This page includes Frequently Asked Questions for those wishing to hire Joe for Coaching/Mentoring/Consulting/Training (I use all of these terms interchangeably).
What topics do you offer coaching on?
A: Finance, Real Estate, Early Retirement.
Why should I pay you to coach me?
A: You shouldn’t. All the resources and information I will give you can be found freely, online and in books from the library.
I strongly encourage you to use those resources.
Do not pay for what you can get for free. Do not hire me.
(There are a few people that may want my advice anyways, despite this warning, and if you think that may be you, read on.)
What qualifications do you have?
A: I have been around the early retirement community for over a decade, and helped run a large early retirement forum for the last 5+ years. I have put significant time into researching and discussing early retirement and real estate, and have tens of thousands of forum posts in these areas.
I retired at age 29, and have been retired for several years. I have a Masters’ in Education, was a teacher for years, was a coach for teachers (working one-on-one and in large group settings with teachers to improve their teaching). I have access to tons of resources. I have a real estate background, and investment experience in a variety of investment vehicles.
That being said: I am not a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). I am not a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). I have no formal certifications or degrees. Just experience.
What do you expect from your clients?
A: Honesty. Willingness to share their personal situation. Desire to learn, improve, and grow. Being willing to put in 2-4 hours/week of “homework” (examples of this might include tracking your spending, reading articles I’ve selected for you/your situation, possibly even reading whole books, if it makes sense, listening to a podcast, filling out a spreadsheet, looking into details on your workplace’s pension plan or 401k offerings, etc.)
Most importantly, the desire to improve and the willingness to do the work required to make progress.
Cheesy teacher quote time!
I can open the door for you, but you have to walk through it.
What can you offer me as a coach?
A: Knowledge, resources, links, and a unique perspective.
I have a broad swath of knowledge, and an even better ability to know where to look for particular information. I won’t pretend to know everything, but I have the ability to point you to the right places for things I don’t know.
I intend to save you time, effort, and money.
What does your coaching not include?
A: Advanced tax planning. I am not a CPA. Some basic tax strategies may be discussed as part of early retirement planning, but for advanced tax information, you should consult a tax professional.
Advanced investment strategies. Some basic asset allocation and investment strategies may be discussed as part of early retirement planning, but for advanced investment information, you should
consult a professional DIY (and I will teach you how to do this).
I don’t want to manage your money. I want to teach you to manage it.
Can I get your advice on [particular investment]?
A: No. I am not an investment advisor. The point of this coaching and consulting opportunity is teaching, and learning. I want to show you how to analyze your own investment opportunities for viability.
I will not be telling you “yes, you should invest in this” or “no, you shouldn’t invest in that.” I will be showing you how to determine, in general, what might make a good investment for yourself, given your particular interests, risk tolerance, etc. and teach you how to analyze so that you can make investment decisions yourself, without needing advice from someone else.
What does the coaching process look like?
A: The initial process is two one-hour video chats in the first month, then a one-hour video chat per month for the next four months, for a total of six consultations.
After that, follow up meetings are available on a case-by-case basis.
How much does it cost?
A: For these initial six meetings, the cost is 1% of your W2 annual income (minimum $1000)
(For salaried employees this is calculated on your Medicare wages: box 5 on your W2. For the self-employed, it’s based on the average of your previous 6 months of income.)
Ongoing consultation is available after the initial five months at a rate of 0.1% of your annual income per month (minimum $100). Quarterly or semi-annual three hour check-ins are available at a rate of 0.35% of your annual income (minimum $350).
All of it is due up front, no exceptions, no payment plans, before our first video call.
Yikes, that’s expensive!
A: It is. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- If you pay, you’re more likely to value it, more likely to take advantage of what I have to offer, and more likely to do the work and homework required.
- I want to discourage you from hiring me. Go do it yourself, for free.
- My time is valuable to me. Money is not valuable to me, anymore, after becoming financially independent (other than as a means to help others, see the charity information, below), so it takes a lot to convince me to give up some of my time.
- You are paying for years of research and reading to have found the best content and the analysis to cull it into just the things you need to reach early retirement.
Still… Don’t you have anything cheaper?
A: While I think my reasons for the costs above are good ones, and the fact that it goes to charity (see below) should be sufficient, I do have a program for those just completely terrible with money, or those brand new to real estate.
It’s half the cost as above for the initial consultations (0.5% your annual salary, minimum $500).
This reduced price is not out of the goodness of my heart, or due to feeling bad for you just starting out, but because you will be less work for me. You will get half the hours, but twice the homework.
The complex situations for those on the path to early retirement will take more of my time. Running more complex scenarios and creating models for these individuals will take many more off-line hours. Assigning you projects and readings for you to complete when you’re just beginning your learning is much quicker for me.
I will be here to point you to where you can learn, and to answer questions. But make no mistake: It will be much more work for you.
Who should apply for this cheaper mentoring?
A: Those who are either:
- Clueless about money and wanting to learn. Maybe you don’t know basic personal finance, or you don’t know basic investing concepts. For example, you may not (yet) know the difference between a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, HSA, 401(k), etc., and/or
- Clueless about real estate and wanting to learn. Maybe you don’t yet know how to evaluate rental properties, or the differences between types of mortgages, or anything about landlording, and
- Those who are willing to have a heavier homework load. You’ll be reading multiple books to increase your knowledge.
Please note: It would do you no good to try and apply for the cheaper coaching to save money if you’re past the basics, as you’ll just be paying for information you already know, rather than custom-tailored advanced information to your scenario.
You mentioned something above about charity?
A: That’s right.
100% of my coaching fees will go to charity.
Being financially independent, the only reason I earn money nowadays is to help others. Any money you pay me will go towards charitable contributions.
As I said above, I have no need for money beyond what I can use to help others. To that end, I will give you a list of charities I support (all are either 501(c)(3)’s, or other causes I find worthwhile, and most are on GiveWell’s list of effective charities), and you can choose which of them you want your consulting fees to go to.
That was a lot of information! Can you give me a brief summary of why I’d want you as a coach?
You may want to hire me if:
- You are someone who knows you want to early retire, but aren’t sure how to get there, and feel some guidance would be beneficial.
- You’ve found way too much information, and it’s overwhelming, and you aren’t sure where to start, or what is applicable to you.
The bottom line is: You don’t know what you don’t know. I know what you don’t know, and can help you learn it, giving the key knowledge to help you most quickly achieve your financial goals. None of the information is a secret. All of it can be obtained for free, if you’re willing to put the extra time and effort into researching and discovering the right information.
If you don’t want to spend time digging for the right information, but would rather put your time and effort directly into the things that are useful for your situation, I will be able to assist you.
I expect my potential client base to be very small. Those who are looking to save money, and are willing to put in extra time and effort should go find all the information for free at their local library and on the internet, and should not hire me.
Those willing to pay, but not willing to put in effort won’t get anything out of my advice and resources, and should not hire me.
Only those in the narrow overlap of those willing to do the work, but wanting to minimize wading through the massive world of personal finance and early retirement in order to maximize their time may want to consider my consulting services.
If you are interested after reading all of this, please email Joe.