184 Write It Down

Jason and Emilia discuss writing down your budget, net worth, and your experiences.

Below is the full transcript:

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Announcer: Welcome back America to Sound Retirement Radio, where we bring you concepts, ideas, and strategies designed to help you achieve clarity, confidence, and freedom as you prepare for and transition through retirement. Now, here is your host, Jason Parker.

Jason: America, welcome back to another round of Sound Retirement Radio. I am excited to get started this morning, and we’re going to have a great episode. This is number 184. The title is Write It Down. But before we get into the episode, we want to start the morning two ways. The first is by renewing our mind, and the second one is to have a little bit of fun and put a smile on everybody’s face. Now before I do, Emilia, I want to welcome you back.

Emilia: Thank you.

Jason: Welcome back.

Emilia: It’s great to be back.

Jason: Yes, I bet.

Emilia: I always enjoy this time.

Jason: Oh, man, I feel so fortunate to be able to do this show with you.

Emilia: Thank you. Same here. I get a lot of compliments, and it’s just really nice to hear that people are enjoying when we’re on the radio. It can be fun. We have a lot of fun with it.

Jason: It is good. Yeah.

Emilia: Yeah.

Jason: Okay, so here’s our verse. This comes to us from John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I love that, because sometimes people act like words don’t matter. Boy, I’d say they matter a lot.

Emilia: They do. Words are powerful, very powerful. Speaking of powerful words, here comes my joke. Here we go. Why are circles so smart?

Jason: I have no idea.

Emilia: Because they have 360 degrees.

Jason: That’s pretty good.

Emilia: Well, thank you, thank you. There you go.

Jason: That’s pretty good, pretty good.

Emilia: That’s our laugh for the day. Hope you all enjoyed that one. Jason, before we start talking about Write It Down, you have a big announcement to make about Retirement Budget Calculator, correct?

Jason: I am so excited about this. In fact, for all of our subscribers, I sent out an email. We recorded a video and said, “Hey, look at this new feature that we launched for the Retirement Budget Calculator,” which is assets minus liabilities equals net worth. As we continue to develop the Retirement Budget Calculator and make it better and better and better, we really want to be granular about your spending, because retirement’s all about cash flow. The Retirement Budget Calculator is really good at helping people understand what their spending is today and then also how that’s going to change in the future.

 This new feature allows you to put in all of your assets and your liabilities. One of the things we did was we helped people break down assets between liquid investable assets, things like retirement accounts and savings and money market accounts. Then we also have things like personal property or real estate or other assets, and then your liabilities. I was just talking to a lady that works at the bank the other day, and she says, “Jason, you’d be surprised at how many people really don’t even know what their net worth is,” assets minus liabilities.

 Anyways, I’m really excited, because as we continue to make the calculator better, of course, we have to understand the spending piece. It’s the most important, but then we need to make sure that we have the assets to support the spending. As the calculator gets better, people can start to build this vision, use their imagination, for what we’re trying to build here and how cool this is going to be for people. Just want to remind our listeners right now, we still have this coupon code that’s available, which is podcast, so if they haven’t signed up for the Retirement Budget Calculator yet, that gives them 50% off the current price. The current price is $54, and so when they use the coupon code podcast, it’s only $27. Remind our listeners, that’s a one-time fee. That’s not an ongoing expense. That’s just you pay the 27 bucks and you’re in, and you get the updates.

Emilia: Yeah, and everybody … Oh, that’s what I was going to say, so everybody that already has it also gets to benefit from all the updates and just keep getting better.

Jason: Yeah, everybody that … Yeah, it just keeps getting better and better.

Emilia: Well, great. Okay, Jason, so today, why are we talking about Write It Down?

Jason: Yeah. There’s a couple of things that I’m really excited about. Several years ago, a woman came into my office, and she brought a book. She said, “Start with the second chapter.” I’m just amazed that when you open up a book, just one idea can totally change your life. One of the things I read in the second chapter of this book was this idea that all things are created twice, that there’s a mental manifestation before a physical manifestation. The example that the author gave, the author is Stephen Covey and the book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but the example that he gives is if you’re going to go build a house, before you build the blueprint, you envision in your mind what it might look like.

 There’s this mental manifestation. You kind of have this idea of what it is you want to build. Then you go from the idea into the physical blueprint. Then you take the physical blueprint, and you start pounding nails. But to do that in the opposite direction, to start pounding nails without even having a visual idea in your brain of what it’s going to be, man, that would just be ugly. That would be a … Anyways, writing it down, because of this idea that we want to begin with the end in mind. We want to start with a strong vision. There’s a verse that says, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish,” and so we want them to have a strong vision for what things will look like in the future.

 The other part to that is when you write things down, it gives you a great sense of clarity. There’s a quote that I’m going to share in just a minute, actually some really great quotes, but we want people to have clarity. The tagline of my book is clarity, confidence, and freedom, and so when you get ideas out of your head and on to paper, it really makes you be more exact in your thinking. I think that’s one of the things that writing this down is going to help people to do, and not just with the legacy that they want to live, this great life that they want to live, but also with some of the little things. I mean, get it out of your head, the numbers. So many people have an idea of what their net worth is. So many people have an idea of what their spending is. But it’s really a clarifying process when you write it down.

Emilia: That’s interesting. That’s a great way of thinking about things, because I was mentioning earlier how when I think of writing something down, what does it mean to me? It’s not just like a diary. That’s what you were talking about, not just writing down your thoughts, but your goals, something that you’re looking towards. It’s not just these ideas that once it’s just everything that you’re focused on, and that’s what me and my husband talk about is focusing on something and putting it on paper. Then we see them happen. We manifest our goals. It just works like that. It’s great. Jason, you had the opportunity to visit Washington, DC recently. Can you tell us some of the words that impacted you on this trip?

Jason: It was such a great, wonderful experience, so much history. I’m reminded of all the sacrifice that so many people have had to make in order to unify our country. Man, that was inspiring. My dad took me to Washington, DC when I was about 14, and that was a really good trip too. But this time, I got to take my son to Washington, DC, who’s 13. As a dad, you just have a different appreciation. At one point, my son, and man, this was really, really emotional, really intense, but he was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 They do a changing of the guard, and at the changing of the guard ceremony, there’s a wreath ceremony. Oliver and some of his classmates were the boys that got to go up and be part of this wreath changing ceremony. To have him standing out there at this Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and them playing Taps, and just thinking of all the people’s kids who are recognized by that tomb, man, that was really, really powerful. Yeah, really intense. It was really good.

 One of the things I wanted to share is I came back because we’re doing life together, and that’s what this program is all about. We get to walk life with people. I get to hear their stories, and sometimes they get to hear some of mine. Some people hear this old saying, OPM, other people’s money, when they go out to build a business, which I’m not a real fan of that, because what they’re talking about is borrowing money to build. I’m not a huge fan of that idea, but OPE is other people’s experiences, and that is something I am really fond of, because when you have somebody that takes time to write down their best ideas and share it with the world, like I say, one idea can just totally set you down a different course.

 I wanted to share some of the words, some of the quotes that I took pictures of. They were so powerful when I was in Washington, DC. I took pictures and went back through my camera. One of them is this one. It was in the Library of Congress. It says, “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.” Wow. That’s where I thought about how important it is to write it down. We want you to be exact about what’s most important in your life and what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

 The second one, it actually brought me back to a memory of my great-grandfather. I’ll share with you the quote. It’s from FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He says, and this is just a portion of a quote but it says, “Propose to create a civilian conservation corps to be used in simple work. More important however than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work.” I’ll never forget. When I was a kid, I went back and my parents sent me to Ohio, which is where I’m from originally. I was spending some time with my great-grandfather, and he took me by a park in Ohio. He shared with me that he helped build one of the bridges in this park. You see, after the Great Depression, that’s when some of these social programs came to be, and that’s when things like welfare came to be.

 My great-grandfather reminded me that when that program first came about, it was an opportunity to go to work in some of these places like public parks to be able to do physical labor, simple work, and then be compensated through it, either by … I seem to remember him saying that they would be able to pick up like a cart of food afterwards, so that was the compensation. But you see, it wasn’t just a handout. It wasn’t just, here’s something for not doing anything. You actually had to show up and work. To look back at Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was the president for many of these social programs, and to understand that it’s not the material gains but the moral and spiritual value of such work, and that’s why my grandfather was proud of it. Not that he was in a position where he had to accept a handout, but that he was given an opportunity to go to work and feel proud about the work that he was doing.

Emilia: Really meaningful.

Jason: Yeah, it just reminded me of that experience that he shared with me and how that program came to be. The next one, one night as we had just gotten off the bus, we were going through some of the different memorials, and we went to the Korean War Memorial. There’s engraved, and remember it was dark by the time we got there, so there’s this engraving that says, “Freedom is not free.”

Emilia: Wow.

Jason: Yeah.

Emilia: You think about that. It has the word free in it, but it’s not free.

Jason: Yeah, that was powerful, powerful words. That same night, we went to Martin Luther King’s memorial, and I love this one. I took a picture of this one. It says, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” It’s so easy to talk about leadership when everything’s going right, when times are good, but to be reminded that leadership is the role that nobody really wants to take. When things are going really bad, that’s when we get to see what kind of person somebody really is. That one really stuck out with me.

 I went to the Museum of the Bible. It was amazing, but we had a donor, somebody that made a contribution so that our class could visit the Museum of the Bible. It was an anonymous donor. Yeah, and I guess there’s weeks-long waiting to get into the Museum of the Bible, and we had a guided tour, which was really cool. But one of the things I found out is a lot of us have this Bible app called YouVersion on our phone, and they’re collecting all of this data about how people use the Bible and what they share. One of the things I took a picture of there was the number one most-shared verse in the Bible is this verse. It says, “Be joyful.”

Emilia: In home?

Jason: No, that’s wrong. I wrote that down wrong. Well, we’ll come back to it, because I-

Emilia: Yeah, we want … That sounds like a really important one that we should share. I’m excited to hear it.

Jason: Yes, but I wrote it down wrong, so we’ll come back to it. Then the last one, the last one … Well, the verse is Romans 12:12, so I’ll pull it up here in just a minute. But the last one was learning the history, so when we went to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. A lot of people talk about this separation of church and state. In fact, it’s even engraved in the wall, this letter that Thomas Jefferson had written. I wanted to read this real quick, because it’s pretty short.

 It says, “Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry, or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or beliefs, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men, whether acting singly or collectively.”

 What was so powerful about this is you hear a lot of times, people talk about the separation of church and state. Oftentimes, they will refer back to what Thomas Jefferson wrote here, and they act as though that is something that’s in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights or somewhere, but it’s not in any of those documents. What was fascinating to me is that was actually a letter that Thomas Jefferson was writing to a Baptist pastor, and the Baptist pastor was concerned because many of the Founding Fathers were Episcopalian.

 The Baptist pastor was concerned that as they were forming our country that they were going to require this one religion, that everybody was going to have to be Episcopalian. So Thomas Jefferson was just writing a letter to this Baptist pastor saying, “No, that’s not what we’re going to do in America. We’re not going to require one religion.” It’s weird how our world today seems to be twisting that around, like they want to remove God from our culture, our society, our foundations. That really was not the purpose or the intent, so I thought that was a good reminder too.

Emilia: That’s important. While you’re looking up that verse for us, Jason, I just wanted to kind of speak to what you were saying. Other people’s experiences, all these quotes you just went through, we wouldn’t have these words written down, or nobody would have written them down, but it’s these people that experienced these things and somebody chose to write down their words. They stand here today for us to talk about, and they’re still so impactful and life-changing for a lot of people to feel the emotions and just be able to view things differently. Like you said, when you write something down, it starts making you think about how things apply to your life.

Jason: Yes, and this legacy that we’re leaving behind. Yeah. It was one of my takeaways from the Founding Fathers, as so many of them took time to write things down, to journal, to remember. I think life is … There’s two things that we want to be doing. Number one, we want to be reflecting, and that comes through writing down and remembering what we’re learning, because otherwise we just keep learning the same things over and over again. Number two is creating and crafting a vision, so we want to reflect on the past but we want to have a vision, a strong vision, for the future. I think writing can help us achieve both of those things. Write it down. But here’s the verse, Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. That’s the number one most-shared verse in the entire world. That’s pretty cool. Yeah.

Emilia: It is.

Jason: Yeah.

Emilia: Well, thank you for all that, Jason, but I know our listeners are probably also wanting to know, how does this idea of writing it down apply to retirement and finances?

Jason: Well, again, I’m just so excited about the work we’re doing with Retirement Budget Calculator, because it allows people to get very clear about what they’re doing. I find this all the time. People come in, and we’ll help them understand their net worth. We’ll tally up all of their assets and their liabilities and show them. Man, that’s a real surprise for some people. Usually, it’s a surprise to the good side. People in America especially a lot of times don’t realize how wealthy they are. Sometimes they have tax issues that are going to come as a result of all that wealth, so we want them to really understand that number, and to update it frequently or occasionally, at least one … For me and my family, we like to update that number just once a year I find is enough. We don’t need to dwell on it.

 Then the other piece is your spending. A lot of people have an idea. They think they know what they’re spending, but they really don’t. If we can get really clear about those two things, how much do you actually have and how much do you actually spend, and are you going to have enough to support the spending, because that’s really what retirement’s all about. That’s the reason you saved the money in the first place was to have a great life. Then the second piece to that, Emilia, though isn’t just about the finances. It’s about, okay, what’s the purpose of that money? What are you trying to accomplish?

Emilia: Yeah. What else do you think that people should be writing down, Jason? Is there anything else with their investments, their finances, that goes in part with that?

Jason: Yeah, so the legacy that we leave. Every time I’ve been to a funeral, they’ve never shown somebody’s 401(k) statement. They’ve never taken their bank account and put it up on the screen and played music and said, “Boy, look at all those numbers.”

Emilia: That’s so true.

Jason: Here’s what they do always have, pictures. Every funeral I’ve been to, there are pictures. There are stories about how somebody encouraged that person. I think what people end up ultimately remembering, and what we want to be collecting, are memories. We want to be collecting pictures, and we want to be thinking about how we make people feel, but there’s so much wisdom. I’ll never forget, right before I got married, I was a young man in my early 20s. I didn’t want to mess this whole thing up, and so I called both of my grandparents up at the time. I asked my grandparents. I said, “Hey, if you had one piece of advice, what would it be?” One of my grandparents said, “Never go to bed mad.” That was good advice. The other one said … I’m drawing a blank now. Oh, my grandmother, she said, “A family that prays together stays together.”

 I wish I would have asked them more about this wisdom that they had collected over their lifetime, and I wish they would have taken the time to write that down, because most of my grandparents I don’t have with me anymore. What I really want people to write down are these things that they’ve learned, because what a treasure, what a gift, to be able to give to the next generation. That is standing on the shoulders of giants when you can learn from other people. The last thing I was hoping we could do, Emilia, is just … I wanted to share a quick story, because this is what my daughter likes to listen to.

Emilia: Yeah. Do we have time for the story?

Jason: I think so. I’m going to try to do my best here.

Emilia: Great.

Jason: This is one I wrote down. It’s going to be in the book on the new edition as we release that, but it says, I consider myself to be relatively thrifty, and for years, I refused to purchase a good pair of sunglasses. I was always sitting on them, losing them, or forgetting where I left them. A few years ago, my wife and I were on a vacation talking, and I said, “You know, I think I’m finally responsible enough to own a really nice pair of sunglasses.” She agreed, and the rest is history. I’m not sure if the brand-name sunglasses are really any better than the cheap ones, but we’re proud owners of very nice sunglasses.

 As we prepared for a vacation to Maui over Christmas break, I mentioned to my wife how I was kind of surprised and proud of the fact that after several years, she and I still owned the nice sunglasses we had acquired years earlier. But while on vacation during Christmas break, I was reminded that faith, family, and friends come before finances and things. One day, during our vacation, we were at the beach enjoying the rolling and crashing waves. Libby, my seven-year-old daughter, liked to play this game where I would hold on to her, and when a wave comes, I help her jump over the wave. As we looked out with anticipation, I saw the next wave rolling in, and it was huge. I said, “Libby, this one’s too big. Come on. We need to get out of here.”

 We turned and tried to start making our way back to the shore, but the current was rushing against our legs. We couldn’t move fast enough. I looked back over my shoulder and realized that huge wave was just about to break right on top of us. I told her, “Okay, we’re going to have to brace for it.” I grabbed her and held on. The wave smashed us down, and she went under. I was able to hold my footing at first, but then all of a sudden, a second wave hit, and it knocked me off my feet. I was holding on to Libby as we both went down under the power of the waves, heads submerged. I was struggling to hold on to my beautiful daughter as her skin was slippery from all the suntan lotion. My expensive sunglasses were being torn from my face, and in that instant, I had a choice to make. Do I let go of Libby with one hand to save my sunglasses?

Emilia: Not that it’s funny, but I like this part.

Jason: Or do I hold on with both hands and pull her close? In a situation like that, you don’t have time to think. You act on instinct. I was holding my breath, water swirling around my head, blinded by the salt. Even though she was slippery, I thought, “There’s no way I’m going to let go.” I tightened my grip and pulled her close. The water finally subsided enough to let me get my footing. I pulled Libby up. I helped her to the shore so she could use a towel to dry her face. We made our way up to Rebecca, my wife, who was sitting on the beach and had seen the whole thing. She didn’t look very happy with me. Libby jokingly and sarcastically said, “Good job, Dad,” but shrugged it off like it was no big deal. My heart was racing, and I made my way back out into the water to look for my sunglasses. That’s the first part of the story, Emilia. We don’t have time to talk about the conclusion and what I learned from that experience, but the story is going to be in the new book when it’s released.

Emilia: Thanks for writing that down.

Jason: For writing it down, yeah. We got a legacy to share, and part of the legacy is our story and what we learn along the way. Thank you so much for being here.

Emilia: Thank you.

Jason: Until next week, this is Jason Parker and …

Emilia: Emilia Bernal.

Jason: Signing out.

Announcer: Information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate and complete, for general information only, and should not be construed as specific tax, legal, or financial advice for any individual, and does not constitute a solicitation for any securities or insurance products. Please consult with your financial professional before taking action on anything discussed in this program. Parker Financial, its representatives, or its affiliates have no liability for investment decisions or other actions taken or made by you based on the information provided in this program. All insurance-related discussions are subject to the claims-paying ability of the company. Investing involves risk. Jason Parker is the president of Parker Financial, an independent, fee-based wealth management firm located at 9057 Washington Avenue Northwest, Silverdale, Washington. For additional information, call 1-800-514-5046, or visit us online at soundretirementplanning.com.

 

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