How To STOP Living PAYCHECK To PAYCHECK!

Avery Breyer is a 4 times best selling author in the finance space and author of the aptly named for this show, “How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck”.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Avery Breyer
4 times best selling author

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Transcript:

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Avery Breyer:

If a person’s goal is that their lifestyle that would make them satisfied requires $6,000 a month, well, then you’ve got to figure out, “How can I build up enough to earn that for me so that I can retire and have that,” at whatever age you want to retire?

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation. I’m Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe. And with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Avery Breyer:

Hi, I’m Avery Breyer. I’ve written for bestselling Amazon books, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, How to Be Debt Free, How to Raise Your Credit Score, and the book I wrote about my freelance writing ventures, Turn Your Computer Into a Money Machine.

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show, with Avery, we’re diving into how you can up your financial game, whether you are going from paycheck to paycheck every month and you’re struggling even though you’re earning a tonne of money in B2B sales, or whether you’re crushing it right now, what you should be tracking, the traps that people often fall into, and a whole lot more. Let’s jump into the conversation.

 

Nearly 80% of Americans Live Paycheque to Paycheque. Are You Living Paycheque to Paycheque? · [01:03]

 

Will Barron:

We’re going to dive into our topic today. I think it’s quite timely in the way I uncovered this data point that we’ll discuss. But probably, it’s been going on for many years. I uncovered this data point when I was watching the news the other day, as much as I hate to watching the news, it was on in the background. The US government shut down is in full swing as we record this. And it said, I think the fact was nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. This spiked my interest. I wanted to have you on the show to dive into this and see, if there’s anyone listening, how we can pull them off that seemingly terrible financial train to be on.

 

Will Barron:

But with that, is that fact true? I guess question one. And question two, is this for on average or is this for low income people, high income people? How does that fact of 80% worm its way through the statistics?

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, I think it’s very common. I will be honest with you, I didn’t research statistics when I wrote the book, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck. I wrote it just because I knew in my own experience, in my own life, that a lot of people are struggling with that, period. So, what I would say about that is, I think what’s more important even than the statistic… It’s important from the sense that there’s obviously a lot of people that are struggling and looking for a solution, but I think what’s even more important is, for any of your listeners to consider how close to the edge they are financially, and whether or not the living paycheck to paycheck description fits what their life is like. And if so, what steps can they take to fix that?

 

The Exact Definition of Living Paycheque to Paycheque · [02:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Are we talking very literally here of, the end of the month, if a bill comes out, we’re screwed when we’re not expecting it? If we set up an account on the 31st and it comes out on the wrong day because we’re in the 31st of the next month, whatever it is, or are we talking less literal of, we’re just a little bit skin till the end of the month and we expect that paycheck to tide us over?

 

Avery Breyer:

I think there’s a mix. There’s some people who really have run out of money. There are some people that are using their credit cards to finance their life, and it’s just a ticking time bomb. Eventually, they’re going to hit their limit on that card, and now they’re screwed. There are other people who just squeak by, they have just enough to get by each month, but it’s a little iffy. And then you have those who are making it, but they’re not setting aside anything for rainy day, they’re not setting aside think for an emergency. So I think there’s a really broad spectrum of people, but all of those people can benefit from taking some steps to improve their situation, to take control of their money and be more deliberate with what they’re doing. 

 

Will Barron:

We’ll come onto the steps in a second. I just want to build a bit of an anticipation before that, Avery. Have you read the book, The Millionaire Next Door?

 

Avery Breyer:

Nope, I have not.

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’ve touched on it in the show in the past, and just as a general hack for anyone who hasn’t read it, essentially, what it tells us is that people who end up being the wealthiest are people like sales professionals, people who go from the bottom up, people who run small businesses, people who drive around in, you look at it and you’re, “Ah, that crappy old pickup truck.” But it turns out, they’ve paid off the mortgage, they’ve got a small business that drives revenue, they’ve got rental properties, whatever it is. And the people who end up looking financially wealthy, and this is all from statistics that a wealth management company put together.

 

Will Barron:

The people who look wealthy, people who are bankers, people who are doctors, people like this, and again, another category of potentially of a flashy sales person, they are asset rich, but wealth poor, in that they’ve got expensive car, but they don’t have any savings because they’re spending all their money trying to keep up with the Joneses. And I’ve been in this position in the past as well of buying expensive suits and all this kind of nonsense, as opposed to just investing the usual advice of 10% of your income and all these kind of things, which we’ll touch on.

 

Practical Money Management Strategies According to Your Preferred Lifestyle · [04:53] 

 

Will Barron:

And I’ve been in that situation where I’ve been trying to keep up with my colleagues and all this kind of stuff, and it led me into a vicious circle of just earning more money and not saving any of it. With that said, for the audience, if you’re earning a decent six figures, how much should you have in assets? How much should you saving each year? Maybe you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, but can you add a bit of perhaps context of someone who is financially going to be okay in 10 years versus someone who is on the path towards perhaps living paycheck to paycheck in the future?

 

Avery Breyer:

Okay. Readers of my books will know I hate one-size-fits-all rules. I hate them because I think we are all very individual in terms of what our goals are. You can have, say the early retirement extreme enthusiasts who have some really cool blogs on the subject, by the way, they fascinate me, who maybe earn high six figures, they’re making a killing in their 20s. And so what do they do? They don’t live large, they live cheap, they live as if they’re broke, they sock it all away, and then they retire when they’re 30. But are they living large like the Kardashians? No, they’re living a modest life, but they’re free. They’re free for the rest of their life.

 

“I think the best thing anybody can do is they have to do the math, and not be intimidated by the math. There’s tonnes of calculators online you can use and figure out, “What do I need to sustain the lifestyle that I want for the rest of my life? How much a month do I need? And now, how can I build up either income generating assets or investments or whatever that are going to sustain me when one day I stop working?” – Avery Breyer · [06:09] 

 

Avery Breyer:

So somebody with that goal is going to be socking away a much larger percentage in savings than somebody who says, “You know what, actually, that’s not for me. I want to live large because that is my goal. I want to have a fancy car, a fancy house, fancy vacations. I want to go to fancy restaurants. I want the best clothes. I want all this.” Well, that person’s going to have to strategize very differently from the one who’s just trying to get out of the rat race ASAP. So what I think is the best thing anybody can do is they have to do the math, and not be intimidated by the math. There’s tonnes of calculators online you can use and so on and figure out, “What do I need to sustain the lifestyle that I want for the rest of my life? How much a month do I need? And now, how can I build up either income generating assets or investments or whatever that are going to sustain me when one day I stop working?”

 

How to Be Financially Free · [06:31] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. We touched on this show before that I’m not on the extreme early retirement, but definitely retire early front of 45, 50 is my target retirement age. To have a good lifestyle at that point, not to be sat on a beach in a hut trying to do whatever just to make the ends meet, but still be early retired. With that said, I don’t think that’s the case for most people. Because you used the word free there, and that obviously means lots of different things to lots of different people, but how would you, Avery, pitch to a B2B salesperson listening to this right now? How would you pitch them on the upsides of perhaps being free, and even what that word means to you? I’ll chime in of what it means to me as well.

 

Avery Breyer:

I think that they need to spend some time thinking about what makes them happy. Some people love their jobs, they adore their jobs. When my husband I quit our jobs a few years ago to go travelling, my sister-in-law, one of the things she asked us, “Well, aren’t you going to miss your jobs?” And my husband I were both like, “No.” For us, it was a means to an end, those jobs that we were doing, so our answer was no. But not everyone is like that. Some people love their jobs. And so I think somebody has to just really spend the time to get really clear on, A, how much do you like your job? How long do you want to do it? Are you trying to get out as fast as possible because you don’t get joy from that, you don’t get happiness from that? Or are you cool with doing that till you’re 60, 65, 70.

 

Avery Breyer:

Some people work till they’re 80 and they’re happy about it. So it depends. I really think it has to be so individual. I think people have to do the work, put in the time to think carefully about what their end goal is, and then work backwards. I think it’s a lot easier to work backwards from what the end goal is to where you are now, how can you get there? Versus start here and go, “What should I do? How much should I set aside?” It’s impossible to say, unless you’ve taken the time to really think about what the end game is that you’re working towards.

 

Will Barron:

Okay. I feel there’s a few questions here that we can build up. Tell me if there’s any more we should add to this, of how we can start with the end in mind to all of, one, does our job make us happy? Because I think most salespeople will say, “No, does it? Heck, it’s stressful. Perhaps I bring in a tonne of cash from doing it, perhaps it’s better than doing a physical labour job,” especially if you’re in the Western world and you’re selling, perhaps it’s better than most other jobs in most other places, to be grateful for what we do have, but it probably does make most people happy.

 

How Much Money do You Need to Live the Lifestyle You Desire? · [09:10] 

 

Will Barron:

There’s the next one of, how long do you want to do it for? Which I think is really important. And I bang on about the show, I don’t think sales is a career that people should be in… Potentially, people shouldn’t be in for 40 years, because it is stressful. You’re probably going to end up fat and having a heart attack at the end of it if you don’t take precautions against that. So Avery, are there any over questions that we should be asking ourselves other than those two, which could help, I guess, paint a picture of where we should be starting our plans from?

 

Avery Breyer:

I really think it comes down to the math and what your goals are. And also reality, the math is where the reality factor comes in. If a person’s goal is that their lifestyle that would make them satisfied requires $6,000 a month, well then you’ve got to figure out, “How can I build up enough to earn that for me so that I can retire and have that,” at whatever age you want to retire? For somebody who’s making six figures a year, multiple six figure year, it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier to reach that goal than for somebody working minimum wage, obviously.

 

Avery Breyer:

So I would say, for your listeners who are doing really well and making a lot of money in sales, well, that’s fabulous, you’ve got choices. You’ve got so much opportunity then to create retirement on your terms, to stop working on a timeline that’s more suited for you. You’ve got more opportunity to avoid being backed into a corner and having to work at this stressful job longer than you want, but you’ve got to take the time to plan it out because it’s easy to just drift along and then you’re spending every penny or most of it not putting enough aside, because you’re stressed and now you want to reward yourself by going out for that nice dinner or that awesome vacation or whatever. Those things are spendy, they’re expensive.

 

Avery Breyer:

I think there’s no way around it, people have to definitely take the time to set aside that money and plan how they’re going to get to the end goal. But the good news is, if you’re making a killing, well, it’s going to be a lot easier for you, you’re going to have a lot more options than the average person.

 

Will Barron:

You mentioned something here, which is incredible. And as you said this one word, Avery, half the audience went, “Oh God.” Because 50%, maybe not 50%, maybe 20% of the shows that we do, we have people who are motivational, we’ve got an ex captain of a US Navy warship coming on in a few days’ time just to talk about motivation, hustle, leadership, all this kind of stuff. And if you, not you personally, but if in the conversation with someone like that, you mentioned the word being satisfied or the phrase being satisfied, he would probably throw some kind of Navy cane or stick at you or he would complain in some kind of way.

 

How to Lead a More Satisfying Life · [11:55] 

 

Will Barron:

Because their messaging, and whether this is right or wrong, is always, you can do more, you can do better, you can be better, you can be bigger. But the practical element of all this, and I think you used the word that the reality side of it, is that at some point we need to choose a level to be satisfied at, because that’s at least the first target to aim towards. And then if we hit that target, we can readjust, we can recharge things later on. So for someone who is, perhaps someone’s listening to this, whatever reason they’ve clicked on it, and they’re absolutely balling, they drive around in a nice Porsche, they’ve got the best watches, suits, they’ve got an amazing flat overlooking the city, whatever it is, but they’re skin month to month.

 

Will Barron:

How does someone like that work out where they should be satisfied and where they can be satisfied so that they’ve got a target to aim at? And this might be a mindset piece as opposed to a super practical advice, perhaps.

 

Avery Breyer:

Oh, well. I know I keep harping on this, I keep saying it over and over again. I don’t think there’s any shortcuts. I think a person has to take the time to really think it through. Where they should be satisfied, I don’t know. I don’t know that I even like the word should because we’re all wired very differently, we all have different influences. My upbringing, what I felt expected to do was different from many other people who felt what they were expected to do, what they should be satisfied with, what they should aim for. And it’s very easy to get caught up in constantly trying to be better, better, better, better, but it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting.

 

Avery Breyer:

And you can only do that so long before you’re going to burn out. So I think ultimately, people have to really try to step back and try to figure out for themselves, not based on what their social circle thinks or their friends think or their parents think or anybody else thinks, but what, in their heart, what makes them happy? And who knows? Maybe to figure that out, they’ll have to step away from the world they’re in. I know for me, we’ve been away now for a little over four and a half years now, travelling. And for me, that was helpful to be away from everything of what I should be and just be what I want with nobody judging me because nobody knows me.

 

“If you are making a lot of money, step away from it all, go off to where there’s none of those influences of what you should be and just spend some time thinking about and figuring out what you want instead of what everybody else thinks you should want.” – Avery Breyer · [14:06] 

 

Avery Breyer:

We’ve been travelling for four and a half years now, I walk the streets, nobody knows who I am. Nobody says, “Oh, she does this job, therefore, she should be dressed like this or live in a house like this or drive a car like this.” I can just do what makes me happy without any other influences. I know that sounds extreme, but if your listeners are making a lot of money, well, maybe you could afford to do that for a while. Step away from it all, go off where there’s none of those influences of what you should be, and just spend some time thinking about and figuring out what you want instead of what everybody else thinks you should want.

 

Tips for Figuring Out What You Truly Want and How Long It’s Going to Take · [14:20]

 

Will Barron:

How long does a process like that take? And I’ll say that from my perspective of, I’ve wanted to go travelling maybe two, three months backpacking, whatever it is. I’ve never managed to do it because there’s always been a business goal, or when I worked in sales, I just couldn’t have took that time off without getting sacked. Is there a point of time where you think it’s… I guess if you go away for two weeks, by the time you’ve relaxed and you’ve chilled out, you’re then getting back into the work mind frame on the flight on the way back. Is there is there a length of time for as sabbatical, if we can call it that, that would be useful for the audience, and myself included, I’m asking this selfishly as well, that would give you time to reset, to work out what is important to you, to make the realisation that, “Well, maybe I don’t want to work for the next four years to buy that Porsche and I’ll do drive round in my Ford Focus or whatever it is, instead, in the meantime”?

 

Will Barron:

Is there a certain period of time that it takes for your brain to decompress of all the marketing that’s thrown at you and all the other things day to day-

 

“If you are the kind of person who generally doesn’t really give a crap what other people think, you’re not going to need as much time to get clear on what you want, because you’re not trying to shed all those expectations that people have of you because you don’t care as much. If you’re a big people pleaser kind of person on the opposite end of the spectrum, then I think it takes longer because you’re going to spend that first bit of time away just distressing and relaxing.” – Avery Breyer · [15:31] 

 

Avery Breyer:

It’s powerful. I think it depends how much of a people pleaser you are. That’s what I think. I think the more of a people pleaser you are, the longer you need be. Because if you are the kind of person who generally doesn’t really give a crap what other people think, you’re not going to need as much time to get clear on what you want, because you’re not trying to shed all those expectations that people have of you because you don’t care as much. If you’re a big people pleaser kind of person on the opposite end of the spectrum, then I think it takes longer because you’re going to spend that first bit of time away just distressing and relaxing.

 

Avery Breyer:

If you go back too soon, it’s just back to the same old thing again. So you might need longer to experiment, even experiment living different ways, maybe experiment with renting a super cheap place that costs next to nothing, but you’d be free if you live that way for the rest of your life and see, well, do you like it? Are you happy that way without everybody judging you, without anyone around to judge you? Or are you unhappy and feeling like you’re missing out? Maybe you’ve lived the big life long enough that you feel like, “I’ve been there, done that, checked that box. I don’t need to do it anymore.”

 

Avery Breyer:

Or maybe you say, “No, I fricking love doing that. So no, I’m not happy living the simple life.” I think honestly, it’s going to depend how much of a people pleaser someone is. Because I think the bigger of a people pleaser you are, the more of an approval junkie you are, the longer you’re going to need to experiment and figure out the answer to that question. For me, I would say after a year away, I felt much more confident about what was what I wanted versus what I had been doing because of what other people thought I should be doing, or that kind of thing, and the pressures, the outside pressures.

 

Avery Breyer:

They’re subtle. They mean well, they’re not trying to do you harm, but everybody has expectations of us. Me, I’m totally an approval junkie, I’m totally a people pleaser. So it took longer to figure it out. And now, four and a half years later, I feel like more of a… Can I say this? I feel like more of a hard ass about it.

 

Will Barron:

You could say whatever you like on this show, Avery.

 

Avery Breyer:

Okay. I feel like more of a hard ass about it. I feel more like, “Yes, you know what? This is what I want. If you don’t like it, too bad.” Whereas me five years ago would not have so easily felt that way because I’d still be thinking, “Well, they want me to live this way. This is what people expect of me because this is what I do for a living.” Whereas now, I’ve been away so long, I care a lot less. And it’s nice. It’s nice.

 

The Things Avery Did to Uncover What She Truly Wanted for Herself · [18:09] 

 

Will Barron:

I’ll explain why in a second, I don’t want to call your answer here, Avery. I’ll explain why being less of a people pleaser, which is a stereotype of sales people, is actually better for sales people in the long run. Did you do anything other than travelling? Is there anything else you did mindset wise, getting rid of stuff or changing your peer group or anything else like that to become more, in your own words, of a hard ass with stuff like this?

 

Avery Breyer:

I think my peer group automatically changed because it couldn’t be helped. Travelling, I purposely sought out people to hang out with who were trying to do what we were doing. They were either families, we have two kids, they were families with kids who were leaving on a one year sabbatical only. That was it, and then they’re going back to their own life. But who I really enjoyed the most hanging out with was those who were trying to do what I was trying to do, which was completely remake over their life and have more freedom, create a location independent stream of income, and so on. 

 

Avery Breyer:

And that group of people were the ones that were the budget travellers. They were living cheap. They didn’t have 10 outfits with them because when you’re travelling indefinitely, you’re not bringing a bunch… It’s not practical to bring all those suitcases, so you’re not going to do that. But again, nobody knows you, so nobody judges you, it doesn’t matter. You can look like a bum and nobody cares. So it’s great. I try not to look like a bum, but compared to my old life, how I would dress to go to work or a party or whatever, I really simplified by necessity travelling. So I found that my peer group, yeah, it changed drastically. The new peer group was very helpful as well because it was people who were more in line with what deep down I wanted.

 

Avery Breyer:

I’m not knocking my friends from before, they’re great people, but for me, it was helpful to meet other people who were on the same path I was on, taking the same journey I was on. Because I think anytime you make a drastic life change or try to change something drastically, you need people to relate to, you need people who don’t think you’re crazy for doing it. I would say, yeah, my peer group has changed dramatically. The people that I talk to the most now tend to be people that are doing a lot of what I’m doing, whether it’s the online business stuff or the travel or whatever

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense. The reason I ask and I want to drill a bit deeper into that is because I thought peer group might be part of it is, and we’ll take a sidetrack for a second here. We’ve got a product called the Sales School. It’s a self-development platform for sales people. All customers are really awesome. We’re calling it the Sales DNA and Sales Code. It’s a personality test that dives into sales traits that are useful for sales people as well as the usual Myers Briggs personality types. And it amalgamates altogether and then tells you at the end of it, which training you should be doing within the Sales School, which would be the best bang for buck.

 

Will Barron:

A part of putting this training, as part of putting the testing together, I actually did a lot of research on personality traits and candidate testing for sales organisations, all these different organisations that are doing the testing already. I’ve gotten a bunch of phone calls, I’ve got a bunch of phone calls with different analytics individuals from these companies. And one thing that cropped up over and over, which I thought was really interesting and somewhat counterintuitive, was that my stereotype of sales people is that they are people pleasers. They want to go out there, they want to pick up the phone, they want to help people, especially at the B2B level.

 

Why the More Successful Salespeople are Not People Pleasers · [21:27]

 

Will Barron:

We’re not talking about the used car salesperson who’s just trying to rip you off and use weird manipulation tactics, because me selling to surgeons, you’d never be invited back into an operating theatre if you tried to do that, so with those out the picture. And I consider myself a little bit of a people pleaser, but all the research shows that sales people who don’t really care what the potential customers or customers think of them, but serve them flat regardless, they do far better, face far less rejection, and statistically, are the highest performers in B2B, large organisations. So when you mentioned, I guess, caring less about what other people think about you, I thought that was a really interesting insight, it’s why I want to dive into it a little bit deeper just for the audience. That’s why I was tying into that.

 

“I think it holds you back in many ways to care too much about what people think of you. It’s good in the sense that you don’t want to harm other people, you want to do right by people. But when a lot of it’s focused on not so much what you’re doing with them, and it’s about what they think of you, then I think that holds you back.” – Avery Breyer · [22:17] 

 

Avery Breyer:

If I may just say, I think it holds you back in many ways to care too much what people think of you. It’s good in the sense that you don’t want to harm other people, you want to do right by people. But when a lot of it’s focused on not so much what you’re doing with them, it’s about what they think of you, and I think that holds you back.

 

“If you’re in sales and you’re so worried about, “Well, what are they going to think of me if I ask them to buy this? What are they going to think of me if I come on too strong? What are they going to think of me if I say this is so great?” Well, you’re going to hold back. If you don’t care, you’re just going to say what you really think, and they can take it or leave it, but at least you’re speaking your truth.” – Avery Breyer · [22:30] 

 

Avery Breyer:

If you’re in sales, hell, if you’re so worried about, “Well, what are they going to think of me if I ask them to buy this? What are they going to think of me if I come on too strong? What are they going to think of me if I say this is so great, are they going to think of… ” Well, you’re going to hold back. If you don’t care, you’re just going to say what you really think, and they can take it or leave it, but at least you’re speaking your truth.

 

Will Barron:

And I think the underlying element of all this is, we put, you, I, everyone else, well, you maybe past this, but I’m certainly not past this, but I don’t always commit it to myself, Avery, that people don’t really give a shit about you either. So you think you having this posh watch or the nice car or the slightly bigger house than the person next to you? Well, they’re not thinking about you, they’re not bothered, and the money can potentially be spent in other ways, if you’re not that bothered about having a huge house, which I’m not. My girlfriend likes having… We’ve got a nice five bedroom house. She loves the house, and she’s super nesting in it and decorating it and she’s all into that kind of stuff.

 

How Much of What We Want and What it Means to be Successful is Ingrained On Us as Children? · [24:00] 

 

Will Barron:

It doesn’t do anything for me whatsoever. So I understand this and I know the balances between the two. I like fast cars, which are a total waste of money, she has a Mini Cooper. She loves it. And she’ll probably never have another car again, because she doesn’t feel the need to. So it’s all like balances and back and forth. And maybe a personality test could help with some of this as well, I don’t know, there’s probably elements to this that… Let me ask you this then, this brings up the next point of, how much of all of this is ingrained into as children of, “You are only successful when you have X, Y, Z, you’re only successful when you mingle with these people”?

 

Will Barron:

How much of this is, I guess, DNA, how much of it is ingrained into us as children, and how much of it comes later in life when perhaps we do take a couple of steps up the financial ladder and then we realise what else is out there? 

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, I’m not going to is so bold as to say numbers, because I like data before I spit out numbers. But I will say that I think how we are raised and our parents’ views can have a powerful impact on us, especially if we’re a people pleaser. Because, again, everybody’s personalities different. I’ve got two kids, they’ve got same parents, completely opposite personalities. They could not be more different. But nonetheless, I think certain kinds of personalities, my suspicion is the people pleasers and so on are probably going to take on more of that, are going to internalise more of those messages they get growing up about whether does wealth make you a better person. Does it make people think you’re better because you’re wealthy? You’re wealthy, therefore you must be good.

 

Avery Breyer:

Versus if you’re not wealthy, you must be bad or whatever. There’s a lot of stereotypes and things like that. And our parents are only human, they’re subject to those too. And the messages we got growing up, whether it’s from our parents or peer groups at school or anybody, I think it’s going to have a strong influence. You take those with you as an adult. And I feel like as an adult, you start becoming more of who you really are because now you are more in control of who you surround yourself with, where you live, how you spend your money and what kind of job you want to get.

 

Avery Breyer:

So I think you start shedding some of those influences from childhood, but I don’t think if they ever go away. I think it’s a big ball of mixed up influences.

 

The First Thing You Should Do to Stop Living Paycheque to Paycheque · [25:58] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, yeah. Okay. So with that, let’s get practical for anyone who is listening to this, and I feel we’ve covered a lot of ground already here on perhaps the mindset elements of it. But for anyone who is listening to this show, Avery, who is living paycheck to paycheck or perhaps is living every over paycheck to every other paycheck. Basically, someone who doesn’t have a year’s, six months’ money in savings at the minimum. Let’s tee all that together. What should that individual be doing after putting down the podcast today? What’s the first step for them? What’s the mission critical for them to turn their financial life around?

 

Avery Breyer:

I like data, I believe in data. I think the first thing people need to get is the data. They need to track their spending, they need to track their income, and they got to figure out how much they’re spending on everything. How much are they spending on the minimum necessary to put a roof over their head, feed themselves, keep themselves warm in winter and not overheating in summer and so on, depending on where they live? They’ve got to figure out what those minimum expenditures are. And then after that, they’ve got to figure out, “Okay, that’s the bare minimum. Am I okay with that or am I not? And if I’m not, well, what is my… “

 

Avery Breyer:

Again, it comes down to what lifestyle do you want and what does it cost you, and figure out where your money’s going. Because a lot of people, once they’ve tracked all of their spending and all of their income for several months, they find a lot of areas where they’ve been, for lack of a better word, absent mindedly, just spending money on a little of this, a little of that, a little of this, a little of that.

 

“For me, the mission critical thing is to start tracking everything. There’s a reason why all of the major companies in the world track their expenses and they track what everything costs, because how are you going to know how you’re doing in terms of reaching your goals if you don’t have a clue what you’re spending money on?” – Avery Breyer · [27:40] 

 

Avery Breyer:

And all those little of this, little of that, it adds up and it can add up to an awful lot. And over the year, that can really be a big speed bump for you reaching whatever your financial goal is for your own personal end game that you’re working towards. So for me, the mission critical thing is to start tracking everything. There’s a reason why all of the major companies in the world track their expenses and they track what everything costs, because how are you going to know how you’re doing in terms of reaching your goals if you don’t have a clue what you’re spending money on?

 

Avery Breyer:

How do you even know what’s possible if you don’t have a clue? But once you see it in front of you where your money’s actually going, you can make much more informed decisions when you’re spending to make sure that you’re deliberately working towards your goals. It doesn’t mean you got to take out all the fun, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not going to have any impulse buys ever, but you can budget for impulse buys. My husband and I have done the same for as long as we’ve been married, our mad money.

 

Avery Breyer:

We said, “You get this much mad money a month and you get this much mad money a month. You can spend it on whatever the hell you want, no judgement , and that’s your impulse buy money.” But we budget our impulse buy money because then it doesn’t get away from you, and you know you’re still steadily working towards what your end game is. So tracking, tracking everything, I think that’s so important.

 

Will Barron:

It’s account season as we record this, and I’m literally, next week, I’ve got a full day in the diary just to go through everything before I submit my taxes to HMRC here in the UK. So I’m running a small business so I have to track everything inside out, with the podcast to the sales, and all the side businesses and incomes that come in with that. In my personal life, I don’t really track all that much. I do have systems in place, I give a bunch of cash to charity every month, every quarter we do different investments. It all comes out naturally and organically.

 

How to Start Tracking All Your Expenses · [29:23]

 

Will Barron:

So we perhaps touch on that later on, but what’s the first step for someone to start tracking this? Is it literally to log into the banking website and to download statements, put them into a spreadsheet or print them off, highlight them and start adding numbers up or are there any tools that you’d recommend for this process? 

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, in my book, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, I created this spreadsheet. For me, it’s the mother of all spreadsheets. I like details because I don’t think the bank statements cut it, I don’t think the credit card statements cut it, because those don’t have enough detail. When you go to whatever massive big box store, they might sell makeup, party supplies, groceries, toilet paper, a new fancy piece of patio furniture for your yard. They sell a lot of stuff, so if you go and you look at your credit card statement and it says you spent £300 or $300 on whatever at this, insert name of big box store, what does that tell you? It doesn’t tell you anything.

 

Avery Breyer:

Was that on groceries for that month which you need, or was that on pre-cooked meals that are super expensive compared to cooking from scratch? Is that on upgrading your patio furniture? What did you even spend it on? So I don’t think that’s enough. And that’s why I personally believe in my spreadsheet method because you save all your receipts, not forget the statement, save the receipts, because that’s itemised and you can go down on there. So when I would track mine, I would be like, “Oh, well of that £300 or $300, whatever, $55 was groceries, $40 was on, I don’t know, DVDs or CDs or whatever, this much was on toiletries and household goods.”

 

Avery Breyer:

And I would separate that out because then at the end of the month, I get a much more accurate picture on where it’s possible for me to cut back and where it’s not, because if you go and you look at that and it’s all been on must-do-stuff that you can’t negotiate, well, then at least you know, “Okay. Well, I got to increase my income maybe if I want to save more.” On the flip side, you look at that and you see that a lot of those expenditures are optional things that maybe you don’t really care that much about, that maybe it’d be worth it to you to cut back a little so that you could direct that money into something more important to you.

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, you’ve got the data in front of you, but if all you look at is your bank statements or your credit cards, you don’t know because it doesn’t tell you the detail. So I think people have to just track it. And it doesn’t mean they’re are going to have to do it forever, maybe they’re going to have to do it for a year or two just to get a really good handle on how they’re doing, and then you start to get into a groove and you know, it’s like a habit, how you spend becomes a habit, and then it just goes on autopilot a bit that you just got to check up on yourself every now and then. But I think it’s super valuable to track it. You got to track it. Everybody should track it.

 

Will Barron:

I think there’s an overlay to this which would be useful as well for anyone who perhaps live to paycheck to paycheck, but is earning mid six figures, whatever it is in their B2B sales role. I know when I did this few years ago, when I first started the company, one I wanted to be on top of my finances, obviously starting a company, a time full of terminal, but financially and everything else that goes along with it just to stay afloat for that first few year period. So I was on top of it, but what I got out of it more so, perhaps I saved a couple hundred quid a month, whatever it was, but I realised I was spending money on things like Netflix, the occasional computer game, nothing really too major on that front.

 

Will Barron:

But essentially, I was spending money on things that I didn’t care about and were a total waste of time. So it wasn’t necessarily when I cut these out that I saved 20 grand a year which could go into an investment account, or could hire an employee, or go on some training courses to improve my sales skills, it was, I realised how mindless I was being, not just with my spending, but in other areas of my life as well. And perhaps you play an hour of a game a night, or perhaps you go out on the weekend and you go a bit mental buying, bottle service or whatever it is.

 

The Surprising Benefits of Tracking Your Spending · [33:20] 

 

Will Barron:

The receipts were a history of me not just wasting money, which again, wasn’t the biggest deal in the world because I was doing well financially, but it was a stark reminder of all the bullshit stuff I was doing, which wasn’t me moving me towards my main financial and life goals as well. So I got a tonne of benefits out of it. From that perspective, is that something that you’ve come across as well?

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, absolutely. And I know even myself, there’s some things that I tend… We all have our things that we’re okay with being cheap about and not ways to getting money on and other things. I’ve lived frugally on one things, and in my book, I talk about my couch that my dog destroyed and I was like, “Well, screw that now. I’m not buying a new couch. He’s just going to tear it again.” So I was like, “I refuse, I want to buy rental properties.” And so I kept that stupid torn couch because to me, it didn’t matter, to society, yeah, and being a cheap scape because I won’t buy a new couch. And I was like, “Well, why should I, he’s just going to wreck the next one?”

 

Avery Breyer:

But by the same token, for our anniversary every year, we go out to the nicest restaurant in town and we’d blow a crap tonne of money. We’d have the appetisers, we’d have the best steaks, we’d have the wine, we’d have the dessert wine, we’d have dessert, and it cost a lot of money, but it was an intentional, it was something intentional because we were tracking our money and being very particular to make sure we were reaching our goals. That was part of our personal balance for living a little, having some fun, versus not putting on things that aren’t.

 

“You can definitely still have a lot of fun and splurge and have those memorable times where you’ve lived a little large, but just being intentional about it makes such a huge difference.” – Avery Breyer · [35:11] 

 

Avery Breyer:

So whether it’s the Netflix account, to you it was like, “Nah, I can’t be bothered.” Or my crazy coach, which for me, I couldn’t be bothered, I was like, “Screw this, I refuse this, dog’s going to destroy it.” We all have our things that to us don’t matter, to someone else they will matter. But you can definitely still have a lot of fun and splurge and have those memorable times where you’ve lived a little large, but just being intentional about it makes such a huge difference.

 

What’s Your Freedom Plan? · [35:22] 

 

Will Barron:

Avery, we’ve saved up for now, we’ve tracked now, say three months, we know where we’re, and I’ll use your words, we know where we’re spending money, from a mindless perspective, we know where we’re spending it, from an intentional perspective. Perhaps we’ve narrowed down what we want, we’re getting a good picture of where we want to be in 10, 20 years from now. And hopefully for the audience, that means some kind of investment, whether that’s rental property, the stock market, whatever it is, there’s plenty of ways to go about starting a business. But you have at least five, 10, 20 year picture in people’s mind.

 

Will Barron:

What’s the next step? And I’m guessing it’s something to do with budgeting, but how do we take all the data and then make it actually useful to carve our path towards our targets?

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, I’ll explain what I did because I think this will apply to a lot of people. My freedom plan, if you will, is real estate because I find stock market boring. I wish I didn’t because it would be easier because you don’t have to deal with people and personalities and all those interpersonal stuff like you do with rentals, but for me, my thing was rentals. So when we bought our rental properties, I was saying to myself, “Well, how many do I need to get?” Well, for me, the answer was, how much money do I need to earn a month in today’s dollars, for example, to be free and comfortable.

 

Avery Breyer:

What if I have to be in a full-time long-term care facility, I don’t want to be in the worst of the worst, I want to be in a nice one. How much does that cost? And so on, how much will it cost for me to travel? So I came up with a number, how much money a month that I wanted to make me have the most cool retirement, I’d be happy as I can be. And then I said, “Okay, well how many rental properties where I’m buying them will generate that income when they’re paid off? Well, there’s my number. So I just kept working backwards.

 

Avery Breyer:

And then we acquired all the rental properties that I needed to attain what I wanted. I talk about that on my website and the about it goes in the some of the numbers, but I attained that, and so now that’s autopilot. So I’ve the budgeting, I know what I need to buy. So now that I know what I need to buy, how do I earn the money that will allow the bank to let me buy those things? And then once I have acquired those things, well it’s autopilot after that. Or if somebody’s investing in index funds or whatever, it’s a similar process. You’re saying, “I need to earn this much per month,” and so on.

 

“Whatever anyone’s investing in, you have to figure out what your end game is, work your way backwards and then you’ll know what to do.” – Avery Breyer · [37:55] 

 

Avery Breyer:

In my case it was really estate, so in theory, rent’s going to go up roughly with inflation. So if I know this many rental properties today will earn me my magic number per month, well in 30 years, it’s going to go up, so I should be okay. That was my rough way of figuring it out. However, whatever anyone’s investing in, you got to figure out what your end game is and work your way backwards, and then you’ll know what to do. And because you’ve tracked your money, you’re going to know, well, do I have enough money to, say if it’s index funds, somebody’s going to invest in, do I have enough money to put away this much a month to build my nest egg to my target end goal, do I, or don’t?

 

Avery Breyer:

If I don’t, will I either have to cut expenses and live a less expensive life or I’ve got to figure out how to earn more? But at least it becomes very clear what your options are.

 

Why Sales is the One Profession Where You Can Essentially Plan your Freedom · [38:26]

 

Will Barron:

And this is why this conversation should hopefully be super exciting for the audience because there’s not many roles where you can get your finger out, hustle and earn 50% more, 100% more. There were some years that I went from, say, just under six figures to decent six figures by not doing that much more work and having a bit of luck and having projects crop up on the territory in Yorkshire where I was working in medical device sales. There’s not many jobs where you’ve got that leverage.

 

Will Barron:

This should be exciting for the audience to not necessarily, you’ve got to get rid of your Netflix because you’re going to starve otherwise, but the fact that now, hopefully the audience, if they compute some of this and calculate some of it, they might have a real reason to be going to work and to doing an extra couple of hours over the weekend. This should be exciting for them.

 

“Knowledge is power, it really is. If you have the data you need to make the decisions to get you to where you go, it becomes very obvious, the confusion is gone. Because once you have those numbers, it’s math, it either works or doesn’t.” – Avery Breyer · [39:17] 

 

Avery Breyer:

Absolutely. Because once you have the knowledge, always knowledge is power, it really is. If you have the data, you need to make the decisions to get you to where you go, it becomes very obvious, the confusion is gone, because once you have those numbers, it’s math, it either works or doesn’t. So you’ve figured out and now you know what you have to do. It’s very obvious, again, whether it’s working those extra hours, whether it’s just being a workaholic for maybe a year and then backing off, whether it’s cutting, whatever, it becomes very obvious.

 

Avery Breyer:

And that’s really a nice thing because you’re no longer torturing yourself trying to decide, “Well, should I do this? Should I do that? What should I do?” It’s obvious, it’s clear, you don’t have to waste any more mental energy on deciding what to do because you know what you need to do.

 

Stop Living Paycheque to Paycheque: Figure Out What You Want and Then Work Your Way Back · [39:55]

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Well, Avery, I’ve got one final question I ask everyone that comes on the show, but just before I ask this, because we’ve covered a lot of ground here, is there anything that we’ve missed? Is there anything, especially for someone who’s listening to this and going, “Okay, I know what I need to do and I’ve got to come with future plans, but I’m still kind stuck in this month-to-month paycheck process and I’m finding it difficult just to make that first leap”? Is there anything else that we should just quickly touch on before we wrap up?

 

Avery Breyer:

No. Honestly, I think if anybody’s feeling stuck, don’t get discouraged. It sounds like a lot of your listeners are making good money as well, which is awesome, that means you’ve got choices, you’ve got better options than the average person has, but start tracking your money. I wrote about my preferred method and how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and I’ve got my mother of all spreadsheets that I think is awesome, but that suits my personality because I couldn’t get that data in any app or whatever. They didn’t meet my needs so I made my own, but start tracking it and you start tracking your money.

 

Avery Breyer:

You’re going to be amazed by how much more clear you’re going to be on what you need to do next. You can stop wasting your mental energy and stressing about, what should I do? Because you’re going to know, and everything’s going to become so much more clear. And I think that’s super valuable. So I know I’m saying it again, but track your money because it provides a whole new level of clarity.

 

Avery’s Advise to Her Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [41:13]

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Well, with that, one final question I ask everyone… One final question, if I get my words out, that I ask everyone that comes on the show, Avery, and I know you’re not an out and out B2B sales person, but everyone has to sell every day, so I’m so sure you’ll have an insight on this. So if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be one piece of advice you’d give her to help her become better at selling?

 

Avery Breyer:

Care less about what other people think. I think that’s it because for me in my life, that is my biggest hurdle because I hold back because I’m worried what people will think. And I wish I could focus. I’ve gotten better at this now, just focusing on just speaking my truth and what’s true for me, and just trying to do right by people and knowing in my heart, if I’m telling the truth and I’m being honest and I’m truly trying to come up with a win-win for everybody involved, to just go with that and not worry what they’ll think of me, but I wish I had been able to better do that when I was younger.

 

Parting Thoughts · [42:13]

 

Will Barron:

With that, Avery tells, we touched on it, but tells where we could find the book, perhaps a little bit more about it, and where we can find more about you as well.

 

Avery Breyer:

Okay. My website has a little bio about me and some blog posts and videos and all that kind of stuff, I’m averybreyer.com, A-V-E-R-Y-B-R-E-Y-E-R.com. On amazon.com, you can search for my name and you will find all of my books, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck is the one I’m budgeting, and I personally I’m biassed. I know this, but I think it’s a good system and I think you all should do it. Anyways, that’s where you can find me. I’m most active there. I got a Facebook group too, but everybody can find all that stuff through my website, it’s the hub where everything is linked through.

 

Will Barron:

Good. Well, I’ll link to that, everything else we talked about, the few books I mentioned earlier on in the show notes to this episode over at, we’ll do salesman.org/paycheck. We’ll wrap up with that. And with that, Avery, we want to thank you for your time, your insights. I want to appreciate you for coming on a sales podcast to talk about personal finances because I know that might have been a bit random when I initially reached out to you. So I appreciate that, the audience do as well, because they all have got a lot out of this episode. And with that, I want to thank you for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Avery Breyer:

Well, thank you so much for having me. I was really flattered to be invited.

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