Covid-19 Era – Tips and Tools to Find Financial Freedom and Footing

Covid-19 Era – Tips and Tools to Find Financial Freedom and Footing
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Risa: “Manisha, thank you so much, how are you?”

Manisha Thakor: “I am great, thank you so much for having me on.”

Risa: “I’m super excited to talk to you. This is a super stressful, yet very important topic and I think if we have some takeaways and some planning that we can do in the next half hour/forty-five minutes, that can kind of ease people’s anxieties and fears over what’s going on. Then, I think we can call it a day and go have a nice glass of wine that you know you will deserve. So tell me—if you can just give me a little bit of background in terms of your background in finance. How you came to it and what you’ve been doing with like how came about.”

Manisha: “Sure, so I am shocked that I’m saying this, but I am turning 50 in August and so, I have been working in finance for 25 years now—yeah 25 years—and I did my undergrad at Wellesley and I headed into investment banking after that. Then, I did my MBA at Harvard Business School and moved into an institutional and then, ultimately individual wealth management. So I’ve been swimming in the financial seas for quite some time and money then, I love this word ‘side gig’ fact when I was doing this, so I’m glad that I feel very hipster when I use that phrase, but I have a side gig and it’s running Moneyzen which is a financial education consultancy through which I teach, I write, I give keynote speaking, and corporate consulting around financial wellbeing.”

Risa: “And that’s how you came into my sphere actually because I heard one of your talks.”

Manisha: “That’s right. I am a guest lecturer for the institute of—or I guess guest faculty— for the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and Risa brings up a really good point which is just how ubiquitous the issues with finance are. What the founder of the Institute of Integrated Nutrition found was that his students were struggling because either they themselves were having financial issues or even more common many of the clients they were working with were having nutritional issues because they were having money stress. So, it’s everywhere. Really the first message that I want people to hear is that it crosses all ages, gender, income, network levels and stress.

Risa: “Yeah, well, now that we’re in the era of Covid, I think that we’re all looking at money differently right now and I’m wondering if you have any sense in terms of what you’ve been seeing out there. Is there specific places that we can be focused on?”

Manisha: “Well, I think the one thing is there is a columnist at the New York Times called the sketch guy Carl Richards and his personal finance column is my favorite. His philosophy is that any financial concept worth paying attention to should be able to be explained a cocktail napkin with a sharpie and one of his iconic drawings to get your questions is the intersection of two circles and in one circle it says, ‘what matters,’ and the other circle says, ‘what you can control,’ and the intersection between what matters and what you can control is what you should focus on and in this time of Covid it feels like so much matters, but we can control so little of it. So, when it comes to your money, what can you focus on? The first and most obvious is our spending. We can’t always control our income, but we can control our spending. So, that’s one area that I will speak more about. I have several ideas there that can be I think even fun to implement.”

Risa: “That’s the problem though. That it is fun for a lot of people to spend. That’s probably part of the issue.”

Manisha: “Actually, the founding reset ideas that I have found people engaging in that are actually—and I’m not kidding— are actually fun. It’s like ‘Marie Kondo-ing’ on doing your finances.”

Risa: “Oh, very cool.”

Manisha: “Actually, why don’t I stop there because actually let’s dive into that a little deeper because for most of us, that’s the number one stresser. Are we spending too much? Do we have enough to spend? There’s lots of boring tactics about tracking cash flow, but the one that I find most useful and fun right now is to go back and pull up a credit card from pre-Covid and just look through it or if you’re using a couple credit cards, print out each of them. Look through the charges you made and highlight on those credit card statements anything you spent money on that didn’t bring you joy. What I found has been one of the most empowering things that people tell they’ve been doing and just like you know Marie Kondo would encourage you to attack me—you know, there’s an order in which you attack things when it comes to financial uncertainty. This is a great first step because you feel like you have something that is in your control and not taking away any happiness.”

Risa: “That’s awesome. I feel like I’m pretty frugal, so I don’t—but this also means that you still have to pay your bills. It doesn’t mean like you can hold on. ‘I don’t feel like paying that so…’Manisha said it doesn’t bring me joy, so I’m not going to pay my electric bill.’”

Manisha: “I mean and then, what that leads you into are more questions about money meaning in life, right? The electric bill—I mean that’s like a perfect one, but—”

Risa: “Can I ask you to go back actually because I’ll actually bring my sister as an example. Lots of things bring her joy. This is the problem right? So, she overspends because you know she loves that handbag. Whether or not she can afford is a whole other question, but when she wants it, she wants it. I feel like there’s a lot of people out there, right? I’m hoping that Covid has brought certain things to the surface. ‘Maybe it brings me joy, but I don’t really need it like so there has to be some sort of barometer now like in terms of how much joy and how much it costs and how much I am making or…?”

Manisha: “No, absolutely and that’s the second step that I find helpful—is to give people a framework. A lot of people are thinking about what we’re eating, how we’re spending our time, and it’s also a great time to think about what healthy spending looks like.  My favorite formula for healthy spending actually comes from a book that Elizabeth Warren wrote in 1992 when she was still a bankruptcy law professor at Harvard and what she observed was that families that was able to withstand life’s speedbumps—this big, a classic example of a bump—were families whose spending roughly look like this: fifty percent of their home pay was going to essential needs, thirty percent to wants, and twenty percent to savings for the future. When I say that to people, most of them either want to put my eyes out or ask me what I’m smoking because like, “save twenty percent for the future?!” The idea behind that is that part of it would be for near term emergency funds, helping you build up that you know that over quoted 3-6 month emergency fund, but it’s actually really excellent advice. The reminder is saving for your retirement and her justification for that was spot on which is we are the first generation that could live as long in retirement as long as we were working. My Dad retired at 52 and he’s going to be 81 this year and so, that’s a lot of retirement to be funding and so, the numbers work if you are saving twenty percent and you’re investing it wisely, but a lot of people aren’t. They’re saving much closer to one to three percent, so you’re not going to jump over to twenty percent overnight, but this combination of using joy based spending as an approach or meaning valued based spending to look at how you are spending your money combined with this framework that is kind of tough love—50, 30, 20. You don’t get to put just, you know, your mortgage is a need, but you don’t have to have a media room. You don’t need to have an extra guest bedroom.   There’s a lot of stuff you don’t need that we’ve now come to believe we need. It’s the same thing with food. We need food, housing, transportation, medical care,  but the definitions of those—part of them goes into wants which is that thirty percent category and so, using this time to really redefine what 50-30-20 could look like on a sustainable basis going forward when we get out of Covid—that’s another really powerful example of the interaction between what matters and what you can control.”

Risa: “No, I think that’s awesome and I think that’s a really simple formula—50, 30, 20 —that you can remember also. It’s just making sure that you don’t think it’s 50 percent want and then, 30 percent essential. It’s like. ‘What did she say again?’ But, yeah, I think you bring up a really good point about what’s a want and what is an example because you’re absolutely right. I think a lot of people would say, ‘My big house is an essential,’ even though I don’t use a third of it or whatever. So, if someone is living beyond their means, are there any practical markers first to let them know that they’re spending beyond their needs because I actually feel like a lot of people who do, don’t even know that they are? Like are their formulas?”

Manisha: “Well the simplest one and this is the hardest one, so I just want to say like this is my raw, organic vegan if you want to, you know, use food analogies. The simple, the harshest and strongest definition is if you’re not saving 20% of your money and the only debt that you have is a mortgage, then you’re living beyond your means—if you are in the city where you need cars to get a around, a car loan, or car payment—if you you’re not saving 20%, then you’re living beyond your means because in modern times, especially for us women means making sure that we’re—for each year that we’re living and earning today—we’re setting aside enough that it can grow and compound and sustain us in the out years. So, if your savings rate is low, then that is one very clear definition that you’re not living within your means because a lot of people think, “Well, I don’t have that much credit card debt, and I’m living within my means,” but they’re not maxing out their 401ks. They’re not maxing out their IRAs, so that’s the single biggest test. The other test is any kind of credit card debt, high interest rate, student loan debt that you’re still paying off which would typically be private student loan debt. That isn’t quite so much living beyond your means, it’s just that trying to do the right thing for your education and your career now bit you in the tushie and you’re lugging that debt with you, so that’s another sign that while it’s not that you’re not living within your means that you have to adjust your means and pull back on some stuff in order for the pie to work given the student loans. The other thing I like to emphasize is that 50, 30, 20 is a starting place, but you get to pick. The only thing that’s fixed is 20%. That’s the magic number of saving for the future, but if you live on the East Coast or the west coast, where I am out here and it’s expensive, so if I want to live in a certain kind of place, my housing costs might go up and therefore something else has to go down. That’s the piece that I find people are willing to make the trade-off on is to recognize at the end of the day. All of us have a take-home pie that’s a hundred percent and no matter how we slice it, it’s a hundred percent.  No matter how we slice it, it’s a hundred percent. So make one slice bigger, the other slice needs to get smaller. 

Risa: “Well, I think some people’s pie is really small right now. So, say you’ve been laid off or furloughed or whatever right now which there are millions of us who are and you don’t have any say—how many?”

Manisha: “Thirty-eight million people have signed up for unemployment and that doesn’t include people who have had hours reduced.”

Risa: “Yeah, and people who have not even signed up for unemployment.”

Manisha: “Right, right.”

Risa: “yeah, so the number of course is much, much higher than that and that’s globally right?”

Manisha: “The U.S. number. U.S. Is that not horrifying?”

Risa: “I can’t think about it too much. It gives me too much stress, but I am, we are in a very fortunate position because we just like we save all the time because we’ve lived the life of an artist and we just never wanted to be in debt and that was our philosophy you know 25, 30 years ago. But, for those people who are not in the same position who are now taking loans just to live, I mean… How do you feel about loans and taking money out?”

Manisha: “So, part of this comes from my immigrant background and part of it comes from my financial training, but I have this belief—I literally hyperventilate when I have debt like I just can’t breathe. I like to say that debt is a 4 letter word and there are times when four-letter words are you know used with good reason and there are times when debt is used for good reason like very few people can go buy a house for cash early on in your career. There are a few people even if it’s a beat-up clunker can go out and buy their first car for cash to get to work, so there are times when borrowing money makes absolute sense, then there are emergencies like what many people are going through right now where you have no other option and if that’s the case, you got to do what you got to do. But, the thing I just remind people is to be really, really diligent and ask yourself if you had to pay twice as much for this item, would you still be using debt to buy it because if your debt has a mid-teens interest rate and you just make a monthly payment, basically it’s going to cost you around, but it’s going to cost you twice as much. So then, that can really bring you home. They may need to be borrowing money to pay rent or to pay for food or to pay for other things—the handbag—from slipping in because you wouldn’t pay twice for that. 

Risa: “No, that’s a really point. That’s a really good way to you know ask yourself before you go and hit the pay now button or whatever. We do have a question: with this 50-30-20 approach, is there a way to calculate the ideal amount to retire with?”

Manisha: “I wish there were a super simple rule of thumb. The rule of thumb I’ve seen out there, anywhere from, ‘don’t retire until you have at least six times your annual expenses saved to—I kid you not—’don’t retire until you have twenty-five times your annual living expenses paid. So, the range of estimates that’s out there is ginormous. The tool that I like the best is something— if you google the ballpark estimator. It’s put out by a government entity that still exists—thank the lord this particular department hasn’t been shut down yet and it’s called At the ballpark estimator page, take like 20 minutes and you input a lot of different information and it will give you pretty darn good estimate of what your number is, but just conceptually speaking, the way want to think about it is if you were—I’m just going to use round numbers—if you and your household spend one hundred thousand dollars a year and both you and your spouse have put in a full 35 years working each of you, so you’re going to get the maximum amount of social security for both of you. I’m rounding again, but that will likely bring in around twenty thousand dollars for each of you. So, now you’ve got a $100,000—$40,000 of that is covered—and in theory of that 100,000, 20,000 of that was money for the future.That was the 20% you’re saving for your future, so you don’t need that anymore, so now we’re down to, you just need enough in investments to cover that $40,000. So, we went from $100,000, we subtracted $40,000 for social security and then, we eliminated $20,000 that you were spending because that was going through your savings. You’re left with $40,000. The very, very rough rule of thumb is every one million dollars and savings can safely generate a withdrawal rate of forty-thousand dollars a year. In that scenario, you need a million dollars to retire. Now, a couple of things and in previous generations, almost nobody went into retirement with a mortgage on their home because they brought a home and then, they lived in it for 30 years, so by the time they retired, they paid off their mortgage. We’re in a very different situation now, so a key thing is I tell people to be really careful about don’t aim to head into retirement with a mortgage or any debt and that will also help lower your numbers, but the ballpark estimator will give you a much more custom number and then, there’s another book that I like to recommend—I will rarely tell you that I feel strongly that you should spend money, but to answer your question about retirement rolls. There’s a little book. It’s $12 on Amazon by an accountant and shockingly straightforward, simple English, less than a hundred pages, no jargon, and it’s called, Can I retire, and it is this single best book. The author is Michael Piper. This is the single best book I have ever seen in 25 years that explains exactly how you answer that question, ‘How do you arrive at your number?’ So, between ballpark estimator online and the 20 minutes it will take to do that and then, maybe 3 hours, 4 hours max it will take you to really read, think through Michael’s book, Can I Retire?  You’ll have your number.”

Risa: “That’s awesome. We’ll put all the suggestions that you are bringing up in the description section below. You’re absolutely right. My in-laws retired at 55 and they’re almost 80 and they’re going strong, so it’s true that we could be in retirement for a very long time and so, how do we manage that financially? But, we are also trying to get over this hump—this year to 2 years—we can get through this and not be in a worse position. That’s what I’m trying to hope for people, so that we’re not borrowing more. We’re not spending more just to get through and then when we’re out of it and we do finally have our solid jobs back, we’re so drowning in debt that it’s almost hard to recover from.”

Manisha: “Right and it’s like you know that medical adage, ‘First do no hard,’ and so that’s the first thing. It’s the most harmful thing you can do. I would call it the financial version of injecting Clorox into your veins to try and prevent Covid is taking on unnecessary debt. So many of us are going to have to take debt—necessary debt to meet absolutely essential spending commitments. It could be health-related, could be housing-related, could be food and insurance related, but do not take on any debt that you don’t absolutely have to take on. That’s such a slippery slope. It’s like, I’m trying not to eat so much ice cream these days and so, I’m trying to limit myself to four ounces a day which tells you something about how much I used to eat a day and then, sometimes I’m like, ‘well, I’ll just have another spoon,’ and then, that slippery slope never ends well for the pint. So, there’s something about having—not allowing yourself to like trickle out of those edges with the debt because sometimes I can just feel like you know, ‘what’s an extra couple hundred bucks on something that’ll bring me joy in this crappy period and stick it on the credit card with the essential stuff. That’s why I like to use it. ‘Would you pay twice that amount? Do you need it that badly?’”

Risa: “Right, no that’s awesome. I think that all need a little tough love and different checks and different checkpoints because you know the ice cream sitting in the freezer definitely looks really good right now. We’ve all been there. Who’s kidding. So, how do we—are there things—you know, there’s certain things that we can do, but in terms of like mindset and stuff around there, is there like a healthier mindset that we can have? I feel like there’s also a lot of anxiety around like, ‘I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I just don’t know what’s gonna happen,’ so either they spend a lot or they don’t make sound decisions. I don’t know, do you ever talk to people about, how to plan like you give all these great tips in terms of planning—do you find that reduces the anxiety for people?”

Manisha: “It really depends. I meet people who have a ton of money, nothing mathematically to worry about, and they are incredibly anxious and then, I meet sometimes people who have every reason to be worried about their finances and their like happiness can be so, you know, the anxiety around finances does not always, in fact, frequently does not correlate to your actual financial situation and so, one of the things that is in periods of crises that can be a really great time to reassess your thoughts around money and the meaning you want it to have in your life. I’ve been thinking about it a little bit and writing about it a little bit in terms of in financial spirit animals.  So the way I see it is all of us have two birds inside of us. One is an ostrich and every one of us, me included, there are parts of my finances like I just don’t want to deal with. My head is in the sand and like I really don’t want to think about it and then, we all have a little peacock in us too. There are times when we want to you know show off our pretty feathers, but the goal I think we’re all aspiring to is to be like the bald eagle to be like soaring free, you know, the ability to be able to see things from above and not be encumbered and I think it’s really a good time to identify where are your ostrich areas, where your peacock areas, so when this passes, you have less baggage holding you back from that kind of a standpoint and two books I recommend and Risa, I think these will be new recommendations for you. I didn’t mention them in any of our previous conversations. One is a book by Lynne Twist and it’s called the Soul of Money. The other one is one of my all time favorite books written by Vicky Robin and it’s called You’re money or your life. I found those two deeply profound books to help you think about what you will want stuff and money to play in your life because it’s different for everyone and these crises could be great opportunities for us try on a 180 in terms of a new viewpoint.”

Risa: “That’s awesome. So, Your money or your life, are these books—in terms of the topic—in terms of how to look at money? How to have your attitude towards money?

Manisha: “Yeah, so I’ll tell you a little about Your money or your life because that’s the book that’s had the biggest—the single biggest impact—of any book I’ve ever read in my life. I read it in 1992 when it first came out and I just graduated from college that year and the underlying premise that Vicki and her now deceased co-author Joe Dominquez were trying to make was that money is the current. It’s the flow of energy. We get money into our lives because either we or loved ones in our household are doing some work and in exchange for that work, they get money. So, when we or our loved ones go back out into the world and we spend that money, quite literally what we are doing is spending that life energy and so, that’s what money is. It’s the distribution of life energy and thinking about how you want to spend it isn’t about being in a straightjacket or depriving yourself. It’s just about honoring where you want to put that money and not right or wrong answers to that, but that framework can really help and begin as a number of other frameworks in there as well. That’s the one that really, really struck me. There are also some sub tools in there that are also super useful, so the average American works about two thousand hours a year when you include all of the you know work related commuting and everything it’s roughly forty hours a week, fifty hours a week a year. So, if you are making $50,000 a year after-tax and you divide that by 2,000 hours, or what you come to is an hourly wage in a sense and that means you are making twenty-five bucks an hour and so, now if you see something and it costs a hundred dollars and you’re like, ‘I how to have this,’ you can say, ‘Whew, that’s four hours of my life energy. Is it worth it or not?’ Using the ruler of your life’s energy as the rubric against which to decide to make decisions rather than some kind of external societal judgment. So, that’s what Vicky talks about and Lynne’s book goes much more into what I would call the philanthropic strategy or mindset that you want to have. There’s so many ways to get back into the world. I can just be—I don’t want to say ‘just be,’ one of the most powerful kinds of philanthropic activities that are mentoring the next generation. It doesn’t always have to be monetary gifts, but she talks a lot about the soul of money and from that standpoint.” 

Risa: “So, at what point do you feel like someone should seek a financial advisor? Sorry, I know I’m pivoting but—”

Manisha: “No, no I’m just sighing because it’s—you would think, ‘at what point do you go to the dentist, but it’s not.’ It’s you go to the dentist because you have teeth. You don’t necessarily go to the financial advisor just because you have money. Yeah so, what I would say is there are two kinds of folks. People who just like to do it themselves and never need to see an advisor—it’s a very small percentage of people—and then, people who don’t enjoy dealing with their money or just want a second opinion on it. That’s the vast majority of people. Now, we’ve come to the real problem which is, ‘Where do the vast majority of people go to get help?’ A little known fact about the financial service industry and let me just back track. One thing many, many, many people tell me about the thing they hate about seeking financial advice is it feels like they’re shopping for a used car like the price is okay and the whole experience just feels slimy. The reason for that is in the financial services industry there are two legal standards to which financial companies can adhere to. So, there’s one legal structure under which the financial service industry can build out their businesses and that’s called suitability. The other legal structure they can set up is called the fiduciary and those two words may sound like, ‘blah, blah, blah, blah,’ but they’re huge—they’re different. An advisor who operates under the suitability standard has the legal right to put the interest of themselves and their firm ahead of you so long as they advise suitable. For instance, if there is an allergy drug that is made by Pharma Company A that works really well with your body composition and you go into the doctor and they give you a prescription for Company B’s allergy medication and it’s suitable. It’s an allergy medicine, but they don’t have to tell you if— for instance, the reason for writing that is because they can get bonus points for office renovations every time they write a new script for that company’s line of products. So, that’s what is happening under suitability. There are some good advisors. I have some good friends that work for firms with suitability who really do try to do the right things for their clients, but the pressure under the suitability structure to do what’s best for your firm ahead of your clients and the ability to do what’s best for yourself above your client. That’s like a hand in the cookie jar—makes that experience which is about eighty percent of financial advisor experiences out there feel disgusting. The other type is fiduciary and a company that is set up under that fiduciary standard has a legal obligation to put the interest of the client ahead of the advisor and the advisor’s firm.”

Risa: “This is all public information though, right? That’s it’s suitable or it’s a fiduciary corporation, so you would know that before hand.”

Manisha: “Well, only if you ask. I mean, no one puts up a sign—a big huge neon sign—that says, ‘Our company operates under the suitability standard. Can’t wait to screw you, so you know, if you ask. I mean, it’s in the disclosure document. So, it’s in there, but the disclosure documents are like the drug disclosure like you need three layers of reading glasses to see the fine print, but if you ask an advisor who operates under suitability or fiduciary, they have to answer truthfully. So, when you want to get financial advice, this is my long winded way of saying, the #1 most important question to ask if, ‘Do you operate under the fiduciary standard?” Only work with an advisor who does. Now, it used to be, you could work with a $1,000,000 or more, but increasingly there a wide range of options for people who are not in that group, so for instance, I am about the retire, but the firm that I am about to retire from has been experiencing with—I personally think and I have no financial incentive for saying this—is the best financial planning offering I’ve seen for somebody with a hundred-thousand dollars up to a million that needs financial advice and guidance at a reasonable rate and then, between the zero to $100,000 dollars. I really like the offerings at Betterment and for women in particular, I like the offering that LFS does. They’re both two companies that rely very heavily on technology in order to provide financial advice for you using a fiduciary standard at a lower rate. The two other thing that I would say about getting a financial advisor is, every decent financial advisor will welcome the question, ‘What are your fees?’ People tell me over and over again and it’s really funny because advice on money is the product that we’re talking about, but they feel awkward about asking what the fees are. All good advisors will welcome that question because it’s a conversation for them to explain: A, what they are and B, what value you get in exchange for them. So, if somebody is not willing to have that conversation with you right off the bat then, that’s an immediate sign. So, check out, and are three great options if you are under the one million level and above one million, everybody wants to manage your money.”

Risa: “Oh, I’ll bet, so we have another question. Where best to invest your money in the given future economic market uncertainties”

Manisha: “Well, I have absolute certainty that no one can answer that question.”

Risa: “Right.”

Manisha: “What you do, right? So, I’ll tell you what I personally have done. I am actually officially retiring from the corporate world on May 31st.”

Risa: “Is that true?”

Manisha: “Perfect, yes. Right. 

Risa: “You’re not even fifty.”

Manisha: “I wanted, you know, my fiftieth birthday, that’s what I gave myself.”

Risa: “That’s an amazing gift. Wow.”

Manisha: “An early retirement so—”

Risa: “Wow. Congratulations.”

Manisha: “I have a lot of energy, so don’t think I’m gonna  just sit around.”

Risa: “Oh, no I have a feeling you’re not.”

Manisha: “Well, what I have done with my money that now I am going to be living on in retirement is I’m using target-date retirement funds from Vanguard and increasingly, I am seeing a lot of financial advisors guide their clients in this direction, so rather than saying, ‘and I used to do this in my old life and I just don’t believe it works anymore like I want to own airplane stocks, but I don’t want to own hotel stocks because I think eventually we’re gonna have air travel and they’re so cheap right now. But, you know, hotels, not so sure that’s coming back or your know,’ I mean there’s these bets you can make individual sectors, individual companies, individual countries that are all based on broader themes and that’s how so many of us were taught to invest like, ‘find something, you know,’ that was a long truth and invest in things you know. I have a spouse owning index funds which are basically owning everything since you don’t know what’s going to go and pop up—own a bite of it all—and so, the way I like to explain it is, it’s like driving down a freeway. There are 2 different ways to drive. You can drive in the left lane weaving in and out of traffic trying to get that incremental advantage or you can drive in the right lane maybe you got your seatbelt on and you’re listening to a podcast and what happens is that inevitably, there’s a traffic jam and both cars get to it at the same time, but the driver in the left lane has sweaty armpits and pop Katie heart rate and the driver in the left lane is calm, cool, collected, and in investment, driving in the left lane is analogous to what’s called active investing and that’s trying to figure out what’s the best to invest in going forward. What sectors? What countries? What stock should be out? Driving in the right lane is analogous to what’s called indexing or sometimes called evidence-based investing which basically says nobody knows, so we’re gonna own a bit of everything. Owning a bit of everything is what’s called pure indexing. Then, there’s a tweak on pure indexing which is some folks will say, ‘Well wait a minute, we know every Monday through Friday that this factory lets out I mean that’s a fact and there’s always a backup traffic jam, so why wouldn’t we use out GPS to go around it?’ That’s evidence-based investing. So, you’re not making a bet on something. You’re looking at a factual  trend with some proof and saying let me go around it. So, investors who do that tend to have a slightly higher percentage of their portfolio in developing countries. Small companies and what are called value companies. But, bottom line, think left lane, right lane. Almost everything you hear on TV is how to invest in the left lane. Most of the long term wealth is created driving in the right lane, but you don’t hear about it because it’s boring.”

Risa: “Right, I was just gonna say, doesn’t make good TV rating.”

Manisha: “Right, right:”

Risa: “It’s so much better to like throw stuff at the screen and yell and slam down the phone. Yeah, that’s awesome. So we’re going to wrap this up now. If anybody has any final questions, feel free to ask, but I don’t know if there’s anything that you wanted to share with people as we kind of you know—we’re certainly not through this, but I feel like we’ve gone through one wave of it and the fact that we feel like—it’s not a new normal—but we have shifted. It’s a new something, right, and it’s for us to decide. And so, as we kind of enter this new phase, is there any advice that you would give as a parting thought.”

Manisha: “Yeah, I think this is the best time ever to give you and your household a financial cleanse and literally start from the top down. What you’re thinking about the role of money should play in your life. As an example—I’m not proud of this—but for a huge chunk of my life, my self worth was defined by my net worth. I mean, I don’t wanna be that kind of human anymore. Other people may still want to be. I just don’t and so start from there on down and really trying to get into a place where you feel extremely comfortable with how you are—the relationship that you have—to money. And when it comes to the technical points of understanding money, there’s a book called the Index Card by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack and similar to Carl Richards, their philosophy is: look, pretty much everything you need to know about managing your money unless you have twenty, thirty million dollars plus, you can write it on an index card and so, they wrote a book with all the information on you know index card size chunks. If you read that book, a lot of people feel like money has to be hard or complicated, but I guarantee you, if you read that book, you will not as much or more than 95% of the people who literally and I’m not joking about this work on Wall Street. 

Risa: “Manisha, Thank you much. It was great.”