How does the state of our mind affect the way we make money decisions? You came to the right place to find out. Keith Baker’s guest today is Jonathan DeYoe, founder and CEO of Mindful Money. Jonathan explains to Keith Baker how mindfulness creates a space between the external stimulus and your response. It’s that moment of calm you need to make the right decisions based on facts instead of emotions. When you adapt mindfulness in your finances, you start making better decisions. How can you practice mindfulness? Tune in to find out!
Mindful Money: How To Make Better Money Decisions With Jonathan DeYoe
Investing In Your Happiness
I’d like to thank you for sharing your time with me. If you’re looking for practical tips and advice on how to put the power of the banking system into your investment accounts, then you are in the right place. If you want to learn from my mistakes so that you can both avoid and profit from them, then pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink because this show is just for you. I’m dedicated to giving people like you and me the knowledge and confidence for successful and profitable private lending.
If you’re looking to join a community of private lenders then head over to the Private Lender Podcast Facebook group to connect with other private lenders and to share experiences, stories and opinions. While you’re at it, head on over to the PrivateLenderAcademy.com to learn more about the forthcoming course on private lending and click on Apply Now to register for pre-launch discounts and other goodies. I was a little skeptical when I first learned about our guest. I wasn’t sure he’d be a good fit for the show at first because I didn’t spend a whole lot of time digging too deep, but after speaking with him for a minute, I knew he had to be on the show so we booked it. I’m happy to share Jonathan DeYoe with you and hopefully introduce you to him.
As I’ve shared in previous episodes, I am on a bit of a mindfulness journey. I like to sign off wishing you mindfulness from every episode. Given that life has happened to me in the last few years, divorce, etc., I’m happy that someone has applied the mindfulness approach to money. As I look back, I wish I would have applied mindfulness years ago especially to money because at least in my case, with the relationship with my ex, money wasn’t a huge issue but it was large enough. If we both had been mindful about it, maybe things would have been different, at least on the money front. I’m not saying I’d still be married but the awareness and the understanding would have been a lot better. Such an approach can eliminate a lot of the money pains and ill feelings that couples have. Let’s go ahead and get down to the brass tacks of this episode and get straight to the interview with Jonathan DeYoe.
Lender nation, I am throwing a curveball to you because we’re not going to talk about private lending and all but we will be talking about money. Our guest has an interesting approach to money, one that I certainly want to use this platform to get out into the world and more people to learn and that is mindfulness. Early on in my practice, unfortunately, mindfulness was not court-ordered for me so I’m doing this on my own little by little. Jonathan DeYoe, welcome to the show.
I’m excited to be here, Keith.
Jonathan has nothing but good reviews on Yelp and whatnot. He is in the Berkeley, San Francisco Bay Area if you want to get in touch with him. This whole mindfulness thing, I don’t have the words but you do. This is what you do on a daily. Let’s start with your practice, your financial advising and how you bring that mindfulness element to the complete lack of financial literacy that is taught or the vacuum that is teaching financial literacy in the United States. Jonathan, the floor is yours.Mindfulness is when you create a space between the stimulus that the world gives and your response. Click To Tweet
Maybe a little background makes a lot of sense. In a brief nutshell, I’m a seminarian. I came to California to study at the Lutheran Seminary, turned Buddhist academic, turned financial advisor. The concept of mindful money comes after a long journey of self-discovery, comparative religion, philosophy, psychology and trying to figure out how people work and the decisions we make. I started in 1996 and wrote the book in 2007. After 10 or 11 years in the business, I had this semi-epiphany that it’s the decisions we make that create our problems or our successes. The question is how are you making your decisions?
If you have a space between “Oh my god,” or, “Yay,” and a decision where you can think, you can make a better decision. That’s where mindfulness comes in. It’s creating that space between the stimulus that the world gives us and our response. Mindfulness has been studied and practiced for thousands of years, specifically to resolve this issue of our over-reactivity to the stuff that’s coming at us from outside of us. It turns out in finance, there’s a lot of that. Putting those two things together became exciting and became something that I was like, “I figured out. This is my mission. This is what I want to share with the world.”
Before we got on, I sat on my stairs for a few minutes. I didn’t meditate but I started noticing my breath. I’m trying to bring it in and give some of that space. When ADD was going around and all the rage in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, my father was convinced I didn’t need any medicine. I just needed a good ass whooping. That’s all. I missed out on that boat so to speak. Had I gone down that route, my life would have been a little different in terms of disidentifying the news media, Instagram hits and all the stimuli that are coming in and molding decisions.
I sat there, trying to find that space and not try to attach to any thought, which is hard. This interview was a guided meditation for me. You talked about that space and where this is all coming from. You are a seminarian which is awesome. It’s funny because Friedrich Nietzsche was also studying to be a Lutheran minister before he went to the University of Bonn. You had a personal journey then you got to this point. You’ve been doing it for many years now. You have got to be the one lone voice in the darkness talking about mindful money. How do you convince people? How did you lead that horse to water?
I almost didn’t want to name the firm, Mindful Money. In 2001 when I started my own firm, I named it DeYoe Wealth Management until 2019. A couple of years ago, we changed the name. My book was published in 2017 and that’s when I put it all together, mindfulness with money, why that’s important and how to use those two things together. I was the only person talking about it and I thought that if I brought it out there, my peer group would say, “That’s soft. That’s silly. How can you say that? You’re full of crap,” that kind of stuff and I would feel small.
I discovered how much I’m afraid of not being believed in. I need people to trust me and to believe in me. If I don’t have that, I don’t value myself as much. That’s a deeply personal thing. I’m coming to realize some things about myself after years and years of working too hard, trying too hard and all kinds of stuff. The fear of not being accepted in my industry where this philosophy or this belief system drove me to turn away from it for years and years. Finally, I said to my team, “This is what I want to do.” I girded myself for the barbs and they’re like, “That’s what you believe. That makes a ton of sense. Let’s do this thing.”
Now we’re all together and doing this thing in the world. It’s cool. We’re not entirely alone. There are 3 or 4 books that are entitled Mindful Money. Years ago, somebody won a Nobel Prize for behavioral finance. Daniel Kahneman has a new book and I recommend this book, Noise. He used to talk about how we have all these biases and our biases are problematic. In my opinion, the benefit of mindfulness is it enables you to get over some of the biases. If you’re aware of the biases and you’re aware of your experience of the current environment, you can go, “I’m having an emotional response I don’t need to have.”
His latest book is all about noise. In our social media world, there is so much noise and there’s much overwhelm. Our amygdala doesn’t know how to deal with it. There are lions coming out of the bushes every step and we don’t know what to do with us. Our bodies and our minds are not designed for this continuous constant threat and stress so we just react. Mindfulness becomes more and more important. Because there’s an academic saying, “The benefit of an advisor isn’t stock selection or investment selection, market timing.” Planning, education and behavioral support to help you do the right thing at the right time, not do the wrong thing at any specific time, not react. Act based on a plan. Stop reacting based on markets or something somebody said on a peer set or on the water cooler or whatever. We act based on a plan. We don’t react to what the world is doing to us.
The best illustration I have in my head for that is we ran out of toilet paper for a virus for the respiratory system. Not Kleenex. It’s not for sneezing and coughing. I was at the grocery store. There was a run on toilet paper. It’s herd mentality. I was right there. I’m one of the bad people. I admit it. I’ve instituted a par system so I don’t have to worry about that. I used to work at a bar. Each bottle of liquor or each beer had a par. You always had to have ten bottles at any one time or the high-end scotch, you just had one. The cheap well vodka, you had twenty.The benefit of mindfulness is it allows you to get over biases. Click To Tweet
Being here on the Gulf Coast, we’re used to hurricanes and being without things for a while. I keep updating my hurricane list. I don’t do it just from June through November. It’s a year-round thing. When Hurricane Harvey hit, my wife at the time was like, “How can you be so calm?” I’m an insurance adjuster so I deal with risks and bad things all the time. I told her, “This is an act of God. We’ve prepared as much as we can and we’re fully insured. I confirmed all insurance premiums have been paid like flood and windstorm. We’re good. We’ve done everything that we can.” She got mad at me when I threw a party to watch the pay-per-view fight right in the middle of Harvey because I was calm. I didn’t have to react. I was prepared. It went a long way of trying to confirm. What you’re saying resonates and hits home.
This is a story that my dad told me. This is the Cold War era. He’s in the Navy. There was this guy on the plane that was always calm and he was very analytical. If there’s ever an issue, turbulence or something was happening, my dad would look at the guy and he would say, “Is he calm? If he was calm, we’re steady and we’re good.” There was this period where they were to land in Iceland but an engine blew. They’re like, “What’s going to happen? Are we going to be able to make it back? Are we going to go into the ocean?” They’re not sure what’s going to happen. They were doing reconnaissance. They were looking for submarines from the air.
That engine blows and they’re trying to get back to Iceland. He’s looking at the guy and the guy’s like, “We got this. We’re fine.” He’s calculating and figuring it out. The other engine blows and they’re like, “We have to start ditching stuff into the ocean. We have to start pushing stuff out the door so we have enough lift. We got to stay above so we can get to the coast and land this thing.” He keeps looking at the guy and the guy is calm. They pushed some things out the door and the guy is totally calm. He goes, “Now we get it. We have to lose another 300 pounds. If we can lose 300 pounds, we’re going to make it all the way.” No engines. They’re just soaring.
He keeps looking at a guy. The point of the whole story is we need the guy. In Hurricane Harvey, you were the guy. We need to have something to look at that is calm and collected because if we don’t have that, we all lose our minds if we don’t have somebody that’s like, “Wait. Back up a second. This is normal. It’s an act of God. These things happen. We prepare the best we can and we go forward.” Be the guy.
Welcome to Houston. I don’t know what to tell you. We do have good weather for about two weeks a year and it’s not humid. It’s pleasant. We get a lot of snowbirds coming down for the winter and whatnot. I don’t want to throw my parents under the bus but a little peek inside of things. On a Sunday morning, I went to my mom’s house. My dad passed away so we’re going through the stuff. I’m making sure mom’s all right. My sister lives close to her and my nephew is with her so that’s all good.
My dad had a Master’s in Chemistry and I was like, “There’s his thesis. I’d like to keep that.” That’s a trinket that I’m cool with. I’ll dust it every week. We got to this and mom started laughing. She’s like, “From 1967, here’s a certificate of completion from a financial education class.” My dad was not the best with money so we started laughing about how funny it was that he took financial education literacy class. I started thinking, “He didn’t die in debt. He was in the black. He wasn’t in the red.” I started thinking about that and I was laughing about it.
You don’t have to be good. You just have to be consistent. Having that background of money and being that middle-class aspiring like, “Do you want to be rich and famous?” “No. I want to be rich. I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want people to know I’m rich.” When it comes to being mindful with money and budgeting, I can definitely see where if you can give yourself a little bit of space and get quiet, you’re budgeting your allocation to retirement, vacation fund and all that. I would imagine once people get into that, your job is easy at that point.
The most difficult thing we have and we do this with all of our clients is we walk through the planning process. In the planning process, we remove the crazy. For example, like a Bitcoin. We remove the investment that would act like a GameStop or an options trader. We remove the expectation of the upside and the downside. We look at averages, long-term, cashflows, spending and making decisions based on things that give us higher probability outcomes. By removing the crazy, we create ground rules on how people work with money.
Whenever stress occurs, they’re like, “What is the plan you told me I’m supposed to do? I’m supposed to save this much every month, invest this way every month and rebalance on a regular basis. Keep it simple.” If you keep it simple, you end up getting the things that you want out of life. If you get sucked into the crazy, which there’s plenty of crazy to get sucked into, you lose out on the higher probabilities that you’re hoping for. You lose out on the probability of the kids going to school without debt, their retirement income you can’t outlive and the legacy you want to live behind. By going into the crazy, you lose out on the higher probability path to get where you want to go.
We talk about the plan and the meditation. You sit down and you focus on your breath. You sat in the staircase before we got on here and you focused on your breath. You’re in, out. That focuses and desensitizes you to everything’s going on around you. In personal finance, your plan is your breath. It is the thing you focus on. When all the world is going crazy, you go, “What are those four simple things I’m supposed to do?” That’s the benefit of planning. Once you have a plan in place and you have a portfolio that reflects the plan, we’re not portfolio wizards, we admit it. No one’s a portfolio wizard. Everyone is either lucky or unlucky. We are allocated and diversified.
Thank you for being the first in the industry to admit that.
There are no wizards. No one can predict the future. No one can guess what’s going to happen next but there’s still a way to build a portfolio. There’s still a way to strategize on finance. We use those ways and then we’re patient and we’re disciplined and the plan enables that. When somebody says, “What about this thing?” I say, “Let’s go look at the plan and see what the plan says about that.” Keep it simple. That’s how we get from where we are to where we want to go.
My dad showed me a video on how Post-it Notes recreated at 3M and the research scientist had 3%, 5% or whatever their annual budget was supposed to be dedicated for whatever they want. This guy wanted something to mark pages in this hymnal when he’s singing in the church choir. It’s simple things like that but I always think you should always have that gambling money. When Bitcoin does come along, it’s like, “We got the fear of missing out,” which only puts you into a state of lack and wanting and is not great. If you still want to scratch that itch, I’m a firm believer in, “Fine. Take that 0.5% or 1% of whatever you’ve allocated in your plan and know that you’re going to lose it anyway.” It’s like going to Vegas. “I’m going to take $1,000 to Vegas and piss it away. I’m coming home.” To me, that mentality is a healthy part of what we call asset allocation.When you keep it simple, you end up getting the things you want in life. Click To Tweet
Back when Steve Jobs was accepting an investment from Microsoft in the late ‘90s or early 2000s, Apple’s on the ropes. Apple is dying. They are not going to survive. They need capital. We had a couple of clients that said, “It looks like Microsoft’s going to make this investment. Apple’s got great products.” If you’re an Apple user, you are an Apple user. You’ve got the phone, the watch, computer, iPad or laptop. You’ve got accessories. Every year, they give you a new dongle to attach things together. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve got a ton of Apple products. There are lots of Apple users and I’m one of them. I’m not speaking out of school. I’m loyal. When people need a computer, I don’t think about a PC. I think about an Apple.
This guy’s like, “This is my fun money,” but he’s owned those shares through all these splits over a twenty-year period. It’s his biggest asset and that’s the one he talks about. That’s the one he’s excited about and that’s the biggest one for him. It’s his biggest holding. He was right. The funny thing is on the path, there were 4 or 5 others that went to zero. He has 1 out of 5 massive winners. It was good for him. That’s awesome. We all have some winner that we’ve done well with. For some folks, it’s a real estate purchase. Some folks, it’s stock. Some folks, it’s an oil well. You’re in Houston.
I’m not there yet but I’m working on it.
The idea is if you allocate a little piece of capital, 1% or 2%, to the big chance, fantastic. If you blow through that 2%, don’t take from the serious money to refill the 2% money. Don’t steal from Peter to pay Paul.
You got to be disciplined there. Like that Vegas money, once it’s gone, it’s gone. In my former life, I used to hand my wallet to my friends before I walk into a casino. They got to see what they referred to as the monster would come out. Chasing losses, making bad and reacting to poorly made decisions. That’s the fun of gambling. Be disciplined. Don’t sell your Microsoft or your Apple stock to go fund that addiction, that gambling side of it. I liked that a lot.
You’re going through the planning. You take us through and we get a plan. That’s the touchstone. I have core values and pillars of private lenders. When there’s a question, you go back to that touchstone to figure out, “No noise. No BS.” Principles and methods. Methods are many principles into use. Methods change but the principles never do. You go back to that. My core value number one is the return of investment. If I’m loaning $100, I want my $100 back then we’ll talk about my 10% or whatever I get from interest on it or points. Get it back then get the return on the investment.
Never trust, always verify. I’ve lost money being a private lender to a friend in the second position and I was angry as hell. The thing that helped me the most was I was the last one. The buck stopped with me. It was my decision to pull the trigger and make that loan. I can get mad at my friend all I want for cheating me out of some money. I let it happen. I allowed it to happen. For a lot of people, that’s considered radical acceptance but it helped.
The first rule of investing is to manage risk. The second rule of investing is to review rule number one. You have to manage the risk.
For example, in the real estate world, it’s almost obscene what the markets are doing. I understand California may be a little different but I’m sitting here thinking, “If enough people leave California and the prices are good, Pismo Beach, here I come.” The real estate markets are crazy. They’re crazy in Florida. Manhattan took a big hit. It’s nuts. I see people chasing risk. They want to go get 70% of ARV from a hard money lender and then another 15% from me and I’m like, “Hell no. What planet does that make any sense to? That doesn’t protect my money. That hasn’t helped me get the return of my investment back.” Everyone wants private money.
It’s funny, I went to a networking event and everyone just got their real estate agent license. Not to be rude but I’m like, “You still got your full-time corporate job and you still doing the corporate finance. Once you quit then I know you’re all in.” I never quit because my whole demographic is people who work in Corporate America and want to invest in real estate and want to do it safely. I still am a consultant now and I’m trying to get away from it but I still get my 1099. Once a month, I get a wire in the accountant and pay everything. It’s crazy. The real estate is nuts.
A friend of mine texted me and he goes, “I went all-in with $80,000 in the margin.” I said, “Who did you not use the margin on and I’ll piggyback on them?” He paid back his margin by July of 2020 and got above board. I have zero finance classes, none whatsoever but I knew intrinsically, there was nothing wrong with the American economy when COVID hit. It was panic and fear. I wish I was Mark Haines and call the bottom on CNBC but I didn’t.
It seemed like, “I had a whole bunch of money I was about to put into real estate loans.” I’m like, “What the heck? Put it all in the fangs.” Some of the other ones popped. Everyone’s a genius when the tide rises. I’m rambling on crazy markets. Do you also consult with real estate investments or other investments? If I came to you with say Bitcoin, would you touch it or say, “It’s not an investment. It’s a gamble.”
As a financial planner. As an investor, I’ve invested in everything. I’ve done oil wells, real estate, lending and lots of different stuff. My favorite two things are our global equities and then on the side because I love business people and love people to take risks, I do a little bit of Angel investing as well. In my personal portfolio, the way I invest is equities broadly diversified. That being said, planning includes everything. I look at real estate cashflows for people that have huge real estate portfolios. I look at personal businesses, one-person shops and their inflow and outflow. I help them figure out marketing strategy, cashflow analysis and all that stuff.
Bitcoin is an interesting question because it’s not an investment. It’s a currency. It’s a speculative potential investment. It could go to $1 million or it could go to $0. I can make a case both ways. I’m not advising clients to buy it or sell it. I’m just saying, “If you’re going to do it, there are some ways to do it. You want to manage risk and manage expectation.” There has been a lot of attention paid to it. They’ve been a lot of courses, classes and online stuff from people in the industry talking about it.
After it hit $19,000 in 2019, the first time it jumped up, I said to myself, “If it drops back to $3,500, I’m a buyer.” Remember, it didn’t get to $3,500. It dropped to $4,000. I wasn’t in for that huge run-up to $50,000. I missed it by $500 but that’s okay. That’s my discipline. I have a buy price that makes sense and there’s always another thing. Before Bitcoin was huge, oil went $200 a barrel so Exxon and Chevron. Before that, it was a whole bunch of dot-com things that were crazy, silly on the upside. There are other things before that. Real estate in the mid-‘90s and real estate and in ’07 and ’08.
There’s always something that everyone is excited about. The discipline and mindfulness is to recognize, “It’s because a whole bunch of people are talking about it and it’s exciting doesn’t mean it’s a great investment.” Stay diversified, stay asset allocated and have a percent in crazy. Always be open a little bit of crazy but realize the bulk of your long-term lifetime returns isn’t going to come from one great trade. It’s going to come from consistent, plan-appropriate, asset allocation, diversification and then rebalancing. That’s how you manage wealth. That’s how you manage long-term intergenerational wealth.Figure out a way to make your dreams happen. Click To Tweet
You touched on it right there. Not to sound like my father but in this era of instant gratification, it’s hard. My kids do well with money for the most part. I’m working on a few things. I’m not going to leave my kids money. Have you ever seen the movie Brewster’s Millions with Richard Pryor?
Yeah. We’re the same generation.
Atari and Nintendo. Richard Pryor finds out he had a rich uncle they didn’t know about and he’s got to spend $30 million and can’t keep any of it or invest. If he can spend $30 million then he inherits $300 million. I am definitely tying incentives to whatever I leave behind for my children. I’m planning on doing a trust to have all this setup. Before my kids even get married or partner up, this is all laid out. They make a decision like, “Instead of paying for a big wedding, let’s do something small and put the down payment on our starter home.” That’s a point to the positive. Show some delayed gratification and upscale or move up, school districts aside, these things.
Show that you’re deliberate and mindful about your money. That’s what I want to put those steps in place so that when I’m gone, if they don’t get the money, it’s on them. They got to look at themselves and say, “I didn’t follow the simple instructions from dad.” I’ve seen in my family windfall events. I’ve inherited $26,000 when my uncle passed away and I promptly went to Europe. It’s the greatest education I could have ever bought myself. I don’t regret going. I could have put a little more back and started that nest egg a little bigger.
My allocation was flawed but I don’t regret that. I had the money. It’s here and I’m like, “I got to pay tuition. I can stay another semester in college.” I suddenly have this money and then one day, I broke my CD player. A CD player is a little disc that played music back in the day. I go and there’s no more money. I learned that from my inheritance from my uncle. Here I am thinking that I’m wise and above all of this. No, I bought toilet paper, too in 2020 when everyone was freaking out. Having that plan, I like that. That’s my plan for the future.
I had to go through this lesson of learning how not to trade as well. There’s a whole industry. It’s built up. There’s Robinhood, the trading app. There are instant gratification finance crew is huge. If you’re trading on those kinds of apps, you’re the product. If you don’t realize that you’re the product then you’re going to get stung by this system. The interesting thing is they’re learning how to trade and they’re learning how to invest. Every loss is a lesson. If they buy GameStop when it hits the $400 mark and it goes to $200, that’s a fantastic lesson. If they did it on a margin, it’s probably an even better lesson. It hurts more. That’s where we have the best lessons.
When I started in this industry, I bought my first stock when I was nine years old. I traded a couple of stocks when I was in middle school and high school. I never made a lot of money and never did anything great with it but I was interested in the markets and things. When I started in the industry, I was like, “I’m smarter than your average bear. I am going to trade options.” I had massive positions in options in the late ‘90s, dot-com boom. I thought I was a genius. I lost my ass on many occasions. I made some, lost some. It’s exciting. I didn’t build any wealth though. I didn’t have a diversified portfolio that was also on the side. It was just growing. Adding a couple of pieces of real estate was nice. Those helped me out.
Every generation learns its lessons. Every generation learns how to invest. It was interesting. You learned a lesson. You took the $26,000. Now, I’m doing the same thing. I made the mistakes and I’m trying to teach my kids the mistakes rather than let them make mistakes. I’m trying to say, “Do this. Don’t do that,” but they don’t learn that way. They got to get the $26,000 inheritance, blow it and then not have money for tuition. That’s how you learn the lesson. We’re all going to learn these lessons eventually.
All I can say is thank God for the Pell Grant. It came in real handy when I ran out of money and I’d already been cut off by my parents at that point. I like to bend a quote from Better Off Dead. It took me eight years to get my bachelor’s degree. I’m no dummy. I’m well-educated. I’ve got over 200 hours. Unfortunately, I only have a BA. I should have a PhD and a Master’s with that but I don’t. Anyhow, that’s another story for another day. You bought your first stock at nine years old. What was it?
It was a bank system. This was in 1980. This is before the S&L crisis. I bought a bank in the middle of the first S&L crisis. I lost every penny on that one.
I was doing an interview and we talked about the S&L crisis. I brought up the S&L crisis, savings and loan, which was ugly in the ‘80s. That’s horrible. You bought your first stock and I’m sure everyone’s like, “Buy financial. Bank stocks are all the rage.”
What’s the risk? What could go wrong?
You traded early on. That is not your average kid. Trading baseball cards maybe but stocks?
I never got into baseball cards. I never got one of those statistics kinds of things. The part of the story that we left off, in the beginning, is I’m in the middle of pestering my parents to get their social security statements to know what the income was like. I don’t know what we make because I was a kid. When I was about 14 or 15, my dad showed me our tax returns one year and we made $8,000 in a year. We lived a family of four on $8,000. This is 1985. $8,000 is not enough for a family of four. It is below the poverty line at that point. I don’t really know. I’m trying to figure that out.
The reason I’m saying all this is I was deeply interested in security and becoming financially successful because I had no concept of what that meant. I had no experience with it. My dad had a business and a bunch of partners that went under when I was about three years old. He ran a bunch of different things that didn’t work out. When I was fifteen, he had his first real income. In the meantime, after I got out of preschool, my mom started a preschool. That kept us in food for a number of years but I didn’t have anything growing up. I got to see my friends, take ski trips and do things. If I wanted to go to that soccer tournament, I had to make money. I had to figure out a way to make it happen. I never had a Nintendo but if I wanted a new Atari game, I had to find money to do that.
I worked full-time summers when I was twelve. I worked full-time school year when I was fourteen. I’ve worked ever since. In order to have, I had to create, build, work, save and invest. I was interested in the stock market as a tool for building wealth when I was young. I took that detour because finance was so boring. By the time I got to college, I took the detour into philosophy and religious studies and became a seminary and ended all that. I wanted badly because I didn’t have. It’s interesting because now I have. My kids want for nothing and I’m breaking them. I’m hurting them by giving them too much now. If I look backward 50 years or so from now, I’ll know a lot more. If I have a fear, that’s my big fear. My fear is I’ve given them too much.
How do you look at one generation and say, “How dare you give us better than what you have?” That’s what we do. I have a similar background. I remember sitting in line to get gas in the ‘70s with my mom. I can’t remember the model but it’s a huge Cadillac. When my grandfather passed, my dad got it. It was so long ago that my dad cut 2x4s plywood and made the flat seat upholstered and put me in my sister in the back with no seatbelts. We drove from Houston to Oklahoma. I do also remember the early ‘80s when I get up, leave for school and dad is on the couch. I came home from school and dad was on the couch and the bottom fell out of oil.
My dad had to take a job as a headhunter. He was trying to get other people jobs to have some income because he was an oilfield chemist until that part of the upstream cycle came back around. Our vacations were going to grandma’s house or every now and again we would go to say SeaWorld in San Antonio or we do a weekend thing. My friends would go for two weeks. Maybe they go back home to Ohio to see grandma and grandpa but it was the same way.
My dad gave me a good work ethic because I’d say, “Dad, there’s a baseball card show coming up.” I bought the 1987 Fleer. I was in baseball cards for one year. My dad was like, “You want some money to go to the card show?” I’m like, “Yeah. I’m going to get Pete Rose’s autograph.” I know he gambled on baseball. He was like, “Go earn the money.” Once a week, he would wake me up before sun up. We’d put the lawnmower, weed eater and extension cord in the trunk of his car. He drives about a mile down the road. This lady in a Sunday school class was a single mom and I made $5 for cutting her grass and not have to push everything back.Our best lessons are the things we do wrong. Click To Tweet
I’d see my friends go on to swim practice or whatever and then I am on the street embarrassed. Before my dad passed, I thanked him. I said, “Thank you for being a hardass. I hated you. I cursed your name all the way down Greenway Drive. It’s a mile long but because of that, my kids aren’t going to see me sitting on the couch. I’ll diversify. I’ll be an insurance adjuster. I’ll paint houses if I have to.” Oddly enough, my mom’s parents and my dad’s grandparents both owned grocery stores. The entrepreneur is there in the family. The business owner is there. My parents being born in the depression, the late 30s, education was everything. Come hell or high water, you get educated and go make money. Out of that, they put us up in the suburbs of Houston. Now I’m a detriment to my kids because everything is at their fingertips. It’s all right here. My kids haven’t had to lift a finger for crap.
I have a photo of my son at ten years old. I worry that I give him too much but then I remember he’s ten years old and he’s doing his own laundry. He does work and he does do stuff. He’s had a job for 1 or 1.5 years and he works at a local deli. Before he worked at the deli, he opened and closed the neighborhood pool. He’d get up in the morning, go over before school, sweep the deck, empty the garbage, open the umbrellas and uncover the pool. At night, he’d go over, sweep the deck, empty the garbage, cover the pool and close the umbrellas. My daughter does that now and she does that maybe three weeks out of the summer because there are about ten kids that share the job. It’s not that they don’t work at all. It just seems like we do give them way more than we got. I remember I wanted to have jeans without patches on the knees. I wanted to have jeans that weren’t used before I wore them.
You didn’t want Toughskins.
That’s what we got.
You have Toughskins with the patches. That’s how bad you are on the bicycle.
They don’t have to worry about that but we still make them work. They do their chores and every second of all that work, they’re complaining. They’re like, “None of my friends have to do this. I can’t believe I have to do this.” My son has turned a corner where he’s like, “I like going to work.” I’m like, “Do you want to go to this camp this summer?” He’s like, “I need to work this summer,” so that’s cool. I’m excited about that. I’m proud of him for that.
That’s big. That’s good. Maybe you’re doing something right. At the end of the day, we learned by watching more than anything else. Telling your kids your mistakes, “This is where I messed up,” there’s a benefit to it. I know I’ve talked ad nauseam to my kids about mistakes here and there. I was like, “It’s a mistake. You move on.” Until they go to the ATM and it has no money, that’s a powerful moment in a person’s life when it’s like, “That’s that pucker.” It’s hard for your kid to see that.
There are many reasons why I’m divorced but one of them was my attitude towards my kids getting hurt. I’ll give you a prime example. When my kids were little, I was cooking dinner and had some pots on the stove and everything. One of the handles was kicked out a little far and I was like, “Turn it to the back,” or whatever. I was in the middle of something. I was watching the kid and she was fine. She’s like, “Are you going to do it?” I was like, “If she touches the pot, she’ll only do it once.”
That’s the lesson my dad taught me too. You might touch it but you only do it one time.
My dad was like, “Don’t get mangled, maimed or dead.” There was that limit. I’m going to let my kid get hurt up to a certain limit.
We have to. We take too good care of them. We have to let them make mistakes. That’s how they learn lessons. Our best lessons are stuff that we do wrong.
About 200 years ago, the average life expectancy was maybe 40 years of age. You had to get your thing together quickly to live out there. This is going to sound bad but compared to what I grew up with, the word or the phrase was like, “How are you feeling?” That doesn’t happen. It’s like, “What did you do to survive or win?” Me being a workaholic, I try to weave in the schedule with the kids. I’m hoping that my example rubs off. I told my oldest when she was fourteen, “In a couple of years, you can work. Your makeup and your Spotify subscription can be paid for out of your own pocket.” If I’m not paying for it, I have no say. It’s the way I look at it. If I do pay for the phone, I control the phone.
That’s kryptonite for the kids.
Let me ask you this. What does that mindful space look when you are saying, “Maybe I’m doing too much for the kids?” For me, I always call it the fear motor. There’s a certain frequency in my chest that’s my anxiety and my fear. When I think about doing too much for my kids, there’s a little bit from the chest but I haven’t been able to put my finger on the other emotion. When you’re sitting back, being mindful about your children, what’s coming in for you? When you disidentify and pull away from it, what would you tell yourself if you were counseling yourself on, “I’m giving my kids too much.”
I referenced it a little bit. The first thing I have to do is I have to remember that their world is way different than my world was. They’re going to have unique circumstances and unique lessons that they get to learn. They are way smarter than I am in terms of their academic learning. It’s far more advanced than mine was at their age. They’re learning different things a lot more quickly. Their social world is completely different than mine. The internet didn’t exist when I was a kid. Cell phones? Forget it. No one even dreamt of that yet.
It’s a totally different world and there are lessons that they have to learn that I never even had to think about. What I do is I go, “What are the things I want to give them? What are the lessons I want them to learn that are important that I think are timeless?” You’ve already touched on one, it’s that work ethic. It’s the idea that nothing is to you. Whatever your outcomes are, sure, you start off with a situation, you have conditions to your life. You were raised in a certain location, you were raised around certain kinds of people. There are conditions and those conditions include things race, gender, financial capacity and all that stuff. You have conditions but outside those conditions, everything else is a choice. Everything else is a decision you make.
A decision not to work means you don’t get to do some stuff that you want to do. A decision to work means you can do some of those things that you want to do. A decision to try this drug at this age leads to other potential problems. I try to just make sure that they understand that life is a whole series of these trade-offs and to be aware of the trade-offs. If they understand that, I have to trust that they’re going to make the decisions that are the right ones for them.
We’re past the formative years. I’m trying to be a cheerleader for anything that they want to do. I try to be there to support, be there to be the rah-rah guy and say, “That’s fantastic.” If I ever say things like, “Did you think about this instead?” They get upset by that. They hear it but it’s deeply upsetting because I’m questioning their ability to make decisions, which is my job a little bit but I’m trying to do less of that. I’m trying to be more aware of the 2 or 3 simple lessons I want them to learn and be rah-rah about all the things that they want to accomplish in your life. Be excited and happy for them. Always be there and ask the question, “How are you feeling? Tell me what’s going on in your world and let me know if I can help at all.”
Going through the divorce, I saw a certain look at my youngest in her eyes. My ex was scolding her. A little background, my youngest, it’s her world. We were just allowed in it. She walks between the raindrops. She got a lot of her daddy in her. She was getting scolded or whatever but I saw a moment where it was the weirdest thing. I could see my mother-in-law in my wife at the time and I don’t know what exactly my youngest was feeling but the look in her eyes, I had the same one. By the grace of God or whatever, I was like, “Let’s stop.”
I am high strong. I have two emotions, happy and pissed off as hell. That’s what I grew up with. That’s what I oscillate between. For some reason, I stood in there, my wife was like, “Thank you.” She could feel it coming on and then immediately we got the little one and we said, “Do you want to go to a therapist?” I researched and found a girl who just got out of college and was in her apprenticeship for counseling therapy. It’s the best decision I and the ex ever made for that kid. She can come back and talk to me now. If I get pissed, my wife would say, “We can come back and talk about this later.” I’d say, “Whatever,” to get out of the situation. My little one will come back and talk about it now which is new to me. It’s a great little space and we can work there.
I’m no child psychologist but the transition from being the guy always making comments and always making suggestions to being excited for them and happy for them. “Good decision. Good thinking. Here are the options. Here’s stuff. Here are ways to think about it.” What that transition does is it enables them to come to you. You’re there to help them. Remove judgment. That’s the definition of mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness. If you can be calm and settled and let them live their lives and they’re driven by their amygdala. Their frontal lobes aren’t even developed yet. Their amygdala is driving all their decisions but you’re just there. You’re that calm center. You’re the guy on the plane. You’re the guy that you look to the guy that’s calm, that’s figure this out and steady. You need to be that guy for them and that’s who I try to be.
It also reminds me, I go to a lot of chemical plants and refineries. There’s always a safety orientation when you go in but you have to go through it, it’s mandatory. They say, “Did you go through the orientation?” I said, “I’m going to make this simple. I’m going to wear my hard hat, keep all my PPE on. If you walk, I walk. If you run, I run with you. It’s simple. If there’s any alarms or anything, I’m looking to you.” Maybe we go to a muster point and wait to get counted and cleared or maybe we get the hell out of there, whatever the case may be.
Are you familiar with Cheri Huber? The book I’m reading, Be the Person You Want to Find. She’s a Zen student/teacher for over 30 years. She founded all this stuff. I find my days are so much better if I read ten pages. She’s got twenty books. It takes five minutes. It’s written so a child can read it. No chapters, all stream of consciousness. It talks about identities. It talks about conditioning. When I got into my mindful practice, what I hated the most, I was cringing at things because I realized that’s not me, that’s my dad saying that or that’s my mom’s fear. It’s not me. Here I am putting it right back down to the next generation. I went to my third yoga class so I’m all on board. Now, I’m happy but I do surrender yoga. It’s not very active. It doesn’t hurt. It helps. If I get nothing else, if I can just have that space with the kids, it’ll be alright. As long as they can come back, I’m not judging them. I’m trying to remove that conditioning from me to them.
To me, this is obvious. To them, it’s not obvious at all. I find myself stating, “It’s your decision. I’m just here to try to help. It looks like you needed help. If I say anything that you don’t want to listen to, it’s your decision. This is for you to decide and choose what you’re going to do. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff and so I might have an idea that would be valuable. If you don’t find value in it, that’s okay. You’re on your path. I’m here to support you. I love you. I want the best for you. If you believe that, we’re in great pages together. This is perfect.”Ask your children what's going on in their world and let them know if they can help at all. Click To Tweet
You’re not real. You’re a hologram. No parent I know says that. That is awesome. Certainly, where I grew up that was not heard. You’re definitely the 21st century. My dad used to tell me, “The world needs ditch diggers, too. I’m going to try to help you become successful and do what you want to do.” My parents pushed education coming out of the depression. My dad mostly would talk to me about it and say, “Go study what you want to study. Go find something that grabs you, that it’s not work.”
I did, I came home, I was all excited and said, “I’m going to major in philosophy.” Dad’s like, “I was thinking more along the lines of you can make money with, maybe accounting, mathematics, biology or chemistry.” When I came home and said I was going to double major in German, I remember my mom was like, “Why?” I did a study in Germany, my favorite philosopher at the time was Friedrich Nietzsche, who went to the University of Bonn for a while. My study abroad was in Bonn. In the big garden in front of the university, there’s the big yellow house.
One day, trying to find a soccer game or hash, depending on what day it was, I found three German philosophy students. I sat down and was like, “What are you doing here?” I came up, I was like, “I took German because I want to read Nietzsche in his native language and mother tongue.” I’ll never forget it. This guy pulls into his rucksack. He pulls out a Nietzsche book in English, he goes, “Read them in English, it’s much easier.”
That’s awesome. That’s a great story.
$4,000 for a study abroad and German students are reading them in English.
That’s not pure. Still, maybe they’re right. I don’t know.
The problem with Nietzsche is he loved using ambiguous words. If you looked at the colloquial definition versus a more scientific or ancient definition, a lot of native speakers are still scratching. When you put it into English like anything that’s translated, there are assumptions made by that translator or that interpreter. Long story short, I read about half of one of Nietzsche’s books before I went back to the English and it was much easier. Jonathan, how can people get ahold of you? Thank you so much for this. It means a lot to me. It’s been beneficial to me. I know the audience will get something from it.
The best place to go is the website. It’s Mindful.money. That’s the launch point for all your social media. There’s a Contact Us page there. You can see the courses. You can see the Wealth Management services, it’s all there and it all starts there. The place that people want to connect, LinkedIn and Twitter are the two places I hang out the most.
I’m glad to hear that. I’m glad to see Twitter still hanging on with our generation.
I stopped using it for some years, I just came back to it which means for the vast majority of the time it’s been alive, I have not been a user but I was a user early on. I’m a user again. It’s a great way to choose what you listen to, choose what you comment on. You have to be aware and choose wisely.
I couldn’t agree more. Don’t be a troll. It’s Mindful.money. I love the money extension. That’s cool. Jonathan, thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun for me, which means I’m sure it’s verbal diarrhea for the reader. I do appreciate you coming on. Taking your approach to money and discussing your kids and stuff. It’s personal. This has been great. Thank you for being present and being mindful.
Thanks for not sticking to a list of questions and just having a conversation. It was great. I appreciate it, Keith.
There you have it. I’d like to thank Jonathan DeYoe for stopping by and discussing how he helps manage and invest his clients’ money by utilizing mindfulness. Please do look at what Jonathan can offer you and reach out to him to learn more. That’s going to do it for Episode 134. Speaking of episodes, I don’t charge money for this show but there is a cost to produce it. I would be extremely grateful if you would help me get the word out and increase awareness by leaving me an honest rating and review over at Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or whatever platform you’re using to hear my voice.
It would mean the world to me if you could take the time and leave an honest rating and review over at iTunes because that’ll generate more buzz for the show. It’ll help you to erase a lot of negative karma and you know, you have negative karma. Don’t forget to join the Private Lender Podcast Facebook group. You can simply search Private Lender Podcast in Facebook groups. You can go to PrivateLenderAcademy.com to put the power of the banking industry into your investment account. That’s going to do it. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your time. In addition, mindfulness and self-awareness, I wish you safe and successful private lending. I’ll catch you on the next episode.
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About Jonathan DeYoe
I started as a Financial Advisor in a Wall Street firm in 1996 – right out of graduate school. Within a few years, I knew I needed a more independent platform to meet clients’ diverse planning needs. I started DeYoe Wealth Management in 2001 to simplify personal finance and help busy people live meaningful lives. Our dedication to first class service, the commitment to evidence-based investing, and a client first philosophy have placed our firm in a category by itself.
Financial planning is not about money and the real benefits of financial planning are not financial. At its best, financial planning is about building futures, protecting families, creating legacies and encouraging clients to pursue their passions. I do my best work in the place where Love and Money overlap.
Investment success is determined more by our choices than by market and economic data. When you experience working with my team on your own financial plan, you will see how incredibly freeing this realization can be. We have created a comprehensive ecosystem of advice to simplify decisions, reduce anxiety and empower clients to stay true to both their life-purpose and the financial plan that we have designed together.
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