April 28, 2022
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/garrett-gunderson-podcast/
[00:00:57] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:55] Guest Introduction
[00:09:30] Is Garrett a comedian or wealth manager these days?
[00:15:32] Scared cows in our society that beg to be disrupted
[00:19:53] Tipping the sacred cow of money
[00:27:17] The four personas that show the disparity between the scarcity vs. abundance mentality
[00:31:22] Podcast Sponsors
[00:34:41] cont. The four personas
[00:40:10] The hard lessons that brought Garrett to his knees financially
[00:50:59] The value of “protective” expenses
[0:53:57] How to leverage your life insurance policy to become your own bank
[01:05:01] What Garrett means when he says, “Win, then play”
[01:08:53] An exclusive sneak peek into Garrett's newest comedy book
[01:15:18] Closing the Podcast
[01:17:13] Upcoming Events
[01:18:08] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life Podcast.
Garrett: Hey, kids. Love you. Enjoy these bills, #Legacy. PS: To be fair, you're my biggest expense. Good luck. Sign Mom.
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Alright, folks. So, I want to introduce you to my friend, Garrett Gunderson. Gareth's really cool because not only has he written really, well, one book and now two books that have influenced me tremendously in the realm of finances, although he's had his fingers in many books in court, including a book about habits of the billionaires, kind of getting into the idea of operating your family, your trust, your constitution, your finances, your family bank, et cetera like the Rockefeller family.
He wrote another book called “Killing Sacred Cows,” which I consider to be just a quintessential. I don't really even know what that word means. I'm going to throw it around to make myself sound smart. A quintessential or essential handbook to really define the status quo when it comes to the way that you manage your finances and making decisions that I think are a lot more helpful than perhaps what we're taught these days in economics and in finances. And now, he has a new book called “Disrupting Sacred Cows.” I have if you guys can hear me right here. I have the giant manuscript sitting on my desk, I finished it last week when Garrett was kind enough to send it up to me in preparation for this interview. And, holy cow, it's just as good, if not better than Garrett's book, “Killing Sacred Cows.” He's really into cows, and he's really into offending people in India. I have a feeling that a lot of people in India are going to appreciate your–
Garrett: Not going to do well there. Not going to do well.
Ben: No, definitely not. And, Garrett's got an interesting story. And, he can tell it to you he came from a fourth-generation coal mining family in Utah. And, perhaps we can get into his story on this show, how he kind of really turned himself into quite not only expert in economics and finance but now a renaissance man. And, that's why coming back to the beginning of this introduction, I think that Garrett is pretty cool because he's now a one-man show. He's a standup comic. You could be a standup comic, I suppose. Anyways, just like the reindeer.
So, Garrett is a standup comic now. Now, not only is he a funny standup comic that you wouldn't expect somebody involved in accounting, or finances, or economics to be funny. So now, that we've lost all our accountants and all of our listeners from India, I'll just keep going. But, he also has invited me to open for him at a comedy show in Austin, Texas. I will put all the details for that into the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Cows. BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Cows because Garrett likes to put cows in his books. But, in a nutshell, it's May 10th, 7:00 pm at the creek in the cave in Austin, Texas if you want to come see me open a standup comedy for Garrett. And, I should note Garrett, and I'm going to stop talking since you're the person being interviewed here. I think it's a brilliant move Garrett to get your friends who are not fun to get up on stage before you get up on stage so that you can, in a manner very similar to price anchoring, make yourself look that much more comical.
Garrett: Look, man, you are funny. That's the bottom line and you're an artist. And so, I've given this opportunity to several of my friends. I did a 15-city tour and my manager Barry Katz when I first told him I was going to do this, he's like, “That's a terrible idea. That's a mistake. You cannot do this. Absolutely not.” And, we're sitting there at the La Jolla Comedy Store, two of my friends opened for me and they both just crushed it. And, he looked over at me and he just started clapping like, “Look, I don't even know how you just did this.” But yeah, it's fun because, dude, it's going to be more fun to celebrate this with you. To share this with you will make it more enjoyable. And, I've seen you play guitar and sing. I've seen you joke around plenty. And, you've done a lot of stage time, so I fully expect it to be great.
Ben: Thank you. Although I don't think I'm going to be playing. I'm not going to be one of those comedians, Garrett, who gets up and plays songs on a guitar or plunks around on a piano. I don't think that will be my shtick. Although I can do a pretty good Kermit the Frog rainbow song on my guitar. So, if shit goes south and I don't wind up writing a set, I'm going to buy a giant green frog suit, I'll get up there and I'll sing the Rainbow Connection song with a banjo, or ukulele, or guitar.
Garrett: Yeah, it'll be definitely weird.
Ben: Yeah. Are you a comedian? Are you a wealth manager, man? Which one is it?
Garrett: I sold my business June 2021 in Wealth Factory. That's been an amazing decision. I did a licensing deal with them where I'm still teaching for them. But look, man, entertainment is the gateway to today's transformation with few people want to get educated but everybody wants to be entertained. And so, I'm like, I could actually use entertainment to help people tackle a topic that most people won't address and finance. And so, I'm in entertainment to sound cheesy as hell, I'm still using like the topic of finance even my first comedy special that we filmed April 15th called the American (D)ream of 2021. A lot of it is around finance, discussing everything from crypto to inflation, to Wall Street, to insurance companies, to taxes. And so, there's not really other comedians that have the depth of knowledge that I have in that arena. And so, rather than try to compete against the world's greatest, I just invented a new category. And, I mean, even the people that came and helped me with a specialist like Marty Callner. I think he won his Emmy with Jerry Seinfeld. He did a special for Chris Rock. He did specials for Robin Williams, and Steve Martin and George Carlin. So, I got amazing people around me to get better.
Ben: I hadn't even realized, I thought that it was called the American dream, but you just call it the American ream?
Garrett: So many people are reamed when it comes to finance and don't really know what's going on.
Ben: You're not using dream like in the British slang sense of the term like cool or fashionable, you're literally talking about us Americans getting penetrated sexually.
Ben: Yeah, screwed. Alright, interesting.
Garrett: Man, I got to tell you, I felt really good about what we did. It was pretty exciting because so many people hadn't seen each other because of what 2020 was. And, we had two shows that day and several hundred people at both shows, and it was so much fun, dude. I worked so relentlessly. I started writing in November 15th of 2020 and then performed April 15th, which is a pretty short window.
Garrett: I got lean, bro. I was like you. I was like the Japanese walker every day. You've talked about how you've moved more towards that. I was walking to work on my rehearsal. My dog became my friend at a 10 times higher degree because he just knew we were walking every day. I get on the rower and I just row and recite every day. I got so freaking lean and shredded. And then, I went on a comedy tour for 15 cities and was stressed out but sold out most of the–and then, I just put some weight on. So, I got some work to do now. So, I'm to rowing and reciting. I just bought a house with a lap pool, so I've been swimming. Yeah, man, you're always an inspiration on staying fit and looking like Jesus. We both kind of have the Jesus look on these days, man.
Ben: You were first. I am growing my hair out though. I'll eventually get the Garrett Gunderson full on streaming Jesus hair look. But, look–
Garrett: You have the clothes though, dude. You have the Jesus clothes. When I went to dinner with you last, I was like, “Dude, you're doing the Jesus look better than me.”
Ben: Yeah, that's a men's fashion clothing company called Spiritual Narcissist that makes, I guess, luxury and possibly prohibitively expensive clothing for men. That does look kind of flowy and Jesus and all spiritual. And, it's not necessarily something I ever would have thought I'd find myself wearing, but one of my friends, Austin Floyd, he started the company, he sent me a big box of their stuff. And, I'm like, “This is great.” This is not only extremely comfortable clothing that I think looks pretty good with my new look with the hair and everything, but it gives me excuse to wear my underwear out to dinner because that's basically what it is. You're just free balling out with a Jesus yoga toga on. So, it works.
And, by the way, folks, Garrett is not kidding. So, he and I, we did a father-son wilderness survival camp last year at Twin Eagles Survival School. And, Garrett would literally be up at 3:00 am meditating and then preparing himself to study for his one-man show when all the rest of us were still asleep in our teepees. And then, the amount of dedication. We went elk hunting a few months later and I would wake up an ungodly hour like 4:30 am to get dressed to head out to the spot where we were elk hunting and Garrett was already out on the porch with his headlamp on having been out there since 3:30 am practicing this one-man show. So, the dude has dedication. So, I am not surprised that you're doing the Japanese walker and the rowing machine thing while practicing your show, Garrett. But, all that means is that you better be fricking funny when every podcast listeners listening in right now comes to see us perform on May 10th.
Garrett: Yeah. It's funny I was on this podcast for Mindvalley and Vishen had seen me perform comedy, so he's like, “We finished the podcast.” He goes, “Dude, you weren't even funny at all.” I'm like, “Well, you're asking me serious questions, bro.” Like, “I didn't know you want to do comedy on this podcast.”
Ben: People think comedians are funny in real life. Most of them aren't really. No, but I'm slightly serious, there are some comedians who are just deadpan boring in real life. But, you're not, you're a funny guy, Garrett.
And, by the way, for those of you listening in, Garrett and I had a fantastic discussion for a documentary on happiness that's coming out. We talked about the link between happiness and money. And, while I was tempted for this show to talk a lot about money and where our true source of happiness is, I thought, well, gosh, Garrett and I have such a great interview that's going to be coming out in a few months on this. I wanted to instead focus on this concept of sacred cows and some of the content within “Disrupting Sacred Cow.” So, Garrett, you're going to take the comedy hat off now, and put on your collars, and your cufflinks and all of your fancy wealth management gear. And, we're going to dive into this disrupting sacred cows.
So, I think probably it's important, especially since the link for the shownotes everybody is at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Cows. Garrett's new book is called “Disrupting Sacred Cows.” His other one is “Killing Sacred Cows.” How would you define a sacred cow economically speaking, Garrett?
Garrett: It's an unquestioned belief that we just go through. And, it's handed down from generations and even built by billions of dollars of financial propaganda, essentially, that comes from these institutions like banks and Wall Street that those unquestioned beliefs just become how we do finance, but it's different than the actual rules of the games of the institutions when they tell us to accumulate for 30 years to set money aside and forget it, to invest early, often and always or a dollar-cost average. They're not doing that. They're in the game of cashflow. They're in the game of efficiency. They're in the game of mitigating and managing risk–
Ben: Wait, wait, wait. Wait. Who was they? Who was they?
Garrett: Banks and Wall Street are the primary culprits that we're talking about here.
Ben: Okay, got it.
Garrett: So, everything from retirement plans to any type of person that's telling you to wait for 30 years or longer for your plan to pan out, anyone that's promulgating an accumulation mindset of, “Hey, you're going to compound your interest.” I mean, that's even a sacred cow. People like, “Oh, compound interest. Einstein said it was the eighth wonder of the world.” Bullshit, that's not what Einstein said. Einstein said, “Compounding numbers was a wonder of the world.” He said at a conference in Austria in the 1920s and then Security National Life misquoted it and it became this sacred cow that everybody believes.
Ben: I didn't know that. that I've heard that quote before. I scratched my head a little bit when I heard the quote because I'm like, I didn't realize Einstein was that into economics, but he was in the mathematics, of course. So, they actually took that and they twisted his words from compounding numbers to compounding interest.
Garrett: Absolutely. And, that's why one of the chapters in the book is money and math are not the same thing. Money and math. Math can help us measure aspects of money, but we have to first view money as a concept, as a man-made efficient tool to exchange with one another. Money represents a moment like a snapshot in time, and it accounts for value created from moments in the past. So, ultimately, we can use spreadsheets to interpret data, but there's a quote I once heard that said if you torture numbers long enough, they'll confess to anything. And so, a lot of the thing is people feel intimidated by money because they think of it as spreadsheets and numbers and these things that are so hard to understand when it comes to what they should do. But, the reality is it's actually a lot simpler than we think. And, it's really a byproduct of value creation as we add more value, then dollars will follow if we're in the game of economics. Maybe if it's in the game of raising kids, that doesn't work exactly. But, value comes in many forms and money is only one representation of value.
Ben: Yeah. And, it doesn't help too when we're handing over 10% plus of earnings to these investments in terms of just fees and everything else to just buy and hold, or dollar cost average, or engage in any of the standard economic practices that you've alluded to. I mean, you were my financial manager for some time, Garrett. And, I remember it was odd because we really didn't lead out with like a stock and bond portfolio or well-balanced traditional portfolio, we were doing things like paid-up additions to whole life insurance, which you and I will probably get into in a little bit here. We're talking about maxing out your car insurance and your home insurance, investing in your business, investing in things that results in a pretty good rate of return combined with personal protection. And then, like the well-balanced stock and bond portfolio certainly wasn't ignored but it really wasn't that, well, that sacred cow, I suppose, that many people make it out to be when investing. And, I've taught my sons the same thing now. They keep asking you about investing and we're doing a lot more either angel investing or investing in their own business, their podcast, and their cooking channel, and everything else just because that's really what I learned from you when it comes to growing money.
And, I guess I hadn't planned on getting into this, like I mentioned, because you and I talked so much about happiness, but I kind of feel I really want to bring it up because it seems like money buys happiness is a sacred cow.
And so I do have to ask you, Garrett, especially because you make people laugh, ha-ha, so of course, you know a lot about happiness. What's the link between money and happiness? And, why are people so convinced that money buys happiness?
Garrett: There is a direct correlation between the basics in life, handling the basics, having a financial situation just to cover like being able to eat, being able to have a roof over your head, not having massive house or anything elegant but just the basics, there's a direct correlation as soon as we get past. And, the study that I saw on this that was more comprehensive is over a decade old, so it was something like $75,000. If people were making $75,000 in America, anything less than that, they could see a decrease in happiness. But, once it got above $75,000, there was almost no correlation, that really happiness, I think, comes from knowing our purpose. I think happiness comes from the way that we operate in our daily relationships and our connection to ourselves and other people.
And ultimately, we have a society that's based upon consumerism. And, consumerism says the more you consume, the happier you will be. The more that you have, the more respected you'll be. The more money you have, the more powerful you'll be. And, we see that reinforced through Hollywood, through rap music, through almost every facet of life. And so, people are chasing something and expecting money to do something it's not capable of doing. They say, “Hey, money, make me happy.” But, the reality is just more money doesn't equal more health because we know how much America spends on health, and yet what our health care system looks like, the same correlation starts to happen in our own life. Definitely, I would choose to be unhappy with money than unhappy without money. But, I would rather just be happy and have money be a representation of the value I create, not the person I am.
People get confused, Ben, when they think their self-worth and their net worth is the same thing. It's not. And, as soon as they collapse those two, they are in a torture chamber of more. No matter how much more they have, they go, why am I not happier? Because someone else has more. And, the more they have, the more they realized that they could have or will. Now, I don't have a private jet, I need to have more, so I have that because that validates me. And so, it is an absolute terrible sacred cow trap that has people's attention. And, they're working through that, but they're not finding happiness by chasing it.
Ben: I talked with Robert Breedlove when we did an interview recently on Bitcoin about this concept of future discounting or time discounting. And, the idea that if what we own now is something that we know is going to be devalued due to say inflation or financial instability in the future, then we're far more likely to simply jump into that consumerist mindset with the spirit of scarcity because we just don't know how much that money that we do have is going to be good any longer or is going to be worth as much as it is now. So, we just decide, heck, I'm going to go spend it now. How much of that part of the psychology of money do you think feeds into this?
Garrett: Well, it feeds in because uncertainty and instability creates a sense of scarcity. And, scarcity is the greatest destroyer of wealth. No luck, saving, discipline, rate of return or financial advisor will save someone in scarcity. And, if scarcity is breeding fear, then ultimately that level of stress starts to run in the background, and people never really find that expression of happiness. That's why when you were mentioning earlier, I always encourage invest in yourself because building really amazing relationships and really developing the skill sets that matter, which Ben, you're a prime example, you have so many skill sets that you bring to the world in a valuable way that's allowed you to grow your business, your reach, your impact, you're delivering value on a regular basis. So, inflation will have an impact on you, but it won't be a devastating impact on you because you fully invest in yourself and continue to grow and express that value in the marketplace and find mediums and modalities to share that. And, because of that, you're in a much better position than someone who's trading time for money in a structure that doesn't help them to grow. It's almost like today's assembly line where they're using maybe brawn instead of their brains. And, because if they're in a middle class or lower-middle-class position where they don't have a lot of assets that they can adjust for inflation, you as a business owner have some inflation proofing because you can adjust pricing as inflation exists. You as a business owner get massive tax advantages. Those tax advantages can help you keep a lot more of what you make versus someone who's on a salary and the government automatically is taking those taxes out and there's no write-offs that can happen. So, I mean, that can go down a lot of the road that way. But ultimately, we have to re-engineer how we do life and business and finance so that these things don't completely disrupt us by saying, “I don't see hope for the future, I guess I'm just going to consume today.” And, that is a dangerous place for society to be.
Ben: It's kind of paradoxical too because you do see a lot of people kind of taking the roots of, what's the guy's name, Dave Ramsey, the Cash is King guy.
Ben: And, they'll hold and they'll hoard cash as a sort of display of, yeah, to a certain extent some amount of financial prudence avoiding excessive debt even though usually I, actually and I think you do to, encourage good debt and discourage bad debt. But, in many cases, people who are just socking away cash are operating with the spirit of scarcity. And then, in the same way, people who are out living a consumeristic lifestyle and spending everything before it all disappears are also operating with a spirit of scarcity. And so, it seems to manifest in two different ways.
But, I'm curious for you, Garrett, because I hadn't really heard much about operating with the spirit of scarcity versus operating with the spirit of abundance until I heard you talking. And, what really struck a chord with me Garrett, and I'm sure perhaps you could share a little bit of your backstory that led you to this conclusion. What really struck a chord with me was you're talking about how you were on vacation. You took your family on vacation and you spent the money on the plane tickets and to get to the place you were going, and then you didn't do much, you didn't enjoy much, you didn't go out to nice restaurants, you didn't go to many excursions because you had to save money while you're on vacation. I was the same way. I was like, “Oh, we got to where are going to now family, we're going to sit in our Airbnb budget bedroom and go to the grocery store for all our meals and avoiding these cool restaurants and culture and not pay any extra money to go out on a boat, deep-sea fishing, or go take surf lessons or anything like that because we're on vacation but we got to save our money while we're on vacation. And, when you stood up, and it was at some event we're at and you gave a talk about that light bulb that finally switched on for you that I think did involve vacation or you really want to be able to step away from the business, not the work so much, I just thought, gosh, it really makes sense.
So, can you get into that a little bit more, that spirit of scarcity versus spirit of abundance, and how you came to discover that in your own life?
Garrett: So, this is my family's favorite pastime. My kids don't remember me being that miser. So, what they love is when my wife tells the stories of when I was like that. When I first got married, my father-in-law says, “Hey, if you guys want to live in the basement, I won't charge you rent.” So, I came back to carry out my–“Babe, we can live in your parent's basement rent-free.” She goes, “Sex free, if that's where you think we're living.” And, I was like, “Oh, good I like.” That's just the miser in me. And, my kids would be like, “Dad, why were you such a miser?” And, I was thinking about it, my wife just chimed in and she goes, “Because he just thought that was the best way to help our family.” And so, she could see that I was operating from scarcity.
So, Ben, listen, I think this is so helpful for people. We're going to start with there's four money personas that we have and there's the way that we operate from scarcity and there's a way that we operate from abundance. So, I'll call when we operate from scarcity, the shadow persona, and I'll just review these money personas. The first is the miser that plays a game called preservation and typically ends up with money that they won't spend because they're addicted to holding on to what they've got. Then, there's the conservative, this isn't a political ideology, it's a fiscal philosophy. And, the conservative is like the Dave Ramsey's, and they believe in the game of accumulation. And, they end up with funds, well, they probably won't spend because they're not sure when they have enough. See, both of those come from a form of scarcity called play not to lose. What can I do to avoid loss?
Now, there's a different one that you and I spent a lot of time, and I think this next one, and it's called play to win. And, that is the striver who plays a game called status that thinks they can just work harder to make more but will inevitably burn out. And then, there's also another play to win, which is called the high roller. The high roller plays a game called opportunity, but it's likely to end up bankrupt because taking on too much risk or cutting corners leads to short-lived riches.
So, we have the miser playing the game of preservation, we have the conservative playing the game called the accumulation, both playing not to lose, we have to play to win striver playing status and high roller playing opportunity. So, those are the shadow personas.
And, when you understand your money persona, first off, if you're married, you're probably not married to someone with your same money persona. It's like that 90% of the time. Maybe that's like the laws of attraction. And, before I understood money persona, my wife and I thought about money a lot. Actually, our first year we were married she's like, “I didn't realize I was married to such a miser.” She was a school teacher. I wouldn't let her buy supplies for a classroom, I'm like, “You're supposed to get paid, not pay for this stuff.”
Garrett: And, it was just a tough year for her until I finally made the shift. And, you said, “Well, when did you make the shift?” Well, I was actually at this event, I used to sell life insurance from 1998 to 2005. And, I was at MDRT, Million Dollar Round Table getting this Rookie of the Year award. And, I went and talked to this woman, Nancy Olivi and I said, “Yeah, this is cool. I won this award.” And, she was like, “Yeah, I can't wait for you to get to the next level and you'll see those people view money differently.” And, I was like, “What? What do you mean they view?” And, I was like, “Teach me, help me.” And so, she asked me a few questions. And, I started saying stuff like, “Well, we can leave our apartment when we've got this much in savings. We can have a baby once we have this much in savings.” And, I kept saying this, and she goes, “I wonder what it's like living in the financial prison you built for your wife.” And, dude, I started to cry. And then, the session let out and everybody's walking out. Ben, I think they're like, “Oh, look at this kid, he's so proud of his little award” because I'm crying. But then, I called my wife and I just profusely apologized. And, within 45 days, we bought a house that we loved. And, that year, my income went up 170-grand because it wasn't about what I could reduce or cut out or budget or eliminate, I was more thinking about how do I add more value? How do I serve more people? How do I expand what I'm up to instead of hold on to what I got? It really transformed things for me.
And so, those are the four shadow personas, I can tell you the four winning personas, but I'll take a break for water and let you ask some questions here.
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It makes sense. And, the way that that manifests in terms of the mental switch that occurs, I know, for me at least, is just the whole idea. And, I don't think this is really going to come as a surprise to most people of experiences providing a lot more happiness than belongings, or wealth, or possessions. The idea that, yeah, when you go out on vacation and you're creating a ton of memories for your children, I'm taking my family to the Grand Canyon to Sedona literally in like five days. We're going to hike for 10 days. I'm not going to be working for those 10 days. I'm not going to be making money for those 10 days. And, the Ben from a decade ago would have literally been on my phone, on my computer half that time trying to bring in funds so that we could afford to go out to a restaurant that night even though we really could, I just didn't really want that humming away at the back of my mind. And, I'm not enjoying anything.
Garrett: Dude, I've been there and healed from that. I'm a recovering miser, which is great. I'm also recovering striver because I spent most of my married life in the striver mode. What changed my life in 2014, I always had this little secret aspiration; go spend the summer in Italy, but I never spoke it out loud because my great grandfather came over from Italy, crossed the sea with honey bread, barely made it, was separated from his family for seven years, was a goat herder and then eventually started becoming a coal miner, and then finally afforded to bring his family over. So, I came from this blue-collar family–
Ben: I'm going to interrupt you real quick with the blue-collar family story. Did you just say that your grandfather crossed the ocean with honey bread?
Garrett: All he had to eat was honey bread.
Ben: I don't even know what honey bread is.
Garrett: So, basically, it's bread that you add some honey to and it's kind of a sweet-tasting tasty bread. But, right now, I have some up on my wall just to remind me of his track and it's so hard that you could barely bite into it. But, my family is always made it and passed it down. It's a lot to work. It takes a lot of kneading and this kind of stuff, but that's all he had. He didn't have really enough money and he came over with his brother's half-brother and his dad, and they barely made it to Ellis Island. And then, they changed their name at Ellis Island because he couldn't speak English because they couldn't understand him. And then, he got on a train and goes all the way to Sunnyside, Utah. I mean, what a crazy life. I learned scarcity from that because he was separated from his family because he barely was able to eat enough and have enough substance to live until he started to make money. And then, he lived in a tent until he could afford to bring his family over.
And so, those stories and those feelings were passed down for generations. So, when I wanted to be an entrepreneur, my family was scared like, “Wait, that sounds risky.” They were really, really worried. And, my hero was my grandfather. My great grandfather's son, James. And, when I told him I wanted to start a business in the financial world, he was scared. But, I actually had a professor that used to manage $5 billion in municipal bond funds become a client. I made six figures that month while I was 22 years old and I showed my grandfather. And, I got to tell you, Ben, he always grabbed my shoulder and teared up and told me how proud he was because he knew that we broke some chains of scarcity and changed our family. But, that was hard to overcome to be like, “I'm going to spend the summer in 2017 in Italy with my family.” I didn't proclaim it till my wife pulled it out of me in 2014. We spent a few years preparing and we went there. And, that's when I became the Renaissance Man. I came home, start taking barista courses, I went and became a Whiskey Sam. I started to learn to fly fish. I went and bought a cabin.
Garrett: And, the crazy thing is I thought that that would take away from production. All it did was, that 2017, at that point was the highest net profit year I had had to that point. My teen grew massively. They learned to work without me which meant they crushed it and did well during COVID instead of just having me on stages. It gave me freedom and it opened up and awakened the inner artist. And Ben, this is the lesson. If anyone wants to have a better relationship with money, the simplest thing they could do is find a hobby and find something that doesn't pay them, but they lose track of time and they enjoy and do just for themselves because it will unlock gifts inside of them that lay dormant because of business and exhaustion.
Ben: Yeah. And, I saw that transformation occur in you Garrett because I think I've known you since maybe 2015, 2016, so I saw some of that transformation occur especially after you got back from Italy and it really was crazy just to see you begin to expand your talents, and your interests, and your hobbies, and do the type of one-man show and comedy tours that you're doing now. And, I'm sure you get asked this. I don't want to be an asshole by asking this, but I'm sure you might have an answer for it because you probably been asked it. What do you say to people who are like, “Yeah, but you were rich?” You lived with the spirit of scarcity and you worked your ass off and you skipped family vacations, all this stuff to get to the point where you had enough money to where you could then turn around and say, “Hey look, just live your life and have experiences. It's a better way to live. You're going to be happier.” And, people who are just trying to make it in life might look at that and say, “Yeah, but you saved up a million bucks or whatever so you could do that.” You know what I'm saying?
Garrett: Yeah, I understand that in 2002 was when I got married and I lived the miser life there for basically till 2004. So, it was only two years of while I was married that I was a miser. And, yeah, we did really well.
I didn't understand this concept Investor DNA in that time and I made some major mistakes. My brother-in-law came to me and said, “Hey, you got 25-grand. I got this a real estate investment. I'll pay you back 50-grand.” Three months later, he did. I had another friend say, “Hey, I got a friend losing his home. Could you come and buy it and lease it back to him and then you can split the equity when he can get back on his feet and refinance?” I made 90-grand. So, I started to think I was a better investor than I was because of timing and luck, not skill. And so, I ended up with over 100 real estate properties. I ended up with oil and gas investments and IPOs, and I had this major portfolio. And, the year 2007 came and all of my real estate partners, all of them declared bankruptcy and walked away. And so, now, I owned all the properties myself and I had to figure out how to navigate and sell those properties which created such a massive negative cash flow that in 2008, my net worth was $8 million and that dwindled down to next to nothing by 2009.
And so, I'm now starting from scratch. I didn't declare bankruptcy. I fought through it. I learned massive lessons. And, these lessons were important because that's when I discovered Investor DNA. That's when I discovered how to do real due diligence and risk mitigation. The discovery I had in that helped me get clients out of really tough situations, and it really helped me dial in what are the guaranteed things in finance. It's a guaranteed return if you save tax, if you save interest, if you take care of nonperforming fees and eliminate them, if you find duplicate coverages or improper structural insurance so it's more efficient. You put more money in your pocket. It really opened my eyes. But dude, in 2009, I was now starting from scratch basically. Now, I had all of my mental capital. I had all of my relationship capital, which are the most precious forms of capital we all have. Mental capital is our ideas, knowledge, wisdom, insights and strategies, relationship capital, people, networks, mentors, friends, family, business associates, organizations. But, I took that and I said, “What can I do?”
And, I came back so much stronger by coming from a place of abundance when everything felt scarce around me. I learned to be more resourceful. I learned to ask for support and not just be in suffering by myself, and by 2010 had the biggest year ever and hit the Inc. 500. So, I had to pull out of that. And, even in that to take this time off in 2017, I was still a business owner. I was still speaking multiple times a month. I was still responsible for generating the most profitable leads for my business. And so, I had to have this mindset to be able to do that, to be able to go on that trip. And so, it wasn't like I was handed money, I was handed love by my family and I have an amazing family, but I had to navigate this. And, I made mistakes along the way. There were bumps and bruises and I didn't just have wealth and go, “Yup. Now, I can go do all these kinds of things.” Even if you're struggling right now and you can't make ends meet, the importance of you finding a hobby. Some of these hobbies don't require much money. I'm playing guitar 30 minutes a day right now. That's a hobby that I'm developing right now. I'm writing comedy.
When I came back from Italy, Ben, it was transformational because I it was my birthday and I took my wife to Atlanta. We went to a John Mayer concert in Atlanta Braves game and I'm telling her jokes at this Atlanta Braves game and she's like, “Hey, that's kind of funny. Where are you coming up with it?” And Ben, that's all I needed was kind of funny for my wife. She might as well say, “You were the funniest man in the world.” Because I get my wife to think I'm kind of funny. That's golden. And Ben, I had had enough space in Italy because the first two-and-a-half weeks in Italy was miserable, dude, because my business started to suffer, I couldn't go in Slack and see we weren't selling as much.
Garrett: And, I was going, how do I let that figure it out on their own? And, I didn't have my normal morning rituals because I was in a new arena sort of area, and I was trying to eat completely paleo while I was in Italy, which was a mistake. And, the first two-and-a-half weeks, I just was suffering. And then, finally, I just actually got drunk that one night with my wife and I said, “What are the most epic concerts we should go to while we're alive?” We booked an Elton John concert in Italy and I just had this moment of relaxation and let go of the stress. And, all of a sudden, my team started to figure it out on their own. Having the rest of the summer with downtime and without something to do opened up the creativity in me, opened up the design of what would it look like to design a life I love? What would it look to live a life I would never want to retire from? That became the things I would inquire about. And, we just took time to have meals and laugh, and hang out, and spend time with my kids, and do the things most people reserve for retirement. But, if we enjoy those along the way, I think it's hard to even measure all of the other things that awaken in us and the life that starts to open before us.
Ben: Yeah, I agree. I think the concept of many retirements and taking time to experience the same type of things that many people traditionally associate with retirement such as golf, or sailing, or big international trips when you actually aren't in risk of a hip replacement, and on antidiabetic medication, and unable to get from point A to point B, 2 miles away via foot in anything shorter than an hour just because you're so old and hobbled. Just waiting for the end of your life, should you have the time and the health when that end of life actually comes or at least end of work-life actually comes to go out and begin to do all those fun things that are on your bucket list? It's really just a pitiful way to live your life. And, I think that really is a sacred cow, this idea of retire, and then start to do all your fun stuff versus these many retirements.
And, I can tell you what, another kind of light bulb moment for me, Garrett, was when I thought, and again this sounds simple, but it just works for me, I thought why am I working? Why am I making money? Why am I saving? Why am I putting all this time in the business? And, yeah, some of it can be escapism and workaholism. And, there's certainly that little obstacle that you got to take care of. And then, some of it also, though, is based on this idea that, “Yeah, I want to provide for my family, I want to provide for my family can be very noble pursuit. I want to prepare. I want to get some money sucked away in the bank, so my wife or my husband, or my children, or my children's children can actually have something and maybe not have to live the hard life that I lived growing up.” And, you're doing all this and you're doing all this and then you get to the end of the day and you're like, “Well, gosh, all these people who I love so much who I'm working so hard for, I'm not with them. I'm not actually part of their lives because I'm doing so much to protect them or to provide for them that I'm not just being with them.” And now, I check myself every day, Garrett, because you know me, I love to work. I mean, you've been out hunting with me and you see me get back from the day of hunting and sit down on my laptop and start to crank out emails and work on a book. And, I love to work. And, that's great. I'm self-actualized. Time goes by quickly like you were alluding to earlier, but I got to check myself and say, “Wait a minute. Why am I doing this in the first place?” Whether it's family or let's say you're single and you're listening, whether it's just life enjoyment, you can work and work and work. And then, the whole reason you're working and putting aside that money really doesn't make sense when you don't have any time leftover to do what it is that you want to do with all that money that you've saved, right?
Garrett: Right. And, the thing is if you're stuck in the scarcity paradigms of the miser or the conservative, you'll never enjoy the money you accumulate because you'll be relegated to living off the interest which interest rates you don't know about stable coin and staking it, and you're in the people that are retired today that are just trying to put it in fixed income, things like bonds, it's barely spitting off any interest. So, they might have million dollars and live like a popper getting $20,000 a year. That's taxable, possibly because they deferred all their taxes and then inflation's eating it away.
So, this whole dream of wait till one day someday. You could be a multi-millionaire and still not living better than some kids are living the first year out of college financially. And so, that's frustrating. And, my dad once told me, he says, “Son, you could never get back the memories you never have.” And so, it's like, what would it take to extract the essence of life and have a high quality of life along the way? And, I call that living wealthy. What would it look for you to live wealthy? And, maybe some of the times when I had that cash crunch in 2008, I was a super resourceful. Any friend or family member that's like, “Hey, I've got this great cabin or I've got this great place downtown if you ever want to use it.” We used it that year to go ahead and have a good time without having to spend a lot of money. I thought of great things to do. So, some of my happiest moments in life that they didn't require much money, there's other times where, yeah, I was saving some pretty amazing places that did, but there are opportunities for us to just find ways and moments. And, what you're saying is to be present, to really be present because we could spend five minutes with someone, have it count for so much and spend five days and have it count for nothing or count against us because we're not present. And, part of consumerism and part of scarcity prevents us from being present, either playing not to lose, wishing the past was different than it was, or playing to win, chasing a future that's never going to exist at the expense of today.
So, how do you create an exciting, compelling future without sacrificing and giving up of who you are today? And, I think that that's one of the major ailments as people believe they have to sacrifice to be okay financially. Hey, I got to cut back, I got to scrimp, I got to save. I think sacrifice is one of the things that harms people the most because it takes us away from being present.
Ben: We could talk about the philosophy of scarcity and abundance to we're blue in the face. But, I think I would too jump into the trees here for a little bit from the forest, from this 40,000-foot overview that we have right now.
So, one of the things that I mentioned earlier, Garrett is, I had never thought about protective expenses and the value of protective expenses. Frankly, I thought a lot of protective expenses were a waste of time. And, in your book, you get into how we have these different expenses like destructive expenses like borrowing to consume, which I think makes sense, and lifestyle expenses, just basic, clothing, food, etcetera. But, one of the expenses they get into is protective expenses, and you taught me about this and I began to implement this strategy, particularly via some insurance strategy in my life. And, I would love for you to tell me a little bit more about why protective expenses are beneficial and not just the way to line the pockets of some insurance agent.
Garrett: The first thing is protective expenses come through education, through asset protection, through risk management, and mitigation, and through insurance, even through corporate structures. And, families like the Rockefellers that are on their sixth generation of passing on wealth without it being decimated fully understand protective expenses. The ultra-wealthy understand protective expenses. And, even when I look at insurance, I think that the sentiment that I would give is that you want to ensure the catastrophic never the inconsequential. Because when we buy insurance, the first dollar we pay for insurance or the first dollar we would use is the most expensive dollar. So, let me give an example.
Garrett: If you have car insurance and you have a really low deductible like $100 or $250, maybe moving that to 500 or $1,000 frees up money that you could now get $100,000 liability coverage. Yes, you're more likely to use that lower deductible, but you could probably afford a couple $100 where if you have a major liability or someone sues you, that $100,000 could be pretty devastating. So, proper design means how do we transfer risk so that we don't have a mindset that worries about being exposed? Most people don't think about their insurance when they wake up in the morning. The time they think about it is when someone they know has a major issue, maybe someone dies, you're like, “I wonder if I have enough life insurance” or someone gets in a major car accident and get sued and you're like, “I wonder if I have enough car insurance.” So, I'm about transferring the catastrophic, which means we use life insurance companies, or car insurance, or homeowners' insurance companies to more efficiently insure ourselves because if we don't have their insurance, we have to use our own cash and simply said, anytime we use our own cash, we're using at least a dollar to ensure that dollar. But, if we use insurance companies, we're putting pennies on the dollar to transfer that risk, so we have more use of our money and we free up our mental space so that we're not in scarcity worrying that we're not protected. So, I look at protection as a tool to be more productive because it keeps our mind from being scattered or from scarcely creeping in because we haven't properly protected our family or ourselves.
Ben: Now, when it comes to protective expenses, Garrett, and thanks for that explanation, one of the things that I mentioned that you heavily encourage me to do and that I did do was to get a whole life insurance policy and actually do paid-up additions to that whole life policy. I mean, with which I've been doing. I think I've got not a ton, but I think I probably have about half a million dollars in paid-up additions on a whole life insurance policy that you had me start. And, the idea behind all of that paid-up cash is that I can borrow against it, I can use myself as a bank. And, there are other benefits of this as well. I know the interest on that kind of accrues on a tax-deferred basis. But, can you get into why you're a fan of whole life insurance and kind of explain this to people who may not really be familiar with the concept of using yourself as a bank?
Garrett: Most people, 25 years ago or 50 years ago, that had whole life insurance, it looked like a hole they threw their money into because they didn't design it properly. And so, you have people like Dave Ramsey that are pretty negative about it because it has been high commission low cash. I look at whole life insurance with paid-up additions, in particular, also referred to as overfunding, as a medium-term storage for your money where savings accounts or stable coins might be the short-term stuff and long-term might be the equity that you're building inside of your business or other investments that might have a little bit more volatility. But, this is something that when the right opportunity comes along like tomorrow, if you knew a company in the health space that you could acquire and absolutely roll into Ben Greenfield's portfolio of companies and you knew what to do with it because of your listeners, you could grab that money and have it within 72 hours from your cash value.
And so, I love that you have a tax advantage to count that you could get access to the money without a penalty like an IRA and that you can avoid paying taxes on the gains in two ways. One just by taking withdrawals and it's known as FIFO, first in, first out. So, you could take any money you put in back tax-free first. Most investments, you take your interest out first, which makes it taxable. The second thing is you can use the cash value as collateral, continue to earn interest on it and have the insurance company give you a loan with their money that's a similar or even identical interest rate, so then you cannot have to use your credit and you can pay it back on your own terms. And, if you don't pay it back, it'll come out of your death benefit when you die, which means you now have access to capital. That's why I call it a medium-term storage. But, the other thing is you don't have a death benefit which protects you so that in the future, if you want to increase cash flow, I can use that death benefit to do things like, Ben, any of your capital gain assets like your businesses or other investments, stocks, or real estate, I can now show you because you made decisions at an early age how to sell those tax-free using your death benefit and coordination now. We're getting a little bit deep here, but there's things called charitable trust where you can donate your asset to a charity of your choice. You get a tax deduction that's a partial tax deduction. And, when you sell that asset, you pay zero tax. Then, you can take a lifetime income off of that with the intent to leave at least 10% behind to a charity when you die. So now, you're giving 10% to a charity rather than 20% to the government, you're getting a partial tax deduction. And, your full amount of money after the sale is still at work.
Now, when you die, the money goes to charity. But remember, you have a death benefit that will be around a day longer than you that comes in tax-free with your life insurance, so it's almost like that life insurance death benefit is a permission slip for you to extract higher cash value from other assets. You can do this with a paid-off mortgage. You can use your death benefit as collateral and get a reverse mortgage. That's tax-free. I wouldn't recommend doing that. I'm just giving an example. That turns now a lazy asset or stagnant asset like equity in a home and do cash for you because you have a death benefit that would then replenish the bank for getting access to that capital and never have to owe a penny out of your own pocket. The death benefit takes care of it for you. Plus, you have this cash value along the way. Then, maybe it's only earning 4%, but that's a tax benefit with 4%. And, once you get paid the interest, it never goes down. So, when the market is chaotic and things go down and things are now discounted or on sale, you can take that cash value and acquire assets. I've done it. I bought a business in 2014 doing it. I put in a TV studio years ago doing it. I launched my first book, “Killing Sacred Cows.” Even funded my comedy special that I just filmed myself with my own cash value. And then, I just pay that back on my own terms and I can do it again and again.
Ben: Well, kind of a two-part question. I know two-part questions are what I'm going to ask you anyways. So, could you get a better rate barring against your own policy than you would from say a credit union? And, would one reason for borrowing against your own paid-up additions using yourself as a bank doing that wouldn't affect your credit in the same way as say borrowing from a credit union?
Garrett: Yes, it doesn't impact your credit at all.
Garrett: And, you don't have to apply for it using any level of credit, you simply have to have cash in the policy and you can get access to it.
Now, I've even seen people use their cash value go to a bank and say, “Hey, will you give me a line of credit against this?” I have a policy called premium finance policy, Ben. So, I've got 26 whole life policies between the ones on me because I started one when I was 19 at 50 bucks a month and I make a little bit more money now. I've got one on my wife, on business partners, on my kids. So, I've added up a lot of policies over the time, but I also have a policy called a premium finance policy where the bank lends me money, which I get between 2.25% to 4% depending on the year that the bank lends me money. And then, I put that money in my cash value and they use that cash value as collateral. So, I'm essentially earning more in my policy than the bank is charging me, which is kind of how the banks work against everyone else. I'm now using the banks to do what they do to everybody else for myself. So, that's another way I can even borrow from the bank and use this collateral, but I've used cash value without it hitting my credit at all. And, I know people that have used cash value to get loans from the bank using the cash value as collateral and they can lower the interest. I've had someone get a 1.25% loan using their cash value. Because usually when you borrow from the insurance company, you're going to pay an interest rate that's similar to what you're earning, which might be 4 or 5%, so it might be even cheaper to just use it as collateral with the bank or credit union. But, then again, it just depends on if you want to take your credit score or not, or if you want to fix the payback for flexibility.
Ben: That makes sense. And then, all the paid-up additions are tax-deferred, and then the death benefit itself is tax-free, right?
Garrett: Right. And, if you own it properly like someone has a more substantial net worth, maybe above 10 million or more, they start to hit levels where they could get hit with the state tax. But, you can actually own your policy through something like a domestic asset protection trust, and then you no longer own the policy, but you still control it. The Rockefellers always had the philosophy, “Own nothing, control everything.” So now, the trust owns it, but you, Ben, get to determine who your trustee or your distribution trustee is so you can still access the cash value. But now, it's income tax-free and the state tax-free. So, that's even more powerful. So, yes, you can definitely make this completely tax-free. I've seen people try to make this pretax where you put it in before you pay taxes. They've used things like trusts and things. And, there's been these things like 412(i)s and 419s. And, I never use those because now it's a government qualified plan, and it feels more it's tax-deferred than tax-free. And, I'd rather pay the tax on the seed than the harvest so to speak. And, I don't really want to invite the government more into my life because I think that the taxes could go up in the future, and I expect to make more money over time and in the future, so I never defer taxes. I like to just save tax instead of delay tax. And, most people in retirement planning are addicted to delaying taxes not necessarily saving them.
Ben: That makes sense. So, the whole life insurance, I know you really get into that in disrupting sacred cows and also your book, “Habits.” Is it called “Habits of the Rockefellers” or “Habits of the Billionaires”?
Garrett: So, Verne Harness wrote a really good book called “The Rockefeller Habits,” and I think that book may have inspired me to call my book, “What Would the Rockefellers Do?” And then, what happened is the Rockefeller family, through their attorneys, reached out and said, “Hey, we don't want you using our name on the cover of your book because we actually own a financial firm.” They said, “We don't have a problem with what's in the book, but we don't want you running ads on Facebook and stuff with our name.” So, we change it to “What Would Billionaires Do?” So,” What Would Rockefellers Do,” “What Would Billionaires Do?” same book.
Ben: Okay, got it.
If someone really wanted to learn more about the idea that you've just outlined about how to use whole life insurance in a very intelligent way and also to set yourself up as your own bank, would you say that'd be the best book or do you have a book that's kind of you'd recommend as your go to book on whole life insurance?
Garrett: That's definitely the book, the best book on whole life insurance. And, we put together some resources for you at GarrettGunderson.com/Ben. People can take the quiz to find out their money persona. And, there's no charge for that. They can also pre-order “Disrupting Sacred Cows” depending on when they're listening to this. That book comes out in June. You were the first person to get a get to view that. That wasn't part of my team. So–
Ben: Yeah. It's printed off on a bunch of 8.5 by 11 pieces of papers and stapled here on my desk.
Garrett: And then, I gave you an audio book on this concept called “Win, Then Play.” So, we're having this whole concept of money and happiness and play to win, play not to lose, and scarcity abundance. That's the definitive book and it's not actually, Ben, released, but we put it together as a resource for your listeners, the “Win, Then Play” audiobook. It's only been given to a couple hundred people at this point to get feedback and the feedback was amazing. I've spent five years on it. I have a lot of personality in that. I talk a little bit fast, I'll admit. And then, there's a course for after being in this financial business for quarter of a century, I put together a course called Win, Then Play on Money Mastery and Business. And so, they can learn more about that.
So, those are just a couple of the resources they can dive into. But, no doubt, “What Would Billionaires Do?” is the definitive book on whole life. And, it also talks about legacy and legacy structure, but it is probably my most tactical technique-heavy book I've written.
Ben: Okay, that's “What Would Billionaires Do?” I'll link to that one in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Cows.
Out of the trees back up into the forest, even though you talk about crypto, and you talk about investment strategies, and portfolios on a whole lot more in “Disrupting Sacred Cows,” I want to come back to this what? What does that mean, “Win, Then Play”? Why do you call it, “Win, Then Play” Garrett?
Garrett: Play not to lose. We know that's a form of scarcity, hiding, holding on. Play to win is rushing towards something. But, “Win, Then Play” says when you know your win, when you've designed a game worth playing, when you understand that the win is in the work like you talked about where you can lose time and enjoy your work, you've already won. I believe we have a sole purpose within us, we just have to listen to that voice, we have to get to that void where there's a blank slate for creation. I mean, call it in the inner knowing or a gentle nudge or a gut filling. It's a light feather to the face. It's within us, it's a purpose that's born within us. And, when we discover that sole purpose, which is our values, our script for how to live, and our passions and abilities for the highest contexts of living, we've already won. So, what is your win? And, when we know what our win is, we get to design the game. That's win, then play. I win when I play. I win when I'm on state. I invented being a comedian in finance. I invented these concepts of how I wanted to live my life like going to Italy.
So, most people are stuck in consumerism letting the government or well-intentioned preachers, teachers, family, or friends tell them how to live life, and they're trying to earn something, or to get somewhere, or they're chasing that trophy. And, once I get that trophy then I'll be happy. That's a losing game. When we're enjoying life along the way, we've already won. When we know who we are, when we live our purpose, we've already won. That's what I mean by win, then play; design a game with playing, design a life you don't want to retire from. And now, play out that life. That's win, then play. So, I can give it practically like when you plug financial leaks rather than scrimping, saving, sacrificing, or delaying, you're winning by keeping more of what you make. If you learn to profit from your ideas upfront before investing by generating revenue upfront instead of borrowing money, that's where you win before you play. The money's coming in. It's like we're selling tickets to our May comedy before we've done the comedy, we've already won before we get up on stage. When it's packed with a bunch of people that we love and we're going to share part of who we are, we've already won. That's how I like to look at and live life. So, those are just a couple examples.
When you're economically independent, when you have enough recurring revenue from assets or entrepreneurial-based income that doesn't require your daily involvement, so when Ben is in Sedona for 10 days, the income that comes in while he's not in the office or on a computer, that's money towards economic independence. And, when you have enough cash flow to cover your expenses, already won. So now, it's win, then play. Choose what you want to do with your life. So, it's all those concepts of how do we win before we begin? How do you profit from day one? How do you become a cash flow investor instead of an accumulation-based investor? How do you plug financial leaks and keep more of you what you make without cutting back? How do you invest in yourself and your quality of life along the way? So, I'm a little bit passionate about that, so it was a short question and I just bombarded you with all these ideas, sorry.
Ben: Yeah. No, that's okay. I can just wind up and let go, so I can wander around my office and pick my nose as they're giving the reply and come back to the microphone and quickly unmute myself to jump back in. I'm kidding.
And so, “Disrupting Sacred Cows,” you get into a lot of this. And so, folks, there's a few books you're going to want to jot down. “Killing Sacred Cows” is a good one. My son's actually read that for their financial curriculum. This new one, “Disrupting Sacred Cow” is going to be available about the time this podcast comes out, and I think Garrett said it was something like GarrettGunderson.com/Ben. But, I'll link to all this if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Cows. And then, his book, “Habits of the Billionaires.”
Now, Garrett, we started off talking about comedy and I am going to put you on the spot here and ask you. Is there a way that my audience could get an insider sneak peek into perhaps a joke or a set or whatever the lingo they use in the industry is that maybe you haven't performed yet on stage that you want to test out on me or my audience to see how it resonates and see whether or not you get crickets, rotten fruit or laughs? Go for it.
Garrett: Okay, let's see. I haven't really performed. Okay, you just–
Ben: Can't be something fringe like, “Oh, this is Teddy Roosevelt impersonation.” Yeah.
Garrett: No, no. Okay, so I'm writing a book right now called “Life After Debt” and it's a comedic book at debt and money. So, here you go. Was the first time bringing it to a group, alright?
Ben: Okay, okay.
Garrett: So, debt is the real four-letter word that fucks you? What happens in Vegas stays on your credit card. Well, and sometimes your dick. It's what I've heard. I mean, “debt,” a word so close to “death” that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. Debt and death are the new inheritance. What do you get when mom dies? “Oh, hey, kids, love you, enjoy these bills #Legacy. PS: To be fair, you were my biggest expense. Good luck, XOXO. Sign, Mom.” Debt, it's something easy to get into, and by the way, that's a big but. Not always to get out of. Yeah, Ben, I remember getting suckered into this with my first credit card. I was 18 years old and some hot girl was giving out free T-shirts with the 29% interest rate card. Turns out that was 29% more interest than she had in me. The cycle begins. I guess that's why they call it MasterCard because when you get one, you become their slave and spend years trying to buy back your freedom.
So, I don't know. I keep going, but those are just the jokes I'm working on in this book right now that will end up being my special number two.
Ben: That's pretty good. I think you're on track there, Garrett. Even though I know it's hard to do comedy in front of a microphone on a podcast when you're invisible. But really, the only debt joke I ever heard is probably going to an addition to alienating or which audience listeners did we alienate, our Indian listeners by talking about killing the sacred cows. And then, who else was it? The vegans? I forget. I alienate vegans on almost every podcast, but here we go.
Garrett: Yes. Yeah.
Ben: The only debt joke I know is what kind of debt does a paraplegic have? It's crippling debt and highly insensitive, I know. Anyways, though–
Garrett: By the way, if you upset vegans, then I'll go ahead and one more joke.
Garrett: So, when I wrote “Killing Sacred Cows,” I do my very first podcast after I wrote the book and I'm super stoked about it. And, the guy goes, “Oh, we've got the author of ‘Killing Scared Crows' with us today.” And, I was like, “What?” I was like, “What the hell is that book about?” I'm a terrified bird murder enthusiast or what? And, the whole time, he kept saying “Killing scarecrows, killing scared crows.” I'm like, “Nah.” By the way, it wasn't a book about harming birds or even people think killing sacred cows, they're like, “Is it a book on veganism?” No, if it was a book on veganism, I would have mentioned that immediately and often. And plus, vegans are so full of themselves, which Ben, I think, is the only way they actually get full.
Ben: Well, that just means Garrett that the next book needs to be called “Barbecuing Grass-Fed Cows,” and that way you'll [01:12:33] _____–
Garrett: Right. I remember you posted when we went on that elk hunt and you got some death threats for going to elk hunting.
Ben: Yeah. It's funny, you get all sorts of upset comments from people when you post pictures of hunting or providing or harvesting animals. There's some kind of a switch. If it's insect or a fish, people really don't have a problem with that. But, it's something about, I don't know, the snout, or the hooves, or the eyebrows, something. There's a line that you cross. There's a threshold that you cross. So, I don't know.
Garrett: Dude, I remember you go, “Hey, do you want to go elk hunting with me?” And, I go, “Yeah.” And then, two days later, I go, “Dude, check out this gun I just bought.” You go, “You know we're going bow hunting, right?” “Oh, yeah.” And so, for 33 straight days, I shot my bow and it's like, “Oh, man, I better” but yeah, I was really appreciative of you taking me on it. And then, you were like, “Dude, we better be in great shape.” And, I'm packing backpacks and sleeping bags and tents, and we get there like, “You're staying in this cabin.” I'm like, “I was ready to be on survival level with Ben Greenfield.” And then, you're telling, “Hey, we're in super good shape, we can go wherever whenever.” And, I was like, “Ben's in super good shape. I'm in good shape.” But, I felt pretty good until I had to carry that beast out in the middle of the fog and the rain and you were cold and back at the warm cabin while I dragged that thing for 2.5 miles back and forth and back and forth. But, I can't complain because it was pretty fun and I appreciate you taking me.
Ben: Yeah. Well, in your defense, they now make AirSaber arrow rifles. I actually have one. I might go hunting. It's legal in Idaho to hunt big game with it. So, next time you send somebody a picture of a rifle, if they come back and tell you we're going bow hunting, just tell me it's an arrow rifle because that's the thing now and they're pretty cool. It actually spits out arrows 455-foot per second, and I may or may not take it out for elk on the Idaho side in the fall just to hunt with a different weapon. So, we'll see. We'll see.
Garrett: I hit an elk this last year from 85 yards away, was so happy and then it got away. And, the guide was like, “What are you happy about?” At first, I was like, “Why? Do we track it for 2 miles?” He's like, “By the way, the arrow didn't go in very far, he's fine.” So, I was good because I don't want to take an apical shot or hurt an animal. So, the next, I could choose between a gun and a bow and I shot it with a gun. And, it just wasn't the same, dude. I felt disappointed in myself for resorting to the gun.
Ben: Yeah, you're right. Bowhunting is the way to go. It's more physical. It's a lot more–
Garrett: So, nothing to do with money, just Ben and I catching up on a story. So, thank you, listeners. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah, inside baseball for everybody. But, anyway, so come and see the comedy show. Come ask your whole life insurance policy questions at a comedy show. It's May 10th in Austin, Texas. It's Tuesday night at 7:00 pm. And, I'm going to open for Garrett. I'm going to open for him. So, I'll put links in the shownotes if you want to come and throw some rotten fruit at me at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Cows. I got to remember, it's actually BenGreenfieldLife.com/Cows. Changed our brand. It's BenGreenfieldLife.com.
But, Garrett, I love you, I love your work. I've learned so much from you on the financial front and in so many other ways. I love to see your journey. The fact you're becoming such a renaissance man and also becoming pretty funny too both looking and now talking. So, Garrett, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Garrett: Well, thanks for inspiring me and bringing me out to survival camp. And, the way that you are with your family is super inspiring to me. You always hold a high standard there. But, to watch your transformation from striver to creator because we didn't really get to the other side that there's a mindful manager instead of the miser, there's the planner instead of the conservative, there's the creator instead of the striver, and there's the catalyst instead of the high roller. You as a creator, watching the artistic nature that you have, the way that you operate with your family, it's pretty special to watch. And, I will tell the listeners when Ben was a client, my team would be working with him and they'd say, “Hey, this guy's done with the program year one in three months.” I was like, “That's not possible.” I talked to Ben, it actually was. You are a ferocious implementer. So, I always respect that.
Ben: Yeah. Well, if you keep enough crack cocaine on hand, you can do anything.
So, anyways, thank you, Garrett. Folks, shownotes are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Cows. And, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield with Garrett Gunderson, author of “Disrupting Sacred Cows” and superstar comedian signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.
Hey, in a few events that you can join me at RUNGA coming up May 12th through the 14th in Austin, Texas. Check it out, RUNGA. All these you can find at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar. Intimate like VIP type of event. Me and 50 other people that you can join in Austin, Texas, May 12th through the 14th.
Also in Austin, Texas May 10th, I'll be opening at a comedy show for my friend Garrett Gunderson over at the Creek and the Cave in Austin, Texas. That's Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 pm if you want to come and see some standup comedy. I'll also put that over at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar. As well as the Health Optimization Summit coming up in May 28th through the 29th in London, and even sooner than that, PaleoFX, April 29th through May 1st in Austin. So, links and details on any of those are all going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar. If you want to check them out.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
28 April 2022
Allow me to introduce you to my friend Garrett Gunderson, the Founder of an Inc. 500 firm, author of the NY Times best-seller, Killing Sacred Cows, and multiple other Wall Street Journal bestselling books.
Garrett Gunderson is called a “financial genius” in entrepreneurial circles, but he wasn't born with a silver spoon. In fact, Garrett's blue-collar roots are what make him so passionate about helping people live a life they love, on their own terms.
He was raised in rural Utah and comes from a fourth-generation coal-mining family. His great-grandfather left Sangiovese, Italy to escape government corruption and excessive taxation and to build a better life for his family. Even though Garrett's great-grandfather understood the value of hard work, he never got to enjoy it, which led Garrett to construct his businesses, The Wealth Factory and now Win, Then Play, to help owners of companies build economic independence, instead of taking three generations to break the cycle of scarcity.
But there's more to Garrett than just finances. After spending 20 years in the industry, his approach has shifted to combining what he knows best (money) with what he loves most (comedy). His new comedy special, The American (D)ream, breaks down all of the myths about money through a powerfully original stand-up show covering everything from Wall Street to the insurance companies to retirement to cryptocurrency. (In fact, I'll be Garrett's opening act in his upcoming show in Austin, TX on May 10. You can sign up for tickets here!)
If you’re ready to transform your life, finances, and future, today’s guest will help you do just that. It’s time we all laugh at money’s expense for a change!
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Garrett Gunderson's resources:
- Wealth Factory Mega Kit
- Wealth Factory Cash Flow Guide
- What Would Billionaires Do?
- Killing Sacred Cows
- Pre-order: Disrupting Sacred Cows
-Is Garrett a comedian or wealth manager these days?…09:32
- Sold his business the Wealth Factory in 2021
- Everybody wants to be entertained, use it as a means of educating people
- American ream vs. the American dream
- Spiritual Narcissist clothing
- Twin Eagles Survival school
- Ben will be opening for Garrett's show in Austin on May 10
-Sacred cows in our society that beg to be disrupted…15:32
- Sacred cow: an unquestioned financial belief that is handed down through generations
- Compound interest is not the 8th wonder of the world (Einstein actually said compound numbers, not money)
- Money and math are not the same things
-Tipping the sacred cow of money…19:52
- Above a certain level of income, there is no meaningful correlation between the amount of money one has and their level of happiness
- Happiness comes from knowing our purpose
- People are chasing something and expecting money to do something it's not capable of doing
- The torture chamber of “more”
- Self-worth and net-worth are not the same things
- Podcast with Robert Breedlove:
- Uncertainty and instability create a sense of scarcity and scarcity is the greatest destroyer of wealth
- Scarcity breeds fear, which brings on stress that manifests itself in hidden and not hidden ways
- Encourage good debt, discourage bad debt
- Dave Ramsey
-The four personas that show the disparity between the scarcity vs. abundance mentality…27:17
- Four money personas:
- Play to not lose
- Miser (preservation)
- Conservative (accumulation)
- Play to win
- Striver (status)
- High roller (opportunity)
- Play to not lose
- Experiences give more happiness than things
-The hard lessons that brought Garrett to his knees financially…40:10
- Living the high roller life, his world came crashing during the economic downturn of 2007
- Discovered Investor DNA
- Starting over in 2009 with the two most precious forms of capital: relationship and mental
- Mini retirements
- Providing for vs. being present with the family
- Live wealthy; “You can never get back the memories you never had”
-The value of “protective” expenses…51:02
- Protective expenses:
- Asset protection
- Risk management and mitigation
- Protection prevents scarcity from creeping in
- Leverage insurance policy to become your own lender
-How to leverage your life insurance policy to become your own bank…54:02
- “Overfunding” to access money without taxes or penalties
- Don't take out interest first, so it's not taxable
- Charitable trusts
- Premium finance policy; turn the bank's game on them
- Death benefit is tax-free
- Saving taxes vs. delaying taxes
- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
- What Would Billionaires Do? by Garrett Gunderson
- “Own nothing, control everything”
- Win, Then Play audiobook and course
- More resources from the show: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/gunderson
-What Garret means when he says, “Win, then play”…1:05:12
- Understanding when the “win” is in the works, you have already won
- Design a life you wouldn't want to retire from
- Killing Sacred Cows by Garrett Gunderson
- Disrupting Sacred Cows by Garrett Gunderson
- Life After Debt, upcoming book
-An exclusive sneak peek into Garrett's newest comedy book…1:09:01
- Debt and death are the new inheritance
And much more!…
- PaleoFX (April 29 -May 1, 2022).
- RUNGA – The Gathering (May 12-14, 2022).
- Health Optimization Summit! Use code BEN for 20% off (May 22-29, 2022)
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldlife.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
- The American (D)ream
- What Would Billionaires Do?
- Killing Sacred Cows
- Disrupting Sacred Cows by Garrett Gunderson
- Wealth Factory Mega Kit
- Wealth Factory Cash Flow Guide
- Resources from the show: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/gunderson
– Other Resources:
- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
- Spiritual Narcissist
- Twin Eagles Survival School
- Wealth Factory
- Dave Ramsey
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–Endure: My new book, Endure, is now available for pre-order! I’ll gift you the first three chapters of Endure as an instantly downloadable e-book and I'll give you a sweet discount on the exact journal my family and I developed and use each day, The Spiritual Disciplines Journal. (32:27)
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