trinkety things. And I did, I, there was one point in my life where I looked around and I started toting up like this whole pile of trinkety things. And I was like going, I could have gone to Europe twice for what I spent on this, you know, Oh, I could have gone to Europe once and then invested the rest of that money. Like seen a huge return for what I spent on these trinkety things. And there's nothing wrong with trinkety things. If you like, trinkety things. I was just looking at it going, I don't really like these. Why am I spending money on these? So it all kind of works together. But the important thing is to get started and get that mindset going, okay, I'm going to prioritize money for my future. I'm going to prioritize investing in my future. Absolutely.
And the other smart thing you did is it making it automatic too. Having those automatic payments each week. And I think that's probably a really important lesson for new investors to take away as well. Definitely as well as the trinkets, it's probably a universal rule. We all have too many trinkets.
I have trinkets too, and that's fine. Like I said, there's nothing wrong with that. But it is about looking at those priorities and really digging into your values and saying, okay, I, how can I prioritize investing and balance that with the other things that I'm using my money for and where am I directing my financial resources?
Let's tackle another thorny question I have that I've personally seen mixed answers on. Are you ready for the thorny question? Right? When does it make sense to go to a financial planner for your money management needs? And if you're open to doing it, can you walk us through, what are the different types of financial planners that people should be aware of? Is this an important knowledge to hold in your head at any given time?
Yeah, so I think financial planners can be very hopeful and I actually have a lot of financial planner friends that I'm happy to send people through to. I don't use a financial planner myself. I do have, like, I do have like kind of people that I go to, like, I have an accountant who helps me do my taxes and make better business decisions. Well, mostly he just yells at me. What were you thinking? You can't like, why are your books such a mess? So now he just does my books and then they're not a mess. And so really what it comes down to is do you need help with something? Right. I needed help with my books. I needed help with my taxes. So I turned to somebody who's an expert at that. If you are looking at things and saying, Oh my goodness, I don't know what to do next with my finances.
I don't know how to move forward. I would like some help with a plan. A financial planner can be helpful and there are financial planners out there who charge like a flat fee for certain services. So they'll say like, okay, for $300, we'll meet with you twice and we'll help you put together a financial plan for you. And then it's up to you to take that financial plan that you paid $300 for, take it home, execute it yourself, but it's laid out for you. And so if you don't know what your next step is, that $300 can be very much worth it or whatever it is, you know, check, check into it, right. Look at different financial planners. So I really liked the X Y planning network. They use fee-only financial planners. I don't know if I'm supposed to be whatever, but they're not paying me to say this.
I just have, I just have a lot of friends who are part of that network. And they specialize in helping people move forward and figure out how to move forward. So that can be very helpful. And then of course you have people who will actually manage your assets for you. So you have asset managers, investment advisors, investment managers, those kinds of folks, uh, portfolio managers, who, you know, will take a slice of the assets that they're managing for you. They'll take a percentage of that. And then you will have financial planners who will say they'll recommend products for you and then sell them to you. And some of them will take a commission. Now it's not always bad. Just that somebody just because somebody takes a commission, doesn't mean they're a bad person and that they're giving you bad advice, but you should be aware of how they make their money.
And really think about that because you just want to be aware, are they getting paid on commission? Are they getting paid based on your assets, under management? Right? So are they getting paid a percentage because if they're going to be paid a percentage of how your portfolio is doing, they do have something of it as sensitive to make sure it's growing. So, I mean, but you also have to watch out because some of those types of managers as well, sometimes they do get kickbacks depending on like, if they're putting you in a fund or an annuity. So you do want to, once again, you just need to know how they're getting paid, find out how they're getting paid and then decide your level of comfort with that. Okay. Are you comfortable working with somebody who's going to recommend an insurance product, that they are going to get a kickback on?
Are you comfortable with that? If you are, okay. I hope that it's the right one for you and it's fine and thinks about it if you're not okay with that, look for somebody. Who's just going to charge you a fee or a percentage of assets under management. So just really think about how they get paid and whether that works for you and then using a financial planner is really about where you're at and what kind of level you want to do. Like, I know people who are like, Oh, the most financial planning they need is to pay for something like you need a budget. Why NAB also not going to get paid for that either. But I know that people find that helpful to them because that is software. That takes you to the process of looking at your goals, figuring out what you want to accomplish, and then helping you allocate your spending and including deciding how much you want to put into savings and investing.
And so for some people just getting us some really good personal finance software, paying a subscription to finance software, to help them like, just stay on track with their goals. Another couple of good ones that, that help you with goals are like PocketSmith and PocketGuard. And so for some people like those kinds of things work really well. WealthFront is a Robo advisor that will sit down and help you work out your goals and your investing goals and Betterment as well has paid financial planning services. So you can actually sit down with somebody from betterment, pay a flat fee and they will help you make a plan. So there are various different resources you can kind of use, but if you want somebody who you work with all the time and you can go to on a regular basis and who really knows you and is going to keep you on track, it might be worth it to pay for something on an ongoing basis.
Absolutely. You have to know yourself first in order to even get started in these things. Like if you're not somebody that likes plans, I mean, that might be an issue you want to work through, but like, you know, don't go see a financial planner for a plan that you won't follow. So I absolutely, I hope our listeners heard that you have to know yourself first and look at how you like to do money for yourself. And those are some great recommendations. We'll be putting all of those down.
Yeah. And I would like to say too, there are people who are known as financial counselors, and if you are looking at things and you're going, I am a complete mess and I need to get my money together. A financial counselor can help you work through, okay, why don't I want to plan my money? Why am I not? Like they can help you work through that and work on it's so cliche to say money mindset. But at the same time, you do have to kind of think about, okay, how do I think about money? How do I feel about money and why do I feel that way? Because there were some money hang-ups. I had to get over that. I had internalized growing up, uh, nothing against my parents who taught me wonderful lessons about saving and working hard and all of those things, but they never taught me about investing. They never taught me about using debt judiciously, like things like that. And then there are things in our own past, our mistakes. Sometimes we just beat ourselves up, over and over and over again about our stupid mistakes. I destroyed my own credit like three years ago. I mean, well done me. Like I'm a nationally recognized financial expert and I made one of the biggest mistakes of all we're all there. But sometimes we need help working through all of that so that we can overcome it and then move forward.
We're running short on time, but there's a couple things we'd love to get your opinion on here. Miranda one, there's a lot of information out there and things seem to be changing fast right now with the rise of retail trading apps, like Robinhood, the publicity around online forums, on Reddit, and elsewhere with relatively new traders banding together and trying out some interesting investment strategies as a group to put it mildly. How should a new investors sort through all of this information and know what's legit? What's not, what's credible. What's not, what's your advice there?
Yeah. So generally the more exciting it is, the farther you should stay away from it. Like if it seems really fun and exciting, go ahead and try it out with a little bit of money, but let's stick to the boring stuff for your long-term wealth-building goals. I mean, it's hard because yes, you said there's a lot of information out there and it can be hard to deal with scams too because sometimes the scams do seem very credible and seem like they might be useful. And something, I was actually a guest on a stacking Benjamins episode, not too long ago where we did talk about how do you spot scams? How do you find reputable information? But yeah, it can be difficult because part of what you have to do is kind of sift through and be like, okay, does this seem realistic? Does this seem like something that most people can grasp and understand? These complicated, short plays that they're talking about, right.
With GameStop, it's like, okay, when you start looking at the underlying reason why it does this thing, you're like this starts to get a little bit hard to follow if you're not in the industry and if you're not doing the thing, it's hard to follow. And if you're just so really another thing to do is step back and say, okay, am I getting in this to jump on the bandwagon? Am I getting into this because of FOMO or am I doing this? Because it has a purpose in my portfolio and it's actually helping me with my goals. So that's something to think about too, when you're reading information and you're looking this stuff, it's good to take a step back and say, wait a second, am I interested in this? Because it's interesting and fun and exciting and everybody's doing it, or is it really going to help me advance my goals? And in general, the boring things are the things that are probably going to help you with your long-term goals. Like I said, I like to have a little bit of fun money on the side to like try these things out because I like to be able to try them out so I can talk about them so I can experience them and be on top of it. But at the same time, I also know I'm not going to pin my future on these exciting things. I'm going to remain boring AF.
I think that's great advice on money on the side, but hey, the most exciting thing is making money and to make money over a long-term sometimes you've just got to lean into that boring AF attitude. Yup. Yup. Well, to finish us up here today, are there any money or investment tips that you consider crucial that we didn't cover today?
Yeah, so honestly, no, I think the most important thing is what we've talked about is know yourself. Take some time before you do anything with money. I say take some time to really sit down and think about what are your values? What do you want your life to look like? And start my friend, Joe Saul-Sehy from the Stacking Benjamins podcast always says begin with the end in mind. So what you want to do is think about where do I want to be? Where do I want to go? What do I want things to look like? And then work backward from there, with, okay, what money decisions, what investing things do I need to do to reach that point and make it based on your values. I talk about this a lot too, where I just say, well, I would like to be able to donate to charity.
I like to be able to travel. I want to be able to help my son with college. So these are things that are important to me. And that's what I was talking about before when I was looking at this like wall of trinkets and I'm going well, this wall of trinkets doesn't help me travel. It doesn't help me give to charity. It doesn't help my son go to college. Why do I have a wall of trinkets? Why am I spending my money on a wall of trinkets? So then I started shifting where that money went. And so really a lot of the time we don't think about it. We're not conscious about where we're directing our financial resources and that's how we kind of end up in these situations. So if you have the luxury of doing so, take some time to think about that, think about where your values are, and then go from there.
Oh, thank you so much. This was so fun.
Yeah. Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.
It's been wonderful Miranda.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Next week, we will cap off our investor series and chat with Willa Tellekson-Flash from the investing social network, public.com. You won't want to miss it. We've had more than our fair bit of fun was Willa while she was on with us. We'll dive into the crazy trends around investing apps and what makes Public different. Why investing can be a great equalizer when it's a social activity, you know that social activity for all your future coffee dates, wine nights, game days, your new topic of conversations going to be investing.
You joke. But I think that's where we're headed.
That's absolutely where we're headed.
I am so excited for that conversation. It has been a real learning journey for me in this series. And I really hope you all are taking away as much as I am. And listeners, if you ever have thoughts or feedback on the episodes, ideas for new topics, or guests, we should interview. Please drop us a line or email is firstname.lastname@example.org. That's email@example.com. We'll see you next week.