Wealth Podcast Post

Developing Healthy Financial Habits with Larry Mathis

George Grombacher May 20, 2022

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Developing Healthy Financial Habits with Larry Mathis

LifeBlood: We talked about developing healthy financial habits, the numbers you ought to be tracking, the questions to ask yourself, and why success with money is a lot more than investments with Larry Mathis, CFP, AIF, Founder and CEO of Mathis Wealth Management.  

Listen to learn why you need to take an honest assessment of where you’re at!

You can learn more about Larry at MathisWealth.com, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening!  If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and subscribe as well. 

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Larry Mathis

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on

blood blood. This is George G. And the time is right. Welcome. Today’s guest is strong and powerful Larry Mathis. Larry, are you ready to do this?

Larry Mathis 0:19
I am ready to do this Jordan. Looking forward to it.

george grombacher 0:23
Let’s go. There is a CFP and an AI F He is the founder and CEO of Mathis wealth management. He’s a speaker and the author of Mom was right. Larry, excited to have you on. Tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.

Larry Mathis 0:42
All right. So, George, I have been married to my wife Rhonda for 37 years, we started dating in high school. So we are the proverbial highschool sweethearts. We have three sons who are all grown three sons who are all grown working in their own for their own careers. We have an office in Phoenix, Arizona, we have a home there. We also have a home up in the mountains of northern Arizona, which is where I am right now. And we have horses and a dog and

and you asked, you know, why do I do what I do. It’s interesting how life’s challenges sometime can lead you in a direction that you weren’t really expecting. So I was raised by a single mom, George, my father was killed in Phoenix in 1965. My mom had seven children, she was 35 years old. This was 1965. So way back then she didn’t have a credit card, she didn’t have a home, she was basically renting a house, she was on her own kids from 15 months to 16 years old. And my mom worked very hard, obviously during her life, but she was able to retire debt free at 62. And candidly, George, even though I’m a certified financial planner, accredited investment, fiduciary own and manage a wealth management company 90% of the day to day financial decisions that I make. I learned from my mom being raised by a single mom. So why I do what I do. And I’ll be candid, I wasn’t always the best at making the best financial decisions, I made some mistakes in my life and learned through tough love. A lot of tough lessons for Mom, how to make the right choices when it comes to making financial decisions. So today, I try to help people to make the same smart financial decisions, not just based upon finances, but about the things that are most important for them in life.

george grombacher 2:44
Nice. Well, I appreciate thank you for sharing all that. Congratulations on 37 years of marriage, I think that there’s probably a whole podcast episode there. And what an incredible woman to be 35 years old with seven kids and to have your husband killed and and to then just still be able to do something. retire early. affectively That’s amazing.

Larry Mathis 3:16
Yeah, yeah, it was. It is it is really amazing. My mom’s since passed on, but she’s still making an impact in the lives of people through my book Mom was right, as well. As you know, I still have siblings who are living their lives a lot based upon you know, being raised by a single mom. So I have a I have a special affinity for for single moms. And my my goal really is not not just working with single single moms. But that’s a part of our practice that we really like to like to help and kind of have a passion for helping them make good decisions.

george grombacher 3:55
Think a lot of time it strikes me that that the world of personal finance is overly complex, it’s it’s it’s overly complicated. And then to hear that 95% of the decisions you’re making are based on stuff that you learned from your mom that suggests that you also probably recognize that that’s true to some form.

Larry Mathis 4:17
Yeah, there are a lot of complexities in the financial world, but really to be successful financially, in my opinion, there’s just some simple things that people need to do. And it really comes down to early on and the sooner sooner rather than later in life to start making good financial decisions, forming good financial habits. You can form good habits and bad habits, and they work pretty much the same. Obviously good habits work better for you when it comes to finances. One of the things I often say George, though, as I tell people that it’s that most financial decisions really have nothing to do with money. If you really think about it, the things that were really drives people to make financial decisions are their emotions, what’s happening right now in their life. But deeper than that, I think people need to explore the things that are most important to them in life. And what I mean by that, not just goals retirement at 65, and saving for a new home and such, but what are the driving factors kind of like the Olympian, you know, is working towards that gold medal? Yeah, the gold medal is the goal. But that’s not what drives them to become the best what’s driving them is to become the best the best that they can be. So helping people to identify those values, which is something that most people really haven’t even taken the time to do to determine the things that are most important to them in life.

george grombacher 5:47
Why is that? Is that just because we’re, we don’t pick our head up for long enough to do it. Do we not know the right questions to ask? Is it a little bit of everything?

Larry Mathis 5:58
I think you kind of hit the nail on the head, we, we we don’t know the right questions to ask. And we know we go to school, we may graduate from high school and start working. And everybody tells you you don’t graduate, get a good job, go to work and, you know, tried to save some money of your can. But we have, we have so many things that are thrown out at us every day. You know, buying buy this car, need to get a house, need to keep up with the Joneses need to get a new car need to put the kids in daycare and different things. And so we just have all this minutia out there that’s thrown at us. And but most again, there’s just in the finances can be complicated. But I think, I think when you said you know, we just kind of put our head in the sand. I don’t know that we’re putting our head in the sand. But we’re not opening up and saying what questions should I be asking myself? So a good question to ask is, you know, hey, what’s important about money to you? What’s important about and most people say, Well, you don’t want to have money I’ve got, you know, I can make decisions, I don’t have to worry about paying the bills. And when they say okay, well, so what’s important about being, you know, having the money and knowing that those bills are paid, and you kind of drive deep. And ultimately, what I find with most people, the things that they value most in time or in life, are spending quality time with friends and family having, as much as possible, a stress free life. And so it’s asking those kinds of questions, how important is it to you to lower stress in your life, and one of the biggest stressors in life are finances. So if you can work your financial decisions around reducing or eliminating financial stress in your life, you’re healthier, you’re funner to be around. Not so many arguments at home with spouses when there’s less financial stress. So that’s really kind of the process that we like to take people through, because there’s answers are different for everyone. But ultimately, being able to live less stress and have a happier life, being able to have a positive impact in the lives of other people, maybe financially. So

george grombacher 8:16
I appreciate all that

Larry Mathis 8:17
we have. And we haven’t discussed a mutual fund yet, George, that we need to

george grombacher 8:27
get to ETFs or index is at some point maybe for sure. In I think you’re right. Money is is a through line to lots of the good things in our life, but it’s also a through line to lots of stress and anxiety and bad things in our life. And that doesn’t matter. I think if you’re, if you’re 25 years old, and just kind of broke, you have financial stress, or you could be, you know, 25 years old, and and a multimillionaire and still have stress about money. So how, what is kind of that starting point, it’s asking yourself these questions and figuring out what the values are, but then identifying what is it about the money that’s causing you stress? Or how do we, how do you talk to people through that?

Larry Mathis 9:21
Well, once somebody has an idea of what’s important to them, and again, the goals are important values are more important, in my opinion, because those values are what are what kind of drive the decisions, then people need to know. Okay, I also have a gentleman who said something to me years ago, he says, Larry, what gets measured, gets managed. And I’m going to use a an example, if you will. So my son is an EMT, and Chandler, Arizona, and as an EMT, we had this conversation one time, and I said, so when you get on scene, what’s one of the very first things that you do once you realize, okay, the patients, the patients alive, so on and so forth. I said you, he says, Well, we take their vitals we take their blood pressure, you know, we check their Otunga and such their heart rate and so on. I said, so you’re measuring? And why do you measure make those measurements, he says, well, the measurements, what’s going on is going to determine what our what our treatment is. So I said, so essentially, what you’re doing there is you’re managing the care of your patient, by the measurements that you’re taking. So I encourage people to do the same thing with their finances, just like a doctor or an EMT, or whoever is going to measure certain things to determine what kind of treatment to give them. You need to measure your finances. And this is as simple as it gets. You need to know what you own. What are your assets? What do I have in the bank, but you know, what other assets? Might I have a car or whatever, but you need to know everything you own? You need to know what you owe. And, George, I can’t tell you how many people don’t have a clue how much debt they really have. I’ve had people tell me, oh, yeah, I think I have maybe, you know, five, or $10,000.05, or 10,000. That’s a big spread of credit card debt. And then when they really list it all out, they have a lot more than that. So you know what you own, you need to know what you owe. Here’s an idea. You should know what you earn as well. How much money do I actually make? I doubt that you’d be surprised, but many people would be surprised how many people don’t know what they earn. And that doesn’t make any difference. Whether you make 20,000 a year or 20,000 a month, you need to know what you earn. And then you need to know where does my money go. So what do you own? What do you owe? What do you earn? And where does the money go? And I’m not talking about keeping a budget per se, but I’m talking about finding out what are my actual expenses. So those are four things that need to get measured. And as you minute, measure those on a regular basis, you’ll find just by measuring those and keep tracking, keep keep track of it, you will manage those numbers as well, including spending and say,

george grombacher 12:00
What a great, what a great analogy for for financial situations is an EMT showing up at the scene of an accident and needed to do an assessment and to sort of stabilize and triage and to figure out where we need to go. But making sure that we understand what the vitals are. I think that that’s really helpful. And and yeah, people who are listening How well do you know the things Larry was just talking about? Do you know how much debt you have? Do you know how much money you have coming in? Do you know where it’s going? And it doesn’t surprise me that most people aren’t really clear on that. And that was certainly me for a long time for probably all of my 20s. And I know that you mentioned you made some mistakes also at one point in your life. So it’s very, very common.

Larry Mathis 12:44
Yeah. So I wonder if you’d mind if I tell a quick story, relating back to my 20s As a matter of fact. So this was obviously obviously before where I am now, financially, it’s vastly different. So I’m 60 years old Georgia, let people know how old I am. So back in my wife and I got married out of college and moved to San Diego, California, we rented a home for a little while. For a couple years, I got kind of tired of flushing money by paying rent. And if that’s what you can afford, that’s what you can afford. And so that’s what you do. But there came a time when we wanted to. We wanted to buy a house. So we found this great little home in north north San Diego County. I paid $105,000 for George, I wish I still had it because I could imagine what it would be worth today. But anyways, we wanted to buy this house, I called my mom up, and we had saved some money. And I can be really candid. My wife had saved about $5,000 at that time. And so I call my mom and I said, Hey, Mom, Rhonda and I want to buy a house. It’s $105,000. And there’s there’s this thing called PMI. I really didn’t know what it was private mortgage insurance. And I said we need to put down like 20,000 as she goes, sounds like you want to. You want to borrow $15,000. And yeah, I do. And so she said, Okay, so we I’m sitting there on hold and we’re talking, you know, it was a long distance phone call back then too, by the way. So I’m paying for this long distance call. My mom comes back a few minutes later, she says, Okay, your payment is XYZ was like 360 bucks a month, payable over 60 months, and you’ll have it all paid off. And I did the math real fast. I said, Mom, that’s that’s $18,000 but she says of course it is I’m charging you 8% interest. And I’m like 8% And she goes, What’s the rate on the mortgage? And at that time, George was 10%. That’s what mortgage rates were back then. So I said okay, great. So, anyhow, I said, Okay, so we did it, and we got the loan. It wasn’t that long after that. We’re all of a sudden now we got our eyes on on a new car, you know, we got a new house and we want a new car like everybody else, you know, we’d like we wanted nice stuff too. And so, and Rhonda was working I was working and but we you know needed an extra $2,000 So like, you get a call I call my mom’s got the money. So I call my mom and asked him told her Hey, Ron, and I want to buy this car we need to put down $2,000. Can I borrow? She didn’t even let me get it out. She says, I’m not loaning you any more money, Larry. I said, Well, why is that Bob? She goes, you’re already two weeks late on the loan that I gave you for the house with credit like yours, Larry, why would I loan you another dime? George, that was the turning point of my financial life. When I thought, oh, my gosh, my own mother will not loan me $2,000. That was the turning point. Totally at that point. I said, Okay, enough of this. We’re going to, we’re going to get our financial life in order. And I actually went and met and went to a conference where there was a financial, financial planner speaking. And he said, first things first, you got to figure out where your money’s going. And I took 90 days, this was painstaking. By the way, there’s, there’s programs you could do this for now. Back then I literally carried around a notebook with me. And anything that we bought Rhonda, and I wrote it down for 90 days. And we figured out real fast where our money was going, we were eating out a lot, a lot. Way back, then way back then it was $600 a month. But we figured out how to that was triage, as you said, I like that. So anyhow, I may have gone off topic.

george grombacher 16:32
No, I think that that’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing and, you know, credit to you that you ended up, you know, being being a financial adviser, but you actually took the advice that the speaker told you to do. And hopefully you’d let the the that woman or man now, Hey, you made a huge difference in my life telling me to track my spending, because I recognized Oh, my gosh, because I think that a lot of the time, just like you’re talking about, we just aren’t aware of how we’re spending our time or how we’re spending our money. And so that is the first step. And maybe once you get your arms around that, not that the rest of it gets any easier. But you’re least on the path.

Larry Mathis 17:14
Right? Yeah, that’s, that’s the key, you got to know, you have to know those, those four things. So and obviously, there’s more to it than that as well. Once Once you know that then you take the next step moving down the road on on other things that are associated in, in finances, which there’s there’s a lot and I won’t go into all of those right now. But there’s a lot of other other parts of that. So

george grombacher 17:38
yeah, well, I think that that’s going to be part two, and maybe three and four, Larry, so excellent. That people are ready for that, for today’s difference making tip, Larry, what do you have for them?

Larry Mathis 17:53
Well, the difference making tip I hate to go back and saying what I’ve already said, but this is really the key. You have to know where you stand financially. You know, it’s like if you’re, if you’re going on a diet, you hate to do it, but maybe you’re gonna step on the scale. So you have to know where you stand financially. So it’s a repeat George, but I hope it’s okay. Know what you own, know what you owe, know what you earn, and know where your money goes.

george grombacher 18:23
Why think that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. Yep, I might be one of the scariest things that we’re doing if we’re trying to lose weight is to step on that scale. And the same thing goes for our money. If we’re worried about how we’re spending to actually look at that statement and actually track it might be painful, but you have to rip off that band aid. So I think that that’s well said. Well, there, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you and where can they get a copy of your book? Mom was right.

Larry Mathis 18:54
So we have a website? Of course, Mathis wealth.com www Mathis wealth.com. I didn’t make mention to George but we also have Mathis public safety.com We have a division of our firm that works exclusively with public safety officers fire public safety officers, firefighters, police officers and such. If they want a copy of my book, they can they can reach out on our internet on our at our website, and just go to contact us and send us an email.

george grombacher 19:25
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did, share your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Mathis. wealth.com It’s ma t h i s wealth.com Check out three resources and shoot Larry a message but getting a copy of the book. Thanks again,

Larry Mathis 19:44
Larry. Thank you George has a lot of fun.

george grombacher 19:49
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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