Ric’s conversation with best-selling author and housing expert Ryan Frederick
Ric Edelman: It's Friday, October 20th. Coming up on today's show. Right place, right time. Are you living where you ought to be living? We're going to have a conversation with Ryan Frederick, the author of Right Place, Right Time and the question about FUD food. Stay tuned for that.
Here's a scam that is so stupid, you have to wonder what on earth the guy was thinking. As an advisor, you'll get a kick out of this. Every advisor loves to promote their AUM. Of course. Their assets under management. It's a badge of honor. The more AUM you have, the more clients you serve, the more people you're helping. And it gives clients confidence. So, gee, if they're helping so many people with so much money, they must be pretty good at what they're doing and I'll be willing to have them help me too. I always brag that Edelman Financial being the number one investment advisor in the country, the biggest by far, with pushing $260 billion in assets for 1.3 million clients around the country. In fact, the SEC requires that advisors disclose their AUM annually.
So along comes this stupid story. Rubin Williams, aged 30, with no industry experience prior to 2021. He's now CEO of Vista Financial Advisors, and the SEC says that Rubin has been claiming that his firm's AUM is $11.5 trillion. Yeah, trillion.
Blackrock, the world's largest money manager, is only managing 9 trillion. So Rubin Williams says his little firm is bigger than Blackrock. In fact, the SEC says that Rubin is managing less than $25 million. Such a small amount, he doesn't even qualify for the SEC to bother wasting their time monitoring him. They instead leave that chore to the state regulators.
Okay, let's move on to something a little more serious. I told you earlier of the risk of deepfakes created by artificial intelligence that they're going to try and disrupt the election. The link to that show, if you missed it, is in the show notes. But crooks are not stopping there. They're not only going to mess with the election, they're going to try to mess with your bank account.
A crook calls your cell, gets your voicemail. It records your voice. Now it uses that recording to replicate your voice. They write a script and they have AI record the script in your voice. And then they call your bank and they tell them to wire money from your account to them. We don't know yet how common this is, but it's clear that the problem exists and it's growing. ChatGPT, Bing, Bard, Ernie. All of these are new AI systems. They can all do amazing and scary things. I'm Ric Edelman. It's the truth about your future.
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Ric Edelman: You're listening to the truth about your future. You know, so much of financial success has to do with being in the right place at the right time. But frankly, sometimes we mean that literally to help us figure it all out. Being in the right place at the right time, I'm happy to bring onto the show Ryan Frederick. He is the founder and CEO of Here, which you can find it Here.Life. That link is in the show notes. Ryan, welcome to the program.
Ryan Frederick: Thanks for having me, Ric.
Ric Edelman: Ryan is the author of the best-selling book Right Place, Right Time The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Home for the Second Half of Life. You know, it is so interesting. I've experienced it for decades through my financial advisory practice, Ryan, that when people reach retirement, they often want new housing. They classically downsize, but many upsize. Some add second homes or move near the kids, or more accurately, near the grandkids. And so it's a huge issue that we have to acknowledge, because a lot of people are doing it all for the first time. There's not a lot of training or experience, and they often, as a result, get it all wrong. Talk about why you are interested in focusing on place and what motivated you to write a book, Right Place, Right Time.
Ryan Frederick: Well, Ric, it's, as you've pointed out in a number of your podcasts here, one of the mega trends is around the 100-year life. And we have to redesign our lives, much like you and your wife are doing right now with your next chapter. And invariably, as you learn about the research Ken Dychtwald and others have pointed out, it's much more about lifestyle and environment than your DNA when it comes to driving longevity and where we decide to plant ourselves both literally. I'd also argue figuratively, you know, factors in quite prominently in what our life looks like, as well as the trajectory of not just our lifespan, our health span and our wealth span.
You know my personal story. I've been focused on this for about 20 years, on the business side of it, on the investment side, the operating side, real estate development side. But the last couple of years, Ric, I came to this realization that I think there are a lot of people that are underequipped in terms of understanding the importance of this decision and then knowing what to do and then not to be overlooked too, is the courage to do something. These are often big decisions, whether you decide to stay where you are and change what you do or move somewhere else. Sometimes I find that people can get paralyzed just in the process of thinking it through.
Ric Edelman: Well, it's easy to understand why. I mean, we don't make very many decisions in our daily lives. Most of our lives are on autopilot because of the previous decisions we made. I mean, choosing a spouse, choosing a job, choosing whether or not to have kids, those are pretty big decisions. But once you've made those, well, those decisions are going to dictate what time you wake up in the morning, what you're going to wear, where you're going to go, who you're going to spend your day with, and so on. So you get to the point where in your 60s and you're getting ready to retire or leave that career, and all of a sudden options become unlimited, and you're faced with a notion of, should we sell this house and get a different house? And if so, what kind of a house and in what part of the country? That is a daunting set of questions that people haven't confronted, perhaps ever.
Ryan Frederick: It is. The average adult moves about a dozen times, but a number of those moves are front-end loaded.
Ric Edelman: Exactly. I mean, Jean and I, we at one point, I think, had six addresses in three years when we were newly married.
Ryan Frederick: Yes, totally. And some of them were temporary moves. But you have this, as you point out, that archetype of a 60-year-old that is likely an empty nester, but perhaps a pre-retiree. And you have this iterative process where what do I want my life to look like? Which fits, I think, in this, this confine of finding your place, but in the more kind of figurative and then you have the literal finding your place. And the reason why they're so recursive and iterative is because if you don't have a vision for what you want your life to look like, that can have implications in terms of how you actually think about your physical place. One of the things I've observed in speaking to people, as I've done these different speaking and some workshops with consumers, is that your physical address may not change for a period of time, but your lived experience does. You know, your neighbors change. You may not know them as well as you used to. Your house, there's maintenance that may become more problematic over time when you first owned it. Climate change, there's a number of different variables. So we're around this environment that changes frequently. We don't necessarily always take the time to take measure of it. But then also we change too. And so it is I think you get this natural, I'm going to say opportunity, when you are at that pre-retire retiree stage. Just evaluate what I want to do with my life. And invariably in those periods of transition, place, physical place should be featured prominently in that conversation.
Ric Edelman: And I want to ask you why that is because you mentioned something a moment ago. I want to elaborate on you mentioned lifespan, wealth span and health span. In the past we only talked about lifespan. How long are you going to live? And we celebrate old people, you know, when they get older and they celebrate remarkable birthdays that they're 90 years old, they're a hundred years old. And that's shocking and that's life span. But what we've begun to realize are two related elements. Is your money going to last as long as you do? That's wealth span. And are you going to have a healthy, long life? That's the health span. So you've got those three elements, and at the center of them you are putting place. Why is place the focal point of those three conversations?
Ryan Frederick: Ric, it's almost hidden in plain sight. You mentioned earlier all these habits that you have on a daily basis, that's unconscious. It's just what you do. Yeah. It's because you have these set of habits that are in place that often are dictated by the environment that you're in. And so when you look at the research around healthy longevity, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, they do a really good job of outlining five distinct areas purpose, social connection, physical well-being, financial well-being, and then community or place. In each of those, being a driver. But the irony about place is it's really important in and of itself. Does it meet your physical needs? Does it meet your emotional and psychological needs? But it also is a big indirect influence on purpose, social connection, physical well-being, and financial well-being.
For example, if we're focusing perhaps on the healthspan piece, you know, we're hearing more and more just the dangers of chronic loneliness, the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, for example, often quoted statistic. And if we are separated from others so that we don't see people very often because of our place that effectively abets, it accelerates, we're more at risk of being socially isolated and potentially lonely. On the financial side, as our lives are increasing and I know sadly, because of the pandemic and particularly the deaths of despair related to the opioid crisis and so on, we're seeing a divergence right now. For people that are not college educated, the life expectancy is dipping a little bit, but for those that are educated, it continues to climb here in the US and globally.
So you start therefore, particularly for an individual or a financial planner, you now have to start to map out what a 100-year life really looks like. And for a number of people, one of the leading expenses is their house. And one of their leading assets may also be their home. And so you start to think about in what way is my living spot enhancing or detracting from my longer-term wealth span?
Ric Edelman: That's a really good point that you're raising because, as you said, we're creatures of habit and we may not be giving our home a second thought. We've lived in it for a long time. It has served us well, meets our needs. It's comfortable, if only because of the evolution of time in it, and yet because our lives have changed, often in radical, dramatic ways. As we reach retirement, we may not really come to recognize that that house which has served us so well no longer does. I'm just fascinated by your notion of loneliness related to our place. Because if I don't have work anymore, if I don't know my neighbors so well anymore because they've moved and new ones have come in, if I'm not really engaged with nearby family or local community groups, I can be in this house, which I have loved for decades, only to not understand that that house is now facilitating loneliness.
Ryan Frederick: One of the things about it, Ric, is that the change is always happening. You know, one of the benefits of financial statements, good or bad, we can debate it; you have like a daily update to the minute, to the second of the changes in your portfolio. Well, changes happen throughout your life, but you may not necessarily have a scoreboard that shows you on a regular basis. But the reality is you're changing, and your place is changing. And while your address is the same, like I mentioned earlier, yeah, this makeup of your day to day lived experience, particularly in the context of retiring, is a dramatic change. Like your sense of identity, particularly for men, is like, where do you put that identity now? Where do you find purpose, particularly purpose that's greater than yourself?
Really reimagine this. It's a different, meaningfully different chapter. We have like the social connected piece that we just mentioned, how friend networks change, people move. I've seen some statistics where they say every seven years half of your social network changes. So there's a there's a dynamic piece of that. But also on the physical activity side, as we get older, the way in which we should be active needs to change. In some respects, it's more important to lift weights when we're older than when we were younger. In what ways does our place actually map what we need to? So there's so much wrapped up in this Ric that it's a good place to start because it's tactical, like you actually have to live somewhere. But it also is foundational for what you want your life to look like. And so whether you're a strategic thinker or a more tactical, you can arrive at the same place in the sense that this is an important decision to get your arms around.
Ric Edelman: So it almost seems to me that it flies in the face of the classic preference. People claim that they want, which is aging in place. You're kind of suggesting that's probably a bad idea. You want to age in a place, but not necessarily this place.
Ryan Frederick: Yeah. So I've spent far too much time thinking about these issues. And in the process, you realize, or at least I believe, I've run into some conventional wisdoms that may not be that wise. And to your point, about 90% of people and most studies that have indicated this, people have a preference to age in place and typically what they mean, at least in the context of the US, but other places too. It means that you're aging in the same single-family home that you've been in for decades, likely in the suburbs. Well, a lot of the suburban design was built as if people would never age, didn't think about how your needs and preferences would change without families and so on. And so, yeah, we've got this, this preference that people say, but if you're really focused back to your question around not just lifespan, but health span and wealth span, this idea of being in one physical place for the rest of your life is quite unrealistic, especially if you're focused on optimizing the benefit of this longer life. I have a chapter in my book where it's a bit of a rant, quite frankly, on aging in place.
I don't like the term. Aging feels like it's something that's happening to you as opposed to you having an agency in your life and then in place. It's like you're a figurine that's stuck. And when you look at the research again around healthy longevity, it's all about being active, engaged, you know, driving it. So issue of the term, but also have an issue with the strategy as I just mentioned. So I suggest living in community as an alternative. It's more active. It also talks about how it's so critical to be with others. Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, these weak and strong ties are so crucial in terms of your happiness day to day, but also your health span. But think perhaps a more amenable alternative is just simply the idea of aging in the right place. And that's why for my book Right Place, Right Time, it's just it's saying this is a decision that really matters. Are you in to the extent you have control over it? Are you in the right place for that stage of life that you're in?
Ric Edelman: And that means we're going from where we are, the lifestyle we have and the place we currently live into the future state, whatever that is going to be. And that means we've got to get from here to there. And how do we make that transition? You've got a checklist in your book. Talk about that.
Ryan Frederick: Yeah. Well, I think the first step is probably pretty similar to the recommendations you've provided over the years. On the financial side, you know, the first step is where are you? And so that involves a somewhat comprehensive, broader view of your place. And as we've talked about with these five different dimensions, I believe it's important to look at where are you with purpose? Where are you with being socially connected, physically active, financially well? And then to what degree does your physical place meet your physical, psychological and emotional needs? So that's the first step. In fact, there's a right place assessment available on the Here.Life website. A couple of minutes gives you a quick snapshot based on some questions where you may find yourself. The next step based on that is you likely go through there and you might find some gaps of where you are and relative to where you want to be. And then I think it's important to map on top of that how you are likely and your place likely to change over the next 3 to 5 years so that as you're in planning mode, in what ways in your life, for example, maybe you're not retired, but maybe you will be in the next 3 to 5 years.
Maybe there's health considerations. You should be thinking about it. Maybe there's preferences. Maybe you want to be in a lifestyle where you lock and leave more than spending time mowing the lawn and fixing your gutters. But there's also your place. I live in Austin, Texas. Austin is arguably a spot that is a place that has changed more perhaps over the last 20 years, and you've got exciting people and opportunities, but you also have traffic and higher cost of living and so on. Climate change. It's pretty toasty here in Austin during the summer. And so you have this alignment of, okay, here's where I am as I look to the next 3 to 5 years, in what ways do I see my needs and desires changing as well as my place is at the right alignment. And so I encourage people to start evaluating, well, what could I do about changing my place to be better aligned with the priorities I care about? As well as what would it be if I actually changed places? And so it's just like putting together a portfolio that has some endurance over time. I think there's a really important rigor when applying to your place so that there's some level of risk analysis, so you feel good about where you're going and also how life may unfold.
One thing I wanted to mention too, when I say place, when I talk specifically about the physical dimensions. Ric, sometimes we just think about our four walls, but it's more than that. It's actually a composite of four walls, the block in which we may live, our neighborhood. Are we in urban, rural, suburban area? What metropolitan area, what state, what country? What region of the world? And because if any one of those areas is out of whack, that can cause a problem with our place. For example, if you're seeing fiscal changes, just to pick on California for a moment, if you're seeing changes in tax policy that's happening at the state level, you may love your four walls, but you may start to see changes in policy that impact how you think about place. Alternatively, you may be in a spot where you may love your neighborhood and metropolitan area, but maybe your four walls, it's you got stairs and too much space and maintenance that four walls may alone trigger change. So when we think about place, it's really a composite of those different areas.
Ric Edelman: Yeah, you're absolutely right. There are so many factors to consider in that evaluation. And it requires a plan just like the rest of the financial planning process. It's not going to happen all by itself. The likelihood that you'll just throw a dart on a map of the US and end up with the perfect place is not very likely. So you've got to engage in it. You've got to plan. And that means you've really got to start out, as you said, with an assessment of where you are. And one of the things that I like is that you've created a free assessment opportunity for folks at your website Here.Life. Talk about what your free assessment entails and what people get when they go through it.
Ryan Frederick: So when I wrote the book Ric, part of the irony is I studied electrical engineering in college to avoid reading and writing. So the idea of writing a book was drips and irony. But what I do bring is a systems thinking that is ingrained in you with engineering. And so what I've done with this assessment, when I wrote the book and I had a number of people provide feedback, one of the key pieces of feedback was “Ryan, we love this assessment because it allows us in a few minutes, where am I on this journey?” And so that light bulb went off and I said, well, maybe there's a way to offer that to people that may not be in a moment where they're looking to go through the depth of a book, but just where am I, you know, on this journey? So I took the book and took that assessment, modified it online, made it, streamlined it a bit, with five questions.
And each of those five areas of purpose social connection, physical being, financial being, and then place, and then allow people through those five questions to get a sense with a bar graph on the other side of where are you relative to where you could be, and then offer a series of suggestions. Some are blogs, some are articles, some are videos. If there's an area within there that perhaps there could be an opportunity for improvement, here are some suggestions.
So it's a pretty quick way of saying, you know where I am on this. And by the way, while my book Right Place, Right Time is focused on people in the second half of life, one of the AHA's in this process Ric as I've been putting on the lens, the thinking of this 100-year life is place matters. It's a big decision throughout your entire life course. So this idea of where, when, think about place. It may be at a peak around retirement age, in part because, as you point out, those that have financially planned well may have a lot of options. Too many options. It makes it harder sometimes, but where you decide to call home factors into where you go to college. Where do you get that first job when you're dating someone? Where do you live? Kids. It's really across all these different key moments and life transitions so that that actual assessment, while I think very valuable for people in the second half of life, can also be valuable at other stages in life too.
Ric Edelman: Give me some examples, Ryan, of people who have gone through this process and experiences, they've had. One which they should have used, and which is a common one, and one that they did use, and the benefits.
Ryan Frederick: So one example, they're actually neighbors here or acquaintances here in the Austin area I met when we moved here about four years ago in their late 50s, early 60s. They decided to downsize. As you point out, some people actually upsize. Some downsize in this process. They were so excited about the allure of living downtown, and he is a lawyer and works downtown and was going to be there for a few more years. They sell their house in their suburbs and they're all excited. We're going to go downtown. And they're, you know, we're cool among their friend group. We're the cool guys. So they moved downtown. They get a condo. They go from probably a 3,000, maybe 4,000 square foot home to about a 1,500 ft² move downtown. And they loved it. He could walk to his job. They were all these great restaurants. They don’t have to cook as much. They had a view of the city and the surrounding areas and that lasted about three months. And then as it got more into, it was convenient to walk to work. But they found that their friends actually didn't see them very often and the building they were in, they found it pretty hard to meet friends. And his wife is a bit of a green thumb, and there wasn't really much space to do gardening in their in their condo.
And so they realized after a year that they had made a mistake. Keep in mind, they sold their house, sold many of their possessions, bought this condo, new possessions in it. And they both had to have this “oh whoops” moment. And they then had to sell their condo. Then they went back to their old neighborhood. Of course, their house was moved in with a new family and someone's story. And so they searched and found a new house. And they financially, they were fortunate they were able to make that switch. It was a costly one. It costs one financially. I would also argue emotionally and probably some degree relationally as well. And so they would have been better suited having more of a plan where they could have taken some measured risk. Okay, we believe we might want to be downtown. How about we Airbnb for a couple of weeks? How about we maybe rent our house while we rent something downtown? So the process that the book follows, and a lot of the content on the Here Life website and actually some workshops now that we're launching, help people in a more methodical way get their arms around. Okay, what might be some alternative paths? And a really key piece of it, Ric. is how do we test those paths before we make really big decisions? How can we validate some of these decisions? In innovation circles, they call it design thinking.
We went to Stanford for business school. They have a school they call it D.school, Design Thinking school that was part of the curriculum. And so almost stealing a page book from innovation circles that Apple's and other others have used. How do we apply that to our lives? It's really not that complicated. It's the scientific method hypothesis. How do we test the hypothesis before we make big decisions? Because particularly as we get older, we may not have that many really big moves in us. One thing I want to mention around this, though, I think that is underappreciated, is the role of these relationships. You know, we are social creatures, and particularly as we get older, we need our team, those friends that help support us and we support them. We can't just assume that anywhere we go, we can just snap our fingers and that circle of friends will surround us, and even more so, more subtly, this sense of belonging. Is this really who I am, that those can be more elusive than you might think and but so, so critical. So it is complicated and it really matters. And the cost of a bad decision can be really significant in the moment and over time. So I think this is an area where planning, not just relying on good fortune, as you point out, is a wise approach.
Ric Edelman: One of the opportunities is that you can learn from the experiences of others. You're not the first person going through this, so take advantage of what others who have gone through this can tell you and they can save you time, money, anguish, and a lot of pain. And that's why picking up a copy of Right Place, Right Time can be beneficial to you. So I encourage you to do exactly that. The link to the book is in our show notes. We've been talking with Ryan Frederick. He's the founder and CEO of Here. You can reach Ryan at Here.life. Ryan, thanks so much for joining us on the show today.
Ryan Frederick: I appreciate the time.
Update on Scams and E-Commerce
Ric Edelman: Got a little FUD going on? FUD - Fear, uncertainty and doubt. FUD has been around for decades, but that phrase has now been adopted by crypto on Twitter. Recently, the founder of Binance, who goes by the nickname CZ, listed four rules of behavior for the crypto community. Number four was to dismiss FUD. And so now people are starting to tweet nothing but the number four as shorthand for FUD. So the shorthand now has a shorthand. So I want to help you get past your feeling of four. I mean FUD, I mean fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Let me give you this idea. Instead of being scared by scams and e-commerce, you know, like deep fake replicating your voice to tell your bank to send them your money instead of being scared by all that. How about if we invest in all that e-commerce? It's been around for decades. Back in 1994, Pizza Hut started selling pizza online. In 1995, Amazon and eBay launched. In 1998, PayPal started. The scams are nothing but a sidebar. They're not stopping you or me or anyone else from buying online or banking online. The online activity saves us time, lets us compare prices easily. We have unlimited choice; we get home delivery and we can do it all on our phone. In the US, e-commerce is 16% of retail sales, but in China it's 46% United Kingdom, 36%, in South Korea, 32%. Guess what happens when the US hits 30, 40, 50% of sales in e-commerce? We're talking massive profits for this category and the growth is coming.
The tech is getting faster, easier and cheaper, and consumers are increasingly preferring it.
That's why I own the Global X E-commerce ETF. The ticker is EBIZ. It invests in companies that benefit from the increased adoption of e-commerce. Check out the Global X E-commerce ETF for your clients. Symbol is EBIZ. You can learn about it at Global X ETFs.com. Or if you're an investor, talk to your financial advisor about it.
Hey, if you want to read about NFTs and digital assets, I've got articles on those subjects and a lot more at TheTruthAYF.com.