One Airport Place,
What is success? For some, it means financial security. But it really can be so much more than that. In today's episode, Richard and Jon discuss both the big picture, and how you can set yourself up for financial success.
Welcome back to Financial Matters with Richard Oring. It is episode number two. I am John Jag Gay joined once again by Mr. Richard Oring. Good to be back with you, sir.
Hey, John. Hope you had a good weekend.
As we record this on a Monday morning. Same to you as well. Today, we want to talk about something that seems simple, but it means so many things to so many different people. We're going to talk about success. So, where do you want to start with success?
How about we just start from the dictionary?
I got the dictionary in front of me. I turn to the page in the Webster dictionary for success. The definition is favorable or desired outcome. That's the basic definition of success. I think we have a different meaning, whatever we're looking at, what aspect of life, what we're talking about, but most people automatically assume success as in money.
That is really the first thing people think of. If you're successful in life, it means that you have a lot of money or a significant amount of money, but that's not necessarily the end all be all for the word success, right?
No, not at all. I think it changes too.
I think it changes. You get out of college, you start thinking about, I got to get a job, I got to make a lot of money, I got to save for retirement, I got to get a house, buy an engagement ring, all that. And then when you have that, the one thing you don't have is time. So, sometimes everyone's desires change what their definition of success is.
And that can mean stuff like more time with your family or building a family, something in your career or something you want to pursue in terms of life that's outside the workplace. Success really is sort of achieving those goals like we were talking about.
When I first graduated college, I was busting my butt. Every single job I ever had to, I would come in early, be the last one to leave. I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to get promoted. And then occasionally, on the weekend, I would go to one of my friend's house and husband and wife had rocking chairs on their front porch, they always had a refrigerator in their garage with a case of Natty Light or Coors Light and every day after work, the two of them sat on the porch, cracked open a beer, didn't make a lot of money and they were happy.
And it was amazing. And I'm busting my butt exhausted on the weekends. I couldn't even imagine opening a beer because I'd fall asleep drinking it.
But it really means different things to different people. It's the whole different strokes for different folks thing and successful can oftentimes just mean happy, but let's sort of look at specifically in this episode, success for your financial goals, considering that is your area of expertise. Where do you want to start in terms of financial goals?
I think we should talk about what goals can be. A lot of times, as we get older, we think of success as retirement. That's probably the number one thing people come to me say, "Hey, I got 10, 15, 20 years left, I'm working and I want to make sure I could retire."
What that means is they probably already accomplished some of their short term goals, which were successful. We could talk about some debt reduction for younger couples or even older people. We could talk about retirement, college. We can keep going. We could just rattle off so many little things, but what I really encourage people to do is tackle the small ones first.
Where you can actually obtain and be successful in meeting those goals because then you're encouraged to keep going and going. The worst thing you could do is set up a goal 30 years out and always put it off.
It's 30 years out. Oh, you know what? I got holiday gifts coming up this year, don't have extra money. I'm not going to put money in my 401K. It doesn't work that way.
When you have something that far out and that nebulous finish line where it's just like, oh, I can keep putting it off, I keep putting it off, I don't have a hard date on it, but I like what you said about the smaller goals first because it sort of starts a snowball effect where if you accomplish something small, you get a little bit of momentum, you feel good, you get that endorphin release of accomplishing that set goal and then you can just roll that downhill into getting bigger and bigger goals and actually accomplishing them.
It's amazing. Just think about it, your wife asks you to do something. Like for me, my wife says, "Hey, we have some extra furniture in the basement I put in a pile, can you take it out and get rid of it?" There's no timeline for that. I forgot about it 10 minutes later until weeks go by. She's yelling at me, "When are you going to get rid of the trash in the basement I told you about a month ago?"
I get that too. Clean the kitchen or take the trash out or it's something small, but my wife likes a clean house and I work from home. So, she says this is her love language. If she's had a busy day at work and she's stressed out, the best thing I can do is not go to the florist and buy a bouquet of roses for her, but have the kitchen and the living room clean and vacuumed and the counters are clean and no coffee grinds on the counter, things like that. That is what will really make her happy when she comes home, is just seeing the clean.
Exactly. Unfortunately though, retirement planning or college planning, it's not as easy as just putting it off and getting yelled at by the wife.
It's scramble time.
If you keep putting it off.
Richard, so we're not getting into that point where we're scrambling and realizing, oh, this deadline is a lot sooner than I thought it was because I really didn't plan. Well, how can we take steps to plan for this stuff out long-term?
I think the first thing is making time in your day to sit down and actually document what you want in life.
So many people, they go to work each day, they go into routines. Wake up, get dressed, go to work, come home, cook dinner, help the kids with the homework, watch some TV, go to bed, wake up the next day.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Yeah.
Right. It's exactly the same thing. I got a lot of friends and right, a few of my friends, we talk about these things. Right? A few of them actually sit down with their spouses and sit down and document where they are today and where they want to get to. And that's important because you both should be on the same plan and you should have some accountability for each other and making sure you get there. So, that's the first thing I would say is the most important thing to do is to start the conversation at home.
It's like going to the gym. They say if a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend joined the gym together, there's that shared accountability as opposed to doing it on your own, you'll keep putting it off. But if you can sort of hold each other accountable ... I know my wife and I look at our finances every single weekend and we say, "Okay, what did we spend this week? What do we have left? What do we need in the next couple months that we have for trips coming up and what do we need to save for our future?" And she is the financial brain of the relationship between she and I and she works in corporate finance as her day job. And so, every weekend we look at an Excel spreadsheet and I hate it and it's annoying, but it's important. And I've now seen the value in it because I've got a couple of trips I'm taking this month I'm not scrambling to find the money for because we've planned for it and I have that money set aside for it.
No, that definitely makes sense. Our household, we just started the same process. When we first got married, my wife would say, "Hey, we're doing well if I go to the store and I use my debit card and it goes through."
We've all been there. For sure.
Yes. But as time goes on and we're getting older and our expenses are getting bigger, I got three young boys and I got college to start paying for in about three years for the first one and other expenses and camp in the summer. And it's not as simple as saying, "I went to use my debit card. It went through." Now, we're getting older, we're looking for the future. And we're making that time now on the weekend to go through our credit card bills and our utility bills and see where we can cut back.
That swipe the debit card and see if it goes through is probably not going to work on a tuition payment.
No and now we have credit cards too. So, that could be dangerous.
And some tuition payments that might not work for the credit card either. So, the planning is just so important. So, documenting the goals, tracking the progress. Now, Richard, we've both talked about doing this in our own marriages, what are some good ways to get started with doing this if you're not in the habit of doing so already?
It could be as simple as just taking out a pad, writing them down and taking it out occasionally and looking at it. I used to sit with my kids on a regular basis and I would make them put down short-term goals, long-term goals and write down how we can accomplish those. And it's amazing when we look at it every week, they did it. When we stopped doing it, they're not thinking about their goals or what they want to accomplish. So, it could be as simple as just writing it down.
When you write it down, it's real.
Yeah. It's real. It's funny, if I write it down and it's in front of me, I look at it, I see it, I do it.
You internalize it. Yeah.
Yep. I have all this fancy software for work, tasks, due dates, everything. I put it in there and sometimes I don't even open the program, but anything really, really important is on my glass board right behind me. So, when I come in the office, it's the first thing I see. Every time I get up, I see it. So, I know I'm going to do it. So, easiest thing to do is grab a pad, pen, write them down, take it out once a week. If you're into technology, you and your spouse, there's programs out there, Mint.com, Quicken does budgets.
For my financial planning clients, I have software where they can link their bank accounts and credit cards. I don't have to see it. It automatically downloads their data and categorizes it for them and then they can create budgets and see if they're off in their spending per month. Maybe they forecasted $400 in fuel.
If gas goes up, you're going to spend more. So, you have to adjust that. And there's only so much money coming in, maybe you have to cut back somewhere else. So, there's electronic tools to do that for you where they aggregate your banking information, your credit card information. That was companies like Mint.com, Yodlee does it, my financial planning program does it.
I've used Mint and just get those notifications of, hey, you spent a little bit more than you normally do this month on this category. And I go back to when my wife and I were long distance, she was living outside Detroit, I was living in New Orleans and we were flying back and forth to see each other once or twice a month and I didn't have any money and I said, "Geez, honey. I've really been spending so much money on these plane trips to come see you and meeting up with you and going to different weddings and bar mitzvahs and everything for my family and your family.
And she goes, "You know what? It's not the plane tickets." I said, "What do you mean. It's $300 here, 400." She goes, "How many times did you go out to eat this week?" And we broke it down and running around and 50 bucks on groceries, $100 on groceries, but then I would go spend ... It was New Orleans so I was at Chick-fil-A or Popeye's or getting a po'boy on Bourbon Street or whatever it was. $10 here, $20 there or $30 there or $10 here, going out for ... Again, New Orleans, going out for drinks and all that sort of stuff added up and I was spending way more on that than I was on plane tickets and until she pointed it out, I hadn't realized it. So, having that accountability and really tracking every last dollar and because now we use cash less, most of us, and we use the debit cards and the credit cards so much more, it's all right in front of you. It's all right there.
That is true. My wife and I, like I said, we were going through our budget over the weekend and I was shocked. My oldest is 15. So, we give him access to DoorDash now or Uber Eats.
Those fees. They whack you.
Whack you. Well, yeah. No, you know what? One kid will order Indian food, someone's going to order Friendly's. It's crazy. So, it's about $30 more to order from DoorDash then if I just took the kids out.
Yeah. Just agree on one place, this is where we're going tonight.
Right. You got to be careful what apps you let your kids have can add up.
Yeah. Anytime that you give them access to anything that's going to cost money and you look and say, "Whoa," because a lot of times when we're younger, we spend without really thinking about it until we get older and our priorities change.
You know what? I have a confession. It's not just the kids though. Like I said, just did the budget with my wife. Half hour later we went to Best Buy, we had to work on some kitchen appliances, a warranty replacement, and my wife said the best thing we've ever bought in the house was Sonos.
Which one is that?
So, they just came out with a new speaker. My wife's dealing with the appliances. I call her on the cell phone. I'm like, "Hey Sweetie, they got that new Sonos speaker. You want me to get it for you?" And she goes, "Did we not just work on a budget and said we're going to try to cut back?" I was like, "It's not for me. It's for you."
Oh, right. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
She's like, "How about you come back and help me?"
Yeah. Having that spouse to ground you really can be important.
Yes. Impulse purchases, you know?
No, but it's funny you mentioned DoorDash is on Friday night it was the classic married couple conversation. "What do you want to do for dinner tonight?" "I don't know. What do you want to do?" "I don't know. What do you want to do?" And my wife was at work late and I said, "Why don't I just get something from DoorDash? It's going to take 45 minutes, but we'll have something here." And she's like, "I don't want DoorDash. I don't want to spend the extra $15 for something that we can just go out and get. I'd rather pick up a pizza myself on the way home."
Exactly. Just think about it. A few years ago, Friday night was pizza night.
10 bucks, 15, 20, depending on how many pies you got with toppings. It was cheap. Now, it's 70, $80.
Yeah. But also because we have all these different types of restaurants in the palm of our hand on our phones, gosh, it adds up so quickly.
So, we're going to come back to success here, Richard, we don't want to necessarily confuse success as a definition of how much money you have in the bank, but having a life that makes you satisfied. Obviously, success is tied to money in a lot of ways, but it is about more than just money. Right?
I think it's about obtaining what you want in this life.
Like in our household charity's very important. Family time is very important. Having the kids outside playing is very important. And I know for myself, building a business, I lost track of that in the beginning.
And eventually, they started getting older and I was like, "Wow, I got to cut back." We're making enough money. I don't have to keep working so hard. I don't have to work seven days a week. I don't have to work until 9:00 at night. And I got to tell you, when I did that, I became happier and the business actually grew even more.
Because you were in the right mental state when you were in the office.
Probably. It was more positive. It wasn't about spinning my wheels, it was about coming in, being efficient because I wanted to get home. I wanted to have dinner with my kids. Growing up, I didn't see my dad. My dad was a CPA, an accountant. During tax season-
... Never saw him. Never saw him. I would tell you I had more meals without my dad, then with my dad.
And I didn't want to be that person. I wanted my kids to remember family ... To me, dinner's very important. It's the time where we all get together and we talk. We talk about our days and what stresses we have and how we can help each other. And I was realizing I wasn't there for those conversations. To me, I was not being successful. Money wasn't the issue. It was the time with my family was really bugging me.
It's just so important that it really is about more than just the money sometimes and the last thing you want to do is not compare yourself to others and keep up with the Jones' in terms of financial bottom line and that sort of thing, you've got to figure out what's going to make you happy because success, the way I look at it, it's not so much about money as it is about happiness. And money can't buy you happiness. Right?
I hate to say it, look at Robin Williams. You think he has ... First off, comedian, actor.
Beloved. People loved him. Who would ever think he was depressed?
And it was a chemical thing and it was unfortunately mental health issues, which is something that I know you and I are probably going to get into in future episodes of this podcast. You would think he's happy. He's got more money than he'd ever need, but unfortunately and tragically, he was not happy.
No. Not at all. It's just sad. Very sad. And besides Robin Williams, we would probably all know somebody who's gone through the same thing.
Outside looking in you think they have everything, but it may not be the case.
We bought our new house three years ago and we're doing renovations, but we budgeted. We kept our old house for a long, long time and we wanted to make sure our next house we moved and we had the money to do all the home improvements. And I get comments from my neighbor, "Wow. You guys must be loaded, always getting work done in your house." They have no idea about my household, but they're automatically make an assumption. And I think we all do that. I think we look at our friends, our neighbors, and we say, "Wow, they're really, really wealthy. They're happy. They're successful." But you don't really know until you're in their shoes, in their household, what's going on, and you don't want to try to compete with them. That's the worst thing you can do is try to compete, put yourself in debt because everyone's value system is different. My value system is I want to be able to put my three kids through college. Some peoples value system is "Hey, I put myself through college. It made me a better person." So, what's right for me may not be right for someone else.
To that point, my wife and I, I was mentioning this to you before we started recording today, so my wife and I have a dog, he's a lab shepherd mix, he's a rescue and he's 14 and so he's a little bit older and unfortunately, he had this non-cancerous tumor in his leg that was really causing him a lot of issues. And we talked to our vet and we talked to a specialist and the specialist said, "Really, the best thing for you to do is going to be to take his leg."
And so, a week ago we had to take his leg and there were people in our lives who said, "That surgery is going to be really expensive. I can't believe you would spend the money on something like that." And then I had another friend, this always stuck with me, say, "Forget anybody that's going to judge you on how you spend your money. It's your money. You've earned it. Do what's a priority for you." And it's just my wife and the dog and I, and we love that dog more than anything. I didn't have dogs growing up and I work from home, like I said, and that dog and I are super close. I would do anything for that dog. And that was how we chose to spend our money. We were in a position where we had saved and we were able to do that and it really was the best thing for him. It's a week later and he's already walking around the house on three legs no problem. We call him a tripod. It's spelled T-R-I-P-A-W-D.
That's awesome. That's great.
It's not the money buys you happiness, but it's about saving and being in a position that you can prioritize what you want to prioritize in your life.
Yep. John, a couple of minutes ago we were talking about not comparing ourselves to our neighbors and so forth like that. Growing up, my dad was a humongous Simon and Garfunkel fan.
So, in the car, listening to Simon and Garfunkel constantly. And there was one song they sang about which most people don't even remember, but it was called Richard Cory.
And that song was based on a poem written by Edwin Arlington Robinson. And I wanted to read it real quick. It's not that long. Whenever Richard Cory went downtown, we people on the pavement looked at him. He was a gentleman from sole to crown, clean favored and imperially slim. And he was always quietly arrayed and was always human when he talked. But still he fluttered pulses when he said, "Good morning," and he glittered when he walked. And he was rich. Yes, richer than a king. And admirably schooled in every grace. In fine, we thought that he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place. So, on we worked and waited for the light and went without the meat and cursed the bread. And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head.
The song is a little bit different. Those who remember was, Richard Cory owned a factory and everyone was envious of him. He had everything and the people who were envious worked in his factory and they wished they could be him. And it ended with, "And Richard Cory went home and put a bullet through his head." So, it's an interesting song to listen to. And now that you have an idea of what it's about, you'll hear that song a little bit different.
And for me, it helps me not compare myself or put myself in other people's shoes without really knowing them.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). You never know what's going on in somebody's own head and with somebody's own finances. And really, we can't stress this enough, to come back to success, which has been the theme of the episode since we started, success is really about being able to achieve the goals in your life that you want. And that's not necessarily financial, that is finding out what's going to make you happy and figuring out a plan on how to get there.
Right. It's a balance. You want to work so you can meet your goals have your own successes. Don't work to make yourself be successful in someone else's eyes or try to keep up with someone else's goals. That's not the goal in this life. The goal is to make sure that you're happy, your family's happy and that you can succeed in life.
Not about living to work, but working to live. Right?
And if somebody wants to come in and sort of get a check on their finances and figure out where they're going and maybe plan for things going forward for the future, what are the best ways to get a hold of you, Richard?
Best way is to always call me, (609) 924-2049, extension 126 or you can always go to our website, www.ncfg.com. On the website, on the top, there's even a link right there. You can schedule a phone call with us. Just remember, you don't have to be local. I offer video conferencing to have meetings. So, if you want to do it during your lunch break or you're not close by or it's hard to coordinate between you and your wife or spouse, I try to make it very convenient for everyone.
Very 21st century of you. We appreciate the time as always Richard. We'll put links to contact you in the show notes for the show as well, and we'll talk to you next time.
Thanks a lot, John.
Richard Oring's branch office is 1 Airport Place, Princeton, New Jersey 08540. The branch phone number is (609) 924-2049. Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Member FINRA SIPC. Advisory services offered through New Century Financial Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. New Century Financial Group, LLC and Royal Alliance Associates Inc. does not offer tax advice or tech services. Please consult your tech specialist for individual advice. We make no specific comments or recommendations on any tax related details.