Afford Anything

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3026 reviews
This podcast has
415 episodes
Date created
Last published
Average duration
69 min.
Release period
6 days


You can afford anything, but not everything. We make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention – and ultimately, our life. Every decision is a trade-off against another choice. But how deeply do we contemplate these choices? Are we settling for the default mode? Or are we ruthlessly optimizing around a deliberate life? Host Paula Pant interviews a diverse array of entrepreneurs, early retirees, millionaires, investors, artists, adventurers, scientists, psychologists, productivity experts, world travelers and regular people, exploring the tough work of living a truly excellent life. Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at

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Podcast episodes

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Ask Paula: Is a Crash Coming?
#387: Lila is concerned about inflation and the risk of a recession. Should she invest in the stock market, despite the scary headlines? Or should she pay off her primary residence or her investment properties? Linda invested in a 529 for her son’s college, and he’ll be starting in the fall. But, the value of the plan dropped right before she was planning on using it and she is wondering how to keep from losing more money. Jen and her husband want to retire in 8 years. They’re hoping to have paid off their mortgage AND hit their net worth goals when they stop working. How should they prioritize between these two goals? Do you have a question on business, money, trade-offs, financial independence strategies, travel, or investing? Leave it here and we’ll answer them in a future episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Once-a-Year Special Announcement for Anyone Interested in Real Estate
Register by June 30, 2022 at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Psychology of Secrets, with Dr. Michael Slepian
#386: We all have our secrets. We keep some secrets from bosses, colleagues and clients, like the fact that we hope to retire early, change careers, or start a business. We keep other secrets from friends and family, like our income, net worth, spending habits and investing mistakes. Research from around the world shows that we tend to keep the same types of secrets – around 38 common varieties, including secrets about finances, ambitions, beliefs, habits, unpopular opinions, mental health, trauma, addiction, and drug use. These 38 common types of secrets fall into three categories: (1) moral secrets, which we fear will either cast judgment on us or will cause harm to another; (2) relational secrets, which we fear will harm our relationships; and (3) goal and ambition secrets, related to career, business and finances. In today’s episode, Columbia University professor Dr. Michael Slepian discusses the secret life of secrets. Dr. Slepian is the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School. Prior to that, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University. His research focuses on the social costs of secrecy. What impact do secrets have on our lives and health? What are the hidden costs of keeping quiet? Are there certain things that are better left unsaid? What should we share, with whom, and when … especially when there are career, social and financial repercussions to revealing information? Dr. Slepian joins us today to share his insight. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ask Paula: How to Invest When You’re Unsure of the Goal
#385: Anonymous (“Jennifer”) keeps hearing us say that you should “start with the end in mind” – that your investments should match your goals and timeline. But what if you don’t have any specific financial goal? What if your risk tolerance is different than you once thought? Rachel’s new employer won’t let her contribute to retirement for more than a year - what should she do?? Carri’s parents are in poor health and can’t work much - what should they do about their life insurance policy and their health insurance? Do you have a question on business, money, trade-offs, financial independence strategies, travel, or investing? Leave it here and we’ll answer them in a future episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Invest Anywhere: Six Strategies to Make Money in Real Estate
#384: Welcome back to the third episode in our special series, Afford Anything Presents: Invest Anywhere. Invest Anywhere is a new monthly series that runs on the First Friday of each month. It lays out the information you need to invest in real estate at a distance. Many of you want to invest in real estate, but you live in a high-cost-of-living area. (Ahem, California and New York). The homes in your city are prohibitively expensive, and they offer lackluster returns. You could invest in a lower-cost area like Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Omaha or Wichita … but HOW? That sounds terrifying. We’re here to dismantle that fear, piece by piece, by sharing our knowledge and experience. The Invest Anywhere series is dedicated to giving you the guidance you need to make smart, confident choices about investing out-of-state. It’s co-hosted between myself (Paula) and esteemed real estate investor Suni Rao, who’s experienced everything ranging from buy-and-hold rental investing to (accidentally) wholesaling. She’s managed short-term and long-term rentals. She’s owned houses, multi-units, and even a mobile home park.  She joins me in this episode to talk about a variety of strategies that will help you make money in real estate. For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How to Talk About Money with Confidence and Charisma, with Vanessa Van Edwards
#383: Behavioral researcher Vanessa Van Edwards, who runs the research lab Science of People, breaks down the psychological secrets behind feeling and looking more confident, competent and charismatic. She explains how to apply these techniques to critical conversations around money, whether you’re negotiating your salary, buying a home or car, or arguing with your spouse about your household spending. Subscribe to get the show notes delivered via email, for free, at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ask Paula: What Do I Do With Free Money?
#382: Joe is buying his first house hack and would like to understand if the FHA loan or the doctor loan would be better for him. Sara wants to leave her job to spend time with her children, and she needs help in calculating her FIRE number. Kat received a windfall and is wondering if she should invest it in stocks, real estate, or a combination of both. Aisha is moving to the US and wants to start investing ASAP - how should she approach her goal to reach FIRE? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Got a question? Leave it here. For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How to Not Let Your Feelings Hijack Your Decisions, with Mollie West Duffy
#381: Maybe you’re envious of your friend who bought Bitcoin in 2015 and held until it hit 7-figures. Maybe you’re anxious about rapidly rising home prices. Maybe you regret that you didn’t buy a rental property five years ago, because – at the time – you felt like prices had already risen so much (from 2012 to 2017) that you just couldn’t justify paying 2017’s pricetag. Our lives, finances and careers invoke many strong feelings. In today’s episode, Mollie West Duffy, the co-author of Big Feelings, shares strategies for not letting our feelings hijack our choices. Mollie and her co-author, Liz Fosslien, run an Instagram channel about emotional management with half a million followers. Fosslien is an economist and behavioral scientist whose work has been featured by The Economist, Freakonomics and NPR. Duffy is an organizational and leadership development expert who’s written for Harvard Business Review. They tackle relatable workplace issues like perfectionism, productivity guilt and Zoom fatigue, among much more. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ask Paula: How to Optimize Your Investments Along the Efficient Frontier (If You Dare!)
#380: Matt wants to optimize his portfolio and wants to know if he should invest along the Efficient Frontier – despite the fact that the asset allocation it recommends is absolutely bonkers; it’s wild and risky and tilted like nothing he’s ever seen before. Ionnie just rolled over her Roth IRA and would like to understand how to withdraw her contributions without getting penalized. Anonymous and her spouse are both in the military and about to reach retirement. They have an expensive whole life insurance policy, costing $550 per month, and wonder if they should switch to term life insurance. Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these three questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Also – we’re launching a book club!! Each month, we’ll read and discuss a book written by an Afford Anything podcast guest, starting with Morgan Housel, James Clear, Ken Honda, and Dr. Susan David. Sign up here. P.P.S. Got a question? Leave it here. For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Invest Anywhere: 4 Benefits and 5 Challenges of Long-Distance Real Estate Investing
#379: Welcome to our First Friday bonus episode. Once a month, Afford Anything presents a special feature called Invest Anywhere, in which we teach our audience how to invest in real estate from thousands of miles away. We kickoff today’s episode by discussing current market conditions. Yesterday the Fed raised interest rates by another 50 basis points, which means mortgages are more expensive than they’ve been in years. Additionally, jittery investors worried about an impending recession led the stock market to its worst day of the calendar year so far. How should we interpret the current market conditions? Is this a good time to buy an investment property? We cover this in the first 20 minutes of today’s episode. Next, we discuss 5 challenges associated with investing in long-distance real estate investing: (1) fear, (2) accountability, (3) traction, (4) stress, and (5) relationships. We elaborate on each challenge and offer solutions. Finally, we discuss 4 benefits to investing out-of-state: (1) competitive ability, (2) diversification, (3) returns, and (4) repeatability. We elaborate on four types of diversification: economic, strategy, business cycle, and asset based. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ask Paula: Should I Take a Higher-Paying Job if I Can’t Save As Much for Retirement?
#378: Anonymous is 25. She has a job offer that comes with a substantial raise. Hooray! Buuut … there’s a problem. If she accepts this job offer, her new employer won’t allow her to contribute as much money to her company retirement accounts.  How should she think about the trade-off between increasing income and funding her retirement? Meanwhile, Dan from California is retiring soon and wants to know what he and his wife should do with the loan they took out against their 401(k). Finally, an anonymous caller who goes by “Daughter” has a whole life policy that only costs her less than $50 per month. Since her policy is so cheap, should she keep it? In today's episode, former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these tough situations. Enjoy! Do you have a question on business, money, trade-offs, financial independence strategies, travel, or investing? Leave it here and we’ll answer them in a future episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How I Discovered The 4 Percent Retirement Rule, with Bill Bengen
#377: Today’s episode is sheer retirement nerd bliss. We talk to the creator of the 4 percent retirement safe withdrawal rule, Bill Bengen. If you’re new to retirement planning, you might not yet grasp the gravity of this. Let’s cut to the chase: the 4 percent rule is one of the most revolutionary, groundbreaking insights in the field of retirement research in the past 30 years. To understand why, let’s climb in our time machines and return to 1994. Back then, many financial advisors were telling their clients that they could safely withdraw 7 percent of their retirement portfolio each year. After all, the simplistic logic went, the stock market has historically yielded between 7 to 9 percent returns, so that type of withdrawal rate shouldn’t dwindle the principle … right? ⠀ Bill Bengen, an MIT graduate and former rocket scientist, decided to build a better model. He looked at the performance of investment portfolios across 30-year time horizons, beginning in 1926. Under the assumption that the portfolio is invested 50 percent in an S&P 500 Index and 50 percent in intermediate-term bonds, in a tax deferred account, he found that retirees could only withdraw 4.2 percent of their portfolio in the first year of retirement, and that amount adjusted for inflation each subsequent year. He called this the “safe withdrawal rate” that gave people a reasonable chance of not outliving their money, based on historic performance. He published the results in the Journal of Financial Planning and caused a stir. This was revolutionary. It upended the assumptions that dominated the field at the time. And it remains a cornerstone of retirement planning to this day. We talk to Bill Bengen about his discovery – and his latest research – in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Podcast Reviews

Read Afford Anything podcast reviews

4.7 out of 5
3026 reviews
1snazzynazz 2022/06/17
Awesome Podcast!
Paula is so knowledgeable and welcoming. She definitely educates her listeners in a way that anyone without much of a financial literacy background ca...
Jamurphy 2022/06/03
Sharpen the Saw
Great podcast that helps provide insight into not only how to think about your finances but how to think about hurdles in your everyday life. Paula br...
AlwaysLearningInWA 2022/05/26
Smart, clear and relevant
Favorite finance podcast out there! Paula is amazing at summarizing broad theories to succinct decision making trees, making her advice application to...
mdc2011 2022/05/25
Never miss
Afford Anything isn't a podcast about money. It's a podcast about life, decision-making, and intentionally crafting your own path. I love the breadth ...
Dr lancha 2022/05/20
amazing learning pocast i first lear about paula when she was a guest on diversifying now i follow your podcast
Rustygirlla 2022/05/19
Top 5
I listen to ALOT of podcasts and this one is definitely in my top 5 favorites. Paula is so well spoken and explains things in a straightforward way. I...
l like this 2022/05/19
Episodes are too long
I’m a big fan of Paula’s podcast, but I wish the episodes were 30 minutes long. Most episodes are over an hour long, and I don’t have time to listen.
Timmy and Carrie’s MacBook Pro 2022/05/15
Great podcast! Highly recommend it.
Renee in NM 2022/05/04
Better than just financial advice
I started listening for the financial advice…but stayed for the life improvement. My favorite episodes are those where Paula interviews an expert or a...
Doug, MA 2022/04/22
Productive and Entertaining
I am just now getting introduced to this podcast, but have become quickly hooked. The Suze Orman episode was my gateway episode and am diving deeper ...


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