How can you best plan for retirement in Israel? On the show, Doug discusses retirement planning, including:
- When should you start to take Social Security?
- How to get regular income from your investments to supplement your pensions
- How to maintain U.S. brokerage and IRA accounts while living in Israel
Bestselling author Jay Papasan, co-author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, explains how to find the one thing that motivates you to achieve your goals, retirement or otherwise. Jay shares techniques for developing good money-building habits that lead to a meaningful life and successful retirement.
Follow Jay’s work on Twitter at @jaypapasan and on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Visit his website: www.the1thing.com
Watch The One Thing on YouTube.Read the Transcript
Interview with Jay Papasan
Jay Papason, author of The One Thing, discusses the importance of setting goals, developing habits to help you achieve them, and making those achievements into stepping stones towards accomplishing more in your life.
Douglas Goldstein: Jay Papasan’s most recent book, which he co-authored with Gary Keller, is called The One Thing. As a result of this he’s been a guest speaker at over 200 appearances because the book has become an international bestseller. It’s now number one on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list.
You talked about The One Thing, and I want to apply this concept of the one thing to help people make their financial situation better. What would you suggest?
Jay Papasan: I think that when we look at habits, the fundamental thing about The One Thing is how I identify the most levered or the most 80/20. What is the most efficacious thing I can do to hit my goals? Then make that thing a habit, and for me personally and for Gary that’s the habit we started to really launch ourselves financially. It focused around net worth. Do we know what our net worth is? Do we know what that fundamental measure of wealth is? My wife and I for years made it a habit to know that number at all times.
Douglas Goldstein: I like talking about habits and financial success. Give me another example about how you actually make it a habit. I want to distinguish between making something a habit and just doing something that’s a good idea.
Jay Papasan: One of the things that we discovered in writing this book was if you know what your one goal is and you know that you need to do it regularly, why not just make it a habit? Fundamentally, you work to build a habit and then it kind of goes on auto pilot. It’s like brushing your teeth. You don’t have to put a lot of energy into doing it. The most successful people I’ve interviewed make their core things a habit so that they need less effort to do them.
The thing that shocked me when we went out to see what it takes to form a habit, when we were researching the book, was that there was a deluge of books on the subject that said it took 21 days to form a habit. But the most sound research we could actually find said that on average it takes 66 days. That’s an average, but it doesn’t apply to every individual. My big takeaway is you have to keep to the repetition a lot longer than people think to get that habit to stick, so I think in terms of 66 repetitions.
Douglas Goldstein: We talk a lot on this show about the importance of diversifying, financial planning, and education about finance. Those aren’t habits. In other words, when I tell people to buy a book and learn about finance, that’s not a habit. What’s a habit, for example, that someone could develop today? Give us a specific takeaway. You could say, “I’m going to do this so that in 66 days I will be in a better financial situation.”
Why Improving Your Spending Habits is Like Giving Up Smoking
Jay Papasan: I’m going to go back to net worth. This is for people who have never added up all the things they own and subtracted all the things they owe, right? Assets minus debt. That fundamental measure is a huge step toward understanding your personal finances. That’s just my personal opinion, and for most people it doesn’t warrant doing these calculations every day because it’s not going to change that much unless you have massive wealth. So we did it monthly, and today our assets have grown to where we probably could go weekly. But if I was going to say a daily habit, which is the question, I might say that I’m going to make it a habit every day to be conscious of my spending. This is because I would say the vast majority of people don’t build wealth because they spend maybe just a little bit more than they earned. They do it by not being conscious of when they are actually using their money and putting it out into the world. They are not conscious about it.
It’s like giving up smoking. My friend who’s a psychologist said that instead of simply paring down your smoking, you need to first of all write it down. He said you shouldn’t record it automatically. Every day you do this with a pen and paper, and that’s important because it’s something you have to be conscious of. Write down how many cigarettes you smoke. The shocking thing to me when I tried it was that when I became conscious of it, I smoked less. I think that applies to spending as well. It’s the moment when you become conscious and have to record all of those transactions that you will actually do less of them.
The Meaning of The One Thing
Douglas Goldstein: What is The One Thing all about?
Jay Papasan: I think The One Thing is about the fact that today, more than any other time in history we have more obligations and opportunities than most people know really how to handle. We say “yes” to too much and a lot of people are feeling a bit overwhelmed, and that was really the genesis of this book. How do we help people identify what they really should say “yes” to? When you really say “yes” to your spouse, for example, you are really consciously saying “no” to all the other alternatives. People don’t do that enough, so I think this book is fundamentally an actionable book to help people understand what they should be saying “yes” to, to hit their goals and their life mission, and that will empower them. It makes it a lot easier to say “no” to all the other stuff. When people read this book, they get a lot of relief. They start doing a lot less, and that’s been the by-product that we hear most frequently back.
Douglas Goldstein: Let’s take a sample case. Let’s say there was a financial advisor who ran a cross-border financial planning company, had a radio show, had four kids, and had parents overseas that he had to visit. He liked to read and write books. None of those are just one thing, so how could that hypothetical guy focus on one thing without really turning off all the other people in his life (or her life if this was a woman)?
Jay Papasan: We have a theme in the book called “Lining Up Your Dominoes.” Hopefully, your listeners have at some point in their lives lined up dominoes so that they could knock them down, by just knocking over the first one. If you think strategically, there is often a way for people to find that first domino that will get a lot of things done. The question we have in the book is, “What’s the one thing I can do to make everything easier or unnecessary?” We call that the “focusing question,” and I’ve literally taught this hundreds of times. I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of interviews, lots of consultations and training, and I think most of the time people kind of know the answer and very feel guilty for not doing it. Or they need someone else to endorse their answers, so I think they are not pausing long enough to ask the question and commit to their answers.
So I don’t know your answer, but I will tell you I’m part of multiple businesses. We have two real estate businesses, I have two publishing businesses, and I’m a partner in a private equity firm, so I had to ask this question to be living the book that I am putting out to the world. So every week on Wednesday, people know they can find me in a certain coffee shop and I will be meeting a stranger. My goal was that if I found 50 talented people every year and added them to my database, I could always be referring talent to these different companies. That could be the one thing I could do for all of them to build my network and make everything else easier. So that was my answer on how I could provide real service to many people by doing one activity. You need to ask that question: How can I tie all these things together and line up as many of them as possible, so that by doing one thing I’m serving all of my goals?
How to Get Started
Douglas Goldstein: Your example of the dominos was very interesting because I was thinking how this financial advisor could start the path going and then it would begin to take care of everything else. For example, people listen to the radio show and say “Wow he’s pretty smart, he has good guests, he talks about interesting financial topics. So maybe I should call him to help manage my investment portfolio.” That would be a good thing to happen, right?
Jay Papasan: I think that you are living it honestly. I mean, you shared with me that you use this program not just to talk about finances. You also talk about chess and your other passions, and we were talking about family beforehand. You are bringing all of that to the table. Maybe this is your activity, and you need to ask, what’s the next domino? What could I be doing with this podcast to drive more business and attract more of the other things?
Douglas Goldstein: How often should someone revisit the question to determine what’s his next “one thing”?
Jay Papasan: If you have the American Edition of our book, you’ll see that we did not ask for any testimonials. We don’t have any copy on the back of the book. We just have a big question mark because our goal with this book is that when people put it down they say “What’s my one thing?” Hopefully the habit, the first habit, would be to ask that question on a daily basis. I do all of my planning around it. What’s my one thing for this year? Based on that, what’s my one thing this month? Based on that, what’s my one thing for this week? And then, in the morning, before I get to work, I look at my calendar and I say, “Well what’s my one thing today so I make sure I put that thing first?” We hope that sense of prioritization becomes an internalized habit so that you are always starting with your most important work and you don’t end up at the end of the day having done lots of stuff but not accomplished anything of value, which is how a lot of people feel every day.
Douglas Goldstein: How can people follow you and follow your work?
Jay Papasan: Jay Papasan is easily Googleable, so you can find me on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn, but I would say just visit our website www.the1thing.com. That’s everything we are doing around this book, including our training and courses and all of that.