According to science, our brain does not have the capacity to process the information that bombards us daily. That is why it creates these shortcuts or cognitive biases. Our cognitive biases rule our behavior, especially towards our finances. On today’s show, Patrick Donohoe speaks about these biases from a financial perspective, foremost of which is the notion of retirement and why it is so appealing to so many. Get out of what you have been conditioned on so you can gain that financial independence as soon as possible and not have to wait 20, 30, or 40 years. Tune in to this episode to learn how.
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The Framework For Financial Independence
I’m grateful for this episode. We had to be reminded about the principles of freedom and independence. I thought I’d use this show to speak to that from a financial perspective. I’m going to be talking about a mental model or framework for financial independence. It’s changed my life and I believe it could change yours. At the end of the episode, I’m going to give you a tool. It’s a calculator that will help you quantify these ideas. I’m going to explain the different pieces of it.
First, I want to create some context. It’s fascinating to think about how science has made us all aware that our brain simply does not have the capacity to process the information that bombards us on a daily basis. It’s not able to keep up with how innovative society has become. As a response, the brain creates these shortcuts or cognitive biases. There are over 100 proven cognitive biases. The Visual Capitalist has an amazing infographic. It gives you an idea of how all of these cognitive biases are connected. What this tells me is that even if we want to be objective and assess a situation, scenario, opportunity or inner working with absolute objectivity, it’s not possible. Our mind has prevented that. Being aware of these cognitive biases is vital. The primary ones are, first, cognitive dissonance. It is what happens when we hear our exposed information is contrary to what we believe. We go to this carnal state. We come up with why our opinions are right and why theirs is wrong. At first, it feels unnatural.
The second is confirmation bias. It is looking for groups or friends that all essentially believe what we believe, think how we think, have the same opinions. The other is the halo effect. It is when a political figure, a sports figure, celebrity, gives an opinion about something that is not within their expertise, yet we still take it as if it were. Our cognitive biases, if you think about it, we all have them. It’s part of our survival mechanism. We don’t choose. It’s unintentionally created because we’re wired to survive. We are looking for things constantly that could prevent our survival. Look at 2020, we all went primal to some degree, at least I did a few times where things were chaotic, unknown, and whether it’s toilet paper, water or whatever, you still want a primal.
Our mind creates these unintentional frameworks, biases, perspectives. It results in what we think about the most. There’s a very strong set of perspectives and biases around the personal finance world. I’ve been in this world for decades. I’ve written a book. I’ve done hundreds of podcasts and concluded something. First off, there’s a biased toward this notion of retirement that’s what you should be doing. It’s where all financial behavior originates to some extent. Pursuing something for 40, 50 years as a career and not having to do that anymore. There’s a whole industry, trillions of dollars around reinforcing this idea. Whether it’s asset management, insurance, brokerages and you can point to all different advertisements that continually speak to this idea of retirement. For years, I criticized the qualified plans, mutual funds, perspective until I realized something. I finally considered why retirement was appealing. It’s appealing not because people want to retire. The definition of retirement is to be taken out of service, essentially become useless. Nobody wants to become useless.
The motivation and what creates the framework is people have this urge, natural desire to be free to not have to do things any longer. That driving force compels people to act. That is the path at least they believe is going to help them achieve that. I believe there’s a much simpler way. I know you were thinking, “I’ve saved for twenty years. I have all this money in the market. I’ve been successful. I’ve been successful in my career. I’m going to work another ten years and I’m done.” Some of you may be saying that and I get it. First off, I’m genuinely inspired by the dedication, energy, commitment and fortitude to achieve these ends because many people just don’t ever retire. It’s incredibly a frustrating series of events for people. There are those that do that ended up realizing it’s not what they thought it would be and ended up going back to work.
My discovery in this profession and ultimately become my mission is to inspire and motivate people to gain financial independence as soon as possible. Not wait 20, 30 or 40 years because we’re not promised that we’re going to survive or it’s going to be the same circumstances we believe we’re going to be in at that point in the future. There are lots of different perspectives and biases around this idea of retirement. I want you to step back and start to realize that we have these cognitive biases. They’re reinforced and unintentionally created. We operate our vibes based on those belief systems. This is why this tool that I was referring to before is important because it quantifies it. It puts something into math or something that’s more objective than an opinion.We all have cognitive biases. It's part of our survival mechanism. Click To Tweet
You can access the calculator at TheWealthStandard.com/Calculator. You can complete it in less than one minute. What the calculator does is it gives you an outcome. That outcome is a date that you could be potentially financially independent. I’ve come to realize that financial independence is not a dollar amount, it’s more of a mindset. The mindset is most often created based on a couple of factors. Number one, you have investment cashflow. You have passive income coming in every single month. That pays either half or the majority of your living expenses. When you establish that, there’s still a gap. I believe that gap as far as from the outcome of independence and freedom, it’s filled by a profession, a career or meaning full work.
Work that aligns with who you are. It’s something that you love doing and you connect what you do with how you benefit others that are very high level. You come to this conclusion that you are meant to do this. It’s that type of meaningful work. I believe we’re all unique. We may not be operating or doing what that type of work is right now. That is where you start to pursue that type of work and find opportunities to do it, where you don’t necessarily have to work full-time but you work because you love it. You recognize it because you have cashflow and passive income coming in. You are not living to work. You are working and doing meaningful work in order to live. This engages these feelings of independence and freedom what I believe everyone’s after.
You don’t have to wait 20, 30 or 40 years. Many of the people I work with are able to do it right now. The fact that they know they can do it right now gives them this sense of freedom and independence that they don’t necessarily have to be doing what they’re doing. It is now a choice. What I encourage is to be open to these ideas. I know what you’re saying, it’s contrary to many of your belief systems as they stand right now. If you connect with the outcome of retirement, it’s freedom and independence. Consider the possibility that it is possible. That feeling can be achieved sooner than 20, 30 or 40 years into the future.
The parts of this calculator that are most important are you enter in your income or what you make on an annual basis, the investible assets that you currently have and then you use a couple of factors. The rate of return you’re getting from your assets. Also, it’s the establishing of a reasonable rate of return to gain passive income. When you have that number, usually we look at 50% of your current income as this freedom income which is doing meaningful work on your terms at 50% of what your current income is. When you look at the growth of your assets and the cashflow that would come from that plus 50% of your current income, that is going to equate to whatever dollar amount you have to earn on your investments and gives you a specific date at which you could potentially be financially independent. This calculator opens eyes.
By no means does it get down to every single detail of how things work but it gives you an idea of what is possible. When you realize that, you start to look at investments and work differently, what you’re doing for a career. That is the point of the calculator. It gets you out of what has been conditioned, what cognitive biases rule your behavior especially your financial behavior. It puts you into this position of, “There could be another way. Here is potentially a path that gets me what I want sooner.” I believe we live in an amazing era. There’s a lot of chaos. There is a lot that is going wrong and news, websites, social media point all of these negative factors out. That comes from this natural carnal state of wanting to survive. We’re always looking for what can hurt, harm and kill us because our brains are wired to survive thousands of years ago, not in our era. I believe, there are miracles are happening all around us if we’re aware whether it’s the innovation with healthcare, food, energy. There are some amazing things happening.
I believe that meaningful work, being able to connect who we are, we’re naturally gifted with the value creation for others in receipt of an exchange with monetary exchange. This is a level of living that is possible for more people now than ever before. At the same time, it is first the recognition that you have to make certain changes and do things that snap you out of what and why you’re doing it in to look at another way. TheWealthStandard.com/Calculator is a link to download this specific tool so you can see where you stand and how far off you are from financial independence. There are some other resources there as well. I hope you can take advantage of that offer. It’s free. No cost. Hopefully, you’ll gain a better understanding of what’s possible for you. I wish you a great week of celebrating and being aware of the principles of independence and freedom. I hope you get to spend it with people that you love. Have a blast. Until the next episode.
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