Get Your FILL
Get Your FILL
E34 Ionnie McNeill Pt 2

*Intro and outro music are from an original piece by

Carl Zukroff of The Blue Hotel

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Hello, you have stumbled onto another episode of get your fill financial independence and long life, where we speak to folks who have achieved at least one of these goals. Before we get back into our conversation with Ionnie McNeill, the baby billionaire, let’s talk for a minute about Coronavirus and these state shutdowns. Okay, so most states started shutting down at the end of March, when the worst day, March 24th, had over 20,000 new cases reported in the US.
Okay, so now it’s the beginning of May and states are talking about and making plans to re-open even though we haven’t had a day with less than 20,000 new cases since March 30th and in fact, most days have had over 30,000 new cases.
So that tells me that either we shouldn’t be re-opening or we shouldn’t have closed in the first place.
Am I crazy here, we have 30% more cases than we did when we closed.
Okay great, so let’s re-open. What are we just giving up? Was this just some weird experiment to see how much BS Americans were willing to put up with? I would love to hear your opinion on this, so let’s start a dialogue. Leave your comments on and tell me: what do you think? Was this all some weird social experiment? Are we crazy to think about leaving the house again?
I mean, in Massachusetts, they’re talking about making the wearing of masks mandatory for the forcible future. That’s not gonna happen, that’s ridiculous. We can’t just all run around with masks.
Ionnie McNeill, today’s guest – this is part two of our interview with Ionnie McNeill, who started investing at an age when most of us are still putting dimes and quarters into our piggy banks. She knew at a very young age that she did not wanna trade her time for dollars, and basically escaped the rat race before she was even old enough to vote.
Let’s pick up where we left off and hear what great advice she has for us slow learners.
C: I think I’m struggling with this with my nephew: how do I get him plugged into that – into that excitement? And how do you do it?
I: I don’t know, I think it’s like how do you get somebody not to drink? As much as we like to parent, as much as we like to shelter children and our parenting, sometimes you just gotta let them see what a drunk really looks like: stumbling, smelling, not being able to be trusted, not being able to keep a job and be honest – is that how you wanna end up? It’s no different than us seeing crackheads on the street.
This is how I made my decision, I saw financial ruin and I was like not going to do that but I definitely came across a lot of my peers that their parents did everything for them.
I mean, who wants to live that? Who wanna learn and do it for themselves when you’ve always had somebody to do it for you. You’ve never even probably had to think for your own because somebody else was always solving your problems. So when it comes to how do I get my kid interested, I don’t know, I honestly can’t say.
C: Scare ’em into it.
I: Or expose them to the joys of it, but I’m not for forcing anybody to do anything. I think that if you are in it and they’re around you, they’re more often than not gonna naturally ask you certain questions when it’s time and when they’re ready.
C: Well, we’ll figure it out. So are you part of an investment club now?
I: No, oh, I just thought about something and I’m gonna become part of an investment club soon. ’cause I have to start a model investment club for my chapter, my BI chapter. What I just thought about is: How old is your nephew?
C: This is a good question, so I think he’s now 12.
I: If you get something for him, maybe if you can get the statements mailed to him. And then use that as a talking point. My niece, who’s three, I bought her a certain toddler magazine subscription, so that comes to the house, her house with her name on it, and she knows that’s hers.
C: Yeah, that’s a good idea, ’cause everything’s online but[m1] I could print it out and mail it to him myself.
I: Or you can have them mail it to him.
C: Oh, that’d be great, yeah, you’re right, that’s an excellent idea. Good thinking. ’cause that would be more exciting than he can watch it change, and then he could be like: Auntie, why do we have this stock? It goes down every month.
I: And you can say, “Well which one you want?” And then you could say, “Well, where are you gonna get the money from?” Well, I’ll match you, you come up with something, I’ll come up with something and you can buy it and have him buy it.
C: Yeah, that’s a good idea too, ’cause right now it’s just all my money in there, so there’s no ownership.
I: There’s no ownership.
C: You’re very wise, very wise. So what do you think was your most… Is there something that stands out to you as your most important lesson where you’re like, “Oh wow, that was a big paradigm shift or that was a big… If I wouldn’t have known that…
I: Seeing the value of how time value of money and compound interest works together, over long periods of time.
C: What’s the website where you have that chart?
I: Oh yes, so what I said to Google is Google: ‘the automatic millionaire time value of money’ all on the same line – use appropriate spacing, please – and press enter and once you press enter, if you go over to images, it should be the very first image, and you know it’s this image, because it shows three different people: Billy, Susan and somebody else. Billy starts investing at 15, investing $3,000 a year for five years.
The second person I think her name is Susan, she invests $3,000 from age 19 to 27. And then the last person, her name is Kim, she invests $3,000 from age 27 all the way to age 65. Billy, having started in high school at 15, invests a total of $15,000, $3,000 a year for five years and then stops. Susan invests a total of $24,000 and then stops, and then Kim invests a total of $117,000. $3,000 for every year from age 27 to 65 and even though Kim put in $117,000, they’re all earning 10% a year, which most people don’t know but for the past 100 years that’s what the S&P 500 has averaged. So even if they had just put it in an S&P index fund, without feeling like they needed to know special magic or not trading or anything, and reinvesting their dividends. Kim investing $117,000 in her lifetime actually, phenomenally, ends up with $1.2 million.
So when you think about it, that’s a great return for her money.
C: Not as great as Billy.
I: Not as great as Billy, who only put in $15,000 but because he put it in so much earlier in life, it had so much more time to grow exponentially and he ends up with $1.6 million. So the moral of the story is: Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t start early. The real point of that example is that now is better than later.
So wherever you are now if you can consistently start to invest in, I’m gonna call them income-producing assets, then you will have started your time clock to start working for you having your money work for you.
I did, I wanna share this other example most people don’t know about, but Chris, if I said: I’ll give you a million dollars today or a penny that doubles everyday for 31 days, which one would you take?
C: The penny, I know this math.
I: So, this reminds me of that fetus that grows. If anybody ever took biology and had to test X and Y chromosomes and how babies grow, you’ll remember that once the sperm hits the egg and they start to split? One turns into two. Two turns into four. Four turns into and then blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. With the penny that doubles every day for 30 days, by day 29, you have a million dollars, by day 30, you have $2 million and then by day 31, you would have had close to 5 million dollars.
You had to suffer 28 days before you saw real growth or what you consider was worth it. And I think that is why a lot of us don’t start because we get discouraged and do not see improvement immediately. Things are too slow over time. But I think when I was a gardener in DC, that helped change my relationship to time. Because time is out of your control. And so that’s the first thing to recognize. And then I think the second thing to recognize is there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
C: So you were a Zen gardner.
I: I guess so. I became a Zen meditator when I was gardening. It’s one of those things where it’s like, why fight the wave when you can ride it? Time is already gonna pass. What are you doing to help you benefit from its passing?
You can’t grow what you never sow, what you never planted. You can always plant. But of course, in growing, there’s always better time periods. There are certain times to grow tomatoes, to grow watermelon, to grow kale, to grow whatever it is, but you can’t start expecting to reap the harvest, unless you actually sowed it and then there’s nothing you can do – well organically, really – to speed it up, right? You just really gotta wait. And the other part about it, you were gonna be waiting anyway. My new phrase is: The best way to wait is not to. Move on with your life. So that’s my investment strategy, I invest and I move on with my life. I don’t watch it, I don’t check it daily,
This is actually the most plugged-in I’ve ever been because so many quality things are on sale but for the past 20 something years, I didn’t even used to check my thing more than twice a year.
I just, I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t my thing. I knew it was important to do, but I knew I also didn’t have the discipline to be like watching it all the time, and keeping it there ’cause you can watch it all the time, but then you feel like: I’ll be a fool if I don’t make a move.
C: Yeah, that’s the problem, self-control.
I: I don’t have it, I don’t. Snacks? Don’t bring snacks in the house. You don’t have to snack. Forget about willpower. Just don’t bring it in the house.
C: Because I know I’m too lazy to go to the store to pick it up.
I: Exactly. You know how I drink water? I don’t buy juice. Simple, simple. Don’t complicate things.
C: Turn laziness into an asset.
I: You know? Thank you. See, you’re a Zen gardner right there. The Way of the Tao.
C: So what advice – besides the fact that everything’s on sale and people should go buy something?
To me, the secret that I feel like I discovered when I was getting into stock investing, was that there is a time to buy something. There is a wrong time to buy. There is a right time to buy and waiting until that right time comes along, or understanding that…it’s so easy to look at a company that you’re really interested in buying and thinking that the price is never gonna be as low as it is right now, even though it might not technically be in the buy range. I mean, this is where your Zen gardener comes in, right?
I: Yeah, because I have to use this parable. I don’t know who said it, I don’t know if it’s Japanese, Chinese, somebody -ese, but they say that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. And I think the timing of the market is the 20-years ago.
That is something you learn after you’ve already walked a mile in your moccasins.
It’s like people say: When’s the best time to work out? Should I do a morning workout? Should I go to the gym after I get off from work? And you see this, you see this in my brow? This is how you know you’re thinking too much. Who gives a shit? Just go work out. Work out. You haven’t worked out in 20 years, and you’re trying to time it now. It doesn’t matter right now. Go take a walk. Go lift a few weights. Go do a few laps. Go do a few push-ups.
I don’t care what time of day you do the damn pushups. You do a few, see how you feel. Do a few the next day, see how you feel. Do a few the next day and after you have started walking, doing, acting, then you can massage it. Then you can say: I’m gonna do those push-ups right when I get up in the morning, I’m gonna do the push-ups right before I go to bed.
Okay, that’s when you start thinking about timing, because we don’t know the timing of the market, but what we do know is when you wait, you miss out on the time. So I definitely think that the time is now. It’s always gonna be now. If you don’t feel comfortable timing it, set it up on automatic withdrawal from your bank account, automatic investment into a Mutual Fund, an ETF, an index fund. Really an ETF or index fund, because the cost is much lower than a mutual fund.
Yeah, but set something automatically, so that you can give yourself credit for doing and after the doing, continue your education. Start to feel comfortable that you have built up stamina in your doing and then create a strategy, but don’t allow not having a strategy to stop you from not doing something because next thing you know you’re gonna be Kim on that graph. You would have waited until the perfect day. And next thing you know 5 years will have passed and the other thing about timing: five years would have passed without you having dividends on your money. Outside of how much you paid for it. More often than not, the dividend is gonna get you more than if you spent the money on something you didn’t need or had it sitting in a savings account, which wasn’t giving you any money anyway. Not to mention when they’re sitting in the savings account, it’s not sitting in there, you know why?
C: Yeah, someone else is investing it.
I: Because the bank has just lent it to your neighbor for his mortgage and the bank is making 18% on its money. So what are you doing?
C: And so would that be a fair summary of your advice to people: just go friggin’ do something.
I: Yes, Do something. Start small. Invest often. Start small. Invest often. It’s not even about trying to master it. It’s like trying to learn to swim in the ocean, that’s not the place to try to be learning. Go swim in a kiddy pool or little small swimming pool and then go out to the ocean.
Start small. Keep it often. Invest often.
Because it is about the routines of it or the regularity of it. That’s actually more important than anything else. Start early doing it often.
I thought about kind of like a saying, “I think I’m making this up on or merging two or something like that, but you know, you don’t have to be perfect – and this is a lot of things: getting a job, being in a relationship – a lot of times if you just keep showing up, you just keep being persistent enough in it, you’re going to get better at it, just because you were willing to show up. So I don’t want showing-up to be underestimated. So, yes I agree. Start small. Invest often. Focus on taking the steps that you can take instead of feeling beat down because of what you don’t know.
C: Yeah, do you have any kind of an app or anything that you like for investing?
I: Nope.
C: Anything’s fine.
I: Yeah, well, to me, investing is like reading. I did it at 7-years old because if a 7-year old can do it, you can do it. There’s a quote that I literally wrote down last month when I was watching the second season of Luke Cage and this man said to this other man: if you can’t explain the scam to a seven-year-old, you’re probably the one getting scammed.
So with that being said, once you learn the alphabet, once you learn what sounds each letter makes and then how to chain those sounds together to say words, you’ve learned the basics of reading. You know how to read, so you can read any word. You have to learn how to read words before you could then start being like: “Oh what’s the definition of that word?
And that’s how all about investing once you start learning the fundamental vocabulary. What are the words that we talk about? What is stock? What is a share? What is price? What is earnings? What is price/earnings? What is price divided by earnings? What is earnings per share? What is profit? What is sales? What is revenue? Once you can actually recognize those words, have a definition of those words, understand the relationship of those words to each other: Sales usually goes with expenses to give you a profit. Assets usually go with liabilities to show you what the owner’s equity is. Dividends usually come from earnings per share. What is that relationship? Once you start learning the relationship of these vocabulary words and the dance that they do and how they tango and how they switch partners then any stock that comes before you, which is really any company that comes before you, you can start asking basic questions: How does it make its money? How much money does it keep? How profitable has it been?
Well, how much does it cost right now in relation to how profitable it has been? And then that can then tell you, hmmm, am gonna be paying too much for this?
What does paying too much for it mean? What’s the two things that are in relationship to each other? Price and earnings. How much am I getting for the stock? Well, what do you mean getting? Dividends are what’s paid to you for holding a stock.
Once you know that basic level. So then we can start having a conversation around the nuts and bolts of the business, not the news of the business, not what somebody said about the business, but the business model of the business, the profitability of the business, and ultimately is it worth your time and money or is it not?
And at least that’s how simple I keep it, but I do think that it’s like, it’s just like language. Once you learn how to talk, once you learn how to say words, string those words together into sentences, once you start having a conversation with people, then you can start reading between the lines. You can’t read between the lines when you don’t even know what the language, what the code is.
So there are definitely building blocks to learning about investing. It’s all very simple.
I can teach it all in English. We don’t have to be scared but it will give you a certain insight on how other people think about money, ’cause I think a lot of times our relationship with money is: go to work to get money, go to the store to give money, go to church to kind of get money, ask people to raise money or to give you money in but the idea of actually giving money to somebody to help grow their business, or their idea in exchange for more money, that’s like a new concept for a lot of people.
C: Yeah, will you later, when you get a chance, send me a couple of books or do you wanna just tell me off top of your head, a couple of books that you recommend for beginners.
I: Oh sure, one book, this talks about the start early invest often and make it automatic, which is The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. My book which is: The Baby Billionaire’s Guide to Investing by Ionnie McNeill, also known as the Baby Billionaire.
I would say even more than a book, using the better investing tools, they have some really good books that aren’t at the top of my head, but there’s I think an investing handbook and different things like that. The BetterInvesting magazine, that is a gem because that’s like a book in article form. And if you just start reading that you can get exposed to a lot of this language and start putting a lot of pieces together.
A lot of questions you didn’t even know you have will start to be answered in this magazine. And yeah, I really think that that’s BetterInvesting above all, I think is one of the best places to learn this information. Number one, because they’re not benefiting off of you learning from them or you investing with them.
So much of financial education is really sales material, and people don’t realize that that’s what it is and so BetterInvesting provides a lot of great resources to help you just undo understand basic concepts of business and investing that I really haven’t seen put better or said better elsewhere.
C: What should I have asked you that I didn’t ask you? What else do you wanna share that I have failed to touch on?
I: I think this has been wonderful let me think.
Oh, I think I do wanna – not all the way share but just bring to people’s attention – interest, I talked about a little earlier. How much do things really cost and how much does your ignorance cost?
So I think I’m gonna do a series, a show on that. But anyway, that is really just the highlight understanding what interest really means. Interest is the price you pay to use someone else’s money, it just also is the price you get paid for somebody using your money, right?
And interest in the form of student debt, credit card debt, mortgage, car payment, business loan, all of that. When you’re using somebody else’s money you’re paying a certain rate of interest. When you’re investing, companies are paying you a certain rate of interest. And I think that’s the best way I can say what investing is, because we are very familiar with being a borrower and dealing with lenders but I don’t think outside of personal relationships with people that ask us for money, we’re not used to being a lender. But just like if your cousin, Paul, came up to you and said, “Hey can I borrow $20? What’s the first thing you’re gonna do?
C: Well, I think the answer that you want is you say: Well, what’s in it for me? When am I going to get paid back?
I: Yeah, you’re gonna think: What’s this person’s history? Then you’re gonna look at it just like we look at the history of a stock: What have they been doing with their money for the past 10 years? We’re gonna run it back. What does Paul do with his money? What is he asking me for this money? What is he gonna use it for? Do I support that? Is it likely I’m gonna get this money back.
Yeah, so these are the same questions you’re literally – unconsciously sometimes – running in your head about your family member or friend that comes to you asking for money. These are questions you should be running when you’re looking to invest your money in a certain company.
Because you can get an answer to all of those questions and you can get an answer to them all for free. I don’t know how you would have phrased that question but that is something that I did wanna share with people, just so that they can realize again. Everything that I say and how I say it, is really about realizing how much you already know.
How much you already do these things and have these analyzing methods. You just may not have done it yet with business decisions or investment decisions, but once you can make that connection, correlation, I think it’s much easier to do in investing. It’s much easier to get started. It’s much easier to feel confident in your skills. You’re not now different in realizing when you worked at a job, you had certain transferable skills. You didn’t allow that to stop your career jump from this and that industry because you were like: sales is sales is sales, or operations is operation is operations, whatever industry you’re in. So I just want people to give themselves more credit than they have been and feel comfortable with getting started.
C: Nice thank you. Thank you so much, Ionnie. This has been a real blast for me. I hope other people enjoy it as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.
I: Yes, yes!
Thanks, Ionnie, for sharing your time with us today and thank you, Listener, for listening. Check out the website, for links to the resources that we talked about today, the video of the interview and to share your comments and opinions. Be sure to tune in next week to meet another interesting person with lots of wisdom to share. In the meantime, live every day with no regrets.