Podcast | Dom – Gen Y Finance Guy

Today I chat to Dom who runs the blog Gen Y Finance Guy. Dom grew up with humble financial beginnings, where both his parents ended up in jail. He had a huge goal though, to build his net worth to $10 Million, and has now achieved that, through selling his business and building his wealth. Dom’s a very ambitious guy and was VERY interesting to chat to! Jump on board!

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Introduction – Dom – Gen Y Finance Guy

On board the pod today is Dom who runs the popular blog Gen Y Finance Guy, where Dom’s been blogging about his journey to financial independence and posting net wealth updates for the past decade.

Dom is from California, where he lives with his wife and 2 kids. He faced some immense challenges early on in life, growing up below the poverty line, and eventually having to be raised by his grandparents after his parents ended up in jail. Dom refers to this as humble financial beginnings. Dom’s grandfather was a business owner and had a huge influence on Dom’s finances and outlook on life.

As a result, Dom had a pretty Big Hairy Audacious Goal to reach a net worth of $10 million by age 40. Dom managed to climb the corporate ladder, where he was a CFO for a large company, all while side hustling to build his business and his side income.

His side hustle became his full time software business, and he was able to build his business to exceed his corporate income, eventually selling the business for over $20 million. His share allowed him to reach a fat FIRE goal with a net wealth of over $10 million, so he now enjoys financial freedom, blogging on Gen Y Finance Guy and managing his family’s capital part time.

He’s a very ambitious guy, loves numbers and math, will be starting his own podcast soon, and our chat was VERY eye opening! Jump on board!

 

dom - gen y finance guy

Episode 53: Dom – Gen Y Finance Guy

Show Notes

“I am trying to humanize finance by sharing my own journey to FINANCIAL FREEDOM. I believe in total HONESTY and TRANSPARENCY. That is why before I ever started blogging, I decided that I would share all of my own financial stats. I do this not to brag, but instead to INSPIRE, MOTIVATE, and also to hold myself accountable. My goal is to be a beacon of hope, motivation, and inspiration for YOU, the reader, by living life by example..”

Dom – Gen Y Finance Guy

Transcript

Episode 53: Dom – Gen Y Finance Guy

Dom – Gen Y Finance Guy

Captain Fi: [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. Welcome aboard the Financial Independence Podcast.

Gday and welcome to another episode of Captain Fire, the Financial Independence Podcast, where I open the cockpit to some of the best and brightest in personal finance, as well as those who have reached or are on their way to financial independence. Before we get started, remember nothing said here is financial advice, and you should always do your own independent research before making any financial choices.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the episode and learn something new.[00:01:00]

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Good day and welcome to another episode of the Captain FY Financial Independence podcast.

On board today is Dom who runs the popular blog Gen Y finance guy where Dom’s been blogging about his journey to financial independence and posting net wealth updates for the past decade.

Dom is from California U S A, where he lives with his wife and two kids. Now, Dom faced some immense challenges early in life, growing up below the poverty line, and eventually having to be raised by his grandparents after his folks ended up in jail. Dom refers to this as humble financial beginnings. Now, Dom’s grandfather was a business owner and a huge influence on do Dom’s finances and outlook on life.

As a result, Dom had a pretty B H A G goal. Now that’s a favorite word of mine. That’s a big hairy, audacious goal. [00:03:00] Dom wanted to reach fat fire with a net worth of over 10 million by age 40, and Dom is a very ambitious bloke. He actually managed to climb the corporate ladder and became a executive by the age of 30, where he was a chief finance officer for a large company, all while side hustling to build extra income to invest.

Now, eventually one of his side hustles. Became a full-time software business. He was able to make the switch from his corporate career to running the SaaS business full-time and fast forward to today, he actually managed to grow his business to exceed his level of corporate income, and recently sold his business for eight figures.

The business sold for over 20 million and his share allowed him to reach a fat fire goal with a net wealth of over $10 million. [00:04:00] Dom now enjoys financial freedom, blogging on Gen Y finance guy, being a loving husband and father, and managing his family’s capital part-time. He’s looking forward to starting his podcast soon and I’m really interested to have a chat.

So Dom, how you going?

Dom: I’m doing well, I’m probably a little more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed than you are since it’s so early for you. But appreciate you taking the time to get up early to, to do this interview together.

Oh, mate,

Captain Fi: My pleasure. Thanks so much for your time and coming on the pod. Hey, that’s just the realities of living in a far out colony.

Before we get started, Dom, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, mate? Where you from hobbies, that kind of stuff?

Dom: Yeah, so, I live in Southern California kind of born and raised here. I’m gonna be 37 this year. I spent a bit of time, in the corporate world.

And then also, spent some time in entrepreneurship and recently sold, finished selling my business, but I’m still running the practice for the firm that bought it. I’ve got, two kids almost five, almost two. I’m [00:05:00] married for about what, 11 years now together, 17 or 18.

I would describe myself as a fitness and finance fanatic. And yeah let’s start from there.

Captain Fi: Awesome, mate. oh, I definitely gonna have a lot of questions for you about selling your business because, wow, what an accomplishment mate. I guess before we get stuck in I like to ask this question because everyone has a slightly different answer.

We’ve seen the fire terminology sort of pop up in common. Lexicon being financial independence retire early, and obviously not everyone does want to retire early, so that re can have many different meanings. So Dom, what does financial independence mean to you?

Dom: Yeah, well, I mean, first I’d have to say, when I first came across, the space the fire, movement, if you will, is probably in, early to late 2014.

But I’ve always had an interest in, kind of financial independence or financial freedom. I actually have a differentiation between those two terms, which I’ll get into. But I had a hard time connecting with fire in totality in terms of, the [00:06:00] financial independence retire early because.

I’m kind of a believer, and I think you even see it from some of the big personal finance bloggers out there that if you have the motivation and the ambition to, to get to a place where you reach financial independence early in life and you can retire early, you’re likely a serial achiever and you’re gonna have a hard time living the prole leisure life.

So, I know that’s true for me. I have no interest in living the prole leisure life. The retire early thing isn’t that intriguing to me? So what I’ve done over the last, several years is I’ve been, working through, or, working towards financial independence and ultimately financial freedom is redefined the term to be financial independence, recreational employment.

And to me that kind of just fits way better as a term.

Captain Fi: I love it. I actually have a, definitely a very similar mindset. And I thought, there’s many different things. , the re could be, it could be retire early, it could be retire eventually. It could be redirect employment, it could be your recreational enjoyment.

So I’m stoked to hear that those are terms that, other people actually [00:07:00] like as well. And it’s not just, something made up. But yeah, I think everyone does need to achieve financial independence, but yeah. Who wants to just sit around on the couch all day? That’s not a life.

Dom: Yeah. Well look if that’s your thing, that’s great. And, maybe I didn’t really directly answer your question. What does financial independence mean to me? I kind of just redefine the fire term, but to me, financial independence is the point at which , your assets cover, your, I would consider your bare necessities, right?

It’ll sustain your current living of lifestyle. Where I believe financial freedom is a higher level of financial independence that, allows you to underwrite not only your current lifestyle, lifestyle changes that will happen due to desire or due to circumstance, right? So you essentially, you’re building in an extra level of risk mitigation.

So if you’re, financial independence number, based on the 4% rule, if that’s what you’re using as a benchmark to get to a, back into a number is, 3 million. I, I tend to, four, four or five x that number in order to get to a financial freedom number that allows you enough capacity and enough, flexibility, let alone , the [00:08:00] navigating, sequence of return risk.

But just to underwrite a lifestyle that can evolve and change as your desires and needs in life change and

Captain Fi: evolve. Yeah, now you definitely fit firmly into the camp of fat fire. If we are going to pigeonhole you. You definitely have a pretty audacious orca, big hairy, audacious goal on your journey to fire, which I love to get into a little bit later.

But for now, I guess just getting started, could you tell us a little bit about your journey to financial independence so far?

Dom: Yeah, I mean, I, I guess clarifying question, how far back do you want me to go?

Captain Fi: Oh, look. Well, I guess, we even both shared having a bit of a rocky start early in life.

Maybe you could touch on a bit about your upbringing, sort of school and university years and how your upbringing shaped your relationship

Dom: with money. No, that’s great. And I think it will set context for other listeners. It may resonate with others that may have similar backgrounds.

So, I come from very humble beginnings. I grew up on welfare lived in, [00:09:00] government subsidized housing. Really, I slept on the floor of a two bedroom apartment with my four brothers. My, my grandmother, my mother shared a room one of the two my uncles in another room.

We had one bathroom, between the seven of us that, that are in the house. And you know that, that was the vantage point to which I entered life. But it wasn’t a position that I was compelled to remain in. Somehow I was fortunate enough to, see above the fog, a lot of people get kind of pigeonholed into their own, spear of influence.

Somehow I was able to, navigate myself outside of my own circle and find people that were, where I eventually would kind of travel towards you can say I live vicariously through what I was observing with people that weren’t necessarily in my own circle.

And I was also fortunate, when I was in middle school, I happened to meet a gentleman by the name of Dan. I’ll just use first names here. That took an altruistic interest in my life. He was an entrepreneur. He ran a pizza place. Actually he and his wife both had a pizza [00:10:00] place, so they had two of ’em.

And I used to go there, Well started out occasionally, then it went every day where I’d fold pizza boxes and, get free pizza. But, he became a father figure. He held me to a standard that I’d never been held to at home. He’s Hey, I see you coming around here quite often.

How are you doing in school? I’d love to see, progress reports. I’m happy to have you here, but I wanna make sure you’re doing well on school as well. And so I started to, bring him weekly progress reports and I went from, being a failing student at a, 1.67 G p a to, a straight A and, the occasional B student.

It really changed the trajectory of my life. It also was my first formal exposure to entrepreneurship. I think it’s the seed that got planted that, eventually I had to go and scratch an itch that was discovered early on in my youth. So, and I even lived with him and his family for about a year.

They’re , more like my parents and family than my other actual family. My dad was in and outta prison for the manufacturing, for of methamphetamine. My mom, had her own problems with addiction, drugs and alcohol and the good news is besides my life trajectory, changing because of, the altruism of [00:11:00] a a man and his wife and his family taking me in about a year or so into that, journey.

So I, call it, I was in seventh grade at this point. My, my dad had, been out of prison for a year. My brothers had gone to go live with him. And I went and did a summer visit with him and my brothers and my grandfather who lived, in Southern California.

Cause I was in Northern California at the time. And. I decided when I got back from that visit that I wanted to live with my dad and my brothers. I broke, I’m sure I broke Dan and Sonia’s heart leaving. But the one thing that they asked my grandfather before I left, to move permanently with my dad and my brothers is if something happens, are you gonna be there to help him?

So my grandfather was a, p o w for five and a half years in the Vietnam War. He was a 30 year veteran in the Marine Corps. And then when he got out, he started an insurance business that he ran, really until he passed away. And in 2009, probably where I got my philosophy of, never retiring.

He always told me, when you retire you’re inching that much closer to death. And all his friends that were retiring were dying. So, he just [00:12:00] decided not to retire to bring on an early onset death. And so long story short I moved with my dad and my brothers three months later, he was arrested, went to prison for the third time and we went to go live with my grandparents.

Ultimately, I stayed with my grandparents and my brothers kind of shifted around to other relatives. And my grandfather was the next person in my life that, had a monumental impact in the direction that I took. Again, another entrepreneur someone that had incredible work ethic.

Someone that had, all the characteristics of, the type of man you would kind of envision, to be a great father, a great friend a great mentor. And it was really those two men in my life that, played a pivotal role. So, by the time I was graduating high school and going to college, first person, besides my grandfather to get a college education.

I kind of knew that I wanted more in life and eventually I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I needed to kind of cut my teeth in my opinion, to get my real life mba. I didn’t really want to continue to go into school after my four year university.[00:13:00] But I did want to get a real life MBA so I could be prepared for, the, quote unquote entrepreneurship lifestyle.

And it was probably in, in college where I first experienced, or, kind of came to the idea of, what financial independence was and how to get there. I’m sure there’s many others that are similar that have, come across Robert Kiyosaki and the other Rich Dad Cord Dad series.

That was probably the early, books that I read. But the book that I read that had the most influence on my life in terms of, understanding the power of compounding is, not was, but is the slight edge. I wanna make sure that, I’m answering your question.

I’m staying on on topic here, but anything so far that I can clarify before I keep going?

Captain Fi: No, mate. That’s awesome. Yeah, dude, that’s a really powerful story. I not gonna lie, mate I really feel for you just getting smashed early on. Your grandfather sounds like a pretty remarkable man.

I’m sorry for your loss. And he just sounds like such a wonderful influence and, it sounds like he’s maybe been really shaped your view on finance during [00:14:00] your formative years and sort of was always

Dom: there for you. Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, so I graduated college and I make my foray into the the corporate world.

My degree was in finance. So, naturally I went into corporate finance and. I’ve always had an obsession with numbers. I’ve come to adopt over time, a philosophy that the path is all math. And, once I was , in the corporate world, my goal was to, just kind of climb the corporate ladder, gain the experience and wait for the fat pitch of an opportunity to go off my own.

But I wasn’t just, I wouldn’t say biting my time. I mean, I was learning an incredible amount and, developing both personally and professionally, over the course of, about a decade before I went off on my own. I put in regularly, 70 to 80 hours a week for a long time, cause what I was trying to do is I was trying to condense a career’s worth of.

Experience in a decade. So that way that I could then accelerate, not only my path to financial independence and financial freedom, but also, my path to being in a position of [00:15:00] strength to go off and, when that fat pitch arrived, scratch my entrepreneurial itch it was in 2014.

And so I would’ve been, what, 4, 6, 6 years into my corporate career when I started Gen Y Finance guy. And the reason I started that is I wanted to formalize and articulate. My beliefs and philosophies and also hold myself accountable to the goals I had. You mentioned at the beginning of the interview that I had a pretty, big and hairy audacious goal.

And that was to achieve a 10 million net worth by the time I was 48, right? When I set that goal in 2000, late 2014, early 2015, my net worth was less than $200,000. And so you could have said that, I was a crackpot or was laughable, but I mapped it out. I put a 20 year plan together and what I didn’t share at the time is that was to me the conservative timeline to get there.

To me, when you plan something like that, You tend to experience accelerating timelines because your subconscious is also going to work to find, the shortcuts and the paths to,, get you there even sooner, because now it has a [00:16:00] destination so it can start to optimize in the background.

And that, I think, played a pivotal role in terms of, really being able to accelerate because I felt accountable not only to myself, but also to the readership that I grew over time, right? I had a responsibility to put my money where my blog was, so to speak, right? I wasn’t a blogger that was, blogging about things I wasn’t doing.

I only blog about things that I’ve personally experienced and have personally, done with my own money. And, I think that really did act as an accelerator. And so fast forward, in 2019 I decided to start a business. The fat pitch finally arrived.

At the time I started a business, I’d paid off my mortgage. And I had about five years worth of living expenses because again, I wanted to do this from a position of strength. I’m not the kind of entrepreneur that can risk, everything live on credit cards and, on, on a wink and a prayer.

I hope everything’s gonna work out. I’m a bit more calculated than that. And over the years I kind of skipped over, but I’ve always had side hustles and, this business also started out as a side hustle because I’m a big believer that everyone should have a side [00:17:00] hustle because eventually that side hustle might turn into your main hustle.

And the last thing I’ll say here is the other thing that I. Did in 2000, late 2014 or late 2015, is I set three major goals for my life. One was, I wanted to make, the C-suite by 30, which I did.

I created a title that didn’t exist at the time. I don’t think I’ve seen one since. But I was the chief Business Intelligence officer where I was over both finance and it, cause I’m a bit more technically savvy than the average finance person. The goal number two was to start scale and sell a business, which, I’ve now done successfully.

I sold 60% of my business in 2021 and I sold a remaining 40% in January of this year. And then the third goal, which really, you know the first two enabled, and you already know, my big, hairy, audacious goal was 10 million in net worth, was to transition to that of a full-time capital allocator.

And the reason for that is, All of these things served a purpose because I would describe my superpowers as being twofold. One is that I’m a super planner, and two is that I’m super aware of what [00:18:00] I want and when I want it. And, given my background, I knew I wanted to have kids, but I wanted to do it on my terms.

I wanted to be the type of father I wanted to be, but I didn’t want to have the pressures of, not, not having to worry about the money side of the equation. Right? Everyone has problems, but, I’d rather just money not be one of them. And I wanted to be a present father. Like I wanted to be the father that I didn’t get to have.

And so all those goals were really super aligned with who I wanted to become and what I wanted to be able to do. And really, ultimately it meant, full autonomy over my time. It’s not that I don’t wanna work, it’s just. I wanna work on my terms and that’s kind of really how I got to where I am today.

I mean, that’s my journey. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in between that I’ve skipped over in terms of, my philosophy and beliefs and the rules that kind of govern, my or my family’s financial life.

Captain Fi: Yeah it’s pretty amazing dude.

I’m looking at your net wealth tracker and you are consistently saving and investing and building your wealth, like the year on year change is fricking awesome. And then [00:19:00] obviously you mentioned you’ve recently sold your business and wow, that’s skyrocket. So it’s pretty amazing , to reach that that big hairy, audacious goal.

And I’d love to sort of , unpack a little bit about how your site hustle turned into a full-time business and then the sellout. It’s unreal. So, , I guess that’s probably, one of the biggest accelerators for your net wealth. How did you go between, running this sort of high, like a C-suite, like as a chief finance officer for a company and then running your side business on the side?

Like how did you manage your time

Dom: to do that? Yeah, so, couple things there. I would say that one is the business I started was created around a software that I actually implemented for the employer that I was working for at the time, right? So, this was a software that I was intimately familiar with, that I built an entire business around and had worked with as a super user or a power user, on, on the client side for almost six years.

And, derived incredible [00:20:00] value. I mean, it was a. I would say career maker for me, and I think you can be a career maker for many folks in finance. Because what it really allows you to do is, become a strategic partner to the business, to, to transition yourself away from, being a, an overhead function and being, part of the, I would say the value add team in value creation.

But how did I manage it? So, look I’ve always had a high capacity for pain. And what do I mean by that? I mean by working when you work 70, 80, 90 and sometimes towards the end of my corporate career, a hundred hour weeks you tend to be able to endure a lot of pain. And I remember hearing a quote one time that, your level of success will be determined by the level of pain you can endure.

And so, as my corporate career, as I got to a place I was hiring a team and, got to a more balanced schedule. , , well, actually when I started the business, I had a six month old, but I had some level of flexibility there where I was like, okay, I’ve got a little more juice or a little more gas in the tank.

To keep this going. And so what [00:21:00] I did first is look, , I’m gonna dip my toe in the water before I jump into the deep end of the pool. And that only required me, to, to work an extra 10 to 20 hours a week to, start this as a side hustle, right?

This is, if you want timeline here, think of this is March of 2019 is when, we, and I say we, I had a co-founder we took on our first job, towards the end of March, but we hung up the shingle. In February of 2019.

And so we did that first job and we, successfully implemented the software and we’re like, okay, this is good, but let’s take on a couple more jobs. Right? And so we did that from, call it March until June of 2019. So three months there of kind of just, working as a side hustle progressively spending a bit more time.

And then by June, cuz what I was really trying to test for is I was trying to figure out was this opportunity going to be able to provide me with an income and wealth accelerator. As much or exceed the value of my corporate career because in my corporate career I was making a very comfortable package.

I mean, I was, making $350,000 a year plus, I had a [00:22:00] hundred plus thousand dollars bonus. I had tentatively taken this or accepted the offer to become the chief operating officer 18 months from early 2019. And I knew my package would increase to, $600,000 a year plus, $200,000 plus bonus, plus, stock and options.

So I hit an inflection point in June and said, look, If I can at least see a path where I replace my current income and, still have the benefit of equity later that could eventually be sold. Cause I started with the end in mind. I knew I wanted to start a business that I eventually would sell.

This was a means to an end. It wasn’t about building legacy. It wasn’t about building the biggest business ever. It was about building a business that was highly profitable, that grew fast and that I could sell. And that, that was the intention from day one. And by June of 2019, I had seen the writing on the wall that

we were already earning enough money from the business that I could replace my C-Suite income. And so that’s when I decided to give notice. But I, I didn’t give your typical two weeks notice. I gave, I started with six months notice because I was so ingrained in this organization. I was very close to the executive [00:23:00] team, the original founder, and c e o.

And when I gave my notice, I. You never know what’s gonna happen, right? They might say, oh, you can just walk out today. But, the kind of relationships and the kind of value I added, and I think if if you’re so good that, you, your perception or the perception of the organization is that you’re irreplaceable.

They’re going to do what they can to keep you around for as long as they can. But also that comes with some benefits. So when I gave that notice the c e o personally called me and he was actually a bit more teary-eyed than I would’ve expected. I was actually ex expecting a bit more of an explosive response.

But at the end of the day, his closing words were, you’re the only guy that you know that has the balls to, to go in entrepreneurship. And I actually now see you as a peer and I respect you. I, I’m pissed that you’re leaving but I totally respect you.

And he goes, all I ask is that. You do what you need to, to transition what’s on your plate. I know you’re not gonna be working full-time. I know you’re gonna be running your business. I appreciate the long, six months notice. He goes, I’m not gonna cut your pay. You’ll get your full bonus.

And that’s a long-winded way of giving you the backstory to say, if you do really good things for another company, you can still have something [00:24:00] that works out, in your favor. And so, as I was building my business for the rest of 2019, I still earned, my, my full salary and bonus for my C-Suite role.

Plus I earned, I think that first year I earned, I don’t know, 250, $300,000 in additional income from the business. And my, my notice ultimately ended up being eight months. And I had some stock in the business. So in February of 2020, when I completely exited my employer I also sold my stock with that, which came with, Another, a mini exit compared to the business I sold of, about a half a million dollars.

Captain Fi: It’s incredibly interesting. I just think , to go from like side hustling and have your side hustle become your main hustle and then to have it replace or exceed your corporate level income that’s an amazing story mate.

I personally have a portfolio of content sites, so just, I guess you could call them blogs, really just information and we monetize that with advertising and affiliates and a couple of them have digital products that they sell. But yes, I it’s one of [00:25:00] those things where I was doing this as a side hustle as I was, flying as a transport pilot.

And now in, quote unquote semi-retirement, which is, I guess the label that I use post-fire I’m enjoying working on it and building them up. And it’s just such an interesting concept that, yeah, when this side hustle can basically produce a full-time income. Now look, I’m nowhere near selling my websites for $10 million, but I know some people that have.

So it’s definitely a viable option. And it sounds like, you’re an incredibly driven man, like to be able to become a C-Suite executive by 30. Especially with the challenges that you faced early in life it’s very clear that you are quite a driven individual. So you’ve obviously worked very hard on your business and, very deserving of your sellout.

And I recently read Joe Valley’s book, ex Entrepreneur and that’s awesome. And it was sort of talking a bit about setting your business up with the end in mind for the eventual sellout. And it’s not something that I’d really [00:26:00] considered before. But my business mentor said, look, it’s something I really need to read.

So I’m wondering, when you set out to your business, you mentioned that, you had always planned to sell the business. How did that shape the way I guess you worked on the business and, what things did you put in place to enable a smooth sail down

Dom: the track?

Yeah. I want to answer your question , but I just want to address one thing you said. I mean, I’m very appreciative of the flattery and the kind words. But I also want to, make sure that people, realize that, I’m just one story, right? And, is, you get to see the highlight reel of my life.

But I will say that, adversity was my greatest advantage, right? It was a motivator. I’m a big believer that in life you can choose to be the victim or you can choose to be the victor. And so yeah, I came from humble beginnings, but I, I chose to, to use my life circumstance as a motivator to be the victor, in my own story of success.

So I just wanna point that out was , look, , everyone has warts. If you look close enough at anyone’s life, you’re gonna see the things that, you know, there’s sometimes a price to pay with a level of [00:27:00] ambition. And, sacrifice that comes with, achieving some of the types of results that, I’ve achieved in people that are far more successful than I have achieved as well.

So just keep that in mind. I always like to shed light on that, that, in, in the age of social media and, the access to people we have through their blogs and podcasts and stuff, sometimes we idolize them, but we forget that they’re also human. And I just want to let everyone know that I’m just as human as everyone else.

Yeah, I have a pretty good story, but, there’s a lot of, warts along the way that that you don’t get to see.

Captain Fi: Yeah. It’s a good reminder. I know when I was getting started on my, I guess my fire journey, I was looking at the people that had come before me, people like Mr.

Money mustache JL Collins, and it almost felt This unachievable goal, this financial independence, these people with millions of dollars invested. It almost, it’s felt like a very alien concept. And I guess, I was very much in the mindset of, , I work, I get paid, I save money.

And so. Leaning into entrepreneurship has been like, quite exciting. I mean, [00:28:00] entrepreneurship, it’s a, can be a bit of a buzzword, but, business ownership, having a small business can be incredibly stressful. And I love the quote that you just mentioned. There’s a price to pay for ambition.

People often say, oh, I wanted to be a, an entrepreneur. So, I wanted to leave my 40 hour a week job, so now I’m an entrepreneur and I work 80 hours a week. So it definitely can be a bit of a double-edged sword. And, the goal, the success, obviously you see the success stories, but I don’t know what the stats are like in America, but here in Australia, the a t o, the tax office, they published a stat that said that nine out of 10 businesses actually don’t last over two years time.

So a lot of people do. Stumble along the way when it comes to business ownership. It’s not, this magic bullet that’s gonna make you re reach fire. Like it is something you’re gonna have to work hard on and sacrifice.

Dom: Yeah, no it’s funny you mentioned that because in growing my business, over the years, I was always paranoid [00:29:00] that I had hit the, the top, the peak.

This is the best it’s ever going to be. And I looked at those statistics, so, nine out of 10 businesses here in the US fail within their first year, and they’re definitely not profitable. If they don’t fail, they’re usually not profitable for the first two years.

So, when I got done with year one, I was not only profitable, but robustly profitable and I didn’t fail, right? So I beat the statistics. In year one. The next big statistic to, to beat was the five-year statistic, which we’re not quite there yet. The five-year anniversary will be in February of 2024.

And it’s owned by someone else, but the business is still doing well. And, the failure rate from year one to year five is, 90% of those, of the 10% that make it in year one end up failing by year five. And so I lived in a state of, kind of opposite ends, pulling at each other of extreme optimism and extreme paranoia that this was the best it was ever gonna be, and it was gonna be downhill from here on out.

Right? And I share that because, No I just had my first month of of year over year declines in the business. I went 50 straight months with year over year gains. And in, in month 51, with the economy [00:30:00] slowing down a little bit, we showed some year over year declines.

But that’s normal. It’s nothing for me. I’m not really that concerned about it. Like we’re still at a very robust, revenue and profit margin level. But I think that’s probably, a good way for me to get back to answering your question. Cause I tend to, gear off track here, but you’d asked, setting up my business and really having the end in mind, like, how did I go about growing the business and how did I think about operating the business to get ready for that exit.

There’s a few things that I did. I had the benefit of being in finance and working in, companies that, were owned by private equity. So I’d helped, my previous employer through a couple turns of private equity. I, we are very acquisitive, so I got to see that process over and over again.

Understand how companies were being valued, as, from a multiples of EBITDA standpoint, not that all companies are valued at a multiple of ebitda. It could be a multiple of revenue, but I knew that my kind of business and the kind of buyer that I was gonna, either, sell to private equity or a strategic buyer, I ultimately sold to a strategic buyer that it would be on a multiple ebitda.

I also knew, like I had to make sure that there wasn’t too much risk concentrated in me personally. Cuz a [00:31:00] lot of times what happens is people start a business and they are the business or the business cannot operate without them. So it’s all about creating scalability to create systems in place where the buyer has a level of confidence and comfort that the business could continue to operate and thrive.

Even if I got hit by a bus or decided I didn’t want to join them, or left shortly after they bought the business. Now there’s no guarantee. But the more you can convince them of that with, the way you’re running your business and the people you have in place. The less discount they’re going to place on the multiple, cause what a sale process really is right.

It’s really the price you get is the price you can get, that you can agree on between a buyer and a seller, right? And the seller, me in this case, you want to maximize prices as much as possible. And the the buyer, wants to minimize price as much as possible, but both have a delicate dance of making sure that they don’t become too aggressive or they lose the deal if it’s a really good strategic, fit, especially for a strategic buyer in my case.

And there’s all kinds of different deal. Variables that you could think about. And I, I won’t get into ’em cause [00:32:00] we could probably talk for hours on this, but so what I did is I was very intentional about setting, I set a five year kind of proforma when I started the business, and I updated that every year.

And as we exceeded it I reforecasted the business because I knew that part of selling a business just as, what did you do in the past? But you have to have a narrative that, that sells the future performance and the future potential of what the business can do, right? So you use the past as like a benchmark of look, I’ve already done this.

This is, kind of the proof that, what we do works and there’s a market for it, there’s value for it. And then you use that track record to sell the future. And, depending on how good you are at crafting a narrative in the sales process, it’s part art and part science.

I try to hire really smart people. People that were far better than me. I knew that if I tried to do everything forever, I would be limited to not only the size, I could grow the business, but I’d also be limited in terms of the type of that I could get from a buyer.

Now in terms of, I thought event, I thought it would take me about five years to get to a point where I could sell it actually from start to sell. At least the first 60% I sold, it took [00:33:00] 33 months. And that’s just because, it was an opportunistic time.

At the time I kind of saw that, things were probably gonna slow down at some point. It took a little while longer. I think, COVID and all the overstimulation of money printing and things like that, and low interest rates for long periods of time allowed the party to keep going for longer periods of time.

But I still think I exited one of the, the best times to do it. And because I was only selling 60%, I was already thinking about the next deal. I sold to a strategic buyer and I was already thinking about how I can maximize the exit for the remaining 40%.

Captain Fi: Yeah, so one of the things that I took out of Joe Valley’s book Ex Entrepreneur was from day one, I guess as you were doing, is beginning with the end in mind.

And in terms of practical tips, he says that accounting and record keeping is like super important. Now, I personally had been, I guess, pretty lax with my personal business in that, I was more than happy to take contractors and staff out for. Meals paying for client entertainment, traveling to, to meet with clients.

I was [00:34:00] paying for a lot of software and tools for quality of life to really , outsource as much as possible. Cuz I was really excited after, reading the four hour work week and thinking, oh, this is how I’m gonna implement it. So I was pretty much spending revenue as soon as I could make it.

And I wasn’t exactly great at record keeping. Thankfully my accountant has whipped me into shape. And Joe’s book was really interesting because , he mentions just the little things you can do sequentially organizing, contractor payments. So that when a buyer looks through and they’re doing their due diligence they can sequentially say, oh, these are the invoices from January and, they’re dated.

So using a date time group when you are saving things, As a PDF copy using software such as, in Australia, a really popular one is Zero or QuickBooks to have all your business fundamentals in. And then, maybe having some form of spreadsheets so that it can be visualized very quickly and you can have a look at, metrics like you mentioned such as the year on year profits.

And so I’ve started doing that as well. I mean, it sounds like you are [00:35:00] all over the management side of things. I previously used to fly a plane, so it is pretty as far you can get from management and accounting. But what kind of tools like that did you use to make the transition easier for the sellout?

Dom: Yeah, so I, I think, one thing I’ll say or preface my answer to that is you’re talking to a finance guy that was, all about, financial reporting and analytics and cleanliness of data being able to slice and dice it. And I guess I should also preface it with,, I built a business around a tool that automates financial reporting, right?

So like what we are implementing for our clients. I’m a big believer in eating your own dog food. I did it from day one. Most companies wait till it’s really painful and they’ve gotten big. And it’s a lot harder to, to implement, the type of solutions we put in for our clients. It’s not impossible.

It’s just harder, more effort. So I implemented that from day one. I mean, I used QuickBooks, it’s a great accounting solution to use to to maintain your books. And then, there’s other tools like for time tracking. I actually, the software vendor, which I’m not gonna name Honda, the podcast just for, to keep anonymity cuz it’s a small small circle of partners.

 The [00:36:00] functionality of that software will. Pull from your accounting system, whether that’s a QuickBooks or a Zero, or if you go upstream with larger companies, which, we tend to work with companies in the middle market. You’re talking Sage or NetSuite Ms.

Dynamics, I mean, there’s all kinds of ERPs or accounting systems out there, but also the system will, integrate with, if you have a crm, your customer relational management system or an H I R Rs, if you get big enough and you got, lots of employees and contractors that you’re paying with are paying for I use, through QuickBooks, what’s great about that and Zero probably has something similar.

You can maybe opine on that. I set up, automated payroll. I set up, a 401K that was automated and connected with the QuickBooks. I mean, anything I could set up in an integrated fashion that saved me time, I definitely put in place. But that being said

I’m a very big believer in financial discipline from day one. There’s a couple different types of entrepreneurs. It’s not good or bad, you just gotta figure out which one you fit in. I know some entrepreneurs, especially like in the tech space, they are revenue driven entrepreneurs.

They will spend money like it’s going out of fashion to grow the top line as quickly as [00:37:00] it can without much care to the bottom line. The bottom line could be small, it could be breakeven, it could be negative, obviously with all the companies that have raised money, like they’re typically, burning cash.

I had a different view. I’ve always believed in, running, lean being resourceful. I mean, we live in a day and age now, fortunately that, even when you do buy or pay for these tools, I mean, they’re SaaS based products. They’re monthly commitments. Maybe you can get a discount if you pay, upfront for the year.

But they’re, in, in the context of things, the nominal, the prices like, Minimal compared to, at least what we were doing as a business. And so, year one I knew exactly I could tell you e every month, what was my revenue, what was my profit by month, by day, by project, by client, by employee.

And I set that up from day one. So when I went to market, having that type of analytics at my fingertips, it wasn’t a matter of, hey, this is what we want from, the due diligence request list and now I gotta go spend weeks doing it. It’s oh, okay. And I’m, I know the strategic buyer was impressed cuz they even says I can’t believe you were able to deliver this to us.

We asked you for all this stuff [00:38:00] two hours ago. And usually takes weeks and months for our the companies we’re buying to pull together. And you did it in two hours. So yeah, so I over-index on automation and efficiency and financial discipline and, making sure that your books are in order.

Again, I think the big reason for that, besides being a finance guy, is I had the end in mind. I knew I wanted to sell. I knew exactly what a buyer was going to want to see. And so I made sure I had that available from day one.

Captain Fi: Yeah, it’s super important having those metrics at your fingertips. I think it’s pretty amazing that you’re able to memorize all of the monthly revenue figures.

It’s pretty inspiring for something like, small business owners and potentially people that are listening to this podcast. Having their small side hustle, which they’re thinking about taking to a business.

We will get back to the show in a moment, but for now, I wanna ask you a question. Do you have a side hustle? And if you do, is it scalable? My side hustle is building and running websites a form of digital real estate. Now, it might sound tricky to make money online for beginners, [00:39:00] but really they’re just small online businesses that have low overheads, high margins, and which you can easily scale by outsourcing.

If you’ve ever read the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, then you’re on the right track. What I love about websites is just like my investments, they’re working 24 7 to make me richer and I can put as much or as little effort into running them as I like. I can pay a writer to produce a piece of evergreen content, which is then edited and posted by virtual assistant.

Then it can be viewed potentially millions of times and easily updated by my editors over the years to remain relevant. If you want to learn more about this lucrative side hustle and retraining for the Digital Workforce revolution, then check out my article about making money online and read my review of the E-Business Institute and their online self-paced courses.

The E-Business Institute cover everything from total beginners. Right through to advanced web design and how to buy, renovate, run, and [00:40:00] sell websites for profit. As a graduate of the E-Business Institute, I can’t thank Matt and Liz enough for the valuable web skills I’ve developed. And now I can enjoy growing my portfolio of websites for semi-passive income.

Captain FY listeners can register for free access to some of their resources by following the link in the E-Business Institute review article on captain fy.com. So what are you waiting for? Start learning how to build a portfolio of digital real estate and use websites to make money today.

 Another interesting point that I read in Entrepreneur was this concept of add backs.

Would you be able to briefly mention about your experience with add backs and how you can use them to maximize

Dom: your sellout? Absolutely. And I definitely use add backs during my process. And so, when you run a business and you are the, the sole owner or it’s a closely held company there’s tax advantages for different types of expenses that, your personal life becomes more tax [00:41:00] advantageous when you can blend it with your business life, right?

So, you know those meals out that you probably would’ve done anyways, but now you’re having a meal out with your wife or your business partner. As long as you’re talking about business, that now becomes a business expense. There might be some other things that, are, is it personal?

Is it business? There, there tends to be a, I would say a muddy line in terms of the types of expenses you run through your business that are either, that can be I guess reclassified as an ad back. And what I mean by that is, when you think about an add back, you think about what are these expenses that are either one time in nature, right?

They’re non-recurring. Like it’s not an ongoing expense that’s going to be needed to operate, the, the continual operation of the business or expenses that were really maybe a little more personal. And if you didn’t own the business, you wouldn’t have, run those expenses through the business.

But because you had a business, like you had, the justification to treat a personal expense as a business expense, may, it could be as simple as your cell phone or it could be, a lease for a car. Well, all of a sudden, you’re gonna add those back and you’re gonna either get adjusted EBITDA or an owner’s earnings to adjust out those things that, the [00:42:00] buyer is not gonna have those expenses going forward.

And so obviously just to finish that thought, if you’re trading off of a multiple of EBITDA in this case, Let’s say, let’s just keep it simple. Let’s say you’re trading on a five x multiple. And if you add back $500,000 in expenses that are one time and non-recurring in nature, all of a sudden you’ve just added 2 million in value to your valuation because of those expenses.

Now I will add it is a bit of a negotiation between you and the buyer because you have to convince them that they are a one-time non-recurring. And having clean records to be able to prove all that stuff is also very important.

Captain Fi: It definitely is moving the needle incredibly when you’re talking about those kind of levels, but maybe even for a small business owner that might, even we’re talking about say like maybe 10 or $20,000 worth of ad backs.

If you’re talking about, like a yearly multiple of, three to four that could be 40 to $80,000 for a seller. I mean, that’s pretty significant, right? That could be even a year’s worth of [00:43:00] revenue for a small business, for sure. So now I guess you mentioned that you’d worked in VC and funding, or you’d not necessarily worked, sorry, you’d had experience with it.

And so when you did your business sellout, you mentioned you did it in stages. So how were you able to engineer sort of several stages of sellouts on such high multiples rather than just, one sale?

Dom: So first, just to clarify I’ve worked in, companies that are owned by private equity.

Venture capital tends to be earlier stage than the kind of companies that private equity owns. So that experience by, with being working for a company and also working in finance cuz you’re much closer to the private equity sponsor when you’re in finance than you are if you’re just working, in the operations side of the business.

Is that, I got to see exposure to one, like what multiples, were reasonable. And because I started a professional services firm, I mean, the last company I worked for was professional services. So the multiples I was seeing was very relevant to what I was building and [00:44:00] eventually wanting to sell.

There’s all kinds of sites out there that you can go to try to get multiple ranges, but you have to remember that like things don’t really trade on the multiple. It’s really, they come up with a valuation and you back into what the multiple is, right? So it’s not like someone offers you, I’m gonna give you five x.

It’s no, we’re gonna give you 5 million and you figure out what your EBITDA was and that actually tells you what the multiple it traded at was. Just to kind of make a clarity there, like that’s not really, how the transactions get done. They don’t just apply a multiple and say, this is what we’re gonna give you.

They have, different ways to value your business and then you back into what the multiple is. Trying to get back on track here can you remind me of what the question is?

Captain Fi: Oh yeah. So we were just talking about I guess the stages of business trading.

Dom: Oh yeah. Okay. Yes. How I structured my deal. So, I knew when I sold that if I sold early, I was gonna want a private equity like transaction. What I mean by that is usually when private equity comes in, they usually come in and they buy a majority share, but they don’t buy a hundred percent of the company because they want the management team to stay in place and they need to incentivize them by letting them maintain a level of ownership so that way they have a vested [00:45:00] interest in the next exit.

Right. And private equity typically has, a three to seven year time horizon before they’re gonna go to market again and either sell to another private equity firm, take the company public, sell to a strategic buyer, and so on and so forth, in terms of options. Right. And so because my discussion started earlier than I had expected, I thought it would take five years.

 I really started having conversations about 20, what? 22. 20, 21, 22 months into starting the business, right? So it was much earlier than I expected. And I talked to both private equity and strategic buyers. I ended up talking to the strategic buyer that ultimately bought my business for about a year before we transacted.

And because it was so early so I ended up transacting that first transaction 33 months into, building the business. So just shy of three years. I had told them that, I wanna set this up as, like a private equity deal that you know, where I can get a second bite of the apple.

And they love that too, because they’re like, oh, okay, he’s gonna have skin in the game, at the time, I was the only revenue generator. And so this allowed them to kind of, keep me [00:46:00] locked in. And at the time when I negotiated the exit that it was, selling 60% upfront, retaining 40%, but I also negotiated a put option.

So unlike in private equity, you don’t know when you’re gonna exit. And there’s no guarantee that it’s gonna happen in five years or seven years, or if they hit the cycle wrong 10 years. But what I negotiated into my contract, it says, look, I want a private equity like deal. I don’t wanna sell a hundred percent.

I, I still think there’s a lot of upside I believe in this company and I want, or in this practice now. Cause you know, it’s no longer gonna be my company. But I want to put options. So, so I negotiated, on the five year anniversary, the, I had a put option that I could exercise, meaning that the company that bought the original 60% was obligated to buy my remaining 40% at a predetermined formula.

At the five year anniversary. Now, they also had a call option that, if I didn’t exercise my put that they could actually exercise their call and if they exercise their call, not only did I get my predefined formula, but they came with a 15% kicker. Because they were forcing me to sell versus me exercising my option to sell.

[00:47:00] So that, that was just me seeing the structure of private equity and,, knowing that I wasn’t ready to completely exit and I thought there was still a lot of upside and a lot of times in private equity, a lot of people don’t realize this, but like even if you sell a majority share that second bite of the apple can actually be worth more than the first buy, even though it’s a lower percentage ownership.

Interesting.

Captain Fi: So the goal is to really continue growing the business so that you can basically make more outta that second buy.

Dom: Correct. Yeah. And so, and then what ultimately ended up happening, and I knew this, so, I never showed my hands when I was in the middle of the first transaction and when I negotiated this put option.

But I knew that the firm that was buying my company was also being bought by private equity. They were privately held company, but they were in the middle of a private equity transaction. So they were bought by private equity three weeks before they closed on my deal.

Right. And I knew that there was a high likelihood, a high probability, that they were gonna wanna buy the remaining 40% earlier than the five year anniversary because private equities, time horizons [00:48:00] three to seven years. So take the midpoint and say that they’re probably gonna try to exit by year five.

We were the only deal that they’ve ever done like this, they’ve only ever bought a hundred percent of a company. So we were the first deal they structured. In this fashion. And so my thought process was if they wanna buy it early, they’re gonna have to make me a better deal than the one I had negotiated in five years.

Otherwise, I have no incentive to sell. And long story short what was it? It was about 15 months, no, was it 50? Yeah. 15 months later, I sold the remaining 40% at a 300% premium to what my guaranteed formula was on the five year anniversary.

Captain Fi: That’s bloody epic, mate. That’s very well structured for you.

Dom: you gotta remember there too though. One of the caveats I give earlier, remember, with every story of success also comes plenty of luck. Now, luck is found at the the intersection of opportunity and preparedness. But yeah, I mean, there’s definitely luck. Not just in this transaction I explained, but also in my story.

And I think many other stories of success. I don’t want to discount the hard work and the intention. But yeah, there is luck involved as

Captain Fi: well. Yeah. Now, Dom, you’ve blogged for almost a decade now [00:49:00] on Gen y Finance guy about, personal finance and your personal journey to financial independence, including net wealth updates.

Why did you start Gen Y Finance guy and how has it helped your fire journey?

Dom: Yeah, I mean, look I started at first as, think of it , as my own personal journal that I decided to make public. Right. And if you look at the mission statement of the blog, what, besides, kind of being my public journal, like I wanted to memorialize my journey.

I wanted to articulate my beliefs and philosophies around money and building wealth. I wanted to hold myself accountable, but the other thing I wanted to do coming from where I come from, is I wanted to raise awareness of the possibilities that were there. Right? Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know because you haven’t been exposed to it.

 And also I guess the other thing I’ll say before I continue going is, sometimes finance can, be perceived as overly complex. And I definitely talk about complex things, but I think I have a very casual tone and I think I do a good job about making some really complex things, [00:50:00] much easier to understand, even for, especially for those that don’t have finance backgrounds.

But, my goal is to, humanize finance, build wealth and reach financial freedom. And that’s just not for me. But, also my readers cause I want to take them along that ride with me. And my goal has always been to be a beacon of hope, motivation, and inspiration for others by living my life by example and sharing it, in public, but with anonymity of course.

Captain Fi: So after you’ve had this pretty amazing sellout of your business obviously you’ve gotta do something with that money, right? So, Dawn, what do you personally invest in and why?

Dom: So that’s evolved over time there’s a couple different evolutions that I’ve gone through, through my journey and, I’d say in the early days it was all about.

Saving as much as I could and, cutting expenses, to the floor. You could say that’s part of the frugality movement. But it never really sat well with me. Because when all you’re trying to do is cut your expenses to the, the lowest amount possible, you tend to transition into a state of scarcity, in my opinion.[00:51:00]

And it really came to, my wife and I trying to figure out how we can get on the same page financially. Cuz every month it was like, are you happy? We saved. X dollars, right? And I was like, yeah, it was good, but we could do better. And I could never articulate like what success looked like.

And it was always, so she took it as well, you don’t want me to spend any money. And so then I was able to articulate early in, in my, financial journey, this is around 2014, 2015, what I’ve dubbed the law 50 50 and the law of 50 50 states that, the goal is to save 50% of your after tax income and spend the remaining 50% guilt free.

So what that did is it is, it did two things. One, it allowed me to give a solid measure of success for my wife and I to get on the same page financially. But the second thing it did is it forced me to. Adopt a mindset of abundance and become income focused. So instead of focusing on the expense side of the equation, which isn’t, now, don’t get me wrong, it’s important earlier in your journey, and you shouldn’t just let expenses run wild.

But if you focus more on the income, so instead of saving $200, well, how can I increase my income by another [00:52:00] $2,000 worth of $200? Isn’t, isn’t relevant. It doesn’t matter, right? Don’t waste your mental bandwidth solving $30 questions when you could be solving your $30,000, questions.

And so that income focus really that was like phase one, right? And then phase two, and I know I gotta get to your question about where do I invest my money, but I feel like this context is important is I wanted to have, I, well, I wanted to optimize first for, return of capital before return on capital.

And I’ve always been a bit risk averse when it comes to, debt. And when it comes to, risking capital, like focusing on the rate of return. Cause I feel like most people look at investments and all they focus on is what they could make versus what they, they don’t really focus about what the downside is and, mitigate those risks.

So early in my career, the first probably four, four years or so, from 2015, I focus or we, when I say I, I speak for the household of Gen y finance guy on, on paying down our mortgage, so that wasn’t really an investment, but that’s where a lot of our dollars went.

Now we are still maxing [00:53:00] out, our 401ks and, investing small dollars, but the majority of our effort was how do we increase our income? Let’s pay off our mortgage and, invest really conservatively, and really through our 401ks and eventually into our business, right?

So by the time I had an opportunity to not only make the C-Suite, but also to get some equity in my previous employer. I had the option to. Either take options, which, from a tax standpoint here in the us is not as advantageous as equity. But if I took the equity, I had to write a check, well, because I was so conservative in building out cash and just paying down a mortgage, but not really, aggressive and investing that I didn’t feel like I had to be, fully invested at all times, like a lot of finance people do.

Even though I know it might not have been the most financially optimized decision, it gave me optionality. So when that opportunity came, I was like, yeah, no, I’m gonna take the equity instead because it’s gonna save me, 25% in taxes when I eventually sell. Cause it’s gonna be long-term capital gains versus, ordinary income.

I was able to write $105,000 check with no problem, right? And at the time, that was 20% of my net worth. But it ended up being worth it. It wasn’t until our income [00:54:00] started to grow pre astronomically and after we had our our mortgage pay down, that we started to invest pretty heavily.

And so if you look at, from 2019 to present day we’ve spread quite a bit of, money or allocation to real estate. I would say, real estate, if you include our primary residence, takes up about 40% of our net worth. So I participate in, private syndicated deals.

I I participate in syndicated deals that are on, the crowds streete platform. I’ve, I’m involved in a real estate debt fund that, pays a, an 8% interest rate but it’s cross collateralized against the assets. I what else do I have in there? I’ve got, some commercial or industrial property that’s on triple net leases.

Again, I’m just a fractional owner. I’m an lp. I don’t have any interest in being a landlord. I’m already busy enough with, two kids and, still running a business that, although I sold it, I’m still managing it. And I’ve got other interests other areas.

I’ve got a small part of the allocation, one to 2% in crypto, mostly, Bitcoin mostly. I would say that’s a, it’s a hedge. It’s, [00:55:00] might be part FOMO part, I think there is something special and unique about Bitcoin in terms of the ultimate characteristics of what you would want to see in a currency that can’t be devalued over time, beyond.

I mean, once we get past, when all 21 million bitcoins have been kind of released I hold, I tend to hold a heavy amount of cash and cash equivalents, so 30% of our net worth right now is in treasuries and they’re paying, five and a half percent.

I’m a big believer in having these, big war chest of cash to take advantage of opportunity. My best time to invest or my favorite time to invest is when stocks are falling or prices are falling, like I’m. I love a crisis. Someone once told me a quote, don’t let a good crisis go wasted.

And so that’s my best time is to buy investments when they’re on discount, when usually most people are selling. Cuz they’re panicking out. This is the end of the world. And so, we tend to have a much larger cash allocation. But in today’s environment, cash is and trash, I mean, you’re earning a good amount.

If you look at where the PE ratio is on the s and p 500 for example you’re essentially, getting a 5% return. Based off of, for a dollar [00:56:00] invested, you’re getting, it’s, I think it’s trading about a 20 pe it is about 5%. So why would you put your money in stocks that are gonna have more volatility than treasuries, at least here in the US that, are the risk fee free asset?

Of course, anything can happen, but in my opinion if you ever get a default in the US on the treasuries we’re gonna have much bigger problems to to contend with. A small amount of our allocations of stocks. When I first put my 20 year blueprint together, I thought stocks would make up a much larger percentage of the portfolio.

But they’re only at 5%. And I think I had ’em at 60%. And what I learned since putting that plan together, like it was a blueprint, right? Everything evolves and changes as you kinda learn and evolve. Also, is that I have a. A preference for illiquid assets. And the reason I like illiquid assets, as long as you pair it with the right amount of liquidity and you don’t over leverage yourself, and I don’t really use leverage at all, or I use it very minimally is that it’s forced discipline.

And I’m a big fan of Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet. They’re, one of the rules is, not to un, not to interrupt compounding unnecessarily. And so by, by [00:57:00] investing in things that are not liquid you’re forced to stay invested, but you also tend to get a premium for the lack of liquidity that, you would get if you if you were in, stocks or bonds.

And then I would say I have, other, call it 10%. I, I don’t know that all those added up. I was just giving you kind of roundabout numbers here. Oh, you know what, the other thing I miss is, a big chunk, 25% or so is in, is still in business equity. So although I’ve sold.

My business, I did roll over a percentage of those proceeds into the parent company that bought the remaining 40% of my business.

Captain Fi: Ah, interesting. Okay. So, I tend to be pretty stock heavy, but when you consider your stock allocation, your business equity allocation, even though it’s not like necessarily liquid, it’s still, invested in business per se, which is productive companies.

Dom: Yeah. Cashflow, there’s cashflow behind it.

Captain Fi: So, so, your breakdown is something like 40% real estate 30% cash and cash equivalents, 30% cash equivalents, and then about 30% in [00:58:00] businesses and

Dom: Yes, yeah, public equities and you could say private companies that now I would say there’s a little bit of overlap in the other bucket that’s like the other 10%, because , I do have interest in some privately held, companies that I’ve participated in, either.

Early stage, pre-seed or seed rounds and even some later stages. I have an interest in a in a winery as well that has, a restaurant hotel actually, when everything’s said and done, it’ll have three restaurants, three hotels, three wineries. So, there, there is a little bit of overlap between, my stocks and business equity and what’s in the other category.

It just, I’m probably a little lazy to break it out more specifically.

Captain Fi: Hey look, I hear that California has some awesome wineries. Is it Napa Valley?

Dom: Yeah, so Napa’s in Northern California. And they have, I don’t know, 2,500 or so, maybe even more than that. Wineries. I joke that, cause I’m in southern California, that I live in the Napa of Southern California.

And so we have about 80 wineries where I’m at. I live out in wine country and it’s definitely a growing wine region. And the project I’m involved in that I described, they’re winning all kinds [00:59:00] of awards for their wine, for their food and I think it’s really becoming the crown jewel of of Temecula Valley, which is where I live.

Captain Fi: Well, look I, as a pilot Southern California is a bit of a mecca. Of course that’s where they filmed Top Gun at Miramar. Yeah. So, I’m also a, I don’t really know a lot about wine. All I know is I really enjoy drinking South Australian red wine. I’m from rural South Australia and we are spoiled here with wineries.

One of my favorites is Coonawarra, so I think I might have to saddle up and come over to California, mate. I’ll bring a couple of Aussie Reds and we go and check out the Fast Jets at at the Top Gun School at Miramar.

Dom: Yeah. Let’s do that and then I’ll play host and let you experience some Temecula Valley wines and we can compare tasting notes

Captain Fi: now.

The 10 million b h a g awesome. How did you feel after the sellout of your business? Was it exciting? Was it like a weight off your chest? , how did you feel when you realized you’d actually achieved the financial [01:00:00] goal? And on the flip side, how did you come to terms with the fact that, I guess money wasn’t a motivation anymore?

Dom: I would say first, I would say I felt validated. I felt, that. I set out a goal and I accomplished it, and I did it on a much faster timeframe than I ever expected. Cause I mean the, the 10 million goal wasn’t specifically tied to the business, although the business played an accelerator role in a reaching the B H A G of 10 million in net worth.

Ultimately, the last valuation I sold the business at was at a valuation of 21 and a half million or 20 and a half million. Sorry. And so I mean, I would say yeah, a bit of validation. It was exciting. But it’s like one of those things where like you, you kind of hit it and you’re like, okay, like this was a means to an end.

It wasn’t all about just hitting the number. It was what the number enabled, right? It was getting that full autonomy, to be a master over my own time and making decisions that were divorced from the financial side of the equation. So yeah I’ve taken care of the financial side, so now I’m just spending more time on, the.

Call it the life side of the ledger [01:01:00] versus the, the work or entrepreneurship side of the ledger. I mean, there’s always gonna be a piece to me that spends time there. But, the, I think the other thing I would say is, I’m, I don’t know if I’m not motivated, my money is the right way to state it.

I like playing the game. Like to me, this whole thing has always been a game. My favorite game growing up was Monopoly. And I feel like I get to play real life Monopoly. But the big difference is by hitting the point that I did is I’m not gonna reset the goalpost. Like 10 million was the goal.

It was very intentional. There was a certain amount of income that I. Wanted to be able to generate, off of that 10 million to, really be free and feel that freedom. I guess, not, even if I didn’t work, that there’s still income coming in where I don’t have to spend down the assets.

Cause I, that’s the thing. I think the dream is you build the net worth and you only live off the dividends and the interest and in an ideal world, you’re actually earning more dividends and interest than you’re actually spending. So you continue to, snowball that, that amount.

But because I still enjoy the game, like I already know or I already feel that, I hit an eight figure net worth, nine figures feels within reach. I’m not, like I said, I’m not [01:02:00] gonna set a goal to go to hit a hundred million dollars in net worth, but I think with the momentum and with the capital base that I have, and which is my natural inclination of liking to play the game.

That it is a high probability chance of happening, but I’m not willing to put in the same amount of time that I did before. I intentionally worked 70, 80, 90 hours a week for a decade before I, most of it was before I had a family. But it was a mean to an end.

I enjoyed it. I don’t regret it. Like I loved every minute of it. Like I was a bit of a workaholic and but now, like I, I have no interest in working that. I mean, I work 35 to, a hard week is when I gotta put 40 hours a weekend. But otherwise I, I don’t work on Fridays. I work, Monday through Thursday.

These days,, this year I’ll probably end up taking eight to, 12 weeks off when the year’s done. And that’s way more vacation. I mean, when I was in my corporate world or the corporate world for, for a good seven years leading up to entrepreneurship, I don’t think I ever took more than a week off.

So I take far more time off. I’m just looking for more, I used to say that, I don’t really care about work-life [01:03:00] balance. It’s more about, mastering work-life blend. And now I just subtly change that. Now it’s more about life work blend. So instead of fitting life around work now I fit my work around my life.

Captain Fi: That’s awesome, man. It puts you back in the pilot seat, right? It gives you control about how you’re going to spend your time and you sort of become the master of your destiny. It’s funny cause the next question I was gonna ask you is, what does quote unquote early retirement look like for you, but it sounds like you are still taking a quite an active role in the investments.

And I know you mentioned you are working towards becoming a full-time capital allocator. And I guess just for the layman, does that mean, do you want to go and work, in investment banking and running funds? Is that the next goal?

Dom: No, absolutely not. That would be ferocious, like the type of hours those guys put in?

No. What I mean by that, is, I wanna be a full-time capital allocator for my family. So think about family offices think of, our net worth as a meager, small family office. But it’s plenty of capital to, to have to manage and and grow and be good stewards of that it’ll keep me [01:04:00] plenty busy.

I mean, I even before I sold, I mean, if I were to tell you the amount of investments that I I review and the pitch decks that I go through and the zoom sessions I have and the conversations I have with VCs and private equity folks and I over index on this stuff. I love it.

And so I don’t consider it work, but it’s something that I really love doing. So being a full-time capital allocator for me just means managing my family’s wealth.

Captain Fi: Okay, that makes a lot more sense. So I guess taking an active interest in, I guess, part-time management of your family’s investments.

Yeah, min because I guess I, I kind of do the passive approach, which is, I just let an index do it for me. But it’s cool that you really love this stuff. And now tell me if I’m being too nosy here, but we often talk about the 4% rule and off a, and we should point out as well, your investments we’re talking US dollars.

So, for Australian listeners, that’s 15 million Australian. So taking like a conservative 4%. Off of [01:05:00] that. I mean, that’s in Australian dollars, it’s like $600,000 income. That’s a lot of money. So what Dom, what is your spending, or what does your family spending look like now in in early retirement?

Dom: So, I’ve always looked at our spending in two different lenses. One is what’s our bare necessity spend? Now we’ve spent a lot more than we will going forward, this year and last year because we bought our dream house and it required some improvements that, we don’t have a mortgage on it,

when everything’s said and done, we will have put, $700,000 in improvements in, into this house, but we’re turning it into a resort. But that being said, I’ve always been averse to, taking on a lot of fixed expenses. We don’t have a second home. Nor do we have a desire for second home.

We can rent whenever we want to go somewhere else. If we’re not staying in a hotel, I do like nice hotels. We stay four or five star hotels. But our bare necessities, we love to cook, we love to entertain at home. But if we were just to live, keep a roof over our head and food in our belly driving our cars and making sure our kids, got, activities and stuff.

Our bare minimum spend is around 60 to $70,000 a year. Right [01:06:00] now. Our desired spending based off of the things we like to do, like traveling, we do like to eat, even though we like to cook a lot, we also like to eat out a lot. We like to have nicer things. Our real desired spend is around 200 to, call it 250,000 a year which is still far less than as you did the math, $600,000 on a 10 million net worth, assuming a, what a, a 5% or 6% interest rate.

I mean, And the, I think I said earlier, like the ideal lifestyle is where you’re living off of the interest and the dividends. And in n Nirvana is you’re spending even, you can’t even spend the interest in dividends. And so you just keep snowballing, the net worth and what that allows you to do, if you’ve already been conservative and the 4% rule is, save 25, times your annual spend, now you have to figure out is that your desired annual spend or is that your current annual spend?

So that kind of gets the difference, nuance between financial independence and financial freedom. Why take it a step further? And so, at two, let’s just call it $200,000 a year, I’ve got 50 times our annual spend, right? In terms of just net worth, [01:07:00] but. I’m I got even more safety built into it because that assumes that the $10 million doesn’t generate any income.

Right now we’re not generating 600,000, but right now we’re generating somewhere around $250,000 a year passively and growing. Cause there’s certain investments that haven’t started cash flowing yet. So yeah that’s kinda how I look at expenses, and I’ve always, or not always I talked about, when I transitioned from a, a scarcity to a abundance line mindset where I didn’t spend so much time on the expense side of the equation.

And so, we practice relative frugality versus extreme frugality.

Captain Fi: Yeah. Well look, I think, one of the issues that I have and I mean, I’m not sure if you might find this the case as well is, growing up and not having a lot of money, I tend to and it’s something I’m trying to work on, is I, have this scarcity mindset around, oh look, I need, to have defensive assets, I should not spend my money.

I need to be very frugal because, money shouldn’t be wasted. And that’s something that I’m sort of actively trying to work on. And so one of the things that I do is I try and make [01:08:00] sure that I’m, as invested as possible. I do still maintain a couple of years worth of living costs though.

But yeah, definitely trying to actively spend more is what I’m working on. How have you found, I guess having this great sell out of your business and your net wealth just exploding. Have you found, any challenges with

Dom: spending? I mean, I’ve spent more money in certain years than I ever thought I would, but the good news is how I came to grips with, what you described.

I mean, coming from humble beginnings, is one a adopting that mindset of abundance where Oh, yeah, no, I mean, I focus more on, increasing the income side of the equation. So like in a year where, you know this year I might spend $500,000, but my income is, gonna be, over 2 million.

And when you put that in perspective, it’s yeah, I mean, , it’s a lot of money in absolute dollars, but in percentage terms, I’m spending, a small amount of our total income. So I’ve gotten comfortable with it in that regard, where I focus more on the income and what that spend is relative to the income.

But I also have been very disciplined to make sure that, I’m not, when I have a spend like that, because we’re doing improvements, that those are one time [01:09:00] expenses. And really if you think about it, a lot of those expenses are really balance sheet shifts because, we’re spending the money, but we’re making improvements on the house and like the type of property we have it’s you’re getting at least, 50% if not more of that in, in value if not immediately over time.

So that’s even a little bit inflated of a spending number. But I wanna be transparent here. So I think I’ve come to grips with it, like focusing on income, really, adopting that law. 50 50 I explained to you. We’ve run our income to a place where, we, our desire to spend is, far less than our earning capability or capacity.

And so, we save, significantly more than 50% of our after tax income. And so that, that’s what’s really allowed me to transition from that, mindset of, or the scarcity mindset. But also if you think, if you take a walk back to our conversation for the last, hour and a half or so I keep a high level of liquidity, right?

30% is in cash and cash equivalents. We’ve got a high amount of passive income that almost completely pays for our spend, but we’re still earning actively from our, quote unquote day jobs now that I’ve sold my business. [01:10:00] And, we have no debt in our life. So I’ve mitigated a lot of risk to help me maintain a healthy relationship with money and being okay with spending because you can’t take it with you.

And all of this for me was. All intentional in terms of the lifestyle I wanted to live and provide for my family.

Captain Fi: It’s a really good point you bring up. You can’t take it with you. Brian said that saying Memento, Maury we will

Dom: love it. Remember your mortality, man. Yeah.

Captain Fi: Yeah. So what are your plans with your wealth, I guess, going forward in terms of an estate plan?

 Are you guys setting up a family trust? What’s the goal?

Dom: Yeah, I actually set up a family trust a couple years ago, but I’m working on doing some more advanced estate planning. I’m in the early stages, so I don’t really have all the details for you, but every level of wealth comes with new New pieces of the puzzle that you need to think about or you should think about.

You don’t need to, but you can ignore it if you want. But there’s new options available for you and new considerations as you hit new levels of [01:11:00] wealth. So, the things I’m doing today doesn’t make really a whole lot of sense for someone that might be, early in their journey just hitting their first six figures or maybe even their first seven figures.

But, you should still be doing a, at least a basic trust at that level to protect your assets from going to probate and things like that. But there’s more things that you can do, not only from a tax, tax strategy standpoint as you build a higher net worth and if you have a, if you want to leave, assets to your children or family and things like that and protect them , in the best way you can, while also limiting, the tax fight that the government can take.

So those are things I’m exploring right now. But other than that, it’s really just, it’s having fun managing it and using it to to live well and give, well, that’s really the goal.

Captain Fi: Yeah, look, that’s something that I’ve been doing more is the giving.

I certainly was very focused on myself. I must admit on my journey to fire I didn’t really, I used to donate a lot of my time, but certainly money I put pretty much always towards my investments and, I sort of gave sporadically and to family and friends and, I participate in charities at [01:12:00] ad hoc, but I never really consistently gave money.

And something that I’m starting to do now is after my partner, their family run a hospital that do medical missions in the Philippines. And they also have a school. And so my partner and I set up a, I guess a regular transfer which works out to be about 10% of our investment return income.

And that makes me feel a lot better, especially after we spent a couple of months in the Philippines and it was pretty eyeopening. Like I’d spent time traveling through developing nations for work. And actually when I grew up, I spent a bit of time in Indonesia and I don’t know why I didn’t really see it.

I think I was just so focused on my journey to fire that I just wasn’t seeing properly.

Dom: I think, it makes sense and I actually recommend people that they, they gotta take care of themselves first.

Before, you’re a pilot, right? What on every commercial flight I’ve ever been on, what do they ask you to do when the oxygen mask, come down to put your own mask on first before you help someone else, right? So you gotta get yours, your financial house, in order first before you can be in a position of giving.

Now that doesn’t say [01:13:00] you have to wait, but I think it’s important that you get to a strong foundation. Now, some people are just more naturally inclined to like, okay, I want to give no matter what level, but I don’t think it’s unnatural to take care of your own house first before you start giving.

Captain Fi: Yeah, definitely. My mom used to say, charity begins in the home. Yeah. Now Dom, I’ve had an absolute blast chatting to you, mate. Yeah, we’ve been chatting for ages. This is a great episode. Look one of the things I like to do before we finish up is since I have the opportunity here to chat to some pretty awesome minds in the personal finance space and you are definitely fitting the bill there, Tom very very interesting guy to speak to and you’ve definitely achieved some pretty awesome things with that fire.

So you obviously know stranger to education and personal development, and one of the things we can do to help our journeys to fire is we can see what are these successful people listening to? What are they reading where are they getting their information from? So, With that being said, I know we’ve mentioned a [01:14:00] couple of awesome resources today.

You talked about Robert Kiyosaki’s, rich Dad, poor Dad you talked about The Slight Edge, I think that’s Rob Olson. And you mentioned you’ve definitely been on choir, a lot of podcasts. I can see. What are some of your favorite sources of information when it comes to personal

Dom: finance?

Yeah. Well, I would say first and foremost if you want to earn more, you gotta learn more. And, we live in a day and age where, you know, books, podcasts, blogs vlogs, from the YouTube channels that are out there are, at our fingertips. So, if I won’t ever accept anyone saying that they don’t have the resources because it’s really a lack of resourcefulness.

If you can’t. Go get, a free podcast or free videos. But I get my information from books. I mean, I’m an avid reader. I read, 30 to 50 books a year. I’m not a big spender. I mean, I gave you our household income, or like household spend. But me personally I buy books and like the other stuff is really just like for the family, I like to eat out, but I mean, my big expense is really on, on books.

I also listen to a lot of podcasts.[01:15:00] You probably notice, some people might have to slow me down versus I listen to podcasts on, typically, one and a half to two x times speed depending on who, who’s talking and how fast they talk. I’m looking at my podcast app right now, like some of the ones I’ve been listening to, and I cycle some of these out over time if I get, tired with them.

But, invest like the best with Patrick O’Shaughnessy the All In podcast there’s a, another one as part of the Colossus family that Patrick runs called 50 X. There’s not that many episodes, but they’ve been good. The Game by Alex Hermo I thought I was doing good and this guy, hit a hundred million net worth by 30.

I’m just absolutely his biggest fanboy right now just because I love everything he’s putting out and the business he’s building. My first million’s a good one. Morgan Housel’s, a blog that I read almost every episode or every post of there’s been a number of other financial or personal finance blogs that I’ve read over time.

But as you continue to go through your journey I found that, there’s people and there’s resources that play a role at a certain point in time that you will potentially grow out of over time. And, you move on and, I’m getting to a point now where, although I [01:16:00] still listen to, a number of podcasts I don’t read as many other personal finance blogs I once did.

And, I’m trying to transition to, writing more content again. And I go through these cycles of consumption and then living and then like producing content. Cuz I don’t know, I believe like you can’t really write about anything. You’re not firsthand experiencing, at least not in a way that resonates and relates, and at least doesn’t work for me anyways.

So yeah that’s where I get my information.

Captain Fi: Yeah. Epic podcast. I gotta get back into listening to some of those. Yeah, a hundred million by 30 that’s bloody impressive. Yeah. And I do Resonating with what you said about, as you grow you might change what you’re listening to.

Because I know here in Australia, like a really popular book is the Barefoot Investor. It’s almost like the personal finance bible. It’s kind of, I guess very similar to one of Dave Ramsey’s core books.

Yeah. And then sort of, as and it’s quite conservative, focuses really on getting a job, getting the basics done, sorting your retirement accounts out, buying a house, paying it off. And then sort of as you get a bit more advanced, you might, move on to some more advanced investing concepts.

So yeah, definitely [01:17:00] think that’s the go. Thanks for mentioning some of those, I’ll put links to all of them in the show notes so everyone can check ’em out. Mate, and look, the last question, some people hate this one, and I know we’ve covered heaps in today’s interview.

But if you had to distill your experience down into, I guess, like three bullet points what would be your top pieces of advice for someone who’s pursuing financial

Dom: independence? Well, I mean, I think I said one earlier, right? It is, if you want to earn more, you gotta learn more.

And what that really means is, learning to a, to adopt a, an attitude where, you have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, right? Just don’t forget to act on that knowledge though, because, knowledge is only potential power. It’s the execution of that knowledge that actually leads to value.

I think number two would be from a book I read by Cal Newport so good. They can’t ignore you. And , the concept is about building up career capital and over time cashing in that career capital, we get what you want. I mean, it actually reminds me a lot of a famous quote from Zig Ziglar that says, if you help enough people get what they want, you’ll always end up getting what you want.

There’s like this, [01:18:00] universal law, reciprocity that happens when you go out there with a servant’s heart and help others. And if I had this, to seal it to the third thing it’s really just embracing the power of compounding in every facet of your life.

I started the episode early saying The path is all math. And if you look at nature and you look at all the things, you know where compounding is alive and well. We forget, we think very linearly and we don’t realize the real power of compounding, whether it’s, in relation to your, your finances.

I think everyone knows that, capital compounds, but they forget that, knowledge compounds, experience compounds, ideas, compound. Your effort compounds, if you think of, relate that to, time spent in the gym and on your diet. If you just improve by, 1% a day, like there’s an incredible improvement that’s, an order of magnitude, by the end of a year.

And we tend to underestimate what we can do in, one, five and 10 years, but overestimate what we can do, in a week, in a month and in, in a year. And I might have got that quote, wrong, but I think you get the point in the shorter timeframes we own underestimate what we can do.

And in the slightly longer timeframes, we completely underestimate what’s [01:19:00] possible because we don’t intuitively visualize the power of compounding that’s alive and well in every facet of our lives.

Captain Fi: I love that last one, man. It’s 40 times, like if you improve by 1% a day, you end up with a 40 x annual gain.

That’s, yeah. Pretty like a fourth. It’s a 4000%. Yeah. That’s unreal. And definitely like with the fitness, there’s so many parallels between your financial fitness, and your spiritual fitness and your physical fitness. Just focusing on those one percenters, man.

That’s awesome, dude. Thanks so much for your time today. It’s been an. Absolute pleasure to interview you especially talking about like fat fire your lifestyle, your attitude and mindset. Really refreshing. And again, congratulations on everything you’ve achieved, and thanks so much for the giving back that you do with your blog and everything you’re doing for the community mate, before we before we finish up, and I guess, you’re ready to sit down for dinner with your wife and kids, but I’d like to ask is there anything else you’d like to mention today?

And where can [01:20:00] listeners find out more about you and contact

Dom: you? Yeah. Thanks for having me on your podcast. It’s been a pleasure. If I leave anyone with one action item, go buy the slight edge and read it and adopt it as your operating system. And where you can find me, gen y finance guy.com is the best place.

I blog there. I don’t publish posts as regularly as I once did, but we’re about to ramp up and if you subscribe to the list we’re getting ready to launch our own podcast as part of a companion site that we’ll be launching later this year. And looking forward to share those details as I’m ready to flesh ’em out a bit more in public.

Captain Fi: Awesome mate. Well, I’m looking forward to reading in of your future posts and looking forward to listening to the pod. Yeah, it’d be really cool to see I guess post about how you’re living your life now, how you’re doing your capital allocation and yeah, just living your best life mate.

So really looking forward to it. And I’ll check all the links in the show notes. So if anyone listening today wants to check out Jen y Finance guy just head over to the blog check out the transcripts and just before the transcript will be all the show notes. Dom, [01:21:00] once again, thanks so much for your time, mate.

I hope you have an awesome evening.

Dom: All right, thanks take care.

Captain Fi: Thanks for listening to another episode of the Captain Fire Financial Independence Podcast. To read the transcripts or check out the show notes, head over to www do captain fire.com for all the details. If you have a question for the captain, make sure to get in touch. You might even make it on the airwaves.

You can reach me online through the Captain Fire contact form. Or get in touch through the socials I’m at, given on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a number of online finance and investing forums. And finally, remember the information presented on the show and the links provided are for general information purposes only.

They should not be taken as constituting professional financial advice. You should [01:22:00] always do your own research when making any financial decisions and make sure it’s appropriate for your personalcircumstance.

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