Generate a Life Well Lived

Ep. 45 Redefining Success: Crafting a Life of Financial Freedom and Personal Growth (with special guest Andy Moran)

April 24, 2024 Erin Gray
Ep. 45 Redefining Success: Crafting a Life of Financial Freedom and Personal Growth (with special guest Andy Moran)
Generate a Life Well Lived
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Generate a Life Well Lived
Ep. 45 Redefining Success: Crafting a Life of Financial Freedom and Personal Growth (with special guest Andy Moran)
Apr 24, 2024
Erin Gray

Want to connect? You can send me a text messageđź’ž

I invited Andy Moran, a Financial Planner on this week's podcast to discuss topics that we both have experienced like breaking the mold, diving into the possibilities of career breaks, mini-retirements, and the empowerment that comes with aligning work with our deepest values. 


It was so refreshing to visit with Andy and his unconventional ways of thinking, how he navigates his own finances and advice he has for clients.  


Andy has navigated the transition from a Silicon Valley startup to one of balanced living, Together, we dissect societal pressures, workplace flexibility, and the siren call of IPO culture as well as mainstream culture, all while offering a blueprint for those eager to redefine their professional and financial trajectories.


In this episode we discuss:

  • Redefining work and financial freedom
  • The FIRE movement and our thoughts about it
  • Tax planning during low income years
  • Differences between SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s
  • The different types of Financial Advisors/Planners


If you want to connect further with Andy, you can connect with him here (https://andymoran.io).




Compassionate financial mentor and guide to female entrepreneurs so that they have peace of mind and fun with their money in order to live life now and in the future.

To join the waitlist for Grow the CEO cohort click here.

Generate a Life Well Lived website

Generate a Life Well Lived YouTube Channel

New to Human Design? You can receive your Human Design chart here

As always, thanks for listening.

From my soul to yours.
Erin

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Want to connect? You can send me a text messageđź’ž

I invited Andy Moran, a Financial Planner on this week's podcast to discuss topics that we both have experienced like breaking the mold, diving into the possibilities of career breaks, mini-retirements, and the empowerment that comes with aligning work with our deepest values. 


It was so refreshing to visit with Andy and his unconventional ways of thinking, how he navigates his own finances and advice he has for clients.  


Andy has navigated the transition from a Silicon Valley startup to one of balanced living, Together, we dissect societal pressures, workplace flexibility, and the siren call of IPO culture as well as mainstream culture, all while offering a blueprint for those eager to redefine their professional and financial trajectories.


In this episode we discuss:

  • Redefining work and financial freedom
  • The FIRE movement and our thoughts about it
  • Tax planning during low income years
  • Differences between SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s
  • The different types of Financial Advisors/Planners


If you want to connect further with Andy, you can connect with him here (https://andymoran.io).




Compassionate financial mentor and guide to female entrepreneurs so that they have peace of mind and fun with their money in order to live life now and in the future.

To join the waitlist for Grow the CEO cohort click here.

Generate a Life Well Lived website

Generate a Life Well Lived YouTube Channel

New to Human Design? You can receive your Human Design chart here

As always, thanks for listening.

From my soul to yours.
Erin

Erin Gray:

You're listening to Generate a Life Well-Lived podcast. I'm your friend and confidant, erin Gray. I'm a former certified financial planner, turned human design, financial mentor and guide to entrepreneurs. I believe our money and our business can only thrive at the level of our emotional wellbeing. I empower entrepreneurs to feel confident with their money and in their business so that they can have fun now and in the future.

Erin Gray:

On this podcast, we will explore all things money, business and self-development, including human design. I hope you enjoy the journey where I share everything that I know and am continuing to learn along the way, as I honor my heart's desires while inspiring and encouraging you to do the same. Hey, hey, my friends, how are we today? So I've got Andy Moran on the podcast today, and he is a financial planner that helps people in tech pay less in taxes and also take career breaks, and we have a lot of commonalities, so I'm super stoked about this podcast to talk about all things. We've both taken time off and all the different things in terms of money and how to think about money differently, use your money differently, and so I'm so grateful that you're here, andy, and, yeah, let's dive in.

Andy Moran:

Yeah, thanks for having me. As soon as I remember, I think, we met at a mixer and I gave my story and you gave your story and it was like, oh man, there's a lot of residents here. I'm going to have to follow up. And then I feel like I encountered you somewhere else again and I was like, okay, I really have to get. I already had it on my to-do list, my checklist. Okay, reach out to Aaron like, listen to her podcast. And then I ran into you again, I think another context and I was like, okay, and then, as I listened to your podcast and had conversations with you, it was very clear yeah, I'm really excited to have this conversation with you you.

Erin Gray:

It's very clear. Yeah, I'm really excited to have this conversation with you. Yeah, thanks for thanks for coming. Um, you know, I think it's getting more and you can talk about this. I think it's getting more and more. Um, except, it doesn't even feel like the, the correct word, but like, uh, more, what is the word? Whatever normal is air quote, normal right Of like this idea of like we can actually take time off of work, um, and we can do some of the things that we love. Like you know, on a previous podcast I called it like a mini retirement right. Like we have, we have built this like societal conditioning into like you work, you save your money, you save for retirement and then you get to go and enjoy your life. So do you want to share with the listeners like, kind of, what has been your story of? Kind of, yeah, doing the checklist, following, you know, following all the air quotes rules, and then now, how you have kind of kind of almost done like a 180.

Andy Moran:

For sure, yeah, I feel there's definitely like aspects of generational perspectives on it, its rules, and then now how you have kind of kind of almost done like a 180. For sure, yeah, I feel there's definitely like aspects of generational perspectives on it. I think, for sure, like certain degree right, like you'd say, like maybe the baby boomer generation maybe grew up in the era of, you know, getting an education, going to school was going to provide you with the white picket fence and the american dream. Uh, you know, you just work hard, um, hard maybe collect the pension. But I think us, growing up, the idea of a nine to five, to 65, and that you're going to be collecting this pension, it always felt a bit antiquated for me, even from a young age. But I still internalized a lot of the messages you receive because you're young and you just take them in and you don't always parse them critically or you have to go through the process, really, at least in my experience of unlearning, like actively unlearning the things that were put into your head for usually well-intentioned reasons, right. So I was kind of brought up in Silicon Valley where I felt like you know this kind of message I could felt like there was aspects of not truth to it. I could felt like there was aspects of not truth to it, but I grew up in a very Midwestern household. So I was very focused on, you know, kind of frugality, you know hard work, discipline, kind of those values you know very like debt phobic and very much like you know, work hard, grind and everything will be OK. So I kind of was following that checklist Right. I threw myself into school, got straight A's, you know, crushed all the standardized tests because I thought that's what you need to do. You just got to get really good at test taking, right, you know. And then of course, you realize like life is nothing like the tests, right. So I threw myself into college, did pretty well with that, you know.

Andy Moran:

Then, kind of professionally, kind of threw myself into that as well. I found a nice enough job. It was at a startup in Silicon Valley. I had, you know, pretty flexible hours, which was honestly a lot of what kept me there, because I did really get the value of that flexibility. We kind of come into the office Monday, wednesday and Thursday and a lot of times like people would come in, you know, after the morning rush hour traffic and like leave before the evening rush hour traffic it was. It was pretty nice in a lot of respects.

Andy Moran:

Um, you know, and kind of early on there's all this talk of we're gonna ipo and it was very exciting because growing up in silicon valley you really see the power that there is in like companies going public to like kind of create transformational wealth in people's lives, like you definitely kind of grew up seeing that in my own family and kind of seeing it in the Valley more broadly. But you know cause I was at this firm and just kind of over the course of years, the talk of oh, we're going to IPO in two to three years, that started like shifting further and further out. It started becoming more of a nebulous and distant thing. And you know, a certain point I kind of found, and you know, at a certain point I kind of found myself, you know, and kind of within that timeframe I was kind of continued to take on new positions and I kept learning new things, so climbing up the ladder. But at a certain point I was, I found myself kind of being like a firefighter in chief. I kind of worked on so many different areas of the product, that kind of, whenever there was like a big emergency issue in production. They'd be like hey, andy, you can go fix it right. And part of me, like I contributed to my role in this right, like I threw myself into work because that was the toolkit I had. You, you just work hard, um, and I'd gone through some deprogramming of my own so like it wasn't just that all my existence was around work, like us, and it was important to have other things in life and I and I was kind of doing that.

Andy Moran:

But kind of between where I was at in in my job with my profession, and kind of between some crazy stuff in my personal life around the same time, around 2018, 2019, uh, definitely kind of found myself seriously burnt out, depressed, stressed, feeling very stuck in my job. And so it's kind of at that point I really hatched a plan to take my job remote, travel the country for a year while saving money, reset some of my habits and then kind of take a year off with those savings. Now things didn't go exactly to plan. I moved out of my apartment at the end of February 2020. I took my job remote March 1st 2020. I was prepping my van to go to an event in Austin early April at my parents' house, as mid-March when COVID lockdowns come in.

Andy Moran:

So things didn't exactly go to plan, but I was able to still kind of execute on like the core drivers of that and it really changed my life. Uh, hasn't been the same since. I was able to do quite a bit of traveling in 2020. Um, you know, I quit my job in that that fall and four years later, three and a half, you know, I'm kind of still living the matic life. Um, now I'm kind of transitioned from tech into becoming a financial planner and I'm one year into kind of running my own financial advisory firm. You know, kind of with those core missions of really helping people take career breaks on their own, pay less in taxes.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, it's. I obviously, you know financial planning has been my background and been around financial planners and also working with financial planners and trying to. You know, as I'm building this cohort for people to come in and and and learn, and you definitely, because I think you have had that experience you definitely have a different view from a financial planning view and I want you to talk a little bit more about that, because I think that a lot of us go to our financial planner and this is what I've heard from a lot of entrepreneurs too right, it's like I don't want to do the normal like in a box thing that you know, financial planners have been taught to do. Right, like what are some other ways that we can invest our money? Or just different, different ideas and things of that sort to use our money, versus the, the, the stereotypical right Like these.

Erin Gray:

These are the ways that you, you know, should invest, or this is how you you need, you know you need to save, and I think a lot of us are now like wising up for lack of a better word of like, I want to, I want to use my money in ways that feel really good to me, versus this Okay, we have to save and like, accumulate and put all of our eggs, you know, for this in goal at some point. You know when we're actually going to get to enjoy, enjoy life. So I would love it if you would share, just you know kind of your take on financial planning and and you know how, how being off of work has shaped that and just yeah, different, different ideas and thoughts that you have around that.

Andy Moran:

Yeah, absolutely. Like I mean I definitely had. I would say I had a fairly negative view of the profession coming into it for sure, like I definitely was, like oh, I'm here as this outsider that's gonna disrupt it. But you know, I think my stereotype of a financial advisor was maybe like a white dude, maybe like in his 60s or 50s, wearing a suit, who's gonna try to tell you you got to diversify and put you in like a 60-40 portfolio and that's kind of that was the image and and to some degree there's, there's some truth to that image, right there's still some, some.

Andy Moran:

It is a very older white man dominated profession, um, and I guess I'm somewhat I mean, I'm not I'm not as maybe I'm a little younger, but I guess I still have present as like a white man to people, uh, such but such as it may be. Yeah, I mean I definitely like. Growing up, I probably grew up with a lot of skepticism of advisors because I feel like engineers in general. My dad was an engineer, his dad was an engineer. You know I started on the engineering path. There's there's a lot of skepticism of, I think a lot of engineers feel like this sense of like I can do this thing which is honestly there, is. That is pretty awesome that engineers can go out and kind of design and create and build these things in the real world. It honestly is really cool. But I think it can also be easy to dismiss things that you have maybe less understanding or less skill or aptitude in, not to say, engineers are usually a lot of engineers you know may also be good at managing their money sometimes.

Andy Moran:

Um, so I grew up with kind of yeah, interesting mixed messages around money because, like, on the one hand, I feel like I learned so much about the fear of going into debt, like not going into debt and and not going into debt and honestly to a certain degree, like there is like I don't like being in debt, that is still definitely a thing where I probably lean, maybe an extreme of that, like you know, continuum. But I did also kind of learn, you know, the Silicon Valley. My dad was an entrepreneur, so I kind of got to see like the potential upside and you know, making kind of more risky decisions like running a business. So it's an interesting mixed message of like very risk averse, very fearful in a lot of ways, honestly, but also like go and take that big swing, take these big risks. Kind of different messages. Go and take that big swing, take these big risks. Kind of different messages.

Andy Moran:

And I think in tech that there's a common it's definitely a common perspective of kind of going. You're kind of going for those big home runs. Right, you're looking to start at a small startup, have it, reach some large enterprise value and get a large exit. Or I guess the other path you know if you work at like a big tech company, you're working at Amazon, facebook, google you're just it's less about like the large IPO payoff and more just you're getting a lot of equity compensation. As part of your package, you're getting a lot of restricted stock units, which it's basically like a bonus, but in the form of stock. So anyways, I forgot where I was rambling.

Andy Moran:

I feel like I've diverted a little bit, but in terms of alternatives. So I think one of the big things, too is is also like just getting clear on what it is you want out of life. Um, you know, because you think, if you just think in terms of money, I think money makes like a horror, makes a. It's a, it's a great servant and it's going to be a terrible master. Uh, like if your only goal, like I feel like there's a lot servant and it's going to be a terrible master. Like if your only goal, I feel like, there's a lot of people in Silicon Valley, and not just Silicon Valley.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, it's everywhere yeah.

Andy Moran:

It's everywhere.

Andy Moran:

It's easy to like build, you know this, I'll be happy when I have 5 million, when I have 10 million, whatever the number is.

Andy Moran:

And, like part of me, I got really into the, the financial independence, retire early, community kind of, because, like you know, like oh, I can, you know, save up to a certain amount of money, then I could live off my investments. Like there's a lot I still like about some of the, the aspects that community um, but I also think that it can almost like create new false idols of. Like I got to reach this FI number and I know for me like I kind of felt like anchored to, even though my number wasn't necessarily, like you know, as high as some people's, because it could be a moving target. Like I've talked to people now where they have like $11 million and they're like I, you know they're like it's not enough thing out about whether it's going to be enough and it's like you know your kids are going to not want to be with you soon. If you want to spend time with your kids and have those memories, you need to do something about it now. And it's easy to just go on autopilot and not reflect on those things.

Andy Moran:

But I think for a lot of people we just kind of get in our day-to-day grind or day-to-day flow, and we kind of lose sight of what we're really trying to get out of life sometimes, and sometimes it takes like these really big crises to get, and I and I hope more people, don't you know? I hope.

Erin Gray:

I can you know we can meet some of these people before they get to the point that I got to, or perhaps you got to as well, but such as it may be, yeah, I want to go back to debt because a lot of people have, you know, I remember gosh I don't know if it was on Forbes or if it was on tech, I think it was on Forbes, forbes magazine, when Michael Dell was on there, and this was I don't know how many like this might've been a couple of years ago, but he was talking about how he was like everyone was talking about going to the moon and doing all of these things. He was like I know that the way that things are changing, that I don't know if you read that article or not but like the way things are changing, that cloud storage is going to be a thing. And so he and don't quote me on this exact number, but like maybe he had, he knew that that's what's going to be, he was going to invest in that, and so he did like 75 million right In debt for this. But then what was his payoff? Right, like it was like in the billions, right.

Erin Gray:

And so going back to debt, like I think we've been taught with, like the Dave Ramsey's or the Susie Orman's or like all of these, like we, we idolize these mentors of like, oh, they say no debt, no debt, no debt, no debt, right, versus. Okay, well, what are you using the debt for? And, like you were saying with, you know, silicon Valley, like, are you going to for lack of a better word make good on the debt? Right, like, are you using it to propel you and not from a place of, like you know, because I think it could be a slippery slope too. Right, like, are you because it, because it is all energy? Right, like you are from an energetic standpoint, you are withdrawing before you have, you know, energetically, you know, created that.

Erin Gray:

But I think that there isn't a one size fits all with debt and I think that we as a society have been taught like there kind of is right, and then there's so much shame around debt. Right, like, why do we view like a mortgage as as okay debt, but we don't view, you know, like, putting money on a credit card or business loan or whatever, to, you know, to to create something, as that's different? You know what I mean. It's just, it's just this, these ideas that we have around debt, and so I would encourage each of you, like you know, like, like, like Andy, saying like, what do you want your life to look like? And starting to make decisions for yourself, versus like so-and-so said and then this is what I should do. You also talked about, you know, people like 10, 11 million, like it's like this goalpost right, Like we have been taught, like this number is going to give you the feeling and that is never at least it's been my case and people that I've worked with and helped and talked to right, like that that number is never going to give you the feeling that you're chasing after.

Erin Gray:

And also it's almost like you get to that point and then you realize it doesn't and then you're like, okay, well, I need to keep doing more and more and more right Versus doing work you love now. Like living the life that you love now. And that isn't a just straight away of like, ah, spend all the money now, you know it's just. It's also like where's the balance? And like enjoying your life, doing work that you that you love and that, like you want to get up in the morning time for um, versus this, like I got to hustle and grind and save the money so then I can get to enjoy my life, um, at some point, you know, in the future. And I think that that's I think a lot of us have been I don't want to say sold that story, but you know like it's almost. Like you know, I was on the fire bandwagon for a long time too, and I was like I'm literally like almost killing myself to get to this point.

Erin Gray:

You know, it doesn't feel good in my body to like deprive myself of everything right now, to that in you know, five more years. I can actually like I haven't been on many diets, but that's I could imagine. That's what it feels like, right, like you're just. You're just denying every pleasure and enjoyment of the present day for this fantasy in the future, you know.

Andy Moran:

No, absolutely, and I think to your point too. There's just it's so easy to take these rules of thumb and turn them into these absolutes that that govern our life in ways that's not always healthy. Like, like these principles, they may be sound generally speaking, sometimes I mean sometimes not but you know there's, there's definitely advice that can be generally useful, generally practical, but it can still definitely not be what's ideal for you and and sometimes it, you know, there's definitely gray areas. Well, like you know, as a financial planner, I have to put on my like fiduciary hat of like what is the prudent person say? But sometimes, sometimes in life, like I mean, I, you know, I know, like other financial planners, that to start their businesses, they withdrew from their 401k. Or I, you know, I know, like other financial planners, that to start their businesses, they withdrew from their 401k or they you know, took on credit card debt.

Andy Moran:

You know, while they're building it, like these stories exist to your point about you know kind of businesses as well in debt. When you mentioned the Dell story, like I feel like in America there's really like I think of it as like there's three like main path to kind of wealth in the American system, as I view it at least, that really you know either have to own like financial assets of some sort or or a business, like some kind of something that's generating cashflow or some kind of real estate. You know owning, really owning assets. But like of the those are the kind of three main forms that that the tax code favors that are more conducive to generating those outcomes. And it's interesting because business ownership is really risky. It's kind of like, let's say, index funds. You can say investing in index funds is less risky than maybe owning a business. I mean real estate. You could slice it different ways depending on what you're like. If you're just buying the house because you want to live there and it's like I generally approach decisions about you know, I mean there's also like I generally approach like homeownership decisions from the standpoint of like you know, the lifestyle that you want to live Like, are you going to stay there for a while? I feel like home should be because you really want to have that lifestyle, not because it's going to appreciate and value and I'm going to sell it. I think people have gotten used to that being the case. Um it that doesn't. It's not always guaranteed to be the case, and I would say the same thing with with index funds. So, like I you know, I'm definitely a big you know advocate for index funds, um, diversifying, having a, a diversified portfolio of investable assets. But stock markets have their ups and cycles too. It's not a straight line up. You look at a stock chart, you take the world index or whatever. There's a lot of ups and downs along the way and depending on when you invest in and when you exit, especially if you're trying to achieve a short-term outcome. I mean, that's probably why, if you're going for a short-term outcome, index funds aren't necessarily the investment you should do. It kind of depends on what your goal is. So I think really starting with your goal and then what you want to achieve out of it is just so key. And, like I said, there's many different ways to approach these problems and there's different benefits.

Andy Moran:

Personally, I've gotten lucky in my life at some time and luck is part of the journey for a lot of generally any kind of success. Right, you met the right person. That connected you to the right thing. I had some individual stocks that I'd been investing in in the 2010s and when, kind of when I quit my job, I had saved up enough just for my salary and savings to kind of take another year off at that point. But then I also kind of got lucky because I had some individual stocks that had been kind of going crazy during COVID. But I also you know, there's also planning opportunities that are available if you're not working, like if you're in a low income year like, oh, I can sell some of these stocks and pay 0% in federal taxes on them, depending on the state you're in. Like, if you're in California, you're still going to pay taxes on that. But so there's definitely some opportunities there when you're kind of in a low income year as well, so you're able to take advantage of those and learn from that.

Erin Gray:

That brings me to the point of you know, like one of the things that you, we, we at least I've been brought up that way and kind of like, it's like you know 401k or like tax, you know, um, qualified accounts and like tax deferred and like that's great. And when I started thinking about it, you know, like one of the things they'd say is like okay, cause you're going to be in a lower tax bracket when you retire. It's like, actually I don't want to be in a lower tax bracket when I retire. You know, and you know thinking about like are you investing in other places besides just qualified accounts? Because if you do want to use that money like which I have right, like and I worked through the emotional part of it Cause you were taught like never touch that money before 59 and a half but like you are paying taxes and penalties you know what I mean Versus, if you were to do something like in a non-qualified we're just in an investable account, right, like you would just pay long-term capital gains on that, you know. And so there's so many different.

Erin Gray:

I think, like what you're saying is so powerful, andy, of like what is the goal?

Erin Gray:

Because I think we are just like taught with okay, this is the way to do it, or you know this is, you know, minimize taxes. Like we're so focused almost in a way of like from a scarcity standpoint, right, like I have to minimize taxes. Like I've talked to business owners, I'm like and they're like talking to me about, you know, invoices for the year and things of that sort I'm like just bill it, just do it. Like well, you know like we'll worry about paying the taxes, but like almost like shooting themselves in the foot.

Erin Gray:

You know, because we're been so conditioned of, like minimize taxes, minimize taxes versus, yes, you want to be wise with paying taxes, and how can we use the tax law to minimize our taxes but not at the expense of our revenue generating? You know activities and things of that sort. So, you know, would you be open to sharing like just some just general things that you kind of talk to different people're saying you know what are some things that during that time you can kind of take advantage of? You know of of those lower income years, as if you're taking time off or you know you're just getting started in your business, things of that sort.

Andy Moran:

Oh, for sure, there, like you say, there's um, yeah, like it brings up a few different things in my mind. Yeah, kind of. On the topic about future tax rates, it's definitely kind of a I want to talk about putting money into Roth accounts where you've kind of already paid the taxes and theoretically you can withdraw that money tax-free and penalty-free in the future. But when we're talking about future tax rates, these are things that no one knows for sure. These are all just guesses and so much of financial planning is is working with like the best guesses based on the information we have, um, but but the circumstances are changing all the time and I I totally I'm with you on the the taxes thing. So I know, in financial planning I the phrase you hear a lot among the profession is like letting the tax tail wag the investment dog, or wagging the financial planning dog, because it does become like this albatross. That can be hard. So actually that was kind of one of the things that I feel like I felt like I was going to help people with in terms of the focus was there's a lot of people let's say Silicon Valley that you know if they had investments in companies, that, in companies that went booming. They have investments in maybe their own company through RSUs that they didn't then sell. They may have these kind of concentrated stock positions. But the fear of the tax bill kind of results in a lot of people not doing anything right Because they just hold on to these things and they kind of just keep increasing. In some cases, I mean in some cases, the market takes care of it for you and brings you, brings it back down. So you know you can kind of cut both ways, depending on your and this is where luck um. So, but I feel like when you're in a situation like you might have a low income year, it does. You know, looking at from a financial planner perspective, I do think of it as an opportunity to invite them to. The prospect of doing it without the tax impact is a way to approach the discussion around things that I feel like they should probably already be having, but it can be an enticement to get them to finally take the movement that they might have been afraid to.

Andy Moran:

So, for instance, one of the big ones being, if you're not really earning any income, you could harvest a fair amount of appreciation in your stocks. So if you have stocks that you've held kind of more than a year and it's what they call long-term capital gains rate if you're not making any income. So I don't have the exact numbers you know, but but at least at a federal level. So, depending on your state, there may be state tax impact, but like, if you're like a married couple and you're filing together, um, you know you could, there's a certain exclusion. I think it's maybe like thirty two thousand dollars if you're not itemizing, or something like that. Right, yeah, and maybe there's another like eighty80,000 of the cap. So basically, you can like harvest, you know, somewhere around $100,000 a year as a married couple in the gains, not even just like the total value of the stock, but like how much it's gone up. So that's a valuable opportunity for people with maybe they have like cryptocurrency or they have individual stocks that kind of blew up. This is probably more applicable a few years ago, but I've seen that Bitcoin's back up again. So these kind of things recur and there's cycles to these kind of conversations, but they're kind of rooted in these more timeless principles. So, yeah, 0% long-term capital gain harvesting is a big one.

Andy Moran:

Another is kind of the conversation around Roth conversions while you're in a low tax bracket. So you have money in a 401k or some company plan, but in a year you're not earning income. You could theoretically convert a lot of this to a Roth account, which then you've already paid the taxes on it. But while you're in that lower tax bracket um and roth accounts too they also have some additional flexibility. I probably should have mentioned this earlier.

Andy Moran:

We talked about the tax timing thing, but with the roth accounts in particular, versus a traditional 401k, they kind of have this interesting property where the the actual like contributions to the roth account that you can kind of withdraw those in five years instead of having to necessarily wait until. So it provides some interesting Like the maybe quote-unquote ideal situation is really that you're placing your more aggressive high-growth assets in the Roth account, so that kind of the amount that you're netting post-tax in the long run is the highest. That's kind of like the textbook theoretical case, but in practice there definitely is some opportunities. It can almost function like a quasi-emergency fund of like oh I could, especially if you don't need it for those five years. So that is kind of a common strategy in the financial independent community is around executing these things.

Andy Moran:

They call Roth ladders, where you kind of basically run these conversions in a way that you kind of have availability to these funds in five years tax-free. So as you're getting close to that 59, so maybe you're in your early 50s you might start having a strategic plan using those tools to get there. There's also another technique for people. They have incentive stock options, they kind of, and it's a form of equity compensation with kind of some unique properties and interesting challenges as well. So, like when you exercise these incentive stock options, they're not subject to like normal taxation at all if you don't sell them, but you can incur like this thing called alternative minimum tax, which is like this parallel tax system. So ISO planning is weird because you really have to run the numbers on these two different systems and then kind of iterate from there.

Andy Moran:

But if you're in a low income year, there's a certain amount of income that kind of gets excluded from amt calculation right off the bat. So I, I think, I think this year it might, it might be like 75 000, don't quote me on that but like theoretically, there's, like you know, some amount of space to convert or exercise some of these isos without having to incur amt. There's also, you know, if you're on student loans, you know you could recertify your student. If you're on an income driven kind of plan, if you have federal loans, you can. You know if I could like recertify that right away.

Andy Moran:

What does that mean yeah, so you can kind of get them to like reassess your income and give you, like, a new rate of payment. So if you're not earning any money, your payment, you know could close to low and drastically reduce that kind of monthly expense that you'd have to incur.

Andy Moran:

And I should have double checked, but I'm pretty sure for most of those, I think you have to recertify, like the next year, but I forget the exact specifics on it but there's basically a period of time where you can kind of get, I think, when I forget exactly if you have to report when you get a new job.

Andy Moran:

So don't quote, but but basically there's just another ability to kind of create longer stretches of time where you're not having diabetes and depending on the state you're in. Like, health care is a big thing and that's that's one of the big things I navigate with people. Thinking about career breaks is kind of you know how do I so much of the American medical system right is kind of built it's, you know, not a, not a. I don't love it.

Erin Gray:

It's not a healthcare system. I'll say it it's not a wellbeing system.

Andy Moran:

We gotta, we gotta make the insurance companies profit somehow, Erin.

Erin Gray:

Man between that and the pharmaceutical companies. I'm just like wow.

Andy Moran:

But depending on your state, you may you may be able to qualify for Medicaid. Certain states have different restrictions around whether you could own assets or how they assess your income, blah blah blah. But certain states Medicaid can be kind of a great way to kind of get some health coverage and have it all be covered. So anyway, those are kind of a few of the kind of topics and tactics for those kind of low income years.

Erin Gray:

And I want to bring up, like how important it is to, I think, some of us that work with CPAs, where we think of it like okay, it's my like.

Erin Gray:

I'd be curious to know for you, to your clients of like oh, it's time for taxes, versus like actual tax planning, like I'm thinking of doing this, or these are my kind of ideas over the next year, two years, three years, like really forward thinking planning for like how do we optimize this, working with you and the CPA to figure out like what is kind of you know and there's when I say strategy, like obviously ultimately coming back to yourself and like what feels good, you're knowing that kind of stuff but like give me some ideas, like what you were just saying about the student loans, you know like no idea, had no idea about that, Right, and so I think there's a lot of things that are out there for people that either we're not talking about it, we're not sharing it, we don't and, as the consumer, like we don't know about it, so we don't even know the questions to ask, to even know that this is a possibility absolutely.

Andy Moran:

Yeah, I feel like that's definitely the tax planning is.

Andy Moran:

So that's kind of one of the reasons I focus on it in the marketing is it's just. It is such a pain point that people feel like a lot of times people when, when I, when you say you're a financial planner, they may not really like know what that, what that even is or what that fully means, like they may know, like it's associated with money somehow, maybe they they think, oh, it's around investments, um, but really it's. I mean, at least the way that I approach it for me is like it's really around, like what kind of life do you want to live? And then kind of like how can we work to make that possible through the system that we have and kind of the resources that you have? So yeah, the tax planning piece I feel is very important because everyone feels the pain of taxes in their life. So it's kind of a thing that's like a more known and understood thing. But I think most people they think of it as, like you know, you give your documents to the CPA.

Erin Gray:

It's like, okay, they do my taxes right.

Andy Moran:

But it's like no, you can like strategize around how you want to potentially like realize income like how you want to. You know, maybe you want to, especially if you're like a bit like for business owners and solopreneurs. You know you can have a self-employed 401k and put a lot more money into those than you could on the kind of the consumer end 401k at a company. I think the I think this year it's something like $70,000 or somewhere in that ballpark that you can. So if you're a business owner, let's say you're at a 35% tax bracket, that's a pretty significant tax savings if you're deferring, I mean whether that's long-term optimal, that's kind of another question, because there's definitely advantages to also and there's honestly benefit to, I think, to a certain degree from a tactical perspective, having some funds in each of these types of accounts gives you different leverage, right Like there's some cases where you may need to realize more income, in which case having money in a 401k could be a way that actually generates some of that income versus like.

Andy Moran:

If you have all your money in Roth accounts like, that's awesome, that's great. But like you basically wasted some of that income versus like. If you have all your money in Roth accounts like that's awesome, that's great, but, like you, basically, are wasted some of it because you could have realized some income and not paid any taxes on it. So a lot of these will, you know, vary depending on your specific situation, but I think so much of it tends to be like iterative kind of you know, planning out a kind of a course of you know, maybe like looking ahead to to the next couple years and tactically, like what's coming up, how can we strategize around it, and then, as those events occur and life happens, like the reality is like this, I feel modern life is very dynamic.

Andy Moran:

like you know, you look back like three, three year, like two years, three years, five years, at least for me, like my life, I feel, was very different at each of those points yes you know, and I feel like trying to project out two, three, five years, like yeah, it's, it's not, it's not a bad idea to have like a direction and like a course, but like you also have to be flexible with that and realize that things change. Right, that's just the nature of reality yeah, I 100 agree, we.

Erin Gray:

I was sitting down with our daughter she's gonna turn 12 and at the time when she was born, we were working with our financial planner and we lived in Texas at the time, and so I was telling Grayson, like okay, well, we did this. It's called the Texas tuition promise fund, which, basically, in Texas, it was like you put a lump sum of money in, right. And I'm like, okay, well, how does that? First of all, like Aaron, back then she was doing the best that she could, right, like, she wanted to make sure her child, you know. But like now, my kid is like I don't even know if I'm going to go to school, mom. And like, am I even going to go to school in Texas? Which probably not, right, like. And so it's just like what you're saying.

Erin Gray:

Like we, I think that what we're trying to feel when we're trying to plan so far ahead is safety and security and certainty. Right, and so many of us have been taught that by doing something that's going to bring that feeling, versus knowing and becoming and generating those feelings within us. Because, you know, now I look back and I'm like, okay, I mean, we could, we can take the money out. It's our money. But it's just like I literally was my baby was a newborn, right, and we were planning when she was going to be 18 and like what you know what are the units in college and all of this kind of stuff. And now it's like that cannot eat, like it could probably be so one 80 and farthest from the what might happen, right. And so, really, just like you're saying, andy, of having the knowledge and having also that flexibility, right, like, okay, let's try this and let's do this for a year or two and then let's reevaluate.

Erin Gray:

I think so many of us think, okay, that is the plan, we're going down this route for 18, 20 years, you know, versus, like, like you said, like my life, your life is so vastly different than it was several years ago, like allowing for that flexibility and for that freedom. I want to go back real quick, just because I'm curious. So, the self-employed 401k and I know I'm not holding you to the numbers, but I'm trying to remember with the SEP IRA and the self-employed 401k, is there a difference tax-wise or is it just a dollar amount? But the SEP are your employees able to do that as well? I'm trying to pull back my memory. I'm like I cannot remember.

Andy Moran:

I think the big thing with the SEP versus the Solo is it's a little less flexible. If you want to have, I think the big thing with the SEP is it's only employer contributions, so employees can't contribute. So the solo one 401k has a little more flexibility because you can kind of contribute, like if you're a solopreneur, you can kind of contribute as the employee and as the employer. So SEPs, though, the big thing is like if you're offering them whatever contribution that you're offering yourself, you kind of also have to offer it in kind too. So maybe you don't want to offer to employees the same structure that you want to set up for your own, and that, versus like a 401k, is a little more flexible. You could have employer contributions but you could also kind of have that employee flexibility where they can put in their own money, you can match them or whatever else maybe.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, that it brings back to days, they're a little simpler to create though maybe, yeah, that that, um, it brings back to days.

Andy Moran:

They're a little simpler to create, though.

Erin Gray:

So in one 401ks there's a little bit more.

Andy Moran:

like I was going to say, when you get up to a certain amount of assets, there's an extra, yeah, there's an extra layer of compliance where you have to file like a form with the IRS it's. I mean, there are companies that will kind of do potentially a little more flexibility, um, to the types of ways that you want to set it up. Um, I, I want to say a bunch of stuff, but then I'm like not sure if this is correct, Cause I haven't. I haven't been in this, this space, for the steps for a while. I remember, you know, a year ago, when I was studying for the CFP exam, I had all this stuff down. But then you know, when you go into the field and you're actually doing the work right, it's much more like, as it comes up, you're like, okay, I know the lay of the land where I need to look, but you're not necessarily like, in any given moment, like you don't need to know every everything.

Erin Gray:

No, it's, it's it. That was one of the things that I really had to learn, because I used to have such anxiety with my clients, because I put so much pressure on myself to know and I'm like, wait a second. When I call my CPA, they tell me nine times out of 10, I don't know, let me go look it up. Why am I expecting myself to know every single thing for every client? And like what you're saying with the, when you said that with the SEP it's definitely I think it's an employer funded side versus the 401k right, like you get to and you can do different things of you know profit sharing and matching and all kinds of stuff.

Andy Moran:

And so I think, like what you're saying, um you know I could be wrong here that my thought was like I feel like maybe they don't support Roth Roth accounts. I may be incorrect on that. I need to circle back and double check on that.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, oh, a SEP IRAs you mean mean, yeah, I think it's just traditional IRA. And hey, to all of you listening and watching, go do your own research. We're just giving you some ideas and some thought processes to take and run with it and little nuggets to think about differently. But, yeah, I think that and like anything right, it's like.

Erin Gray:

This is the sentiment I keep hearing from people is like I don't know what I don't know. You know, like I, there was a lot of things that I either brought to my family's construction business or I learned on the job while we were. You know, um, like you're saying, like with the 401k and like all of the TPA, which is third party administration, and just like the. You know IRS regulations and like that stuff. You learn in real time like some of that can be sped up. You know IRS regulations and like that stuff, you learn in real time Like some of that can be sped up. You know, through either working with someone that knows that stuff, and sometimes it's just like now we're in this position. Now I need to figure it out, you know.

Erin Gray:

So, um, would you love to share about like advice only, financial planners like fee-based or is would you? Would you term advice only and fee-based in the same category versus kind of uh? What would you? Would you term advice only and fee based in the same category versus kind of uh? What would you? How would you kind of categorize other financial planners that kind of like generate income over your total assets and things of that sort?

Andy Moran:

yeah, there's all kinds of different labels and some of them, you know, maybe more or less confusing the consumer, like to. Certainly, I feel like advisors probably care about these labels more than consumer. Although I definitely came into it, um, you know, my perspective was I always felt like an advisor collecting what they call the assets under management. Aum, yep, I I always was kind of like viewed it as like shoot, they're just trying to like collect rent was the words and kind of the phrase that I had to use to describe that on my I've. I've since like realized like I feel like every model has got its pros and cons. So so maybe, like I'll start with kind of like some basics, like even when you get licensed as a financial advisor, so like it kind of.

Andy Moran:

For me, my path started when I kind of had a friend who approached me for help with investing. He'd had a successful business and was kind of looking for help on the investment side and that kind of really kicked off in me. I was not looking to make a career change at that point. I was kind of I had just started my own career break. I was. I was actually kind of looking at maybe doing like freelancing. I had been doing more web programming the last couple years and I could maybe freelance around there. I started taking a machine learning course. I was like I kind of want to learn a little bit about that.

Andy Moran:

But I had this friend approached me for investment help and it just, you know, I was like what is even required to do this, like legally, as like an independent, you know person? So I I learned that the licensing is kind of not. It's interesting there's a few different paths to licensing, that a financial, any like a financial advisor quote unquote can mean many different things. Um, it can mean, like at one level, people that are licensed to sell insurance products often answers like I'm a financial advisor but like fundamentally they're there to sell insurance products, right, and there's, so that's, there's a licensing that's specific to that. There's also like a licensing that's specific to selling investment products. Like you make money selling commissioned mutual funds or commissioned like annuities or different kinds of products. I actually I think annuities would fall under the insurance.

Erin Gray:

Well, let me yeah, no, no, no, I think it is under the series and I just want to say that there are different licenses for investments, right, like, because I knew people that took, like, and I know we're going down a rabbit hole, but I think it's important to know, right Like, there are people that you can take, like, a series six, right, but I had to take the series seven, which was a much more in detailed, and so there are differences of, like, what you can sell based on the licenses and the tests that you take. So, and and I don't want to there's no good or bad right, it's just like knowledge and knowing, like what does your advisor hold? And like what you know, what can they sell? Oh, and I want to talk about captive and non-captive, but go ahead and keep talking about the licenses and things of that sort sure, yeah.

Andy Moran:

So then kind of, on the other, so if, if you want to sell advice but you don't have any like commission products to sell, you don't get any commissions off of investment products or insurance products, there's the series 65, um, so that's kind of what most like most people that are like I'm a fiduciary financial advisor, usually it's like they hold like the serious 65 is kind of like the basic license to hold, which is really not that high of a bar. Like you know, it didn't take me a lot of studying to pass that test. To be honest, if I'm, it was not. I mean, definitely as soon as I passed the test I'm like I realized, yeah, I really don't know enough to do this in charge of people's money, like no way. So like that was just the beginning of my journey and then, kind of from there, I took the Certified Financial Planner coursework and they, you know, I started doing like externships and masterminds and I was, you know, really like learning from, like people that had been doing it, people that are, you know, in the best, like the top 100 financial advisor lists, and a lot of those kind of folk I started hanging out with learning from.

Andy Moran:

But anyway, so fee-only versus and fee-based are kind of based off the idea that so fee-based advisors will be able to potentially charge a fee that's directly for the advice and they may also have commissioned products, as opposed to someone if they're only making money through these other products. Fee-based means that you can charge a base fee at the core. There may be ancillary services that commissions are earned on. After Fee-only is this of like hey, we're not incentivized by our commissions. Like our advice is unbiased, it's just based off what's in your interest, right? Yep, and I think that really kind of came into play a lot in the 90s and kind of has grown a lot over the last 20, 30 years At least that's my perspective as an outsider from what I hear and there's been a lot of variations and evolutions of that now where I know there's folks that are like we're a flat fee planner where we only charge like a flat fee and that may include investment management or not. So when I launched my firm, I started as what they call advice only, which is like we don't even offer investment management in case for people that are afraid that you know the fact that you could manage investments creates a conflict of interest. So I have kind of moved away from that to where I now I'm offering, like, like investment management is an optional thing for me, like I don't need to manage your investments, right, I kind of charge the same fee regardless. If people want to do it themselves or if I'm going to manage the investments for them, I just charge a flat fee for that. But it is kind of interesting to me just, yeah, all these new models evolve to serve new segments.

Andy Moran:

Because, like I came in, you know, with that whole thing of like I would have sought out an advisor myself in the case of where I really felt that I didn't know what I didn't know, because like I kind of knew that theoretically but like I didn't feel it was enough of a pain point for me to have ever searched out an advisor. Um, in my head I always thought of it as if I find out my company is going to ipo. That's when I probably want to reach out to someone, because I knew about alternative minimum tax. I knew about these things.

Andy Moran:

But then actually putting together, calculating that tax, strategizing around it and the impact it has, that's kind of where I felt like, okay, I would definitely need to reach out to someone in this case. So I kind of started with that model but it somewhat evolved because I realized, or one of the things at I feel like the end, like there are people that do care about it, but like no one's like coming to your business just because you have a different business model. Right, you can be like this is me, I have this unique model but, like you know, people fundamentally care about. Can you help me with my problem?

Andy Moran:

Not like, are you running? Like the most pure business? Like you know, and and and it's easy to get fixated on with these ideas of like purity because, like, like, I grew up with a strong kind of a like traditional, faith-based upbringing where I think a lot of that still stuck, of like this idea of like this purity of what I'm offering, but, like the consumer, it doesn't necessarily. I mean, there are some people for whom they they seek out those kind of planners, and I'm glad there are more different types of planners out there so people can find the kind that maybe fits with what they're looking for. Um, but also, as you say, like I've seen sometimes you, you go into it thinking you want a thing, and then you, so a lot of people come to financial advisors. They come to us like for a thing or two, yeah, but then they kind of don't realize in the process, like all the other stuff, that we're it's like weaving down a little rabbit hole right Like yeah, I mean going back to like you don't know what you don't know.

Erin Gray:

And then you talk to someone who does this all day, every day, and then you get more clarity and you're like, oh, but then this and this, and then this stuff starts to come out of you know the purity part. It's like I would much rather work with someone who is genuinely loves what they're doing and like the relationship is there. Like I have over the. You know I had a planner for a long time but it became very transactional based. It was like okay, here's my you know annual or quarter like call to you versus like this doesn't really feel fun. You know what I mean. Like and I think that's I mean that is something really important.

Erin Gray:

Like I want to go work with people like that want to have some fun and like, oh, I'm going to go meet like because I think we already have so much heavy feelings around money already. It's like going to talk to your CPA or your you know attorney or your financial planner. It's like let's have some fun when we go do it. Like that to me is for me, that's my belief, right. Like that weighs more heavily for me than like someone that knows all of the things and is like oh, I got to go see so-and-so because it's time to go. Do that, you know.

Andy Moran:

Absolutely, I definitely like that. I feel like that's definitely what proved to be the case, at least, kind of working with my first few clients. I feel that most people, they they chose to work with me because, like maybe I was also had been in tech or I had been a programmer and kind of things that they could resonate to in a way that, like a traditional financial advisor wouldn't necessarily have that same background. And even as is now, like actually I just literally yesterday I was sending paperwork to a new client too they kind of were already working with an advisor but they're like I don't feel like my advisor gets me, like I they kind of felt they didn't really feel very understood or and kind of when I was like digging into like their situation, I was really surprised that the things their advisor hadn't been talking about with them, like really you don't talk about, like you know your your like as a business, as someone who's like doing freelancing, like they're not like preparing you for your tax bill, like throughout the year, like they're not working, like to me I'm like that's like table stakes, right, this is just like basic.

Andy Moran:

You know the stuff that if you're serving business owners, that you know it's a huge pain point. It's a huge part of the value that you can help people with. So my very first client, too, he was like I like that you're not driving the fancy cars. And he's like, hey, I like the financial advisor who lives out of a van and is traveling around and living his best life. I found a lot of people resonate with that and, ironically, a lot of CPAs and accountants. I feel like a lot of. I don't know if it's like the stereotype of like this life that's interesting and exotic versus the stereotype of, maybe a typical.

Erin Gray:

I think you're living the life they want. I think that's what's happening.

Andy Moran:

I feel I'm. I look at a lot of times I look around at people that are they like to talk about how successful they are and all this stuff. I'm like I'm pretty sure I'm living a much happier life and I don't mean that, to say that like in an egoistic, you know, but I, you know it's. You can have all these numbers, you can check all the things on the box so you can be very successful Like I, I know, in Silicon Valley. I've seen people with you know large exits and, like you know tens of millions of dollars that are not that happy, miserable.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, I think this is really important to drive home and this is like at the core of my message, right Of like it's really how we feel. Like we have been so conditioned in society to say like, oh, someone's successful or I'm successful, and it is a dollar amount in your bank account or what your revenue or profit is in your business, and you're miserable and there is no amount of money that is ever going to bring you that feeling. And so, like what Andy is saying without saying, it is like how do you actually want to define your success? Right? Like success for me is like a life well lived. Right, like having fun along the way as I create more and give back, and you know, it's just like all areas of your life feel like fulfilled and and that's not to say I don't have bad days and you know all of that Right, but it's just like on a on a baseline, daily basis, like do I love waking up in the morning? Do I love putting my head on my pillow at the end of the night and being like that was so fun today? Right, and I think that for a lot, of, a lot of us I know I was in this boat that that isn't necessarily the case, you know.

Erin Gray:

And so, really defining for yourself, like, what, what is success look like for you? What is you know? Like so many people, you know it's like, oh, I have successful business, but your marriage is shit. It's like, is that really success? Is that success that your children don't know who you are, because you've spent all of your time building your business, which is great, I understand that. And also, like, where is that what you, what you want to, to kind of life do you want to live?

Erin Gray:

And so, yeah, I think, I think that I'm putting my beliefs on the CPAs and the accountants, but I really were the or the financial advisors. But I really think, like it's one thing you know, it's almost like you know, when you go and you take a business course from a professor, versus taking a business course from an entrepreneur that just happens to teach the business course, you know it's like you are a living, breathing thing. That is practicing what you preach, right, like that's, that's why we save, that's why we invest, that's why we do all of the things we do is like to have the life that we want. I do want to go back real quick because I think this is important because this applies to insurance agents too, and this is something that I learned, you know, through financial planning. But like, there is captive and non-captive and I don't think a lot of people know about like.

Erin Gray:

Like what, what did that? What does that mean from an insurance standpoint? Or like a um funds, investment funds, things of that sort. If you want to share, share with people about that.

Andy Moran:

Sure, I you might know you probably know a lot more about this than I do, so I'll I'll just share, like what, what I think I know, which may not actually be the most accurate Cause I haven't been in this space a whole lot, but, um, at least as far as I understand it, the idea is that you know the captive agents. They're kind of there to only sell one family of product under a certain like, basically, like they're only, they can only sell the products that you know. The people that are supporting them to sell want them to sell. Yep, versus maybe someone who has more latitude to employ like a broad. They're not beholden to any particular like family of products.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, yeah, is that? Is that? Is that correct? That's perfect. Yeah, I think that that's really like.

Erin Gray:

I mean, it's just, if you go to your local agent, sometimes they might only be able to sell a couple of insurance product like, yeah, insurance. Like, when I say insurance products, what I mean is companies, brands of insurance, right, or same thing, like with you know you're talking about index funds, so that's not a captive thing, right, but like, just if you are choosing different types of funds, just being aware of, like, if they're not suggesting index funds and they are suggesting other brands of mutual funds or things of that sort, is it coming from a place of like, these are all of your options, or is it coming from these are your options, you know? So, just being aware of what that is. And and, yeah, if you hear we go back to like it's just knowledge, right, like a lot of people think like, oh, this is what my advisor, this is what you know, my insurance recommended insurance agent recommended, but it's like, do you, do you know that there's lots of other things that you can to do or invest in?

Andy Moran:

there's lots of other things that you can to do or invest in.

Andy Moran:

Absolutely I, uh, so my my undergrad before I studied computer science, before I kind of got into personal finance side was my undergrad, was economics, and I feel, of all the things I learned in economics, the only I yeah, there's a lot of just a lot of macros, a lot of like philosophy and psychology actually mixed in with it, because it's like how do you understand human behavior at scale?

Andy Moran:

But one of the things that really struck with me is just the extent to which incentives have the potential to shape outcomes and and. And that doesn't mean that, if you know, someone has commissioned products, because, like you know, there's the case where sometimes it's easier for people to get if they have their advisor that can, you know, write that life insurance policy for them that they need. Yeah, you know, it's like there's definitely an argument to be made that that's a that can be a better end service to the client at times. So it's, yeah, but it's, you know, kind of just important to know what, what the incentives are, so that, yeah, you can kind of then make the decision that's the most appropriate for sure yeah, yeah.

Erin Gray:

Do you have anything else that you want to add, or uh, share?

Andy Moran:

well when you mentioned about defining success. It's interesting because I had thought about that recently like I was thinking about well, what would it like? What? What does my life look like? When I say that if I'm gonna like how do I define success for myself? And I I kind of made it, you know, like a bullet for him. I was like, hey, can I spend winter somewhere warm?

Andy Moran:

For me it's like, can I not feel rushed in the morning? I like having two or three hours before working, because I think modern life is very stimulated and very so. I think having some time in the morning is just really important to me, which is hard to accommodate in a nine to five without getting up at like 5am, which is also not a thing that I left the idea, frankly. You know, when my income exceeds my expenses, I don't necessarily need to. You know I don't have like a gigantic number I need to achieve, but like, am I cash flow positive here? Can I take frequent vacations, like, for example? Like maybe like every quarter? You know, am I working on projects that excite me and allow me to do good work? You know, do I have happy people in my life? Can I dress as I please? Can I say no to new business? You know?

Erin Gray:

can I host like a?

Andy Moran:

social gathering every month and, like, can I give back give to people without, like, without really any kind of second thought to it? Yep, and those are kind of the criteria for me. But getting clear on what that is for you, um, and it's a journey and it evolves over time, no doubt. But, um, getting more clear on those things is, you know, it's the numbers. It kind of focusing on the numbers first and then having that it doesn't like lead to success, but like, if really focusing on what is you want out of life, yeah, um, then once you kind of have that vision, it's easier to kind of have the supporting resources work to achieve that.

Erin Gray:

Yeah, it's like creating it's. It's the back ass words way we've been taught, right. It's like it's actually creating what you want, like knowing what you want and then creating it from that space. And I will say, like Aaron, four years ago, when you asked her, like what do you want? I knew what I didn't want. Right, that's what I knew and for some of us that's actually where we have to it. Might you know where we start? Because we have that polarity, we have that contrast. I exactly what you're saying. I knew I was tired of working all of the time. I knew that.

Erin Gray:

You know, like you're saying getting up and that feeling of rushing. It's funny you say that Cause I was sitting just watching the birds and the squirrels this morning and I'm just like gosh, how far have I come, you know to where? Like no phone, no phone calls, no, nothing. Like it's nine o'clock in the morning and I'm just like hanging with my kid on the couch and we're watching the squirrels. You know, like it seems so, like also to Aaron probably four years ago would have been like that, that, like that, but like that is everything. Because how to like that feeling? That I feel, is not a it's of calm and peace, right, Versus pressure and rush, and I think so many of us have just accepted.

Erin Gray:

I think accepted and tolerated that might be a good word for like rushing and like you don't have to live your life like that, like really getting clear and and a little bit at a time, right, Like maybe it is where you get to sleep, in you know, a little bit more, or you, you know, do take a little bit of a slower route to work, or whatever it is for you, that's just a little bit of, a little bit outside your comfort zone. For you, because I think it does feel a little uncomfortable when we're, you know, changing from our old way like you said, pain points, you know, like from our old way of being. It does feel uncomfortable, right, Like if you're used to having chaos and stress all of the time, your body is going to send you signals. When you're not in stress and chaos, right, it's going to want you to return back, because that's what it's known and that's what it's used to.

Erin Gray:

Versus what do I want my life to look like? How do I actually like starting with opposite of money? How do I want to feel, you know, on a day in and day out basis. Yeah, I think that's brilliant, because that's that's really what we're going for, you know, and and then the money just happens as a byproduct, versus the money being the pillar and then trying to make everything else go around it.

Andy Moran:

I think too, sometimes we we get in these cycles where, like you say, like we, we get to the point where we know that what we don't want, we realize it in negative way. We don't want x, I almost think, and sometimes it's even hard to know what the why is until you've given yourself space. So part of what I feel like I really want to do is to normalize the conversations we have around the idea of career breaks, because I feel like I used to market myself as the tech sabbatical planner and that was kind of the language I used and I still will talk about sabbaticals. I'm not anti-sabbatical here, that's definitely not my intent, but I almost feel like that we're so afraid of saying the word break that we have to wrap it up in language because we can't even allow ourselves to consider that like sometimes you just need a break, like, yeah, human, human, real talk here. Like um, like I knew for me, like I knew I wanted to do some traveling, like I knew I. So I knew there were some things. I knew I didn't want to just stay in the bay area although ironically I may end up moving there next month but that's kind of a whole different segue there, but it'll be different this time, um, but. But sometimes you don't even know, like, until you have that space, like I never I wasn, I wasn't, I never envisioned I was going to switch to financial planning and like, literally these things just unfolded Once I gave myself the space.

Andy Moran:

New opportunities emerge and I even find that still ongoing. Right, I, you know, launched my firm last year and you know you start different things just by putting yourself out there, by having the space for it. Things emerge that you consciously didn't necessarily plan. I've been getting potential offers around FinTech consulting because I can help people navigate, I could write code and do software engineering, but I'm also a personal finance expert as well and I feel those skill sets are usually not in the same person as well. Like I, kind of, and I feel those skill sets are usually not in the same person. So I've been finding myself getting you know, finding the interesting crossroads there, potentially attracting those opportunities as well, and that was not you know a thing.

Andy Moran:

You plan like my interest and everything totally changed too for my own career break, like, um, I was not a big nature outdoorsy person at all, but like my original travel plans is like you know, I was going to go to cities and go to like concerts and events and do the check out the next city that I wanted to live in.

Andy Moran:

But, like the course of kind of doing van, like a lot of nomadic van life and doing a lot of like wild camping, all in these like giant open spaces, especially in like kind of between the sierras and the rockies, I I really like fell in love with, like these wide open spaces and nature and astronomy of like now do like astrophotography and like all these hobbies that I didn't even like do before or consider like they weren't part of how I viewed myself.

Andy Moran:

And sometimes you don't like even it's hard to you know we don't always give ourselves space to be who we are, cause, like modern society imposes these demands on us. But, like I think sometimes we just need a break to even know what the next step is. And it's scary though, because you take a break and you don't always know what the plan is. And maybe you, maybe you build a buffer, you know, maybe you have like a fund that's like okay, this is my replacement income money. Maybe you, maybe you build like an account that's like a transition fund into the world. Right, like some buffer, maybe you do all these things. But even then, like you know, there is it's definitely like an element of when you take a leap like that. There is an element of like you don't always know how it's going to turn out.

Andy Moran:

But you know, there's sometimes where it's like we can get ourselves so attached to comfort yeah that it's almost like more uncomfortable staying in these comfortable positions and in leading us down a direction that's not like being true to ourselves. Even if we don't consciously know it, like we may not be consciously aware, there might be like a part of us that's yearning, you know, to have experiences that we don't even know that we're going to have. Yet, like I, so many things, I I have so many stories. Last few years I didn't even really talk about travel or adventure too much, or any of that.

Erin Gray:

We might have a part two for that.

Andy Moran:

So many stories that just you know it's and like none of like, like none of that was was stuff I predicted, anticipated, planned, um, and sometimes, sometimes you just need to give yourself space to feel those things and experience them.

Erin Gray:

I love that you said that, because that is such a huge thing. Like we don't allow ourselves time Right and we're so scared because we're so I don't know if I had major deja vu for a hot second when you said you know we're addicted to the comfort Cause I was just was I telling you that or someone else that I was talking about Like almost the money that we make we get into this comfort of, like we don't want to leave that, that little, you know little comfort lifestyle that we have. And I don't know anybody that has left the comfort and has wished they would go back to how it was right, like it doesn't look anything like what they thought it would and everything like what they wanted to feel. And you know just that. That that, like you said that giving yourself that space same thing like with you with travel. Like I thought I wanted travel to look a certain way and then the more that I traveled, I'm like I don't want to be anywhere near. I mean I love all the humans and I don't want to be in a you know a city, like I want to be all about the animals and the nature and like the vastness, like very intentional with how we travel now, and so that couldn't have happened if I one never gave myself the opportunity to take time off and to actually went and did some things and then realize that's not really what I'm looking for and then being able to be flexible, to change, like how do we want to travel, but the space part is huge. Like we don't even give. Like even you think about meetings. How many of us jam pack every single second of our day Like here's? You know what Andy and I are talking about.

Erin Gray:

The goal ultimately right, if, if you want, is to take some time off from work, but like you can start small right now of like looking at your calendar to see, like is do I even have time to like go sit out in the sun and enjoy my iced tea for 20 minutes between one meeting and the next? Like am I even allowing myself a bathroom break? Like I can't tell you how many people I talk to. They're like, yeah, I don't. You know, go into the bathroom. I'm just like our sweet bodies.

Erin Gray:

You know, like what we're doing of just this constant, we're under this stress, pressure cooker, versus, like you say, and and being bored, right, like we don't value being bored, right? We are in a society where, I mean, how many times you go out to eat and people are eating together and they're scrolling on whatever platform they're on, right Versus, it's okay to look out the window and just watch whatever happens, you know, because, and I think that goes back to like, do we like being with ourselves, right, like, do we like? Do we like our own company? Do we enjoy who we are? No-transcript.

Andy Moran:

I love that.

Erin Gray:

No, absolutely yeah. So where can people find you and if they want to reach out to you, connect with you, all of the things?

Andy Moran:

Sure. So I kind of maintain a link tree kind of site at andymoranio A-N-D-Y-M-O-R-A-Nio and that'll kind of have links to my firm and kind of be posting kind of things here and there like promos and freebies. Kind of got some things in the work for this year so I'm excited for it.

Erin Gray:

Okay, where do you put all of the things that you like travel, like all your pictures and things of that sort, like where does that go?

Andy Moran:

Oh man, honestly I don't. I feel like I don't post enough. It's mostly on my Instagram stories, so it's not super branded, like, it's mostly just my personal instagram. But like, feel free, if you guys, if people are interested, they can stalk me there. And yeah, I'm, I don't do a lot of. I feel like I do more stuff in the story form. It's a little more ephemeral, it's kind of fun, so you can't always. You know, that's kind of where I am the most active at posting travel stuff. I mean, every so often I'll do a linkedin where I or, like recently, I did a blog about like how much it costs me to spend like a month in Cancun. Currently I'm doing this interview from a Puerto Vallarta right now for another month, you know, practicing what.

Erin Gray:

I preach here. I'm like Andy was surfing yesterday.

Andy Moran:

I'm like yeah, definitely the highest and the lowest, but yeah, no, it's been a fun ride and I am looking forward to continuing surfing the wave.

Erin Gray:

Ah, perfect, okay. Thank you, andy, for all your time and your knowledge. I appreciate it.

Andy Moran:

Oh, thank you so much, Aaron.

Erin Gray:

Thank you for tuning in today. I appreciate you spending your time with me. I created grow the CEO cohort for the entrepreneur that wants to be in a community with other heart-based entrepreneurs. It's a place where we blend the 3d of money like understanding your bookkeeping and taxes and investing and how it applies to your business along with the 5D of money the energetics and the emotions that you feel with money. To learn more about Grow the CEO cohort, you can head over to my website at generatealifewelllivedcom. And, as always, from my soul to yours,

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Perspectives on Finance and Life
Financial Planning and Investment Advice
Tax Planning and Financial Strategy
Differences Between SEP and 401k
Financial Advisor Licensing and Fee Models
Understanding Captive vs Non-Captive Agents
Embracing Change and Creating Space
Entrepreneur Growth and Support Program