Stock Club EP #183: The BIGGEST Money Mistakes Most People Make | Grant Sabatier

Mike chats with Grant about starting from having just $2.26 in his bank account at age 24 to reaching over $1 million in savings by age 30
Nov. 9, 2023
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Key Highlights:

  • From $2.26 to $1,000,000 in only 6 years

Grant tells the honest story of going from eating frozen meals from his parent’s freezer to a place of financial freedom. You’ll be surprised at the simple approach that he takes and one you can adopt into your own life. 

  • Front-loading Your Investments in Your 20s 

Grant explains how he invested over 80% of his income in his mid-20s and front-loaded his investments as much as possible to take full advantage of the power of compound interest. The earlier you start investing, the more your money can grow.

  • Negotiating Strategies To Gain Financial Freedom

Grant provides tips for negotiating higher pay at your 9-to-5 job. He notes that employees rarely ask for raises even though most are underpaid based on the value they provide. Grant's key piece of advice is to carefully consider the tradeoffs you'll have to make on your path to financial freedom. 

  • How To Retire Early

Grant breaks down the mathematical proof for why you need less money to retire early in your 30s versus later in your 60s, due to the power of compound interest and investing early. Grant suggests shifting your mindset to think like an investor - carefully weighing how you spend your money and time based on potential returns. This applies to not just investments, but personal purchases and career decisions too.


Grant Sabatier: 0:00

We live in a time in history when it's never been easier to make, save and invest money. Here's how to take advantage of those opportunities in a way that ultimately gives you more time and space and freedom in your life, so that you can expand into the full expression of what it means to be a human being. One of my top performers I remember I actually gave him a $100,000 raise, even though he came and asked for a smaller dollar raise, because there was no chance that I wanted him to leave because he was making me a very high multiple on his salary already. A dollar saved when you're 20 is worth four or five times a dollar saved when you're 30, because of the compounding potential of that money.

Michael : 0:44

Hi folks, and welcome to another episode of Stock Club. I'm Mike and join me in today's episode as bestselling author and personal finance expert, grant Sabatier. Before we get into today's show, I just want to give a quick word from our friends and sponsors at Vodafone Business. Vodafone have recently launched their V-HUB digital advisory service, offering Irish businesses of all sizes free one-to-one digital support advice. You don't even have to be a Vodafone business customer to avail of this service. Search Vodafone V-HUB to book a call with one of the V-HUB digital experts and we will leave a link in the show notes for today's episode.

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Michael : 2:19

Howdy folks. Today I'm joined by a very special guest here at Stock Club, grant Sabatier. Grant is the founder of Millennial Money and the author of the international best seller, financial Freedom a proven path to all the money you'll ever need. He's documented his own personal finance success story and used it to facilitate others to achieve financial freedom, reach their money goals and retire early if they so choose. Grant, you're very welcome to Stock Club. It's a pleasure to have you on.

Grant Sabatier: 2:44

Yeah, glad to be here.

Michael : 2:47

Let's start from the start, really, because I think what I love about your story is that it's so very personal. It started from you in about 2014, 2015. You checked your bank account and you had $2.26 in your account. From there, you made it your mission really to become financially independent, to retire early. That was one of your goals at the time. From there, in five years' time, you had $1.25 million in the bank account. Tell us about your story. What got started? Obviously, your motivations, I think, are clear, but how they developed over time and how it's become this industry of Grant Sabatier since.

Grant Sabatier: 3:27

Yeah, so my story starts back when I was born. I was born in Southern Indiana, in a rural area. My parents grew up in a one-stoplight town, didn't grow up with much or very much money. When I was six months old, they made the decision to move to the suburbs of Washington DC, which is the capital of the United States, just to give me a different opportunity than they had Growing up. This is a story that they told often to me. I'm an only child. My parents really struggled to make ends meet when they moved to DC. Money was really tight. It was something that they were stressed about, they fought about. Money was very, very present in my life growing up. Growing up, my parents embedded a lot of their dreams and goals into me. As I grew up, I worked hard. I did well in school. I ended up graduating second in my class. I went to a top university and studied philosophy. I really felt like I had everything going for me. I really had made my parents proud. When I graduated college in 2008, I ended up bouncing around four different jobs. I got laid off twice. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I just floated around trying to make ends meet and just couldn't find the right fit. When I was 24, I actually had to move back home with my parents because I was completely broke. My parents had given me everything and all these opportunities and invested everything in me. I was their adult son that had to move back because I was broke. In the summer this is 2010, I went to a July 4 picnic it's Independence Day in the US. I was the only adult child of my parents' friends. Everyone they were in their late 50s, early 60s. Everyone. All they could talk about was retirement. They were talking about when are they going to retire. One person had retired. They talked about what they were doing. Every conversation was about money. Amongst these boomers and my parents, I was like gosh, these people have worked their entire lives. It was the first time that I looked at my parents and realized that they'd gotten a little older and that some of the dreams that they had talked about, not only had they not accomplished them, but they didn't even have them anymore. I didn't have anything else to do. I'm a philosophy major, so I was really reflecting on this and my life and felt really stuck. I remember having dinner with my parents coming down one night and I could just see the shame and the fear in their faces. They were like gosh, what did we do wrong? What's wrong with Grant? It was just that look from them that really kind of welled up this sort of come to Jesus moment in my life. At the point I had $2.26 in my bank account so I couldn't even go out and get a Chipotle burrito. I had to eat the turkey sandwiches.

Michael : 6:15

I don't even think you got the extra guac.

Grant Sabatier: 6:18

Nothing. I couldn't get anything. I was eating turkey sandwiches out of my parents' refrigerator as a 24-year-old, which is fine, there's nothing wrong with that but for me, I felt absolutely terrible. It was around this time that I started just thinking about money. I was like gosh. My parents are still stressed about money. They're not retired. Their friends are stressed about money. Everyone seems stressed. I don't have any money. What is money? I'd actually never really thought much about money until that point. I just thought that money was something that I would eventually figure out. I put my philosophy hat on and I was like what is money really? I started going down the rabbit hole and I googled best money books. The first result was a book your Money or your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. I ordered it and I ended up getting it. I remember the day. It was August 10, 2010. I remember I got the book and I sat down and I read it in two sittings and I finished it during the weekend. I was so blown away by this book where the central premise is whenever you're working, you're trading your life energy for money and you're never going to get back that time. You really need to think hard about how you make money, how you save it and every time that you're investing, you're actually acquiring future freedom. That you can take advantage of. This just absolutely blew my mind. My quick takeaway was okay, I don't want to have to work for the rest of my life. How can I make as much money as quickly as possible? Then that became my next Google search and I immediately recognized that a vast majority of what I was finding was either completely wrong or scams or some multi-level marketing scheme. I was like, geez, this money world is an absolute pit. This is terrible. Where can I get good advice? Where can I learn how to do this? That really just set me off on a deep, deep learning journey. I ended up doing another Google search and saw a Google mobile ad and saw that digital marketing careers were projected to grow 300% over the next decade. I ended up getting into Google ad campaigns and learning how to run them and getting certified by free from Google. I found a career that I knew nothing about but that was growing. There was demand and it was something I felt like I could potentially be good at. I was really off to the races the first job I applied to after getting certified by Google for free it took me a little over a month was in Chicago at a digital marketing agency. I went there, basically got a PhD in digital marketing for a year, learned everything I could about paid search and paid social and SEO and building websites. I quickly realized, gosh, I don't want to work for $52,000 a year, even saving 50% of my income which I was able to do at that level because I was driving an $800 car and living in a $700 month apartment. There's a limit to how much I could save. I started side hustling and building websites for smaller companies than my agency would work with and then ended up leaving the agency after a year. After I'd made over $250,000 on the side building websites for lawyers and realtors in Chicago, I found that niche ended up scaling an agency. I started a second agency focused on higher education. The entire time I was saving 82% of my income and this is all I was doing. It took me five years, three months and two days from the day that I left my parents' house, to go from the $2.26 to $1.25 million saved in my bank account. It was by far the hardest thing that I've ever done. It was crazy. You know it was made a ton of mistakes, but you know, like anything in life, when you spend a lot of time doing something, I can very, very confidently say that I've far surpassed the ten thousand hour Expert threshold. When it comes to studying and learning about money, you actually learn a lot and you learn a ton, and so I learned a bunch. And you know, all my friends are still broken in debt and my parents are still working, and I went on this sort of you know, heroic Heroes journey for five years. I have a lot of trade offs and I can't have the other end with way more money than I thought I would ever have and a lot of lessons, and I can have my my money. That then you know I wanted to share what I learned with others, not even thinking that you can make money writing about money. I just wanted to share what I learned in the hopes that it could help others, and so I started talking to my friends about what I done and obviously I encountered other personal finance blogs and I realize that you know I have an incredible story to tell and I was very passionate about helping others because I've been so stressed and I didn't want others to feel stressed and I also think really the, the, the chips are stacked against the little guy and it's can be very confusing and very difficult world to navigate Less kind of the how to save money and more than how to make money, and so that's really what I made. My focus is hey, you know, we live in a time in history when it's never been easier to make, save and invest money. Here's how to take advantage of those opportunities in a way that ultimately gives you more time and space and freedom in your life so that you can expand into the full expression of what it means to be a human being. So I had a pretty big mission and started just writing and Learning how to write. I was a terrible, terrible, terrible writer, you know, at first and you know just practice at it and got a little bit better and Built an audience and got a following and really became a reluctant influencer. You know, before influencers were really kind of a thing you know. So I came up when that term, before that term was even coined and then, you know, is coined kind of in the middle of my journey. But I really stumbled into that and learned a lot about you know what it means to have a platform and a voice and you know, connecting with, you know, a broad global audience. And, yeah, I ended up getting a book deal and With penguin random house and writing financial freedom, which is now in nineteen languages. Just sold the stonion translation last week and yeah, it's just been such a joy and such a dream To be able to share what I learned and continue to refine what I learned, because I learned an immense amount from readers of my content. That's been the coolest thing, cuz I share what I've done and people reach out with other recommendation or tweaks and I end up learning a ton about tax efficiency and investing and building a real estate business and Building a holding company. I've learned so much just from my readers filling the gaps of my own knowledge and it's become, you know, much larger community and mission and just, you know, blow my mind, you know, has become something far beyond anything I could could ever imagine and I feel really Grateful to be able to do this work and support this mission and send, send out, you know, hopefully as many good vibes to people as I can.

Michael : 13:07

Yeah, absolutely, and I love what you said there, cuz that's the essence of the book. It's there's Hundreds of lessons in it, but it's an intensely personal story and you intertwined so much of what you want to do, not with money per se, but with the time that the money gives you and the freedom that the money gives you, and so, like you, quite so much of well. Is this worth spending on this? Yes, if it's something you truly enjoy, and I think that's the part of the book I enjoy the most. There's some great lessons in there, but in the set, in this essence, it's almost biographical. So far point I 100%.

Grant Sabatier: 13:46

I mean, I think you know I'm not a big fan of the word expert. You know people being like I'm a finance expert, and that's what I encountered a lot On my journey. People are like I'm a personal finance expert, I'm this expert, and I really have problems with the idea of expert, you know, as a concept, because you know, we all live very different lives, but obviously we're all human and what we really have is perspectives, and so I made some choices that are pretty different than my friends and my family and that most people make in our society, and I feel like I found Just another path in life and it's a path that I really change my life. It's made my life better. I'm so much happier. I'm healthier. You know it's, it's it's. I didn't have to choose the status quo, and so I just want other people to have that option. I just wanna say, hey, you know, there's this other way. You can do things like you don't have to be as intense as I was, but you know, here's another path and here's everything I learned and kind of take, take what you know you need and leave the rest. But I really felt from the beginning of writing about money in 2015 that I have to be extremely open and transparent. You know, until you know, basically the book came out, I shared every investment that I made, the performance of that investment, how my net worth was growing. You know I wanted to. I wanted to Open the money conversation because really no one in 2010 was talking about money openly at all, and so that was one of the things that you know, I realized was holding a lot of people back, because you can really talk to your friends, your family, about money, because there's a lot of shame and a lot of guilt and a lot of just fear, and so I wanted to set an example by just being extremely open with many millions of people who I didn't know, in the hope that they would feel inspired to be open themselves with those around them. And so that's been really cool, because just opening my entire life to people, I didn't have to put on a face. You know I didn't have to. I always feel like creating content, especially online. You often create personas, and what happens when you create a persona? Over time, it creates it can create some real dissonance in your life when the person you're projecting Is is different than the person that you actually are, and so I knew this kind of going in your philosophically, you know, through kind of my own thinking, and so I wanted to just be really open with who I was because, you know, I wanted to be be really try to connect on a human level and there's a lot of energy involved in all this. You know, people connect with people and I just felt really inspired to do that and I think that's one of the biggest things missing in a lot of specially finance content is people get a little personal but they don't get personal enough. And I just reviewed I'm not gonna reveal her name, but I just reviewed, you know, pretty large money writers book before, before it comes out and I read through it. It's really great book, but she mentions a few things that hurt her husband do. But I wanted, I wanted to hear a lot more about her story would help me connect more and I think I think made the content resonate a little bit more. So, yeah, it's, the book is 100% biographical and that's really the only way. It's the easiest way. I found her right and that's the only way that I want to write because, you know, I think it adds a lot of perspective and a lot of color and helps people connect with the work. It's not just, you know, some guy sharing financial advice, it's, you know. Here's what was actually happening in my own life and this, you know, I did accomplish this cool goal, but it was really, really messy, and here's what I learned, you know, along the way, and that's what it's also made a lot more fulfilling to me, because people who read the book and who are impacted and touched by it you know, you know say I feel like I've known you forever and you know it's like you're my cousin or my brother, my, you know, it's like it's a it's a very personal personal experience and some really happy that I wrote it in that way.

Michael : 17:50

Yeah, or like me and you listen to the audio book and you have your voice rattling around your head for two weeks as well. I'm okay, I wanna ask you a question. I'm very interested in your answer. And then Is the question is what does the general consensus or what does the general population have wrong about retirement?

Grant Sabatier: 18:09

That's your question and I think it's kind of a generational question. And so you know boomers, or you know people who, let's say, over the age of sixty, you know that they have always viewed retirement as kind of this you know, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you know, if they work hard and finally have the freedom to do the things that they want to do. The problem with that is you know who we are, humans. You know we tend to change a lot faster than we admit to ourselves. And so the things that you know, the dreams that you set when you're thirty hey, I wanna go, you know, walk the great wall of china, I wanna go spend you know month in india these, these sort of big dreams Very high likelihood that you know, maybe twenty or thirty years when you retire, you know, god willing, you have the health and the financial means to be able to do those things. What I find is a lot of people just don't have those dreams anymore. You know the dreams just kind of overtime, they, they, they fatigue the nature, they drop away.

Michael : 19:13

Or maybe they they kind of they downgrade because people realize that their idea of retirement and the money needed for those dreams maybe isn't feasible as well.

Grant Sabatier: 19:26

Yeah, I think, just yeah. Momentum shifts and so what happens? I think it's this big kind of farce that the boomers were sold on the just save a little bit of money the rest of your life and then you'll be able to do whatever you want. And the cool thing is especially, you know millennials and now gen Z. You know just, we're not willing to accept that trade off for face value, because we're seeing our parents, you know, still having to work and not have enough money. We're seeing, you know it's like. It's like If you know all these people follow this advice, you know, for thirty years and then they didn't end up where they want to end up. So then you have to take a really hard look at that advice and be like, okay, you know all that stuff that you all were reading about and following and doing, you know it, is it really the right way to go about it? And so I think that's been the big shift where you know especially people. You know my age and our age. You know retirement you can still be, you know, a pot of gold at the end of the tunnel, but we just don't want to wait thirty years, for you know we're impatient and we're complacent and so that's really cool. Unfortunately, you know, there's some people you know, even some of my best friends who read my book and who know me and who can, you know, sit and have a beer with me, you know, watch a soccer game with me and ask me any question on earth Still think it's not possible to reach financial independence at a young age. I mean, these are my good friends, they see the life that I'm living, read my book, ask me questions, and they still can't, you know, can't believe it, and I think there's an element of that in in everybody where. And that's the challenging thing with the work that I do, because you can show people what you've done, show them how to do it and and do everything. But if they, if they don't believe in themselves you know that it's possible or they don't want it, then then you know they're just gonna stay in their same mindset and kind of accept the status quo existence. So I think that's the biggest challenge is the idea of retiring early, which doesn't mean you're not gonna work for the rest of your life. It just means you have the option to work on whatever you want. And I think a lot of people, you know we go through phases in our lives where we might want to work really hard on a project, or we might be interested in something, and then we might want to move on, you know, to something else. Like, I'm just like a lot of people, you know, I get, you know, bored very easily and so I'm happy to work on something for a year or two, or maybe even five years, but then I want to do something else, and so I think there there's Increasingly especially younger people. It's a lot easier for them to see and understand that they have more options, a lot more options than their parents had, and that they don't even have to think about retirement as a destination. It's just like life is almost like a series of mini retirements, or just phases, or, you know, adaptations, but ultimately you still have to find a way to make and save money and then use your freedom very, you know, intelligently so that you can, you know, maximize, you know, your happiness and in the experience that you're, you're getting from it. So I think the idea of retirement you still exists. I think you know anything that the media writes about to get clicks. You know We'll stick around for a while, but I think increasingly, people are just skeptical about it. And some people are skeptical and they're like I'm never gonna have enough money to retire, so I'm not gonna save anything. And there's those people you know. Or there's the people who's just like you know, everything you know sucks and we can't make money. And you know where the millennials were, gen Z, and we have more student loan debt than anyone ever. And then, you know, the dominant narrative becomes everyone's super in debt, so they're never gonna be able to retire, so people just accept that existence. Or there's an increasing minority of people that are like oh okay, you know, we have the internet, we have all these different ways to make money. There's a lot of people making money in a lot of different ways. I'm gonna spend instead of my time just kind of wallowing. You know, we're watching Netflix or playing video games, and I'm gonna figure this thing out because there's never been more opportunities and I believe you know that I can, you know, acquire and make more money than than than I thought I could, and you know I'm really in control of my life. And so I think there's those three buckets of people. And thankfully, you know, because people are writing and sharing about this, you know, more and more people are believing that this is possible and then learning themselves as they, as they get on the path, that it actually is possible. And then you know what's once someone starts believing that's all they need. You know, everything else takes care of itself.

Michael : 23:53

Yeah, there's a power of optimism there, for sure, and, and especially after reading the book, the aspirational nature of a two is very prominent. And on that I want to talk about one of the more at At first glance at least provocative things within the book, and that's that you need less money to retire at 30 than you do at 60. So could you expand on that for me?

Grant Sabatier: 24:16

Yeah, actually I don't know. I think you listen to the audiobook, but this isn't in the hardcover, but actually in the paperback version. If you buy the paperback copy and you look in the appendix, I actually broke out all the math of why this is actually true and you actually need so. It's a, it's a mathematical proof that shows why you need less money to retire at the age of 30, then you do at the age of 65, and so I encourage you to check out the appendix of the paperback version, because it is a mathematical certainty. What you need to do is it's all about accelerating the rate of compounding of your money, and so it's not like you can save, you know, $10 when you're 30 and then retire on it, right, of course, there there, there are numbers at play here, and the idea is that, if you can front load your savings Because you know a dollar saved when you're 20 is worth four or five times a dollar saved when you're 30, because of the compounding potential of that money, the ultimate goal is to Invest as much as early and often as you can, and so the idea is that it's like an engine you know compounding. What happens is you see these compounding curves. You know where they go up like this, and what happens is people save a little bit and then their money starts making money. What you basically do is you front load all of that, and so when you try, when, instead of starting down here, if you're saving, you know, up here what actually happens is the rate of compounding increases exponentially, and so the curve is much, much steeper. And so the idea is that when you're saving money, if you can save enough by the time that you're 30 and then just live off, basically the interest Income, in a vast majority of cases, based on many, many different models, that money is going to continue to grow and compound at a rate that is far higher and greater. Then it would be if you retired at the age of 65, and you're gonna likely have, you know, three to four to five times the amount of money. And so it's really about the rate of compounding, and you do have to save this. You know a pretty large amount of money, but it works even if you don't save a ton it as long as you don't spend. You know the principle, you know of your investment, because ultimately, the rate of compounding is so much greater than it would be if you retired at 65 versus the age of 30. So it's really the case, the mathematical case for saving as much and investing as much as early and often as you can. And you know, saving 50 to 80 percent of your income, you know, between the ages of, you know, 22 and 30 and Living off that money for the rest of your life, as opposed to you know, for example, saving five percent of your income from the ages of 20 to 60, which is the dominant narrative.

Michael : 26:55

Hmm, and on that we have Brian for only on the podcast recently and he talks about this shift from thinking like a consumer or a customer to thinking like an investor. I'm bringing in this, this concept of opportunity to cost, to major expenses. Really, you mentioned you were driving an $800 car, so one of the I loved from the books was how a $50,000 car can end up costing you about 10 years of your life and 500 or $600,000. So that's, that's the same thing. It's. It's we're taking away that opportunity to compound that money and putting in just a depreciating acid into instead of a, instead of yeah.

Grant Sabatier: 27:32

I'm paying yourself will say yeah, I, you know that's pretty pretty. You know eye-opening example, because a lot of people just think oh, you know, I'm buying a 50, 50 thousand dollar car. But you don't realize you're number one when you're buying that 50 thousand dollar car. You're buying it with after-tax money, right, so you had to earn, say, 30 percent more. So the car really cost you know $70,000 in in before tax income. So say you had a $70,000 salary In one year, that's an entire year of working for that car. And so not only is it the hours that it takes to Buy the car, but then to your point, it's the, it's the lost opportunity cost of not investing that money instead. So you work, you know 2,000 hours for an entire year and you make $70,000 and you buy that you know $50,000 car with that money. So you've traded 2,000 hours for that car if you would have taken that money and invested it instead. You know over the next 10, 20, 30 years, you know that money let's just say it doubles every 10 years. That you know $70,000 becomes, you know, $140,000 after 10 years and then it becomes 280,000, then becomes 560, then you know, 40 years later it's you know 1.2 million dollars and they're like geez, wait. You know I could have bought that new car, or in 40 years I could have 1.2 million dollars. And so when you change the framing a bit, a lot of people, even reading that framing, will still buy the car right because we're Want the thing. But I do think that especially it helps you understand the massive, massive trade-off you know that you're making whenever you buy anything. You know whenever you spend any money, and so it's very important just to take the time to be intentional and think through why you're buying something, whether or not it's gonna be worth it, and then being very honest with yourself About why you're buying it. You know if that car gives you more joy than anything in your entire life and you live somewhere. You have to drive all the time and it's your thing, which you know. In the US people buy their trucks or their cars and it's it's such a huge part of their identity. You know if, if, if, if. You know if it's that for you, that's fine and that's great. Just just realize you know how much it's costing you and that you're sacrificing an immense amount of future Freedom for it. So it might make you feel really good. Now Just try to understand. Gosh, I might have to work an extra six or seven years of my life in the future to afford this car.

Michael : 30:10

Yeah and when you start when you, when you have that paradigm shift in your head and that I think that's one of the most important things from the book thinking like an investor. And To think like an investor, you also have to realize the power of compounding and what I can do. I think Albert Einstein called it the eighth wonder of the world. So, with that in mind, I want to talk about your own investment strategy, because I think the figure you mentioned is 7% real return. Is that correct? Yeah, so that's kind of your target compounding Number. How did you go about achieving that? Because I know you made it very simple for yourself, if that makes sense. Did you concentrate on individual stocks, etfs, mutual funds, or did you branch out into real estate, even crypto? Tell us about your own investing story.

Grant Sabatier: 30:57

Yeah, gosh, very, very multifaceted. So you know I thankfully, you know into in 2010. You know I read, you know, a number of books that were, you know, index fund investing. You know I read the coffee house investor, which is a book that was pretty impactful for me. I read a few of Jack Bogle's book so I would, in Bogle heads guide to investing. You know I was pretty sold on the idea of investing in a total stock market index fund. So I realized that I wanted most of my money to go into an index fund. But you know it's 24 25 index funds are pretty boring and so while I was front-loading those, you know I had, I had a lot of money to invest because I was investing, you know, 82% of my income, you know. So we're talking about, you know, having, you know, 200k plus to invest, and so what would end up happening is I'd put, you know, 125, 250 thousand dollars into index funds. But then I wanted to buy individual stocks as well, because I was very much at the mind, like everyone uses Amazon, amazon's gonna go up. Once Amazon Prime showed up, I was like, okay, you know this is a game-changer. It was so obvious. You know there's some things that are so obvious. When and I feel like this is a lot easier, at least it was for me when I was 25 and I was, you know, it was kind of a golden age for, for you know, the fang stocks and you know, it was just like as long as you just bought Facebook. And Facebook was a big one because it was 2011 and I remember I had 32 thousand dollars just sitting in my checking account and I actually went on a trip to Rome and while my wife she's my girlfriend at the time of my wife was in the museum, I was sitting on IPO day on my laptop in a cafe Waiting for Facebook to go public and just so I could buy it. I was that, you know cuz, like you know, I would. University of Chicago, we were the second school to get Facebook. I was number, I was user like 21,000 on Facebook.

Emmet: 32:49

Oh, wow.

Grant Sabatier: 32:51

Used to be, when you used to be when you had so we're the second school to get it, and when you're in college it actually had the number that you were. You know the user number that you were, you know in your profile. So it was that early. So I was like such a big believer in Facebook so I was like I got to get in on the IPO. So there's some of these stocks that were just, you know, just so obvious to me and so I bought a few individual stocks that ended up growing exponentially and I added to, you know, over time but I didn't diversify that much, you know in into individual stocks. And then, you know, over the past, you know three or four years, you know I've divested from them, you know almost entirely, and have a vast majority of my money in In a total stock market index fund at Vanguard. And then I've bought a number of rental properties that that, honestly, they're not even cash flowing money, they just break even. But you know the, the renters cover the cost of the mortgage and the properties, you know, are appreciating some. I have the long-term play there, but by far, by far, the best investment that I've made has been in launching a business, and so you know this is one of the things that really clicked for me, where it's like, okay, yes, I can get, you know, seven point two percent Compound and inflation, you know, adjusted return investing in a total stock market index fund, you know, over the next 30 years, or you know even five percent, and that's great. That's very passive, easy, tax efficient, diversified, but nothing compares to launching a business where you know you're in control. Yeah, you can, you can grow it, and so my actual you know rate of return from you know, launching millennial money and then selling it you know, I sold millennial money in October 2020 to the Motley Fool and then I bought it back in July of 2022, you know. And so you know, now I have a holding company of websites. So by far the highest ROI that I've had, you know, has been, you know, I think I started, you know millennial money with like five grand, you know, and ended up selling it for a massive amount of money. So the ROI on starting a business for me has been huge and that's why I'm such a huge fan of encouraging people to. You know, whenever you have one dollar, yeah, you have one dollar the question is, what's the best use ultimately of this capital, and especially now? For me, the answer is not index funds, the answer is not real estate. The answer is I'm going to try to buy another website. I'm going to try to put this money Responsibly back into my business. I'm going to use this cash flow to grow the holdings within my, my holding company, because now I have a holding company when I own six websites, and so that's by far the best ROI, and so that's where I spend, you know, all of my money and and how I use my my cash flow, because I have a lot more money in index funds than than I need to. And you know the real estate game is, uh, it's a nice diversification play for me, but I'm not really passionate about it, you know, as a dominant strategy, and I see people who have, like you know, 300 doors and they're just stressed out all the time and that's a whole Business. That just doesn't really really excite me, whereas you know buying and selling websites and domains, and you know being involved in the internet economy, you know, really really does.

Michael : 36:01

That's great. Um, we're moving back the way now. I know you mentioned a lot that, while you said owning a business has been your greatest kind of ROI, let's talk about nine to fives, because you didn't initially you. You kept your nine to five For a while before this. So how would someone listening now and I think majority of listeners will be in some form of nine to five or salary position how do they go about hacking their nine to five? This is the term you like to use.

Grant Sabatier: 36:31

Yeah. So you know there's a lot of people out there that like their jobs. And if you like your job and you're making good money and you know you can negotiate raises and you know you're happy where you're at, you know, congratulations. You know you you've, you know, accomplished something that most people don't. But the reality is, when you look at the data and I, you know, I have this in the book it's something really staggering in the gallop workplace, you know poll, where it's like 78 or 80 percent of, you know, especially Americans are, quote unquote extremely Disengaged at work. So a vast majority of Americans that are polled Don't like their job and, in fact, they hate their job. And so if you like your job and you're making money and you want to stick around and you know save, you know Congratulations. You know, if that is you, or even if that's not you, you know, obviously Increasing your savings rate so that you can at least have more freedom in the bank, because if you love your job you might not. You know a lot can change. You know we see this. You know, in the us With. You know, amazon, google, ibm you know all these massive Companies that everyone viewed as being. You know meta everyone viewed as being you know forever jobs and careers. You know they're having huge layoffs and so there's really no job, even if you do a good job. That's secure, and this is why I'm such a big proponent of entrepreneurship and just side hustling in general is because I'd rather be in control of my life and my destiny and have my boss be in control of it. So I encourage anyone, even if you like your job, make sure that you're saving as much and investing as much as you can, because you know you might be laid off even if you're doing a great job, just because you know of some reason that's wavy on your control or number two, in five years you might not like your job, or you know you might have a kid and want to retrain, restructure your priorities. I encounter a lot of people who they really like their job, and you know, but they're not saving or investing as much money as they could. And then you know their life changes in some way and they're still stuck, and so at the end of the day, the number one goal is to have options, even if you love your job, and the more money you have, ultimately, the more options that you have. So in your nine to five, you know there's there's simple things that you can do and I put a lot of them in the book which is, you know, whenever you're doing a job, you know you're getting a paid, a salary, to do that job. But if you go above and beyond and you can track when you go above and beyond you ultimately have to figure out how to make the case to your boss and to your company, you know, to pay you more money, and so there's ways that I recommend doing this in the book, like tracking every time that you go above and beyond your job Description. If you're able to, you know, grow the revenue of the company, that tends to be really highly valued and you can likely tie your, your bonus or your compensation back to the tangible value that you grew the business. And you know I have a number of stories that I've included the book on how to do this. The reality, you know and I've had, you know, a number of employees and really smart people the reality is most people are getting paid a lot less than they're worth, and they're getting paid a lot less than they're worth because, number one, they don't even know how much they're worth, because they're not spending enough time trying to understand the market value of their position. They're not talking to recruiters, they're not looking at competitor company job posts, they're not under you know, they don't understand the value of their experience and their knowledge or they don't understand how much money they're actually making their company and they also, I think most you know I can say I've had, you know, 75 employees in my life and in less than five have ever, you know, asked for a raise with. You know, a reasonable, case-made, and you know it's like it's like it's ridiculous how few people actually ask for raises and how underpaid you know people are. And I talk about this in the book pretty Controversially I actually got a lot of flack for this because I talk about how most companies are just legal pyramid schemes, which is true when you think about it. You know it's, it's all built. You know capitalism and is built on. You know exploitation and leveraging and you know selling the. You know and creating economies of scale, you know, out of people's time and Labor and so when you own a company, you see this very clearly or like, oh, that person's great and I'm only paying the next amount of money and they're making me all this money. You know your boss or your boss's boss or the person at the top, knows how much money that you're making your company and there's a quantified value there and for me I was always looking for at least three to four X of what I was paying a person, an actual, you know, top-line revenue that they generated. And you know the calculations you know aren't aren't exact by any means, but I had a pretty good understanding how much money I was making off of people. So then when they came and they asked for a 5% raise, it was. It was a no-brainer and in some cases, one of my top performers. I remember I actually gave him a hundred thousand dollar raise, even though he came and asked for a smaller dollar raise, because there was no chance that I wanted him to leave Because he was making me a very high multiple on his salary already, and so I actually just leveled him up so he would stick around in the company and, you know, paid him. You know he's still less than he was worth to me, but it just blew his mind and then he was extremely loyal and and he stuck around, you know, ultimately until I sold that business, and so there's a lot going on, you know, at the people level, when it comes to you know how incentive structures are set up, and I'm writing a lot about this, actually, in my new book, which will come out in in February of 2025. So it's coming out in a little. You know about a year, year and four months or so, but I'm writing about this now just incentive structures and how people, how you develop them, and you know a lot of crazy stuff around that. But yeah, to your point, read the book. There's a lot in there About how to hack your nine to five, and I get very, very detailed, less through the lens of me being an employee and more through the lens of hey, you know, I owned a number of companies and I've had employees and here's exactly what if you did this, you know I would have no way but to not, you know, give you a raise and then the final point is you know it costs the average company between 40 and 60 percent of your annual salary just to replace you, and so talent and good talent is really really valuable and a lot of employees they increasingly are realizing they have more leverage now, but they have a lot more leverage than they likely realize. And so you know you can go and it'd be like you know I want a $15,000 raise and the actual, when you look at the numbers, the company should should give you that raise just because it'll cost even more to replace you. And so you know there's some things that that if you don't know, you don't know, and that's why I wanted to be so open. Open about that. And I've got crazy emails, man, like people oh, I got, you know, $75,000 raise. You know I got a hundred thousand dollar raise. I've got 20,000 just for asking. You know the actual results of that. You know people kind of following that pretty simple framework have been, you know, astronomical, because the reality is a lot of people are paid a lot less than their worth because they don't realize how much they're worth, and then they don't know how to ask when they do ask. And so if you just change a few of those things, you figure out what you're worth and then you make a case, you can likely get a much bigger raise, which you know every raise over time, you know, is increasing the rate of money that you can save and invest and compound. And you know none of this stuff is rocket science and that's the really beautiful thing about it is you know you can. You can do this stuff in your life today. You just have to know what to do, and a lot of people just don't.

Michael : 44:10

Okay, well, on that point we're gonna finish by putting you on the spot here, and I think this is maybe trying to distill an entire book into one question. But I want to give you say to 25 year old Grant who has ambitions of retiring at Wait, we may not say 30, because an 82% savings rate isn't, isn't realistic, for a lot of people will say who wants to retire early, who wants to achieve financial freedom and and reach those financial goals in a very short space of time, what's the one piece of advice you could give to that person?

Grant Sabatier: 44:44

It's a great question. I think the number one thing is Figure out what trade-offs you're willing to make, because everything that has to do with money there's a trade-off, and for me, I made too many trade-offs and so I lost friendships. I ended up gaining over 50 pounds. You know, there's a lot of things that I did that I, if I thought about them and understood what those trade-offs would be for you know, working 70, 80 hour weeks not taking care of my health, not, you know, nurturing my friendships, not nurturing my relationships, then then I wouldn't have made them. I could have. I could have, you know, slowed down by about 20% and still, you know, retired in 10 years or less. And so I think a lot of people or at least me, I have kind of an all or nothing Mindset. You know, it's kind of black or white, or it's like I'm going to do this thing, I'm going to be all in, or I'm not going to do it. And I think there's a lot of people that especially look at my story and they're like gosh, I can't do that. And the thing is Like, looking back on it, you know, I recently reread part of my book and I don't even recognize that person anymore that I'm writing about, because I've changed, you know so much and I'm like this guy seems so intense, you know, like I can't even imagine, like, like you know, I mean, I'm like I was so intense, like I don't even, like I don't even recognize you know anymore, because I'm so different now. Um, and so that's the thing too, is you, you need to go at your own pace. You need you know the, the, the things that I do. You need you know the. It's. It's a math game, you know it's. It's very simple math and the thing is Just set some kind of seemingly unrealistic goal and then start, you know, start working towards it, and you don't have to have it all figured out, you don't have to be perfect, you don't have to know. The number one thing is just get going and just keep at it and just be mindful about the trade-offs that you're making. And I think, especially in the West, we try to rationalize everything, we try to dominate, and this is a thing a lot of people that are attracted to financial independence, they're kind of rational thinkers, they're engineers, they're systems thinkers, they're like oh, if I just do A, b and C, then I'll get X, y and Z and that's true. But the reality is you have to be listening to your intuition as you're doing these things, because what happened once my story got out, once the fire movement started growing, what happened is people were like whoa, that's so extreme. So some people got on board and they saved 80% of their income and then they ended up burning out after a year and a half. They were unhappy. They weren't spending money in the right ways, and that's one of the reasons I tried to write my book and just be like hey, if this thing gives you joy, then spend money on it. If it doesn't, then just don't. And I think there's a lot of people that just get so hardcore and they just burn out. It's like someone just starting to work out and then they're like I'm going to run an ultra marathon and it's like yo yo, yo yo. You got to increase your mobility. You got to start running some, start lightly jogging. You've got to start, and I think a lot of people go way too fast, way too quickly when you've got to find the pace that works for you. You got to start trying it out. You got to make some mistakes and then you got to adapt, because ultimately, this is a choose your own adventure path, and the thing is there's probably 800 different tips in the book and you can't do all of them. Or should you do all of them? Just do a few of them, and the sum will be so much greater than the parts I mean just a few. I mean just increasing your savings rate from 5% to 15%. You're going to have a lot more money than you thought you would have. Create a side hustle or create a side business and make $1,000 or $2,000 extra a month and then just invest that. The rate of compounding is going to increase exponentially. And then what happens is you just do a few of these things and you're like, oh my gosh, driving a more affordable car and renting out my extra room and investing that money and having a side business where I make $500 or $2,000 a month and investing 20% instead of 10%. Wow, you put all of these four or five pieces together and you wake up in two years and you have $150,000 in the bank and you never thought that that would be possible. And you've been inspired and you've accomplished way more than you thought you would have accomplished. And then you can revisit how you feel, because that's important. You've got to check it with yourself Do I still want to roommate? Do I still want to have this side business? Do I still want to work nights and weekends on my side business? In some cases you're like, absolutely, I want to double down. In other cases, you're like, no, this is good enough for now or no, I'm not willing to make that trade off. So life is long, life is a series of changes and evolutions and energy shifts, and the more that you pay attention to that, it's so much easier to manage your relationship with money, because relationship with money, just like any other relationship, is going to change. So you've got to pay attention to that and be honest with yourself, and I guarantee anyone listening to this if you spend more time with your money, if you spend more time thinking about it, if you spend more time thinking about how it makes you feel and the role that it plays in your life and the tradeoffs that you're making, I can absolutely guarantee you that you'll start seeing money differently and its role in your life and you'll end up wanting to acquire more freedom. And you'll see exactly how to do that. And that's the most exciting thing For me is when people think this isn't possible. And then they start having a few wins and they're like, oh my gosh. They feel empowered and inspired and realize that they can accomplish so much more. And they thought that they could, just with a few simple changes that are pretty easy to make and compound when added together, so much more than just one decision by itself.

Michael : 50:53

That's great. I love that. Ok, before we finish up, I just want to give a quick word to our friends and sponsors at Vodafone Business, vodafone of recent launch their V Hub Digital Advisory Service, offering Irish business of all sizes free one-to-one digital support and advice. You don't even have to be a Vodafone business customer to avail of this service. So search Vodafone V Hub to book a call with one of the V Hub digital experts and we will leave a link in the show notes for today's episode. Grant, it's been a pleasure. Thank you very much. For anyone who wants to find Grant, you can cross all major bookstores, basically even in Estonia. Now we have Millennial Money website as well. Anything else you want to plug while you're here?

Grant Sabatier: 51:32

Yeah, check out the Millennial Money newsletter MillennialMoney slash, grant dash corner or grants dash corner. Or you can just go to MillennialMoney and go to the bottom of the site and click on Grants Corner. I have a newsletter that comes out every Tuesday where I go really deep on money topics, things that I'm seeing in the world. I have many hundreds of thousands of subscribers there and it's a lot of fun. That's where I share a ton of different things that I have going on, and so it's all free. And, yeah, sign up if you're interested.

Michael : 52:07

Yeah, and just get talking about money more. I think that's the main lesson from today's show. Thank you very much for listening in Lads and Grant. Again, thank you for joining us. Remember, if you have any elevator patches you'd like as a tackle, make sure to get in touch. You can find us on Twitter at myWallstreetHQ, on TikTok at myWallstreet. Simply just email us at pod at myWallstreetcom. If you're enjoying the show. Leave us a review, share us with your friends and we will talk to you next week. Ív.

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