Wealth Podcast Post

Being Prepared with Joe DiSanto

George Grombacher December 15, 2022

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Being Prepared with Joe DiSanto

LifeBlood: We talked about the value and necessity of being prepared financially, what that means and how to do it, how to make big changes, and how to get started, with Joe DiSanto, Owner of Play Louder, a Fractional CFO, consultant and blogger.

Listen to learn why you must have both time and interest to successfully DIY your finances!

You can learn more about Joe at PlayLouder.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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About Joe
Joe DiSanto is a fractional CFO and consultant to small businesses and high-income individuals. He also founded the blog Play Louder, which serves as an invaluable resource to help individuals and business owners increase their net worth and plan better for their future.
Check out some of Play Louder’s most popular content…
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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Joe DiSanto

Episode Transcript

eorge grombacher 0:00
All one word for this is George G. And the time is right welcome. Today’s guest strong, powerful Joe DeSanto. Joe, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:22
I am George. Thanks for having me on, man. Appreciate everyone. Yeah.

george grombacher 0:25
Joe is the owner of play louder. He’s a fractional CFO, consultant and authority blogger he’s helped. He’s working to help individuals and business owners navigate their finances increase their net worth, and plan for the future. Joe, tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work. And why do you do what you do?

Unknown Speaker 0:43
Yeah, well, what you just said is what I’m doing these days. But I really just kind of been a lifelong entrepreneur, I like to call myself like a do it yourself entrepreneur. I’m more like very hands on and it’s like, I like school. And I like getting I like learning but like, quickly, I’m kinda like Indian, what we just gotta go get going on this. And, you know, learn a little bit along the way I kind of, you know, kind of quickly run out on the book prep, I guess. And, you know, that led me to, in my what I call previous life is owning production and post production companies in Los Angeles. I was actually a photography major, believe it or not in college. I always loved business and finance, though and and I’ve always wanted to own my own business. So I was always on this road of like, I want to pursue my creative interests. But I also want to, like, own a business start a business at some point, I ended up finding the perfect place to merge all my interests in the industry of production, post production. And luckily saw saw my dream through of owning the business got that going. When I was about 30, and also invested a lot along the way, like part of what part of what actually helped me to be good at business was adapting a good finance, personal finance regimen as a young person. Like, I didn’t have any, like finance training, I wasn’t a CPA, I’m not a CPA, I didn’t go to school for that. I was, like I said more of a creative person who liked business. But I started tracking my own finances and paying attention to that mainly out of fear. Because that was going into debt, you know, my after college and early 20s. And I was like, God isn’t pretty, it’s not gonna be fun, but I gotta like really pay attention to this, but it really helped me to get a good sense of how to run finances you know, and I started to see that really, you know, your personal financial life is very much like a business and then it’s its money in its money out you need a net profit at the end of the day, if you don’t have one, you have to reassess the business of you and how it’s going. And you have to have a plan. So I’m so working on that just from my personal life really helped prepare me for owning a business and I ended up doing a lot of tasks, but one of them was managing the finances of the business. I was the CEO and CFO. And what happened was is everything went well it was going great, but we had a child that’s a bad thing. But having the child really forced my wife and I to kind of reassess our lifestyle like we we loved working we loved the business that was like my first child was the business but once we had this the real child we were like wow man. We had you know kids take up a lot of time you know, and it’s like if you want to kind of we wanted to do it as best we could. And we felt like our lifestyle of like working so much really wasn’t lending itself to being the best parents we all want it to be. So it’s crazy it sounds we came up with this like cockamamie idea you know to blow up our life like just redefine how we’re doing it try to figure out how to work less have less stress so we could have you know a more balanced family life and we ended up moving we moved to we did what I like to call we retreated to cheaper ground we moved from California to Florida and luckily both being entrepreneurial but also being very personal finance minded and investing minded. We did pretty well for ourselves and you know, we created a nice nest egg even though we’re only in our early 40s we were generating some income from our investments and we’re like perhaps we can figure out you know, and this was part of our goal can we figure out like a like a like a you know, less stress like I said less time commitment work but also you know, so make it kind of part time but also make it mobile because we did want to do some more traveling and kind of like you know unchained ourselves from from be having a like a, like a brick and mortar business and all that. And we managed to figure that out. And now I do this, you know, fractional CFO work, I’ve kind of took the one area of my business that I used to do, and I’ve turned it into, you know, my my gig basically. And that’s how I make, you know, that income, that extra income from work that we have, I kind of call myself semi retired now, because I work part time. But, but I, we also decided to start the blog and just kind of, I’ve become an evangelist now for, like, you know, taking your personal financial life seriously understanding that, like, you know, no one was going to do it for you, I really, you know, tell people, you need to treat your personal financial life like a business, and you take it seriously, you need to have a plan, you need to have goals, you need to know where you’re headed, and how you’re going to get there. Just like a business, this, you know, you plan it out on paper, do your best to execute your plan, and you adjust for, you know, things that come up along the way. So, it’s, it’s a different mindset, you know, about about your personal financial life, but I think it’s important, it’s worked for me. And so, one, you know, with my current clients, who a lot of them are business owners, you know, I start helping them with their business. And then I say, you know, why are you doing this, you know, I mean, you’re doing it because of your passion and zone, but you’re also needing to, to eventually set yourself up for your life down the road, that can be kind of retirement that can be like a financial independence state, I call that like, act three of a four act life where you kind of down you downshift to, like a like a low, you know, less intense work life and a little bit more, you know, life oriented life, especially after you have kids. So you want to have all these choices. And the only way you have choices is to be prepared and you know, have a goal that you’re working towards.

george grombacher 7:03
I love it. Love how you describe yourself early on as somebody who loves learning, but you just want to kind of roll up your sleeves and start doing the practical work and maybe get away from the books quicker than most. And credit you and your family for taking a big step back and saying, You know what, this is great what we’re doing, but we sort of want to make a difference. And what would that look like? And where can we make this happen? And then you actually did it?

Unknown Speaker 7:31
Yeah, it’s tell you what, it’s not easy. I have to say, changing your life in such a fundamental way is just like it’s like a logistical challenge. Even beyond like the massive emotional and you know, mental challenge. And you have a lot of like, kind of worries and regrets. Am I doing the right thing along the way, you have to kind of stay on this course. And it was it was a fascinating experience, it still is, you know, we’re still living and we’re living our new life. But what kind of worked out nicely for me is, when I left my business, my partners who are awesome, they’re my best friends. You know, they were supportive, though, they were sort of confused. I think like many people we knew, because I think a lot of people were like, You got it all figured out, you know, I don’t understand what you’re doing. But they were like, hey, well, you know, we’re gonna have to figure out how to, like, you know, find other people to do all the things you do. But like, what if you just keep doing the finances, like, you could do that from far because no one’s really ever none of them had ever really put their you know, the head and the finances because I always did it. And that kind of started this, you know, fractional CFO work. They were like my first client. And it helped me actually that one to get this gun, but also helped me to keep in touch with, you know, a lot of my old friends on a more regular basis. And because a lot of my other friends who own businesses, after I told him I was doing that, they were like, Hey, are you doing that now? Like, would you do that for my business? Because we really need that, you know, and I found out that there is like this niche there, where it’s like, businesses that are not too big, like my business clients range from like, five to 30 employees or so. Like, if you don’t have a business person as that that’s a partner and say you just have like, kind of two creative people that are partners or whatever. There’s this whole there and it’s like, they don’t necessarily have enough money to justify a full time CFO, but they really need the advice, you know, and they need the oversight and they need the, the analysis and all that. And it just, you know, created this little niche for for me, you know, to do this kind of work, you know, so I get to keep in touch with a lot of my old friends and, you know, through working with them because it’s funny in Los Angeles, you know, it’s a big place. You’re so busy. See, like, if you don’t live like next door to your friends, you might not see them for like six months like it just like Time goes by so fast, especially once you have kids, and you’re working and you’re trying to keep up with all that. I luckily, actually three, a two of my three business partners, we all lived in the same area of Los Angeles and also good No, so we actually did hang out even outside of work. And the other one wasn’t too far and Culver City, but several my friends, like we’re on the other side of town, you know, and it’s like, we I almost talked to them more now, in some ways, sometimes I think, which is kind of funny. And then COVID happened in it, it did put like, you know, this idea of like being far away and still working together, like, very normal. So it’s kind of interesting. But prior to COVID, what we were doing was very novel, we were like, work at, you know, living in a less expensive area, you know, not living anywhere near we’re working and working remotely. And like the fact that we had figured that out for that time, like to designate Teen People were like, fascinated by that. They’re like, wow, you could do that. And at that time, you know, my Florida is like, not the cheapest real estate place in the world anymore, either. But our town actually was quite reasonable when we moved here in 2018, you know, like, compared to El Segundo, the same house at the same amount of land and like a similar kind of, you know, area was probably about one quarter of the price it was in El Segundo probably that’s a little bit that disparate has been changed a little bit. Maybe it’s more like a third actually, because both markets have gone up significantly, but like, real estate prices in our particular town have nearly doubled since 2018, which is bananas.

george grombacher 11:52
Yeah, there are so many different factors logistics, the mental the emotional challenges that go into that, but creating a plan. That’s sort of that is well, that’s that’s not the first step, what is the first step just figuring out what it is you really want creating that vision?

Unknown Speaker 12:08
Yeah. And it’s, I would say, Absolutely, and that’s, that’s not that different than the long term planning of like, whether you want to call it retirement or financial independence or whatever, you do have to figure first, like, where do you want to go, you know, what, what is the destination? Like, it’s hard, you know, and then you make this sort of plan to get to your destination. And it’s, that’s completely how I like, frame a lot of the like the work I do want to do, like coaching with individuals, and actually even have like, a course like a free and a paid course called the financial independence roadmap. And step number one is saying, you know, in 10 or 20 years, we’re going to be like, literally, do I want to be in like town, man, do I want to be in a less expensive town? Do I want to be in Europe do want to be in South America? You know, what do I want to be doing? If I if I didn’t have to work today, and the way that I’m working? What would I choose to do? Because the truth is, doing nothing all day is no fun. So you might maybe you want to volunteer, maybe you want to, you know, still work for money, but you know, not be under so much stress or whatever. And you figure out what that kind of looks like, and then you eventually put, you know, a number on that and you go, okay, how am I going to achieve that number, you know, and the move, not all that dissimilar in that we’re like, Okay, what do we want out of this next phase of life, we want to work less and less stress, we want more flexibility in our work, we will have lower overhead so we don’t have to work as much. And my wife could be, you know, full time mom while our kid was young, instead of being instead of us both working. And then we’re like, okay, like, how much would that cost, you know, in a less expensive area? And then we’re like, Okay, well, if we have this amount of money coming in from our, you know, cash flow from investments in real estate, how much more money would we need? And they’re like, Okay, well, how could we make that? You know, and it’s like, it’s not, it’s all quite simple, really, you know, but none of this is complicated math, it’s basic stuff, but it just takes some thinking and, you know, more specifically, setting some time aside out of your busy life to like, just put it on paper and go, Okay, you know, we have a goal now, we need to make the roadmap, let’s make that map. And then, you know, let’s, let’s get on that journey, basically.

george grombacher 14:34
Yeah, it’s, it sounds simple, and it’s not, it’s not overly complicated, but it’s so hard to do that. It’s so hot and it’s for all those reasons you’re talking about it’s

Unknown Speaker 14:49
I think the biggest reason people don’t do it, just in life in general like not you know, setting aside making a big life change because that’s like its own little category of journey, but um, It’s just time and interest, you know, I look at finances kind of, like I look at people’s hobbies, you know, like, some people are into personal finance, like I am, as it turns out, and it’s, I’m lucky that that’s an area of life that like I would, you know, find spin I enjoy spending time working on, some people like to exercise all the time, and they’re lucky because that helps them with their health, you know, it’s like a two for one. I ironically, really don’t like doing exercise at all. And it’s like a super chore. So, so I kind of say to people, like, one year is pressed for time, you know, in this busy world, especially once you have kids, and if you don’t have that much interest in it, it’s just like, so easy to put, you know, to the wayside, you know, just, you know, be like, I’ll get to it, I know, it’s important, it’s very much like exercise, you’re like, I know, it’s important. I know, I gotta do it. No, it’s for my own good, but like, it’s just so hard. And I just don’t feel like, you know, when I have the time. So getting over that is a really important thing. And I do do kind of individual coaching with people, a lot of the people that I do that with, they call me and they’re like, in their 40s, and they’re like, you know, I’ve been putting this off. And now I’m starting to get stressed that like, maybe I haven’t put enough time to it. And I’m behind, and I don’t know what’s going on, and we got I got kids, and they’re like, eight, and the college is coming, you know what I mean? And it’s just like, ah, and it’s very stressful, you know. So, in that I tried to, like help people kind of get set up. I mean, it does require some effort, just like exercise, or, you know, it’s like financial fitness, you got to do a little bit of the, the, the homework, and you do keep track of your stuff and have a plan. But I help people you know, kind of stay accountable to getting set up to track their finances, and creating a plan. And then like checking in with them that, okay, like, I’m keeping up with my exercise, I look at my results versus my plan. And I see if I’m on the right track, and all that doesn’t have to take that much time, you know, in your life, but you’d be surprised, like 20 years can go by and like you just like didn’t do a couple Saturdays, you know where to work, for whatever reason, but, you know, time, time just goes by, you know, and then if you’re not prepared to do well, you know, when you’re, when you’re older, you think you’re gonna work forever, you know what I mean? Or, or you’re gonna continue to love what you do. But things change, you know what I mean? Or you might get aged out of your work, like we worked in advertising and television, and so on. And you see people get aged out and just kicked out of their jobs for younger, cheaper people all the time, right. Some of them are prepared for that some of them are not. So like, you know, you got to be prepared for like what’s coming in life. And it might be that might be just, you just, like get tired of it, you know, just like I just want to stop, like I’m not happening where I want to do something else, I want to like pursue passion, I don’t like my job anymore, or whatever. You want to be prepared to be able to make those changes, you know, and have those choices. So that’s a fun way to look at it having choices versus just like preparing for retirement, which is like 30 years from now, like why? Why am I worrying about that, you know? So

george grombacher 18:25
being prepared for retirement is not a super exciting and compelling thing, but being able to have choices when you were older and to do the things that you want that that that very much is. So I appreciate that. Well, Joe, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? And how can they act to access the financial independence roadmap?

Unknown Speaker 18:45
Yeah, my website is the number place play ladder.com My slogans work smarter plan, better play ladder, you know. And on the website can’t be told you can get all the information, I have my courses for free if you you know, fish, they’re all of the articles and you know, kind of read it piecemeal. What I do with the course is really just kind of distill the most important things and then in there also I give spreadsheets you know, to do some calculations and map things out stuff that I created for myself that really helped me and then also I give guidance on getting up with, you know, tracking your finances in some, you know, Headstart items in there for that as well. So, the course just basically saves you a bunch of time, which is you know, why it cost a little bit of money. But you can you can go the free route or the paid route on my website, but the information is all there either way.

george grombacher 19:40
Love it. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, showed your your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to play louder.com and take advantage of all the great resources that Joe has on the site and check out the financial independence roadmap. Save yourself time and gauge your interest level. hole in doing this and to find out if there’s an opportunity to to work with Joe thanks good Joe

Unknown Speaker 20:06
Cool thanks George appreciate it man

george grombacher 20:08
and until next time remember do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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