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Chad Willardson: Overcoming Obstacles For Stress Free Money

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2021

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The path to financial freedom can be simple, yet that does not mean it is easy. Chad Willardson shares with us some of the main obstacles you can overcome to find financial freedom. Chad is the founder and president of Pacific Capital, a wealth advisory firm in California that works with high net worth individuals. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., US New & World Report, Entrepreneur Magazine, NBC News, and many others. He's also the author of Amazon #1 Best-Seller "Stress Free Money: Overcome These Seven Obstacles to Find Financial Freedom." In addition, he's also an elected City Treasurer, managing a $350 million investment portfolio for tax payers. He is the co-owner of the Draft Sports Complex, he's an entrepreneur, and father of 5! 

 

In this episode, hosted by Mike Swenson, we discussed:

  • Chad had an internship in the financial investment management business.
  • He started at Merrill Lynch, in 2003. He spent nine years as an investment advisor.
  • He wanted to be an independent fiduciary. Then on 11-11-11, Chad left and startup Pacific Capital. Primarily they work with clients with a net worth over $5 million
  • Chad’s target clients are entrepreneurs. They have busy lives, they have growth focused mindsets, they focus on planning and goals. They're not just transactional, they're looking for long term relationships.
  • He made a lot of great contacts while at Merrill Lynch, but that's a very small percentage of who he works with today. He gets a lot of new clients from LinkedIn and have people who have read the book.
  • After the book was published, he started getting a good number of incoming calls and then he got a lot of podcasts, interviews, and probably did 60 podcast interviews, the first two months.
  • He has investment accounts that he pays into every single week, automatically saving into his investment accounts. He got retirement accounts, multiple businesses he’s investing in and also investing in real estate.

 

Timestamps

00:00 - Intro and overview on Chad’s career

01:38 - When he started Pacific Capital

4:42 - Chad talks about the content of his book

06:29 - Chad shares the common obstacles people get caught up

13:06 - How did Pacific Capital come to be for Chad

17:46 - How the book gets published and helps grow his business

20:01 - What advice did Chad can share with somebody

 

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Full transcript here:

Mike Swenson 

Welcome to the REL freedom podcast where we inspire you to pursue your passion to gain time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. I'm your host, Mike Swenson. Let's get some REL freedom together.

 

Mike Swenson 

All right, welcome everybody to another episode of real freedom. And today we have a wonderful guest with us. We've got Chad Willardson, and Chad is going to share a lot about financial freedom. He's an author, he's the author of the book, stress free money. He's also the founder and president of Pacific capital. He's an entrepreneur and would love for you guys to know that he's an elected official and is actually on the ballot here every four years. He's a father, he's a dad, a husband. And so we would love for you to just share a little bit more with us before we dig into your story about financial freedom. But thanks so much, Chad, for coming on. Why don't you give us a little bit more about you?

 

Chad Willardson 

Yeah, thanks for having me, Mike. I'm excited to be here. I'm definitely an entrepreneur. I was not an entrepreneur, as a kid. I wasn't one of those kids who had 10 businesses, but I've become an entrepreneur and a very active investor in my career. I grew up in Orange County, California as the oldest of four. And I, I right out of college, I you know, I had an internship in the financial investment management business, and I really liked it, but I didn't, I didn't, I was excited about investing, but I wanted to deal with people. And so that's how I got into wealth management.

 

Chad Willardson 

I started at Merrill Lynch, in 2003. And then on 11-11-11, I actually left and startup Pacific capital, little superstitious there with that date, good luck. But we are have a, you know, fiduciary for entrepreneurs, families and investors, all of our clients definitely have real estate investments. And you know, they've got great real estate advisors on their team. And that's obviously that's critical for success is who you surround yourself with.

 

Chad Willardson 

But like you said, I'm a father of five I'm an entrepreneur and I'm very passionate about expanding freedom between your freedom of time and the freedom of money and relationships and the freedom of just basically not being stuck or obligated to do things you don't want to do because you had a plan. Well, so I think that's why we're here talking. And I will say I noticed that a Minnesota Vikings football in the background.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yes, Yes, it was. Minnesota guy so all Minnesota sports, you've got your twins, bobbleheads, you got your super bowl here in Minneapolis Viking stuff. timberwolves banner over there. So yeah, minute Minnesota sports fan through and through for better, and most often for worse.

 

Chad Willardson 

Well, my connection to Minnesota sports. You ready for this? Yeah. My uncle played for the Vikings for 12 years. Awesome. He's a first round pick out of USC and went to the Vikings. I think it was 1984. No, 1974 through 1986. Steve Riley number 78. So played in a couple Super Bowls with tarkington and the famous coach I think was bud black and has a great story. But grant Yeah, crazy stories. plan out there in Minnesota. He's told me his whole life.

 

Mike Swenson 

yep, yep. And bud still has every year he does an annual garage sale at his house. And so he's got some some memorabilia and stuff like that. And so there's always the annual bud grant garage sale that takes place in Bloomington. So he's he's an icon and Minnesota sports. I remember the year that the Metrodome called the roof collapsed, because we had so much snow and the Vikings were forced to play outside. And so there was a game where Gosh, I don't remember, you know how how cold it was, but they had to move to the gophers football stadium to be able to play outside.

 

Mike Swenson 

And so buds thing was always you know, he, he would never wear a coat or you know, he'd always have a light jacket. And so I was at the game in like, parka hat gloves. You know, you name it, and bud comes out and like a T shirt. So that's just that's just his personality. So cool. Awesome. So yeah, let's talk a little bit first talk about the book. Because I think probably everything that you do, you know, those underlying principles come out through through the book. So talk about stress free money, what, what prompted you to write it? And let's talk a little bit about the content in there.

 

Chad Willardson 

Yeah, so I'll show the book here on the video here stress free money. So the subtitle is overcome the seven obstacles to find financial freedom. And really what I wanted to do was encapsulate my almost 20 years of advising investors and entrepreneurs and basically pick what are the top seven roadblocks that people will face that prevent them to get into complete financial freedom. So as we look at those, first, the first obstacle, and it's just seven chapters, seven obstacles, but if no clear goals, and I start with with, you know, quote from Zig Ziglar, you can't hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.

 

Chad Willardson 

And I think that's the one of the biggest mistakes investors make is they, they get excited about an investment, and they don't really have a clear goal, they don't have a plan, they just kind of are throwing money at the wind, and they hope it works out, you know, oh, my buddy, or my neighbor told me he should I should do this. And if it I think it worked for him, you know, and so I should try it myself. And you don't really know what to do with your money if you don't have any clear goals. So really, it's like, people will come to us and they'll say, Hey, I have this, I have this big chunk of money in my bank account, and I've got all this stuff going on in my life.

 

Chad Willardson 

I've got these properties, I've got these retirement accounts. What do you think I should do? You know, how can I do something better? And the first question is, well, what do you want? Hmm, we can't really give advice until we know exactly what you're aiming for. Just like if you went to a doctor, and they started prescribing pills, but they didn't really do a diagnostic check and really understand what what's hurting, you know, where you need help, then it would, it would kind of edge on the side of malpractice. So having clear goals gives you just a destination and helps set the framework for knowing what to do with your money for sure.

 

Chad Willardson 

One of the obstacles, I would say that people really get caught up and is obstacle number seven, it's the last chapter. And it's all about letting your feelings get in the way. And it's kind of funny that I dedicated a whole chapter to feelings and emotions in a money book. But really, I think that that will, you could have the greatest financial strategy in the world. And you can have all kinds of real estate investments and stock market investments and have everything just going right. And then if you get caught up in the emotions of the moment, you could destroy that plan in five seconds.

 

Chad Willardson 

So Nick Murray, says investing is the age old, never ending emotional battle between fear of the future and faith in the future. So really talking about distinguishing between what's going to happen long term versus what this moment what the crisis and exciting, the greed or the fear or the hype, whatever is going on right now that can really distract. So my goal really was to help empower families, entrepreneurs, investors, and give them some tools and tips that I've seen clients use and that we've advise people on to give them the confidence to make great decisions with their money and have less of a less anxiety, I would say, I'm less stressed Mike around money.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. Well, and it's interesting that you talk about, you know, the first thing being the goal. And, and I used to, you know, right out of college, I was going to be a financial advisor and, and ended up you know, off on a different path. But, but But yeah, that's, that's one of the questions that you have to ask is, is what what is the end game for you? For some people it might be, you know, I want to live in a cabin in the woods, and, you know, find my own food, and I don't really have a need for money.

 

Mike Swenson 

Well, obviously, the plan to get there is a lot different than I want to travel the world and see things and you know, have flights and hotels and this and that. And the other word, there's a price tag that comes with that. And until you communicate that to somebody you really don't know in that that price tag like that, that's an actual dollar amount. Either you have that amount or you don't. And a lot of people they don't, they're fearful that well, what if I don't have enough money?

 

Mike Swenson 

Well, wouldn't you rather put a plan in place to try to get that and find out, you know, maybe I, you know, maybe I shoot for the moon and I end up a little bit shy of that, than to not even know if I'm going to the moon or to Mars or to Pluto. Like, you know, it's really important, you've got to have that destination and clarify those things, because then it's going to also help you in the short term, if I know that my end goal is I need this amount of money. I'm going to work hard towards that. And when struggles come up and an obstacle, obstacles get in my way. I'm gonna work hard to push through that because I know this is what I ultimately want.

 

Chad Willardson 

Agreed, agreed. And I think that kind of plays into one other obstacle or chapter that I'll share. I'm talking about focusing on the wrong number. This is Chapter Three. Focusing on the wrong number. What I see people often focus on is they're looking at just their total assets, or their total net worth. And people get caught up in saying, well, I need to have 2 million, I need to have 5 million and you have 10 million or 30 million whatever the number is, they get caught up with that number or they get caught up in the number of what's my investment ROI for this year or for this quarter and they become hyper focused on that percentage return.

 

Chad Willardson 

However, the number and I think your listeners would agree with this and relate to it is the number that you really need to focus on as your cash flow. You've got to actually really understand what are my goals and lifestyle? What does that actually cost. And let's consider inflation over the next 10 2030 years, which we believe is going to go up with all the government spending and borrowing. So you have to have a clear plan for your cash flow to really know how much should I invest in what assets should I be investing in. So I'm trying to find a quote in here that I had some of the key takeaways in that chapter, essentially, is you've got to determine the actual cash flow number that you're aiming for.

 

Chad Willardson 

And we advise clients to plant a variety of trees, plant a variety of seeds for a variety of trees and a variety of fruits. You know, you don't, I never want someone to be all in on just one specific type of investment. So, you know, it's not like, we're going to say you should have all of your money in technology stocks and depend on that for your cash flow and your retirement for the rest of your life. Or if you're a real estate investor, you should only have single family residences, you know, there's no option to have commercial real estate or duplexes or apartments or other things like that. So really the goal is cryptocurrency.

 

Mike Swenson 

Cryptocurrency, which has been a hot topic right now, right?

 

Chad Willardson  

Yes, we get questions every day on that, yeah, you know, put all of your money and a couple coins and you should be fine. I'm just kidding. But basically plant the seeds today, that can give you just a wide variety of trees so that some things will be blooming and blossoming at different times, you know, you have fruit coming over here, you'll have shade over here and everything will balance out. But you've got to have multiple streams of income, we like to see our clients have at least five to seven different streams of income as they prepare for their later years where they're drawing income other portfolios.

 

Mike Swenson 

Well, yeah, and that, that also matters, too. If you know, if you're invested in, you know, a lot of times people have the the nest egg, and I'm going to have the 4% rule where I dropped 4% of that every year. Right? If you're invested in things that have cash flows right now, like a residential real estate, well, that affects your and number because you might be making, you know, 100 200 $300 a door. If you have a rental portfolio, or if that loans paid off, you know, that things affected.

 

Mike Swenson 

So yeah, so having, like, I love your comment about different seeds, planting different trees yielding different fruits, that's great, because the each each vehicle for financial freedom has different payoffs and have different rates of return. But that balance is what's really important.

 

Chad Willardson 

Agreed. Totally agreed. Yes.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. Great. So, so share with me Then let's talk a little bit about about Pacific capital, how did that come to be for you? And what's your kind of what's your target client? And then really, how has that business grown for you to help you provide your financial freedom personally?

 

Chad Willardson 

Sure. So I spent nine years at Merrill Lynch, as an investment advisor. There we go with a lot of different clients from different backgrounds. Ultimately, I wanted to be an independent fiduciary. And as I saw, that's what wealthy entrepreneurs are really looking for. They want an independent objective advice, they were a little bit turned off by the big investment banks and the conflicts of interest and lots of stuff in the news that basically money, the reputation of all these big firms. And so it made sense, to basically say, How can I build a firm that's strictly based on our target client and what they need and want and not based on how to help the big brokerage firm.

 

Chad Willardson 

So our target clients are entrepreneurs. They they have busy lives, they have growth focused mindsets, they focus on planning and goals. They're not just transactional, they're looking for long term relationships. Typically, they have income and the high six figures, seven or eight figures. So that's just our specialty, we deal with people that have a higher income. When we manage investments for people, that's the minimum investment account will open as a million dollars, but our average is much higher than that it's closer to five. But our clients have businesses, they have real estate investments. We don't do that. We're not real estate agents.

 

Chad Willardson 

We don't do taxes. We don't draft tax returns, but we basically counsel on the whole strategy. So we'll work with our clients, real estate agents, their CPAs, their estate planning attorneys, and we'll help coordinate to make sure that all pieces of the financial puzzle are fitting nicely together. So our target I wouldn't say it's, it's not as financially restricted. As it might sound, it's really more based on the mindset of clients. I will say this are six of our lives. Nine new clients in the last five weeks have been outside of California, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Guatemala, and Seattle, those I think are the six or five or six outside of California. So we can now resume technology, we can really help anyone anywhere, if they're looking if they're a good fit, obviously. But that's, that's a little background on the clients that we're working with.

 

Mike Swenson 

So how did you go about finding these people? You know, when, you know, obviously, you had a background, you probably had people that you had contacts and relationships with. But yeah, but going off on your own, you know, it's similar. You know, a lot of the people that listen to, to my podcast are in real estate in various forums. And so they're independent agents or independent business owners, entrepreneurs growing their business.

 

Mike Swenson 

And at some point, you know, they might have switched brokerages, they might have switched vehicles of you know, what, what their business is specializing in. So it's kind of all the same in entrepreneurship in terms of having to build a client base. So how did you strategize to build your client base?

 

Chad Willardson 

That's a great question. I made a lot of great contacts while at Merrill Lynch. But that's not I mean, that's a very small percentage of who we work with today. Hmm, I would say. You know, in the last three years, all of our clients really come from, I get a lot of new clients from LinkedIn. We have people who have read the book, all over the place that the Guatemala client, very big business owner owns a lot of sugar mills and different real estate things back in Guatemala and Florida. And he read the book in Guatemala, actually, he's a native of their podcast interviews, I've probably interviewed three to five times a week from different podcasts all over the place.

 

Chad Willardson 

Obviously, word of mouth, from people that we know, and clients that are happy. We have, we have over 200, Google reviews, which are pretty descriptive, and people share their experiences on working with us. So I don't know that there's any one specific way that we found success in building a clientele, but it was more about just being reputable and doing what we say we would do every time and it's just built upon that momentum. And now that I've been doing this almost 20 years, you know, we don't do I haven't done a seminar. 13 years, we don't, you know, we don't do any mailers or anything like that. It's really, it's really, our internet presence and reputation. And then word of mouth, I would say.

 

Mike Swenson 

And how much of just out of curiosity, how much of the book was a strategy to grow your business? And how much of it was just also to just sharing the wealth of wisdom that you've gained being in the business?

 

Chad Willardson 

Yeah, I did not think that we would get a lot of new clients from the book, I actually really didn't know I didn't, in fact, the publisher said, What is your like? What is your pop the champagne moment of excitement with your book, and I said, you know, if I have someone buy it, read it, and write a review on Amazon, whom I've never met and have no connections to, I think I would really celebrate. And I honestly, I was honest, I was like, that would be like, really cool if someone random just bought the book and liked it. And, you know, we had a couple bestseller list really quickly on Amazon.

 

Chad Willardson 

And then we started getting a good amount of incoming calls. And then I got a lot of podcasts, interviews, and probably did 60 podcast interviews, the first two months after the book was published. And so it kind of snowballed from there. So I did not expect that. I really was just trying to make something. There's so many people that want to meet with us, but don't maybe they're not at the level to hire a fiduciary advisor yet. And so it was like, how can I share with them the best stuff I have in my head, you know, and they could pay 10 bucks for it. You know, that's, that was kind of the original idea of like, I want to get a book out because I can reach way more people than I can possibly talk to. But I didn't really expect it to bring a bunch of new clients like it has.

 

Chad Willardson 

And sometimes it's just someone sees us on LinkedIn, and they're interested and then they read the book, and it just kind of furthers along their desire to talk to us. So it wasn't maybe because of the book, but the book certainly shares how we feel about money and they agree with it, and they feel excited about it. And I say you know what, financial people I'm talking to you don't think like this, so I need to maybe reach out schedule a meeting.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, and so what what advice would you give to people, you know, that that aren't to your sweet spot yet short of reading the book, implementing you know, starting with the end in mind having a goal. But you know, if somebody says, you know, gosh, Chad, I'd really love to work with you. I know your average client is you know, $5 million in net worth, like what do I do from zero to 4.99? Yeah, to where I can work with you like what, what strategies or what advice would you give people kind of looking through things.

 

Chad Willardson 

And I'll be sure to clarify that we can do financial planning for anyone. It's not cheap, and it's not free. But you don't have to have a minimum income or minimum net worth, we just won't invest the money for everyone. So we can build a financial plan. Currently, the cost is 50 $400 a year, that's for 25 a month. So we've had people who literally are four years out of med school or college, and they're just starting their career, their family, but they really are interested in creating a family financial plan. And they can hire us and they get access to, you know, we're giving advice to people who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars sometimes, and they're getting the same quality of advice and expertise, for 5400 for the year.

 

Chad Willardson 

So you can do that part of our services, no matter what level you're at, if you're willing to pay for it. And for business owners and entrepreneurs. It's you can use your business account, it's a write off, it's advice and guidance that you can use for tax advantages. But the investing side, I don't think you need to hire a financial advisor to manage your investments, unless you've got hundreds of 1000s like we can give you advice. And I'll tell you, you don't need to pay us to keep managing this, we might help you set something up at Vanguard and say, let's put this on autopilot for you as you build your investment expertise over time and then maybe want to build up big enough you'll need to hire someone but I don't like to tell people they need to pay for a financial advisor.

 

Chad Willardson 

When if I look at their situation, I don't really think most people do. Most people who are in their early stages, zero to 500,000, they probably don't probably don't need to pay anyone. So we just need to help them set it up the right way. Secondly, I would say my advice is save a good percentage and portion of every single paycheck you ever get as early as you can. We have a client who is they're retired teachers. One was a professor one was a teacher, and they have millions in their retirement accounts. And they never made over $100,000, either of them.

 

Chad Willardson 

They simply saved and invested a portion of every paycheck since age 24. And it's just the compound interest effect. And the consistency and discipline has built a multi million dollar mistake. So no matter how much you're earning, you should be putting something away for the future and investing and planting those seeds today.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, you know, I totally agree with that. And I, you know, I started I worked for a nonprofit right out of college. And it was put the money aside, get the match for my employer, which I was fortunate enough to have and build that habit. I think so many times people feel like, you know, oh, eventually I'm going to, I'm going to hit the lottery from an from an income perspective where I get that job, or I get that opportunity. And now all my wealth is going to grow.

 

Mike Swenson 

But the problem is, is if if I spend just as much as I make, it doesn't matter if I make 50,000 100,000 or a million, if I have a spenders mentality, I'm not going to be able to put anything aside. And so I think a big principle is how to get to, to a big number is you have to have good habits with the smaller numbers. And that's how you build and grow. Because Yeah, if I'm making 100 grand, and I'm saving, you know, 1000 bucks, that's great. But if I'm making 200 grand, and I'm still only saving 1000 bucks, then that extra 100 grand in income hasn't hasn't helped me in the long run. Correct?

 

Chad Willardson 

Yeah. And we teach that a lot that financial literacy does not come because you get more money, you get more money because you become financially literate. So if you can't manage $100 very well, you're not going to manage $100,000 very well. And everyone procrastinates because they just believe that I just need to make x more as soon as I make x more than I'll start doing these habits. And that's just not true. You're just lying to yourself, you know, and people ask,

 

Chad Willardson 

Well, when should I start doing financial planning? I don't think I'm there yet. I don't make enough money to do financial planning. And I say, well, when should you get healthy and start exercising? Probably should start today if you haven't started, like it's, there's no good benefit to procrastinating your personal health, your fitness or your financial planning. There's no benefit to waiting. So get started like find a fiduciary that you can talk to and trust and get some good independent counsel sooner rather than later.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, it comes down to a meet Yeah, making it a priority because I heard on another podcast I was listening to where they talked about, okay, like how do I how do I start with getting you know, six pack abs? Well, it's probably some somewhere in the middle of eat healthy and do some physical fitness to help right Like, we'll start there, well, how come not everybody has six pack abs, they just don't implement it, you know. And now I get there's, there's more complexity to that. But let's all agree it's it's some form of the amount of physical exertion and activity that I'm doing, and some combination of what I'm putting in my body.

 

Mike Swenson 

And I think also to people giving themselves flexibility of I don't have to be perfect at physical fitness today. But I can start and it's the same thing with money. Like, I don't have to know all the ins and outs of cryptocurrency or I don't, you know, like, and, and that that, you know, some people think that that's a great tool, but like, it's the same thing, like people think, Oh, you know, financial investing is so complex. And I don't really know what to do well, like you said, just start with something with Vanguard, right?

 

Mike Swenson 

Like Vanguards a wonderful option, put aside 100 bucks a month, 250 a month, 500 bucks a month start there. And we can get more complex, we can get as complex as you want. But unless you're able to set aside the 100, that 500 $1,000 a month to put into something. Really, you're you don't have a leg to stand on.

 

Chad Willardson 

Great point.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, cool. Well, let's, let's talk a little bit about freedom, right, because, you know, stress free money brings freedom. So let's talk a little bit about the freedom aspect. You know, the the clients that you work with the things that you've experienced over your 20 years, helping people what's out there for people, they're like, Oh, I'm just, I'm just grinding right now I'm struggling. And I, I want what's out there Help Help whet the appetite of what's out there for people how they can have that freedom, and that peace when they they implement some of these things and get their financial house in order.

 

Chad Willardson 

A great, great statement of financial freedom really should be the goal of everyone. And that really is the absence of worry about money. It's the ability to do what you want to do when you want to do it, without having any obligations to pull you away. It doesn't equal doesn't equal laziness, or sitting on a rocking chair on the porch. My clients are not doing that, but allows them to explore what they really love to do. Maybe it's more time with their family, maybe it's travel, maybe it's the hobbies or the businesses, they've always wanted to start but couldn't afford to take the chance. financial freedom comes when your investments produce more than he spent, it's pretty simple.

 

Chad Willardson 

And creating that planting those seeds as soon as possible. So you have those trees, and paying that passive cash flow income. That's, that's the that's the key point. So you got to understand how much does my lifestyle costs? And what can I do to spread out the wrist, balance my investments and bring some cash flow, and that will far exceed what I need to spend. Once you get to that point, you really do have a sense of almost like a lightness to your life, you don't have that dread of going to do something for a paycheck that you don't enjoy doing. And I believe you can get to that point quicker.

 

Chad Willardson 

By just forcing yourself to break through the procrastination and sitting down and planning. I see it all the time, especially our non investment clients who maybe don't have, they don't have millions of dollars, but there that's been weighing on them. They know that they should have done financial planning a while ago, they come in their little feeling like it's gonna be overwhelming. They're not really excited, but they know they need to do it. And then I see them within two or three weeks. And they're just completely different. Like the countenance has changed, the excitement about their future has changed.

 

Chad Willardson 

The motivation to be disciplined with their money has changed because they see the light at the end of the tunnel. They had someone look at it. And our team says here are the 14 homework assignments you got to do and we're going to help you. But this is all the stuff that we can do for you quickly, to get you into a much better situation where those goals are actually reachable. And so I believe that stress free money is available for anyone who's willing to work for it. And if you don't have to make a super high income to get there either. We have I know someone who's when he first came in his his wife passed away.

 

Chad Willardson 

And he was probably in his late 60s and he said, I'm ashamed of how much money I'm spending every month my wife would have been so disappointed in my recklessness. My golf like three days a week and eating out all the time. It turns out the guy was spending 20 $200 a month. He wasn't I was like I was expecting this huge number and he said I'm spending I can't believe it. I'm spending 20 $200 a month. So it doesn't take millions upon millions upon millions to get to a place of financial freedom where you're not worried about money. And you can start having those benefits sooner.

 

Chad Willardson 

If you're prepared and you're planning And you have some success habits in place right away, you start to relieve that burden and anxiety of the uncertainty. I don't know what I'm, if I'm doing this, right, I don't know how much I need to save. I don't know if my investments are doing any good. So you can start now, by really just getting a plan together rather than waiting and waiting and wondering, am I going to be okay? In the end.

 

Mike Swenson 

It's just like, you know, people talk about not wanting to step on the scale, because they don't want to know how much they weigh. And, and if you have a goal around that, like you, you at least need to know where you're at. And so whether the numbers higher or lower than you want it to be, you kind of need to know the number. And it's, it's the same thing with money. Whether you're on track or you're off track, the The first thing is, is knowing what that number is, and, and we talked about this on our real estate team, because I'm working with them about tracking their net worth regularly. You know, it might not be the number that you want today.

 

Mike Swenson 

But once you rather know today, so that you can start working towards it instead of six months from now or a year from now, then knowing the number and realizing it's not what you want it to be. And you still have to take the steps to try to get there. And so better better to find out now. So I love what you're saying. And when people see success, they get more excited. And then they want to take more steps and then they see more success. So then they want to do the same thing. And it's just the cycle of good because they're seeing the progress. They're seeing the impact that that's making by taking those right steps.

 

Chad Willardson 

And happiness. Tony Robbins says it allows his happiness comes from making progress. And progress comes it only starts with telling the truth and facing the brutal facts. So you have to step on that scale, like you said, and you have to find out where you stand before you can know what needs to be changed. So but the progress, making progress, even baby steps, and six months, you can feel great about your financial life because you have actual you know where you're headed and you know how to get there.

 

Mike Swenson 

How has this journey impacted you personally, you know, you know, working for a large company, starting your own firm. Now writing this book, helping people with money, talk about kind of your your success journey along the way.

 

Chad Willardson 

So I started out I was married with one child, I have five kids now. But when I started at Merrill Lynch, and my second year, we had our first kids. So I was married with one child living in Southern California, and making just over $3,000 a month before taxes, which was a big struggle. I was working at night trying to do my marketing and my business planning and meet new potential clients. And it was very difficult. But I still saved something out of every paycheck. I started out with I think that $30 per paycheck, I was investing and saving. And I've just built on that every time my income has grown or something's happened, a good financial success.

 

Chad Willardson 

For me, I've added more money to that investment growth. In 2009. Before I started my own business, I started investing in real estate. And that was just after the, obviously the Great Recession. So everything around here in the western US was seems like a short sale or foreclosure everywhere. And so my wife and I invested in nearly 30 properties, duplexes and homes and a couple multifamily investments back 2009 to 2013. And those are great. I was just telling someone the other day, so it wasn't amazing. At first, they all had cashflow, positive cash flow. But now it's amazing. I mean, it's been 12 to almost 12 years since we started. And a lot of these properties are paid off.

 

Chad Willardson 

And they're worth way more than what we paid. And so I I practice what I preach for sure I have investment accounts that I pay into every single week, automatically saving into my investment accounts. I've got retirement accounts, I've got multiple businesses I'm investing in and we're investing in real estate. So I think having different sources of income has been a great blessing. And if we've ever learned anything from the last year, the pandemic, let's say you can't rely on one source of income and feel like you're steady. It's not steady. And you never know. So you really have to diversify yourself as much as you can.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. Well, it's interesting because a lot of people have, you know, sometimes people have said, like have, you know, three to six months of living expenses saved up, in case a rainy day comes, you know, like there's a lot of financial wizards out there that talk about that. Well, what has challenged us this last year is Yeah, what if you actually need 12 months, you know, have something saved up because you know, who would have pictured a global pandemic happening.

 

Mike Swenson 

And so, you know, more than ever having and the problem is, is you're not going to know that attack. Until it's happened, right. And so so we don't know when the next global pandemic is going to happen. It could be five years, it could be 10 years, it could be 20 years but, but better have to have planned ahead and have that rainy day funds so that you can adjust versus that, you know, wiping you out and not being able to survive. So see more than anything. It's showed us the importance of saving, wise investments, good money habits, so that you have a strong financial future.

 

Chad Willardson 

Absolutely. Great point.

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Chad for coming on. We really appreciate it. For those folks that you know have loved what they heard. They want to check out stress free money and learn more about you and Pacific capital. How can they do that?

 

Chad Willardson 

I'm very active on LinkedIn. So I'm posting daily there you can follow me there and pacificcapital.com is our website. So you want to schedule a free goals conversation from wherever you are in the world. Do it right there on our site.

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate you sharing with everybody.

 

Chad Willardson 

Thank you.

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