We’re all taught to save from the time we’re little toddlers. But, what is too much. Karl Eggerss welcomes Oliver Norman, CFP®, CHFC®, CLU®, CDFA® to the podcast to discuss this topic and how to balance saving and spending.
Karl Eggerss: Hey, good morning everybody. Welcome to the podcast. This is Creating Richer Lives, as the gentleman said, and I am Karl Eggerss. Welcome. Welcome to the show. Creatingricherlives.com is our website. Our telephone number, (210) 526-0057. This show is brought to you by Covenant – Lifestyle. Legacy. Philanthropy. And, of course, we’re always here to help you in any way we can. We put topics out there. We talk about a lot of different things on this podcast, on the website. But if there’s something you’d like to hear about, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and say, “Hey, I’d like to hear this on the podcast. Have you ever addressed this particular subject?”, or whatnot. And maybe we have and maybe you missed it, and it’s on our website. You can always go search for old podcasts, old articles, all types of things are on the website going way back, so make sure you check that out at Creatingricherlives.com.
Well, the stock market continues higher, and so there’s really not a lot to comment about right now. We’re still in a bull market mode. A lot of people still kind of saying, “Are we stretched? Are we this? Are we that?” Bottom line is we’ve got the Fed pumping money in, still saying they’re going to continue to do that, and the market’s continuing to push higher. Stay diversified. There is some rebalancing, tactical things that, of course, we could all be doing. Make sure you are doing those things. If you don’t know how, again, reach out to us and we can help you with that. But there’s really not a lot to comment on. We know the things that are on the horizon, but we will address those in the weeks to come. I wanted to spend today, though, talking specifically about spending and saving.
We’re all taught to save, save, save, but what if it’s too much? What if we’ve saved too much or we don’t need to be saving as much? What if we’re not spending enough? And so, that’s what we’re going to talk about on today’s podcast, and so I brought in Oliver Norman, who is a certified financial planner, one of our advisors here on the Covenant team. He’s out of our Oklahoma city office. You’ve heard him on here many times before, but he deals with this a lot with clients, as I do, and so I thought it’d be a relevant conversation for today. Oliver Norman, welcome back to the podcast.
Oliver Norman: Karl, good morning.
Karl Eggerss: How are you, sir?
Oliver Norman: I’m good, thank you. Yeah, really well.
Karl Eggerss: Good. Well, we have a fun topic today. As you know, we’re going to talk about not saving, saving, saving, saving. We’re going to talk about what if you’re saving too much? It’s not necessarily just spending, but really looking at when is enough enough in terms of saving? We’re primarily talking to retired couples today that have amassed this money and now, it’s the process of really trying to figure out optimizing the lifestyle and increasing that potentially, your lifestyle, through a little more spending. The legacy, do you go ahead and spend it on children, grandchildren or do you want to leave it to them when you’re passed away? Or the philanthropy, “Do I want to give it away and make an impact on my community, church, what have you, today and see the fun of giving those dollars away?”
That’s a hard thing for people to do because their number one concern is, “Do I have enough? I don’t know when I’m going to pass away.” We don’t know that. So, “Do I have enough?” Today, I wanted to bring you on to see if you could share your experiences talking with clients on, “Are you saving too much?”, which probably not a lot of people have ever considered that but let’s dive into that.
Oliver Norman: Absolutely. Karl, thanks again for having me. Always a privilege to be on the podcast. When we look at a financial plan for a client, we always start, we go through the, “What’s coming in, what’s going out and where are you saving?” And, generally speaking, there’s a number of different philosophies when it comes to this. There are people who say, “Right, this is what’s coming in. This is what’s going out. We’re doing the 401(k) match. We’re doing the HSA contributions. We’re doing the IRA contributions, and we do the 529 plan contributions for the kids, and we spend the rest on whatever we want to do.
Karl, you mentioned lifestyle, legacy, philanthropy. The way I think about spending is really in three buckets. The first one is purpose. That will be things like, “Well, our family, we want to have a high emphasis on education funding for the kids, the grandkids, charitable contributions as well. The second one is comfort. That could be things like, “Well, I’m going to make home furnishings.” Mani-pedicures, right?
Karl Eggerss: Why are you looking at me?
Oliver Norman: I looked you in the eye there.
Karl Eggerss: Why are you looking at me?
Oliver Norman: And then, you have the third one, which is experiences. And for our household, there’s a high degree of emphasis. And that’s not just necessarily luxury holidays, that could be mission trips, for example, and that’s really what we’ve had an emphasis on in our household. That’s the way I think of spending, identifying it into those three buckets. And one of the best things my wife and I ever did was really just sit down and talk about our finances and what are the values as a family and where do we want to allocate our precious resources. Not just financially, as well, but also time.
Karl Eggerss: Well, you bring up a good point because I started the podcast by saying that this is more about retirees and how much they’re spending, not necessarily. And the things that we’ve dealt with in this world the last several years through recessions and pandemics, a lot of people are sitting down to think about experiences and that’s not an age thing. You could have a young 30 year old couple or a 25 year old couple that doesn’t have kids yet, and they don’t need to be saving every penny either. They need to spend a little bit because we don’t know what our days look like. And so, there’s this balancing act between spending and saving.
And I do think a financial advisor walking alongside you and constantly updating your financial plan and having these conversations keeps you on track, but we also can give them the freedom that, “You know what? You can spend a little more, if you choose.” And then it makes them go, “Okay, a professional has looked at this and says, ‘We’re actually maybe even better than on track. We’re saving maybe a little too much.'” And so, that’s not really an age thing, but it certainly impacts retirees when “they’ve kind of made it.”
And what’s interesting, Ollie, is when I sit down with people, I can tell that when they’re used to seeing a particular net worth balance or investment balance, and let’s just pick a round number. Let’s just say they have a million dollars of investments and they’re comfortable with that. If they knew that they would have enough money for the rest of their life, but yet their balance when they passed away was $500,000, they probably may not do it because they’d be uncomfortable watching that go down to 900, 800, 700 and so forth. And so, what ends up happening is they stay at a million even through good times and bad times because they will crimp their spending. They’ll say, “You know what? I’m just comfortable. I’m used to seeing that balance and I don’t want to see it go down.” And so, what often happens is people end up passing away… And I’ll use an air quotes “with too much money” because it wasn’t necessarily their goal.
If their goal is that, fine. But if their goal was, “Enjoy our life and whatever’s left over can go to the kids,” which is a lot of people, then it’s our job to say, “You know what? You can turn up the dial a little bit and maybe spend a little bit if that’s your goal.”
Oliver Norman: That’s right. And, Karl, especially with retirement, when we talk about retirement, and in air quotes, because there’s so much of this where people think, “Oh, I must get 85% of my income,” and that’s a cookie cutter approach. Retirement is not a cookie cutter approach. You can go online, and this is where you and I have encountered this, where people have gone, “Well, I’ve gone online and I’ve put in my income and it’s telling me that I need to have X amount saved up.” There was a research done on Morningstar, that 85% number, that varies massively. For someone else, it might be 55% of their income, which they need.
Don’t feel trapped and pressured into society’s expectations of what you should have, because it will look very, very different for each person.
Karl Eggerss: Yeah. Another fallacy is take 100 minus your age. If you’re 90 years old, you should only have 10% in stocks. I don’t know where that came from because, again, it’s not taking in consideration your specific situation. I have a handful of clients who are approaching 100 years old, one of them over 100 years old, that is 100% stocks because they get so much income from other sources, more than their expenses, more than they will ever need. They don’t need to draw from their account. I’m reading the situation. I know what the risk tolerance is. I know when they need the money, which is not now or ever, frankly, and so they can afford to take more risk and that’s what they want to do. They’re not 100% bonds or 90% bonds as the Finance 101 books would say.
Oliver Norman: Exactly. It’s almost like you’re investing on behalf of the kids, and we’ve encountered that in the past as well.
Karl Eggerss: That’s right.
Oliver Norman: They view it as, “This is my gift to my loved ones,” and manage it accordingly as if that were the case.
Karl Eggerss: That’s right. Let’s break down kind of the how. We know that, again, I think our job is to have these conversations, really figure out, “What are you trying to do? Has your family really sat down and figured out what are our priorities? Is it to give a lot of our money away? Is it to give it to kids and grandkids, or is it to spend as much as we want to spend in our lifetimes.” Those are not for you and I, Ollie, or Covenant to assess. Our job is to talk them through it and then to execute in the most tactical, safe manner, and tax efficient manner, possible. But how do people listening to this podcast, where do they start in thinking about, “Do I have enough and can I spend a little more?”
Oliver Norman: Well, Karl,
Oliver Norman: One of the enhancements which we’ve had to Covenant Wealth Central, the resource which we use for a lot of our financial planning and modeling has had a pretty significant upgrade in terms of the resources which we’ve had available. And now we can run stress tests based on each year to tell you what your percentage probability of success of how long your money will last you for, which only reinforces the kind of modeling which we’ve been doing and it gives people even more comfort in terms of what they have available to them.
Karl Eggerss: That success rate is not the opposite, it’s not a failure rate, right?
Oliver Norman: Correct.
Karl Eggerss: It’s if you’re 80% successful through several stress tests we run the 20% just means that there’s a 20% chance you have to modify your plan either and get better returns, inflation’s going to have to be lower or you’re going to have to spend less, something’s going to have to change but we’re not talking about you’re literally going to run out of money and you’re going to have to eat cat food.
Oliver Norman: Absolutely, that’s right. So first of all Karl where we start? We start with your income, we start with your expenses and we start with your existing savings. What kind of margin is that? And where do we want to emphasize it to make your objectives and for you to realize your values? And the other thing is Karl we talk a lot about what we want to do, we need to start thinking more about when we’re going to do it. My wife has always wanted to go to Alaska and oh, Israel is another classic. That’s what we want to do and I know Karl that’s something you and Amy have spoke about as well.
Would it be more beneficial for the Normans or the Eggerss to do, take that trip to Israel in three years time and have that as a lasting memory and impact on your spiritual and relational life or wait till 20 years to do that? Those are the other things and we can, we’ve got the tools and the materials. It’s very, very straightforward to do, work that into a financial plan and what I love is having a timeline of when do I want to hit these great experience landmarks which will be incredibly impactful for our families.
Karl Eggerss: Yeah. Goals is kind of a overused term just like risk is in our world. And really when you ask somebody, “What are your expenses?” Sometimes they don’t really know because they may be counting stuff incorrectly or, “What are your goals?” They don’t really know how to verbalize it. It’s through conversations where we know and we can interpret what that really is and how to prioritize them as you say but to your point about, should we wait 20 years to go do something if we make it 20 years, right?
Oliver Norman: Right.
Karl Eggerss: That’s the challenge is what if we wait and we never got to do these things. And so again I think our advantage of being advisors is that we meet with thousands, literally thousands of people and so we see all these different situations and pretty quickly we can assess somebody’s situation to say, “You know what? This isn’t going to work the way you’re doing it.” Or conversely, “You’re actually doing it so well that let’s talk… Let’s go on offense and not prevent defense.”
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: “What do you want to do?” And we will give the rubber stamp blessing on it because we would have run the numbers and analyzed it. And by the way it’s an ongoing conversation that’s the key. This is not a 1990 financial plan which is a yellow pages phone book. This is a digital, open-ended conversation where things continue to be modified and we literally walk alongside our clients through life as things pop up, extra expenses they didn’t foresee or extra inheritance they didn’t know was coming. And then we can continue to have these conversations saying, “Let’s stretch this plan, let’s really do what you want to do with it.”
Oliver Norman: That’s right. And Karl we often say, “There’s only one area we will never give advice on and that’s how much you should give.” Where we really come into our own I believe is because many of our clients have been with us for decades. We understand that and we are privileged enough to know those relationship nuances and work through some of the questions of the benefits of maybe giving to your loved ones now and also for you to join in in that giving where you can see the fruits of that, which is huge. And some of the most incredible meetings that we’ve been privileged to be part of is where clients have held a family meeting to say, “Right, we’ve got this amount of money and we want to identify charities that are important to each and every one of you.” And to see that and to facilitate and be part of that blessing and allowing other family members to join in with that it can be massive.
It’s one of those ones where with my children when I go to a restaurant for example, rather than me handing out the tip to the waiter or the waitress I say to one of my girls, “Hey, look at the great work they’ve done for us. Why don’t you go over there and thank them personally and you give them the tip.” And it’ll just allows them to join in as well and that just is a great way for everyone to-
Karl Eggerss: Do your kids [crosstalk 00:16:04].
Oliver Norman: At least to give back.
Karl Eggerss: Come back to you and say, “Daddy?”
Oliver Norman: Yeah, exactly.
Karl Eggerss: “They don’t know what pounds are they actually wanted some dollar bills.” Do they say that to you?
Oliver Norman: Yeah, “Lily, didn’t i give you 10 bucks? What’s this change?”
Karl Eggerss: Yeah, no. We actually did that at the end of last year, we were going to do some more charitable giving and I let the kids pick their own charities and we put dollars around it. And it was a cool exercise. Things that meant something to them that they either have a passion for or tied into what they want to do.
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: My son’s a real big into music, he’s studying to be an audio engineer and so he picked a charity that had to do and tied in music with that and it was awesome. So I vetted them there’s a place called Charity Navigator I think it’s called that will vet some of these charities if you haven’t ever heard of it, it gives ratings and it tells you a little bit about their budget and kind of what their purpose is so a great place.
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: If you’re trying to get your kids involved. I had an example actually this past week where a couple came in, in their 70s, I’ve known them for like you said decades and literally we’re looking at the plan and the plan works under various scenarios. Stress testing it, “Hey, let’s throw an extra annual vacation in there of $10,000.” And the plan doesn’t budge in terms of not working, right. So it gives them comfort so I said, “Hey, I noticed your savings account since the last time we talked is continued to creep up.” And they said, “Yeah, we’ve been getting this money and that money and frankly we didn’t spend a lot in 2020.” And I said, “Well, we need to make that money productive.” So they said, “Oh, well, what do you think?” And I said, “Well, let’s first determine what your comfort level is for what amount of money you want to keep in savings and checking and then above that, what are your options?”
“Well, we could put a little towards the mortgage.” I said, “Yes, you could do that and that will save you some interest. But at the same time you’re never going to see that money again because this is the house you guys are going to die in, you’re never going to see that money. So financially it would save some interest, you could open an investment, another investment account or add to your investments with that money, could do that or you could leave it in cash and have a very high amount of extra cash that’s just higher than maybe what most people have in terms of percentage.” And if they do that, that affords them the ability to be more aggressive in their investments by the way, right?
Oliver Norman: Yes.
Karl Eggerss: This is barbell approach. You have ultra conservative investments and then you have some more aggressive investments.
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: So they were like, “That’s interesting, we haven’t thought about that.” I said, “But you know what I’d rather see you guys do? I’d rather see you guys have some fun with this money. When we you guys are traveling get the nicer Airbnb, go rent a car instead of taking yours, take the kids and grandkids.” And they’re like, “Yes, we would like to do that.” Those are the things that… These are fun conversations to have because they have options.
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: And they’re going to figure it out. But now they have multiple options ahead of them as opposed to they just saw this money sitting in a savings account, didn’t think about it because to them, “I may need that down the road.”
Oliver Norman: Yes.
Karl Eggerss: And I was running all these scenarios saying, “You’re not going to need that money.”
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: That money literally could disappear and you would be okay. So now let’s think about the spending part of it. So they were in our scenarios saving too much money in my opinion.
Oliver Norman: I think that great Karl and the other thing is as well which I’ll say, face the barrier. There’s always going to be reasons for you to not spend it, “Oh, well, what if I have a crisis with long-term care?” Great. Well, not great but, yeah.
Karl Eggerss: Yeah.
Oliver Norman: Yeah. Now that we know about it.
Karl Eggerss: You see.
Oliver Norman: Let’s model that for you.
Karl Eggerss: How about selling your house with all the equity that’s probably going to pay for it.
Oliver Norman: Right. Exactly, “Oh, so you’re telling me that if I went to a prominent nursing home facility in Oklahoma City that not only that I can still… Okay, I’ve got, I can do that, right?” “Yeah, absolutely. We factored that in.” So face the barriers is the first one as well and if there’s any evaluate what’s holding, what’s stopping you from living the life that you want to live first of all. And then the other thing is college I would say don’t wait. If you know the numbers work out don’t wait for all the lights to turn to green before you head to town because we’ve seen it time and time again where there’s people who have been holding onto in some cases millions of millions of millions of dollars, their kids are going to be fine, their grandkids are going to be fine their charities are going to be fine but they have all these aspirations which they never got to achieve.
Karl Eggerss: The other one I hear Ollie is, “What if the market were to crash?” And I say, “Okay, let’s talk about that.”
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: It did in 2020.
Oliver Norman: Yep.
Karl Eggerss: And in 2021 it was much higher than it was in 2020 so it did do that. And it crashed in 2008 and it crashed in 2000 and we may have 40% of your money in the stock market and you have the other 60% in safer income producing securities. So you start talking through, “Let’s really examine what does that mean the market crashes? So are you talking about a 10% or 15% drop? Because that happens pretty much every year statistically or are you talking about a permanent loss of capital to where your money is gone?”
Oliver Norman: That’s right.
Karl Eggerss: And we start talking through and they’re like, “Okay so what you’re saying is I’m properly diversified and it goes up and down and I’ve done pretty well over the long-term?”
Oliver Norman: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: “Yes, that’s what I’m saying.” And so again these are conversations that a computer algorithm cannot do for people. These are human conversations using our experience and really pinpointing what exactly are you trying to say and let’s examine that because they may have something in their head but they’re not verbalizing it properly or they just they don’t know the statistics behind it.
Oliver Norman: Yep, that’s right. And Karl you by waiting you don’t know what your health situation is going to be like 20, 30 years from now. And I know one of my things which I wish I did and I’m in my mid thirties, I wish when I was living back in Europe
Oliver Norman: I took more time to travel in Europe. I took for granted that I had places like Florence and Venice on my doorstep and I never went there. And it was the U.S. that was considered the mecca where you go to it from a European perspective. I wish I did more of that when I was living back in the U.K. So, I mean, thinking of those things as well.
Karl Eggerss: So it sounds like what you’re saying is, people need to have a plan and, again, there’s not one way to do it, but they need to have some sort of written plan, digital plan, because without that, how do you know if you’re saving too much? How do you know if you’re spending too much? How do you know that until you have run different scenarios with different what ifs?
Oliver Norman: Exactly. And, Karl, I’m also sensitive that there’ll be people listening to this podcast where you’re talking in terms of millions and you’re saving into all these different parts, and that’s great, but we’re just not there yet. Whether you have a little or a lot, something that I’ve seen that has worked very well for a number of couples is to have what I would call a mad money account. So that time when, let’s just take you and your wife, Karl, you work hard, you save half of your salary, but that Christmas bonus that comes around once a year, “Okay, we’re going to divide a portion of that up between us, and it’s going to go into each of our respective accounts.” And on that mad money account, you can use that money for whatever you want. So if you want to go and spend that money on a great night out, that’s fine. If you want to spend it on video game additional purchases, that’s your prerogative. But that’s your money to do with what you want.
And I think for a lot of people that’s provided a lot of comfort. I speak to a lot of married couples and often they feel the financial pressure of feeling constrained, and that can be a nice outlet of knowing, whether it’s a little or a lot, that you have your money for you to spend on however you want.
Karl Eggerss: Well, and with fees compressing in all different types of the financial world, bucketizing is cheaper and easier than it ever was. So having this discretionary spending account, if you will, is okay to do. That money in there can go to zero and it should go to zero for us to enjoy our life. That’s how we’re balancing the experiences and the spending versus our 401Ks, our IRAs, or joint investment account. So, again, identifying these things based on goals and objectives.
Oliver Norman: That’s right. And have the conversation, if you’re married, when it comes to your finances. How do we want to treat? Do we want to treat the bonuses differently than the salaries? The bonus might be viewed as a combination of hard work and that’s the cream, that’s the stuff over and above. And what we’re not going to do is we’re just going to let it sit in a bank account. We’re going to do something for us as a reward for the joint efforts on that. Those conversations.
Karl Eggerss: And generally speaking, if you’re somebody that’s 22 years old, 25 years old listening to this, you aren’t going to be in the situation today that you are five years from now. More than likely your income is going to continue to rise. And so one thing I regret is not spending good quality money on a really high end camera when my kids were little. I was at the age having kids when digital cameras were first coming out, and so a lot of the pictures I have of my kids aren’t real high quality.
Oliver Norman: Are they old Polaroids, Karl?
Karl Eggerss: I’m not that old. I still have teenagers. Although Polaroids see to be making a comeback. But I look back at some of those and I think, why didn’t I take more professional photographs? Why didn’t I invest in a nice camera? And I regret that and why did I not do that? Because, I was concentrated on saving. Look, because of my profession, I’m born and bred to save, save, save. And so, to me, I was like, “I’m not spending that money.” But now looking back, that would have been a small little amount that I just wouldn’t have thought about. And so for those listening right now, do stretch a little bit, because you will grow into some of your expenses, just like a mortgage. Our first mortgage, you look back and say, “That house was so inexpensive and the mortgage was so small,” and yet at the time it was huge. And I’m not saying to go above and beyond your means necessarily, but do realize that your career’s probably going to advance.
You’re probably going to get more income. Your investments are going to do well, and you’re going to grow into some of these expenses. And so just prioritize, like you said, what’s important to you? And memories and digital photographs, for me, was a big one. And so that’s one regret I have, but I do have a question for you, Oli. Since we’re talking about spending money, and maybe spending money that you know is not a good financial decision, like a pool, but it has a great entertainment value, what’s something that you’ve spent money on that you knew either now or back when you did it that was not a good, we’ll call it, an investment decision or financial decision to buy this thing, but you’re really glad you did? It was basically a waste of money, but you enjoyed it?
Oliver Norman: Waste of money, but enjoyed it, okay, hmm, there’s things that I bought, and one of the most recent ones, I might rephrase it and say it was a lot of money, but I enjoyed it, Karl, I’m an audiophile guy, I really love listening to music. And there were two things.
Karl Eggerss: Have you ever listened to a guy named Anson Eggers?
Oliver Norman: I do know Anson, yeah. You’ve heard it here, folks, he’s an up and coming star.
Karl Eggerss: Wants to be a producer, though, but does have some music.
Oliver Norman: He’s very, very talented. Yeah, I’m from a drumming background and he is an all rounder, as we would say. He’s got the vocals, he can drum, and he’s a producer as well, right, Karl?
Karl Eggerss: He is. He’s actually got a business doing that right now while he’s in college. But just a little sneak peek. I am to have him coming up on a future podcast to talk about being an 18/19 year old, and just their perception of saving and investing and how he thinks about money. I think it might be helpful to get in his head, because, again, this is not a kid that’s wired like me. I want to be clear about that. This is a little more creative than myself, but I do want him to talk about how he earned money as a kid and how he earns money as a college student, and really what he thinks about money. I think it could be helpful for people to listen to, and maybe let their children or grandchildren listen to it. So that’ll be coming up in the next few weeks.
Oliver Norman: I can’t wait, and Karl, even just to hear your dad jokes will be worth it.
Karl Eggerss: Well, when I call him sometimes, I hear my voice and it’s strange. I’m like, oh yeah, I guess he’s an adult now and he sounds like me. But, anyways, back on track.
Oliver Norman: Two things. One, I got some audiophile headphones and they’re wonderful. It’s almost like you’re in the studio with Beyonce, or I love John Williams as well, so listening to Jaws and hearing the orchestra, just even before you start hearing the main tune, I’m re-listening to music and I’m discovering things that I’d never even heard before. But I also treated myself to a nice Stickley Leopold chair, which I’ve been eyeing for years, and I finally took the plunge and did it. So I’m now sitting there with my English breakfast tea in the morning, in my chair, listening to good music. And it just doesn’t get better than that. Is it a need? Nope, but it sure was a want. And, for me, that is a good example of time well spent and it gives me a lot of comfort and enjoyment.
Karl Eggerss: So I’m picturing, for those that are a little older than you, there was a tape company called Maxell back in the day and they made audio cassettes. And there’s an iconic picture. If you put “Maxell tape” your Google images, you will see a guy sitting in a chair in front of these big speakers with his headphones on, and he’s literally getting blown away by the loudness I assume of the music. And it’s an iconic black and white picture, and I’m picturing, Oli, in that. So you guys listening to the podcast, go Google that. And then when you picture Oli sitting there, except he’s listening to the John Williams, drinking his English tea. A little different than that picture maybe, but that picture is an iconic ’80s picture. It’s called Blown Away, and that’s what I’m thinking of.
Oliver Norman: Yes. What about you, Karl? What about you? What’s your splurge?
Karl Eggerss: So this was probably in 2016. Yeah, I think it was 2016. I saw the new Mustang GTs come out and I had a 1967 Mustang in high school. So when I saw these new Mustangs come out with 450 horsepower stock, I kept talking about, “I would love to get one of those.” And my wife was like, “What is this a midlife crisis?” And I said, “Maybe, but I just like this car.” So actually went on purchased a brand new, which usually I like to buy used, but I bought a brand new car. It was what the kids would call Murdered Out, meaning it was all black, black car, black rims, black spoiler, black ground effects, black exhaust tips, black logos and badging all over the place, and the rumble of this thing.
And I bought it, and about a year and a half later, about 18 months later, I needed to get a truck. And so I traded it in and took a financial bath on that particular transaction, as you would imagine. But that was a fun 18 months with that car. And I don’t regret that at all, because it was an awesome piece of machinery.
Oliver Norman: Karl, are there any pictures which you could throw up out there? Maybe change your bio picture on the website. I think we should do that. Did you have the mullet and the Danny Zuko jacket?
Karl Eggerss: I could have. Yeah, you know what? Maybe I’ll put it in the show notes, the picture of this black Mustang. It was a beautiful car. So that was probably my biggest and dumbest splurge, but something that I really enjoyed and don’t regret it. And that’s pretty rare for me, because I am in that saving mentality and always trying to get a good deal mentality. But, again, there’s a balance. And the client I was mentioning earlier, he brought it up, he said, “Look, I’m a conservative German.” And I said, “Well, I’m half that too. I’m half German. I’m half conservative German too.” And he said, “So my mindset doesn’t want to spend. We want to save, save, save.” I said, “I get it, and I’m not saying you’ll ever flip that switch
Karl Eggerss: To be a quote-on-quote “spender,” all I’m saying is you have the right and the ability to spend if you want to. I’m not going to force it, but if you want to do that, go write that check and don’t feel guilty about it. And it’ll be a little shift for you, a little mind shift and, he kind of lit up like, yeah, I think I want to do that. So these are fun conversations to have.
Oliver Norman: Yeah. And Karl, but I thought of an example. Directly to your question, I was at Heathrow Airport one time, and I was scheduled to fly across to the United States for a surprise visit for my now wife, Emily. And I was in line and there was a couple who was talking to one of the representatives from American Airlines. Anyway, I was pretty close, within listening distance. And the gentlemen just turned around and said, after he finished with them, “Well I suppose you heard that conversation. Now I’m going to need to offer you a business class at a significant discount.” And I was like, oh, okay. And I’ve never flown on business or first class before, Karl. And he said, I can upgrade you for 200 pounds, which is what, maybe about $260 [or 00:34:07]or something like that at the time. At the time, $260.
And, this couple who had just finished, spun around and said, “whatever you do, you have to do this.” And I was pretty young at the time, and that was not an inconsequential amount of money. I was like, “do I really want to do this?” And they just said, “do it.” And I did it. And it was so good. You get in there, and they were: “what would you like from the menu Mr. Norman,” and all of this stuff, the reclining seats. And obviously, it’s a transatlantic flight and, oh, it was just heaven. And, for me, I love the phrase, “I’ll pay for sanity.” And that’s an example of way of paying for sanity. And could I use that money for something else? Sure. But for that experience, and at that time for a long flight, there’s a value to that. And there was for me. So I often think of that. I’m reminded as it was a helpful, helpful story for me.
Karl Eggerss: Well, and that’s the hard thing is that you can’t put a value on experience sometimes, but it has a value, right? Just like, I was saying that the pool. The pool is not a great investment, but it has some value to it, of experience and memories and so forth, and so some people choose to do that and say it was a great investment for my family. I will say this, in terms of flights for a gentleman who took his family of four to Israel, flying from Newark to Tel Aviv on coach. I think that was a wise upgrade on your part, because on the way back, I got stuck in the middle seat between two strangers that were sleeping; and I can’t sleep on planes, so I’m watching three movies. And so having to go to the restroom and crawl over two strangers while they’re sleeping, to not wake them up for, I don’t know, what is it, 11 hours? That wasn’t fun.
So, yeah. Now my upgrade, I asked, was $2,000 per seat. And sometimes it is cheap. It depends on supply and demand. Right? But I think it’s great now that they have something in between coach and first class. Right? And so a lot of these planes have business class that is really nice. I mean, you’re getting some extra leg room and few of the amenities, but it’s not quite as expensive as first class. So I applaud you for that decision, and that I didn’t make the decision, and was miserable on the way back. Well Oli, any last points that we didn’t cover in this? Cause it’s a really interesting conversation.
Oliver Norman: It is as well. And the other thing is, and maybe this will be a good topic for a future podcast call just in terms of discussing spending and priorities with your spouse and how to navigate those waters to have meaningful conversations; because as we know, finances can be a very sore point in relationships. So, I do love the idea of sitting down, even if it’s once a year for a couple of hours, just the two of you, what are our priorities? What are our values as a family? And what are the experiences we want to encounter? And typically the way that looks with me and my wife is we look at finances and say, “Okay, what do we have coming up down the road? And where have we been? And where are we now?” So you can see the progress that we’re making. And I know for my wife, that’s a really big comfort. So I’m a huge fan of those kinds of meetings. And you can make a weekend of it. Don’t make it your whole weekend. But sure!
Karl Eggerss: Yeah. I’ll tell you what if you’re about to get engaged or engaged, have these financial conversations, because you will see, you might come from very different backgrounds, where maybe spouse’s father was a gambling mentality and the husband’s mother was old trick conservative. So he goes into the marriage thinking we’re CDs and money markets, and she goes in thinking, no, I’ve read about the stock market and we can make double digits. And that can be a problem. And to spending, like you said, financial issues are a big, big contributor to divorce. And so, discuss some of that in advance. But I think you’re right. If you have a common goal, whether it’s experience, or its not how you spend the money may differ a little bit, but there’s just like with everything in marriage there’s going to be give and take when it comes to finances that maybe your spouse does it a little differently than you would, but come to an agreement and y’all are on the same page after that.
Oliver Norman: Now Karl, a catalyst for that conversation, I love the question, what was money like for you growing up? And it’s amazing just what you discover about each other, and your family as a result of that conversation.
Karl Eggerss: Agreed. Well, Oliver Norman, he is one of the wealth advisors here at Covenant, and he has these conversations with clients every day. If this is a conversation you’d like to have, reach out to us, (210) 526-0057. I can put you in touch with Oliver Norman. He is a Certified Financial Planner as well, and maybe you can sit down and have a cup of tea with them. Oli, have a great rest of your week. Take care.
Oliver Norman: Thank you, Kyle. Thanks for having me.
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