Navigating Volatile Markets

Season 3 Episode 27

Navigating Volatile Markets with Sam Dogen

Season 3 Episode 27


Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast, the podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you'll enjoy today's episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome to another episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast. I'm Ryan Eaton, your host, and honored to have you listening in today. We have Sam Dogan who is the author of Buy This, Not That on the show, you can buy it on a lot of different places. Amazon's where I picked it up. It is one of the top sellers in finance right now on Amazon, and it's an excellent book and I think it's probably one of the top five I've ever read when it comes to finances.

So I would highly recommend you getting a copy at it. I know once you listen to this show today, you're gonna absolutely want to, but Sam has been someone I've listened to now for 10 years on finances and he gives some excellent advice. Today we're gonna hop into business management, personal financial management, and we're also gonna look at kind of what's going on in the economy right now.

What are we seeing? How can we adjust? How can we pivot? How can we make sure we do the financial samurai way as he goes into in his book? So with that, let's go ahead and get started today. Well, Sam, such an honor to have you on the show this morning, man. Thank you for being on.

Sam Dogen: Hey, honored to be here.

Ryan Eaton: Well, I have been listening to you now for probably 10 years.

I've been subscribing to your newsletters and loving it. I would like to maybe start off the show today with getting you to give kind of an overview. You have a cool story of kind of how you were in Wall Street, New York, and then. End up moving to California and I think that story's pretty cool. Why don't you give us, maybe a little bit, tell us a little bit about wife, kids, where you're kinda at in your season of life as well, if you don't mind.

Sam Dogen: Yeah. I I started my career in Wall Street in 1999. I worked at Goldman Sachs for two years in New York City, and then I left to come to San Francisco because I was escaping Wall Street because I overheard a conversation saying that I wasn't gonna be renewed for a third year. So luckily I found a job with a competitor, which actually recently got taken under this year. Credit Suis.

Ryan Eaton: Oh yeah.

Sam Dogen: Yeah. And I worked at Credit Suis from, when was it, 2001 to 2012. And originally I had decided to work until age 40, which would've been six more years, but I just couldn't take it anymore. And I discovered on a trip to Santorini, Greece in October, 2011 that I could find my way out of investment banking by negotiating a severance.

And so I came up with the idea of negotiating a severance by having a heart to heart with my manager in the spring of 2012, and then two months later, I was able to get a severance package, get all my deferred compensation of stock and cash paid out over a three to five year period.

Ryan Eaton: Wow.

Sam Dogen: And I said, well, you know what? It's now or never. I'm 34 years old, let's go be free and see what I can do. And if I fail, well hopefully I can just get a job back on wall Street.

Ryan Eaton: So let me ask you about that. You took a big step, right? In that timeframe that you're talking about, you know, the great recession, so to say, happening banks and investments and everything else was kind of going crazy. How did you overcome the fear of failure to pursue your passion with in the financial realm?

Sam Dogen: Well, it was a line of planning, so 1999, I remember getting into the office at five 30 in the morning. And I was thinking to myself, man, that's so early. That's crazy. And then I stayed until 7:30 PM so that was a 14 hour day.

So within a week, definitely within a month. I knew I couldn't last for, you know, conventional 20, 30 years in a career. Right. So from that month forward, I started saving as much as possible. It was a $40,000 a year base salary, but I lived in a studio with my friends. So we were just like dorm mates. I saved as much as I could.

Every paycheck. So that meant 50% of my salary, and then I saved as much of my bonus as I could. And so I did that for 13 years, and by 2012 when I was ready to take a leap of faith, it was generating about $80,000 a year. My investments in, that's right, passive investment income, so CD income, dividend stock income, and rental property income mostly.

Ryan Eaton: Man. That's fantastic. Well, I appreciate you sharing your story and kind of how you got started. As I mentioned earlier, you have, you've been someone who I've learned a lot from on the financial realm over the last 10 years, and you recently came out with a book the, by This, not that, and I thought that was probably one of the top financial books I've ever read. Definitely top five of all time, so.

Sam Dogen: Oh, I appreciate that.

Ryan Eaton: So when we were going through it here and we were saying who should we get to be able to talk about finances on the, in the Leadership podcast? I was like, I have the guy if we can get him. And so we, again, we appreciate you being on the show today.

With that, let's jump into kind of some of the financial stuff. And one of the things I wanted to ask you here, let's kind of look at the before we kind of really kinda hit some financial questions. Let's look at kind of where we're at today, what the economy's looking like, because if someone's listening to this a year or two from now, they may not understand kind of some of the positions we may have.

You know, we've kind of had some of the banks you mentioned one of 'em earlier also. Silicon Valley banks kind of had a, had a rough go. Yeah. The last month we've seen mortgage rates or. Probably at an all time high over the last 10, 15 years, but they are dropping some. Mm-hmm. We've seen over the last few weeks, interest rates are a little bit higher than we're used to seeing Treasury yields are higher than they've been in a long time as well.

S and p sitting roughly about 4,100 I would say based off yesterday. Anything else you want to add kind of from an economy standpoint before we kind of jump in?

Sam Dogen: I guess we could talk about expected future.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah.

Sam Dogen: But I'm happy to jump into whatever you want.

Ryan Eaton: Okay. Well

I'll jump in now. Let me ask you some of the questions regarding kind of more what a personal financial advisor or personal decisions on finances, maybe a, a business would be thinking.

There's a lot of people sitting on cash right now because they do not have. They don't really wanna invest in the market. They're a little bit cautious, everything going on, you know, with the banking industry and everything else. What would you suggest someone do with maybe extra cash sitting on hand right now?

Or if they're wanting to deploy that into something, what would you recommend?

Sam Dogen: Well, I would first recommend looking at your overall net worth asset allocation. How is it divided and what age are you? And that's one of the benefits of reading Buy This Not That, is that I've set up a net worth asset allocation framework by age.

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm.

Sam Dogen: To help guide you along your journey to financial independence. And it's gonna be different for everyone, but from a top-down perspective or just from a basic perspective right now what we can look at is what is the risk-free rate of return? And the risk-free rate of return is the 10 year treasury bond yield, which is at about three and a half percent.

So you wouldn't invest in any other asset unless you could gain at least a three and a half percent rate of return. Right. So right now is interesting because the 10 year bond yield has declined to three and a half percent from about 4.2% earlier. But short term rates like three month and six month treasury bond yields and also money market funds and also, One year.

CDs, for example, are yielding close to 5%, if not higher. And so before you invest any single dollar, or you gotta think to yourself, let's say, well 5% guaranteed rate of return, how does that compare it to what my expected return is for real estate, for stocks, or for any other asset? So if we use the s and p 500 at 4,100, we multiply that by 5% and we get.

You know, 200 plus, right? So do we think the s and p of five of a hundred is gonna go above 4,300, you know, 50 in one year? It's hard to say. I mean, the median projections for this year from Wall Street strategist is about 4,085. So we're right there at the target price up seven and a half, 8%. So if you can get another 5% from here, That's, that's pretty good.

That's right. And so for me personally, I am deploying about 60, 70% of my cash flow into short term treasuries and CDs. Because 5%, man, that's pretty good. And I'm seeing inflation figures fade. They, they started fading since June, 2022. The rates are also coming down. Mortgage rates or everything is coming down.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Sam Dogen: And I think we're gonna get back to the long term normalized inflation rate. Within the next 12 months. And so if you can lock in one year at 5%, I think you're gonna look like a winner in the back half of the year.

Ryan Eaton: Ah, that's great advice. What would you say, same type question for a business, maybe sitting on excess cash right now looking, you know, Hey, do I hold onto this?

Do I deploy it? What would, what other thoughts would you have around that from a business standpoint? Maybe you got employees and other things to consider, not just a, a personal net worth standpoint.

Sam Dogen: I would say there's probably a 60% plus. Chance that we're gonna head into another recession by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

How bad is that? I don't know, but I think it, it's. Pretty obvious to me that earnings are declining. Job growth is slowing, inflation is coming down, so the earning cycle is gonna go down. And in such a scenario, you're gonna see more layoffs and it just slow down in business. So cash has become more valuable.

And the great thing about now is that the short term rates are so high. That to hoard cash to sit on cash is actually quite a prudent move. But as if you're a business owner, I mean, you have to also compare what is the risk-free rate of return versus every single incremental dollar you put into your business and what is that return for your business?

And for a lot of small business owners, investing in your business returns a much greater return than the risk-free rate of return. That's right. You just have to be prudent and careful to survive the potential downturn again. So that you can benefit from the eventual upturn. So, because in business, I think.

I would say more than half the battle is surviving. If you can survive the downturns, you're gonna do very well over the long run.

Ryan Eaton: Mm, I love it. No, that's great advice. And that we had a gown here a few weeks ago. One of the things he said from a business standpoint, he said, Cassius King, and you've gotta be able to survive the downturn.

So exact same advice he gave as well on that front. Let me ask you this. I've read in your book one of the things I thought was a great point. I wanna read it for just a second, you said, A big challenge holding folks back is the fact that most of us grew up on financial advice centered around saving.

We are urged to budget, avoid consumer debt, stash an emergency fund, and it's all solid advice. But the truth is it's difficult to become financially independent by simply putting money in the bank. Love that quote from the book. Would you mind kind of going over that a little bit, kind of what your, your meaning was there?

Sam Dogen: Sure. Well, the idea is, To take more calculated risks. The whole idea of the book is to develop a 70 30 decision making framework, which states that if you believe with 70% certainty or greater, that you're gonna make the right decision. Make that choice with a hundred percent conviction, while knowing that maybe 30% of the time, hopefully less, you're gonna get it wrong, but you're gonna learn from your mistakes.

And I think as we get older, I'm 45 now and I talk to a lot of my peers who are my age or older. What do we wish we would've done differently as younger men or women? And the answer oftentimes comes up that we should have taken more calculated risks, taken more bets. And the problem with this is that we don't know what we don't know.

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm.

Sam Dogen: Back then. And it's the same thing now. And one of the reasons why I wrote by this, not that was to. Basically layout, you know, the upsides and the downsides. So people have a path, a clear idea, a clear idea of where the booby traps are, where, where the downside scenarios are so they can take more calculated risks.

Because I think anybody who is who reads, who writes, who works hard, We'll probably end up okay. Mm-hmm. And I do believe that that regret of not taking as many offensive calculator risks by spending in your company, investing in your company, investing in stocks, real estate, whatever. I think if they don't do that, they're gonna regret having not done that.

Ryan Eaton: Well, that's a, that's a phenomenal financial principle there. Have you found, I just from reading your book and listening different things you've put out over the years, I found that you, you're pretty consistent on your train of thought with everything you do, however you pivot on investment strategies based off the market, based off investments, different things along those lines.

What would you say if you had to give a few financial principles that you've lived by, what would that be?

Sam Dogen: Well, I mean, I have some basic recommendations. Lovely. First of all I think if the amount of money you're saving each month doesn't hurt a little bit, you're not saving enough. Mm. And the idea is, I don't want people to wing it when it comes to their finances.

I mean, how many times do we, you know, in the past when cash was popular, we have cash in our wallet. We go out for a night, and then all of cash would be gone. But where'd it go? That's right. And then I, I don't want people to wake up 10 years from now and say, Why ain't I richer? Mm-hmm. You know, where, where did all my wealth go?

And so really to be financially independent at a certain date or time requires meticulous planning. To forecast what I say, forecast your the future, try to forecast the future, forecast your misery as well. Mm-hmm. And what I mean by that is a lot of people, they'll, they'll join new organizations.

They'll have a new shiny object toy and they'll play with it and they'll think this is gonna be great for 10, 20 years. But lo and behold, five, 10 years later, they start getting bored and sick and tired of doing the same old thing. And they want out, they want options. They want an escape hatch. But if they don't have that money, if they don't have the passive income, they're gonna be a little bit stuck.

Yeah. Actually they might be trapped. And then that trap creates misery and un uncomfortableness and you'll start blaming people for all your problems. Right. And so really it's Save until it hurts a little bit each month. Cuz if you're not, if it's not hurting, it's nothing is really happening. That's right.

And two, to try to forecast the future, forecast your misery so that when that misery does come, you're good. You're set.

Ryan Eaton: That's right. You have a plan, you have an exit out. How far are you looking forward when you forecast?

Sam Dogen: I try to forecast as far as I believe. When I'll be sick and tired of doing what I'm doing.

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm.

Sam Dogen: And so, like for example you know, I have a six-year-old and a three-year-old right now. You know, it's hard work being a full-time parent, stay-at-home parent. All parents know this. That's right. And my forecast is I gotta gutted out for at least 15 years. That's right. Until my youngest is eligible to go to college or once she's an adult.

Right. And it's not just I'm gonna be miserable. I'm just saying, okay, I need to have a plan, a 15 year plan to get that going, to make sure my family's okay. And one part of the 15 year plan, a funny story is when my son was two years old, four years ago, I decided to coach high school tennis. Boys, high school tennis.

One because I like to teach two because I like tennis, but three because I wanted to understand what was going on in the minds of 14 to 18 year old boys. So that when that time comes, when my boys 14 to 18, I can connect with them a little bit better. And I wanted to use kind of these kids, these 11 teenage boys as kind of like case studies.

That's right. And how to interact, how to be a, a cool dad or how to manage conflict. And I did see a lot of conflict.

Ryan Eaton: Too great advice there. Well, look, I'm, I'm bouncing around kinda my questions. Train of thought cause you brought up kids. One of the things in your book that I loved, you gave kind of tax advice almost from a standpoint of businesses and how you can look if you have extra profits or you have, you're making good money.

One of the things you talked about, I thought was a phenomenal idea was employing your kids and you can employ them up to the standard deduction amount. Yeah. And it ends up becoming something that you're not taxed on from a business and they're under the taxable rate. And it ends up almost really becoming kinda like a.

Tax free windfall for the kids and you can put in, maybe in a Roth IRA or invest in in other things for 'em, hit that strategy. I thought you have a ton of strategies in your book, but that was one of the ones that hit home for me. I, I as well have two kids and I thought that was phenomenal advice.

Sam Dogen: Well, I mean, as business owner, our goal is to grow revenue, grow margins, keep costs.

As low as possible, right? That's right. To improve the operational efficiency. And so the standard deduction limit in 2023, I think is $13,850. So just double check that that changes every single year. So ideally, you employ your kid and you get them to do real work for your business. So not only are they learning their, they're building work ethic they're understanding their business elements, but they can earn up to 13,850, whatever the standard deduction level limit is, and pay no taxes.

On that income and your business gets a deduction of 13,850 because it is a business expense. That's right. And then they can take 6,500 of that and invest it into their Roth ira, so, which is tax free. Usually you gotta pay taxes before you contribute to Roth ra, but because. They earn under the standard deduction limit, they don't pay taxes.

And then the income or the money in the Roth IRA can grow tax free and then you can withdraw it tax free. So it's like a quadruple win. That's right. And I think the most important thing is developing that work ethic in our kids and teaching our children so good about life because I mean, how many times.

I mean, I don't remember 99% of what I learned in high school or college. But if we have a business, I mean, what a valuable realtime tool to teach our children about life and making a product, marketing, finance, everything that is the secret value of the business if you're a parent. And then I think, you know, the business expense and the tax thing is actually just a side benefit. That's a great benefit.

Ryan Eaton: Man I love it. I, I think that's phenomenal. Well look, kinda sticking on the business front. In the insurance business, a lot of people can have fluctuations from an income standpoint. You know, maybe it's that a group doesn't pay their insurance premium on time for the cutoff of commissions or something to that degree, or you get an agent of record letter, so you bring up you your income increases, or another agent gets an agent record on your business, right?

And you lose income. We can see monthly fluctuations. If you are running a business that has pretty wide spreads and monthly fluctuation, how do you budget, how do you plan accordingly for that so that you have capital preservation in the back burner? So you got money back here in case if something were to happen or you lost income, but you also have maybe influx, you're getting two or three months at a time.

What do you do with that extra cash? What would you recommend?

Sam Dogen: Oh, I would just come up with my baseline budget number, right? It's like a, it's like a straight line. That doesn't really fluctuate much. And then anytime that business income is above, I'm saving that money that's above. Anytime it's below, I'm pulling that cash reserve and I just go from there.

I, I mean, I just, I just really have a really disciplined expense month to month where I feel comfortable. You know, I, I don't have huge fluctuations. I recommend nobody have huge fluctuations because the revenue component is already probably quite volatile, especially during uncertain times. So whenever it's green above that line, you bank at home be disciplined.

Whenever it's down below it's okay cuz you got, you got that reserve, man.

Ryan Eaton: I love it. That's good. Good advice. What would you say you think is the biggest financial mistake you see people make?

Sam Dogen: I think believing you deserve what you have not earned yet.

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm. That's good.

Sam Dogen: And that idea is you said, well, I deserve that fancy car or that big home.

But I don't got the money, you know?

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm. That's right.

Sam Dogen: I haven't worked the 10 years, I haven't, you know, I wanna go straight to the corner office without putting in my dues. Forget that. Right? I mean that, that, that disconnect. Between reality and expectations is gonna harm you and hurt you in life.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Sam Dogen: You need to be congruent with your expectations and the work you've put in to try to get those things that you want.

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm. Good advice. So one of the things you mentioned earlier as well, kind of stemming around that is you talked about probabilities, right? And in your book you talk about that as well, which is great advice.

You say that that you are clear to state that money alone is not your primary motivation, right? Money is only a means to an end, and you provide some feedback, kind of solid advice around connecting our financial choices and our goals. Break that down for us a little bit.

Sam Dogen: I mean, the idea is because of hedonic adaptation, we get used to how much, however much money we make, 75, 50,000, 75,000, a hundred thousand, 500,000 millions of dollars.

At the end of the day, we want a baseline level amount to keep us safe and secure. And anything else, it's kind of like gravy and you gotta find out, identify what your goals are, how much money you think will make you happy. It was interesting back in 2010, these professors from Princeton who won the Noble Prize at 75,000 was the ideal income where.

Happiness to no longer further increase. Back then I thought that was pretty low. And it's interesting to note, in 2023, they upped that to $500,000, but everybody's different because we have different cost of living, different number of children, different number of people in the household. So it's really understanding yourself, your needs, your wants, your goals, and not to, I think.

Be honest, endless treadmill for more, more, more. That's really what's gonna get you. You have got to figure out what you'll be happy with. I've met. Many, many multimillionaires, Decca millionaires, cent millionaires, and billionaires, they really don't seem happier than the rest of us. That's right. They can fly private to Hawaii, which is like a 150,000 round trip flight on private.

They can have a big mansion, but they got the same problems as everybody else. That's right. So find what you're happy with and try to not deviate too much.

Ryan Eaton: Sam, in your book you talk about. Probabilities, right? That you can't just, you know, sit on the sidelines till you get a hundred percent yes or a hundred percent no.

That you sometimes have to look at probabilities. What's the best decision to make off, based off the outcome of different things? Would you mind kind of hitting on that for a minute? Kind of how you look at things and maybe how you evaluate different probabilities so you can kind of give the, the readers and the listeners a little overview from your standpoint.

Sam Dogen: Sure. Well, the idea is to have the highest probability possible before making it to choice so you can have the best outcomes possible. And you're never gonna know exactly what the probability is. Even that probability of 70% is a probability itself. But the idea is to look at a lot of the big dilemmas in life.

And so one example I use in the book is private school or public school. If we go to private school, we know there's a hundred percent probability you're gonna spend. A small fortune from kindergarten through college, but you've gotta look at what the outcome is of your child getting a better job after attending that private college, for example.

And you can do so by looking at the historical data. On what percentage of the children or graduates get a job six months out and where do they go? Mm-hmm. And then you can look at further data that shows what is the cumulative earnings of a private school graduate versus a public school graduate over a 30 year period.

And then you can look at that number and, and compare it to the cost and make that educated decision. And so that is the way to think while knowing that you're not gonna get it right a hundred percent of the time and you shouldn't expect that. You should expect to make good calculated decisions, and even if things don't work out, you're gonna learn from your mistakes.

And let's say your child doesn't get that great job. Well, that doesn't mean they can't get that great job over time. At least we know that they have the potential. They made some friends, they've got a good education, so you're never out of it.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Sam Dogen: Until you're done.

Ryan Eaton: Look, I'm, I'm gonna ask you another question about something.

You triggered something as you were saying that from a probability standpoint. You had an article recently you wrote that said, Hey, I just went and broke. And you were talking about kind of your, your cash flow had been called on by different investments. You, you had a call and you had to put up a mm-hmm.

A lot of different cash at the time and it kind of brought your, your cash flow down or I guess not your cash flow, but your cash savings down. Yeah. What would you say is a good amount of cash for someone to keep on the side? We always hear the. You know, six to nine months of your, your income kind of set aside, what would you recommend to the average person?

Sam Dogen: I think liquidity is actually kind of overrated now, and the reason why is because thanks to technology you can get your cash within three days. Mm-hmm. Whether, and you can invest in treasury bills. Short-term CDs, cash. You know, you have to think about, I think there's this fear that uhoh, I need cash immediately, otherwise I'm gonna go bankrupt or something.

Mm-hmm. You have time to get that cash. And so in this day and age, I, I think like a month of expenses is good enough because, You can invest that cash in high yielding right. CDs or treasury bonds now. Right. So it, it actually is not good to keep too much cash now. And what I learned from my capital call crunch, so I had a cash crunch because I, I had all these capital calls from private investments.

Yep. Is that once all that cash went close to zero as possible in my bank account, I was super motivated. I couldn't believe how motivated I was. I had to figure out how to come up first with $20,000 in cash, and I did that. And then I had to figure out how to come up with $60,000 in cash because I had another surprising capital call.

I didn't expect it. And so I did everything from, you know, reviewing every single financial account I had. I, I have over like, 35. It's kind of crazy. And I was like, wow, I have, I've had cash sitting around here for the past year. I had no idea. Let me, let me pull that out or optimize it. And then I decided, you know what, maybe I should do some consulting or something or teach some tennis and make some extra cash.

So suddenly I was super motivated to make sure I didn't go in the red. I made cash and I grew my wealth. So be careful having too much cash. Also, cuz psychologically you might get lazy and you might feel, ah, I'm so. I'm just gonna kick back. So if, if you actually wanna build wealth, I would actually feel that pain a little bit, feel that be at, be at that cliff's edge regarding your cash balance.

Ryan Eaton: Well you've mentioned that several times about feeling pain and the need to, need to kind of feel that pressure. I, I like that you brought that up and you mentioned that in your book as well too, which is great. Look, we're kind of getting close to the end of our, our timeframe here. I got several kinda, I dunno if you wanna call 'em just quick questions or lightning round or whatever, but wanted to throw some of these at you.

You said that, Most of us get in debt because we want to live a lifestyle we don't yet deserve. And you brought that up again on the podcast today. What's your best tip to get outta debt?

Sam Dogen: Best tip to get outta debt. I like attacking the small debts first.

Ryan Eaton: Mm-hmm.

Sam Dogen: Cuz it's easier to pay 'em off cuz every time you pay off a single piece of debt, you, you feel like it's a good win and you build that momentum strategically.

You want to pay off your highest interest rate debt first. So maybe you do a little hybrid of both, but you wanna get that momentum going and once you commit to paying down debt, You don't want to add to any more debt, and you also want to analyze your lifestyle, your expenses, and why you got into debt because I think it's really important to, to really drill deep into inside and see if there is a.

You know, re reoccurring problem as to why you got into debt in That's right in the first place. That's, especially if that's consumer debt. If that's student debt or a mortgage debt, it's, it's different because, you know, we, we, we want a house. We need a house, and we need education.

Ryan Eaton: That's right. Is financial success more discipline or had knowledge?

Sam Dogen: I think it's more discipline. It's more grit. Discipline and believing in the power of compounding. Yep. If you do anything over a 10 year period and you stay disciplined, whether it's eating right, exercising right, saving regularly, building your business, putting out that product every single year, you're gonna find success.

When I started Financial Samura in July, 2009, I told myself, if I'm gonna start this, I'm gonna make it successful. I'm gonna make it last. So I said, I'm gonna publish three posts a week for 10 years in a row and see what happens. No excuses, right? And that's what I did. And 10 years later it was fine. It was generating a livable income stream for a family of four in San Francisco.

And I truly believe it's grit more than brains, more than intelligence. You just gotta keep. Add it. Keep going. That's right. You can't fail if you don't quit.

Ryan Eaton: That's right. How long did you think about writing by this, not that before you actually wrote it?

Sam Dogen: You know what's funny is that I looked for a literary agent back in about 2011.

Okay. I sent out 25 query letters. Nobody got back to me, so I decided, screw that. I'm gonna publish my own book. So I, I decided to publish how to Engineer Your Layoff, which is a severance negotiation ebook. And it's actually done quite well. In 2019 a literary agent from Portfolio Penguin came up to me, well, emailed me and said, Hey, would you like to write a book?

And at that time I said, no, I don't wanna write a book cuz I already wrote a book. I'm done with this whole thing. Right? It was, it is, it's a lot of work. But then when Covid hit and there were shutdowns on March 18th, 2020, I said, you know what, let me write this book because. This is kind of my screw you to covid.

And so when my grandkids ask, Hey, hey granddad, what did you do in 2020 to 2022? I could say, oh, I wrote a book. Oh, that's good. Cause I wanted to really kind of make lemonade out of a bad situation. So it was really, I thought about it for four months and I said, you know what? I'm gonna regret not writing this book because at the very least, if I pass away, I'll have some physical object that someone can read and learn from, and that that made me feel good.

Ryan Eaton: Man. I love the intentionality there. That's big. So where do you wanna retire one day?

Sam Dogen: Well, my dad's from Hawaii and every time I step off the plane at the Honolulu International Airport, my stress grows from a five or six outta 10. To like a three. And I'm not a stressed out person. I still have all my hair at 45.

Yeah. No white hairs yet. But when I go to Hawaii, it's unbelievable. You just smell the plumer flowers, the breeze in your air, and you can smell the ocean. I think that's the reason why Hawaiian's kind of live the longest in America.

Ryan Eaton: What's your favorite island over there?

Sam Dogen: I mean, my favorite island is the main island of Oahu.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah.

Sam Dogen: Because that's where I went back for my entire life. That's where I, I can go to the corner grocery store and find my secret you know, meals, my poke and all that. So that's Oahu.

Ryan Eaton: Well, look. Last question. What is your biggest financial goal that you feel like you can share on the show?

Sam Dogen: My biggest financial goal is to not go back.

To the grind of work to stay a stay-at-home parent until they're 18 years old. And it's tough because I had a promise to be a stay at-home parent for the first five years of both my children's lives. That's good. Because I. You know, they're, they're at home the most and then, then they go to school full-time, kindergarten, and so you got eight hours a day to do something.

Right. But there's a statistic that says, and I believe it completely, that 80 or 90% of the time you spend with your children will be over by the time they're 18. Mm-hmm. And so I wanted to make sure that I maximized that. 80 to the 90%. That's right. Just in case they don't turn out well and be like, oh, at least I tried my best.

That's right. Just in at least I was case don't. Yeah. Just in case they don't want to call me or visit me when I'm old or you know, at least I tried my best. That's true. Cause I don't wanna have that regret. And, and that's my biggest goal actually. Not to be lured back in by the money. Cuz it's tough here in San Francisco and like New York, there's like so much money and opportunity and I just want to step back and.

Hope that I'm not lured back in, just That's right. Just keep on writing, do my own thing and just stay free, man.

Ryan Eaton: Well, Sam, I, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you being on the show today. Excellent financial advice. You, you were better than I even expected, so thank you for being on the show.

Sam Dogen: Thank you for having me.

Ryan Eaton: And for all the listeners on Insurance Leadership Podcast, thank you for listening in today and remember a good plan today is better than a great plan months from now. Thank you very much.

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