Money Stories, Setting Better Goals, and Navigating Family Business with Joe Stephan

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It’s always about money OR

is it that it’s never about money?

My guest today is Joe Stephan. He is a financial advisor with a podcast by the name, it’s Never about Money, which I love.

As a financial advisor I love that he leads with this question. He acknowledges that the work that he does is not just about money, but about helping his client understand what is meaningful and how to go about living a meaningful life.

I had the chance to connect with Joe on his podcast. It was such a fun experience and wanted to continue the conversation and have him over here on the show.

He is a financial advisor as part of a family firm. There are so many layers of complexity โ€” understanding what he wants in the business, what his family wants, and navigating the overlap between between those two.

We just had a great conversation. We talk about goals, we talk about money, we talk about making a meaningful life.

Listen in here:

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Resources Mentioned:

My interview on Joe’s podcast

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: Joe, welcome to the show. So excited to have you on The Meaning Movement Podcast.

Welcome aboard.

Joe: Uh, thanks, Dan. I’m, I’m, I’m really, uh, really, uh, fortunate, actually. Round two. Ding ding. You’ve, you’ve come on my podcast, so I’m, I’m really happy to be.

Dan: Yes, absolutely. And I’ll make sure to link up to, to that conversation that show us is such, such a fun, uh, such a fun show. Um, which I’m, I know we’re gonna talk more about because it’s, you know, just the topic, the title, all of it. Is just so, so relevant to, to our, our community. But let’s, let’s just by way to, to get us started, how do you begin to talk about what you do?

Joe: I bumble and I, I try to summarize it in the best way that I can, Dan, but, uh, I think ultimately after a long time of thinking about what I do as a, uh, and again, I think the word financial planner doesn’t quite summarize exactly what I do, cuz um, it’s, it’s, it’s evolved over time, but, I think it’s just allowing families and individuals the opportunity to explore what’s meaningful and enjoyable in their life without having to worry about the anxiety of money and the decision making around money and being the leader of a family when it comes to the financial decision making, I think ultimately what makes me tick and you know, makes me feel like I’m contributing is the peace of mind that individuals have after.

Been through our program and working with us on an ongoing basis that they can just simply, and it’s not probably simple, but um, they can actually sit there and, and, and think about what are the things that actually makes a life well led for me individually and for my family.

Dan: Mm. Yeah. It’s so good. It’s so good. And you know your podcast, it’s Never About Money. Is is the title, which is such a, I don’t know, provocative name for a podcast run by a financial planner, right? Like, Because you would think, you would think you would be, uh, the opposite. It’s always about money. And so when, when did Yeah, I, I it is so perfect.

It’s such a, it is a perfect name because of everything that you just said, um, that it, you know, money is the start of the conversation, but it takes you to so many other important places. And I’m curious, just even that name, when did that name emerge? When did, how did, how did you come up with that?

Joe: Oh, it’s been evolving. Um, it’s been evolving over years and years and years of having conversations with people and my, uh, general nature is to observe. What others are doing and ask questions and be curious. And, um, over time I’ve determined that I know it’s not never about money, but it’s certainly money itself is not the, the, the, the main aim and goal in a successful and happy life from what I’ve seen.

That’s only my observation, and it might be subjective, but I, I think it’s, yeah, I think it to be true. And after having so many conversations on my podcast, Um, and also just having conversations with my clients over time. I, I, I think it is absolutely true. It creates a very, uh, a binary focus focusing on money only, and it can create some really, um, unhappy consequences if one just follows that.

Uh, the pursuit of money, uh, in and of itself. Um, and, um, yeah, so it, it evolved over time. I think, you know, the lockdowns gave me a lot of thinking music, um, about a number of different things in my life and the podcast, and it’s never about money, uh, was formulated, um, from a very challenging time.

Dan: Yeah. Wow. Yeah. And the, the challenging time being, being the pandemic and like in that space, or is there more to it?

Joe: Well, I. Well, yeah, yeah. There, there, there’s, it’s, it’s a, a large part of the pandemic, which obviously, uh, forced most indivi or a lot of individuals to, um, be, um, thinking and reflecting and staying still, and not distracting themselves with other things. And thinking about, for me, thinking about what, what is the purpose and what is the meaning of my next phase in, in, in, in my life?

And, um, you know, I’d also gone through a, uh, a divorce as well. Um, that was a challenging period, and, and I think the lockdowns helped me to stay, um, in one spot and, and really reflect. And, um, one of the, my reflections was how do I, how, what, what’s my career look like and how am I gonna contribute? And, um, what, what have I learned that I can help others with?

And that podcast comes out that

Dan: Wow, man. And that, that just sounds, um, just intense. Uh, very intense.

Joe: it was super intense then. Yeah,

Dan: feels like a one, a one, two, a one two punch. Um, and so, yeah, I, I feel, I feel that, um, Yeah. At, at a deep level. So just to, to rewind, let’s just, let’s just hear some of, I want to hear some of your story of like, how, how did you get into financial planning and what has that, that journey been like?

So then, then we’ll connect to more of, more of where we are here today.

Joe: I think it all fits, Dan. I think it fits. Uh, I’ve got somewhat of a narrative in my mind about the way it works, but I’m not sure if that matches with reality. But, um, you know, basically it’s financial planning in the blood. My father, um, was a, uh, a financial planning academic. Uh, an accountant. He wore a number of hats, uh, you know, taught at university, but also had a pr private practice of a very small group of clients.

Um, my in while I was going through university, um, myself and my brother, um, we, we were, we were around a dinner table talking about financial planning, so we always kind of knew about it. Um, I never felt that I was particularly, um, I knew what I wanted to do coming outta uni and, um, And so my father sort of, uh, sort of suggested, suggested to me that this financial planning thing would be, um, it’s a new, uh, space.

It’s something that’s, um, uh, helping others. And he thought that I would do a good job in it. And I thought, well, okay, that’s good enough for me, so let’s, let’s go. And, uh, I kind, I kind of did. Um, dad, um, As well during that period of time, um, after my university and, um, doing a little bit of work outside in other financial planning firms and going overseas and, um, working in a few financial planning firms, he, he became ill.

And, um, and, um, I had to come back from overseas at the time to just sort of maybe, uh, look after the practice and see clients and, and it was a bit of a baptism of fire for me. I, I really felt. Uh, in some ways I, I didn’t really have much choice in the matter, in, in the sense of it being the career. Like the career for me, I kind of was thrust into this business.

Um, of course you have a choice. I wanted to help my father out. Um, but that was the main intention. Uh, it wasn’t like, is this good for me? Is this going to help me out longer term? I didn’t really think about it at the time. It was just kind of a family. Um, Uh, you know, a family situation that I, I had to take control of.

And so, um, you know, with time I became more and more integral in the, in the practice. My brother came in as well and started helping and I was completely unnerved by the whole scenario in terms of, you know, is, is financial planning right for me? Um, I’m dealing with retirees. I’m quite. . Um, I, I was trying to position myself as a very competent young man, um, by being technical.

Um, but really I perhaps didn’t have the life experiences necessary to be an amazing advisor, and that takes time. Um, so yeah, that was the starting point. Um, and I, and again, you know, talking about meaning, I had really no idea about what the meaning was. This is a practice that, um, my family operates and that has some meaning associated with it, but is it ideal for me?

Dan: Yes. Oh, it, and that is, that is such, such a rich question. Um, and, and one that’s, you know, um, familiar and I think whether, whether it’s a family, a family business, you know, literally, or even just family expectations is, you know, something that, um, that a lot of us have to wade through of like, where is my voice and where, where do my desires fit in the.

Landscape that I’m in with the other desires and the other voices that have preferences about how I spend my time and what, what I choose and, and, um, to, to do and, and not to do. It feels like you’ve, you’ve come to a place where you’ve found maybe, you know, maybe you had some questions, but have found, found some peace, you know, that, that you’re, you’re in it, you’re in it.

Uh, for the, well, maybe, maybe I should ask you, are you in it for the long haul or is, are there open questions still?

Joe: Um, no, I’m, I’m in it for the long haul under certain conditions. And without those conditions being met, um, I think the long haul would be unachievable. Um, I, I think a lot of the meaning that I’ve reflected on is in the service to others, in conjunction with my brother.

Dan: Hmm.

Joe: It’s incredibly, incredibly meaningful to work with family when it is constructive and it is communicative and it’s collaborative, and it’s, and it’s all of those things.

And it is for us, and the meaning is clear and obvious. When we share the failures together and we share the wins together, and you know, oh, you know, over a period of time taking substandard salaries because you can see the future and keeping money in the business so that you can expand and grow because you’re backing yourself in and making judgment calls on.

You are, you are working in this niche or that niche feeling at times that the tumbleweeds are coming through and there’s no new clients. Why is that happening? And then all of a sudden, an initiative that you worked on three years ago, all of a sudden starts to come to fruition and it starts to work and you’re high fiving.

All of these things are incredibly meaningful. The pain and the toil and the challenge and the um, uncertainty is. Other things that are worthwhile , they’re worthwhile because you look back at them and you go, I had to tolerate these things to get to this point. And that’s what’s meaningful. Um, so to some extent it’s, it’s, it’s that.

But there’s also other conditions. Um, I am a creative, I am a person, um, that enjoys. Innovating and brainstorming and, and, and being in communications. And, um, so as part of my role, I had to carve out a role that actually suits my unique talents. And I am privileged and I’m lucky that I have a brother as well.

That likes things that perhaps I’m not as, I don’t as enjoy as much. And, and so we divide our, our labor in a, in a very, uh, uh, organic, uh, way. And, um, it works really nicely for us. Part of the, uh, the stack of things that I do is creating a podcast like, you know, again, like, why did I create the podcast?

Well, I was trying to bridge two world. I was bridging the world of giving back some of my insights around money and around what I’ve learned from my clients. I was also looking at the fact that I’m a musician and I, I I, I love, um, to create, um, through, uh, music production software. On my podcast, I’ve used a bit of my music, which I’ll probably change because it’s probably, it’s up time for an update and a refresher, and I feel like doing it.

Dan: it.

Joe: Um, you know, and I like to engage and communicate with people, so that gives me energy. So, um, all of those things combined, I thought, well, why not put a podcast together? Why not do something like that?

Dan: That’s awesome. Well, I love how it feels like you’ve, you took, you’ve taken a situation that, um, I don’t know, you could be pretty grumpy about like, oh, I didn’t totally choose this. You kind of did, kind of didn’t. And, um, and have found, found a way to, to make a space for yourself while still, while still honoring, you know, honoring your family, um, honoring the responsibilities and then, but, but also, Finding a way to do it, you know, with your own flare, with your own, through your own creative, creative voice, I guess, in the mix, which is just really, um, yeah.

Really, really fun to see.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s, it’s about in, in, in, in time, in, in, during your working hours, trying to incorporate as much elements of you as you possibly can, but then having the after hours work to be entirely you, um, as well. So, you know, we talked about on, on my episode with you, um, you know, creativity in terms of hobbies and, and other things.

If you, you know, there are individuals that just simply try as much as they can to get meaning outta their work, and it’s really challeng. , what about hobbies outside of work? Do you have the energy to be able to do that and, um, certainly from my point of view, um, I try to do both.

Dan: Yes. I love it. I love it. And I think it’s such a good invitation to think about it in those, in those terms that work doesn’t have to be your only expression, uh, but it is an opportunity to find some self-expression. Um, but really both, both can be true and really likely should be true unless you’re just really, you know, really fortunate to have, you know, the perfect, the perfect work world.

Like many of us, many of us have to make compromises in order to, to find the right. On both sides of things.

Joe: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think it’s okay as well. I was just thinking the other, the other day. Uh, Dan, I wonder what your thoughts are as well on this, but. It’s thinking that it’s okay sometimes to not entirely be clear on the meaning. Sometimes, like, you know, I, I, for, for me, I find that when I’m concentrating so much and spending so much time on trying to determine what this meaning is, I’m actually not enjoying myself.

I’m, I’m being super over analytical and I’m, I’m not enjoying life as much. And, you know, as an example, I took up some dance classes and I’m like, I’m constantly going, well, what the hell is the meaning of this? Like, why am I doing this? This is crazy, right? Like, what is a 41 year old man doing, you know, dancing in this particular, you know, I’ve never done any dancing.

You know, like, so why am I doing this? And then I realize that I’m thinking too much about the meaning actually when I do the dance. I thoroughly enjoy it and I feel alive, and so maybe the meaning is to just stop thinking about the meaning sometimes and just enjoy it.

Dan: Just be. Well, I love that. And I think it, I think it really, it really is true. Meaning is, you know, it’s a, it’s a subjective experience that we can’t, from the outside look at someone else’s activity and say that’s meaningful or, or not meaningful because it’s an internal experience and something that’s meaningful for one person might not be, you know, for, for another.

Um, and I hear, you know, even in, in that like, just, just the, the invitation to let, let yourself have fun. That in and of itself is, is a meaningful, you know, a meaningful pursuit. I even think of it in terms of like, I don’t know, I think of a 41 year old taking, taking up dancing as a a, um, I don’t know, like a, it’s a, it’s an act of, of in some ways an act of courage of like becoming, becoming a new version of yourself at 41, which I think is a pretty meaningful, uh, meaningful expression.

Um, so I, I, yeah, I, I respect you in that

Joe: Yeah. And I think, you know, the whole, even the narrative, the, the, you know, the conversation of like telling yourself, well, you’re 40 once, or Why are you doing that? It’s like, it’s like as if in my mind, I’ve created certain, um, ages at what is appropriate to do certain things, which I think is an absolute load of crap.

Um, you know, I, I think, you know, it reminds me of a, um, a mate of mine who’s a musician, but he owns a music, um, uh, education business. Um, and he just skateboards all the time. And I, and I, and I’m like, why, why are you skateboarding? Like, I feel like I’ll break a leg if I try to do that. He goes, Joe, Joe. It’s the inner boy.

It’s the inner.

Dan: Yes.

Joe: that inner boy nourish, that inner boy, and I’m like, you’re absolutely 110% right. When I’m at my happiest, I’m doing the things that came innately to me when I was a.

Dan: Mm, I love that, that, that real, I, I feel that, you know, at a, at a deep level and what a important reminder for listeners to think about, like, how are, how are you, you know, um, nurturing those, those attributes, those, those younger, those younger parts of yourself. Um, and yeah, are you making, are you making space, you know, for those,

Joe: I feel like, I feel like, you know, those moments, those moments where you think about when you’re a kid, they’re just free of rigid constructs. Like you’re just free of these kind of, this rigidity of you should be doing this and you must be doing this. And it’s just like you, you’re doing what feels right for you in the present moment.

And so if we can somehow. Tap back into that and remove the impediments that we’ve created from community, potentially from our family. Um, and then, you know, our own developed internal narratives. Then I, I think, I think we’re some way to, um, feeling more energized and happy.

Dan: Mm. Yeah. When it speaks to me also of like how as adults, well, maybe I should just speak for myself. I can tend to be so caught up on the outcome that I. Don’t allow myself to just enjoy the process. I’m just so, so caught up because like, well, why would you skateboard? Well, I would skateboard because I want to be able to drop into a halfpipe or do a kick flip.

Like it’s gotta like have a goal and have an outcome. Not just like, cuz it’s fun to go fast and it feels good when I turn, like, you know, like the, the, the process piece. So I hear, I hear that. A lot, you know, in, in, in what you’re, you’re sharing here. You know, I, um, I think I might have shared with this with you on, on your show, and I can’t remember if not, but I use this framework, um, of, of the four different, four P’s of where we find meaning in, in work, um, which are, you know, the people.

The process, the, the product and the profit. And I think, you know, what we’re, we’re talking about here, some of that, some of that process, piece of whether it’s you creating writing music or your friend skateboarding or you know, whatever, whatever it might be, those activities, those things that we do that are just fun and fulfilling just for the sake, very sake of doing the action.

That that’s really meaningful endeavor in and of itself, even without an outcome, specific outcome attached.

Joe: I think, and I think Dan, I think Dan, it’s a functional, um, piece as well because in, in order to do the things that you don’t necessarily love doing, I feel there needs to be a balance of things that you do love doing, and so if you’re not, if you’re just always doing things that you just don’t like and you don’t enjoy, I think the the, the outcome of that is that you’re not gonna do that stuff very well.

Dan: Yes, yes.

Joe: in life, unfortunately, whether we like it or not, I know we’re in a timeframe where we’re, where it’s sort of like, just do what you like and it it, you know, you have to just love what you do all the time. I think that’s kind of, not, not kind of, uh, pragmatic. Uh, I think there are times where you have to do things that you just don’t like, and so in order to have that cushion to be able to do those things, you, you need to, you need to have.

These nourishing creative moments, these inner boy moments, um, and, and, and make sure that they’re in embedded regularly into your, into your life program.

Dan: Yes, I completely, completely agree and, and you know, like you said, otherwise you’re not gonna do as well, otherwise you’re not gonna give it as much effort, otherwise you’re not going to stay with it long enough. I think that’s a big part of it too, is like, cuz you’re gonna burn out. You can only force yourself through the motions so many times before you just.

You’re just too exhausted to keep, to keep going. And so I look at, you know, what you’re doing with, with, you know, incorporating your creativity into your, into your business. And I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s such a, such a, a great example of how someone can go about, you know, taking financial planning feels like.

At an extreme of, of what, where a creative would flourish, you know, but you’re finding a way, you’re finding a way to do it. And so thank you for like creating such a for, for being such a great example of that for us.

Joe: It’s, it’s interesting that like, you know, when people see financial planners, it’s like, what are they looking for? Um, I think, you know, being philosophically aligned with the advisor is super important because I think financial advisors are all like qualified and, and, and, and these days, you know, particularly in Australia now, like there’s a degree of professionalism across all of them.

So you’re gonna find very competent financial advisors. So, differentiating in terms of technical compet. Is probably not as diverse as like differentiating in terms of, you know, the, whether you get along with them ideologically, whether they, they, they kind of speak the same language. Um, so, so yeah, I, I, I, I, yeah, I, I’m, I’m, I’m very happy in the space that I’m in now and.

Um, I, I think I just wanna tie off on the, it’s, you know, the way all of the, the various components of my life fit. So the way that I see the Stefan Independent Advisory practice, which is a private wealth management practice, well, like I said to you at the start, that is really all about. Being able to give people the opportunity to not worry about money by us putting together great financial strategies for them so that they can just live their lives.

Right. The, it’s Never About Money. Podcast is about talking about the flip side of money, which is like, how, what’s a, what’s a life well led look like? And, and, and when do you fall into trouble? When you’re just constantly in pursuit of money? Right? And then, My music and I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I created an EP during lockdown is really a reflection of me putting into practice what I’m saying in It’s never About Money podcast, you know, so, so they kind of all tie in nicely as a, as a, as a running narrative about, you know, work, work hard, um, but play, play hard.

Um, and this is what I’m doing and this is what I think works. Um, It’s all again, subjective and I, I, I’m, I’m learning as we go, and I’ll tell you the, the podcast itself is, and, and, you know, having guests like yourself, Dan, on, and I’m, I’m accumulating, uh, knowledge at a rate of knots and I’m loving it so,

Dan: Yes. So good. So good. Yeah. I, I think it really makes a, a, a really fantastic picture of how, how all those pieces, um, yeah, all those pieces play together. I’m curious how you think about, um, Well, like money is such a loaded, a loaded topic. Um, and so I wanna ask you just a couple questions about, about money to tap into some of your, your, um, your, your financial, financial wisdom.

Um, first I’m curious what, what your responses this is gonna be, but what if, if I ask you what is money? What, what’s the first thing that comes to.

Joe: What is money?

Dan: Because it’s many things, right? Uh, we like, we know it’s,

Joe: I don’t think, well, firstly, firstly, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s good or it’s bad. I think it’s, uh, it’s just a medium of exchange. It’s a platform that allows us to. The opportunity to, make meaning with our lives or help us put us in a position of making meaning, uh, in our lives. So it can be an enabler, so it can allow us to do things like take.

Days off to, to be able to pursue this particular opportunity to look after our families, to put our kids through private schools or, you know, retire early. So it can be an enabler from that point of view, so it can actually enrich us and help us. It can also be a detractors where it’s a noose around their neck.

So it can be, you know, the, um, not understanding the difference between a need and a want and overspending on a particular, uh, lifestyle asset, which ends up, meaning that money becomes the only thing that you could focus on so that you can actually survive the mortgage or the debt that you’ve. Uh, taken on it.

And then that obviously can affect relationships and affect your health and all that sort of stuff. So, um, if we’re intentional about our money, which is again, this platform that is available to us to help us, then it can be a real, uh, positive influence in our life. And, um, but in many circumstances, in many circumstances where we are not intentional about what our life actually needs to look like, and we are just focusing on money.

What’s our next decision to get the best performing, um, investment return? Like without actually thinking about why am I actually accumulating? Then it can be an absolute source of trouble in our life because it ends up meaning we can be unhealthy, uh, we can be overworked. We believe that, for instance, we can never retire because it’s never enough money.

Um, so I don’t know if I’ve answered the question. Um,

Dan: that’s a beautiful answer to the question because it gets, you said some of the complexity of of, of what it, what it brings up that it’s um, yeah, can be, can be such a, such an amazing, um, amazing tool for good or, um, you know, the bane of your existence. You

Joe: Well,

Dan: if you mention it poorly,

Joe: well, I can reflect on my dad’s situation as well. Being an immigrant from Egypt, arriving in Australia, not having, uh, a lot of money coming here with very little. , um, and, and, and working to the bone to make sure that he gave his kids an opportunity that he never did. So money was incredible, um, and the hard work to accumulate the money was incredible for him.

But at some point in time when, um, you know, he worked so hard and, and, um, he achieved so much, but at the same time, at some point in time, uh, looking after himself maybe wasn’t the greatest prior. And I reflect on that. And he, he, you know, I’m sure when we had conversations, I had conversations with him at one point in time, he said to me, I said to him, I said to him, you must be so proud, dad that you’ve been able to come here with nothing and have been able to build, build what you’ve been able to build.

And he said to me, well, yeah, I am. I am Joe. I’m really proud. But ultimately, it’s not the financial stuff that makes me the proudest. I know that when I leave you guys. I’m leaving you guys, um, well educated, um, not just formally educated, but educated in life. Um, I’m so proud of you guys. It’s not what I’m gonna, money’s not what I’m gonna take with me.

It’s, it’s, you know, it’s the knowledge that you guys are in a, in a, in a really good position that you’ll be okay in the future. Um, it’s me contributing in community with, um, my church work. Um, it’s those things that I really care about fundamentally, and that was pretty profound for me. You know, you learn things from these sort of traumatizing events where you lose a family member or, or whatever.

And I remember, and I’m sure that’s where the, it’s Never About Money. Podcast came from the, the foundation of it. It’s like, you know, what did dad end up doing? Was he working more at the end when he was sick? No, he was doing art class. He was painting, he was drawing, he was doing things that he just, I never see, I really didn’t see him or experience him doing that during.

Um, you know, more, um, physically healthy years, he wasn’t doing these things. He was working himself to the bone. But at the end, at the end, as many people do, all of a sudden they gravitate to these things, these things that they did when they were a kid. And it’s like, okay, interesting. And I observed that with laser sharp focus at that particular point in time in.

Dan: Yeah. Oh, that is such a, a, just a powerful, powerful story, and thank you for sharing that. It’s, if it hits me, hits me hard, but, you know, just, you know. Hearing you just retell your dad, you just, your dad’s legacy that he, that his legacy is you like that. It’s really, it’s really, really beautiful. Um, yeah. So thank you.

Thank you for that. I’m curious how, um, like. With that in mind and with the way you see people, the end of their, towards the end of their lives and retirement, kind of picking up these things like what else is on, I I see how, how you’ve, you’re, you’re incorporating that, right? Like you’re not waiting till the end to do your, to do music.

What else? Like, are there other things? Well, and you mentioned, you mentioned, um, dancing, but I’m curious just like since you have exposure to the people making choices, uh, you know, towards in retirement and things like that and how that, I’m just curious how that shapes the way you think. What you’re doing right now, what you’re doing today, what you’re doing in the next, you know, 90 days or year, a year or two years.

Joe: Well, that’s a really good question. Um, I think I’ve always been interested, um, in, in psychology, um, and, and prior to, um, Prior to being in financial planning, I was considering doing a psychology degree. Um, and I just again, decided by inertia to do a financial planning degree because that’s what my family did.

Right. But, but this interest in psychology continues self-growth books, reading actual psychological literature, um, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting that that’s the case. And so what I tried to do was think about how I. Bridge the gap between the two worlds again, which is something that I, I constantly thinking about.

So there is a course in the States, it’s a financial psychology course, and I’ve been exploring whether or not I go down that route because that can actually, yeah, I mean it can help the practice, help me be a better advisor and it sort of ticks the box again in terms of, you know, uh, making sure that I’m doing things of meaning and that I’m really, really enjoying.

And then when it comes to the idea of retire, . Um, I think what will happen inevitably for me is that I won’t retire in the sense of just stopping altogether. I will be doing stuff. I know that sometimes retirement can be a bit of a poison chalice. Um, I’ve seen it in others where they just stop altogether.

I, I will shift and I will do other things perhaps. Um, but I will not stop contributing. Um, I will stop contributing when I’m no longer able to contribute. Physic. Um, and even still then I will try to do something . Just, um, yeah, uh, I think that’s really, really important. If you, if you, you can always find something that you love.

If it, if, it doesn’t even mean that you need to make anything from it financially.

Dan: Yes. And so even just to, to be doing, to be doing something, um, just be giving your, giving yourself your time, your agency to, to a work. And what I hear you saying is not necessarily a, um, uh, not necessarily an income, but just to be accomplishing or, or to be, um, yeah, applying your effort to something is, is what I hear, hear you saying in.

Joe: Yeah, and I, and I, and I think I’m, I mean, I, I, I’ve reflected on it, um, a fair bit in the sense that I, you know, I have my lifestyle. I love eating out and stuff like that. Beside that, that’s really my only indulgence. All I need is a guitar. . Um, and, and, and, and I’m pretty right, so I’m pretty low maintenance as an advisor.

I don’t need, uh, a, you know, an incredibly, uh, expensive lifestyle to survive. Um, I’m all about experiences and so I suppose that aids me well, um, in, in my choices going forward. Um, so.

Dan: I love it. I love it. No, I think I share that, you know, my, my wife and I often talk about, you know, how, how we would, you know, and of course this might all change, but how we think of retirement or those, those, you know, later years in life that like neither of us can imagine just, you know, I guess checking out or just sitting, sitting around.

Um, but it feels like we just have so much, so much to give. And maybe, maybe you’ll get, we’ll get to that age and just be like, yeah, I’m tired and I just wanna sit around all day. . But I, I kind of, I kind of doubt it. I kind of feel like we’re gonna want to, like, you know, to be taking art classes and dance classes and, and, you know, and, and building something, um, creating something

Joe: in invariably, any person that is doing retirement well, Has meaning built into their retirement and even if they’re not working, so they may, they may have six grandkids

Dan: Yeah,

Joe: is, you know, helping their kids with their grandkids. And, um, it may be a little bit more travel, but people aren’t just sitting and Well, the ones that are doing it well aren’t just, that’s it.

I’ve given up. Um, and, and, and, and, you know, retirement is a very stress. Event for a lot of individuals because there is a transition phase where you’re trying to work out, well, what is it now? What is it, what is this about? I know I knew what I was and I had my, um, I had a lot of my, uh, feeling of self importance and self, my, my ego tied to what I was doing previously, and all of a sudden now I’m just Joe.

I’m not the Joe, the financial planner. Who, who is and who is Joe now at, you know, 65 years of age now, who is Joe?

Dan: Yes,

Joe: How does this, and then how does this question come up again? You know, how is it, how is it that I keep coming to these points where I’m asking myself who I am again? Um, and it’s so surprising.

Like it’s a constant, it’s a constant evolution and aren’t I so privileged as to be working with people and seeing all of this and what they go through. And, um, I’m, and again, this is why the podcast exists. Like I’m, I’m hoping that people are listening.

Dan: Yes. It’s so great and I, I’d love that you, you frame it in those terms because it is about, identity work is always about identity as much as we. You can try to keep those, keep those separate. Um, the, the author poet, David White, um, has a, has a book, uh, the title’s Crossing the Unknown C but the subtitle, which I think says it so well, is work as a pilgrimage of identity.

That our work, you know, our career, our whatever we’re applying ourselves to is always about. Finding and rediscovering, like you’re saying, like always asking that question again, who am I now and who am I now? And I think even, especially as business owners and entrepreneurs, but not, it doesn’t exclude, you know, other, you know, any, anyone who’s trying to do their career in intentional way that your, your career, your work is always gonna be asking you to become the next iteration of yourself, just like you’ve.

You know, with your podcast, with your music, that you’re, like, you’re, you’re finding your, your, the voice of, of Joe in 2022, which is different than your voice, you know, a few years, a few years back in your, in your work and in your business. And that is such a retirement. I feel like there’s these moments in life that usually comes up when there’s a major life event.

Maybe a pandemic, maybe a divorce, maybe a retirement, kids leaving the nest, you know, um, empty nesters. People who are, or you know, you, you have a forced transition of some sort and you ask these questions of like, you know, who am I right now? What do I want? Um, and, and, um, and it’s just, I, I love that you’re, you know, you’re walking with people through some of those, some of those questions.

How much. Does it come up in your conversations with retirees about that? That meaning piece of what, what, how they shape those. I just so curious how you navigate like conversations about meaning

Joe: Sure. I’ve got, I’ve got an, I’ve got a little anecdote. I had a client, uh, once, a prospective client that was referred to me. . Um, it didn’t last too long. Um, you know, what happened was, um, she had been, and she was, um, maybe in her, uh, mid to late sixties and, uh, she was, uh, coming out of a, uh, pretty, uh, messy divorce.

And, um, I was sitting down with her to try to help her. And, you know, part of our process is to ask, um, Pertinent questions around, you know, what does life look like going forward? Um, and, and, and those types of things. Now I’m, I’m much more acutely aware now that you have to be a little bit careful and tread carefully around those questions when someone has gone through something, you know, pretty, pretty traumatic.

But it was interesting that I asked a pretty banal question around what goals might be, and she looked at me and she. In quite an aggressive tone. And this was a very cordial meeting, and it was a very nice meeting up to this point. She said, what would I know about my goals now going forward? What would I know?

Why are you asking me about that?

Dan: O.

Joe: And I, and I kind of, I took a, I took a deep breath and I sort of said to her, look, um, what I’m trying to do, and maybe I, I haven’t done it in the best way possible, but what I’m trying to do is to understand. You are essentially in what you, what meaning, uh, you know, there is for you in your life so that I can give you the best financial advice possible.

Perhaps it’s not a great time right now to be going through these things with you. Maybe there’s a bit of time for you to have some, some sort of reflection time for you and, um, and, and we just kind of like, know, went through the rest of it, but I just, I reflected on it afterwards and I thought was my performance.

Was I as sensitive enough or you and I thought about it afterwards and I kind of talked to James about it as well, and we kind of came to the point that it’s just that some people aren’t ready to address these things at the time that you need to work with them. And,

Dan: Yep.

Joe: um, yeah. And, uh, yeah. So to answer your question, part of our process is to uncover and, and to have conversations with.

Uh, around what’s important to them in retirement and what does in 10 years time, can you paint for me a picture on who’s around you and where do you want to be located and who are you’re talking to, and what does the world look like and, and, and, and really getting clear on what their future self is? I, I, I, I talk to a person called Hal Hirschfield on my podcast from ucla, univers.

And he talks about making sure that we all actually spend time focusing on your future self, really understanding who that future self is, because when you do that, when you do that, the decision making you make in the now is in. Has some clarity and has the decision making that you, you, you, you put forward now actually helps that future self because you can connect with that person.

So I know what 50 year old Joe is doing or I have a feeling about 50 year old Joe, cuz I think about 50 year old Joe quite a bit. And that informs my decision making now. So that’s why we ask the questions that we do with our clients because that helps. Motivate them to make the decisions with us around their finances because they know and they have some clarity around their 10 year outlook.

Dan: I love it. Uh, and what a powerful story. And those are the moments, you know, that I’m, that I’m talking about. You know, these, these moments that where our identity is like at that transition point of like where that woman and other people have been through similar experiences, like, well, my current reality.

I don’t, I don’t even understand my current reality because it’s so far from the plan that I had for myself, right? Like that’s in some ways what she was, what she was saying. Like, I can’t talk about goals. This, this, this, this wasn’t my goal. And so how can I even think about what, what comes next, which is, is heart.

It’s really heartbreaking. Um,

Joe: is heartbreaking. Yeah,

Dan: found what she needed, you know, to, to process that experience, to be able to then imagine a, a better future, you know?

Joe: yeah, absolutely. And it certainly wasn’t my, my question around goals at the time,

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, I think that you’re, you’re doing right by your clients by, you know, inviting them into that, inviting them to, to, to think in those, in those terms. And I love how you frame it in, in thinking about your, your future self and, and having a relationship with your future self, because then it makes things like saving and like sacrificing the, the present in.

For the future. Like, it, it makes it so much more meaningful. Instead of it’s like, well, I just want to go, you know, I just want to go on a big vacation or, you know, do whatever or buy a new car. But like, but why, why not right now? And it’s because, because it’s a gift to your future

Joe: You don’t think if

Dan: those expenses.

Joe: I mean, I can see the benefit of those that actually don’t look at the future at all and are always living in the present moment, but I don’t know. You know, I can see that. I understand that, but I’ve always felt that as a bit lopsided, like, um, to connect with your future self. In that way, like, why do I make any decision?

Like I, I wanna be able to make a decision in the now to help myself in, in the future. If I don’t know who I am in the future, then I’m not gonna make any decisions in the now that advantages that, that unknown person. So, so, um, you know, that’s what we try to do as much as possible.

Dan: Yeah, well, it’s so in line with the work that I do, both with, you know, people around their careers as well as entrepreneurs and business owners around, around the decisions we’re making to invite them to, to, to think about their future, the future of, of, you know, and their, their direction.

And creatively think in terms of what are the stories that they want to be telling in years from now? And then how do we work backwards from there to think about how we’re, how we’re living in the, in the present moment. And so I just love that you’re. Doing that with people on the, on the financial side.

It just sounds like you’re, you’re doing good work, Joe. And I really, it’s, it’s just, yeah, just really resonates with me, so thank you.

Joe: Yeah. No, no. Um, no thank you,

Dan: Yeah. Well this has been, um, just so, so fun. I feel like we could, you know, go on indefinitely, but we’ll just have to, um, you know, put a, put a pin in it for, for future future conversations. Uh, but for folks that wanna follow along with your work and connect with you, is there anything in particular you’d like to invite people to?

Joe: Well, I mean, um, yes. Um, it’s never about Money. Podcast is the, um, I suppose the mouthpiece, uh, for, for me and the business and, um, and um, so they can go to WW dot. It’s never about Dot au. Um, they also, um, on the, uh, Stephan Independent advisory site, uh, au. There’s a, um, for any business owners out there, there’s a three part, uh, video series, um, helping people think about their succession, about their financial planning.

Um, yeah, and you can just follow me on LinkedIn as well. So, um, I’m out and about trying to make us. Much, uh, informed noise as possible, like all of us, Dan

Dan: Love it. Yep. Out there causing a ruckus. I’m, I’m right there, right there with you. I’ll make sure to, to link up to all of those. In the show notes, and I, I appreciate, and I say, I say that in the best, best way possible, causing a good, the good kind of ruckus that we need you to be making. So

Joe: Yeah, uh, absolutely.

Dan: noise,

Joe: Yeah, no thanks and thanks Dan. I just wanna really, um, thank you for having me. Uh, on, it’s been a delight and, and thanks for coming onto my episode, uh, on my podcast as well. It’s, it’s been really nice to connect. It’s amazing how both our worlds actually, uh, uh, align very nicely. So

Dan: Totally, totally agree. Yeah, couldn’t, couldn’t be happier myself. So thank you.

Joe: thanks.

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