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Aug. 24, 2022

116. It's Your Life, Let's Plan For It with Christian Bishop

116. It's Your Life, Let's Plan For It with Christian Bishop

Join Mike Cavaggioni with Christian Bishop on the 116th episode of the Average Joe Finances Podcast.Christian shares his passion about helping people make the right money choices to reach their goals and live the lives they want. His motto is “It’s your life; let’s plan for it.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What does an enrolled agent do to help people manage their taxes
  • How to come up with a good spending plan
  • The better ways to be advantageous when it comes to tax savings
  • The recommended route to start looking for an investment vehicle
  • And so much more!

About Christian Bishop:
Christian brings 25 years of experience in financial and tax planning to his writing and work with clients. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Enrolled Agent, authorized to practice before the IRS.

Christian was named one of America’s Promise Volunteers by the Maine legislature for teaching financial literacy in state schools. He also served on the board of directors for his local Habitat for Humanity.

Find Christian Bishop on:
Website: https://hiddencashuncovered.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneynmewithcb/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moneynmewithcb
Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@moneynmewithcb

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Transcript
Average Joe Finances:

Hey, welcome back to the Average Joe Finances Podcast. I'm your host, Mike Cavaggioni and today's guest is Christian Bishop. So Christian, I am super excited to have you on the show with me. Thanks for joining me today.

Christian Bishop:

Hey Mike, thank you for having me.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. Hey I'd like to start this off the same way I start every podcast episode and ask you the same question I ask everybody that comes on because we wanna know about you, who you are. So if you could share your story, how did you get started and especially on your own, personal finance and financial freedom journey.

Christian Bishop:

Oh, no, that's great. And thank you. I started in the business, we'll say the financial sector 25 years ago, which is hard to believe it's been that long, but it's been a great and wonderful journey. And I started in the business as a tax accountant and I realized very quickly, there are a lot of people out there who have no idea of what they're missing out on. And I made it my mission to help people in that regard. Later, I discovered that I also had a passion for investing in finance. So I earned my certified financial planner designation and incorporated that into my practice and the last 25 years as an enrolled agent, which is authorized to practice before the internal revenue service. And as a certified financial planner, I've helped many clients reach their financial goals. Not the least of which is along the way is making sure they don't pay a dime more than they have to, to the federal government. Pay what you owe, but not a dime more.

Average Joe Finances:

I love that. I love that because every time you sit here and you get for the people that are listening, they get these big fat tax returns. They're like, oh look at this huge tax return I got, I just got you just gave that money as an interest free loan to the federal government. So not doing too much there. There are other people who get themselves in a situation where they have to pay taxes every year. And I just reached that milestone myself and had to pay. And as I, got more heavily involved in investing and making more money, this was something that I found that I'm not a big fan of. I'd like to get into a little bit about you. What you do, especially as an enrolled agent to, to help people, not pay more than a penny of what they owe to the federal government.

Christian Bishop:

Absolutely. And here's the first thing I wanna congratulate you on having to pay taxes. And the reason being is that means you made money. And so while this seems counterintuitive to what I just said, but I really hope that you pay a million dollars in income taxes next year because you made way more than that, but again, we don't wanna pay more. And that's where a lot of what I do helps people because yeah, we have to pay taxes if we make money, but let's make sure we're not paying any more than we have to make sure we find every deduction, every credit, arrange our affairs in such a way as to minimize taxes. And then when it is time to pay, there's some better ways to pay and some not so good ways to pay. And maybe we'll talk about that as we go along.

Average Joe Finances:

Actually, yeah let's get into that because, I've heard of different, there's different ways where you could have these payment plans and this pay over time. If you don't wanna just pay all this one lump sum, what would you say would could that be a problem if somebody decides to make payments, instead of just paying it all at once?

Christian Bishop:

It can be, but it depends. If you're making the payments before they're due, meaning estimated quarterly payments, you might hear some people who are, self-employed talk about, oh, I have to do my quarterlies. That's a broad term, but basically they're paying ahead of time and it helps them avoid penalties and interest for paying after the fact. But like a lot of successful people who are in business, the first year they discovered they actually owe, they didn't plan on it. They had no idea, but they did really well with whatever it was that they were producing or making or consulting. Tax time rolls around and their accountant or their software tells them, Hey, you owe $12,000. And they're like, oh my gosh, I already spent that money because I reinvested in my business or whatever it was. So in that case, you are making payments, but those payments are gonna include some interest. But if you do it right, you can avoid a lot of the penalties. And one of the most important things you can always do, file on time. If you have to file an extensions, extensions are not extensions to pay. They're just to file. So you make an estimated payment. If you find yourself in that situation where you just don't have the money, the interest that the IRS charges in many cases is greater than what some credit cards charge. So while I hate saying this because I'm a financial planner too, sometimes I say, pay the government, use that credit card. If you have a good one and have a decent interest rate, because it's gonna be lower than what the feds charge you, but that's all part of the process. It's best to pay upfront and pay as you go using estimated quarterly payments.

Average Joe Finances:

Okay, fantastic. That's great to know, and, one of the things I also do on the side besides being in the Navy I'm actually a real estate agent and I'm gonna be doing that full time. Once, once I retire and I found that, All my counterparts that's what they do. They pay quarterly. And they make sure that they stay on top of that stuff. So the not at the end of the year, trying to scramble, and say, figure out how they're gonna pay their taxes. That's definitely a great way to think of it. It's all about having your plan throughout the year, it's something that we talk about this podcast a lot. Just in planning in general, whether it's your finances, what type of investment plan you wanna be in, there's so many different things that we plan for even our own day. You make your schedule, you plan out your day, you plan out your week, people time chunk and time block. But not a lot of people sit down and think about I need to plan for my taxes for the year. They're more focused on the end game, the end goal, right? What kind of profits am I gonna make this year? Those profits are gonna get taxed. So that's definitely something you wanna plan for as well. So is that something that you also help people do? Come up with a good, spending plan when, and when I say spending plan, spending plan for for their taxes, you help people come up with a good plan to make sure that they're making their quarterly payments or anything like that?

Christian Bishop:

Yeah. And yes. And one of the things that you just touched on made me think of something that's so important. If you're just starting out doing an activity and whatever it is, consulting real estate mowing, lawns, whatever. Okay. Any business you've gotta remember that the money you make, it's not all yours. Part of that is the federal government and a lot of entrepreneurs or the folks who are just starting a little side business, don't even think they're an entrepreneur. They think that money's theirs and it isn't now most of it is after you pay everybody else, you get to keep the bigger chunk, but there is an amount there that is the governments, and that part should be set aside. And what you just touched on, I find a lot of folks don't plan that. In fact, I dealt with a young lady recently who is doing some consulting, social media, marketing, things like that. And she's starting to make some money. She wasn't charging enough because she's thinking in her mind, that's her money, but she's forgetting about, and it'll vary for every person, but approximately 20 to 30% will be the government's money. So she needs to raise her rates. And I told her this and she never even thought of that. So yes, that planning is important, making sure you set aside some of that money, but you actually have to price that in. Now, real estate and what you're doing, I realize that's a little different when you are making money, doing that business is some pre-established norms of what you charge in fees, commissions, whatever. So you can only vary that somewhat. I realize that. but you've gotta make sure you set aside a portion of that is the government's money. Now you'll get plenty of write offs and hopefully after discussion to today. And maybe if you pick up my book, hidden cash uncovered, you'll find lots of tips that can help you along the way because again, you don't wanna pay more than you have to, but you've gotta set aside some that's gonna be for the government and plan out those quarterly payments part of your budget. Just like you make a mortgage payment. Quarterlies are only, quarterly, but same idea.

Average Joe Finances:

Absolutely. Absolutely. The same way you would treat your typical monthly expenses, just, Hey, for every three months, it's gonna be this amount that you're gonna put towards your taxes, or you're gonna chunk towards your taxes and what I see a lot of people doing what I like to do with my commissions as well is take about 33% of it, so one third, and just put that to the side just as a safe spot to, to do it. So yeah that's absolutely fantastic. And definitely appreciate that perspective. Now, and I'm sure you have clients from all different walks of life, from people that have the standard W2, to people that, have started off a small business to other people who invest in real estate. So I'm pretty sure you've dealt with them as well. Now I wanted to ask you are there different ways or better ways to be advantageous when it comes to tax savings? What would you say, as some of the more common things versus some of more of the uncommon things that you see people do to save on taxes?

Christian Bishop:

Every industry has its own, we'll say deductions associated with it. And then there's the deductions that, that help everybody. As a real estate person, one of the things that you will come up with often is marketing. You're gonna spend a fair amount of money in marketing. Now, a lot of businesses do have marketing, but not all do. And you have to be again within the law, but creative and examples of that in the real estate world is every time you're going to lunch or dinner with somebody, almost every time, if you're a realtor, you live and breathe real estate. You're talking about real estate. If it's a friend, a relative or an actual client prospect. So those meals have a deduction. And so you wanna keep track of that. You wanna keep certain notes on it, there's rules around this stuff. But I noticed that a lot of realtors don't do that. They're so busy. They're not concentrating on that until tax time. And then they see their tax bill and they're like, oh my gosh, the other thing is vehicle use. Realtors put a ton of miles on their vehicles. And then they've got a choice. There's some mileage rate or actual expenses. Each person is individual. I don't really wanna say which one is best because it depends, but that's something that they don't always keep track of. In audit, the first thing the IRS will ask for, okay let me see your audit book. I mean your mileage book. And then the realtor looks at 'em with a blank stare on the face, saying what . And that's just a known thing in our industry. You've gotta keep some records because how do you know you went 22,000 miles? So realtors, just giving that as the example, some of the biggest things are vehicle use marketing is huge. Then if they're real successful, they start hiring staff. These apply to other industries too. That's just scratching the surface. You have to think creative. The other thing is, and this is goes almost every industry, you're young yet. And a lot of your listeners are young and viewers are young and some are a little bit more mature like myself. You gotta think about retirement and in that is there's tax advantage ways to put away some of your money. Now everybody's different. Every situation is different, but self-employed people have more options than those who have W2 wages. So they should be thinking about step IRAs. Simple IRAs, solo 401ks, and the list goes on. If you're a W2 wage, earner, that scenario is usually limited to what your employer might offer you. 401k is simple, IRA, et cetera. But the same idea applies. Also thinking about if you have children. In my book, I highlight one of the greatest things I think in the tax code that the IRS actually has in their manuals. They actually talk about this is hiring your children. Now you have to follow certain government laws about children in the industry of whatever it is you do. If you're in a hazardous industry, there's age requirements, a realtor might have a child work in their office, doing cleaning and filing, et cetera, maybe make some phone calls, but hiring your children can be a huge tax savings. If you're self-employed or have a business. Now, if you're a W2 wage earner. Probably not right, unless you own the company. So I think the list goes on and on and we could spend about 12 hours and we'll just scratch the surface. But I get excited about this because those who do no planning and don't look for these opportunities will pay more in taxes, period.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. And the government really likes those people. So actually, I'd like to touch on that a little bit. Cuz I've heard of this so many times, where, as a small business owner, you go and you open up a S Corp, right? And you hire your children to do certain tasks for your business and you can pay them up to $12,000 a year, that you can have as a tax free, write off now by, by doing that now for me as a real estate agent, right? Once I retire from the Navy, I go full time into this. If I was to hire my children under my real estate license, like under my my I guess my my business, my doing business as, under my name as a realtor, or do I need to open up a escort for that? Cuz I know there's a lot of different rules when it comes to being a realtor, like I can't have my commissions going into a business entity. It has to come to me in my name. So how does something like that work?

Christian Bishop:

Great question. And one caveat first, every industry has different regulators that regulate them. So when I speak on these topics, you always wanna make sure you're in compliance with your regulator, the tax code is actually more favorable to a single owned LLC or individual sometimes referred to as a sole proprietor. You actually end up with a better tax situation when hiring your children. This is just for this one strategy when you're hiring your children because you have when you hire somebody, you gotta think about not just the income taxes, but social security and Medicare taxes, federal and state unemployment taxes, it all becomes part of the equation. It's more favorable to be an individual like what you just described or a single owned LLC. Whereas an S Corp absolutely can take advantage of this deduction, but some of the deductions don't apply so it's not quite as lucrative, so to speak. In this case, you're better off as an individual. Now as an individual sole proprietor, you still have to file for a federal tax ID number. You will check with your state about worker's compensation. Most states I shouldn't even say that many states, cuz I can't say most cause I haven't checked all of them, but many states will allow you to waive workers' comp when it's your own child and yourself. So that's something that you can look into, but essentially if you're a sole proprietor, you can hire your child, getting a federal tax ID number. There is some filing requirements, hire a bookkeeper or if you like do it yourself. But you're actually better of as an S Corp. Great. You still get lots of good deductions. And I talk about this in my book, cuz it's one of my favorite strategies. Lots of folks, chiropractors, dentists, construction workers, realtors. The list goes on. Use this strategy. Now it's a fine night period of time, cuz guess what? Your kids are gonna grow up so you gotta follow your rules in your state and the industry again, but if you've got a 14 to 18 year old look into that strategy, yes, you can do it younger. And obviously somebody older can still work for you, that still works. But the best ages are under 18 sole proprietors and single owned LLCs.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, that's fantastic. That, that is awesome. And that's good to know cuz I, my whole thing about this is I thought is oh, I, I need to open up a S Corp to do this. I didn't know I could do it and I'll look up what the local rules and laws are for Hawaii. Because every, like you said, every state's different. So it's, you definitely need to know that stuff. And this is something that I've talked about several times on the podcast when it comes to just, even as a guest on another show the other day I was talking about you know, the importance of like how, when you're picking out your realtor that you're gonna use and everything like that you understand what the local rules and laws are in the area, where you're investing or buying or purchasing any properties like that. So you have to know the local laws, at least to the best of your knowledge. Now, I wanna talk a little bit about your book, right? Hidden Cash Uncovered. Just the name of it already, like gets the goosebumps going because, okay, so there's hidden cash, you help uncover it. So let's touch on that a little bit. Cuz you said that this is one of the strategies you talk about in your book. What are some other strategies like, let's say you have somebody who is just starting their journey in financial freedom and they're working on paying down all their debt. And they're a W2 earner and they wanna start investing and they're not sure where to go, just at the point where they paid off all their debt and they want to get this party started. And, from a tax standpoint, like this is a W2 worker, which route would you recommend that somebody starts looking at for an investment vehicle that would be the most advantageous to save on taxes?

Christian Bishop:

That last caveat save on taxes. We can break that down into now or later. The other part, and I'll touch on that, but the part that you mentioned about paying off the debt, that's huge. We could spend a whole show again, talking about debt and how debt can be a tool and like any tool it can help you, but it's also can hurt you. But getting that debt paid, but in making that assumption that it's paid there's through an employer plan, W2 wage earner, you usually have available to you a 401k or similar plan. Many of those plans have two types of contributions you can make. Pre-tax or after tax. Pre-tax is where it saves you tax dollars today, grows tax deferred. When you retire someday, presumably in a lower tax bracket, you take money out at a lower tax rate. Great. The after tax sometimes referred to as a Roth 401k contribution, you do not save taxes today, but I'm gonna touch on back on that in a second, it grows no tax owed. And as long as you meet certain requirements, when you retire it's tax. There is a huge debate and you can pull in 20 financial advisors, certified financial planners and enrolled agents like myself and you'll get different opinions. But in my book, I highlight a situation where a young person who is modest means benefited from doing a traditional 401k, meaning the pretax version and not the Roth. One of my counterparts in the industry said, oh my gosh, that's not the right way to go. She's young, she's in a low tax bracket. She should do the Roth. And I said, yeah, but by making the pretax contribution, there's a thing called retirement savings contribution credit. When you're on the threshold of making too much money, you don't qualify for. So if you make a Roth contribution and you're right on that cusp, you don't get that credit. You make a pretax contribution it brings you down below that threshold. Now of a sudden she qualified and because she had children, it increased her earned income credit. So if you think about this for a moment, here's a W2 wage earner pretty much what you just described as somebody got the debt paid, getting going in life, at first, oh gosh, you should do a Roth, not so fast. Do the analysis. In the end, it absolutely made sense at least for the first few years to do the pre-tax because it reduced her income qualified her for that retirement savings, contribution credit, and increased her earned income credit, which is refundable, meaning she got money back. She never even paid in. You can't just make a blanket assumption and that's something I think's really important. And that's the kind of coming back around just because somebody says in general terms, you should do a Roth or you should do a pretax IRA. Doesn't mean it applies to you. You've gotta look at your own situation.

Average Joe Finances:

Oh that's a great point. And that's a great story, cuz it, it reminds me of something that I did very similar. Being in the military, we have the thrift savings plan, I'm sure you know what that is. And the thrift savings plan. They came out with a Roth version too. And that was maybe back in 2013. So I'm already enrolled in the standard. So that's what it was and then when Roth came out, I completely switched over well, fast forward a couple years and I'm making more money while I'm in the military, and I got to the point where I was just peeking over into that next tax bracket. So after I took this class, I took this finance class talking about the thrift savings plan and how I was putting so much into the Roth versus the traditional, this guy helped me identify that if I was to take some of what I'm putting into the Roth and put it into the traditional, it's actually gonna lower my income for the year. And if I just do that for maybe $3,000, I'm gonna get lowered back down to that lower tax bracket and save a lot more money. There are certain situations and I know the standard that you hear people talk about all the time is, Hey, do the Roth. You don't know what the taxes are gonna, what the tax brackets are gonna look like in the future. Hey, totally understand that. But there are some ways where you can actually have some significant savings today and maybe still contribute those savings to your Roth while still putting a nice chunk of change into a traditional at the same time. So I looked at that I took that as an opportunity, so I took the money that I save from not having to pay that in taxes and invested that elsewhere. So I appreciate that perspective cause I don't think, I don't think a lot of people talk about that. A lot of people don't talk about. What you can do to take a standard IRA or 401k, and use that to your advantage to lower your income for the year. That's awesome.

Christian Bishop:

Yeah, absolutely. And you touched on an important part there too. Most plans allow you to split it. So assuming eligibility requirements are met and all the usual stuff, the fact is, you are doing it, you can do it both. And so even someone like myself, I see the value in a Roth for myself even, but I also need those tax deductions now for what you exactly described. So most goes in pretax, but I like to put a little bit hedge by bets into the Roth as well. So why not do both? If you can.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. So Christian, definitely appreciate that perspective. And again that's something you don't hear too much about. So now I wanna talk a little bit about, so you started off working as a tax accountant, right? and then you went and got your CFP designation and then later become an became an enrolled agent. As you're doing this you're getting to touch on so many different sides or pieces of the puzzle for someone that's looking not only to save on their taxes, but build a good financial plan to get themselves to a point where they can retire at a age where they feel comfortable. So as you're doing this, I just have to ask you, what is it that you enjoy most about being part of this industry?

Christian Bishop:

It's helping people realize their dreams, and I have been doing it long enough that some of my clients that I started working with 25 years ago, we were starting with college savings plans. And there's some tax benefits of course, to that. And we could talk about that. But as the kids grew up, they went to college, they graduated, they've all gotten married. They've had kids and I'm helping them set up their retirement plans, but also the college funds for the next generation, seeing that and knowing that I can help people sometimes it's small changes. Sometimes it's bigger, but just making sure that, again, they don't pay more than they have to, to the government, maximize the money that they're making, but helping 'em realize their dreams. It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life. And I feel like as an educator really, is my passion and I've done well with it over the years and building that relationship with those clients, generational speaking is just an amazing thing and I'm so blessed to be able to do it.

Average Joe Finances:

That's fantastic. I figured Christian that, that was where you were gonna be at with this, cuz I, I can tell, just how genuine you are, what as you're doing this, as you're trying to help other people and get them to the point where they can, live a comfortable life, retire comfortably and then as you said, that built that generational wealth, and now, moving on to the next generation, you're getting to see that other side of it. So you're getting to see, the fruits that have been bore by the seeds that you planted. So that is so cool. So that's awesome, man. All right. Yeah. Yeah, of course. You're welcome. Now, Christian, for you yourself personally so you're doing this, you're helping so many other people, you have your own financial journey that you're on too. So what kind of asset classes do you currently invest in.

Christian Bishop:

Right now, I think in the news, there's a lot of talk about markets are down and folks are concerned about where things are going and what they should invest in. When I first started in this industry, it was in the giving away my age in the late nineties. And I lived through the 2000, 2001 and 2002, three negative years

Average Joe Finances:

Y2K

Christian Bishop:

..In a row. Y2K. Oh my gosh. Somebody remembers that. What a bus, but they, after that, sadly there was 9-11, and then there was the big, huge recession caused by 9-11 in part. So seeing that I see that there's opportunity when things look their darkest and to quote Warren Buffet or not exactly, but summarizing what he says when people are fearful, he's greedy, meaning he's looking for the opportunity when people are running and they're selling and things are down, it's the time or a good time to buy. When everybody is greedy and they're doing things, maybe they shouldn't, that's when he's fearful. So I look for the opportunity. Now I have my safe money in the sense that I've always made sure you have a great emergency fund, I have a fairly heavy equity exposure because I live and breathe stocks. I even have some bonds there's certain advantages to those, I'm not really someone who loves the new age of cryptocurrencies. That's not my world. I'm not saying there is an opportunity there. I love real estate. They don't create more of it. Actually in Hawaii, I guess you guys do now and then with a volcano, maybe filling in a little more ocean, but yeah for the most part, real estate is finite. And so I love having some real estate and you can hold that in many ways you hold it actual, actual real estate. You can hold it through certain investments exchange, traded funds and, or, mutual funds or other ways through rates, et cetera. But I like real estate as an asset class, but one thing I think is really important. I don't put all my eggs in one basket and I'm gonna pick on real estate agents for a moment. They are my toughest clients. Oh my goodness. Try to get a real estate agent to invest in anything other than real estate is so hard and I'm not putting all of them down. You mentioned you had a thrift savings plan, so good for you. But a lot of them, because they live and breathe it they'll put everything into real estate. Real estate is like any other investment. It has peaks and valleys opportunities and there's times where there's better opportunities. But if you get in a position where everything is in real estate, and it goes into a period where the market is not liquid, you can't eat your real estate. You need to have some other asset classes. I feel like diversification that old adage don't put all your eggs in one basket's so important. So for me, it's always been that way and while I don't always hit things right. And I make mistakes like anybody else, the fact is I minimize financial ruin by not having everything in one asset.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. Most my portfolio is mostly real estate, so just, but you know what's surprising to me is how many real estate agents out there actually don't even invest in real estate or just don't invest at all? So it's there's quite a few out there and it's really hard, at least for me, when I'm talking with other investors and they're like, yeah, I'm trying to invest in a couple things and I'm looking at these different properties, but the agent doesn't really know what's going on because that agent doesn't invest. So I always tell other people, like if you're gonna invest in real estate, and as an asset class, and you're looking for rental properties, Talk to a real estate agent that also invests as well. But like you said too don't put all your eggs in one basket. I don't, I have some equities, I have some stuff in the stock market mostly blue chip and index funds is what I really like. I have an account for my kids, that's tied in the S&P 500. And I also I do have some crypto, not a lot, cuz I don't know too much about it, but I do have a little bit and it's just, And it's actually stuff that I even put my own money into that there's this site, I have my podcast on called Oriel. And on that website, like people can vote for your show and everything, and they vote your show up by paying crypto into it. And there's like this one coin it's worth like a dollar 17 or something right now. And got hundreds of these coins that I've never even touched and they're just sitting in this wallet just because it's just there. And it's something that I even have to put into. The only crypto I think that I've ever bought myself in the past was Bitcoin and Ethereum, the major players, but, I don't know enough about it to mess around too much with that stuff. Sometimes you do have to step outside of your comfort zone, but at the same time, when it comes to your money, you wanna make sure you understand the assets, you're putting it into not something you're just like, oh, I'm gonna roll the dice. Cuz then that's just gambling, at that point. So you wanna educate yourself, go talk to someone like Christian here and find out what's a good plan for you based on your income, based on your own strategies. So I think that's super important that everybody has their own plan, right? Don't just go into it, willy-nilly without a plan. Cause typically that's when you fail and sometimes people need failure. I've failed several times when it comes to investing and other things in life. And that failure is what actually open my eyes to, okay. I gotta do things differently here. Having a good plan and having a good financial planner advisor, coach, whatever you use, don't try to do it alone. You don't have to do it alone. Nobody's ever alone in this, there's always some awesome people in the community that are willing to help you and take you to that next level. Definitely appreciate that, that perspective, Christian. Again, I find myself saying this often that's awesome.

Christian Bishop:

No, that's good. And I, wasn't just picking on realtors. They aren't actually my toughest clients, I think back now, after I said that, It's the folks who come to me. And I find out that when I first talk to them that their retirement plan is playing the lottery and I'm like okay, now we have a lot more work to do so realtors way easier than that.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. wow. Yeah. Growing up on long island, New York, I saw that a lot with just even my own family and friends and stuff like everybody's oh yeah, I'm just, I, I buy this many lottery tickets a week and this is, once I hit it, then that's it. I'm like, you realize that the $5 ticket that you buy, like every day, every week, that if you invested that, what that would be right now, like absolutely over a 20 year period. Would've hit the lottery, right? Yeah. By just investing in yourself. Yeah. Oh man. Okay. Hey, so Christian, I'd like to transition this into something. I call the final round where I'm gonna hit you with four questions that I like to ask everybody that comes on the show. So if you're ready, we'll get this party started.

Christian Bishop:

All right. I'm looking forward to it. Let's go.

Average Joe Finances:

All right, Christian. Here we go. So the first question is what's the biggest mistake you've ever made?

Christian Bishop:

In financial matters. It's not buying Amazon at $2 and 28 cents. But from a personal perspective is trying to figure out what I wanna do in life and waiting too long to do it. I feel it's hard when you're 18 years old and they say, okay, you're gonna go off to college. What do you wanna do? And that's so unfair, but I feel like I should have gone with my passion. For me, my passion was finance, but I was thinking about dollars and cents. So I started in actual micro electronics was where I was going down, realized that wasn't for me. So I should have followed my passion. So biggest mistake, financial, not buying Amazon at $2 and change. And then on the other end, not following my passion when I was deciding what to do.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. Every, everybody has one of those, oh, like FOMO things where, you know, for me, I had this this stock that I bought a couple years ago, it was called plug power. I bought it at $2 and change. And I dropped about I think it was $4,000 into it. So I had, Whatever it doubled. So I was like, cuz they, they had an acquisition of three other companies, like three other power companies and it, the price doubled, it was crushing it. And I'm like, okay, cool. I doubled my money. I'm pulling it out instead of pulling out what I put into it and leaving. The rest in, like I should have, fast forward, three months later, it got up to $68 a share that $4,000 I would've put in. Would've been over $500,000. Yeah. So things like that happen. Yeah. And it's okay. Cause I still made a profit, so it's okay. I try not to look at that too much, but I like to share that because it happens. And sometimes it really stings, but it's okay. Because as long as you know how to move on and keep going, you're gonna be all right. And you're gonna be successful. Christian, the next question I have for you is, especially with your 25 years of experience in this field is what is something that you've learned over this time that you wish you knew when you first got started?

Christian Bishop:

People are people. And early on, I don't have that life experience to really know how to work with people. And it seems in this day and age, there's a lot of acrimony and there's like sides to everything. And I've learned that through life. I think there's a lot more in common with people if you just talk to 'em and listen to what they have to say. And early on in my career, I talked too much. and didn't listen enough. And now I listen a lot more. Hear what they're saying, find out what their real concerns are and then maybe address those, what I can do in the financial world. So it's really about in my case is listening a lot more and not talking as much.

Average Joe Finances:

No, that's great, actually, it's a saying that, and I tell my kids this all the time, we're given two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak.

Christian Bishop:

Good one.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. That's awesome. And that's a great lesson learned. That is a fantastic lesson learned, and it just goes to show that, Being able to listen and learn and get educated is one of the most valuable tools that we have as we move forward on our own journeys and trying to build wealth and generational wealth for our families is learn from the mistakes of others, of course, learn from your own mistakes, but learn from the mistakes of others and then learn from the people that are successful. All right. Awesome. Now. Okay. Again, so this all kind of ties into the next question, it all culminates to this, because again with your experience and with how many people that you've helped over the years, I'm sure you still, you take on new clients, right? You have new people coming to you all the time. So do you have any tips or tricks that you would recommend to someone that is just getting started today?

Christian Bishop:

Yeah. And actually, I think you touched on it earlier. Debt is the biggest detriment to most of the folks who are just getting, going in their financial journey. In my opinion, some people are blessed and not to and arrange their fairs. They don't have it, but so many do either from education, or maybe they started a business, whatever it was. And that debt, it's not just the interest that you pay, it's the cash flow and that negative cash flow going out for something that you've already done or had, can eat away at your ability to do other things so that has to become the number one goal is to eliminate debt. Now, not all debt is bad, and we could talk about that in another show. But I think everybody who's listening and watching understand what I'm talking about it's that credit card debt, the student loan debt, buying cars that maybe yeah, you qualified for, but you really shouldn't own. That it goes on and on. Real estate is a great place where debt can be a positive, but even that needs to be leveraged appropriately. Debt, get rid of debt, reduce your debt, lower your debt, whatever you've gotta do so that the rest of your life, you're not trapped in that cycle of always paying.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. Cuz a lot of people don't realize, debt can be used as a tool and an asset. I do that, in real estate, I utilize a lot of debt as a tool. But at the same time, like before I got started and I had a lot of consumer debt, the credit cards, the personal loans and all that. And that was like the first thing I had to tackle. Before I was able to really get serious about what I was doing with my finances. And I find, that most people that you talk to probably 60% of Americans are in that boat, where they are, stuck in this cycle, making these minimum payments and never being able to pay off their credit cards because, the interest rates are 22% and it is a vicious cycle. So that is super important. That's a great, tip to recommend to somebody who's just getting started is you gotta get rid of that. That bad debt that's holding you back. Cuz once you do that, the money that you've been throwing into that monthly man, there's so many things you can do with that at this point. Fantastic. All right. Great. So look, I know you have a book and so I want to just preface this with, besides your own do you have a favorite business investing or real estate related book or podcast or both?

Christian Bishop:

This is gonna be one that I doubt many of you have heard or seen it was came out several years ago. But I feel like for a lot of your listeners and viewers that are just starting this journey, it really would make a big difference for me. It's called The Great American Mismatch. It's by Jim Delamater. You can find it on Amazon and other, retailers online. And what it is it talks about in a very short read. It is a very short book is all the different professionals that you're gonna work with at some point in your life, or many of them, including financial advisors and bankers et cetera. And it gives the reader the downside of some of these industries and those folks in it. It's mostly a negative kind of point of view, but there is the positive side and it's what to watch out for. What are people trying to get from you? When they're trying to get you to buy a product or a service, what is it in their interest? And are they putting your interest first or is it their interest first? Bankers, insurance invest investment professionals, accountants, et cetera. It talks about many of them. And I find for somebody who's just getting, going, read this. It'll take you, a couple hours, bring it on a plane, whatever. I feel it's probably one of the most important short books that somebody could read and get the most information out so that they can be more aware of how they're probably being taken advantage of at some point in their life. Now, some people never are, and they're really good at this, but I have all my children read it and just when you're going out to the world now, you know what to watch out.

Average Joe Finances:

That's fantastic. That's a great recommendation. I had to write that one down just because of the way you're describing this book. That's wonderful because a lot of people do that, and I just wanna point this out a little bit too, especially after 20 years in the Navy, one of the things that I've seen is I've seen it myself when I first joined and I see it now with young sailors that are joining now. And this goes for all service members or anybody just getting out. Into the world, for the first time they graduated high school maybe they're getting a job or maybe they're going to college. And when you get out into the world, mom and dad, ain't there to hold your hand anymore. So you show up and you show up to your first career. Like I said, a lot of service members run into this and now they have a job they're getting paid. They have a place that they're living now outside of their home, they need a car. So they go to a car dealership and, a lot of places like where they might be stationed at might not have these laws that protect them, you can go turn around and say, oh yeah, we can get you approved for this car. We can make your payments, $300 or less a month. You're gonna pay on it for eight years and the interest rate's gonna be 30%, but Hey, yeah, we got you. And those are the type of places you wanna avoid. You wanna try to stay away from that and that's. You wanna listen to a podcast like this that will steer you away from stuff like that. Absolutely. So that's the whole point, of doing stuff like this. That's a great book to, for people just getting started out to definitely check out that might be one of the new ones that I recommend as a foundational book to check out. So I'm definitely gonna check this one out, cuz it sounds like it's got some great nuggets of wisdom in.

Christian Bishop:

Absolutely does.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. Christian, thank you so much for that. And this conversation's been absolutely awesome. I feel like awesome is the word that I've used so much on this episode, because this has just been some great information and for the people that are listening to this right now that agree with me that this interview's been awesome and they wanna know more about you because they like what you're putting out, they like the information that you're sharing with all of us. And they're gonna wanna know where they could find you. So do you have anywhere that we can send them a website, any social media, anything like that, where people can come check you out?

Christian Bishop:

Yeah. And I'm on all the various social media outlets, but they can go to hidden cash uncovered and on my website has links to where they can find the book more about me. Some information hiddencashuncovered.com. Start there. It's easy. Or they can just look my name up and they'll find me around at the various places as well. So thank you.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, fantastic. So guys, Hey, I'm gonna make sure I have all those links in the show notes, make it easier for you to find go check out his book. Cuz just with the wave tops that we've touched here, you can see obviously, that book is gonna provide you a lot of golden nuggets of how to uncover that cash that's been hidden. And how to try to get some of that back and not overpay the government because Hey they do make enough off of us as it is so as long as you. Being the, one of the people that are overpaying and losing out, making sure you're putting more in your pocket to save, for your future instead of, everyone else's right. You gotta focus on yourself a little bit and this is one of the points where, Hey, I'm not saying that paying taxes is a bad thing. Paying taxes is a patriotic thing to do, right? Because the nation needs money. you don't wanna overpay just like you don't want to go to Starbucks and pay $8 for already an overpriced cup of coffee. That's $4 in change, right? So you don't want to pay more than you have to. I think that's the biggest point here. So Christian, again, this was a fantastic conversation. It was a pleasure speaking with you today, and I truly appreciate you taking the time to, to chat with me today. Thanks so much.

Christian Bishop:

Mike. Thank you. I really appreciate being on your show. Thank you.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. And Aloha from Hawaii.

Christian Bishop:

All right.