Jeremy Schneider, Personal Finance Club | Millionaires Who DON’T Fly First Class, the 90/10 Rule, & Cryptocurrencies | Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 57

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Jeremy Schneider from Personal Finance Club joins Spencer Reese and Jamie to talk how to money like a millionaire, how to invest in index funds in 2023, and the difference between cheap and frugal.

Jeremy helps over 400,000 followers on his Instagram account @personalfinanceclub and his website PersonalFinanceClub.com. He sold his first company for $5 million dollars and retired at the age of 36. Now, he helps people become millionaires through 2 simple rules: spend less than you earn and invest early and often.

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 57 Links

Outline of Episode:

  • Jeremy’s journey from tech start-up founder to multimillionaire 
  • Doubling his money and the 4% safe withdrawal rate
  • Converting money into happiness 
  • Jeremy’s two rules to build wealth
  • Instagram content
  • Is your primary home really the best investment you’ll ever make?
  • Do people still need to learn about compounding interest in 2022?
  • Index funds vs cryptocurrency 
  • Jeremy’s courses How to Money Like a Millionaire and How to Invest in Index Funds
  • Jeremy’s experience with buying permanent life insurance
  • Inside an Instagram influencer’s sponsorship deal with You Need A Budget (YNAB)
  • Scenario: What would young Jeremy do with extra money if stationed overseas?
  • The 90/10 rule for investing

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 57 Transcript

[00:00:00] Jeremy: There's just like this American dream of home ownership, and maybe your grandma said, “Your home is the best investment you'll ever make,” but if Grandma said that, that's because it's the only investment she ever made. If you look at it very objectively as an investment, it's terrible. 

[00:00:36] Spencer: Hey, podcast listeners, Spencer Reese here from militarymoneymanual.com. Thanks for joining us today. We have a very special guest with us, Jeremy Schneider from personalfinanceclub.com.

He's also on Instagram at Personal Finance Club with over 400,000 followers. Jeremy shares a simple, but effective message about personal finance investing on his Instagram page. He's got some fantastic images that really break down complex topics and show you how you can invest and the outcomes that you can have through just spending less than you earn, and investing the rest early and often, usually into index funds.

Today we're going to be talking about his two rules, living below your means and investing early and often, compounding interest, and the emotional side of FI. And finally, we'll cover his 90/10 rule for investing. Jeremy's got two awesome courses with over six hours of content.

“Index fund investing in 2022” and “How to Money Like a Millionaire.” Two great courses. I purchased both of them and I'm working my way through How to Money Like a Millionaire. Right now, you can get $20 off by using the coupon code “military money”. So normally they're $79, but you can get $20 off and get them for $59.

If you want to deep dive into index fund investing or want to see how Jeremy, who's a multi-millionaire himself manages his own money, you can buy those courses. Again, $20 off with a coupon code, “military money” through the end of 2022. 

Without further ado, here's our conversation with Jeremy Schneider from personal finance club.com. Jeremy, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Really excited to have you today.

[00:02:33] Jeremy: Thanks for having me, guys. It's an honor to be here.

[00:02:36] Spencer: On your Instagram profile, which recently just got a blue check mark, so congrats on that.

Your first line is you retired at age 36. How did you do that?

[00:03:07] Jeremy: The word retired, it's like a clickbait-y attention-grabbing, headlined because it's, people are like, “what?” But in short, because I had enough money such that my investments are likely to grow and sustain, to provide for my cost of living for the rest of my life, and how I did that was in short, I turned down a job offer for Microsoft in college.

I started a company, I grew it for 11 years. I sold at the age of 34. I worked there for two more years, and at 36 I quit my job. I sold it for $5 million. My share after taxes was about $2 million, and then my net worth had grown to closer to $3 million when I retired. I haven't had a real job in the last seven years or so, and now my net worth is closer to four and a half million dollars.

And so part of the personal finance stuff I preach is about spending less than you make and investing the difference. And of course, there's a big windfall for me there. But before, during, and after that, I was also spending less than I make and investing the difference because you can definitely burn through $2 million if you want to, but my number keeps going up because I'm investing well and not spending it all.

[00:03:47] Jamie: So how did the personal finance club come to be? Was it something where you got bored? Have you always shared personal finance tips with people?

[00:03:55] Jeremy: Yeah, we were just talking before the recording about how early retirement can also lead to an existential crisis. And so when I retired at 36 for the next year, I basically did nothing. I did what people maybe would dream of doing. Every day was a weekend. I would travel, I would play video games, whatever, and then a year into that or so I felt a lack of purpose in my life, a lack of tension. I wasn't like building anything. I wasn't growing towards anything and I really didn't want my life story to be talking to someone when I'm 70 years old and saying, “Oh, I sold a company when I was 34 and I've been a piece of shit since then.”

Doesn't really seem like a great life story. So my passion, some people love flying airplanes or skydiving or much more exciting things, but I really like helping people with personal finance, Roth IRAs, index funds, and TSPs. That is my jam. I think when I can talk to some for 30 minutes and see this shift or rift in the future take place where now instead of being potentially broke or poor later in life, they’re maybe retiring earlier, being wealthy, that pumps me up and so that's why I started Personal Finance Club.

[00:05:01] Spencer: Okay, so you sold your company after taxes for about $2 million and now it's $4 million. So how long did it take? Over $4 million. How long did it take to double your money?

[00:05:12] Jeremy: So yeah, that was in 2014. Now it’s 2022, and so that would be 8 years or so, a little bit over 8 years. That doesn't include my spending out of that of course.

And basically what I did is the day that the check cleared, there was a wire, I actually have a video where I clicked to refresh my bank account and it went from a hundred thousand, which was like my life savings up until that point to over 2 million. The next day or two I just went to Fidelity, I clicked buy on a couple index funds and just left it there.

And historically the market goes up about 10% per year. If an investment's returning 10% a year, that means it takes about seven years to double, in a little microscopic view. That's basically been my experience where that's what happened. it's doubled and I'm spending a small enough amount that it didn't really impact that compound growth much.

[00:05:57] Jamie: I love hearing an actual example of statistics that prove true even when the market's been down a couple times in that seven years for you. But how did you know what to do with the money? Where'd you learn about personal finance? Where did the foundation start for you? Did you have a good mentor, teacher, or from your family?

[00:06:13] Jeremy: So early years, when I was in high school, my very first ever job, I worked at a summer camp and I made 1,200 bucks for the whole summer. And my dad very cleverly knew the rules of the Roth IRA or that you can't contribute more than the annual limit, which this year is $6,000 and you also can't contribute more than your income.

And so it's designed for like actual working people who are middle class or whatever. And so when I made $1,200, my dad said, “Hey, I'm going to give you $1,200 and you're going to put all this money into a Roth IRA and then you can keep your own $1,200 that you earned,” because I was a 15 year old with a job or whatever.

And so then we sat down again at Fidelity and he showed me how to choose some mutual funds. And it's not exactly what I do anymore, but pretty close. And so I thought that this was like a typical experience for a 15-year-old to start choosing mutual funds. I guess now saying that screams rich white privilege or whatever.

My parents weren't rich, but we were middle class, upper middle class. And so then, I went through phases in college. I opened an e-trade account, which was maybe like the Robin Hood of the day when I was picking random stocks. I was learning about dividends and I get these questions asked a hundred times now and I was like, “Yeah, I've tried that.”

I wouldn’t recommend it. So I've done all the bad kinds of investing. I'm not all of them or a lot of them I guess. And then when I signed the deal to sell my company, I actually had a four-month period of due diligence and I really didn't want to be one of those lottery winners who win the lottery, is a garbage man, then wins the lottery and then spends all the money and then becomes a garbage man again.

And so I started reading books on personal finance and investing and they basically all say the same thing. Oh, okay. This is pretty clear. So I've just basically been on that path ever since.

[00:07:52] Spencer: Can I go back quickly to your, I just love this, $2 million growing into $4 million. 

Did you have a withdrawal rate? Was it something that you consciously thought of or did you just have your lifestyle and you just withdrew the money as required? Or did you live off the dividends? How did it work From a tactical perspective?

[00:08:09] Jeremy: So there's this movement called Fire Financial Independence, Retire Early, and one of the big rules of thumb in this movement is there's a 4% safe withdrawal rate.

So whatever your investment portfolio is, you can basically take 4% of that amount and even increase it for inflation every year and then be very likely to never destroy the original principle. I don't remember when I learned about that rule. I think it was after I quit my job and everything. I think that was more recently. For me, at least the first two years I was working.

I went from work making $36,000 a year as the CEO of my tiny tech startup to making decent six figures. So I wasn't worried at all about safe withdrawal rates. And then what happened over the next two years, I saw that my investments were going up faster than my six-figure salary. I was like, “Oh, I guess I don't need the salary anymore.”

So that was like the first metric for me. It's oh, investments are going up faster than salary. And then I think I learned about the safe withdrawal rule 4%, 4% of 3 million is 120,000, which means I could basically live on $120,000 a year. I had never even spent half of that in a year. I was living on $30,000 a year.

[00:09:13] Spencer: Yeah. when your lifestyle costs a quarter of what your safe patrol rate is, then you've got a lot of margin of safety there.

[00:09:20] Jeremy: Yeah. In fact, one of my challenges has been finding opportunities to convert money to happiness. I still am not just a frivolous spender. I don't really love the feeling of just burning money, but I do want to capitalize on using this tool for its purpose of helping people and being happy when I have the opportunity.

So that's more of my challenge than just living below my means.

[00:09:42] Jamie: I really like the phrase you just said there. Convert money to happiness. Can you dig into that a little bit and share? If someone's never thought of money in that way, what are some ways that they can make their money? Because we hear money doesn't buy happiness, but you can convert it to happiness.

I really like the way you phrased that.

[00:09:58] Jeremy: Yeah, there's so much shame around money. It's oh, you're spending it wrong, you're spending too much, or you need to save more, or you have debt or whatever. And even when I talk to my friends, I'm like dating someone right now. She doesn't like talking about money.

It's this very sensitive topic, it's really just a tool at the end of the day. And it's not a measure of your character and it doesn't make you a good or a bad person. It's a tool. And I think when you use that tool, it gets a little bit cerebral. But I think the whole purpose of the tool is to live your best life, to maximize your own happiness, and to help as many people as possible.

I think that's the purpose of life. And I think that a lot of people use a tool wrong. It's like they're holding the wrong end of the hammer or whatever because they spend too much and then they get stressed and then they are worried about not being able to retire. And from the military perspective, it's a little bit different because, if you stay long enough you get a government retirement.

I know guys who have retired from the military and wish they had more money or maybe don't want to do all 20 years or whatever it is. And I know you guys are big and may be retiring early. And so if you can use that tool wisely and meet your life goals. One of the big ones for me, I think the biggest is just freedom.

I don't want to have to answer to a dick boss if I don't want to. I don't want to have to do things I don't want to do. And for sure, my primary use of this tool is my freedom. But then on top of that, when is this episode going to air? My mom might be listening and I'm flying to surprise her for her birthday, November 6th. I think we're safe. She's turning 70 and was a no-brainer. Buying that ticket is, of course, like a great use of money. I'm so happy I can just fly to Florida and surprise her for a birthday. That money's the easiest money in the world to spend.

But then the hard money I spend is okay, do I fly first class? And for me, the answer is no. I'm like, all right, that's too much. That's so much like four times more money. But I did for the first time ever upgrade to economy plus. I’m 6’4, and 200 pounds. I have very long femurs, so maybe the extra four inches or whatever of leg them will be worth my $500 more dollars.

[00:11:51] Jamie: I hope it's the beginning of something beautiful for you, Jeremy. And more comfortable travel. 

[00:11:53] Jeremy: Yeah. Maybe. I know. 6’4.

[00:11:57] Spencer: Wow. 6’4, $4 million, and still flies economy.

Jeremy: Until this next trip I'm flying Economy plus.

[00:12:04] Spencer: Economy plus, there you go. Everybody just has the things that are important to them.

I was doing a lot of travel over the summer in the states. I exclusively flew domestic first class because I was just tired of being part of the cattle car in the back and it cost a little bit more, but a lot of it was free because I was travel hacking it. But that's important to me, right? I just like to get on the plane, get off the plane, and not see anybody else.

And for you, it's not important. People have different values and you can use your money to support those values.

[00:12:32] Jeremy: Yeah, I don't know. I might be wrong. Maybe I'll look back on my life and think I should have started buying first-class sooner or whatever, but I'd rather take four flights than take one first-class flight.

I don't know. Maybe that's my math.

[00:12:43] Spencer: Yeah, would there be a dollar amount in your investment account where you'd like, Okay, this is ridiculous. I'm going to upgrade. and I guess it's a little bit different in the states because the domestic first-class doesn't really do anything. You are literally just sitting at the front of the plane.

I guess the legroom is a little bit better if you're big, but internationally, yeah, it makes a difference.

[00:12:59] Jeremy: Oh, it's nicer. It's like leg room, elbow room. I feel like you can work up there. There's room, if I try to pull out a laptop in economy with 6’4, I can't even get the screen open because like the guy in front of me puts the seat back and I'm like, T-Rex arms.

I still, I don't know, I'm still at frugality like in my DNA. I'm like, “Oh, it's just a lot of money.” But maybe if I had $10 million, I would start flying first class. We'll see.

[00:13:23] Spencer: Okay. $10 million. There we go. I'll hold you to that in seven and a half years.

[00:13:27] Jeremy: Yeah, I know. Maybe seven years. Double again. Throw some more on the fire. And we're there. [00:13:32] 

Spencer: So Jeremy, you're reading all these personal finance books and actually it's very similar to my story. After I graduated college, I was living paycheck to paycheck in the military. Once I was done with pilot training, I thought, Okay, this is ridiculous.

I have to get ahead, I have to stop living paycheck to paycheck. I read every personal finance book in the library. After the first two or three, I was like, “Oh, they all say exactly the same thing.” Yep. And is that where you got the idea for your two rules for personal finance? And maybe you should share with the listeners what your two rules for personal finance are.

[00:14:00] Jeremy: Yeah, so I basically have two rules to build wealth. 

Rule number one is to live below your means. That means spending less money than you make. You make half a million dollars a year and you spend half a million dollars a year, you are broke. You have zero at the end of the year. Whereas if you make $60,000, you spend $40,000, then you have saved $20,000.

That leads us to rule number two, which is to invest early and often. If you're investing, if you're making $60, spending $40, and investing $20,000 a year, you'll easily be a multi-millionaire over the course of your career, into the millions of dollars. But if you just save it, you won't, saving $20,000 a year, $200,000 over 10 years, $800,000 over 40 years, you probably won't get to a million.

Then of course there's the cost of inflation and stuff like that, but investing would be, 3, 4, or 5 million. So spend less than you make and invest the difference. Those are the two rules. And yeah, you're right, all the books are the same thing. But the crazy thing is, everyone who's read three personal finance books, knows this dirty little, not-so-secret.

But if you're just a 19-year-old kid in the military, you hear all sorts of stuff. F-150 leases, insurance scams, crypto, day trading, spending all your money, consumerism, and capitalism just pumping at us through marketing at all times. So what it seems to me, and probably to you guys are corny little rules.

Spend less than what you make and invest the difference. I think people need someone beating that drum every day being like, “No, this is still what to do.” Don't get too tempted by the lease deal that you see on TV.

[00:15:27] Spencer: Yeah, it's so simple but not easy. And if it was easy then everyone would just do it.

[00:15:33] Jeremy: Of course. Yeah. Yeah. I don't mean to be dismissive because it's not easy. It's oh, I want to be fit, diet and exercise. Of course, both these things require tons of discipline. if you don't go and lift weights and run and everything, eat super healthy, like that's hard to do.

It's not easy. It doesn't come naturally to many people. And the same for living below your means. It's so easy to go on Amazon. It's fun. It's like Christmas, they bring boxes to your house. But if you're looking for an apartment, it's easy just to spend more money. just walk into the first place and whatever it costs, it's hard to like, to drive a cheaper car.

It's hard to delay gratification with Amazon purchases. It's hard to make all your meals at home versus eating out a lot. And that's the stuff that is what caused you to go from spending $60,000 to $40,000 and becoming a multimillionaire.

[00:16:16] Spencer: One thing I've always noticed, and this is especially true when I was living paycheck to paycheck, is it's so easy to spend money and it is so hard to make money.

And our system, our American capitalist system, and this is true in other countries around the world, but all you have to do, especially on Amazon now, one click, right? You just swipe and now you've spent $20, $30, $4,000. But to go and make a thousand dollars, okay, you got to set up a bank account, they're going to send you the check.

It’s this long process. You have to actually perform work or services or provide value to people. And then eventually you're going to get paid. But to spend money, oh, people are willing to take your money in a second.

[00:16:58] Jeremy: So fluid tap to pay, it's abstract.

You don't have to get your hands dirty with the cash anymore. It's just a number that appears on a screen. It feels very abstract. I'm even susceptible to that. I walk into Chipotle, and I feel like a Chipotle burrito used to be $9. I don't walk out for under $20 these days and “I'm like, Yeah, double meat, guac, whatever the whole thing.”

But just because I'm tapping it, just whatever, it's one tap, but I'm spending twice as much as if I was really trying to be frugal.

[00:17:26] Spencer: Yeah. Yeah. Guac is always worth it.

[00:17:29] Jeremy: Yeah. I'm not saying I'm making the wrong decision, but I'm saying there's no pain associated with it.

It's so easy to spend money. But yeah, I'm not maybe the first class, but I'm definitely past guac. 

[00:17:38] Spencer: Okay. That's guac-FI you just created a new level, guac-FI. 

[00:17:45] Spencer: When you were hustling and working on your company, building up your company for 12 years, were you implementing your two rules during that time?

Or were you just living frugally, living below your means, and then ignoring the investing piece and just your investment was the time that you were spending working on your company?

[00:18:00] Jeremy: I was, the first two years my company made very little money, not enough to even support the most basic lifestyle.

I think we made $14,000 in top-line revenue the first year, minus a few thousand dollars and expenses. Me, I could maybe take home $10,000 and even this was back in 2003 or something. Even back then, you can't survive under $1,000, or at least I couldn't while living in Michigan. So I was living on a credit card.

So I racked up $10,000 in credit card debt that first year, basically surviving at $20,000 or so. And then the next year I racked up another $2,000 in credit card debt, and then by a third year, I was able to pay off all my credit card debt from the income from the company. And then I basically set my income fixed at $36,000 a year.

I actually never gave myself a raise. I was the lowest-paid employee in my company, and as I hired people, they all made more than me. But on that $36,000 I lived on less than that. 

I lived on about $30,000 a year, and that meant I was able to max out my Roth IRA. My Roth IRA put in about $5,000 bucks a year or whatever. Over the course of that 10 years or so, it was about $50,000 bucks. But then again, the market doubles every seven years or so. And so that $50,000 became about $110,000 or $120,000 the day before I clicked refresh on the bank account. When I sold my company, my net worth was about $120,000, not counting the value of the company just from living on less than my $36,000 take home and investing the $5,000 bucks a year.

[00:19:19] Jamie: So I want to talk about your Instagram page a little bit because it's very good and very popular. For a reason, that's @PersonalFinanceClub. We love the graphics and we find ourselves sharing them and telling a lot of our friends about the clear and concise way you simplify the post. So sometimes Spencer screenshots him and sends him to his dad who listens to the show or every time I think he does.

They're just so good. So how do you come up with the ideas for the graphics? Is it just questions you get and the content that, everything from housing to investing, it's all just such good content.

[00:19:50] Jeremy: Thank you. Actually, we met in person for the first time at FinCon, that money conference a few months ago.

But before that, I had come across you guys because I was looking at my website traffic logs and I saw there were referrals from your website. And I was like, “Oh, that's cool,” because you guys were like, referencing one of my posts or something. I was like, “Oh, that's awesome.” Actually, there was a lot of traffic too, you guys must be doing great. 

So yeah, thanks for that. But yeah, now Instagram, it's basically just these little bite-size infographics that make it really simple. How do I come up with the ideas? Just from talking to people. I always love this stuff when I'm driving, in the shower, zoning out, all these ideas occur to me.

I write them down and I try to make them really bite size and relatable. In a world of very complex financial services, the real true path to building wealth isn't very complex. That's why I have my two rules. That's why I make this very simple. I think that when you can cut through all that noise, people appreciate it.

[00:20:44] Jamie: So I have a quick follow-up about Instagram posts. This one was just a couple of weeks ago, and it was about housing as an investment. Got a lot of comments. I have it up right now. Over 500 comments. Very controversial. Yeah, so I'll just read through it real quick. 

It's not that long, but would you be interested in an investment like this?

Historically returns about 4% a year before fees. Annual expense ratio around 3%, $0 dividend yield, a transactional fee of $2,000 per purchase. A transactional fee of 6% per sale. Buying or selling takes months. The minimum investment is $100,000 or more. The value is sensitive to the regional economy, subject to annual state and local tax.

And then you swipe to the next round of the carousel and it's like this is your primary home. 

So can you share? That's a hot take, I think to a lot of Americans. We talk about it for military families, how buying a home can be a little riskier than the average American family because we get forced to move without control of our timing.

Sometimes after 2 years or 5 years, you never know when we're going to move and what the market's doing at the time. So where did you come up with your philosophy for housing and what do you say to the people who were trying to troll you back after that post? 

[00:22:43] Jeremy: Yeah, anytime you talk about renting versus buying, people lose their minds in the comments, which is often why I do it.

And also like I think I'm in good company. I don't take too much credit for being the first person ever to say, ”Hey, your primary home ain't that good of a deal.” This actually was inspired by a post from J.L. Collins, who wrote The Simple Path to Wealth. Ramit Sethi is famously known. I feel like there's like a long line of personal finance experts and money aficionados who are just not big fans of primary home ownership as a great investment.

The reason is that there's just like this American dream of home ownership, and maybe your grandma said your home is the best investment you'll ever make, but if grandma said that, that's because it's the only investment she ever made. If you look at it very objectively as an investment, it's terrible.

It is extremely expensive, Yeah. It doesn't pay any cash. It goes up about as much as inflation every year before you count all those fees, it's very expensive to buy and sell. It requires tons of maintenance. It's very illiquid. it is subject to all these whims. You're subject to the risk of leverage volatility too like you mentioned. People listening right now who own a home or think home ownership is great. The moral of the story isn't always rent, no matter what. Of course not. The moral of the story is don't become house poor. Don't put all your eggs in this basket. Don't buy so much home that you can't invest outside of your home.

Because if you do, what's going to happen is you're just going to spend 30 years paying out on your mortgage being house poor, and then when it comes down to retirement, your only asset is this house. And then you either have to sell and move and get a little bit of your money back or just keep living in poverty or whatever.

The real answer is, whatever you do, rent or buy, is to minimize your personal housing costs. If you buy a modest home, that would be way better than renting a luxurious home. And if you rent a modest home, they'd be way better than buying a luxurious one. For sure local markets vary. I live in Southern California where rental prices are high, but purchase prices are insane and so it doesn't really make sense to buy here financially.

Obviously, there are lifestyle benefits to buying if you like that, and there are lifestyle benefits to renting too, of course. So when I post controversial hot takes like this, it's just to prevent people from doing that thing where they're like, “Oh, I'm renting a modest two-bedroom apartment. I'm going to go buy a fancy four-bedroom home in a better location and triple my cost of living.”

[00:24:03] Spencer: I also am pretty agnostic toward real estate investing and even buying a primary home. I bought a condo once and sold it after three years, and I've been renting ever since. And I love it because especially when I was in the military, when it came time to move, I just turned in my keys or you don't have to do that anymore because a lot of the locks are electronic. So you just walk out. 

[00:24:26] Jeremy: You just moonwalk out of there and say, “Peace.”

[00:24:29] Spencer: Yeah, exactly. Speaking of your Instagram account, a lot of your content revolves around compounding interest and kind of shocking people with these huge numbers. it starts with $500 a month in your Roth IRA and then it turns into millions by the time you retire.

Why do you think that resonates so well? Do people still need to learn about compounding interest in 2022?

[00:24:48] Jeremy: Yeah. Walk into any Walmart in America and ask people what their Roth IRA is and you're going to get a pretty blank stare, I think. There are lots of facets to personal finance and ones like, “Don't buy that coffee.” People don't really want to hear. 

I also think it's not really a fair critique because I feel like buying a Starbucks isn't what's keeping people broke. I think housing, cars, and how they buy food and stuff are the big things that need to be moved. Not those like the guac or the Starbucks. But honestly, I put that a lot of times just to tease people with curiosity because it's true.

if you put a few hundred bucks away a month over a long period of time, it turns into millions of dollars and it grabs attention. I think people don't realize it. One stat is that if you look at every 40-year period of the S&P 500, which is the 500 biggest companies in the US, it's what's inside of the TSP.

There's no 40-year period where you could invest $250 bucks a month and it wouldn't turn into over a million dollars. So people have this kind of misconception about the stock market, that it's volatile, it's up and down, you win some, you lose some, but it's actually not true over any week or month it might be true, but over decades it always goes up because it's a collection point of all the growth and profits of the companies of the world. So it always has to go up. There's short-term volatility built into that, but over a long period of time, as I said, $250 a month has never turned into less than a million dollars.

The average is like $1.9 million. The worst was like 1.2 million and the best was like 3.1. So exactly where you end up, who knows? Because that's the future that none of us knows. But investing early, often, and over a long period of time just will make you wealthy. So it's a message. I think we just need to keep drumming because I think a lot of people turn on the news and they see recession headlines.

They've talked to their friends, they hear about crypto speculation and that's not how people get rich. It's by investing early and often over a long period of time.

[00:26:34] Spencer: Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of posts on Reddit right now from young Airmen and Soldiers who are saying, “My TSP is down so much this year. Should I stop contributing to it? What am I doing wrong?” 

And it's just oh my gosh, to be 19 or 20 years old and be able to buy the stock market 25% on sale. Yeah. Come on man. Just stick with it and, expand your time horizon like you've been investing for nine months, as you came in, you're literally coming in at the best time.

I can't remember who said it, Warren Buffet or Charlie Munger or something, the stock market is a machine that takes money from the inpatient and gives it to the patient. Yeah. And that's so true. And when you have index funds where you're literally buying the entire global economy, every publicly traded company, and a good diversity of bonds, it's hard to see a scenario in which you lose.

[00:27:19] Jeremy: It's essentially a sure thing. Yeah. and the only way you'd lose is if there's some sort of global economic apocalypse where we're like not doing trade anymore or something like that. And in this scenario, other assets aren't worth anything either. if there's no Google and there's no Amazon and there's no FedEx and there's Exxon Mobile, I promise you the money in your bank account ain't going to mean shit.

Right. What you know what you need at that point, we're in Mad Max. You need oil, you need shotgun shells, you need canned goods. We don't know if that's going to happen. We don't know if we're going to have that. But if it does happen, being in a more conservative investment or being in cash isn't going to help you.

So maybe you need a prepper for another episode. I hope it doesn't happen, and if we do have that, I'm going to probably be one of the first punks to die because I don't have enough frozen food in my freezer or whatever. 

The point is when you are betting on the stocks and bonds of the world to continue to operate going forward, you're going to win long term, but short term, as you said, if you're 19 and the market's down, you should be like on your knees thanking the world because you are getting a discount and you're buying more shares at a lower price than when the market does, as it will rebound, your gains will be amplified.

[00:28:25] Spencer: Yeah, love that. It's a great message that we need to get out to those young military service members and some of those old military service members too. Yeah. 

On your Instagram, what would you say your most popular content is?

[00:28:37] Jeremy: Oh, man, I do think the comparisons are popular.

I make ample use of emojis and I give two examples of people who do things slightly differently. One is just saving versus investing. So for example, there are two emojis. Let's call them Ashley and Amanda. They both make $60,000 a year. Ashley saves 5% of her salary, which is about average, but Amanda saves 15%, which is a little higher.

Ashley gets a 3% return in a high-yield savings account, which is about average. Amanda gets a 10% return by putting it into an index fund. Ashley pays a fee on her investments or whatever, and Amanda doesn't because she invested in an index fund. And then you look at that result, even though they're both kind of living similar lives, slightly different tweak decisions, Ashley ends up with $300,000 and man ends up with like 4 million.

And I think when you just see these like simple comparisons, you're like, Oh, okay, it's not crazy. You just have to make these little decisions and do it. Small decisions compounded over time. yeah.

[00:29:33] Jamie: So in addition to your Instagram, you also have created two courses that are pretty popular. Can you tell us a little bit about the courses and which one you recommend people start with?

You have over 8 hours of content on the How to Money Like a Millionaire one, I believe. Is that right?

[00:29:48] Jeremy: Yeah, they're both about seven or eight hours long. I think selling courses online is like a potentially sleazy pool in which to swim. I never really sought to be an online course critter.

I started this just in my retirement side hustle, not even side hustle, my retirement passion project. And then in 2020, bored, during the pandemic, I was getting the same questions over and over: What is an index fund? How do I invest? What buttons do I click? Should I be selling when the market's down?

All this stuff. So I put together a video course and I was like, “All right, I just need to do a matrix-style brain dump to put this all out in order.” I was going to give it away for free, just like I give all the other content away for free. And I was like, “I don't know, people don't really value free and if you charge something, they might be more willing to finish it.”

I could also help cover some of my expenses because I was spending some money at this point on my hobby. So I decided to sell it for $50. Most courses like this are between $300 and $5,000. People sometimes sell crazy price points. I sold it for $50, which was on sale. Now it's $79 normally.

Then in the first week, I sold $110,000 worth of this course. I was like, “Oh dang, this might be a real business.” People love it. The reviews are crazy. We have like hundreds and hundreds of five-star reviews. Yeah, you can Google. We can't control them either. We put them in a place online where we don't manage them.

But yeah, so there are two courses. There's How to Invest in Index Funds, which is basically just the simple block through of investing. Index funds are the specific way to grasp the growth of the global. That's great if you don't know how to invest or if you need to strengthen your understanding of investing.

The other course is called How to Money Like a Millionaire, which is like all the other little stuff associated with personal finance, saving and budgeting and taxes and insurance and tracking your net worth and estate planning and wills and trusts, and all that stuff. And it does like the CliffNotes version of all these other aspects of your life with Jeremy, a real millionaire who likes to show you my account, this is what I do for each of these areas.

And again, I think, a lot of adults have a lot of that stuff figured out, but it can be nice just to strengthen your understanding. You can take them in either order. If you're in debt and working on getting out of debt, I'd say, focus on that first. Take either neither course and focus on your debt or take Money Like a Millionaire, which talks about getting out of debt. If you're out of debt and want to focus on wealth creation, then maybe the index fund course.

[00:31:57] Spencer: I never understand who has $5,000 sitting around to spend on a personal finance or investing course. It just blows my mind that these content creators can honestly wake up in the morning or look at themselves in the mirror selling something that is completely free. I understand consolidated information has value, but like you're doing where you're selling, a couple courses for under a hundred dollars. Okay, sure. Whatever. But when you start getting into the thousands of dollars unless you're clicking the mouse for me to show me how to invest into a Schwab index funds

[00:32:27] Jeremy: I don't even, That's not worth five grand. I got a DM from someone yesterday that was pointing me to, it was almost cliche, his message, asking me about this guy’s course or he called it a system.

He's like, “Is this guy's system good? I was like, “I don't know.” 

He's like, “He's good looking and he's always flying first class for free.”

It costs $1,500 to buy his system. I would be extraordinarily skeptical of that. What you're saying right now just sounds so cliche.

I saw some guy on Instagram who's posting pictures of himself in first class, But then you look at that guy's content and he posts, “You know how you know the lines at the airport? You get a TSA precheck. 

Okay. No shit. Like we all saw that sign when we walked in.

So yeah, I'm also skeptical of many course careers, but as I said, I'm swimming. Swimming that messy pool with them I guess.

[00:33:11] Jamie: So I was just about to say that's a good transition because one of the reasons why you're not sleazy is how transparent you are, which is really, I think, rare and refreshing for an online creator or, I don't know, you wouldn't consider yourself an influencer, but creator, I guess. You've shared who you donate to, how much you make through your company, even by name and dollar amount of what your salary's been.

Have you gotten feedback on that? I probably found you a couple years ago and that was really attractive as an early follower, I think to see so much transparency.

[00:33:40] Jeremy: Yeah. partially, I just think it's my personality. I just don't mind sharing. I think different people have different levels of fear around sharing stuff, but also I think I lean into it in this space.

Money, for whatever reason has this secrecy associated there. Don't ask anyone how much you make. Don't talk about whether or not you have debt. When I tell people I sold a company, they rarely, maybe one person ever has asked me how much I sold it for.

But of course, everyone wants to know, it's so voyeuristic. And so now I've just, at a dinner party when someone asks me what I do, I just say, “I sold the company for $5 million. Now I'm an Instagram influencer,” or whatever. I also say influencer because I'm like, yeah, I'm an awkward, nerdy 41-year-old white guy.

You’ve got to lean into it.

[00:34:20] Jamie: How else do you describe it? Yeah. Everyone knows what an influencer is, right?

[00:34:23] Jeremy: You can say content creator, or I could say I’m a financial literacy business. You could call it whatever you want. And to be fair, I don't think I'm like a traditional influencer.

Because I don't do sponsored posts, we don't do affiliate deals. I'm not out there modeling bikinis or whatever. Although maybe I could make good money in that. I think. Yeah, Not for me. I'd think I'd get canceled the next day. Yeah, I mean I do just like transparency because we don't see enough of that.

And yeah, even with my course, I always say there are no secrets in the course. There's nothing in the course that you won't find elsewhere in my content. It really is just a compendium of the whole thing in the A to Z format. And it's not secret trading tips because there really isn't that secret style.

If someone's telling you the secret instead of just using the secret, they're probably full of shit. If I knew what stocks to buy ahead of time, I wouldn't be selling a course. I would just be trading on the information. I'd make a billion dollars because I'm so smart.

[00:35:10] Jeremy: It really is just an educational tool and I like to put it in context of it's cheaper than, a fraction of the price of buying a community college credit or something like that. You're probably going to get a lot more value out of it. Not to knock community college. I'm just saying you pay for education sometimes.

[00:35:24] Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. I think for the right person and in the right scenario, purchasing your course could, honestly, it could change the trajectory of someone's life. And it could mean in 20 or 30 years they're a millionaire. Whereas in the counterfactual, if they didn't buy your course and they didn't invest the time to actually understand how to invest their money, then in 20, 30 years they could be exactly where they are now in thinking, “Man, I wish I had just taken, extra five minutes or five hours and a week and actually studied that stuff.”

And I think the thing with your course is that it does because I went through the How to Money Like a Millionaire. It's just that you filtered all this information and you present it in a way that people can relate to and can understand. I really appreciate that you call a spade a spade, right?

Some of the things that you've done, I saw one post where you actually went and bought a universal index life insurance policy and went through all the lies and all the little hidden fees that were in there. I thought that was awesome. Could you tell people about how you did that and why you did that?

[00:36:20] Jeremy: Yeah. If you haven't heard of it yet, or you might have heard of it under a different name, there's this class of insurance that is permanent life insurance and there are lots of types of insurance. And so I always like to preface this like this isn't knocking auto insurance. This is not knocking health insurance.

It's not even knocking term life insurance if you need life insurance, but there's a special type of life insurance called permanent life insurance where the insurance companies have created this Frankenstein of an insurance product that combines a death benefit if you die for your beneficiary with this investing savings, cash value portion.

These are very high profit margin products for insurance companies. And so it attracted this class of insurance salesman. Who just, it's a crazy world, and people who know about it feel like, I feel, which is, it's, I've never seen a group of people so dishonest in my entire life. You scratch your chin saying, how much do they believe themselves versus are they drinking the Kool-Aid or whatever.

Basically, they pitch this product as though it's this superior investment and it has greater returns and there's no risk. And you can be your own bank and there's no downside to it. Like they just go through this whole pitch and like all good scams, there's like these morsels of truth to them, but the reality is much, much worse.

You ask them a question and you just get this talking point. You can't see it. So I went on TikTok and just searched for life insurance and clicked on the first TikTok that popped up, and then I just bought it. I just clicked the link. I was like, All right, I'm going to do it.

If it's so great, show me. Obviously, I did it with the expectation it wasn't going to be great, but I don't know, if it's so good, I would've stuck with it of course. I went through a 90-minute sales pitch with the agent's permission. I recorded the whole thing.

[00:38:04] Jeremy: The guy that lied to my face the entire time, it was like, wow, egregious. If what they're saying publicly is bad and you think as bad as he is what they say behind closed doors, right? And then the 90-page policy arrived in the mail. I read every page of the policy and then I just broke it down.

They never talk about the fees. They pretend like there are no fees. But the bitter reality of this thing is they're not magically creating more growth than you can from the market. What they're doing is they're just being a middleman between you and the market and just siphoning fees off.

There's like a monthly statement fee. There's a premium fee, there's the cost of insurance, there's a per unit fee, there's a cancellation fee, and there's an index fee. it just adds up and up. For the $200 premium that I was paying, about $90 was going to fees. Wow. Off the bat.

Then as you age, those fees increase because they keep charging you more and more for the insurance portion of that. And so what happens when you drag the spreadsheet down 40 years later, it ends up eroding about 80% of your wealth. Instead of having $2 million, you'd have about $400,000 or something.

[00:39:05] Jeremy: That really boils my blood because, and honestly that's $400,000 is actually  a best-case scenario because if you stop, if you miss a payment, you stop paying or they change the rules or there are all sorts of ways these things can go wrong. Then you get zero, the policy just cancels and you get zero.

These insurance agents never talk about this stuff. Whereas if the market's down 20% and you're like, Okay, I'm down 20% temporarily. You don't lose the money though. So yeah, they're dangerous and I try to expose them, but they also, then they attack me relentlessly because the insurance agents don't like how I knock the product.

[00:39:33] Spencer: Jeremy, you mentioned that you don't have sponsorships on your Instagram account, but I think, I remember over the summer you had an auction where you were going to auction off sponsorship and you were going to be completely transparent with the sponsorship process and how it all worked. Did you ever go anywhere with that?

[00:39:52] Jeremy: No. I said we never take sponsorship and that's, and that was entirely true until I polled my audience at one point and said, “Hey, do you guys want to see the inside of an Instagram influencer sponsorship deal?” And so I did it as a little bit of a stunt. And so I posted an auction for a dollar and just was basically like any company who want a bid on this go nuts.

And the winning bid was $10,500. So it was thankfully by a company called, You Need a Budget, YNAB. Which is a product I had personally used and still used for 7 years. By the way, I have no continuing relationship with them. Anything I say at this point is without conflict of interest, but I just wanted to trunch and light how these things work.

I made content for them and I talked about if it changed my perspective. If you're an insurance agent selling a commissioned product, you have this massive conflict of interest, which is you're just going to try to get people to buy your insurance product if you're an influencer getting paid by a company.

Yeah, it does work into your psyche. So I felt some obligation to ask people what the best budgeting app was. While it was true that the only one that I'd ever used or at least paid for was YNAB, I felt some obligation to recommend it. I think as that is further in my rearview mirror, I feel less of the obligation.

It's obviously still true that I use it and like it, but I say, “Hey if you don't want to pay for it, don't. There are free options too.” It was just like one little stunt we did. It was really great. YNAB is a great company. It was really great to work for, but I didn't really like it.

I don't really like saying things because other people want me to say them. Also, I do think it cannibalizes your audience a little bit. Our whole business model is we just only post good, authentic, helpful stuff for free. We just want it to be like giving all the time.

And then when you put up ads and you're asking for stuff, then your audience loses engagement.

[00:41:34] Spencer: We're actually going to have Jesse Mecham, the founder of YNAB on an episode and we're recording with him later this week.

[00:41:40] Jeremy: Oh, that's amazing. I was on his podcast. It's one of my favorite interviews I did because I'm a fan of him and his podcast and his product and he's a really cool, nice guy, a great product.

He gave me $10,500, so I at least like him $10,500. I still pay for my YNAB subscription though. I didn't get a free YNAB subscription somehow. I almost don't want to. 

[00:42:02] Spencer: That's a free subscription for a hundred years.

[00:42:06] Jeremy: That's true. Yeah. Although I don't get all that money. It goes to charities and then my employees and all that stuff. I'll take the $10,000 over the free subscription.

[00:42:16] Spencer: Jeremy, one topic that you talked about on your Instagram the other day was being frugal versus being cheap.

Can you explain the difference in your mind between those two terms?

Yeah, I think frugal gets a bad rap. If someone uses a coupon on a first date or something, I don't know. I think I would. I don't know. No, actually I probably wouldn't now because I'm not really into coupons, but I think I would if I had it.

I'm sure I have before, or at least use a gift card or something. But yeah, I think frugal is just prioritizing value. If you're buying shoes, you don't necessarily buy the cheapest shoes. You buy the ones that are going to give you the most value, whether it's how much you like them or how long they'll last.

For example, I'd much rather have one shirt that costs $100 that I’m going to wear all the time rather than three shirts that cost $20 bucks each that I hate. Even though the cumulative cost is more and the stuff I get is less, I think the value I'm going to get out of it is more because I'm going to like it while I'm wearing it more. It's probably going to last longer. I'm actually going to use them, not going to throw them away or donate them. 

So I think frugality is just all about focusing on spending money as a tool to get the most value out of things and not spending money on the stuff that doesn't give you a lot of value. So for me, like I'm not there in first class yet, like I could, I could just be like, “Hey, I'm a 6’4 millionaire, I deserve this.”

I don't know, it just seems like too much money. I prioritize my freedom and stuff like that over first class. It can mean different things to different people. For example, I'm a good tipper. I think I'm a good tipper. Like it's always at least 20% plus. I like to donate 20% of our sales to charity, so I donate hundreds of thousands of dollars. But I can see that as still being frugal because we're not wasting money. I still wear free t-shirts and don't burn money. I drive my Mazda. Nothing crazy in terms of the stuff I don't find value in.

I was driving a 99 Ford Explorer when I sold my company the following year. So I was a millionaire driving a, whatever that was, a 15-year-old car or something. I finally bought my first ever brand new car, which was a 2016 Mazda CX5, which I still drive and it's still newer today than any car I'd ever driven in the past.

I'd never driven a car that's new. Even when I bought it, it was older than this, but it is a six-year-old car now. So I'm eyeing Teslas, I'm deciding if that's frugal enough for me or not.

Jamie: You don't even have CarPlay or things like that in that model. You got to upgrade just to get some of the comforts there.

[00:44:37] Jeremy: No, honestly, you're right. That's a big one and I think it costs like $400 to get CarPlay where you can hook up your iPhone and see maps and stuff. Whenever I get a rental car I'm like, “This is nice, man.” I can see that It's almost like a safety thing too because the map is closer to your eye line when you're looking down the road.I should go do that.

[00:44:54] Jamie: Yeah, that's great. You're in good company because Spencer has a Mazda, I have a Honda Accord and so when people are like, “Why do you drive?” I actually had a friend this week who asked me, “Why do you drive an Accord?” 

I was like, “Because I like spending my money on other things that I value more, and the Accord's comfortable and has everything I need.”

I get a top of line Accord with the heads-up display and ventilated seats and everything and still be able to invest a big chunk of my money. So I don't want to waste it on something else.

[00:45:18] Jeremy: It's not going to break down. Yeah. The Mazda has no maintenance issues, like a few factory recall-type things I've taken in for, but I'll take it and no one really cares. Everyone's so worried about what people think about them. No one's worried about what other people are doing. I look down the street like, “Oh, what is that park down in front of me? An Audi?” No one gives a shit. Everyone's too worried about people thinking about what they're wearing or whatever. 

Jamie: That's a great lesson for a lot of our younger service members. For the listeners that are soldiers just out of high school or maybe new officers, what kind of stuff as they get their first job and have real money, real adult money for the first time, what are some things that you recommend to people just getting started that can really move the needle in their financial future?

Yeah, I mean to young military guys, I don't know, maybe this is a stereotype, but I'm like, “Don't go borrow a bunch of money or lease a really fancy car.” It just seems like transportation to housing are your two biggest things. If you get into the habit of having a huge car payment, that alone, the average car payment in the US is almost $600 at this point for a new car.

If you're buying a big truck, it can be like $900. It can be crazy. For sure, it's tempting. If you have this first big paycheck, you're like, “Oh, I got $1,000 a month. Why not?” $1,000 a month is like $4 million at retirement or more, you can be a multi-millionaire if you just save up that $1,000 for a few months and then buy a used car in cash and then start investing, you'll be massively far off.

I'm saying extremes. It's like a $1,000 F150 car payment versus a used one. But yeah, don't get into big monthly car payments. I like to think of everything in terms of total amounts instead of payments. It's like one of my broke habits versus rich habits, which is I think people who are broke always think in terms of monthly payments.

What can I afford for a month? They're adding up all these monthly payments and they're not thinking about the total amounts. So they're just living this like credit score debt, monthly payment life. Whereas wealthy people think in terms of total amounts, like how much does this car actually cost and paying cash for it, and then saving money and having money and savings.

At the end of the day, it's about those two rules. Shave off some of your income and invest it. And then with the rest, I'm not going to judge how you spend on things that you like, but don't get into the monthly debt cycle. Just save and pay cash for things. If you do that, if you're 20 and you do that when you're 30, you're going to realize you have $100,000 or $200,000 grand in the bank and all your friends are still broke and they're going to be like, “How'd you do that?”

And you're like, “I just wasn't giving banks all my money every month in terms of a payment. I'm saving money and cash and then investing along the way.”s

[00:47:41] Spencer: We're going to do a little scenario here. Let's pretend you're a young Marine or airman. You're stationed overseas in Germany or Japan. You're making about $3,000 a month, which is about what you were making when you were running your business.

We'll say that's after taxes. To keep it simple, we'll say half of that $1500 is your food, your transportation, and everything else. And now you've got $1,500 a month to decide what you want to do with whether you invest it, whether you spend it on travel. What would Young Jeremy do with $1,500 a month, assuming that healthcare is covered?

You've got pretty good job security. You're in the military.

[00:48:14] Jeremy: Yeah, that's amazing. And if you're bringing home $3,000 a month, especially if your housing and food are covered while you're overseas, it's a fantastic opportunity to live frugally. You can live essentially for nothing other than your stateside expenses or whatever.

So if you can siphon off a lot of that into investment. Then you can become magnificently wealthy. So I would invest a lot of it, maybe all $1500, maybe $1,000, maybe $500. No less than $500 for sure. The first place that you can go if you're in the military is the TSP. Again, we were talking before we started recording. It, in my opinion, is an amazing example of the government getting it right. Whatever side of the aisle you may be on, there's plenty of blame to spread around.

But I feel like the TSP is great. It's a low-cost investment that has a tax advantage that harnesses the power of the companies of the world. If you just go into your TSP website, you pick one of those L funds, you take your birth year at 65 round to the nearest decade, then drag that slider up and that says how much money you're putting in, it's going to make you a millionaire.

That's it, five minutes. And then with the rest of the money coming in, as long as you're not doing crazy bad stuff like getting into massive debt or gambling or something. You can just spend it however you want. if you're maxing out your TSP, which this year is $20,500, you can put in $22,000 next year, that's going to easily make you a multimillionaire.

And so that's what I would be doing. And if you get started, young time is the most important factor in this compound growth equation. The longer you let it go, the bigger and bigger this exponential curve gets. And so if you're doing it when you're young, it's a huge advantage. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of times when people who are in their fifties or sixties and they're like, “Hey Jeremy, I'm broke now. Finally, I've gone out of debt after paying off my F-150 for the last 30 years. What do I do at 60? I want the secret because I'm not going to do it the other way. “

And the secret is, there is no secret, you still just have to, the only other way to do it is just to put more money in. What could be $500 bucks a month when you're 25 might have to be like $3,000 bucks a month when you're 55.

Hopefully, your income is bigger then but, take advantage of those early years and invest.

[00:50:14] Spencer: Yeah, you can let compound interest and time do the heavy lifting, whereas the longer you wait, the more you have to do more of the heavy lifting to make up for it. Jeremy, are there any purchases under, let's say just pick a random $200, any purchases under $200 that you've made that have really impacted your life and allowed you to convert your dollars into happiness?

[00:50:35] Jeremy: The thing that I personally like is this Yeti cup. Actually, I have a water bottle that's insulated and I put cold water in it. My favorite drink is cold water on a hot day. I know. It's like one of those things, it's not worth it in terms of how much metal is in there or whatever.

Paying like $40 for a water bottle when you could pay $4 for a water bottle. But man, just having ice cold water, I feel like that new wave of, maybe we had them when I was a kid and they're called thermos or something, but just vacuum insulated water bottles. I just have made my life so much better.

[00:51:05] Spencer: That's a great answer. I love that. So you've been very anti-crypto as far as I can tell. For years. Looking, through your old post on your website and on your Instagram, where did that come from? Were you just upset that you missed the boat and you didn't get a Bitcoin when it was $4?

[00:51:21] Jeremy: To be transparent, if I could go back in time, I would absolutely buy a Bitcoin, I'm not dumb. I literally remember learning about it in 2010, and my background is a master's in computer science. So like I understand the technology I learned about in 2010 Bitcoin, I remember this day or 6 cents a coin, and I was like, Should I buy like $100 just in case it hits a dollar?

I was like, “No. Bitcoin will never be worth a dollar. That's obviously insane. Like why would this made up currency be worth what a US dollar is?” Of course, that hundred dollars had I done it would be worth a million today or millions or whatever. Yeah. And so I wouldn't say I'm anti-crypto, I'm just anti-speculation in general.

I'm as anti-crypto as I am buying pork belly futures or gold or oil. There's this class of stuff that isn't investing, it's just guessing what's going to happen in the future. The allure of guessing is that crazy things can happen. You can get rich or broke much quicker than you could in Vegas.

[00:52:14] Jeremy: But the downside is, over long periods of time, it's not the guaranteed path to wealth. Like index funds and real estate items, things that go up in value and pay you while you own them. In fact, I have a cleaning person that cleans my house. It’s one of the things I do spend money on, she comes every two weeks.

She's been coming for a couple years now and she started to figure out what I do here. Like I'm sitting in my house looking at a camera, making tik toks all day or whatever. And then, the first financial question she asked me was like, “Should I be buying crypto?” And I’m like, “my God, hell no. Like you should be building an emergency fund and maxing out your tax advantage retirement accounts and investing in index funds.”

So when I come off as anti-crypto, sure it could be part of a healthy portfolio in the same way that Cocoa Krispies are part of a balanced breakfast. it's only true if you also have half a glass of milk and a pancake and eggs and all the other stuff, but the core nutritional value alone of Cocoa Krispies should not be relied on for your complete breakfast as shouldn't crypto.

Yeah, if you're young or if you're any age military person, have what I call the 90/10 rule with 90% of your portfolio to buy and hold index funds. That's like your TSP, your Roth IRA index funds. Go inside of those accounts and then give yourself permission with 10% to go nuts. That's like the release valve on your FOMO.

If you want to buy crypto, go for it. get your TSP cooking. Then with your 10%, day trade pick stocks, whatever there are options. Do those, all this other nonsense. I can't tell you which things, sometimes people ask me for advice for that 10% portion and I can't tell you which thing is going to do the best there.

If I could, I would simply be trading on information to be a billionaire in a yacht off the coast of Fiji, eating sushi off ancient Roman artifacts or something. I dunno, I’m not a billionaire. So don't ask me for advice on speculation, but I do know that it can make you broke and it can keep you broke. When I talk to someone who's 60, sometimes people knock my investment advice.

They're like, “Oh, index funds this, I don't want the average return. The market's going to crash. You shouldn't be investing. Now there's a better stock to pick.” And when I dig, I was like, “Hey, are you a millionaire?” It's usually someone's uncle, and I ask if their uncle's a millionaire and the answer's always, “No, he, he made some money early, then he lost it.” You can keep chasing your tail for 40 years and then you're broke, still looking for the next hot crypto tip when you're 60. Or you could be a multimillionaire and you're 10%, no matter how it did.

Maybe you're a deca-millionaire because it went to millions. Or maybe you're just a multi-millionaire. Either way, you're in good shape.

[00:54:36] Spencer: Yeah, I love that. Love that 90/10 rule. I think that's pretty good. I tend to tell people even less, like 5%, and then I'm like, at that point, it's not even worth it. You're making these home run bets, especially if you're a young enlisted guy and all you can afford to invest into your TSP might be $300, $400, or $500 a month.

And so then what? You're going to use your extra $50 to go buy a little bit of Bitcoin? No, man, just go buy some beers with your friends. You'll have a much better return on investment doing that.

[00:55:04] Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah, the 10% doesn't mean you have to. For sure. If people want to go all on the next one, that's great, but I just think it's like it's permission for the people who are constantly feeling this FOMO if they want to.

I think $100 a month in Bitcoin and Ethereum. But again, in the context of my portfolio, that's 0.01%. I have millions of dollars in index funds and I just have this just almost for educational purposes. And of course, I've lost over half the money because crypto's down, it might go up, who knows?

I don't know what's going to happen, but if it does go up a hundred x, then at least I'll have something to do.

[00:55:36] Spencer: Jeremy, I just want to talk before we wrap up here about success a little bit. You sold a business for millions in your 30’s. You recently got a blue checkmark on Instagram. Those sound to me like some pretty big markers of success or traditional markers of success.

Did you feel like you made it when you reached those goals or was there something missing?

[00:55:55] Jeremy: First of all, it's funny how the two samples you gave were that you made millions of dollars selling a company you've worked on for decades, and there's an emoji by your name on Instagram.

[00:56:07] Jamie: Welcome to America, man.

[00:56:09] Jeremy: Yeah, I know, but you're right. For whatever reason, that blue check mark means something. It's some of both. I can definitely point to my resume now and be like, “Hey, I'm tall. You can't take that from me. I'm 6’4 and I sold a company.” Those are both factually true statements, and so when I'm feeling especially depressed, whenever I was like, “That's still true,” but also everything is relative, right?

There are days when I wake up and still feel like a piece of shit. I was like, “All right, I don't know how to make good content anymore. Or our engagement has been down this year. Whether it's because the market's down or Instagram's slowly dying or whatever it is, like I'm like, Oh man, this whole thing is a bust.” I still think that if you're waiting for happiness at the end of the rainbow or whatever, I don't have that recipe. I think that, if you asked Jeff Bezos or something, I think that he still has bad days too. I think we have to all remind ourselves that the journey is life. The days that we live are life.

And I think that if you're just waiting for something at the end of the rainbow, you're going to find yourself maybe even more depressed because it's not there. Then you think, what have I been doing this whole time? And what am I doing now? While I certainly have a resume with some success, I still think swimming in the same ocean as everyone else figuring out how to be happy and have purpose, and live a good life.

I do my best, but I don't think I'm an authority to say how to win at that.

[00:57:27] Spencer: It's interesting, especially if someone is just getting started on the journey, and to hear from someone who's crossed the finish line. We've talked to Doug Nordam, we've talked to Rich Carey, and now you, and soon Jesse Mecham.

These are people who have achieved financial independence and they always turn around to those who are coming up and on their own journey of financial independence. And they say, you have to figure out who you are along the way, because if you get to the finish line and you haven't figured that out, and let's say that you work too hard, right?

And you lost your family, that's not worth it. It's because you get to the end of the day and it's literally, it's a number on a screen and yes, it provides some security and yes, it provides some freedom, but at the end of the day, it's not something that's going to listen to you or to hug you or to be that connection that we all crave.

[00:58:16] Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah. I know. I think you can go wrong in both directions. You can be too broke and be stressed and poor and angry about money your whole life, and you can be too focused on money and find that it has cost you and relationships and purpose and things like that.

And so while money is the focus of my content and my business, having a number isn't winning in life. You still have to find your path and your purpose and your joy and your relationships and your happiness and health and fitness and all that stuff too. There are no cheat codes.

Not that I found yet, except for permanent life insurance, of course. 

Spencer: We'll start the podcast with that quote.

[00:58:50] Jeremy: Great. Someone's going to listen to 30 seconds like, “Great, that's it!”

[00:58:54] Jamie: Jeremy, it's been an absolute blast having you on today. Thanks so much for the insight you've provided, The humor, and the way that you present financial education to like-minded people trying to grow their financial independence, and especially for our military families that are out there, they're busting their butts, they're working hard, their families are moving all the time. They're dealing with all the crap that military families do. 

So thanks for just being another voice where we can turn to and trust someone to give us good insight. And if people want to find out more about you, your courses, follow your blog, website, whatever, where do you want us to point the listeners to?

[00:59:28] Jeremy: Thank you for those kind words and thank you guys for what you are doing because I'm so glad there is military voices speaking on money because I talk to military people sometimes, and my God, what an opportunity you have, you have can keep your cost of living low, you're young, solid job.

I don't have standing. I wasn't in the military and so I think using your voice is so important. So thank you for that. But if you want to learn about index funds, you can find me @PersonalFinanceClub on Instagram personalfinanceclub.com. We're on all the other social media too.

[00:59:55] Jeremy: If you want to check out that course, we're doing a special discount for the Military Money Manual using coupon code “militarymoney”. It's usually $79 and it will give you $20 off, so it'll be $59. So go to militarymoneymanual.com/pfc, click “course”, and then make sure to type in coupon code, “militarymoney” at checkout, and it'll save you $20 by the end of the year.

Also, by the way, there's a 100% money-back guarantee if you don't like it. Just email us and it'll give you all your money back because we're trying to make you millionaires, not sell you junk. And we donate 20% of the sales and charity. It's just we're trying to do the right thing.

[01:00:31] Spencer: Yeah, I love how you've set that up, Jeremy. That's awesome. And thank you so much for that discount code. We will get that out to the listeners and again, that's militarymoney, no spaces. And you can get 20% off if you go to militarymoneymanual.com/pfc and sign up for any of Jeremy's courses there.

Jeremy, thanks again for coming on the show. We had a great time and hopefully, we can get you on the show again in the future.

[01:00:53] Jeremy: I'd love to come back anytime. Thanks for having me.

[01:00:55] Spencer: Wow, that was an awesome episode. I can easily say that Jeremy was one of the best guests that we've ever had on the podcast.

Again, we covered a lot on the podcast. I'm not going to do it justice by summarizing it with just three bullets. But remember Jeremy's two rules of living below your means and investing early and often. Also understanding the impact that compounding interest can have on your investment success, and focusing on not just the money side, but also the emotional side of FI.

And then finally, we covered Jeremy's 90/10 rule where 90% of your funds should be invested in index funds. And then if you want, you can invest 10% into other alternative investments. If you have any questions or feedback, you can message us on Instagram @MilitaryMoneyManual or email podcast@militarymoneymanual.com.

We love getting questions and messages from our listeners. We appreciate you joining us today. We're grateful for all of you listening. Keep sharing the podcast with your friends, family, and coworkers. Leave us a five-star review on Apple or Spotify and we'll catch you on the next episode of the Military Money Manual podcast.

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