Simon and Alan are joined by Ken Okoroafor, founder of The Humble Penny to talk about how you can master your money worries and how he built his online business. RECORDED LIVE: 21st April 2020 The Humble Penny – https://thehumblepenny.com
Note: This transcription has been generated with AI and there may be errors present.
The exciting thing about going line is when the red button appears at the top of the screen. And I’m praying and hoping, hey, you’ve put your clothes on this time, and that’ll be that’ll be a bonus. And you’re not saying anything inappropriate at the start of the thing, which is something that I would never ever do. And I’ve never ever said anything inappropriate at the start or the end or indeed the middle of anything. However, this is something that you do have previous convictions for. What explanation can you give?
The current explanation? I don’t know if you can see my hair is getting ridiculously long and I’ve grown a big beard. I’m actually I think, my friend say I’m turned 10% caveman. So that is the explanation on 10% Caveman, and you never know what’s going to happen next.
10% Caveman only 10%. Well, I think this this percentage is probably going to go up. And if anyone that’s tuning in right now will be saying Oh look. Allen’s coming up in scruffy T shirts again. But here is an exceptionally well dressed guest Ken from humble Penny. Can it’s brilliant to see you. How are you doing?
I’m great. Like I said to you before, I’ve literally run out of clean T shirts. This is this is my backup. This is literally my backup in
revenue all this well dressed at home all the time, you know, doing the hoovering the gardening. Exactly.
This is our wake up.
It’s absolutely brilliant to have you here. I think we’ve actually spoken more times on video calls than we have in real life. Because the last time I saw you was it our event in Paddington in Central? As Paddington works with a Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And with Alan’s foi, meet up and presentations and so on. So it’s fantastic that you’ve joined us again for this. And you’re, you’re sort of a mild veteran of pop up business schools as well, Ken, because you’ve been to a couple of our events.
Yes, yes. I love I love all all of what you guys do. I love the philosophy. I love the concept. I love the culture. So you know, whenever I’m called, I show up, you know, and Paddington was a lot of fun. really vibrant, full of lots of energy. Lots of good people there as well. So pleased to be here tonight.
Thank you very much. This is why is this why you’ve called your website, the humble penny.com. Because you’re always very very humble. And you always say incredibly nice things about Papa. So the feelings entirely me Alan, induce me to you over the email about two years ago, something like that. I can’t remember Alan, how did you come across Ken? What? How did you stumble across this website?
I think actually can. Didn’t you hear me on one of the podcasts?
I did. I heard you on the Choose.
Fi. Yes. I
think you’re wrong with Barney. remember correctly, quite early episode. Yeah.
Yes. Didn’t episode. Yeah. Choose fi with Barney. That was great fun. And then you send an email and say, Let’s have breakfast. Yep. And I think that’s my favourite meal ever. So yes, let’s have breakfast. And you came out to Kent to meet me.
Where were we was in Maidstone. I can’t remember now,
it was Maidstone our first event in Maidstone. We had a greasy spoon Cafe breakfast. Very, very healthy. And we just made friends instantly.
Yeah, it was fun. Okay, most
business schools start with a decent breakfast of some description. I think
that’s how everyday should start.
So look, there’s three topics of conversation that we’re going to dive into tonight. Well, that’s the plan anyway. And as you know, we tend to meander our way around these things. And it might go in into a completely different direction. But I think the three things that we wanted to explore with you, Ken, and I really enjoyed reading your website and watching some of the videos. And so it was brilliant to refresh my memory as well knowing that you’re coming on. So I think the three areas that we were going to explore. The first is blogging. Yep. And just your experiences of blogging and some of some of those things that perhaps you might do differently. If you were starting today based on the all of the success that you’ve had with humble penny, and it would be fantastic to dive into some of that. I know that you’ve moved, moved into delivering, you know, online courses through a membership offer and adding value to people every month. Oh, all around the topic of money. And that that was the third thing having you and Alan to sort of bounce around some stuff about financial independence. And, you know, I know that obviously the times that the moment. Money is super important to people and I wondered be really cool to explore with you if you if you’re doing anything differently as a result of what’s happened and we’ll chat with out and about that as well. And then if you don’t know Like any of those topics, and we have more fun going in a different direction, I think there’s a reasonable chance we might go of course, a bit. Especially, especially with Alan Donegan who’s just way out of my screen at the moment, Alan, it’s you’re the cherry on top. Because I’ve got I’ve got I’m in the middle of an Alan Ken sandwich. That’s not expected. Thanks. I don’t know what’s wrong with me this evening. I think I’ve been on the green stuff tonight. And I think it’s going to my head. And
that sounds very, very interesting.
I’m saying Sorry, can look, we accept your warm welcome. It’s probably slightly warmer than we were expecting. But let’s let’s jump into this because I’m super fascinated that that you arrived in the UK at the age of 14. And suddenly on your website says that, that your first country taught you business resilience? Can you talk to that for a moment, because I think business resilience is something that we all need in giant helpings at the moment, isn’t it?
Yeah, so I, I think about that, from a kind of a personal really personal perspective. So as a bit of background, I, I moved to the UK when I was 14. So the UK is first other country that I’d ever lived in. So quite a big culture shock for me, because it’s a very different world, when you move to the UK, if you’re not from this country already. Very, very different. So to give you an idea, from a resilience perspective, I was already used to a different type of life. And in Lagos, we had come from in Nigeria. So for example, I was very accustomed to not having running water, to have a bath, for example, you could easily you might have to go and fetch some water, from you know, you might have to walk, you know, three kilometres to go to a building somewhere to fetch water in a bucket, to then come back and then have your bath, for example. Or you might have, you might not have kind of regular electricity, you know, to kind of process and do life and that sort of stuff. And money was not something that existed in abundance, you know, because that was just the way life was, you know, he just didn’t have the comforts that we have in our current world at the even now, even with the current situation, there are still safety nets that exist today, that a lot of people from other parts of the world from where I came from, for example, couldn’t rely on, you know, there was no, you know, kind of, you know, health system, which, you know, we might say our health system, of course, is under a lot of pressure now, but at least it still exists, you know, over there in that part of the world, there wasn’t a health system, for example, they do rely on so you got used to essentially seeking survival every single time you had to find a way to put food on the table, you would just know, you know, you either you essentially ate what you killed. And that was that that was the culture, there was no, there was nobody coming to your rescue, there was no trust fund, you know, for you to inherit, there was no, nothing essentially, for you to say, this is a thing that I’m gonna, I’m waiting for, to kind of help me move my life forward. So what that meant was, was that when I moved to the UK, although life was extremely challenging, because when I moved to the UK, we didn’t have all the nice little documents ticked away waiting for us to start life. As you know, people, some of the people coming from other parts of the world, maybe from Europe, for example, might have had, so that meant we had a different type of challenge. But what that also meant was that we were, although we had those challenges, I felt I almost had the I was wired for that because we’d come from an environment that was a lot, a lot more difficult, a lot more, the terrain was not as smooth as it work. So you’d come in, and you felt that you know what, although people are complaining and things are quite difficult, I can kind of find a way to navigate this country, and find a way to, to survive here. And then after some time, if I found a way to survive, I can then hopefully, begin to thrive. That’s it for me. I was think of my journey into Hobbs as that initial survival phase, where I’m trying to get used to the culture I’m trying to learn the language and watching the TV channels that I’m repeating the words I can learn how they speak in their usual country language. I’m trying to understand how I can kind of almost integrate myself into this country, find myself some money work with my parents, my sisters, my brother to find ourselves essentially food to get through our livelihoods but and then over time, start to work towards a plant plan of potentially thriving and that’s where kind of ePHI much later on a few years later actually came in into my life. So resilience for me Essentially, essentially, from a personal perspective, that means that I came from a place where life was very different. To come in in here, I thought I had the potential, the raw materials to kind of operate here in a different way.
Amazing. And I know that Allen’s had some experiences in South America, I wonder if some of those experiences gave you a learning experience? I’m going to ask Alan about that in a second. But firstly, I just wanted to quickly comment that you should see the look on my kids faces when we run out of Oreo biscuits. I don’t know if I’m doing them any favours by giving them the stuff that I didn’t have growing up. But respect to you for that kind of what an incredible learning experience you’ve had, although you probably didn’t realise it so much at the time, perhaps. But, yeah, and what did South America teach you about resilience?
Well, I think the first experience was noticing, actually, the differences between the UK, I went to Costa Rica and I was doing a volunteer project in San Jose, the capital city. And we were using soccer to engage the kids from the slums, and then teaching them English by myself when they were having fun. And seeing the houses the way people live, like Ken said, the lack of electricity, water and different things, it definitely made you feel very grateful for what you have in England. And also the realisation that actually, the people of Costa Rica are some of the happiest people in the world. And those people may not have had much in terms of what we think of as in nice homes, and fancy tech and all that stuff. But they were, they knew how to be happy. They actually knew how to have fun and have love and share food. And I think that was probably the first time I realised there is not a correlation between the amount of stuff you have in your life, and the happiness you have in life. More stuff does not equal happiness. And there’s something else there that you need to work on. That is not getting the latest iPhone or a new car. There’s something completely different.
Try telling that to my kids, Alan, if you can you can you ring them up. Have you got you’ve got Jacobs number, give them a call for me and tell them it’s not about the iPhone son. No, it’s not about the iPhone 28 or whatever it is.
It feels like it is at that age. It’s at that age. It does feel like if you don’t have the latest tech, you’re not cool at school. And I felt like that,
for sure. Just wanted to say hello to some folks that have joined us. And very politely they’re saying hello to you, Ken, which is one Oh, hello. Hello. We’ve got Graham Carter, from Dan and Portsmouth. Hey, Oliver afterdark great to see him back here. We’ve got some travel hackers that have arrived We’ve got John the pastor from vintage Namibia is watching again this evening. Great to see a John Cornwall. Roy is here John MB, Danielle Clive looks like the Wales mafia have joined us out and Evans is here. And Laura says she misses you, Allen, Kim Pickering, and Russell and Teresa great so and Jenny as well. Great to see everybody hear the questions. And Carrie as well I carry the questions that I’d love you to ask and you know, stick the questions in the comments. Tell me what questions do you have for Ken? Now there’s three subjects that we’re going to cover. One of them is money, we’re going to dive into money shortly. Because incredibly, at the age of 34, Ken was able to say, I don’t think I need to go to work anymore, because I’ve been smart with money. I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to ask Ken look, it’s a little bit late for me of course to retire at 34 I know I don’t look it but I am actually a little way past 34 Now everybody so so hopefully can alas Thank you can if Jack Jack will be listening this make sure we invite him back very quickly. So questions about money, how you can retire at the age of 34. Maybe maybe you’ve got some some ideas about investing. Maybe you’re the first rung of the ladder. And like Ken’s area of expertise is helping people and families think about money differently and make some really good money decisions. Maybe you’re someone that wants to write a blog and you’re interested in how to make money out of blogging, Adams got some experiences to share that and so is Ken and also about delivering online courses, which is something that that you’ve moved into recently and perhaps moved past and have gone on to the next thing which is super interesting. So if you have any questions about money, or about blogging, and Jack if he hasn’t done so already, he has done so there’s a link to Ken’s website in the thread. So please fire those questions in and we’ll do our best to answer them. Put Ken on the spot. I know he likes really difficult questions. Again, what happens, you know, when you reach the world of work, you know, what was what was the day job for you? And what point did you realise that you could do things differently with money than perhaps what a lot of your peers were doing? Tell me about that.
Yeah, so I, so I have kind of informal work. So work that I used to do many years ago. And I’ve shared a fair bit of this on YouTube, for those of you who are interested, check it out on YouTube does videos about my work background, but formerly I started work as a chartered accountant. In 2006, I started to train I got a training contract. And I was like, hey, you know, I, I’ve done something that no one in my family has ever done. I got a training contract to train as an accountant in the UK, can you believe that? Anyway, so it started this journey. And I was quite, I’ve been, I’ve always been quite into kind of focusing and being quite geeky when it comes to going to do the work that needs to be done. So I finished my training contract fairly early, about about nine months earlier than I should have, in the summer of 2000, actually, December 2008. And around that time, I qualified on paper so and then I needed to wait and do my practical exams. practical experiences show that basic qualified to become a chartered accountant, I started and then life has been since that about pursuing my career, and try to move my way up as the world of work has been. I’ve worked mainly in finance, mainly in an area known as investment management. So I’ve always worked in companies that were entrepreneurial, and investing in companies. And I basically grown in my kind of my career, I’ve gone from qualified accountant to finish controller to head of finance, finance director, Chief Financial Officer, so I’ve come I’ve just gone up. But obviously, with that comes, increases in income changes in the type of income, you receive bonuses, share options, that sort of stuff. But as my income went up, and this is a critical bit, I kept my lifestyle, not moving up that much. Okay, this is the big bet. So in 2009 2008, slash nine, I met my wife in October 2009. And we started the journey, the money journey together. After I read the book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and I met my wife at a rich dad poor dad, property investing seminar, she showed up to come and talk about property investing, and we met, and we have the same mindset around investing in assets to us, that’s going to free us up to kind of pursue a different life. So for me, I started thinking about money very differently in 2008, slash nine. And throughout that time, as many, many people who probably started investing around that period would have known, obviously had a massive bull market, lots of people invested money, I started investing in property. And then through that, as time passed, as my income increased, and as I invested in small businesses, with my family members, it makes some money, and then I started to put that money towards investing in the stock market. Okay, and obviously, that’s had a really good time, over the over, you know, over 10 years, and that sort of stuff. And with that, with increases in income, increases in in savings, putting money towards various other assets, whilst also trying the entrepreneurial route myself, I’ve been in to kind of get myself to a place I was in 2017, to a place where I could look back and actually see we’re actually at this point in time, the income coming in from my investments actually far exceed my essentially living expenses, you know, the bits I need to kind of live, and so on. And I now have that option. That’s very important, that option of early retirement if I want to get so that’s the that’s the background,
Ken that’s absolutely fascinating. And I’m really curious because because I want to bring Alan in here because I find it super fascinating that your, your decision making process as a result of no doubt the seminar in the book, your decision was to do the opposite of what I’m pretty sure almost every single one of your colleagues and contemporaries was doing because I’m thinking to myself, Oh, the salary is going up. Happy days time for the BMW Arlon. Tell me what you know your relationship as your your relationship with money as your income grew. So as your business grew after you started your training business, well, how did you respond to income going up? And you know, at what point did that change? I’m interested to know what the what the change the turning point for you in terms of thinking differently about That money was and how far down that conventional route Had you taken. So,
we so I was actually quite fortunate because I’ve seen a lot of people who’ve gone a long way down the conventional route, they bought bigger houses, bigger cars, they find out about this stuff, and then they have to unwind the stuff they’ve done, which happened to one of my friends call Mr. 1500, he had exactly that, and then had to unwind. And that can be a more painful process. Fortunately, Katie and I was still in the two bed, flat we bought at the start. So we just stayed there, I did have to unwind a slightly more expensive car. And I went way too cheap, I bought a set to never buy French. Maybe that was a joke. But the, it was a terrible car. And I think that I was quite lucky, I didn’t go too far down the path. But I always, I think my experience growing up was that we didn’t have a lot of money. Because my dad, all that story, everyone knows that. We didn’t have much money. So I held on and was just a saver, I was like, I just need this money in a bank account. So I can feel secure, that if something goes wrong, I’ve got cash to buy food, food is very important to me. And I like it, and I want more of it. And if I don’t have that money saved, it’s not going to work. So I was always as much as I can keep costs down and save. But I think that just came from the childhood experience of not having enough.
It’s funny, Simon is just just thinking about that. And for me what, what I think, made me think of this stuff differently, was not really because I came across the book and went to the conference. It was more that the book in the conference represented a vehicle of change in my life, ie, I’d never come across anyone in any my journey, my life surfer who’d said to me, well, actually, if you did these things, these particular this particular way, or if you went down this particular pathway, there’s a massive promise ahead, you could potentially change the game generationally, if your family like that had never occurred to me, I’d never come across that anywhere ever before. And it was a my sweat. When I talk about that book and other books. That was really a mindset shift, because it was like, Well, hang on, are you so what you’re saying to me is that if I took some of the money I come across today, and some of the money I’ll make in the future, but made different decisions around that money. I could potentially give myself a different life outcome. Right. For me, that was almost like a somebody handed me a blueprint for this is how you do like differently to the way your parents did it.
Yes. And I think just in that particular book, there’s a statement in there that says, Buy small liabilities and buy big assets. And that book fundamentally changed what Katie and I were thinking to do. And Robert Kiyosaki helped us decide to buy a two bed flat in Basingstoke instead of a bigger house. And then we took the difference and invested it. And that exact book had the same impact on us was buy small liabilities and spend the rest on assets. Yeah.
Yeah, I love this stuff. And actually, we’ve had a comment, I just want to talk to one particular comment from Caitlin soft before we move on to the next bit, because Caitlin suggested that, that we shouldn’t be promoting Robert Kiyosaki because he’s a con artist. And there are lots of negative comments about not in this thread, but just generally that people have had bad experiences from free seminars, do the heavy sell, you kind of get enticed him for something and so on. How did you inoculate yourself against that sort of stuff? Did you experience that? You know, and I think my approach to these things is to go in there with my eyes open, take the bits that work for me and ignore the rest. Yeah. What was your What was your oppressors?
I attended the free seminar. I went along because for me, in fact, I’d had a bad breakup. So for me, the seminar was like my way out, there’s nothing for me to do. And for the weekend, I thought, I’m gonna go learn about property investing, it’s nothing for me to lose, and I haven’t got money to give anybody right now. So I’m just gonna go and learn what they’ve got. And then see what way life takes me. And for me, for me that life took me on a different path because I met the you know, the partner, my life partner, and then started Take this journey towards investing. It just happened. The ad read this particular book. And of course, since then I’ve read many books, many other books that have helped me kind of for my life philosophy and kind of help me kind of understand the things that I’m trying to optimise my life for. So I completely get the people who are making the comments about this particular individual, that’s fine. But you know, I attended the free seminar and and it was quite good for me. So, yeah,
well, it sounds I think I’m going to bring it in here on this one. I just want to make the comment that only a financial independence expert would spend no money on a weekend event and meet his life partner. I just want to admire that
I went to I went to prep
for it, okay. Okay, that must have been at least a four pound investment. Alan, what do you think about this stuff about the free seminar business model, and you’ve experienced a whole bunch of these as I have? What’s your take on this?
So I think people get very het up over something is either very bad or very good. And they get very het up on they’re either a scam artist completely, or they’re not like some of these places charge a fortune for courses. And I’ve been on them. I’ve paid for it. Some I got value from some I didn’t. Yeah. And they’re not. Yeah, it’s an interesting one, like Robert Kiyosaki. I went and to one of his three day courses, I actually loved his book. But seeing him on stage, I thought he was dreadful. He, he mocked people who were bad with money and lost their money in the financial recession. And I hated his presentation. But I think what you’ve got to remember here with any of these things, is there is elements of value, he wouldn’t be someone we’re talking about, if there wasn’t some elements to value somewhere, take what you can from the book, that six pounds, that has a positive impact on your life, and don’t go to the course. And we’re not actually promoting him. I’m definitely promoting his book, his books, excellent. His courses not so much, but take what you can. We’re not everyone knows we’re a big fan of doing things for free. That’s the whole pop up business school model. And if you can pay six pounds for a book and learn a lifelong lesson like I did, that is absolutely worth it.
I think that’s a great comment, look. So let’s, we’ve got a couple of questions here where people were looking at what they can do to support themselves, either their families, in terms of making decisions about money. There’s a question here from, from Laurie, who says, she’s asking, What advice can I give my 23 year old daughter about investing now, so that she can break the negative money cycle? So we’ve got a 23 year old daughter, she’s got an opportunity to invest some money. You know, where do we start? And I guess, based on your experience, but maybe with a, you know, a sort of a thought about the times that we’re in now, would that alter the advice that you would give if we were in normal times? What do you think about that? Ken? Where would we start there? What questions we need to answer what say,
if you’re 23, I’m just completely jealous of you. Because I wish I was 23. And I wish I had a Facebook Live that was listening to at the age of 23, where I could ask a question about investing. So first of all, the big asset you have, by being 23 is the asset of time, because you have the opportunity for time potentially, to work for you. So what I would say to someone who’s 23 right now is think about investing as something that’s really for the long term. If you have a tonne of people now panicking running for the hills, and that sort of stuff. Think about anything you’re doing now anything you’re committing money to whether it’s you’re investing the stock market, or whether it’s you’re investing in a business opportunity, potentially think about it from a long term perspective. So and I’d say spend some time actually understanding what investing actually me, you know, so what’s this marketplace of a stock market? Everybody talks about? What happens there? What kind of stuff can I buy to kind of get to minimise the risk that I might be exposed to, as an individual? Can I buy funds? What are funds? What do they mean? Can I buy shares if I do, What risks do I face and that sort of stuff, and then gradually when you spend time learning and there’s so much that many platforms can learn from lots of really good books, YouTube channels, what have you spend the time actually understanding, then once you’ve understood then depending on your levels, kind of attitude to risk. I’d say start small, just ease yourself into it. Okay, you might want to start I would say 100 pounds per month, I might want to maybe go and gradually increase that. But the key, though, with investing and making it really work for you in the future, is to do it consistently, no matter the weather. Okay, that’s really the key. Because what most people tend to do is they say, well, actually, I want to start investing, but I’m kind of waiting for the bottom of the market or something like that. Yeah. What you find is, is that there’s not you know, I think remember Mike, Barney, Barney, Reddit, Facebook, basically saying something about, you know, there’s nobody ringing a bell to tell you what we’ve got to the bottom of the market doesn’t exist. So spend some time understanding. And once you start investing, just do it consistently starting quite small. And I’d say they’re just 23 really want to invest in things that expose you to sufficient risk reaching to generate enough of a return over time. So you really want more of an exposure to equities, such as time passes, and all the volatility, the movements or the noise, it’s kind of moved along over time, you can then gradually see your money working for you.
Alan, there’s a sale on isn’t there? Tell us about so we’ll just
nail this actually. So the one thing I’ve learned Ken, Ken has given a fantastically simple example. Even within that, that explanation. There’s words like equities, and stocks and shares, and there’s actually a language of investing. And one of the best things you can do at that stage is learn the language of investing, learn the language of finance, dividends, equities, stocks, and shares, index funds. There’s all these different terms. And you actually need to become conversational in the language of finance, so that you can talk to people about this and learn. So for me, let’s learn the language. Because I think so many people are scared of getting involved because they just don’t understand the terms. And they’ll hit equities and go what’s an equity? And How’s it different from restocking and sharing? Okay, I’m not gonna do any of this. So number one, let’s speak the language. And that’s probably the best place to start. Number two, is there a sale on? When stocks and shares tumble? The price goes down dramatically. It dropped about 25% initially around this Coronavirus thing. And you’re getting the stocks and shares at 25% If you buy them at that stage. So when the rest of the world is going, Ah, the world is collapsing, sell everything. Yeah. If you can be confident enough to buy. There’s an incredible opportunity, incredible opportunity. And I was saying that to you, Simon stocks and shares or unshare? When are we going to do this? Let’s do this.
You know, I really want to talk to you think about language. Alan, that was the one thing that I mean, even with a brother, my I’m going to, I’m going to make sure if my brother’s not watching and I make sure I play this back to him. Because my, my brother went into banking at the age of 16. And he’s been involved in finance has been managing his own pension for 2025 years. And the language of investing scared me because I didn’t understand it. And I think that is such fantastic advice. But I guess there’s a couple of people on the thread that are asking for some book recommendations from you guys, I think I just want to get to the next level of detail here. Because we can say, you know, let’s make sure that we understand more about what it means to invest. That’s great advice makes perfect sense. And Alan, you’re kind of adding to that next level to go well, let’s get to understand the language of investing. So that, you know if we understand what it means to invest, and the different kinds of investment and we understand the language then that that knowledge is power. But where do we go to understand these things? Because, you know, isn’t there a risk here that we’re going to come across some information that’s wrong, or that’s information and advice that’s given with an ulterior motive? Where do you guys what books do you read? What blogs do you read other than your own? Obviously, we’re going to come on to that shortly. In order to get you know, where do you Where does Ken and Alan go to get their financial information, advice and insight. And by the way, you can keep loving your bookcase so I guess you get to go.
Well, there’s some really good books. I think this is quite a good book. Smarter investing. So really good book by Tim Hill. It’s a very good book for investing. This is also a very good book for investing if anybody’s interested. There’s also Jim’s book which is
Simple Path to Wealth. Yeah,
it’s a fantastic book for investing.
So there are many, many books to read. There’s also another one called The Little Book of Common Sense investing, which you might want to check out. But these books are very good books to check out if you want to kind of learn in very simple language, what investing is about, okay, from a book perspective there obviously other resources you can check out as well.
Cool about you, Alan, I know that JL Collins Simple Path to Wealth will be on your list for sure.
It’s absolutely on my list. And I paid a lot of money to fly out to a conference to go near him speak and met him and ended up we I run events with him. But that book, like ignore the chapters on American tax, just skip them if you’re English, you do not need them. But the theories and the language and the simple way he explains it. And really, his advice, if you were to sum it up in a sentence is buy a broad based index funds and hold it forever, whatever. Very simple. That that’s it. And
just to mention, the reason he does that is because that it’s a very cheap, it’s a very cheap way to get exposure to potentially high performing assets over time. So, yes,
and that Katie and I heard his advice, we’d read a lot of other books, we worked out that his advice was excellent compared with other books. And we just went all in on that strategy. And it’s been an incredible strategy for us the incredible strategy. So that’s the next level of detail down Simon is those broad based index funds. Other places to go, Mister Money Moustache rocked our world, with his blog posts and his ideas. Yep, absolutely. And then two podcasts, which I love. The mad scientist, the guy’s name is Brandon, lives up in Edinburgh is he’s just a really genuinely nice human. And his podcast is great. And then the other one that has more of an American bent, because most of the content producers except really Barney, and Ken and a few others are from America. And it’s choose ePHI. Choose financial independence with Brad and Jonathan.
Start podcast, great podcast,
great podcast started some of the early episodes, skip the ones on American tax. But a lot of it is relevant to what we’re doing. You just need a slight translation tool that a 401 K is a pension or sip. And for
my eyes are glazing over. Now, I know this is really important information. But you know, I’ve got a very short attention span for these things. I’ve got two questions, one of them’s come from Rob, which I’m going to fire at you in a second. Just before we answer that question, Alan, you’ve always explained your broad based index fund thing really well to me and the team when you’ve been just, you know, sharing your in Katie’s journey about money, just on this thing about language and understanding the language can you give us? Can you give us a 15? Second, what’s the difference? You know, what is that? And what does it mean? And what’s different to me jumping on, you know, with a stock broking website and buying shares in Apple, what’s the difference between the two.
So when you buy Apple, you’re buying one company. When you buy an index fund, let’s say you buy the American total stock market, you’re buying about three and a half 1000. So you are putting your money and spreading it across an entire market, as opposed to gambling one company will be successful. So you are diversified in a broad way. We actually buy one that diversifies across the world. That’s the difference. One is picking one company and gambling. The other is picking an entire market and going I think this country, or this market will do well.
Beautifully done right. There’s a great question here from Rob. I think we’ll deal with this question. And then I want to jump into blogging and online courses. We’ve had a few questions about that, as well. Ken. So the question from Rob, it’s almost the opposite challenge to the question from Laurie. So Rob is saying 53 He’s in a fortunate position to be debt free, is amazing. Excellent. He’s got a public sector pension that’s building nicely. But what financial advice you know, what sort of things could you be suggesting that Rob looks at? If he wants to retire at 60? You know what, what sort of thoughts goes through your mind about about Rob’s position and how it perhaps might differ from Lori’s daughter. Oh, okay. And should we go to a casino? Get what do you think?
There’s something we I got
a couple of early thoughts. Number one is, government pensions work differently from a lot of other pensions. So I will be looking at what you can get the different points and they’ll do your prediction to say at age 55, you’ll get this 58, you’ll get this 60 You’ll get that and seeing what those numbers are? And if your projected numbers or like, how much do you spend each year. And based on Well, if you’ll get x at 60, let’s just for sake of numbers, you need 40 grand a year to live on. But at 60, if you retire a bit early, you get 35. Through your government pension, we’ve got a 5k gap that you’ve got to make up through other investments. And I would be doing those sums to work out. What’s that gap between the government pension, what I spend, and then I would look at other investments to plug that gap so that I could live and retire early. That’s the basic mathematics of that situation.
I think Rob’s got a spreadsheet coming on. Is there anything that that you wanted to add to that? Kenny, I’ve got another couple of questions that are Beale Street, I think.
Yeah, so I was just gonna say it’s a it’s a matter of filling a money gap. But also considering whether you could potentially simplify your lifestyle a little bit more, a little bit more, such that you might not need to work so hard to fill that gap. Because that might be an alternative way of doing it. Okay.
I love that a combination of those two things could really help Rob gets where it needs to get to. I’ve got a lovely question from the amazing Helen Lawson. Helen, we definitely need to get you on one of these at some point Katie Coombs, says, we absolutely need you to come and join us on a live stream and share some of your well being knowledge because we all need a bit of that at the moment. Helens question is, she’s always felt that investing is something that other people do. I can really relate to that. Yeah, rich people, middle class people. Can we have some words of reassurance for Helen, before I ask you the next question.
Okay, so investing is definitely something that is available to everybody. And the reason for that is because of these things. Now, these smart things, these phones now mean that you can begin to invest from the comfort of your own home, but you first just need to spend some time understanding like we mentioned earlier, what on earth, the language of investing is about what is it people are actually investing in. Ultimately, they’re investing money into companies, ownerships in companies, okay. And you with very little money, it could be 100 pounds from them for, you know, whatever it is, can get involved in doing that as cheaply as possible from the comfort of your own home from your own mobile device. So something is now available and democratised fairly well to pretty much everybody who can who wants to really get involved, and who can start with little bits of money. So if I could have gotten involved in investing, you know, when I did back in 2008, slash night, absolutely anyone can that is how I look at it.
I think I just add one stuff. One piece to add to that. There’s a book called quick like a millionaire by Christie Shen, who came over from China with nothing to Canada and went from absolutely zero, living six of them in a hut in China and then fleeing the revolution to becoming a millionaire and one of Canada’s earliest retirees. And I’m, I guess I’m seen as kind of middle class I’m kind of not because my family was a working class, but like, that would be a great example of someone who’s done it and has done it from a situation of nothing.
Alan, whereabouts in the UK. Are you living at the moment?
Yeah, let’s not go there. I live in Bangkok share currently, yes, I realised that it’s the most middle class is on embark shower gateway trays, my avocados.
I don’t judge I just asked the questions. Alan. Yeah, whatever I’m leaving soon. So look, we’re gonna ask we’re gonna get some questions in now, please. There’s been a couple of questions already. But I want you to ask some questions of Ken and Alan, both of them have got some great insights about blogging, how to get started, how to make money out of blogging, and we’re gonna ask him, you know what, once he started blogging, what he learned if he was starting a blog today, based on his learning experiences, what kind of stuff would he be thinking about so that we can all learn from that? And also, I think we’ll get the chance to check in with About what happened since he started the blog and some of the stuff that he’s doing now, because he’s got some amazing free resources on his website, which we’ll get a chance to visit after this live stream, which is cool. The question I think, I wanted to ask, firstly, Laura says that she’s normal. And she started investing last year. I saw you with a carrot on it with a fork that was either doing some sort of magic trick with it. That’s not entirely normal. But we get the point. I love it. And Jolene question, similar to Lisa’s actually, Ken, is it worth investing? If you haven’t got a lot of money to invest? You know, what if what, what if your monthly is go to, you know, you’ve got 25 pound left over at the end of every month, because, you know, many of us have experienced and still do experience being really tight with cash and not not having spare money. You know, if you’re starting from scratch, or you don’t have enough money to invest, some of us are starting from behind the line, of course, because we owe money to, you know, give us some some advice for families that haven’t got much money, or they right at the beginning of the journey.
Yeah, so I, I’d say that the thing to prioritise if you’ve got very little money is your cash flow. And, you know, for your family at the very beginning, you want to make sure that you have enough potentially, in the event that things happen, okay, so some refer to this as the emergency fund, that sort of stuff, you just make sure you have some bit of a buffer built up before you then take the leap to potentially invest through the stock market, for example. So that’s the first thing I’d recommend, do a bit of a cash flow analysis. By that I mean, sit down and make yourself a cup of tea, have a conversation internally as to how much money you will need in the event that something happens. Okay? How would you kind of get by if that money is, say, a month, three months, or even up to six months of expenses put aside, then your priority and very beginning is making sure that you are putting that aside first, before you really started venturing and invest in the stock market? That’s that’s what I would do.
Great stuff. So that’s your emergency cash. Let’s work on that first. And then once you’ve got that as a foundation, then think about investing. Yes. Cool. So let’s get into blogging. Sensi, for which you’re then able to make some choices about how you spend your time. Yeah, my gut feel says you’re probably busier than you’ve ever been. But how did it all begin? And you started writing the blog? What was behind the blog? What was the passion that was behind that? And? And what happened with the blog?
Yeah, so I didn’t start the blog, as with a, a strategy and a plan and all these things. No, I was gonna fly to Philadelphia for work. And I just fell on that flight 36,000 feet, looking out the window, I just felt I was missing something in my life. And you know, what I think was, when I got back with my wife was sat down and just thought, you know what, I’ve been reading people’s blogs for some time. And I’d love to actually, you know, I’m not very good at writing, I got a car English GCSE. But you know what, I’m just going to have a go at just writing something and see where it goes, right? My wife, when we sat down and brainstorm names, came up with a words to humble Penny acid, there is no way that names available on GoDaddy or one of these websites. And we checked and it was there. So we bought the name. And I just thought it, you know, went through the process of setting up a WordPress website. Again, for me, it was really a case of right on trying to learn how this thing works. And then gradually start to experiment and explore I saw the Americans doing some of the American sides was, you know, started to explore blogging as a way to make money. I thought, wow, what if I could actually start this thing, stuff and write about money and things I was going through, at the same time potentially turning this thing one day, something that maybe even made some money. And so that’s how I got started. And he started with just one blog post. And my strategy was to commit two hours per week towards blogging and writing blog content. And that’s been it, you know, keeping that consistency. And the more you do that, and my I’ve done that every week, and what you notice is that people think compounding actually applies just to money. So compounding interest, we find is that actually also applies to your time. If you so two hours per week, two hours per day into anything you’re doing over one year, over two years, what you find is that you have a massive snowball, and that’s what’s happened. You know, it’s suddenly grown and, and by doing that, we’ve then expanded and got into many other things I hope we can talk about on this corner as well.
What are the things that you must have on your blog. So that say you’ve got some consistency of writing and posting, what are the other things that you say, you’ve got to make sure, if you want your blog to be successful and to make money for you’ve got to make sure that you what are those?
What really, really, and this this, I’ve learned, this is why we YouTube, which we can talk about in a minute is authenticity matters a lot. Authenticity. So people want to know who you are. They want to know what your story is. They want to know, like, what are your weaknesses? What are your strengths, they don’t want to know that you’re just Superman, or, you know, you’re just the person who has it all going on, they want to know, what are the things you struggle with. And then ideally, prefer if your blog was, you know, as personable as possible, because then what that does, it builds a connection. And if you can connect, if you can link that with storytelling, then you have almost a recipe for some potential success, because then people like that, they can just read it and it flows in normal language, and they can feel like they know who you are. You tell them a bit about yourself and your little bit of detail, like what you’ve been doing today, what your kids have been up to, and what have you that all those things come together to create what’s essentially good content. And provided they’re leaving with it’s overtime, a transformation, ie, someone has to read it and feel that leaving with something, then you potentially have the recipe for for success doing it.
Can I’ve got butterflies? I feel like that advice is outstanding. Alan, what are your busiest blog posts? And what’s your take on this thing about blogging and, and what have you learned?
So I think one thing I’ve learned is that if you build it, they will come is a massive lie. If you build it, no one will come until you promote it. So your job does not end when you click publish on the blog post and it goes out there, that’s when your job starts, then you’ve got to promote it. The second thing I’ve learned is it takes a lot of energy to get people to your blog to read it. So when they’re there, get them to sign up to an email capture form, so that you can then bring them back easier than going via social media. email capture form, MailChimp is free up to 2000. Get that on your site from day one and start building up and mailing list that will become your most valuable asset as you go forward is incredible business asset.
It’s a critical business asset. In fact, I’ll give you a very practical example speaking to working with a brand, because we’re doing sponsored work now working with various brands, who approached us for to kind of work with with a humble pen and have access to the audience. And the thing they’re really interested in, for example is how big is your email list. And so that email list is almost currency, someone’s kind of leverage for negotiating good terms with various parties that will start to approach you as you start to see some success.
Very nice. Couple of fantastic questions about blogging that I want to share with you guys. The first question, I think this might be one for you, Alan. And I bet Ken, you might have a view as well, for making a course how do you get over the mental block of thinking that there are so many other people with better courses on the same topic? So David’s asking this question, for example, if he started a personal finance course, how can you feel better about not just sending people to Ken’s course? Hi, Ken, Simon, and Alan, and thanks for the great conversation. So Dave is kind of saying he’s got some ideas. He’s got some content. But what’s the point in starting because Ken’s already, you know, a few furlongs ahead and Barney’s got some amazing stuff and these American sites and so on. What do you think Alan? What would you say to David?
So I think I have run courses all over the world and done all sorts of stuff. When I was starting, I was not arrogant enough to go I am the best presentation skills course that exists. I just, I know that my spin. My way of doing it is my way of doing it. And I studied, I read the books I practised I’d learnt and I thought I had something that I could teach someone. And I think my biggest thing was, I can’t remember who said it, someone said it to me that if you’re teaching someone, you just need to be one step ahead. Because then you can go, here’s the next step and you take the next step as they do it. And you can constantly be one step ahead and guiding them through it. You’re never going to be the best in the world, but you’re unique and you can guide people through it. So I, I just did it, I was like, I’m just going to teach her who said like, my, one of my biggest clients was Microsoft, and I was teaching them presence and communication. But I didn’t ever think of it of I need confidence and I need to be the best in the world, I just thought, I’m going to do the best I can, and I’m going to guide them through it.
And I remember that because you just remember you saying to me that you just needed to be better than them, just to show them something and teach them something. And then I remember changing that into Alan, you’re teaching Microsoft PowerPoint. to Microsoft executives, this is my favourite sentence of that training business that you ran, what gives people the right to set up a training course Sorry, I’m gonna go ahead.
And just very quickly, I just say, if you read the top three books on any subject, you will know more than 95% of the population. So if you want to learn presenting, read Zen presentations, read a couple of the other books, and you will know more than nearly everyone else out there. And that is a simple strategy. Just read the top three books and you know, more than most people ever well.
I love it. Ken, what do we say to David, what gave you the right to start these courses, especially the YouTube ones, let’s talk about the YouTube ones that you’re doing.
So I think a lot of what the people who do well on this platforms, it blogging, YouTube, and so on the people who do really well, doing well now and in the future, and those who focus on radical authenticity, okay, by that I mean, what happens over time is that you will start to develop audiences that are only really interested in what you have to share. They kind of your true fans, they’re super keen on what you have to share. They’re interested in your voice, your story, all the elements come together, and in your expertise and authority. Because over time, you would have developed that likeability and that trust with them. And what that does is it builds a connection. And provided you understand what the audience’s problem is, then your goal is to solve the audience’s problem. You’re asking them, because they like you, and they trust you. You’re asking them, how can I give you a transformation through my resources? So for example, when we create courses, which we are doing right now, and every single month, I am always asking our audience, what is it you are struggling with? Because I’m not creating the course for me, I am making it for you. What are you struggling with? And not a lot of course creators do that. They just create what they think the audience want, without doing the legwork of asking them and even speaking in their own language, and giving them what they want. That’s why the people who will come to Me will come to me or the people will come to you will come to you that sort of stuff.
That’s a great point. And can look, there’s a cracking question from, from a friend of ours. Great friend of Al Anon, myself, Graham. So Graham Carter down in sunny Portsmouth is, I think, actually, you are really well placed to answer this question based on the the video courses that you’re doing now. So he’s asking how effective is blogging in reaching a target audience, given the rise of the vlogs, and of YouTube and podcasting, and so on? What’s the best way to get traction for and promote your blog in a very noisy world? And you’ve got sort of a blogging hat and a vlogging hat, and a video creation thing going on it? You know, what’s your sense of how that sits? You know, how does blogging sit alongside the video content
now. So the thing you’ve got to always remember blogging is that you own your blogging platform or your blog itself, you actually own that my YouTube channel, I don’t know, YouTube can turn me off any day they want. And I’d lose all the subscribers. I’ve spent the last half a month working to build and integrate. And with your blog, you own that thing. It’s your think of it as almost the HQ as it were, it’s where you demonstrate your authority is where people can reference and come and check up on, you know, what you do and that sort of stuff. And everything else is that either lead or drive traffic to the blog, or drive traffic to what you want them to, to head towards when it’s a product or a service or that sort of stuff. So I always see the blog is kind of the heart of it. The thing that you own is the asset that you might even one day sell. If someone comes and says hey, I love this bill is digital asset. You’ve built this business you’ve built I’d love to buy it they’d want to know what’s the domain you’ve got, what’s the trademark, you’ve got to that domain, that sort of stuff. That’s what holds the value. Okay? Although you’re marketing it yourself, and it’s self hosted, it carries a different type of leverage, it might not grow the audience a lot quicker what your goal is, though, is to use the other platforms like I use YouTube, for example, to drive traffic to the blog, which helps me to grow my email list, which helps me to drive my academy, all of these things. But the blog remains the central point. Does that, does that answer the question? I hope,
I think as a as a cracking answer, and you’ve reminded me, and if I don’t mention this, Jack is going to get very grumpy with me. So next Tuesday, we have Christie Shen, who is the author of quit like a millionaire that Alan mentioned earlier on, Christy’s gonna join the live stream, and share with us her story of moving to Canada, writing a blog, you know, becoming a published author and some of the amazing things that have happened since she’s written that blog. And it’d be really interesting for us to compare some of her insights with yours. And I think I’ve got a feeling that there’s gonna be some crossover. So if people are smart, they’re going to they’re going to pick up some of these key points, it can in a second, I wanted to give you a chance to talk about your talk about your website. Yep. I guess, you know, if someone if someone is starting a blog, now, the thing I’m picking up from both of you is, it’s not so much about, you know, thinking about monetizing it straightaway. It’s more about having a consistency, being authentic, and choosing the topics that you have passion for. I mean, Alan, it’s not your experience, because you’ve built a list, actually, really quickly, I’m amazed at the speed at which your subscriber list has come about, I thought that it would take a bit longer to hit that number. But what would you sort of agree with Ken or you had a different experience of that, you know, the mindset of the blog.
So I think a blog is a longer term play, if you need to earn money. Now, blogging is not the way to go sell an actual service, sell something straight away. A blog is a longer term play, doesn’t mean it’s a great thing to do. Like, if you’ve got a job, and you’re spending an hour, two hours, three hours a week, and you can build it over the years, it can be an incredible way to go as you build it. But this is not a way to get instant cash.
Yeah, can I just add to that, another way of your blog is, as the marketing department of a business, okay. So it’s a very, if you view it, that’s one way to do it. If you’re if you’re a business person, is to think of that blog as a an element of your marketing plan. Because you’re able to see it that way, then the question then is, is what is your business? What is the what is the business behind them? Is it a, you know, what is it you’re selling? Or that sort of stuff? What are you? What’s the value that you’re offering people? What’s the problem that you’re potentially solving? Because if there exists the problem and the value trap and value transfer, then the role of the blog, your business first, remember this for business perspective, is to their market, and solve that market those services and products and solve that problem. which ties into your point anyway, I
can, I can’t believe that an hour has gone by already. I could literally carry on having this conversation for the rest of the night is I’ve learned so much from from chatting to you both. And Alan, I get to chat to you all the time. But having you and Ken in the same room for this conversation has been absolutely brilliant. Digitally speaking, of course, because as we’ve learnt, you’re in parks here. So I guess, can you be very gracious with your time and your insights? I appreciate that very much. And I wanted to give you an opportunity to shamelessly plug your the project that you’re working on in your website, we’ve put a link in the thread. When people go to your website, what tips have you got what should people be looking for?
Yeah, so we have so the humble penny.com, which is our blog, which you can check out on the homepage. We have some free courses. If you’re interested, somebody who wants to start a blog as a free course their Seven Day Course he can go through step by step instructions for how you can go about starting a blog. We also have a free practical money course you’re kind of working towards managing your finances today around budgeting, investing, that sort of stuff is a 10 day course. Feel free to sign up to that parallel to the blog. We run a YouTube channel at the humble penny on YouTube. So please, if you’re watching this make sure you subscribe. It just helps us grow the channel like I would love for you to become a subscriber so check it out work except really hard, making sure we create content that’s really, really excellent. And for people to help people really move forwards, that’s a YouTube channel. Then new for 2020, we launched financial Joy Academy. Okay, this is a pay a paid service. It’s essentially a membership programme for action takers, people who are determined to really achieve in their own lives, no matter what’s going on, achieve financial independence in the next decade in these these 10 years ahead. Those people we are meeting weekly, we’re offering them group coaching, we’ve got courses, master classes, where who’s holding them accountable. So for example, our members wake up every day at 5am. And we all go on a zoom call, and we all work would put the mute on. And we’re holding each other accountable. I’m not messing about I show up. My wife shows up 5am Every single day. Okay, so these are people who are action takers, who want to build successful blogs, successful YouTube channels, digital businesses, who want to fast track that journey, it was financial independence, and not just relying on invest into the stock market. That’s what we do at financial joy. academy.com. Yeah, please check them out. You know, depending on what you’re interested in the free stuff, the paid stuff, feel free to check it out.
I love that. Ken, there’s a lot of love for you in the threads. Kate definitely wants you to come back and carry signed up. She says thank you very much. She’s also said bonkers. So I think breaking news. Yeah, possibly you Alan, I think it may have been the 5am thing it may have been you either would potentially be accurate. Breaking news for my, for my eldest, there’s actually two five o’clock in the day. So I’m looking forward to sharing that information. A little bit later. I’m going to go to Alan very shortly for some closing thoughts. Ken, it’s been absolutely amazing. And we cannot wait to invite you to another pop up business school as soon as the live events happen again. And I think if I was a betting man, I’d say there’s going to be a part two. And we’d love to get you back and your offer to us to come and participate in some of the stuff that you’re doing. The answer, of course, is absolutely yes, we’d be overly thrilled. Just to share with everybody that all of our content is going through our survival guide, which is sitting on the pop up business school website. This is all about helping small businesses and new businesses survive, but also thrive in the most challenging times that that we’ve ever faced. So and that’s exactly where this video is going to go. So if you think there’s someone in your friends and family network that would be interested to hear what Ken and Alan had to say about money about blogging and a whole bunch of other stuff, then please share that with them. On Thursday this week, we have got, in fact, someone that came to the UK, I think at about the same age as you did. I’m not sure if you’ve met Halima can, but Halima is the queen of Instagram. She’s got some, like 16,000 followers that she’s built up on Instagram, and she’s she’s running training courses, through her websites, and so on. Please share with us her experiences of running an online course. But also, she’s going to share the tips and tricks of Instagram, which is something that she also trains people in, and she is giving us an hour on Thursday. Can’t wait for that. And of course, the amazing Christy Shen, who’s been all over the telly in the papers as well is going to join us on Tuesday nights like Chrissy Yeah, we do. She’s amazing. So, Alan, and closing thoughts from you what’s in your mind as a result of the stuff that we’ve chatted about tonight? I know that there is something in your mind because you’ve got that look on your face, I have some wisdom to share, look which which I’ve known to.
Well, the closing thought and the closing comment, I think is what Ken embodies is that he takes action repeatedly over time. And he’s been building that blog for years and putting two hours a week in and working on the building the YouTube and putting it in. And it’s the compounding of your actions over time. That will get you there. If you want to get good at investing, read half an hour a day, and then discuss it with someone and if you do that consistently over time. It’s unbelievable how that will improve your knowledge and position. If you want to build a blog, do a blog, work on it, release one a week and compound that over the weeks that come and it’s those small actions that you repeatedly take day in, day out. That will get you where you want to be. So start today start compounding get started.
I love that. Great. So find out more at the humble penny.com Check out our survival guide. Thank you very much to everybody for contributing your questions, because it’s the questions that you ask that help us to make this a richer life for everybody. Can you absolutely rock someone called Mary and said she thought it was a great life? Do you know Mary?
Sounds like my wife? Yes.
It is Mary, please save me to marry for lending you to us for this evening. Thanks again, everybody. See you on Thursday.
Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you.