Talk Wealth to Me

#111 Making the Decision to Move for Financial Freedom and Less Stress with Brad Pagano

November 19, 2021 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Brad Pagano Season 5 Episode 9
Talk Wealth to Me
#111 Making the Decision to Move for Financial Freedom and Less Stress with Brad Pagano
Show Notes Transcript

"Home is where the heart is", they say. For many home is where they were born and raised and no matter the situation that's where they stay. For many however the pandemic had people looking at their situations differently. One of those was former San Diego Financial Literacy Center and California resident Brad Pagano. A financial professional, veteran of the non-profit industry, Brad reflected on his life and what he wanted out of it for he and his family going forward. Less financial stress was at the top of the list and that wasn't going to be possible if he stayed where he was.

Brad joins the Talk Wealth to Me crew to discuss the financial decisions that went into moving out of the city he had lived in for 17 years and making a new life for his family.  

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Talk Wealth to Me, a safe space podcast, where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance, The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting , legal tax or other professional advice,

Felipe Arevalo:

Different, a completely different environment?

Brad Pagano:

Yeah, everything's different. I mean , uh, the schools are it's ridiculous. I mean, obviously Chase, I think the kids are both at Bishops,

Chase Peckham:

They are.

Brad Pagano:

So you don't got to worry about, but just the difference in the schooling and the academia out here compared to California, I probably should have left after Xavier passed away because Emma lost two years. Um, I mean she excelled in California. We're getting her up to speed here. So, I mean it's different world , um,

Chase Peckham:

And that's the public school system too , right?

Brad Pagano:

Oh yeah. It's dynamite. I mean, it's, we, when we went to buy the house, we had her dad who was a former superintendent look into the school districts and we found the two school districts we wanted to go into. Then we found the house and we basically are a five minute walk from her elementary school. Um, there's more kids in her elementary school than there wa the town that I live in the census in 2010 was 987 people. There's more kids in her elementary school.

Chase Peckham:

Oh my gosh.

Brad Pagano:

Yeah. We live about 35 minutes Northwest of Austin. It's unbelievable, dude. It's we live on the edge of what's called hill country. Um , my house as appreciated 146%, 15 months,

Chase Peckham:

15 months.

Felipe Arevalo:

Good timing.

Chase Peckham:

What is the reason for that? Besides just COVID in the whole, just housing across the world, across the states.

Brad Pagano:

Uh, we are basically what Poway and Scripps ranch was 15 years ago. We're just on the outskirts. Nobody really wants to be there, but everybody's coming. And you know, what was a bunch of open? Like they're extending the toll road all the way out to my house now because of this, the vast number of people it's , it's unbelievable. The only where to go north of us is Fort hood. So there's limited space between us and north and in west is all protected countries . So we're in the last stop on the line and that's where everybody wants to move to because cost of living , um, we're a different county than Austin, so we're not restricted by Austin's Idiocracy and , um, it's, it's it's well , it was , it is rural, but it's getting bigger. I'm going to be in it's crazy, man. So it's nuts,

Chase Peckham:

So you left, you were in California. You're a good portion of your professional life. Uh, if , if I remember

Brad Pagano:

I was in Cali for 17 years, so I started, I got out of school in 99 and did some work with the Senator and a Congressman, and then kind of got on that path and non-profit stuff. And it basically cut my teeth in California. And now I'm doing consulting for small business owners, and you'd be surprised how many people from California are here.

Chase Peckham:

Well, And that's the reason for this podcast is so many people for , for numerous reasons , um, are looking at other ways to live life. And you mentioned right at the beginning, and I didn't hit record fast enough, but you mentioned Texas, no stress. And you know, and , and I , I say that because here in California , uh, through the pandemic and everything else, cost of living is astronomical , uh, in San Diego, the coastline, San Francisco LA, I mean, it's just what you get for your money. Is it , I guess we don't know any better because we live in it every day. So what made it, and , and you're hearing not only are individuals and families moving out of California and heading for different pastures, but so are businesses, so in such a large portion , um, is going to Texas. So you having done it and being a colleague of Phil's and mine and remembering that day, when you said, I'm getting out of here, we're out, we're out. What research went into that. And then what did you find was reality versus what you had preconceived notions over?

Brad Pagano:

Well, that's a great question. Obviously, you know, I'm a, I'm a person that's going to get my data together, right ?

Chase Peckham:

Just a bit yeah.

Brad Pagano:

So I actually did a lot of research on the economic development corporations. And because Texas has no state income tax that, that here, Idaho, Tennessee, Florida, there's a couple others. There's only nine states that don't have state income tax. That's only states. I was looking , um, my political ideology aside, I'm a, I'm a numbers guy . I'm a finance guy in , we were spending $11,000 a month to live in San Diego, barely get by on two salaries and investments and things. And we weren't able to save. And there was just so many things that brought the cost of living from where it was in 03 and the quality of life in 03. When I got there to a point where it was on 10th, then you kick in COVID and the guy getting arrested in the ocean and I'm like, that's it I'm out. Um, what did I do? Uh, there's a, there's a great website. And I actually found this website while I was teaching at , uh , San Diego Mesa , uh , that allow me to do some kind of comparative analysis, both qualitatively and quantitatively across the United States, measuring San Diego versus Idaho falls , uh , versus the outlaw outskirts of Nashville versus the outskirts of Austin , uh , versus just places we were looking. And , uh , what it really boiled down to was three things is, you know, when I wanted to go somewhere, I wanted to a , be able to not have stress. I wanted to not have any more financial stress , um , and financial stress that a point where, you know, paying the bills, wasn't a problem, but I mean, I'm pushing 45. I need to start really hammered in this retirement idea. Cause you know, I'm not going to be working until I'm 72. If I choose to work on 72, that's so be it. But I want to have the option to bounce when I'm 59. So that was number one. Um, second was the education. Um , my daughter was not getting a quality education and everything that we looked at was such that the funding for the schools was being locked up in other different ways. So I was looking for places where the funding for schools were earmarked for those schools, and we're not going to be reallocated towards fake pothole fixtures and a bullet train. It wasn't good for him . And then third and foremost, you know, I went through some personal tragedies that you guys know about and just some things were coming to fruition and I felt that we needed to change. And when you add up the financial, physical, educational and emotional stress that we were under , um, it was either, you know, it was either move or something else . So for me, I saw the writing on the wall. I did my due diligence. I read economic development reports. I looked at , uh , real estate impact reports. I looked at where people were going. I was looking at the largest businesses like Tesla and SpaceX and Google and apple and Dell and Facebook and Oracle and Samsung all repositioning assets to and around Austin, having a family member here, having friends from San Diego that had already moved here. Um, it came down to Austin, Nashville and Boston. Well, Boston's not for me. Uh, we can go on a different tangent on all that. You guys know why . Um, and it's nothing personal. It's just, you know, I'm not a big fan of taxes and freezing cold. And then Nashville, we went and visited and it just didn't ring the bell. So, I mean, we did some due diligence. We did some field trips and everything pointed to Austin. And then we decided to live in Williamson county, which is north of Travis county , uh, just because of some other factors, but it was the lower cost of living and higher ROI. And as I stated earlier, I bought my 2,700 square foot five bedroom, three bath house for 260 K. And right now I could sell it 450 .

Chase Peckham:

Wow,

Felipe Arevalo:

Good timing.

Chase Peckham:

Listen, listen to Phil . What'd you buy your condo for Phil.

Felipe Arevalo:

Oh 430.

Brad Pagano:

So for me it worked well for me, it was, you know, I sold my first house in San Diego and took that capital, went debt-free and got liquid, which we've always talked about. The SDLC when we were teaching liquidity is a key, you know, and that helped me just do a lot of different things. It helped me kind of put my toes in the water in a real estate investing in crypto investing , um, the market itself. And then obviously when I had my firm, I was looking at some other opportunities and , um, you know, like I said, my grandfather was alive. He told me, you know, there's literally there's earth, you know, land and air. There's only two things they're not making more of and you can only buy one.

Felipe Arevalo:

Right.

Chase Peckham:

That's sound advice.

Brad Pagano:

Um , so I basically have started, I've started now. We'll do I miss San Diego? Absolutely. I miss you guys. I miss a lot of things about San Diego. What I don't miss is having a $3,500 mortgage payment for a house that's 60 years old. Uh, what I don't miss is watching my taxes go up every single day because politics has got their hands out and they're going to tax me for doing the things that are just trying to make a living on. Um, what I don't like is people reaching in my pocket, taking money out of it when they didn't do a thing to hurt him . So for me personally, personally, you and I have spoken about that ad nauseum. And so it was time for a change, you know, and , um, there is just a ton of data out there, but you know, I didn't choose Austin because it was everywhere. Everywhere was going. I chose Austin strategically, maybe as a stopover on our path to somewhere else. Well, eventually you both know, I want to move to Costa Rica. That's where I really want to end up, but if I can get here and get a supplanting here, and now what I just found out is you guys are all virtual, you know, I'm virtual. Uh, I've got an office here in Round Rock, Texas that I come to every now and again. Um , you know, but I'm a full-time consultant. I'm a part-time professor, I'm a owner of two other LLCs. I'm a president of my alumni association, a husband and a father. And you know how busy I like to keep myself. And it just wasn't healthy for what I was doing in California. So fundamentally I had to bounce and that's what I did.

Chase Peckham:

I'm so glad that we have you. And when Phil mentioned that we should talk to you on the podcast, it really rung true because there's so many people that talk about the mental and emotional impacts that financial stress can have on people. Um, and you know, financial stress then comes in other ways when there's other emotional situations that happen to us. But that , that financial part is always over your head. If you're just, if you're , if you decide I'm just gonna do the status quo. So when you actually walked the walk and, and you bounced , and is it everything that you had imagined , um, and more,

Brad Pagano:

Well, I tell you , uh, my cost of living has been cutting at least half,

Chase Peckham:

Half?

Brad Pagano:

Half. Uh , and I will say that my mortgage is half as much as what I was paying in California, my electricity, my water, my garbage, everything is about half as much. And I'm in part of what's called municipal utility district . So I could use no water. I could use lake Michigan, and I'm still getting a $56 bill each month.

Chase Peckham:

Wow.

Brad Pagano:

Um , my electricity is, I mean, it's just, it's half. Everything is half costs , half as much for gas. Now, obviously we're in a situation due to a lot of different factors where our supply chains are screwed up. And , um, you know, I'm basically being impacted from a rising gas prices and arising food prices, but it's not impacting me to the point because everything else is offset. So from a financial standpoint, it's everything I want because I'm able to now put aside, you know , and accelerate my savings. Um, you know , you know, almost 10 X , uh, you know, I'm basically putting aside, you know, I told Emma Finn when she graduates college, we're going to go to Africa and we're going to spend a month in Africa, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Europe. And I'm going to basically do two weeks with her and then drop her off to mom. So, I mean, I created an acorns account and in 15 months I put seven grand in an acorns account. And I couldn't do that in California. There's no way there's absolutely no way. So I mean, she's 10 years from graduating. I might have 70 grand in that account. You know, that's going to be a hell of a trip.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah one heck of a trip.

Brad Pagano:

And then whatever we don't use there we'll go to college. If she chooses to go to college, I've been able to really accelerate her savings in the 529. You know, we've been doing the financial trick where you pay two mortgage payments, a mortgage payment in the middle of mortgage payment , the end, accelerating that everything that we preach and we preached, and we built at SDFLC I'm able to do now because I have the bandwidth and the breathing room to do it. I don't have something else coming every other day, whether it be here's, this here's that my property taxes are flat. They have all kinds of rules here. And from a financial perspective, you know, it took some getting used to, you know, just to kind of be like, you know, it's like you walk in somewhere and you pull out a hundred bucks like , oh , that's 40, the hell's going on. So, you know, it's , it's just, you know , I was conditioned to think that, you know, everything is expensive and, you know, coming from the east coast to the west coast in 2003, you know, I had no idea, you know, I was young and dumb. Um, you know, just doing whatever I had to do, but then, you know, seeing it now, man, the financial aspect of leaving California, the minute we crossed the border, I gave myself a 50% raise. It's crazy. And to think that, to think that that's possible by just moving 1800 miles east or 1400 miles north to Idaho, where you have opportunities and the state's not always reaching out, trying to come up with some cockamamie scheme to get more money from you. It's amazing what a well-regulated well organized run government would do and allow people to actually thrive. We are thriving here . Businesses are thriving out here and it's something that I hadn't seen since probably just after 08 in California, when everybody bounced back after they got their rear ends kicked in the mortgage crisis. So it's, it's definitely something and it's just different. Money's not locked up in houses out here. People are wealthy. People have money. People have liquidity, you know, they're not cash, they're not house rich and cash poor. It's really different out here.

Felipe Arevalo:

It's funny. I, this weekend I was, I sounded came across an article on a KTLA where 12.6% of residents that moved the studies from 2019 that moved out of California actually went to Texas. And it was the number one most common destination, both from California to Texas. And then people entering Texas. Most of them were from California,

Chase Peckham:

Yeah 13% of California. since 2010 have moved to Texas somewhere in Texas. Now Texas is a very large place. Uh , so you know,

Brad Pagano:

Yes.

Chase Peckham:

When you're talking about, it's kind of like when people say they're going to come to California and they say, Hey, I'm coming to San Francisco. I'll drop down and see you that, you know, one evening , uh, it's , that's really not possible.

Brad Pagano:

You're not doing it. And I will say the data that I pulled now , obviously you guys know I'm a numbers nerd. So there's data. I pulled a system, 4 million people that have , uh, escalated to the population of Texas in the last 15 months. Okay. Now, if you're familiar with the geography of Texas, you basically have to look from Austin east to Houston, then you've got God's country, as they say, or hill country, and then you've got El Paso, you know, and then you got the panhandle, et cetera. Well , what's interesting is like I live in , uh, Liberty hill, which is north of Austin . We're actually elevated . You know, we're not at Sea level, which is interesting because as the weather comes down off of the Rockies, it hits all of these different intricacies. You can go up into the panhandle and be in the deep snow. It's really, really nuts. There are a lot there just as many climates here in Texas, as there are in California, but they're not well-known because most people aren't living in the middle of nowhere with oil derricks and lack of, you know, you know, conveniences,

Chase Peckham:

Right.

Brad Pagano:

If you look at the geography of Texas and you look at Boston as the central hub, which is where the seat of government sits, and then you go about an hour south you're in San Antonio and between San Antonio and Austin is San Marcos and new Braunfels . And then if you go a hundred miles north of Boston, you're in Waco and between Waco and Austin is Fort hood and Coleen , which is an army base. And you go another a hundred miles north of here in Dallas and then an hour north of that, you're in Oklahoma. And then three hours east of Austin is Houston. So if you look at that triangle triangle from doc , if you go Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, when you include Austin in that, that's where majority of people are coming. Now, Dallas and Houston are huge. Metropolitan areas I just went to Dallas last weekend. A deep element was fantastic. I highly recommended if anybody gets a chance to go. Um, but if you think about it , um , Dallas and Houston suburbs are burdening with people moving, getting there. Austin is burgeoning with people moving and industry. We've got the $17 billion Samsung plant. We've got space X and Tesla. We've we've got apple putting up another thing way out by the lake. I mean, it is just growing to a point where it's almost like not forced migration because as people are coming here, they're like, hell, why am I going to stay in California and pay 60% in taxes between federal state, local property road tax, this tax that tax come to Texas federal tax and sales tax. I mean, exactly. It's a 50% is 50% rates . Now the cost of living is such that you're probably not going to make 120 in Texas to start, but 80 in Texas is like 120 in California. It's the same kind of deal. So when you start to do the math and you start to realize that again, we're in a very virtual environment for a lot of industries that financially, you know, you and I'm reading stories all the time on, you know, all my business stuff. And I'm like, listen to podcasts. People are making an exodus from the bay area, just going somewhere and maintaining work. And now those businesses are threatening them. If they don't show up, they're going to get fired because they realized that, you know, they now have a building the size of 10 football fields that they can't pay. You know? So it's like, it's this COVID cause a lot of consternation in the business space, it caused a lot of people to realize that, Hey, you know, maybe this is an opportunity for us to do the types of things and actually live and financially get set. And , and the joke I made is the number one salesperson for U hall. The last two years has been Gavin Newsome. So he should get a raise.

Chase Peckham:

Yes, I, yeah, I would imagine. I would imagine U-hall is a big contributor to Gavin Newsome.

Brad Pagano:

When I left every other vehicle leaving the state of California was a moving van or a , or a car hauler. And that was until I got to, I went to Arizona and made a left and went up the spine of the country. Before I made that left. I was basically cruising with trucks and cars and it was wild. It was absolutely wild to see. It was like, it was like rats fleeing a sinking ship. It was nuts.

Chase Peckham:

So you kind of touched on it a little bit that the, the average of what you, your income. So if you were to take your income that you make in San Diego, we used to joke that the people that worked in San Diego w we were paid in sunshine because we just weren't our salaries weren't as high as let's say, San Francisco, Los Angeles area, for whatever reason that was yet. What did you find when you, when you go from, like, let's say industry to industry, if you're in the same industry, so to speak from California to Texas in that area, is there a big difference between the income?

Brad Pagano:

Well, obviously Chase income is based on a lot of variety, a lot of variables.

Chase Peckham:

Sure.

Brad Pagano:

Experience, technical ability , uh , expertise, et cetera.

:

Yeah competition.

Brad Pagano:

So I'm lucky that, you know, Sarah was able to maintain her position and grow and kind of spin something out of Biocom and is still being paid by Biocom. Uh, you know, so that was, that was great. And that allowed me to kind of come out here and do a different thing, but there is not a direct correlation. Like if you were making 150 in San Francisco, that's like making, you know, 80 or 70 somewhere else because.

Chase Peckham:

Ok Oh yeah.

Brad Pagano:

It's the cost of living. So when you do , when you do the algorithm, you basically are looking at California is paid 1.2 to 1.8 X of the normal rate, just to keep up with the cost of living. And you see around all the time, and we have conversations and we have conversations with people that were way over their skis.

Chase Peckham:

Oh yeah.

Brad Pagano:

Because more than 30% of their income was going towards living expenses, I E rent or Mortgage,

Chase Peckham:

Right. 50% in a lot of cases.

Brad Pagano:

Right. So what has happened is when you relocate, obviously you're not going to get that California money because there is a , an expectation that think about it. If you make a hundred grand in California, you know, you're really only bringing home 50,000 bucks after state and federal, you make a hundred thousand in Texas, you're bringing home 75, 75,000 net in Texas versus 50,000 net in California. So there, isn't a thing where they're going to try to get you into that same paradigm. But I mean, I know a lot of individuals that have come to come to Texas and are taking less money. They're twice as happy. And they're able to get out of debt. They're able to save, because again, when it boils down to it, they're able to really put a plan in place because there's not this constant fear that every time you turn around, there's going to be a massive spike in something. And they don't drive down the street and see their gas starting with the number four or five, and let's face it. Um, whether or not you believe in the theory of electric cars. I mean, and the environment that's neither here nor there, but at the same time, the combustible engine is pretty much how 90% of people are getting around.

Chase Peckham:

It's a dinosaur.

Brad Pagano:

The fact, the fact of the matter is, you know, when gas costs $5, a gallon and bacon is up 48% and used, and everything is up. You take the stagflation plus the increased cost of living and even a hundred thousand dollars in California. Now what's the prevailing wage, 72, that's not even 72 grand net. I mean, you are upside down unless you're making about 140 right now, in Cali. And I don't know many people that are in our space , uh, outside of small business owners, doing things that are making that. And I mean, if you even look at double income, married, married , jointly, two kids, let's take what you, your families have. You know, you guys probably need to put between 170 and 210 on the books just after taxes to pay everything and be able to put a little bit aside so you can take your vacations and stuff. So out here, you don't need to do that. I mean, everything is cheaper. Um, and I tell you right now on a side note, don't fear the Reaper because these idiots can't drive out here either. So you guys are in company.

Chase Peckham:

We heard, we heard you had a little bit of a , an accident when you first got there. So I hope you're doing okay.

Brad Pagano:

I got hit by an Amazon truck.

Chase Peckham:

Oh gosh.

Brad Pagano:

I was at a stoplight and I got a kid rear-ended me, a fake tags, fake insurance, never going to find him. So , uh, and then as soon as I got healthy, I decided to go join jujitsu and then screwed myself up there. So, you know, typical Pagano can't stay healthy.

Chase Peckham:

So you went to go do jujitsu to get your body in shape. And it went just the opposite.

Brad Pagano:

I wasn't going to let the dude choke me out. First of all, you know, that's not going to happen. And then I should have just laid there and let him figure it out. But no, I decided to try to be like a spider monkey. And I ripped my back from, you know, where to do nowhere and I got narrowing of my C4 to C7. And I still got some nerve stuff. So , uh, basically all I'm doing now is riding my spin bike and walking the dog, trying to stay out of trouble,

Chase Peckham:

So not a lot of golf right now.

Brad Pagano:

Uh , I've tried. I went to Chicago to play golf and I couldn't swing the club. So I just drank beers and I couldn't see. So typical stuff.

Speaker 5:

Ataboy a boy. I like to hear, I love to hear that. You know, one thing you mentioned , uh, you can't really put a price on happiness. Can you ?

Brad Pagano:

No. I mean, money. Money is a tool and we've always thought that it's a tool to accomplish a goal. It's a resource. You know, like I say, I've never seen it. U-haul behind the hearse and rich or poor. The hole still is the same. The hole and the box is still the same. So money is a tool to accomplish your goals is your goal to be the Kickstarter of generational wealth is your goal to not struggle is your goal to live a little bit better than you did when you were growing up. So, absolutely. I mean, money cannot buy happiness. It is a tool that can create opportunities. You have to create your own happiness because you measure happiness and wealth differently for every person. What is happiness and wealth for one person is not happiness and wealth for another person and anybody that says, if I've got a billion dollars in the bank, I'm happy. Well, I can show you a million dollar. I can show you a bunch of million dollars , sad people too .

Chase Peckham:

Oh, for sure .

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah.

Chase Peckham:

There's no question about that. I I've seen , uh , you know, you were, when we first started working together and we, and we met each other years and years ago, when you first started helping me with a golf tournament, then, then we collaborated together and worked together for so long. You know, you, you were a, you know, I am going to take the world by the balls and I'm gonna , I'm going to make this happen kind of personality, like a freight train and somewhere along I, and what was it for you that just said, you know what, I, I want to just, I want to live. I want to spend all the time I can with my wife, spend all that time, watching my daughter grow up. And it seems like you're a ma I mean, the , the light , you don't have wrinkles on your face anymore.

Brad Pagano:

Well, man, I think when my son died, that really kind of shook me to my core, that that sucked , uh, you know , having to tell my daughter that her brother wasn't coming home, that was not cool. Uh , and , and it really just fundamentally changed the way I started perceiving things. I slowed down a little bit and started taking things for what they are. Um, you know, I'm still always going to be that type A guy from the east coast. That's gonna run through a brick wall, but I still can't say, no, I still do way too many things. But what I have done is I've stopped taking it all. Like, oh my God, if I don't get this done today, you know, the world's gonna end. It's not, I'm not curing cancer, I'm not doing anything. Um, so I just bake time. It , you know, I, I have , uh , I've switched the way I operate. Um, I used to be a night owl . Now I go to bed early, I'm up early, I'm working, I'm doing things like I teach online. I teach grad school, I teach strategic operation management and , uh , entrepreneur leadership to graduate students online, which is a passion of mine. So I mean , I'm up at five and, you know , uh, just grading and doing things, working on business stuff. And then I'm home. I make dinner every night for the family. Uh, I've just have created a more robust relationship with myself , um , and my family. And I've done that by just pumping the brakes a little bit, you know, I've , uh, I've decided that, you know , you know, let's, let's cut back on being 25 acting like we're 25 and partying, and let's really focus on what's important, you know, so I'm really focused on the experiential levels of life. And just by doing that, I've , uh, I've really started to understand, you know, where I was way over my skis in California , uh, on a lot of things , uh, you know, just, just the way I treated people, just the way that I was moving and shaken'. And it was always a hundred, a hundred miles an hour. And I was going to , like you said, I was be damned, anything that got in my way, it was going to get run over and , um, you know, just need to do what needed to make the change , um, and have started to just do that from a lot of different angles. And , uh, but yeah, in 18 when that happened , um, that really shook me to my core and kind of gave me pause for cause, and then when I lost my grandfather, just, you know, a few months later, that was it, you know, I had to really kind of reassess what the hell was going on. Um, and this kind of got into my bubble and started figuring things out and always knew that there was other things out there. Didn't know if I was going to stay in Cali forever. But then when COVID hit, it was a wrap . I'm just like, listen , I was like, we've got the wherewithal to do this. We've got the timing. There's no perfect time to do anything.

Chase Peckham:

Correct.

Felipe Arevalo:

Right.

Brad Pagano:

But, but fundamentally it's like you remember when we used to do the stuff on base on installation.

Chase Peckham:

Sure.

Brad Pagano:

And we talked to the spec ops guys and we talked to the people and it was always like, you're talking to the CO's and and EXOS. I'm like, listen, when you get 70% of the data, you got to go, you're never going to get perfect data. You're going to get that paralysis by analysis. And I basically just took, finally took our own advice. You know ,

Chase Peckham:

Right.

Brad Pagano:

We were spouting, I said, what the hell of it ? And you're out here talking about this, but you're not doing it. And I just started doing, and.

Chase Peckham:

That's so interesting.

Brad Pagano:

To change .

Chase Peckham:

Um , I got to tell you, I'm happy for you. I'm very, very happy for you. I , I, you know, we miss you over here. Um, but you know, we, we get it. I mean, look, I mean, before we got the news, you know , Kerrie was interviewing in Dallas, Texas , um, for a , a big school there in north, north Dallas. Um, she had an interview the day that she got diagnosed with colon cancer and , uh , stage four, which, you know, rocked us, you know , to our core as well. And obviously she had to pull herself out of that. But I mean, that was something that we were looking at , um, that if opportunity presented itself outside of, and I'm born and raised in California. So I don't, I know no different even went to college in San Francisco. So like the cost of living for me, I know no different. Um, but yet we kind of yearn, you know, we went and visited my brother-in-law and in Greensboro, North Carolina and the 5,000 5800 square foot, seven bedroom house with a pool and everything else that he bought for less than what Kerri and I bought our 1800, 1900 square foot home, two bed , three bedroom home in San Diego. It just makes you ponder and you go, wow. I mean, and it just see , you know, and sometimes it can just when you're visiting somewhere and it's op you know, you're not really working, it's opposite of what your experience is. You're going gonna like for a while ago, man, this is just relaxing. This could be great. You don't know if it's like that forever, but I'm from listening to you. It pretty much has sustained what you thought it was going to be.

Brad Pagano:

Yeah. I mean, I can pull out every cliche and the grass isn't always greener and all that.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah right.

Brad Pagano:

But let me tell you, let me tell you what, man, you get one spin on this rock and if you're genuinely unhappy or you know that you're driving yourself into a grave and you're just not doing things that are going to be beneficial to yourself and your family from the all four aspects, financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical every way, you will look at it from your perspective. It's time for a change. And everybody looks at COVID as all this crazy thing. COVID actually worked out very well. For me. It gave me a lot of clarity. It told me that, listen, there's no reason to keep throwing money down this drain in California. It told me that there's no reason that you can't do the things that you want to do. And I've always said like, I get very restless when I, and when things happen and I'm not a patient person I'm working on that . Um, Sarah , my wife is a godsend and she's a very patient person. And you know, people are like , how do you deal with it? Because outwardly I I'm , I'm always on the go, you know, pillow, head off the pillow, let's hit the, hit the brakes . And I never, I never have a problem sleeping. Like I'm always there, but there's no time like the present . And I know a lot of people that have lived in one place for their entire life. I come from an area in Delaware where most people never leave. Like their idea of a vacation is to go 80 miles south to the beach for a week. And that's it. They do the same thing every year. It's like Groundhog day out there. And I just went there for a fraternity thing and it's great seeing them, but it's like every Sunday they all go to the same bar and watch the same football game. And we've been doing it for near 30 years. It's like, what the hell are we doing? You know? So I just, man, I just said, look, you know, this, the stars aligned whenever you want to say. Um, I basically in November of, at Thanksgiving in 2019, I was sitting around going, what the am I doing? Like, I love the Dam, deep fried Turkey. We all know that represent that deep fried Turkey,

Chase Peckham:

Oh yeah.

Brad Pagano:

But I'm just going, what am I doing? Like, why am , why am I doing? Am I genuinely happy? Am I doing this? Am I being a good dad? Am I being a good husband? Am I being a good teammate? Am I being a good worker? Like, what am I doing? And we went back to Massachusetts and I just told Sarah when we were on the airplane and I said, we're moving . She said what? I said, we're moving, we're getting out of California. I don't care where we go. We're moving. And then of course she's like telling her whole family and they're like, sweet. Come to Massachusetts. I'm like, slow your roll. We'll look but slow your roll.

Chase Peckham:

Well Boston is not cheap either.

Brad Pagano:

Well, that's the other thing that Taxachusetts in California. They're not a lot differently. Both tax wise and etiology . I don't need that in my life. I don't need that smoke right now.

Chase Peckham:

It's cold and hot there.

Brad Pagano:

No. Well, yeah , we got to fricking snow. We got an ice storm here, which is a whole nother podcast for you about what we did . But I mean, at the end of the day, we, I just made the decision. I made the decision in the winter of 19 that we were out. I didn't know where we were going. I put a date on the calendar and I'm like, we're going. And it was a constant, well, what if you don't have a job? I'm like, I don't care. I don't care. I'm like, I will go. I got enough money saved. And that's the thing is I had the means to do it.

Chase Peckham:

Right.

Brad Pagano:

Maybe you can say money drove my happiness, but I had enough money to say, Hey , do you want to hear something crazy? We left after visiting a few places, we decided on Austin, we came out, bought the house, flew back, packed our stuff and left three weeks later, we drove around the country for 60 days. We did over 5,000 miles. We hit 26 states. I got one parking ticket, one speeding ticket. Thank you. Utah, you pieces of blank.

Felipe Arevalo:

Only one that's not bad

Chase Peckham:

I was going to say that's pretty good.

Brad Pagano:

So five national parks. Saw the world's largest watermelon, the jolly green giant was in four hurricanes and two tornadoes, spent 35 days in Destin, Florida. And that made our family stronger because it was just me, Sarah, Finn , and the dog. And we , we cruised. And then , uh, after getting hit with our fourth hurricane in Florida, I'm like, I'm done. I'm going to Texas. We went to Texas a month early. And we stayed downtown next to the football stadium while they built our house. It costs me less money from August 1stt to the day, I moved in November 13th to do all of that. Then one month in California,

Chase Peckham:

Wow. That sums it up.

Brad Pagano:

One month in California, 11 grand. It costs me less money from August 1st until I moved in November 13th. Then one month in California, not moving expenses or shipping things. I'm talking to cost of living, staying places, Airbnb doing this three months on the road, save lot less money than one month in California. It was at that moment. I knew I made the right decisions financially, because if I can do that, think about what I can do now. You know, now that I've started to figure things out, I've been here a year. I started built some connections. I've got some contacts and I'm starting to move and shake. I've got some opportunities, things that I was going to be doing in California, but here it's just, it's just different. People are a little bit more genuine. You know, when you speak to somebody it's not, you know, Hey, how's it going? And then you turn your back and they're going to stab you in the back with words, people out here genuinely care about one another. And even the people that have put up the signs don't California, my Texas, they're still very welcoming. Um , but I will tell you this, if you do move to Texas, get those California plates off your car. Cause the DPS boys will pull you over every 35 feet and you will take a long time to get where you're going.

Chase Peckham:

That's what I've heard. Well, Brad, I can't thank you enough for joining us. Um, I think you've given a lot of us. I mean, a lot of us, a lot for us to ponder , um, even, you know, I think it creeps through everybody's head and not , not that we don't love California for some of its reasons, but it is . It can be, it can be frustrating. Let's say that

Brad Pagano:

That's a good word. Well , I will, I won't say this. Anybody that's thinking about it. Um, it's not, it's not for everybody to just pick up and go.

Chase Peckham:

It's scary to change.

Brad Pagano:

Um , a lot of people can't go, a lot of people can't go anywhere without a support network or a job. You know, I was lucky, obviously having worked with you guys and Moog and Charlie and all those guys, and you know, it had an opportunity to really, you know , build a base of good contacts, but also was able to save money. Um, but I've hyper, hyper jumped that savings now. And um, the one thing I always say, and this is how I'll leave you with this. You know , uh, Robert Frost had a poem called and it started with two roads diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference. And I think when you think of it, from that perspective, don't be stuck by excuses or by fear. Um, the most dangerous words you can say in business and in life. And this is the way we've always done it. And you're going to get stuck doing something, take the trip, go to Costa Rica, travel around the world, get on a boat, do something that challenges you and find something and. If that means you have to move the Manitoba, Canada or Lexington, Kentucky, or Austin, Texas, don't be afraid. You can always go back. You can always go back. Don't let anybody tell you all. Once you leave, you can never come back. I don't see that there's any rules. So don't fear change. Embrace it, accept it. And you'll find that when you get somewhere that you're completely unfamiliar with, sometimes you just fit right in

Chase Peckham:

100% . Well, Brad, thank you so much, please. All hugs and kisses to Sarah and Emma. And uh , yeah , we'll talk to you soon.

Brad Pagano:

Let me know when the tournament is so I come out next year and play.

Felipe Arevalo:

So you have a cowboy hat and boots yet? Or not yet, have you , uh, bought yourself a cowboy hat and boots?

Brad Pagano:

Uh, Phil, first of all, listen, Sarah's gotten me on that country music, which is crazy,

Chase Peckham:

Oh you're Actually listening to country. Now, wait, wait, wait, wait, hold the phone,

Brad Pagano:

She's got me on this country music her and her and Finn , her Finn got me on this country music. So I , I, I have to acquiesce to somethings . There will be no cowboy hat . There will be no cowboy boots. Um , I do watch Barcelona and giggle every now and again, Phil, but yes, country music has creeped into my house and every time come home, it's on and that's all they listen to. So every now and again, I got to represent and I got to roll down the street and make , uh , make my presence known. But you know, sometimes, sometimes you got to race brother, you got to get in with him to get him where he fit in.

Chase Peckham:

Brad take it easy. Thanks a lot.

:

Thank you Brad.

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