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#308 Lacey Filipich – Transcript

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Jess Brady
Hello, Lacey.

Lacey Filipich
Hi, Jess, how are you?

Jess Brady
Very good. I am so excited for today’s conversation. I’ve made lots of notes. I’m like itching to ask you really specific questions. But I think before we jump into them, because it will make no sense without context. For everyone that has never heard of you and your story, I think it’s very important that we go back and learn a bit more about you Lacey, and how you have arrived where you are now.

Lacey Filipich
Yes. Thanks for having me. Jess, I’m delighted to be here. And agreed, I probably do need to give some context because I might be one of the few people who on your show who is not an advisor or a finance professional. So very important to give that information upfront. I’m actually a chemical engineer. And How on earth does a chemical engineer end up in money? Yes, that’s a very interesting story. Well, of course, I would think it’s interesting, that sort of self selecting there, isn’t it?

Jess Brady
It was interesting. Oh, interesting.

Lacey Filipich
Oh, thank you. Well, we’ll see well let the listeners be the judge after they’ve heard the story. So I started out loving maths and science at school, but also loving economics. And I had a tough choice to make when I was graduating from year 12, in Brisbane. And that was, did I want to go into business and commerce? Or did I want to go into something like engineering, and I chose engineering, because I love problem solving, which I think now that I’ve done engineering and done some money stuff, problem solving is actually a common factor for financial advisors to write. It’s not dissimilar. But I was just very lucky that I happened to pick chemical engineering because it does suit me to a tee. And as a chemical engineer, and chemical engineers, you find wherever you take a raw material and convert it to a final product. So we’re very popular in oil and gas and in mining, but you’ll also find us in water treatment and in all sorts of beverages like wine and beer and distilleries were all over the place. And it’s a wonderful career. I absolutely loved it. And while I was studying and then starting work as an engineer in the mining industry, after working in Kalgoorlie, I moved from Brisbane to Calgary 4000 kilometers when I was 21, the red light district of Australia, as I later learned, very interesting place after having grown up a very sheltered childhood in Brisbane. I was, yeah, it was an it was an education all unto itself. I had been saving since I was 10 years old, I’ve saved half of every dollar I’ve ever and I still do that 30 years later. And in my second year of university, I bought my first property. And I bought that one, it was a little tiny to buy one apartment to live in, and all of my professors, tutors and my colleagues at uni thought I was insane. What was I doing buying a property at 19. But that was the beginning of me starting to invest really proactively. And I kept investing again in property and then moving into shares. And of course, being an engineer, you get a very good wage, and I’m very cheap to run. So I was able to amass quite a lot of wealth in my 20s, making the most of the mining boom that I had graduated into Lucky me. Excellent timing on my part. I wish I could claim that was by design. But just luck right? Out of that, of course, I was getting to a point in my career, which happens to a lot of people in their 20s where they have these crises. And I had a few crises happen to me in quick succession. It made me think about redesigning my life. And I started taking mini retirements, which meant that I would work about half the year and I’d spend the other half doing what I felt like. And my friends started asking me how come you don’t have to work full time? How come? You can just have these leisurely holidays where you do whatever the heck you feel like doing? And I was like, Well, you know, my shares are paying me dividends and my properties are paying me rent. And I’ve saved up a big wad of cash to get me through this period. What have you been doing? And they’d all been getting credit cards and car loans. And most of them didn’t have savings and hadn’t thought about investing. And I think that was the point at which I went, Ah, so not everybody gets taught this stuff. I hadn’t really thought about it much. You just sort of think that what you have happens to everybody, don’t you, you know that your parents will teach you the same way. It’s like it’s a parenting manual. Now that I’m a parent, I realized there was no manual, there is no instructions. There’s just you making it up as you go along. And I’ve just been really lucky, really, really lucky. I talked about winning the ovarian lottery with my mother who was an accountant. And she taught me about money. And I had picked up on those lessons and loved them. My dad had also taught me I love him dearly, but he taught me through going bankrupt. So I saw what not to do.

So that was the point at which I was like This is unfair, like I’ve had an unfair advantage over people because I’ve learned this stuff in my youth. I really think everybody else should learn about it. And that was in 2010 that I started money school. So it was specifically at that point to teach parents how to teach their kids about money. That was my first model. I was like, Well, I’m gonna take everything that my mom taught me. And I’m going to show parents how to do that with their kids. And it was a year before it got put into the curriculum at school. So when that happened, I thought Oh, well that’s gonna solve the problem. They’re gonna put in the curriculum and it will be sorted. Here we are 12 years later, not fixed yet not fixed yet, we still have not cracked that nut. So I find myself now these days, teaching people from all walks of life about money. I teach people of all ages, because of course, what happened was teaching all these parents how to teach their kids about money. And then all these 40 year old women with no kids started coming to me saying that’s lovely, lazy, but can you just teach me I didn’t learn. And they’d all had that crisis moment that we see happening in our 40s, where we look at our superannuation balance and go, Oh, my gosh, that’s not enough. How am I going to live when I can’t work, and so, so now, yeah, I teach a broad range of people, I teach kids directly, but through an enterprise experience, I make them start their own business. And then I teach them the domain. It’s like a covert financial capability program. We’ve got a book with Penguin, which is very exciting. It was lovely to be commissioned by them. That was a nice surprise. And I’ve got a TED talk in which I talk about financial independence and the mini retirements that I mentioned earlier. So that’s kind of what I do with my days, talk about money, try to make it a little bit less scary for people and encourage them to choose their own adventure.

Jess Brady
Hence why you’re here, this sidings, so exciting. Because, you know, for me, I see I work predominantly with 25 to 45 year olds. So I would argue a demographic that financial advisors often haven’t or haven’t wanted to work with, because they haven’t had an I’m using inverted commas enough money. And can I just say 99.9% of them want a situation where they could work for six months, and sort of do these mini retirements and have purposeful, what I call non traditional retirements, which we’re going to talk about. So I am delighted to be able to learn from someone who’s actually done it because I haven’t, although I am about to take a three month break. So I think I’m about to embark on my first mini retirement, which you will be proud of that I can practice Yes, so that I can practice what I preach, because I think it is quite important. If you’re going to help people to do these things, you got to do them. But you’ve just talked about so many things that have piqued my interest, I’d like to just pause on a few of them if we might if we may and sort of unpick them. So you had been taught from an extremely young age, good money behavior. Can we talk a little bit about that? So mum didn’t force you to save 50%? But how did? How did it come about that you were saving half of whatever you’re given? And how did you get money? Actually, were you required to work for it? Did you just get pocket money? How were those behaviors instilled from an early age in your house?

Lacey Filipich
Well, I think the overriding sense that I can give people when because I speak to a lot of parents now who really want to do what my mom did. And they asked for a recipe. Now my I wouldn’t say that I have a recipe, but what worked with me really well for my mother. And I do think it works well with most kids, because you can tailor it is rather than lecturing, just planting a few little seeds. So not this, I’m going to sit you down today we’re going to learn about saving Jess, and I’m going to teach you about compounding and here we go buckling for an hour. And we’re gonna look at graphs. You know, I can’t think of any, anything less interesting, little tiny seeds, or what worked and, and specifically asking questions as well. So what actually happened was I had my parents split up when I was eight. And my mom was a single mom, and my dad didn’t pay much child support. I love him. But he ran his own business and he spent a lot of money. And he didn’t pay regular child support. He still did contribute, but it wasn’t reliable. So my mom was earning, you know, sub 30 grand a year supporting two girls and working. And so it wasn’t that I knew that I didn’t really know that we were poor, but we were quite poor. And I never noticed because I always felt safe and loved. You know, I’m one of the very lucky ones who who never felt unsafe. I never had housing insecurity. Never had food insecurity. So although I had that experience, and I remember listening to the podcast you did with Jenny Roth Wallace, where she mentioned, you know, find a single mum best budget is in the world. That was my mum. Yeah. And so I was very conscious of money. And we could earn money through chores. And we did start off with a fixed you know, a certain amount of week and I got the ironing like the worst job in the world. I hate ironing, as my sort of division of labor.

Jess Brady
I hate it. Yeah,

Lacey Filipich
I don’t either. I my clothing purchases are predicated on the idea of this must not require ironing, that it is a thing, I think, but you know, it was an important way to contribute to the household. But what had happened was I was so interested in money. And I was learning about budgeting and last couple years from eight to 10 that I wanted to get hair wraps. Now this will really date me but hey, rats where you used to like get a bit of hair and they’d wrap cotton around it and and it will stay in your hand for like a month, you know, like said awesome patterns and beats. And I want to go get that done. And I went to the Southbank markets in Brisbane, and they were charging $1 an inch and I was watching the personas, I can do that. And I taught myself how to do it. And so I started charging 50 cents an inch instead of $1 an inch. And before I knew it, I had this little business, I had five of my friends employed, we were running a store, and he was doing really well. Okay, so that was, you know, like a kid printer, we would call that experience my first kid printer experience of running a business when I was 10. And we were in the car going to the first official big market, and me and my five friends were setting up a store. And it was going to be a big day. And it was very exciting. And my mum driving the car just said to me, what are you gonna do with the money you make? And I was like, Ah, I’ll buy something, maybe some lollies. And then she said the line that got me saving, which was Did you know that when you put your money in the bank, the bank will give you more money for that money. That’s what she was like, oh, yeah, it’s called interest. The bank takes your money. And of course, back then we’re talking about like, early 90s. Right? 10% interest rates. So very attractive, compared to maybe 3%. You might get if you’re a child at the moment, if you’re really lucky. And it’s probably more like one or 2% Anyway, but she was like, Oh, you put that money in the bank. And then the bank gives you money to say thank you for putting your money in the bank. And then next year, you earn more money on the money they gave you. And that’s called compounding. What what? Excuse me? How does? Wow, why? And so like, I started asking questions. And she started explaining to me about how banks need that money to be able to create other money for people, you know, capital adequacy laws, basically, which I didn’t learn the name of for another 25 years. But that’s what she was explaining to me. And, and that was how she got me thinking about compound interest. And so my eyes just went, I was like, That is amazing. We will try with $300 and 150 of it went straight into saving. And that was it. Every birthday, every pocket money. Every time I earned anything. And I was like committed to working I started working part time, as soon as I was legally allowed 13 years or nine months. And before that I’d done everything you could do like babysitting, and paper rounds, and all that kind of stuff. But I never worked less than 12 hours a week during high school and into uni, every holidays, I’d work 30 hours a week I did before and after school care and vacation care, and I coached gymnastics, and they were all really well paid jobs. As I was sucking away savings, still spending half of it still having a great time. But because my friends were out at MCAS, earning $5.60 An hour and I was coaching artistic gymnastics, with a professional qualification at $15 an hour, I didn’t have to work as hard as them to make as much money and I still was able to save. So there was a bit of a lesson in there for me about being able to find higher paid work, like not just going I’ll take the MCAS job, you know, it took me a lot longer to get the gymnastics qualification, but the payoff was so much better. Yeah, all that sort of stuff happened. And it was all these little conversations, my mum would just plant these seeds. They were never big lectures. And so when I went to buy that first property was the same thing. I had this, you know, chunk of savings, and I was all excited. I was gonna go buy a nice car, all my friends were driving hideous, ugly old cars. And I was like, Man, I can get like an $8,000 car. Look at me go 19 years old, my mum went that could be part of the deposit on a property Lacey. I was like what Hold on, you know, same thing again, just one little line. You know, it wasn’t a lecture. It wasn’t anything like, Hey, you should do this. Hey, it would be a great idea. If you did this just a question or a comment. And enough for me to go. What? Now my sister was totally different from me, she had very different attitude to money. So my mom didn’t use the same strategy with her. But it always started with questions or single comments, never with lectures and never with instructions about this is what you should do. It was always about reasoning and trying to find the thing that piqued our interest. So I know that’s a very long explanation. But I take that time because I think parents need to understand you don’t have to lecture. You don’t have to have the answers. You’re better off letting your child guide you a little bit and being prepared to respond. And trying to trigger that interest in their mind and finding what is that interest for them. Because every kid is different.

Jess Brady
You say this through the lens of a parent and a child. But I want you to know, it is most definitely interchangeable between a financial advisor and the people that they work with. Because we spend a lot of time telling people what to do instead of making those small, very impactful comments that help people sit with the problem and go, Is this really what I want to do? And so I’m giggling because I don’t have children. Because I think to myself, Oh, this wouldn’t just work with a child. This would work with all of us. And you know, when I was listening, I was listening to your story. And I thought, I wonder how different her life would be if she bought the car. And not only if she wanted, but if she bought the car and she got a car loan to buy the car. I really feel like that was such a pivotal moment that sort of helped dictate where you went and what the foundation really looked like for you because as you say your friends ended up in the very north I’m all because we have completely normalized debt on depreciating assets. And we don’t have enough time in the day to talk about why that’s a problem. And they’ve set themselves on a path where debt becomes normal credit cards, everything, and yet you went the complete opposite way. And it set you up for the ability to effectively replace your income in your very early 30s, which is such an amazing achievement. And congratulations, because that is clearly something that you’ve worked very hard for. And you were strategic. You were strategic when you were 10. So well done.

Lacey Filipich
Well, it’s an interesting thing, isn’t it? You don’t necessarily see what’s going to play out over the long term, I didn’t ever start saving, thinking I want to be financially independent. I actually just a board waste. That was it. I was like, I’m not gonna waste this money. I’ve invested so much time. So it wasn’t like a strategy. I think of myself more as being opportunistic, more than anything else. I suddenly realized, oh, this works, you know, that kind of thing. It’s a really important point. But then normalization of debt is huge. And I often when I’m talking to young people, particularly the way I’ll frame it is I will say, I’m so grateful to pass Lacey, you know, if I could go back to 10 year old Lacey or 19 year old Lacey and say, Go girl, you know, I would be so proud of what those choices that I made it really, I am proud, I’m glad a lot of it was I had a headwind. I had good timing. But I also took the decision. So there’s there’s that, you know, there’s that circumstance, but also some personal stuff. So I absolutely recognize the circumstances and the luck I had. And then there’s that, but I would still give me a pat on the back for having the guts to do it. And then I try to get people to frame that that way.

Jess Brady
Yeah, I hug a giant hug if we were.

Lacey Filipich
Yeah, so so that’s how I like to frame it with young people is the decision you make is going to set future you up. Now, how do you want future you to be set up? Because those decisions that decision about whether to take on that debt or not? Future use paying that debt? Right, that’s you know, and I did have a friend who used to always say her name is Becky. I love Becky. She’s delightful. She would always say, Oh, that’s a future Becky’s problem. And I’ve been going Yes, it is future Becky’s problem. What’s future Becky gonna say about the car loan? What’s future Becky gonna say about the credit card? What is the future? You’re gonna say to yourself, when you make this decision? Are they are they going to be grateful? And we’re going to make mistakes? I don’t think there’s a question of that you have to be always right. So you would be right past you for getting something wrong. Yeah, if you made the decision in good faith, and and you were trying the best you could, then you’re going to be proud that you that you took that decision, I think that’s a really important way to frame it. And that thing about asking questions is massive, we do the same thing. I did a lot of operational improvement consulting, which is basically, I get hired to come in and help mines make more tons without spending any money. That’s the way that gets referred to, I learned the same thing. You never pointed the problem and go there’s your problem. You ask questions around the edge of the problem and try and get people to come to these realizations. And they’re not, you know, pointed, rude questions, but it’s more or how do you feel about that to try and get them to see the problem themselves, because it will be that much more impactful. And I can imagine, in those advice, discussions how important that skill must be trying to get people to engage. So they’re not just on autopilot. And they don’t just want you to make the decisions for them, but so that you can extract from them, where do they want future future them to be so that you can help them make good decisions.

Jess Brady
And it’s, it’s an interesting space, because we are we are taught all of the financial stuff. And really, we have to recalibrate how we can help because we can have the best investment advice in the whole wide world. But if someone isn’t able to understand why they need to stop behaving in a way that is reckless with their money, and therefore they have nothing to save, at the end of the month, the investment conversation goes completely out the window. So I’m fascinated in these in these ideas and thoughts, because it’s an area that I believe I can do better in and therefore I think others can learn with about that as well. No,

Lacey Filipich
well, the hard part about that if I can add one thing, the the really difficult thing is I think for people to realize, and they don’t know what’s happening to them. When you are in financial stress, your IQ drops by 13 points on average. I’m not sure if you’ve seen that research out of Princeton. So that was a study done in 2013. fascinating research. What they started off with was farmers in India who earn 60% of their annual income in one month. Because they harvest so they did the test before when things are very spare and people are hungry. And I took 700 to 800 farmers 760 I think it was and they tested them after a month after they got paid when everyone’s flush and their IQ was 13 points different they were smart. After when they had more money. The same thing happens though in Western society, they did the test then with car maintenance, I believe so that you went into put your car in for service and someone came out and said, Okay, well, it’s going to cost $150. For this repair, everyone did an IQ test when that happened. Then they came back and said, Oh, we’re so sorry, we got it wrong. It was $1,500, not 150. Then they tested IQs. Again, now everyone who had 115 $100 was more than a week’s income, their IQ dropped people who it was less than a week’s income, their IQ stayed the same. So what they’re able to measure is, it’s cognitive load your brain when you are stressed financially, because in the back of your mind is, can I afford the rent? Can I afford the car payment? Can I afford the school fees? Am I going to lose money on this investment that actually chews up some of your brains, the equivalent of a CPU on their computer, and you can’t make as good decisions. So you’ve got a challenge when people are financially stressed, particularly if they’ve brushed under the carpet, and they’ve just ignored it, that they’re actually not making as good a decision as they could. It just in any area of their life, people make bad relationship decisions, there may be career decisions, they make great bad investing decisions, compared to where they could be. So this premise of poor people make bad decisions actually reverse we all make bad decisions when we’re poor. And if you’re in an adverse situation where people are not able to see that they’re stressed, or can’t even free up some of that Scipio. Because that that 13 points is an average, the acute is like 40 points, which is huge. Yep, so some people who are like worried about their ability to eat or anything like that, they’re like they cannot, they can’t process. Yeah, so through asking those questions, you can start to pick up whether people are in that state or not. Because if they are in that state, they have to try and get out of that state before they can make good decisions. And that’s where an advisor is actually really critical, being able to flag for them that they go, or, wow, my brain is not in the right space to make this choice. And it is important to recognize happens to every area of your life, that financial stress actually plays out across every area of your life, because it’s a cognitive load, you basically chewing up your brain space,

Jess Brady
I have had very limited experience with that. And that is such interesting research. However, the only thing that I can think of that does lend itself to the conversations I have personally had I’ve been an advisor for five years, is very recently separated people very, very, like very raw, very recent. And what I say to them is listen, right now you don’t, you may not see it, but you’re in a fog. And it is absolutely not the right time to make very big financial decisions, as long as you’re safe and your money is safe. And we need to just keep sort of everything ticking along for the moment and recalibrating in a few months when actually there’s been time to process because you can actually see that they are absolutely not in the right headspace to make big decisions. And of course, particularly people that are, you know, professional and pragmatic they want to get on and they want to tick boxes and you know, move on with their lives and try to restart, but it’s just not the right time. And so that research helps support the conversations that I’ve had. So thank you. Fascinating, scary and undoubtably Correct? Can we talk about your burnout, and your beliefs and thoughts about retirement?

Lacey Filipich
Absolutely. So you’ve probably gathered from me talking about starting work. As soon as I was legally able and running my own business that I have always worked hard, where he had in my genes in a lot of ways. I think a lot of us pick it up from our parents. And although my dad went bankrupt, he did run his own business. And he worked like a demon like he would have been working 80 hour weeks, most of my childhood, my mom at one stage was working 80 hour weeks as well as the financial controller of an events company as she progressed through. So I saw my parents work very hard. And I just thought that was normal. And so it’s probably not normal for a 14 year old to be working 12 hours a week during the school term and 30 hours a week, every school holidays, it’s this probably not considered quite normal, but I just thought it was I thought it was the best way to make money and I had lots of energy back then. And so when I got into my career in mining, mining has a lot of shift work and long hours. And when you go to a mine site, if you are credible female, you’ll get promoted quickly at the moment, like bluntly, because they are really working hard to try and get women into positions of management. So they can really swing that. And that really started back when I was there. The first year out was you know, 18 years ago now. It was very evident so I could have as much challenge as I wanted and as much push as I wanted and as much promotion as I was keen for so I got promoted to superintendent level which is quite high 26. That’s very young to the managing a team. Yeah, but part of that was I was just keen, really keen. I was happy to work weekends and heavy work nights and just really up for the challenge. And I worked myself too hard. I had 18 months where I was doing very stressful work. which is trying to get people to make more tons without spending any money and you actually need like a force of personality to get operators who’ve been on a site for 40 years to change. You’ve got to you’ve got to almost charm the I get told I’ve got a lot of charisma, I think I developed it trying to convince these four old blokes who just wanted to do their job to just do it this little bit better, because the company was gonna make a bit more money, we’re going to be a bit safer, and we’re going to spend a little bit less. And it’s really intense, really intense work. And I did 18 months straight without a holiday. And I knew I was getting tired. And I had said to my boss, I need a break. And he said, you can’t have one to the end of this project. And it’s six months away. And at month four, I caught a virus and I was bedridden for five weeks. And it was because I had not looked after myself, I had not been eating properly. I had not been exercising, I had only been working and flying a lot too. That’s very common in the mining industry. And I was just so keen to prove myself that I hadn’t been monitoring that. So the virus that maybe everyone else would have shaken off, might not have had a big impact knocked me for six. And I honestly did not know if I was ever going to get out of bed again. I thought I was going to be in bed. You know, in week four, I was just like, oh my gosh, am I ever gonna be alright again. And that’s a really horrible feeling in your 20s. so used to being invincible. That was my first. Oh gosh, I’m not invincible moment. And of course, I did get better. But that burnout, that virus took off my hearing. So my, my right ear, I’ve got moderate hearing loss. So let’s talk to me from the left, people will notice very quickly, one day I’ll get a hearing aid but I’m just fighting it. And I had also from grinding my teeth cracked both of my rear molars. That’s not something I’d ever done as a child and I started grinding to the point I split my teeth into for stress. Yeah, at night. Yeah. Just grinding, grinding grinding in my sleep. So that was a real wake up call, like a real like, oh my gosh, look, do I want to do this for the rest of my life. But of course, I took three months off, I went travelling around South America with my then partner who’s now my husband, also an engineer also in mining. And that was very romantic. Lots of girl engineers make boy engineers at work. That’s a very common theme. Because we’re so socially inept. Just kidding. Sorry, to any engineers or people with engineering children or relatives.

I’m sure we’re not unusual. But yeah, we took three months off. We’re traveling around South America. And I went, Oh my gosh, there’s a life beyond Australia. I hadn’t done any really serious traveling. I’ve only ever done little holidays. And that was a real eye opener for me. And I thought, Wow, fantastic. I want more of this. And then of course, a couple of other things happened in quick succession. Afterwards, I got that promotion to Superintendent, which was like supposed to be exciting, and was actually really depressing. Loved the team. But it turns out doesn’t matter how far you go up in a company, you just more meat in the sandwich, it’s just more stress still don’t have autonomy, I was looking for autonomy. I thought I’d get to make changes, you know, like the good old Spitfire pilots who believe they can change things, you know, but their life expectancy is two weeks. Yeah, that kind of attitude. And then my little sister ended her own life. And so that was another oh my gosh, because she chose to leave, she was only 24. So I had that experience of the burnout. There’s the promotion, that wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. And then my sister choosing to leave and I just had this like, oh, life is short. Nothing is guaranteed. Yeah, I would I wait, why would I wait. And someone gave me the book, The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, which I read. And look, there’s a lot in there. That’s very interesting. Some of its outdated now. But the thing that stuck with me from that was this idea of instead of waiting till your 60s or 70s, to enjoy some time off, bring some of that time into your youth while you’re young. And I just had that trip, right? That three months. I was like, Yes, of course, of course, I want to have more of these breaks these mini retirements early in life while I’m young and fit enough and can do what I want. I don’t want to wait till I’m like in my 60s. So I’ll start doing that now. So that’s what I started doing. And so for the next three years, I worked six months or less over winter, and I would have summers off. And my partner and I would go and live in a little surf town, down south in Western Australia. And we would cook fantastic food and we would exercise and we would hang out and we would indulge in whatever we’d been wanting to learn about or do which at the time for me was a lot of winery lunches and cooking and writing. I wanted to learn how to write. Adam watched a lot of takia and hung out a lot like it was just it was about relaxing for him. And but we kept doing that. So over I think five years we totaled 22 months off in a five year period, always in chunks of three to six months.

Jess Brady
And so this is known as the the sort of fire. Well, you were doing a bit of a hybrid but you know, the the financial independence and retiring early and bringing forward. You know, the idea that, you know, you have to wait and work for 40 years to have that time. I think that this is a conversation that financial advisors need to talk More about because we we probably do still focus way too much on you know, you turn 67. And then you you know, you’re going to you might transition a little bit earlier. What was it like having the freedom and probably just in case, people are wondering how you do it obviously, over that time while you were working you were building assets and buying properties and investing in shares and the like, but in terms of going from a million miles an hour and grinding your teeth at night, to the point where you cracked them to planning for six, six month breaks. What was it like having the freedom

Lacey Filipich
is intimidating and exhilarating all at once? As you can imagine? Each time I took a mini retirement, I didn’t have clear plans. We didn’t have like, Okay, well, we’re gonna kick a goal because I’m a very goal oriented person, very to do lists, weekly goals, monthly goals, like deadlines, when I eat deadlines for breakfast, you know, there’s none of this, if there’s a deadline, it will get hit, very engineering trade very, very typical sort of organized person, I have the inevitable honor from my commissioning editor of being the only person who hit every date on publishing schedule. So I wanted to not do that. I wanted to stop that. So we didn’t make detailed plans, we didn’t have, you know, huge amounts of things. sheduled. What I found very interesting is it took me about a month to unwind each time a month to get used to not waking up to an alarm to not feeling like I should be doing something with my time. There’s this horrible part of society that’s common that anytime you’re sitting around doing nothing, well, I’m gonna hammock in my case, most of the time when I was on these mini retirements would be classed as being idle. And that would be bad, not be abductive. And back to that discussion about with financial advisors, I had an absolute headbutt motive moment with this one friend, financial advisor, when I was about 33, says, you know, seven years ago now, she and I were having a coffee because I like to meet people who are in the industry because I get asked to refer a lot and I will never do financial advice. So I need to have people who I can trust who I can refer to so we’re having coffee, and she was having a got me because I hadn’t put money into super voluntary contributions. She was like, you should be doing that. Why are you not doing that? And I was like, because I invest my money. And then my investments pay for me now why would I put money into super and it would be locked up for another 30 years? If I did what you said, I would still be at work. And she was like, No, you wouldn’t? Like yes, I would. There’s an opportunity cost for every dollar. And if I had taken $1 and paid the 15 cents tax and got 85 cents Great. That goes into my super, I paid whatever it was 30 to 40 cents tax depending on so I got less. But guess what, I have that money now. And I don’t have to work and you do. So can you see why that’s not good advice for me and she was pigheaded about it and just would not concede the point. And I was like, and this is why I will never refer to you. Because there is not one way to live. And look, it’s a common thing. She’s She’s, I don’t blame her is the whole industry like even Money Smart, are financial educated, you want to go on to their retirement calculator, you cannot put an age less than 60 into their retirement calculator. You cannot put in 14, you cannot put in 5060s The youngest because I think no no one should be sitting around idle. So the systems are not designed to cope with that and that the traditional models aren’t designed to cope with it. And I think it’s a travesty. Because it’s not that people sit around doing nothing. Everyone I know who’s achieved financial independence is doing amazing stuff. They’re just not motivated by money anymore. They don’t need to be motivated by money anymore. And it’s this liberation point where I think we free up all this brain space of these amazing people to solve problems that they wouldn’t solve if they were just sitting there worried about the next paycheck. I love

Jess Brady
this so much. And there are some financial advisors I know that are listening right now going, what on wellness issue talking about hold space for new and different conversations and really sit with what Lisa was saying. And understand from her perspective. She has a different point of view. And she has retired from 31 and has been doing some really exciting stuff since then. But I can imagine there are advisors who have literally just like their brain has, you know, that part around the IQ their brain has stopped, their brain has stopped and they didn’t hear anything else from that moment.

Lacey Filipich
But here’s what I would like you to try and change if that’s what you’re getting stuck on. So fire is an acronym for financial independence. retiring early I think is actually the wrong acronym in my book. I say it’s financially independent time rich. financial independence. Yes, you time rich. You get to choose how you spend your time. That’s it. So don’t think of it as retiring early. There’s no way you classmates retired. I still work right. I just don’t have to have a regular paycheck anymore because I don’t need one. And if I need to take time off like when my mum got sick, you know, she got sick for four months and I had to be a full time care I close my business down. I didn’t have to worry about money. Never worry about what I was gonna be able to eat or not I could choose because I am time rich, because I get to choose how I spend that time. So if your brain is just going in which you retired 30s, it’s not retiring. It’s becoming time rich and choosing how you spend your time. You know,

Jess Brady
I only can talk about the experience that I have with with the members that I work with. But what I hear over and over and over again, Lacey, is I want freedom. And I want choice. And when I asked them to really define that, I’m like, what do you what do you mean? Like, do you want to retire early, most of them struggle really struggle with the idea of retirement because we have a very tiny sort of narrow view of what we’re taught, you know, playing golf on Wednesdays and sitting, which is lovely for a few weeks. But what I try to say to them is, Listen, you don’t have to do nothing. But it’s probably the choice to be able to work on projects that you’re passionate about. Or maybe you’re gonna go and read a book, or maybe you go and do some community work. And then you see their little face laid up again, they’re like, oh, yeah, that yes, that’s what whatever that thing is, that’s what I want. I’m like, Yeah, that’s just a non traditional retirement. But do you feel like because retirement has been pegged as like these graying folk on a beach, you know, holding hands and their grandchildren in the in the foreground, we haven’t done a good job of saying there’s an alternative here. And you don’t have to sit and do nothing, you can actually have the money, the time, the space, the freedom that you’re talking about, as you say, to go and fix big problems. Can you talk a little bit more about what you’re seeing people who are financially independent do with their time and their most valuable resource their time?

Lacey Filipich
Yeah, exactly. It is your most valuable resource. So there’s all sorts of people that do this kind of thing. And I think what we often hear and the first response people have is, you can only do that when you have a massive income. And I always refer them to my mother’s story. So my mum didn’t start investing till she was 49. And she got to financial independence when she was 63. Now, that’s only two years before retirement age, but turned out to be very important to us, because she passed away when she was 17. So imagine if she’d worked till she was 65. You know, working to the 63 is pretty good. Now, and she did on a moderate income. Now her motivation, for example, was being able to support me and hang out with my kids, she wanted to be Grandma, you know, she moved 4000 K’s from Brisbane, to Perth, to be with us, she saw my kids four or five times a week, we did lots of activities together. She was also trying to help me have time to write you know, things like that, and run my business and support me in that. But her motivation was literally family. And some people that’s all their motivation needs to be. And I think being if you want more time, and you’re lamenting, not having enough time with your kids, whatever age they are, or your grandkids, that’s where that emotional response most people can relate to, they want some freedom to be able to either support their kids or be home more or whatever, you know, and we certainly, that personally motivates me. So some sometimes it’s that simple. People just want to be home with their families and have freedom. And sometimes it’s a necessity, like caring, you need to care for a sick loved one, or you need to look after a child or someone who’s got more severe ongoing needs. Sometimes that can be enough. But the people who do become financially independent also do incredible stuff in startup land, when you don’t have to worry about and there’s this real, I find it very amusing every time I talk to VCs, and they’re like, We need investors who’ve like put the mortgage on the house in the game. And I’m like, so you want financially stressed people with their IQ reduced making decisions and startups, they all find that very amusing. I find it hilarious. I’m like, There’s no way I want to stress founder if I’m investing money, I want them to be at their peak decision making. The people who are financially independent who have got the income from whatever assets they own, can do incredible things and startup land because they can risk a little bit more, they’d know they’re gonna be able to eat they so you see incredible startups have all sorts of descriptions a lot in the social enterprise space. Can’t think of any I want to list specifically, but that there, there were, I see a lot more people that are financially independent in social enterprise and not for profit space. Lots of people go on to volunteer. So lots of people that end up taking those six month working holidays to another third world country. I say third world, I don’t think that’s probably the thing you’re supposed to say now. But you know what I mean, a developing country that needs assistance to build a school or build a hospital or whatever they go and do those kinds of things. Some people that I know are financially dependent and just carry on no one at work knows they’re financially independent. No one knows that they don’t have to be there. They’re there by choice. They’re there because they love their jobs. And then of course, heaps of people in the influencer space. You would see a lot of this at the moment with all the newspaper reports from Asik lots of people, ranging from excellent independent financial education. Should we’re just trying to give people ideas all the way through to copy my trading routine. And thank you, we’ll give you a bit nastic be fine for that, because you’re basically giving financial advice. So you get a bit of a range of those. But I think that the unifying principle is that that freedom and choice that people aim for is what you get specifically around your time, it doesn’t fix all your problems, doesn’t make us mysteriously happy, suddenly, you’ve got if you’re unhappy at the moment, it’s not going to fix that. But what it will do is give you time and space to go and find out what will work for you. And I think that’s really important people won’t, it won’t fix everything just allows you to focus on something other than having to earn your wages.

Jess Brady
Love this. Now, let’s talk a little bit about the courses that you have. Because there are some people that come to seek financial advice. And very, obviously, they either aren’t ready for financial advice, they can’t afford financial advice. They don’t want financial advice, but they just want to learn the basics. From what I can gather from your website. That is what you do. So can you just tell us a little bit about the money school and the courses that you offer? Because I’ve looked at them? And they seem very unique?

Lacey Filipich
Well, I think they are. And this is an interesting point. One of the things has been fascinating around that fluency talk is that there is not a category for financial education. You can be a teacher, or you can be an advisor, but they don’t have a financial education qualification. So I’m actually self appointed. I’m just basically teaching what I’ve learned. But I’ve had a curriculum developer work with me, because I’m not a teacher, I would call myself a coach in my professional life. As an engineer, I did a lot of coaching. But the what I have built is standalone self delivered courses that are very cheap or low cost. Yeah. So you know, there’s a free course on how to get out of debt. So if you do get someone who’s stuck with debt is a 30 Minute how to get out on a talk about the Avalanche Method and all those things and, and how to calculate that stuff. And that’s a really popular course that’s on Udemy. And it’s had about 5000 people through it there. So got the students all over the world. Yeah, 100, and something countries and all these different languages, it’s lovely, all the way through to my big course, which is about growing your wealth and investing, and it’s got some economics in it. So I don’t prescribe I’d really am strong on, people need to choose their own adventure with money. Yeah. Yeah, if they don’t choose something that works for them. And you talked a lot about there’s, there’s a math sensor to a lot of things. But some of it is about risk tolerance, like not another kind of math Scout, like I’m less risk tolerant than my mother was. And she is that he is out of the way, not necessarily just this demographic thing. It’s a personal thing. But also, you know, what kind of security you need your relationship to delayed gratification versus instant gratification, how you manage your relationship, there’s a lot of stuff that’s really nuanced. So I rather than saying, Well, you must sort of 20% I stick to three rules, which is save, buy assets, avoid bad debt. That’s it. And the Course talks about the types of assets, there are the ways investment works, how debt works, bit of economics in there, which is really important people understanding what inflation and interest rates are, and understanding what GDP means and growth and those kinds of things. That’s the big course, which is about growing your wealth. I’ve got a look a little course on shares and a bit on managing money. But my book is also a great resource. It’s very similar to what’s in the courses. So if you prefer to read or listen to an audio book, and my voice hasn’t driven you crazy during this whole podcast, you can hear me reading the book. Audio Book, that’s Yeah, yeah, it was it was because I had done the TEDx talk. They were like, well, we have to have your voice. Don’t wait, because people know what you sound like. It’s not usual for an author to have done the TEDx talk first. But that’s what happened. So yeah, it was a really, it’s been a fascinating, I loved publishing with Penguin, they were absolutely brilliant. And the editing they gave was really good. But there’s one diagram in my book, which I think it’s about page 30, which is really helpful for people, which is just this visual that I treat money like a watercourse like a river running through your life. And there’s only a few points in which you make decisions. And that overarching structure is important. But the how you get to each thing, it’s up to you. What you’re saving, right is what investments you’re going to choose whether you’re going to voluntarily contribute to super or not. Those things are things you get to tweak and decide. And so I try to in all of my education, just give the here’s the pros and cons of each one. Here’s what’s up and down. And now you pick. And I think that’s really helpful. And I’ve had certainly quite a few advisors, they have put their clients through the courses before they often email me and organize to get a login for one of their people so that one of their clients, so just like you said they can, they can skill up because as an advisor, an educated client has got to be a headstart, right, because you can focus on getting the most value out of it, right. Yeah, you don’t spend your your hours going, Okay, well, this is how interest works. You know, like if you can get that basic stuff covered, and everybody’s got the same language and they’re aware of their options. And then you can focus on extracting as much value as you can from what’s your personal situation helping them out overcome the obstacles that come up when they learn those things. I think that’s where I see most people get stuck. They go, okay, look, I get the theory. But now for me specifically, what do I need to do? And that’s where I have to go? Well, now you need to go talk to a counselor and advisor, a planner might be an accountant, because you do need that personal help, in some cases, particularly in complex cases.

Jess Brady
If you haven’t already, please go and watch Lacey’s TEDx talk. It is fantastic. And it piqued my interest talking about non traditional retirements as a 30 something year old woman who is about to embark on my own first one, stay tuned, everyone, I’ll tell you how I go, and I come back. But I do think we need to be really loud about saying there is not one way and here’s the way that I did it, that it’s different. And let me tell you more about it. And as you say, it doesn’t fix all of the problems in your life, but it gives you some space and some options. So, Lacey, thank you so much, just a couple of quick things. We’re going to do some rapid fire questions in a second. But if people want to learn more about you the great work that you do, how can people find you? And what is the name of the book.

Lacey Filipich
So the best place to go is money. school.org.au. And the book is the same no money school. So if you Google money school, and of course my surname filler pitch, there’s not a lot of filler pitches out there. So you’ll be able to find me pretty easy. If you just give it a Google and yeah, check out YouTube for the TEDx talk.

Jess Brady
Yes, do. Are you ready for some rapid fire questions?

Lacey Filipich
I am, fire away.

Jess Brady
Okay. Same ones every week, because I just think the answers are fascinating. I would love to know what is one thing that you do to look after your mental health.

Lacey Filipich
I focus on getting really good sleep. So my phone is banned from my bedroom now that has made the biggest impact on my sleep. I do not have my phone in the bedroom at night. And I have an alarm clock you survived. Yes, yes, it’s I’d made the change about six months ago. And it’s been revolutionary for my sleep. So I think good sleep is probably and this is me speaking as a parent, my children are six or nine. I’m finally getting good sleep again. Now after many years of broken sleep, I really value it. Love

Jess Brady
that. What is a piece of advice that you would give younger Lacey?

Lacey Filipich
Well, I’m pretty happy with what younger Lacey. So I would probably go back and give me a pat on the back and tell me to have faith in myself. I remember having a lot of self doubt, particularly when I went to buy that first property. Even my lecturers and professors were going, what are you doing? You’re mad, they didn’t know properties. And I am glad I stuck with it. But I remember agonizing over it, I would go back and say this is a good choice. Carry on, and have a bit of faith back yourself a bit.

Jess Brady
Bless you for carrying on anyway. Because I think if my professors were saying no, that would really, really scammy. So well done you. What is this feels funny asking you what is one big bucket list item that you’re yet to tick off a

Lacey Filipich
mini retirement in Europe, I’ve been meaning to do it since about 2018. I’m desperate to go try living for six months between Italy and Spain. And we will one day do it. But of course there’s been a pandemic. And before that my husband didn’t want to take children that wouldn’t listen to know don’t run in front of that train. You know when they’re too little. Now they’re old enough that they’ll actually obey instructions. And the borders open. I’m hoping in the next couple of years we can get a six months at retirement overseas.

Jess Brady
That sounds amazing. And they’ll be old enough to remember it. That’s awesome. Yes,

Lacey Filipich
yes. Which will be a bonus. I won’t just be going see. Look, there’s you. There’s you next to the leaning tower. I know you don’t remember, but I promise you we took you Yeah, it should be about

Jess Brady
the green post in that photo. I’m going to add your book to my list. But I would love to know a book that you think I should read as part of my fake book club.

Lacey Filipich
Your fake book club. I picked two so that I had one that was fiction, one that was nonfiction. So nonfiction one I’d recommend is your money or your life, which is by Vicki Robin. And this is the original fire Bible. So she wrote it in 1992. She coined the term financial independence retiring early, it gets credited to Pete Adonai them Mister Money Mustache. I got very angry with Money Magazine last month when they said oh poor dad no came up with it. That night when he was still a toddler. Maybe even not born yet. I can remember Vicki Robin wrote about that. So no, sorry. So this is like the original Bible. It’s very good. She’s totally fine. And if you want to see someone who’s like taking their financial independence and being revolutionary, she’s so big on the sustainability movement. She has taken her financial independence to work on climate change and all this was a fantastic like her life story. She’s She’s incredible. Vicki Robin American. Fantastic. Check her out. And then yes, and then I had to pick a fiction book because I’m an I actually read vastly more fiction and you need to relax Sharla McConaughy Oh, makan. I can’t I’m not sure how you supposed to say it. Probably McConaughy. This is because I spent too much time writing instead of listening. migrations. It’s been published underlaid lately, she’s an Australian author. I have read I read this Book, which is now migrations, I’ve got the original with the last migration title. And they were once wolves, and I could not put them down. They were captivating, if you like to relax, and that’s I actually spend a lot of time on my mini retirements, reading and rereading like I’m currently rereading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, that kind of thing. Those books were just they took me out of myself. So if you struggled to relax rating, something like that, at night, we’ll we’ll switch your brain off. And you just got to make sure you start early enough that if you can’t put it down, you’d still get some sleep.

Jess Brady
Back to point one of rapid fire questions. I love this. And I’m sloth. I’m an avid reader, but I’m getting slightly overwhelmed. Because I’ve started I’ve added this question into my weekly podcast. And so the list of books is growing at a rate that I just cannot sort of, kind of keep up with, perhaps on my mini retirement, it gives me an opportunity space to do it.

Lacey Filipich
On the plane, at least, you know, if you find somewhere you could, Yep, let’s let’s have time then.

Jess Brady
Let’s see your story is phenomenal. i You have been so generous with your time and your insights. I want to say an enormous thank you for being today’s guest. Can’t wait to read your book and learn more. So a huge thank you again from the entire XY community.

Lacey Filipich
Thanks so much for having me, Jason. Well done on the excitement that you bring to the topic. It’s a tough one to get people really pumped about sometimes but you just do a magic job. It’s been a delight.

Jess Brady
Oh, thank you

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