Barbara Friedberg is an MBA, MS, and former portfolio manager, who is committed to investment and money education across multiple platforms. She currently owns and manages Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com, which is dedicated to improving investment knowledge and wealth. She consults for a select group of fintech companies and writes for many popular online media outlets.
Today, Barbara joins the show to talk about financial influencers, the difference between robo advisors and actual advisors, & what she thinks about investors choosing to pick individual stocks.
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00:59 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Barbara Friedberg, who joins the show to discuss how her ‘Depression Baby’ parents influenced her outlook on finance
05:33 – What led Barbara to blogging about the FIRE Movement
12:11 – The goal of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com
14:28 – Barbara’s thoughts on financial influencers on the Internet
19:02 – Barbara’s thoughts on individuals picking stocks
22:49 – Robo advisors 2
7:29 – Overcoming the roadblock of second guessing ourselves
31:43 – Situations that call for an actual advisor
33:53 – One thing we can do to increase investing success and one thing to completely ignore
37:23 – One thing that Barbara would want people to know about her and the one question Barbara would want to know the answer to
39:43 – Jonathan thanks Barbara for joining the show and lets listeners know where to connect with her
“The goal [of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance] was to get a book contract. I knew nothing about making money with the blog. That all came later. In collaboration with other bloggers, I learned, ‘Wow, people are actually making money with this. I can do this too!’ And my eyes lit up and I realized I could create a real job where I’m making a lot of money from my blog.” (12:18) (Barbara)
“And I would recommend to anyone, whomever you’re listening to, make sure you know what their background is so that you can assess the level of accuracy of their information. And also understand how they are getting paid.” (16:16) (Barbara)
“The benefit of the robo advisor is you can change your asset allocation. You can change it whenever you want.” (29:27) (Barbara)
“Many people just don’t have the interest to learn enough about investing to make those types of decisions. And, if you’re one of those people – I don’t care what your financial situation is – you may want to at least have one or two meetings with an advisor. And then there are wealthier individuals who have more complex situations, and they definitely need an advisor because they need somebody to talk about their tax situation, their estate planning, and all of that stuff, and they need help.” (32:04) (Barbara)
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Jonathan DeYoe: Hey, welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Barbara Friedberg. Barbara has an MBA, is a former portfolio manager and university finance and investing instructor. She currently owns and manages barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com and writes for us News and World Report, investopedia, Forbes Advisor, and many other places. She’s a regular panelist on Money Tree investing podcast, and she’s been part of the fire movement. Fire stands for finnish independent. Retire early for years. And we were originally connected in 2016 when she wrote a, uh, wonderful burb for my first book. And then she wrote another bullerb for my second book. And I just want to say thank you, Barbara, for both of those. Much appreciate it. And Barbara, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.
Barbara Friedberg : Thank you. That was the best intro ever. You sound like you really kind of did your homework.
Jonathan DeYoe: Of course, don’t we all do our homework? No. First, uh, where do you call home? And where are you connecting from now?
Barbara Friedberg : I’m connecting from San Jose. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I’ve lived about five different places in between.
Jonathan DeYoe: Was one of those the east coast? New Jersey.
Barbara Friedberg : My husband’s from New Jersey and I’ve lived in Pennsylvania.
Jonathan DeYoe: Okay. For some reason, from our first call, our first conversation, I thought that you were from the east coast, but that’s not true. Cincinnati, Ohio.
Barbara Friedberg : Well, if you call Cincinnati east coast, I guess it’s all kind of relative, right?
Jonathan DeYoe: So, uh, growing up in, like, what did you learn about money and entrepreneurship?
Barbara Friedberg : Both my parents were depression babies, so that was their ethos. My father actually lived in poverty. His father was out of work for seven years during the depression. His mother sold notions on the street with a cart. So my father started working, selling newspapers on the corner at age ten, and my mother had a middle class type of a life, so I learned everything about money from my parents. They weren’t afraid to talk about it. They were both entrepreneurial and they were both very good with money.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wow, that’s kind of a lucky start. I mean, to have the, uh, open conversation around money. I think when I talk to a lot of peers, I’m wondering if that’s what drove you into the industry.
Barbara Friedberg : I think so. As a teen it was like, why do you always talk about money? What’s so important? Money doesn’t matter. Well, um, come to find out, it kind of does. And after trying out a lot of majors in college, I settled on an economics major because it introduced you to so many concepts within the world. And then from there, I incorporated. Really? My dad loved the stock market and he really liked investing and he kind of planted that bug in me and so that’s kind of how it started.
Jonathan DeYoe: So do you remember a specific experience as a kid that develops into one element of your money story?
Barbara Friedberg : Yeah, my dad started a real estate company the year that I was born, and that might be called kind of a fix and flipper today. What he did was build, buy a lot of very low cost houses in disrepair. He fixed them up and then he resold them. And additionally he was a broker, so he had a litany, uh, of salespeople working for him, including my mom. So our Sundays were usually spent piling into the car and driving around and looking at, uh, real estate.
Jonathan DeYoe: So what do you learn about, how do you carry that into beliefs about money? What do you learn about that as a kid?
Barbara Friedberg : Well, you learn to look for value. And so that is the driving principle. Within my life, I’ve invested in real estate, I have invested in individual stocks, funds, and I live my life with a value orientation, looking to pay less than something is worth.
Jonathan DeYoe: Nice.
Barbara Friedberg : And I think it has served me really well because living underneath your means most of the time really helps you when times are tough, for sure.
Jonathan DeYoe: So before we dig into Barbarafreebergpersonalfinance, uh.com, what did you do that led you to the fire movement? I mean, we talked about university teacher, about finance, but also just portfolio management. How did you get from that to fire movement or to blogging?
Barbara Friedberg : How I began blogging is an insane story because I had got my MBA later in life and my next goal was, I’m going to write a book about this. Who knew? I thought. Piece of cake. Sent out a bunch of prospecti prospectuses and kept getting back. You need a following. So today, as I’m sure, you know, publishers don’t want to do the work for you. They want you to do the work yourself and bring together an audience. So one of my colleagues said, we’ll start a blog. You’ll build up an audience. So I started Barbara Freeberg personal finance in 2010, and subsequently I ended up with a book contract called Encyclopedia of, uh, Money Management and edited a huge encyclopedia of Money management that is still in print today, albeit a little bit dated. And then I wrote a couple of other books as well. But starting that blog started introduced me to the world of online publishing, and it just kind of grew from there.
Jonathan DeYoe: So, you know, the reason I wanted to have you on was to talk about the financial content business. I heard it from you, and since we spoke, uh, that lunch a while ago, I’ve heard it from many others like that they’re not having the impact that they want to have. It’s frustrating to run a website or a blog or a podcast. They’re not reaching the people they really wanted to reach. So where do you think all this frustration comes from? Why is it such a difficult road?
Barbara Friedberg : I am so glad you asked me this. I have never talked about it online. And let me just say over the, well, now it’s 2023. So over the 13 years since I started my Barbara Friedberg Personal finance blog, I also started in 2015, Robo Advisor Pros with an idea to review robo advisors and provide unique content and reviews and monetize that through affiliate links. And for those of you who don’t know, an affiliate partnership is a contract between a publisher and a brand, whereas if you drive traffic to that publisher, then they will pay you a commission. And so it’s a really brilliant model. And that was the website where I really developed a lot of income for that website through the affiliate model initially, and Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance I developed some monetization through sponsored posts where people will pay you to include a link to their product or service or to review their service. I garnered a bit of advertising income, and I ultimately became a freelance financial journalist, which is relatively lucrative.
Jonathan DeYoe: Is it?
Barbara Friedberg : And yes, it is. And I say relatively know, uh, it’s not being a software engineer, but it is also better than working at Wendy’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with working at Wendy’s. I love Wendy’s. And I’m telling you all this to give you an idea about the ways to make money with a blog or a website, but there’s a dirty truth underneath. And this is what you were getting, which is especially in the finance space and in any space online that is lucrative, little guy or gal will eventually be competing with the biggest brands in finance. Those biggest brands happen to be investopedia, Nerd Wallet, Forbes Advisor, US News and World Report. Now, I kind of dip into both ends because I write for those publications, but I saw my affiliate income, I had one post and I had one month with affiliate income, which was the absolute peak for predominantly my roboadvisor pros website because Barbara Friedberg personal finance to this day makes a minimal amount of m 14 years. I had one month where I made maybe $6,000, which I thought was freaking amazing and I thought I was on the pail. But because the money is so lucrative and the big brands get in, all of a sudden the ranking on my most lucrative article went from number one to number two to number ten, and the money just dried up because Nerd.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wallet and because Forbes advisor were starting to write the same titled articles and they would investopedia.
Barbara Friedberg : So if I write a, uh, betterment review, which is a well regarded robo advisor, and there’s only three or four of those reviews out there, I’m going to rank, I’m going to get conversions, I’m going to get people to sign up, and I’m going to make money. But then when bankrate, Motley Fool, Forbes Advisor, Businesswire, 1020 big brands write that same review, I’m done.
Jonathan DeYoe: So when you originally started with barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com, what was the goal? What were you hoping to accomplish with it?
Barbara Friedberg : The goal was to get a book contract. I knew nothing about making money with a blog. That all came later. And in community and collaboration with other online bloggers, website owners, I learned, wow, people are actually making money with this. I can do this too. And my eyes lit up and I was like, I can create a real job where I’m making a lot of money from my blog.
Jonathan DeYoe: And that hasn’t turned out to be the case. I’m just curious. So you must have read making sense of sense.
Barbara Friedberg : Of course. Yeah. She has an amazing, she’s one of, I would say the one of a handful of nerd wallet. The owner of that website started the same time I did.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wow.
Barbara Friedberg : He started with a blog. Clearly he succeeded.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right. The story you’re telling is if you’re not in that top three or four category, you get scraps, if that.
Barbara Friedberg : Yeah, I mean, that’s been my experience. That has been the experience with many other people I’ve talked about, with people I hear and meet online. And there’s a draw, though, to keep trying. Uh, I still put out content on Barbara Friedberg personal finance, even though it is not the return on my time. Investment is bad.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, not good.
Barbara Friedberg : Okay, I’ll just say it. It’s bad. I’m in a position now, having done all the smart money habits, where everything I do doesn’t have to be about money. And when I get an email from a reader who says, you really helped me, that’s gratifying to me.
Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, the reality is not the impact you want to make is on the benefit for other people, because, frankly, this information, it’s out there, it’s available, but people don’t get it. People don’t engage it, people don’t learn about it. So what do you think about all of the more nefarious course creators, financial influencers, money education, people that are on TikTok and, um, they’re just telling people things that they want to hear because there’s a lot of that stuff out there and you end up competing with them. So how do you deal with that?
Barbara Friedberg : That’s a really good question, because there are some people that are very charismatic. I’ve seen some awesome TikTok videos and some amazing YouTube videos, and people with a lot of followers that don’t really have the type of credentials, I would say, to be trusted, and their information may not be credible. I happen to have an MBA. I have decades of investing experience. I’ve taught at the university level. So you know what I say, and I write for the top financial publications in the US. So it’s likely that what I’m going to say can be believed. And I say this not to toot my horn. Well, maybe at all, but not so much. But I say this because whenever you’re listening to someone, or whenever you’re following them, look at their credentials. You have credentials. To be a financial planner, you had to go to school for that. You had to pass tests for that. You are licensed. Look at who you’re listening to. Just look at them on LinkedIn, super easy. If they are, uh, a financial advisor, look them up on broker check, and that will discuss all the disciplinary actions. And I would recommend to anyone, whomever you’re listening to, make sure you know what their background is so that you can assess the level of accuracy of their information and also understand how they are getting paid. Every single article that I have on my website where I have an affiliate link, is clearly stated. Whenever I do a YouTube video and I include an affiliate link where I would get paid. If you signed up for one of the robo advisors or financial products that I’m discussing, I have a disclosure. So you will understand that that I have, even though I try my hardest to be totally unbiased, you understand that I might be getting a commission if you sign up for something.
Jonathan DeYoe: I mean, just given the volume of just garbage that’s out there, uh, some of it’s good stuff, but some of it’s garbage. Do you think the smart messages get drowned out? And, uh, I’ll just be very direct here. I look at myself on camera on a YouTube video. I’m nowhere near as charismatic or as attractive as some of these other people that I’m watching their YouTube videos and it just doesn’t look as good. I don’t have the production quality, but the message is good. So the question is, how do you attract an audience to teach knowing that there’s so many people out there that don’t really know what they’re saying, but they’re better at the video production or they’re better at that, or they’ve got more money to fund a better video production or what have you. So how do you pick as a consumer, how do you pick who you listen to? And do you have some people that you listen to that you think are worthy of listening to?
Barbara Friedberg : Sure, of course. I mean, on my podcast, I don’t listen to a huge amount of podcasts, but I listen to. Schwab has some great podcasts. Morningstar has some very superb podcasts. Those are reputable brands with high quality people. I listen to your podcast. I listen to Cambria. Can’t think of the guy’s name. What is his name? He’s the head of cambrian funds and really smart guy has a bunch of etfs out. I listen to his podcast. I don’t listen to anyone’s financial podcast who does not have credentials and degrees and experience in the financial realm. There is no value in that to me.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I want to shift a little bit. I want to talk about investing. So should individuals be picking stocks or should they just buy broadly diversified etfs or no load funds?
Barbara Friedberg : I love this question. I met a young woman, 43, last week at a, ah, community event and she asked me what I did and I told her and she’s like, investing, oh my gosh, I’ve just lost so much money picking individual stocks. You have to help me. And I got together with her for lunch last week and this is one of the absolute most funnest things I do because I can help you. The research is very clear that individuals who invest in actively managed mutual funds, which means there’s a portfolio manager who’s hopefully very smart at the helm, underperform. Those who invest in what we call unmanaged index funds, they underperform 70% to 80% of the time. So if you can extrapolate that just a bit, Jonathan, what we’re saying is, and you and I have already had this conversation, I’m sure your listeners have heard this answer, that even if you actively pick stocks or you invest with an active manager who is picking stocks and you have an amazing year, the likelihood that that manager or yourself will outperform a plain vanilla index fund, S and P 500 Vt, which is the vanguard Total World Index fund year over year, is really, really unlikely. It’s just very unlikely. I was a stock picker when I was a portfolio manager, and I was pretty good. I was a value investor, as is my approach. But I learned there is an abundance of research that shows that long term investors will come out ahead if they stick with a very simple index fund investment portfolio.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Boom. Drop the mic. That’s absolutely. And I would just go a little bit further and say that the longer that people focus their efforts on active management or picking stocks, the longer that they do that, the lower the probability that they outperform. So you could have a great year, you can have a great three years, but no one’s going to have a great five years or ten years or 20 years. It’s not going to happen. So, yeah, broad diversified etfs, no load funds, non managed. That’s, uh, the way to go.
Barbara Friedberg : Actually, I just updated a, well, we’ll put this at the end, but it’s something free for you guys.
Jonathan DeYoe: Put it in there.
Barbara Friedberg : Now, it’s pretty much a synopsis of the low fee index fund investing strategy. It’s a micro book. I give it away for free. If you sign up for my newsletter, that’s the payoff for me. I get you on my newsletter, which, of course, you can unsubscribe to whenever you want. So, uh, no pressure, but we’ll put it in the show notes. And if you want to sign up and get this, how to grow your wealth through investing. It’s 30 pages, basic stuff. It’s all yours. It’s current as of last week.
Jonathan DeYoe: Awesome. Uh, we’ll put that in the show notes for sure. So you were actually really early on in the roboadvisor commentary, you mentioned that that was the most successful month you had was because of that article or that website, actually. So what do you think about. I mean, I always looked at robo advisors as an answer in search of a question. Like, we already had Vanguard’s blended portfolios, that had all the different pieces in, uh, it. We already had Morningstar, already had etfs, and all this stuff existed with balanced portfolios, 60 40 portfolios, growth portfolios. It already existed. So these robo advisors come out, they don’t invent something, they just charge an additional fee for it. So what do you think about roboadvisors in the space of existing products like Vanguard, that has already blended funds that have all the stuff in there?
Barbara Friedberg : Robo advisors are not homogeneous, and they cover the spectrum from free, no management fee. And of course, there are ways they make money through maybe like Schwab intelligent investor, which I am invested in for my workplace retirement account. Full disclosure, I have 20 differentiated etfs within my portfolio according to my risk tolerance, but I am required, or they craft my portfolio with 8% to 10% cash. Now, the cash is in a high yield account. It’s a treasury account. So I’m getting probably 4%. That’s fine for me. I don’t care. I’m cheap. I don’t want to pay a management fee, and I like them doing the work. I’m in line with their strategy. There are a handful of other fee free robo advisors, and then you get the betterment and wealth front and a whole cadre that charge zero point 25% of the assets you have managed. So if you have, like, a tiny, tiny amount, um, I’m not going to do the math, because I’m going to put the decimal point in the wrong place. But what is zero point 25% of $10,000? What is it, like $2.50? So if you have $10,000 and you’re paying $2.50 a year, that’s affordable. And what you will get from the average robo advisor is you will get a very well diversified investment portfolio. I have yet to see a robo advisor whose portfolio I don’t think is any good.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right.
Barbara Friedberg : They all employ, or they all include very low fee exchange traded funds. So you get, uh, for a very low fee, a very nicely managed portfolio when the portfolio gets out of whack with the asset allocation, which means the percentages that you want because of your risk tolerance level, they rebalance it for you, and then many of them have other bells and whistles. Betterment offers low fee financial planning packages wealthfront, who I happen to really like these days, is all digital. But if you want to tweak your portfolio, you really love tech or, uh, robots or something like that. You can throw an ETF like that into the mix, and they’ll rebalance it. And then they have lending. So they offer low fee margin loans, which, of course, you can get it. Fidelity Schwab, anywhere else Fidelity go, has a nice robo advisor that is actually fee free up to, I think it’s either 20,000 or $25,000. And then there are tons of other iterations, some with financial advisors, some, many, um, that are part of large investment brokerage houses. There are even some actively managed robo advisors. So even though I sold my website, I still like the concept. It is for the person that doesn’t even want to go to vanguard and figure out what to invest.
Jonathan DeYoe: So the idea is they have a questionnaire. They ask you 1012 questions that help you set your own risk tolerance, and that builds your portfolio. And then you don’t have to think about it yourself.
Barbara Friedberg : You don’t have to do a thing ever.
Jonathan DeYoe: It brings up a question, though, and that’s if I wake up on a Monday and I had a great weekend. Like, it was a great weekend. Had a good time, went out in the bay with some friends, just had a blast, right? Had a great weekend. And then someone says on Monday to answer these five questions, and those five questions end up with my portfolio. I answer those five questions differently than if I have a Monday, like yesterday or two days ago when I woke up and I kind of had a cold, and I didn’t feel good about things, and the last weekend was pretty rough, and something happened. So when do we second guess ourselves when we answer those questions?
Barbara Friedberg : That’s a really good question, because we all know that our opinions are influenced by our feelings, by how we feel at the time. You’re going to answer a question differently if you’re feeling happy and up and confident and optimistic, or maybe the market, just the last year hit 30% or close to 30%, like, I think was the case, maybe around 2021. And you may say, hey, I can handle a lot of risk. My risk tolerance is to the moon. And so then you get an investment portfolio that’s 80% stocks and 20% bonds. And then the next year, 2022, the stock portion of your portfolio drops 20 plus percent, and you’re like, what the heck? I can’t handle this. I’m selling. And that’s the risk. You never, ever want to have money in the stock market that you need within the next five years, because if you are forced to sell at the bottom, you have set yourself up to not know when to get back in, and you will ultimately lose the rebound.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right.
Barbara Friedberg : That’s the whole, yeah. The benefit of the robo advisor is you can change your asset allocation, so you can change it whenever you want. So you and I talked about this, too, and you’re very risk tolerant, but you’re also very knowledgeable. And if you’ve got someone who’s, say, 30 and thought they were really risk tolerant and finds out they’re not, first of all, being in a robo advisor puts a barrier, kind of, against selling. You may be less apt to sell than if you’re after a loss than you would be if you were managing your portfolio yourself. But also you might call up the rep or you might read some articles and you might say, I think I’m going to change my asset allocation a little bit, and I’m going to go down from 80 or 90% stocks to 70%. And you can do that for going forward.
Jonathan DeYoe: In the robo advisor?
Barbara Friedberg : Yeah, in the robo advisor. Yeah. So you can make changes whenever you want, and you do the same thing in your own portfolio. I manage my own portfolio, and there are days I look at my asset allocation and I said, what was I thinking? This is horrible. My reit has gone to crap, and my international funds haven’t moved in decades. But I have enough knowledge and information to know that trends manifest themselves in really long, long times. And so patience is a really important.
Jonathan DeYoe: Part of investing, probably, in my opinion, the most important part. This is why that, uh, mindfulness becomes so important, because however you begin, whatever portfolio you choose, some piece of that portfolio is going to be awful. Otherwise, it’s just simply not diversified. If you’re actually diversified, it won’t all work. That’s the whole point of being diversified, right? Is it’s not all going to work. But those things trade. Like, now, this isn’t going to work. And then next month or week or year, this won’t work. Uh, we don’t know what’s going to work next. We just know that broad diversification works over time. When or what situations do you think call for an actual advisor? We’ve talked about picking your own stocks or picking your own etFs. We’ve talked about robo advisor, not robo advisor, but are there situations where, yeah, this makes a lot of sense. You should have an advisor.
Barbara Friedberg : Yes, absolutely. And I believe in financial advisors. Many people just don’t have the interest to learn enough about investing to make those types of decisions. And if you’re one of those people, I don’t care what your financial situation is, you may want to at least have one or two meetings with an advisor. And then there are wealthier individuals who have more complex situations. And they definitely need an advisor because they need somebody to talk their tax situation, their estate planning, and all that stuff. And they need help, or else they need to craft their own team of, uh, lawyers and accountants to advise them on the issues. I mean, that’s what I do. I actually have met with an advisor to talk about some tax issues. I have an accountant who can help me with tax issues. I have an estate planning attorney who can help me with estate planning. And so there is definitely room for professionals. But I have to say, and I know you agree with me, you have to use a professional who is a fiduciary, which means they put your interests before their own. And that someone who is very clear on how they are getting compensated, you need to understand that and agree with that. There are fee only financial planners, which may be appropriate for some people. Commission paid financial advisors can be appropriate for others if you only trade once in a while and you don’t want to pay zero point 75 or 1% of your assets for men. But again, they have to be a fiduciary.
Jonathan DeYoe: Definitely fiduciary regardless. Right? So there’s a ton of noise out there, because I know your expertise is investing. Can you simplify investing for the audience? Like, what is one thing that people can do today that would lead to better lifetime investing success?
Barbara Friedberg : If you have a workplace retirement account, invest up to the point that you get the employer’s match. That is the bare minimum you should be doing. It is optimal to invest the most you are allowed under law, and that will get you a very good start on your investing. And in your investments, you want to pick either low fee index funds or a target date fund, which is focused on your retirement date.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, we could get into that whole target date thing, but we won’t.
Barbara Friedberg : I know.
Jonathan DeYoe: I hate target dates. I hate them. Yeah.
Barbara Friedberg : Ah, I know. We talked about that, too, but. Okay.
Jonathan DeYoe: No, but I get it. Low fee equity exposure. Yeah.
Barbara Friedberg : Yes. And if you don’t have a workplace retirement account, then you need a Roth IrA.
Jonathan DeYoe: Fair. So that’s one thing people should do. What’s one thing they should stop doing?
Barbara Friedberg : Get off your phone. Stock app. Um, put that away. You don’t need that. If you can’t help yourself, then make sure that you are not investing any money any more. Than 5% of your total investable assets in your own stock trading. You’re not going to be a successful day trader, trust me.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wow, that’s direct. I really appreciate. That’s so awesome. We have to remember that these apps are designed to pull us in. And I literally, last week, I took x, twitter, whatever, off of all of my platforms because it just sucks me in. And I just get pulled in by it. And I just get, uh, an hour later, I look up and I’m like, oh, my God, I just blew an hour. So I just took it all off. I do the same thing with your robinhood whatever trading app you have.
Barbara Friedberg : I definitely support that. I support that. And I have to share a little story. I have the duolingo app, and I was fluent in Spanish many decades ago and have lost something. So over the past year, I’ve been working to gain my fluency back, and it is gamified, which means if I miss a day or if I’m late in my practice, then I get a message and they are contacting me all day. And if I don’t do well enough, then I get dropped from the league. And I have to tell you, I cannot miss a day and I cannot get dropped. Now, this gamification, really, does it really matter? No. If I get dropped, so what? Uh, if I don’t keep up my 200 day streak, so what? It’s not money, but these other things have financial consequences. Day trading has financial consequences. That can be severe. Same with bitcoin. Don’t put all of your investments in cryptocurrency.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wow. Thank you. Just a couple of last minute things here. Is there anything people don’t know about you that you really want them to know?
Barbara Friedberg : Not really, no. I mean, everything I want them to know, I put out there. And the other stuff I really don’t want them to know about.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, nice. Well said. Well said.
Barbara Friedberg : I mean, maybe that I like to play pickleball and ping pong. Okay, so I don’t really talk about that much pickleball. I don’t think anybody cares.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, everyone plays pickleball now. Everyone cares. Everyone plays. It’s like the new thing. So if you could get the truth about one question in your life, I can’t give you the answer, but if you could get the truth about one question, what would the question be? What would you ask?
Barbara Friedberg : When am I going to die?
Jonathan DeYoe: Really?
Barbara Friedberg : All this planning is like, come on, just give me the end date so I can know how much I can spend today. This machination is like, I might have ten years. Oh, my God. Someone my age just died. Maybe I only have a week. Maybe a range would be good, like a five year range.
Jonathan DeYoe: All right. That would simplify planning for sure. That would simplify planning.
Barbara Friedberg : Can you help me with.
Jonathan DeYoe: I can’t give you the answer. I just want to know what the question is for everyone else.
Barbara Friedberg : Yeah. So what do other people, uh, say for their question?
Jonathan DeYoe: Actually, that’s the most answered is like, when am I going to die? But then most people say there’s nothing I want to know. That way. Many people say, no, I don’t have any major question that I want the answer to because it’ll change how I just go through life if I know that it’ll change what I do. I’d rather just have the freedom to do whatever I want to do instead.
Barbara Friedberg : What about you? What’s your answer?
Jonathan DeYoe: No one’s ever turned that one back on me. So let’s see here. But now that you have, I have to. I’ve got to answer this question. The only thing I really care about right now, I’ve got two kids. 118 one. Sorry. 119, 116. I just want to know that they’re going to be okay. Like, I just want to know that they are going to become solid citizens of the real world. Like, be happy, be well adjusted. I want to know that I’ve done the best I could by them. That’s my only concern in life. Then my wife would tell you the same thing. That’s all we care about. Make sure they’re launched. Absolutely.
Barbara Friedberg : There’s really nothing more.
Jonathan DeYoe: That’s right.
Barbara Friedberg : Really?
Jonathan DeYoe: That’s right. Once you have them, it’s everything.
Barbara Friedberg : You’re absolutely right. I couldn’t agree more.
Jonathan DeYoe: So tell us or tell people how they can connect with you. Where do they find you?
Barbara Friedberg : You can connect with me on my website at Barbara Freeberg, personal finance. I have a contact form and I love to hear from people with investment questions and I love to just know what people are thinking and give the guidance that I can. I am not a licensed financial advisor. I’m not looking for clients. In fact, I have no clients because I’m not a licensed financial advisor. And then you can just google me and all the stuff pops up.
Jonathan DeYoe: That’s great, Barbara. Thanks for coming on. We’ll make sure everything’s in the show notes. I think I still need that link to that document that you mentioned earlier.
Barbara Friedberg : You will get it.
Jonathan DeYoe: Thanks, Barbara.
Barbara Friedberg : It was a pleasure. Thank you so much, Jonathan.