The Personal Finance Podcast

How to Break Free From Toxic Money Culture with George Kamel

In this episode of the Personal Finance Podcast, we are going to talk to George Kamel on how to break free from the toxic money culture.

In this episode of the Personal Finance Podcast, we are going to talk to George Kamel on how to break free from the toxic money culture.

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On this episode of the personal finance podcast, how to break free from toxic money culture with George Campbell.

What's up everybody. Welcome to the personal finance podcast. I'm your host, Andrew founder of master money. co. And today on the personal finance podcast, we are welcoming back. George camel to talk about his new book, breaking free from broke. If you guys have any questions, make sure to hit us up on Instagram, Tik TOK, Twitter at master money co and follow us on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or whatever podcast player you love listening to this podcast on.

And if you want to help out the show, consider leaving a five star rating and. Cannot thank you guys enough for leaving those five star ratings and reviews. Now, today we're going to be talking to George Camel about his book, Breaking Free from Broken. If you don't know George, George is a Ramsey personality and one of my favorite people in the personal finance space.

And George is the co host of the Dave Ramsey show, but he also is someone who has a fantastic book coming out called Breaking Free from Broke. And today we're gonna be diving into topics that he talks about in his book. Including how he challenges the status quo and talks about toxic money culture.

We're going to talk about his personal journey from being completely broken in debt to becoming a net worth millionaire. By the age of 30, we're going to talk about a bunch of financial myths that are out there that most people don't understand. We're going to talk about the role of financial education, debt free living, and we're going to go through a bunch of different success stories.

Obviously, if he is one of the hosts of Dave Ramsey shows, then he is somebody. Who has seen all different types of success stories with their debt, free scream, and all the other things that they do there. So this is an action packed episode, excited for you guys to hear this one. So without further ado, let's welcome back George Campbell to the personal finance podcast.

So George, welcome back to the personal finance podcast. It's an honor. And I call this an encore that people spoke and they went more George. No, they didn't. You're just so kind to have me back. They sure did. They can hear him chanting in the crowd. So today we are really excited to have you on because you have a new book.

Coming out called breaking free from broke. And I think this is going to be something that a lot of people are going to be able to really change their lives once they go through this book. So I am really, really excited about this and we're going to dive into your story and kind of how you went from being broke to becoming a millionaire at a young age.

And we're going to dive into a bunch of different subjects as well, but I kind of want to hit on some of the things that you talk about in the book, so. First of all, you kind of talk about toxic money culture in the book. And I think this is something a lot of people need to realize actually exists. So can you kind of talk about how this impacts our financial health?

Oh, absolutely. This is something that it took me a long time to figure out. It took me going into adulthood with a lot of cynicism and frustration, anger. Because I felt lied to, like many people out there. They're like, okay, I got good grades in school. I followed the path everyone told me to take. I went to college.

I got the education. And I used Sally Mae's Monopoly money to fund it. And I got my credit score up. And I got the credit cards. And now I'm sitting here broke wondering, like, this can't be the American dream. This sucks. I can't buy a house. I don't have money to do the fun things I want to do. So that kind of frustration led me to the point where I needed a different plan because George's plan up until that point wasn't cutting it.

So this toxic money culture really is just a financial industrial complex that's built around debt. And many people, you know, believe that, well, debt is something that you should be leveraging and that it's a tool to build wealth. And what I found is that I build wealth so much faster when I ditched it.

And I actually bucked the system and kind of unplugged from this matrix and went. What if I became my own bank and just use my own money and my greatest wealth building tool, my income was back in my life instead of going out to lenders every month. So that's what I unpack in the book from credit scores to credit cards, to auto loans, student loans, mortgage traps, investing traps, marketing and consumerism.

I unpack all of that to show you just how disgusting it all really is and then show you a path forward. And you and I kind of agree because there is so much debt out there that people are just taking on that they think is a harmless thing that they're doing. And in reality, this debt level is just rising month over month over month.

And it is something that is really dangerous. Even if you think you're utilizing debt to kind of leverage or build wealth or whatever else you think you're doing, no matter what, if you take on debt, you are increasing your risk financially. There's no argument in that. standpoint there. So I think this is something that a lot of people need to kind of think through and really, really, really assess before they do something like that.

So you kind of have this amazing story where you went from being broken and in debt to becoming a millionaire. So can you kind of talk through that progress that you had over that timeframe? Absolutely. So back in 2013, I graduated. I had 36,000 in student loans. I had $4,000 in credit card debt, and it didn't stay that way.

I got on a proven plan called Financial Peace University, the Ramsey Baby Tips. Many of your listeners have heard about this, and it's real simple, the whole plan, and there's no life hacks here. There's no like if you get this course, you get rich quick. It's kind of a get rich slow scenario where we just go, all right, let's get a starter emergency fund of a thousand bucks.

Let's knock out all the consumer debt. Don't invest, don't save, just focus on one thing at a time, then we'll get the fully funded emergency fund, then we'll start investing, then we'll pay off the house early, and all of a sudden, over a decade, I realized, oh my gosh, my wife and I are now net worth millionaires in our early 30s, because we just followed these steps, and so, I say that not to brag, but to encourage the listeners that we are.

What I did is something anyone can do. I'm just a W2 employee. I didn't like blow up on YouTube and become this giant sensation. We just had, you know, good to average salaries and we got promotions and raise increases over a decade, worked our butts off and focused on one thing at a time. And we had a focus goal that we were aligned on of what if we could be in our early thirties without a house payment, how crazy would that be?

What kind of options could we have? You could just like stay at home if we have a kid and it wouldn't even be a discussion. We could go on vacations. We never dreamed that we could give in ways that we always wish we could. And so that's exactly what we did. And, uh, it's a very simple plan. There's no hacks here, but man, it works every time you work it.

And there's a keyword that George just used there, which is simplicity. And I think when it comes to your money, simplify as much as you possibly can. This isn't some complex thing that only Wall Street people know. Anybody I believe in this world can build wealth, but they have to take these simple steps to go in the right direction.

And George is a great example of that. His book talks through, you know, exactly how you can do this as well. Now, one of my favorite topics to kind of talk through is financial myths, because I think there's a lot of them out there. there that we have got to gone through a number of different times. But you talk about some of those financial myths that are out there too in the book.

So are there specific myths that you think are the most harmful for most people out there? For sure. I mean, I think for people who are starting out their adult life, it starts with the credit score. I call that kind of the gateway drug into the other types of debt, because how do you get a credit score?

Well, you kind of have to go into some debt, even if you pay it off perfectly, which is another thing I hear, well, I never paid a dime in interest. Everyone's always bragging about how they never paid a dime in interest. And yet they're still broke. And so I'm like, well, this plan isn't working. So the number one myth is you got to have a credit score to live your financial life.

And once I got out of debt, my credit score disappeared after six to 12 months of having no open accounts. And so I realized, okay, how am I going to live my life? But I was still able to rent cars and rent hotels and rent apartments. And, you know, I was able to get a mortgage through manual underwriting.

And so all of these myths, I realized, oh my gosh, this is like a giant scam that. Debt companies want us to believe because who's making money off of this, the credit card companies, the student loan companies, the credit bureaus, and we're over here, like, just, you know, taking all of this in going. This is how you got to live.

You always have to have a car payment. That's another huge myth. And I realize. No, you don't. I bought a 6, 000 car, and when I had more money, I sold that car and I upgraded it to a 10, 000 car. And all of a sudden, you just snowball that over and over until you have your dream car paid for with cash. And you're not paying interest on a depreciating asset, which is one of the most mind boggling things a person can do.

And so you have that, you have the credit card rewards are worth it. We've all heard this one. I get my 2 percent cash back, Andrew. So it really, it pays for my flight to Boise every Christmas to see the family. I'm like, how much did you have to spend for the privilege of a free flight? And they go, well, I probably spent 25, 000 that I would have spent anyways.

No, human psychology tells me, no, the credit card companies are winning. So you have myths like that, you have ones with student loan, you can't be a student without a student loan, it's impossible to college debt free, tuition's too high, renting is a waste of money, and you can see how all of these myths, Andrew, point to bad financial decisions.

I'm going to get a house too early, I'm going to get a car I can't afford because I can afford the payment on it. I'm going to have to keep my credit score up and keep swiping so I can get my 2 percent cash back. And the government's going to forgive the loan, so why even pay them off? And all of a sudden you wake up and you're 100, 000 in debt, wondering, is there any way out?

And those are the calls we get on the Ramsey show. So this is not just opinions. This is reality. Absolutely. I think this is a really, really interesting side of this, too, is even most people don't understand if you start to pay for a lot of different things in cash, all of a sudden your credit score kind of disappears.

And one of the wealthiest people that I know as a mentor of mine, and he's actually a billionaire. And he said, My credit score is probably significantly worse than yours because I really don't have a credit credit score available because I pay literally for everything in cash. And so it's one of those things where some of these things just go away and people don't kind of understand that if you've never gone through this process, which I think is also really, really interesting.

Now, a big topic we talk about here all the time, George is financial education. And I think this is the number one thing a that you should be teaching your kids. But in addition, I think it should also be expanded out to obviously schools, all those different things. And you guys at Ramsey solutions have tons of different.

You know, financial education pieces that you get from K to 12 and all these other different pieces there. So how important is financial education for individuals? And then how important is it to kind of spread that message to maybe your children? Well, you know, we look at that like the preventative medicine, you know, we can do emergency surgery later and you can amputate the Tahoe in your adult life.

But man, it's easier when you learn this stuff at 20 and you go, Oh, I'm never going to fall into these traps and never gonna have to crawl out. Because think about it, your growth is stunted financially. When you graduate from college and you're strapped with all these debt payments, but when you graduate debt free with money in the bank, all of a sudden you have options.

You can be a homeowner at 21 instead of hoping to be one by the time you're 40, because you've got all this debt weighing you down. And so financial literacy is so important. And like you mentioned, we have this personal finance. Curriculum called foundations and personal finance. That's now in 48 percent of high schools, which is so encouraging.

And I had the pleasure of hosting that curriculum. And so I get messages from the students who are going through this and they're going, man, thank you so much for teaching me this. Like this is such important information. Because guess what? The students are looking for this, but guess where they're going to find it.

They're finding dudes on TikTok telling them to open up whole life insurance policies to build wealth faster because they want to be millionaires tomorrow and they can't wait a decade. So there's this lack of patience and also this overwhelming like sensory overload of inputs of everyone's telling me to do all these things.

So what do you do? You do 17 things at once, half of them are not great for your financial future. And then you spend the rest of your life trying to undo and figure out what the truth is. And so that's what this book is. I'm just trying to like yell from my street corner going, Hey, here's the truth. I'm cutting through all the noise, ignore all of those dudes on Tik TOK telling you that if you just buy this 2, 000 course or set up a whole life policy that your life is going to be fine.

And so there is a lot of room to grow in financial literacy and you're helping with that, Andrew. Exactly. I could not agree more. And if you guys haven't seen before, most of the listeners know that I absolutely hate cash value life insurance, whole life, all that stuff. That's why we're friends. So George and I are kind of leading the charge on this to try to take these tick talkers down, which are all over the place.

I see them every single day. They're all well, you've seen tax free. Well, that's a scam. Exactly, exactly. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, especially when it comes to personal finance. This is a long term game for sure for a lot of people. So we're talking about, you know, living debt free and how we can kind of get to that point in time.

And I think a lot of people aspire to be debt free. They just don't really know how to actually do this. So what are some practical steps for people who may be, you know, hearing your story? They're really inspired by your story. They want to be completely debt free. What are some steps that they can take in order to kind of hit that point over time?

Well, the biggest one is Realizing that your minimum payments aren't going to cut it. You're going to be in debt forever if you make the minimum payments, right? That's the suck bar. And so what you have to do is get aggressive. And so we have this awesome methodology called the debt snowball, where you just list your debts, smallest to largest balance.

And here's the hardest part for the nerds out there. You have to ignore the interest rate, which is so hard emotionally because you're like, well, George, it makes more sense to pay the highest interest first. That's the way to do it. And yet, Dave Ramsey, Time Magazine, Harvard Business Review, are all in agreement that the debt snowball is the way people actually pay off debt.

It's the better method. Not on paper, because mathematically, you could save a little bit on interest. The problem is, no one can actually get through that marathon. But when you lay it out smallest to largest, minimum payments on all the debts except that smallest one, attack it with a vengeance, put as much extra on the principal as you can, all of a sudden, it's knocked out fast.

And then you would free up a payment. Now you roll all of that to the next one and the next one. And that's the way I got out of that 40, 000 in debt in 18 months. I was doing side hustles, living on less than I made. I was on a budget. I was eating lean cuisines to get by. I would wait for them to go on sale for, you know, 5 for 10 at the grocery store.

And it was very strategic. But man, when you have that kind of focus intensity, you get out of debt fast and for good because you made that sacrifice. You don't want to go back. Absolutely. And I think overall you can look at, you know, people talk about the debt snowball versus the debt avalanche, but I think the debt snowball is really the way where it goes towards human psychology.

And a lot of times when you're in this stressful situation where you have all these different debts, just knocking out those small ones is going to give you those quick little wins to keep you motivated to go forward. A lot of times it's more about the habit and staying motivated to keep pushing overall.

And I think that's really, really important. And we've done this before on the podcast, or we've looked at the debt snowball versus the debt avalanche, even with larger debt amounts. It's not really that huge of a difference in terms of when you look at this mathematically. So I think if you can knock out some of these small debts, really, really make a big difference overall.

And then you can, like you said, you can roll those payments at the next debt. That is going to make a huge difference for most people. And I think money comes down to psychology and I think it's 90 percent psychology overall. And so this is really going to help a lot of people out to get those quick little wins, knock some of that debt out.

Then you can move on to that next step. Now in the book, you kind of talk about how the system, you know, is keeping people broke and stressed. So can you kind of give an example of what you mean by that? Absolutely. I mean, if, if you were raised anything like me, the whole point is, can you manage the monthly payments?

That's how we were raised. That's how we were taught. So the key is not, can I afford it in cash and can I build the muscle of learning how to save up for things and have delayed gratification? It's Hey, instant gratification, as long as you can negotiate the financing and you can just get to zero every month by paying all of the payments in your life.

Well, that's a real complicated, stressful situation because all it takes is for one little Jenga piece to fall out for the whole thing to crumble. And that's what we're seeing. We're getting calls when people are underwater on their cars, they're behind on their defaulting on their debts, and they're worried that they're never going to be able to accomplish their other goals like retire one day.

You know, they can't invest. We're telling them, Hey, what are you investing? Well, I'm investing 3 percent to get the match, but I'm also trying to pay off my debt, but I also need to save up for the roof repair. And I also don't have an emergency fund. And so when you're trying to do all of those at once, you just end up more stressed.

And so, this debt system is trapping people because they're in this mindset of, well, as long as I can afford the payments. But if you ditch that mentality and go, can I afford it in full? Right now, that kind of delayed gratification is what helps you build wealth and keep it. And so that's a hard paradigm shift for people to make.

I don't take that lightly. And I, in the book, I talk about how this is going to be jarring. It's going to be offensive. It's going to be hard to make this shift where you get these payments out of your brain and stop letting them live rent free in there and go, how do I just build a life without payments where I can build for the future instead of pay for the past?

And that paradigm shift can significantly reduce your stress and your anxiety around money, which I think is incredibly important for a lot of people. And we know a lot of people out there are stressed. We get emails all the time. We have people that, you know, will send us DMs, for example. And I know people out there are stressed about money.

And you guys do an amazing job at kind of pulling statistics and kind of pulling your audience. And you obviously have a massive audience that's out there. So how bad is it really out there? And how stressed are people? Do you have any statistics surrounding that? Oh, absolutely. Well, we know that seven out of 10 people are living paycheck to paycheck.

And you always think in your head, well, that's broke people. No, we're seeing the stats now where people making six figures are also living paycheck to paycheck. And not only do we see the stats, we get the calls, Andrew. I mean, there's been multiple calls this week where we're going, you guys make 200, 000.

You make 250, 000. How are you so broke? And it's because of lifestyle creep. The more you make, the more you're going to spend. So that's one stat that's alarming. Another stat is that we hit a trillion dollars in credit card debt here in America, which means we're number one in a lot of things and debt is another one of them.

So that's a world record right there. Uh, we just keep going further and further into credit card debt. Uh, we have stats that Ramsey Research did on just the emotions around this and 59 percent said they worry about money daily, 46 percent said they lose sleep over their finances, 4 in 10 have zero dollars in saves in retirement.

That's shocking and scary. And then 25 percent say they rely on credit cards to make ends meet. So you can see the compound effect of this. They're all related. I mean, if you can't make ends meet without the credit card and you have nothing saved for retirement and you're losing sleep. So your body is keeping the score here going, dude, you are not okay.

You're in survival mode. Every single day you get up and go to work to the job you hate to get the paycheck that you need to pay the payments. And you can see how this becomes a cycle. And so. We're doing a live stream event on January 11th called break the cycle because this is the big issue people are facing right now, whether they make 40, 000 or 200, 000, they're in this cycle where of stress and debt and payments.

And so the stats are clear. The stories we're hearing are clear. People just need to break free from the system entirely because the people who are debt free, they're not calling in stressed. They're going, Hey, how do I maximize my wealth? I want to really make sure that we hit that 401k. All the way that we're going to max it out this year for the first time.

Those are the kinds of problems they're having. Not how do I afford groceries and my payments. And this is one of those things where people listening, if you're thinking to yourself, Hey, I don't make six figures. How do these people actually live paycheck to paycheck? This is. Absolutely something that is a massive problem.

I actually just talked to someone the other day who was making 900, 000 per year and living paycheck to paycheck. So your income, it's how much of your income you actually keep overall. And so it's so important to figure out how to manage your money. So this does not happen to you, but very high earners are also folks who can live.

Paycheck to paycheck. And it's something that happens every single day. We see it all just harder to feel bad for those people. Cause usually there's some luxury cars with huge payments on it. They've got a huge house with a huge mortgage payment. Their lifestyle is out of control. And so it's harder to have empathy.

I have a lot more empathy for the single mom making 35, 000 trying to raise four kids than the guy who makes 900 grand. Who's like, I don't know what's going on, man. I mean, I make good money. 100%. And that was a very easy issue for me to solve overall. And we had that conversation. So I think it's one of those things where you could kind of look at this type of thing.

And there's definitely different levels to this overall for sure. So when there are people facing real hardships like that, like you mentioned the single mom who maybe has a low income and there's not really a bunch of different options for her to increase her income, you know, in the short term or if people have health problems or anything, which is like a financial duress.

What kind of tips or advice do you have for those types of folks? Thanks. Well, I have the most empathy for those because, you know, for some people, it's their own bad money management and mistakes that have led them to a dark place. But for some people, man, a spouse passed away way before they should have, and life happened, and the car gets repoed, and they're about to lose the house, and we just took a call yesterday following up with a lady.

Who's had that situation? Her husband died in a roofing accident at 36. Um, she was behind on her house payments. She's trying to raise four kids. Her car got repoed and she's calling in in tears. And what's amazing is a community came around her. People heard that call, reached out to her. They gifted her a car.

They helped her get it back on track with her house payments. So the good news is there's so much good in the world and people who truly want to help. And on top of that, she's a warrior. And so you've got to have this mindset. And I talk about this in the book that it's not all your fault, but it's your responsibility.

And so, you know, we can wallow and grieve for a time, but man, we got to get up and go, what are we going to do next? It's all up to us. And that doesn't mean that you have to do it alone. Get a community around you. Go through Financial Peace University and meet other people who are also trying to grow in their money journey, who can help you and encourage you and motivate you.

Because personal finance is personal, but man, it's so much richer when you get to do it with other people who are cheering you on and you don't feel alone. And so what matters isn't how you got here. It's where you go from here. And it's easier to handle the rough patches when you don't owe anyone anything, when you have the emergency fund.

And so life's going to happen. And so that's why we tell people stop playing with debt, stop playing with snakes, get the emergency fund in place, start preparing for the future because you don't know what the next 10 years, 10 days will hold. For sure. And I think a lot of us, we have different starting points and it's kind of, what are you going to do based on where you're starting and focusing on those things that you can control.

Some people may have, you know, start off with parents with more money or something like that, or you may start off where you have 0 whatsoever, but what are you going to do and what are the next steps that you're going to take so you can focus on those things that you can control. So you guys have a bunch of different success stories of people who have kind of followed some of your processes.

You guys have the debt free scream. So there's people coming in all the time. Having, you know, success with your processes, but is there any stories where you can share where, you know, someone has kind of followed these steps and really had success in their life? Oh, absolutely. I mean, there's so many, we just had a debt free scream yesterday.

And what we're seeing, Andrew, is more and more people, their parents went through financial peace university and we call that changing the family tree. And so we had Kevin and Ginger yesterday, two accountants, two kind of just sweet, this nerdy couple who was like, we know how numbers work. What if we just put our incomes together?

We got married, combined our finances and went, let's get out of debt. And here they stand and they paid off their house. In Cleveland, uh, it's worth, you know, 200, 300 grand. They don't have any payments and they're 30 years old, 28 and 30. And you're going, that's the kind of life I think most of us strive to live.

And if you're older than that, I want to tell people it's not too late. You can have that same story. It might look different. You might be 45 or 55. We get inspiring calls of people who are in their late sixties who are paying off debt for the first time in their life, but they're able to retire with some dignity and sleep better as they go into their later years.

And so those stories always inspire me the debt free screams, but the younger couples, they remind me my story, my wife and I going, Hey, we're going to change our family tree. And a lot of the times it does stem from the parents, either from how you saw them handle money wisely or the mistakes they made that you want to avoid, right?

There's only two versions of that, but those always get me because I go. The way they're going to be able to give and save and spend for the next 40 years, just boggles my mind, how much wealth they're going to be able to build, how generously they can give. Those are the ones that really stick with me because I just think that's what our generation needs.

If we're going to change our communities, our country, we got to have a community of debt free people who have the margin to change the world. Absolutely. And you have that power. If you are starting, if you're listening to this podcast and say, for example, you're just in the worst situation and you are just starting out and you're trying to learn what to do, you have the power to make that change and you can change your family tree.

If your family has been poor your entire life for generations, you can be the person that can absolutely change that. And that is what I love about, uh, your message, George, and what you're kind of teaching people over this timeframe now. A lot of people, when they are in some of these situations, they have a lot of financial stress, and this can really, really impact a lot of people on their mental health.

And overall, I think for a lot of folks, we got to figure out, you know, how can we overcome this so that we can take the right necessary steps and have a clear mind as we do this over this time frame. So do you have any tips for people to kind of cope with this financial stress? Oh, absolutely. And my friend, Dr.

John Deloney, one of our Ramsey personalities, this is his specialty. He's not our money personality. He is the mental health, emotional wellness, relationships, personality. And so he just wrote a book called building a non anxious life that is fantastic, where he walks through six daily choices you need to make in order to overcome this, because he looks at anxiety, like an alarm, it's not the real problem it's pointing to, Hey, something is not okay in your life.

And so I don't see anxiety as an identity. We see it as, Hey, this is an alarm system. Your body is working perfectly, but you need to focus on the actual problem. And people don't realize, Oh, the problem is I'm in debt up to my eyeballs and they also don't see a way out. And so part of it is choosing your reality.

That's one of John's steps. And I love that because that looks a lot like making a budget for the first time and actually looking at how much debt you have for the first time, instead of burying your head in the sand. And so it's encouraging. It's scary at first, but then you just go, okay, I make 5, 000.

Where's all that going? Let's take a look at my bank statement. Let's make a plan for how next month is going to go. All right. I, if I put 2, 000 extra on my debt and I have 24, 000 in debt, it'll be paid off. In 12 months, and you're like, Oh, my gosh. Okay. The math is starting to work. The progress is there.

The debt snowball is working. And so all of that combined, as you said, it's largely behavior. But when you put it on paper and look at the math, it can be really encouraging to go. All right, I need to go make some more money. That might be the situation for some people where they need a bigger shovel to get out of the hole.

And so, yeah. That's a great problem to have you either spend less or you make more in order to create the margin to get out of debt. And so all of that combined, I think helps overcome the anxiety. And once you get through that baby step to getting rid of your consumer debt, we see people's, their physiology changes on the debt free stage.

They look lighter, their posture is better, they're smiling more. And so all of that affects your health and your financial future. And I think this is one of those things where if you think about where kind of George started this, he started it with talking about a budget. And I think budgets, a lot of people see them as something that is restrictive, but budgets are actually freeing because you're telling your money what to do.

You're actually putting it towards the things that you actually value, which a lot of times at the beginning is paying down debt or investing your dollars or building your emergency fund. So it depends on what you have going on, but it is actually freeing because you can take your dollars and put them towards the things that you actually need to be doing and what you actually value to further your financial future.

So speaking of future, when we talk about personal finance, a lot of times we're looking to see, you know, in the personal finance landscape, what's going to happen in the future, what kind of things are going to go on and how we need to prepare for some of those things. And obviously none of us have a crystal ball to see what was going on, but are there anything in the future that you see in the personal finance landscape that people need to be aware of?

Well, I think we're seeing more and more traps out there, and I think the tried and true classic stuff is kind of unsexy and it's boring, and that's the most worrying part, and so I think the trend, it's not necessarily a good trend, I have a lot of optimism in the tried and true, like I think if you just put money into the stock market, into index funds and mutual funds, and you try to max out retirement accounts and you stay debt free with an emergency fund, your life is gonna be fine.

Even if you never latch on to the next, you know, get rich quick thing that's out there. And so the biggest thing for people is to not be distracted by all the traps and trends out there that really aren't new. They're just sort of circling back in new ways. Like we talked about the whole life insurance.

They're just giving it fancy names. In order to make it more palatable to get the new generation. And it's like if you rename timeshares and all of a sudden said, this is a great, it's like Airbnb, but you get to stay in it three times a, you know, there's always going to be new traps. So you have to be very aware of what's this person's motive.

Do they have a vested interest in this and is it actually helping me or does it benefit them instead? So those are the big ones. And, uh, like you mentioned, budgeting. Is a great way to combat all of that because if it's not in the budget, we don't do it. And so we have a great app called every dollar that I use.

It's free. There's a premium version as well that can connect to your bank account with some really cool features. But I found that is just, it's really the only thing you need. You don't need all of these trendy tools and you don't need these trendy investment options. Just if you have a retirement account, try to max it out.

Do 15%. Pay off the house early, then you can max out all the retirement options you can. Invest in brokerage accounts outside of retirement. All the wealthy people I know, that's what they're doing. Not the guys on TikTok who are like red faced real estate gurus. You've seen them, Andrew. You know the ones I'm talking about.

100%. And I think that is one cool thing that you guys kind of cut through the noise as well. Cause you'll see some of those folks that are, for example, like real estate gurus who are saying, you know, the 401k is a scam. Well, you guys did a study and show that, you know, 80 percent of the millionaires in your study became millionaires via their 401k.

So I think this is one of those things where it is really, really powerful overall to kind of look at the data, look this statistics. And like you said, go through this process in your head. If you see some sort of financial information out there, say, does this benefit that person? What are they going to make off of this?

Or is it. Is this something where they're just trying to help me out in this situation? So it is hard sometimes to cut through that noise if you don't have that financial education yet. So just be really, really cautious who you're listening to and kind of who you're going through that process with. Now you also mentioned, you know, you love the young folks that come in and do their debt free scream overall because you say, you know, they remind you of your story.

So do you have any advice for young adults who may be just starting off on their financial journey? Maybe some of the things that they should start to think about. Absolutely. Number one is realize that debt is a thief and I have a whole chapter in the book called debt as a thief to try to convince people that this is not something that's going to benefit you longterm or in the short term.

And so the sooner you get rid of your debt, the sooner you can achieve your financial goals because you have your greatest wealth building tool. Back at your disposal, your income, and so that's number one. Number two, if you're married, combine your incomes. That has become a somehow a very controversial thing in today's world because we live in such an independent society and we have trust issues and commitment issues, and it's my money and I earned it.

And I came into this marriage with savings and she came in with debt. And so that's her problem to deal with. Well, that's not going to cause some marital strife, is it? You know, so combining bank accounts, if you're single, find some part or an accountability partner, some friends who are on this journey, too, because like I said.

It's lonely and you can feel like you're alone out there and like you're the crazy one. But when you surround yourself with other people who are on that same journey is really, really powerful. And we know we love investing. We want you to invest as early as possible, but there's a time and place to do it.

And it's not when you're strapped with debt payments, trying to do 17 things at once. And so if you can follow those baby steps in order and just have this delayed gratification sacrifice for a season, most of the time we see people get out of debt in 18 to 24 months. You're going to be two years older.

So do you want to be two years older and completely debt free? Or do you want to say, yeah, I'll get to that later. That's a problem for later me. If you can get to that early, get out of debt, start investing. Your life is going to be great with less money stress. And you mentioned the combining your bank accounts.

So that is one that we talk about all the time too, is kind of going through that process and combining your bank accounts. If you get married and that is the one subject that if I say that every single time we say that we get the most hate. You know what it is, Andrew? It's like a lot of single guys on YouTube that have been burned by some woman.

And so they're like, never, she's gonna take you to the cleaners, man. It's just this very cynical, you know, defeatist mentality around marriage in general. And, uh, most of those guys make 40k and they want prenups. So, you know, I'm not gonna take advice from broke people. Right, exactly. I think that's the number one thing kind of to think through as we go through this for sure.

And then also when it comes to lifestyle changes, obviously when we start to go on this journey, maybe we want to be debt free. Maybe we want to start to max out our retirement accounts also. We want to fund out that emergency fund. What are some of the lifestyle changes that people need to make once they start to, you know, set up some of these goals, they know what they need to do next.

What are some of the changes they need to make in their life that you have seen out there? Well, one of the first places we look at is the belly. You know, just eating out is just crushing us. It's so wildly expensive, and people like to make the excuse that, well, you know, groceries are way more expensive than eating out.

I'm like, do you understand how restaurants work? They're businesses. There's a 300 percent markup. How do you think they're paying overhead and employees and for the food making profit? And so it's never going to be cheaper to eat out. And if it is, you're eating such terrible quality food that your small intestine is going to pay for it sooner rather than later.

And so food is the number one I look at to help people cut back on spending and go, Hey, we're going to shop generic brand at the, you know, the chain grocery store that's known for cheap prices like Aldi. And we're going to try that for a month. You don't have to be a professional chef. Okay. You can get cheap stuff.

It's easy. You can do this in five minutes and make a great meal. Number two, subscriptions. If you start adding up what all those amount to, uh, there was a recent study that most people have nine subscriptions and it adds up to over 200 bucks a month. Well, that's 2, 500 bucks a year for things that you may not even be using.

And so do an audit of your subscription. See what you can get rid of. The third one that people don't think about is insurance. Most people are overpaying for insurance. They got some old college buddy from who works at state farm who got their plan set up and who knows what they're even charging him.

You know, some of these guys, they're selling bad insurance products. And so you've got to do an audit there. And I like to use an independent insurance broker, uh, through our friends at Xander insurance, they'll shop all of the companies to find you the best rate. The best deal and that's who I have all my insurance through and you'll be shocked if you just reshop it today, you might save a few hundred bucks a month, which amounts to thousands a year back in your life and that's a huge key right there because you can look at those three things specifically.

I know a lot of people when I talk to them about food, they have no idea what they're spending on food. And once they start to track it, they are absolutely shocked when they look at that, even eating out and their grocery bill. And so I love, I love all the Aldi is where we buy all of our groceries. I think it's a great way to kind of goes there.

We don't need to say anymore. All right. Shop like wealthy people. There we go. Exactly. Exactly. That's how I build the gun show is right in an Aldi. So, uh, that's the, that's overall my favorite place to go. And I think that's one of the best things that you can do is you can go out there and just significantly reduce your grocery bill there as well.

And then, like you said, shopping around, looking at your subscriptions. I'm embarrassed to say this, but I just did a huge subscription audit recently in my business and in my personal life. And I reduced my subscriptions by 200 per month. And that's someone who like cares about their finances and looking all the time.

And it's one of those things where I just cut out. I said, Hey, does this bring me value? Am I even going to really be using this more so overall in the next couple of months and just started cutting things out. And then insurance, lastly, like you said, is a huge one. And if you can shop that insurance, you can be paying, you know, significantly less over time if you just go out and shop that insurance.

So those are three great tips overall. And I love that. George, I want to shift gears here to ask you some of the questions, and we could do this in a rapid fire way too, that we ask a lot of our guests. And the first one is what are some of your favorite books that you have read? Ooh, that's a fun one.

Well, I mentioned this one earlier, but building a non anxious life from my friend, Dr. John Deloney, that one just released recently this past fall. And I've really been enjoying that one. Cause usually I'm like reading the nerdy personal finance books. This one is such a different thing to actually dig deeper.

A few layers into psychology and emotional well being because I'm naturally an anxious person. And so that's something that I've been working on this year, and I have the margin to do that because my finances are in order. So I don't have money stress, but you just have life stress and things, you know, battling around your brain and addiction to screens and phones.

And so John is really, you know, it's nice that I sit a desk away from him too, so I can bother him and pepper him with questions. But that book has been really helpful and I think it's so tied in with money and it's a book that everyone should pick up, regardless of where they're at in their financial journey, building an on anxious life.

Awesome. We will definitely link that up in the show notes below. What part of your work or life makes you come alive? Ooh, you know, as much as I love to be on camera and We have an amazing writers room that we do for my YouTube channel. We have three episodes that launch every week around personal finance, and we try to make it really entertaining.

And so just trying to come up with the jokes of how to make, like we did a video about like the seven changes coming to your 401k. And the video blew up with like hundreds of thousands of views. And we try to make them so entertaining that you want to show up regardless of how boring the content is.

And so we want to sneak in the vegetables. But make it taste like candy. So that's kind of the goal. And that really is the most fun I can have in a day when we're just laughing in the writer's room at some Taco Bell bathroom joke that we're going to weave into the script for that week. And so I love the team I get to work with here at Ramsey.

We have some of the most talented, creative, hilarious people. And, uh, you know, just me in front of the camera is way less entertaining than the stuff you get to see behind the scenes. And if you guys haven't seen George's YouTube channel, it is definitely funny. It is one of those things that I love that you kind of integrate that humor into it to make it that much more entertaining.

What is your biggest fear surrounding money? Ooh, that's a great one. You know, there is a sense of urgency and a fear of like the economy and what's going to happen. And so there's always that batting around in the back of my head. Like one is enough, enough. And as I talk to other personal finance, you know, people in the industry and creators and YouTubers and podcasters, There's this overwhelming sense of just like, I have to keep hoarding money and I, you need to just save, save, save.

And so balancing that with living my life is probably my greatest fear is looking back going like, we should have just taken that vacation, man. I'm like, what were we thinking? All to like, we were going to be fine in retirement. We're going to have 10 million in retirement. And we skipped all these vacations.

And so my greatest fear, and I say that now as a, as a new dad, uh, we had a baby girl. She's now about four months old. And so that changes the way I look at life and my priorities when it comes to money. And it's like, how do we provide just this amazing experience for her and raise her in such a way that she has the principles, but she also doesn't have this scarcity mentality.

And so that's my fear is I can be a very pessimistic scarcity person. So trying to live in that abundance optimist mentality is really hard to do and to squelch that fear of like, is it enough enough? Uh, so that's a big one for sure. Absolutely. And first of all, congratulations on your new baby girl. But secondly, that is one of my biggest struggles to overall is kind of getting that goalpost to stop moving.

And for me overall, it's like, how do you get that goalpost to stop moving? Cause every time I kind of achieve the next level, then the goalpost moves even more. And I thought, you know, this is going to be enough. Um, and it always seems to keep moving and I'm trying, I'm working on that all the time, but that is one of the biggest struggles that I have too.

The next one is how do you plan to level up your finances this year? Ooh, that's a fun one. Now that we are in what we call baby step seven, we don't have a house payment. We're just maximizing wealth. That's one area that I'm going to look into. And I work with a financial advisor and investment pro. And we have a program called SmartVestor where we can connect people with those folks that we trust to help them with that next step.

And so meeting with my investment pro going, Hey, even someone who lives this and breathes this stuff, I still know they're going to be looking at things from a 30, 000 foot view, a thing that finding things that I missed. And so I want to know, like, Hey, what are some tax strategies? How can I give in a way that also has a benefit?

At the other side of that, when it comes to, you know, maximizing and minimizing tax burdens and all of that. And so now that I have a daughter, I'm also going, I want to save for college in the right way. So we opened a 529 plan. And so how much do we have to put in there? And how do we set a goal that makes sense for What education will cost 20 years from now, you know, these are the kinds of questions I get to ask now, which is really fun, but between college savings, maxing out retirement and even going beyond that of, you know, brokerage accounts and investing in that.

And we have a goal to pay cash for our next house whenever that may be years from now. And so how do we set that goal post and go, are we on track to hit that? And so we're very driven, goal oriented people. I know we're very weird in that way, but I like having something I'm aiming at. Otherwise I get lazy and so I need to have a little carrot dangling.

We just upgraded my wife's car. So that was a big thing for us. We're like, once we have the house paid off, we're going to get you the bougie mom, luxury car that she's always wanted. And we paid cash for it. And it hurt my soul to write that check, Andrew, but also the smile on her face of like. Can you believe that we get to drive like no one else after we have driven like no one else with all the beater cars in our life?

And so we are so just amazingly blessed, but I'm excited to look forward to the future now and go, how can we maximize our wealth and also give more? That's another thing of what kind of ways can we give in ways that we couldn't have earlier? Could we cover the adoption fees for a family? Could we buy a single parent a car or pay for the repairs?

That's the kind of stuff that lights me up going forward. 100%. And I think that is so cool. If you guys look at, you know, what George is doing here, he's setting his goals and then he's going after them. Once he accomplishes them, you can see these goals get larger and they're more rewarding overall when he goes through this time for him.

So I think it's really, really cool to kind of look at that. And I mentioned earlier how my goalpost doesn't stop moving. And part of that reason is because I want to give more over time. And so that is one of the big goals for me as well. If you could tell your younger self one thing about money, what would it be?

Oh, that's a good one. Okay. How young are we talking? Give me an age here. Let's do 15, 15 year old George. Oh man. I think I had a very materialist, you know, as any teenager does, you just want more stuff and you just want to go to the mall and spend. And what I would tell my younger self is number one, you're going to be okay.

Like there's this pressure that we have on teenagers to just have it all figured out by 18 and know exactly what degree you're going to get. I had no idea how my life would meander. There's no straight line when it comes to your growth and what you're going to do with your life. It's just zigzag.

You're going to go backwards, three steps forward, two steps. And so just telling my younger self, you're going to be okay. Just take every opportunity you can to grow and have integrity, be a person of character, work really hard, and you're going to be okay. I wish I could have just squelched some of that fear and anxiety that my younger self had about have it all figured out as someone who's just kind of a creative knucklehead.

Uh, and then number two, when it comes to money, Is more stuff won't make you more complete. You can't spend your way into a meaningful life. And I think as a young person, I was just sort of buying all this gear. And as I would make money, I would spend it and lifestyle creep would happen. And I had no bills.

Like I had read, you know, Dave says you need to kind of like move out to have a reason. You need some problems. You need to go find yourself some problems. And that looks a lot like having bills. So when I lived at home, every paycheck I got when I was working at the Apple store would just go back out to music gear and technology.

And I wish I had been more diligent and gone. Man, if I can really put some money in this 401k and the stock purchase plan at Apple, like it could just pay dividends later on where I could be a homeowner way sooner. So those are the kinds of things that I could, I wish I could go back and tell myself was, you know, it's going to be okay and more stuff won't make you more complete.

You need to be saving some, investing some and building for that future. I love that. That is some powerful stuff that George, the last one is my favorite question that we ask all of our guests. And you answered this last time, but it shifts over time for me overall. And for a lot of people as well, and that is what does wealth mean to you?

Ooh, well, I have a chapter in the book called wealth is patience. So I'm going to go with that as the answer as far as how to build it. Uh, but what it means to me is freedom. And that's been something that I've been thinking about more and more as we take calls on the show and what people are grappling with and the problems we need to be solving for freedom and wealth can help with that because it can give you more options and margin and in a lot of ways joy, but if you're not solving for freedom and you're doing it the wrong way, it's just going to add stress and freedom and stress cannot coexist.

So I think wealth is freedom and the way to build it. Wealth is patience. Be the tortoise, not the hare. I love that. And absolutely. So thank you so much for coming on George. This was absolutely amazing. Where can people find out more about you, your book and everything else you have going on? Absolutely.

So, um, if you're listening before January 16th, you can pre order the book and get a hundred dollars in bonus items when you pre order it, including the audio book version, which is going to be enhanced with some really cool production elements, the ebook version. A video talk I did called show me the money.

We have an online event we're doing that you can be a part of. Um, and whether you buy before or after you get three months free of every dollar premium, our budgeting app with all of the sweet features I mentioned earlier, so you can get the book at Ramsey solutions. com slash store. It's called breaking free from broke.

And, uh, I'm really, really proud of the work that was put into this, not only by me, but from our amazing team here at Ramsey, and I'd love to hear from your listeners as well. You can follow me at George camel. Camel with a K on Instagram and all the social channels. So I'd love to hear what you guys thought about this.

And if you have any questions, I'd love to hear those too. We will link all that up down in the show notes below and George, we're going to put your book in our newsletter this week as well. So I'm really excited. Thank you. Absolutely. We're, we're really excited for everybody to read this. Cause I think it is one of the most powerful books that you guys can read, especially if you are, you know, on your journey and trying to get out of debt and learning how to build wealth for sure.

So George, thank you so much again for coming on. We truly appreciate you coming. It's an honor, Andrew. You're doing such a great job with this podcast and your voice is just magical. You were made for this and I love the way you're helping people. Well, thank you. I appreciate it. We will, we'll have you back on again sometime soon.

Thank you. Thanks man.

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