DAVID LALLY: Welcome to The Brian Buffini Show, where we explore the mindsets, motivation, and methodologies of success. My name is David Lally. I’m the producer of the show. I know we may be in challenging times, but that’s just why we’ve been working on shows to keep us upbeat and focused on the good stuff. Let’s listen in.
BRIAN BUFFINI: Well, the top of the morning to you and welcome to The Brian Buffini Show. I’m very excited to welcome back a guest and friend of our program, Mr. Chris Hogan, best-selling author, financial expert, part of the Ramsey Group. If you had a chance to listen, Chris came and shared on episode 158 when we discussed his latest book, “Everyday Millionaires,” a phenomenal book, we got into the nuts and bolts of investing and growing and building your wealth. Today, I wanted to have Chris back on to get into today’s outlook and what’s going on in today’s world.
Now, for those of you don’t know, Chris is also one of our featured speakers this year at our MasterMind Summit. I’ve received a lot of inquiries about this. We’ve been working with a metadata company that specializes in conventions, and they’re very confident we’re going to be able to host MasterMind. If it’s any way shape, or form, not safe or healthy, or whatever else, we’ve already cancelled dozens of events this year, we’ll be canceling MasterMind, but I’m very confident we’re going to be able to host MasterMind, and we’re very excited to have Chris, and the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, Apolo Ohno.
I have a feeling by August, all of us, me and Chris and Apolo, all of us are going to need a little of encouragement, want to get back together with people. We might be practicing some good social distancing habits still, but at the end of the day, I think we’re all going to need a little juice in the tank. With that in mind, Chris, I want to welcome you back to the program. Just thanks for being here with us today.
CHRIS HOGAN: Oh, my friend, it’s always good to be with you. I know we are going to have a spirited conversation. I know we’re going to tell people some things they need to hear, some stuff maybe they didn’t want to, but they needed anyway.
BUFFINI: Yes, sir. For those of you knew, if you ever imagined what it’s like to hear from God, that’s what it’s like when you hear Chris Hogan’s voice. Well, listen, my friend, let’s dive in. Again, you’re an expert at helping people with their retirement and building wealth, but I’d like to focus our conversation today on how to take care of our finances in this current environment. I’ve been listening to you. You’ve been all over the airwaves.
You’ve been all over morning TV shows and all the national networks have you featured. I’ve heard you share a little bit about what it means to take care of the controllables. I really think this is essential because people feel out of control and you have a phenomenal message on what you can control. Maybe you can speak to that for a moment.
HOGAN: I sure can, Brian. I’d love to. I’ve been telling people, there’s so much out there that we can’t control right now especially with the government in this unprecedented of dealing with this terrible virus. I think if we’re not careful, we can get caught up on trying to control things that we can’t do. Brian, I’m bald and you have a head full of hair, I can want it all I want, I can’t grow hair like you. I can’t do that and so, I’ve got to acknowledge that and just come to grips with it.
Here’s what I’m telling, there are four things that you can absolutely control. Number one is your faith. It’s very vital right now that we’re going to have a great awakening across this country, and maybe even a globe of people understanding, “We’ve got to be connected to a higher power to have the energy to do what we’re called to do.” The next thing we’ve got to control is our attitude, how we look at things. I know you were a great friend of Zig Ziglar and I’ve met Zig several times and Zig told me, “You’ve got to watch out for stinkin’ thinking.”
That’s something you really need to be aware of. The final two things are your outlook and your actions. What do you expect to happen? I expect good things to come even from trying and difficult times. I’m going to control my actions. That means, what I do, what Chris can control and I want to encourage people out there, four things you can control, your faith, your attitude, your outlook and your actions.
BUFFINI: Beautiful, and it is a big deal. I think as we look at these times, there is so much that’s out of our control. We don’t control what happens in Wuhan, China. We don’t control what happens in the cities we live in, but what’s amazing actually, people have been so disciplined in doing the social distancing, so disciplined. In a free society — it’s one thing in a communist country to look people in their homes and lock down a city and remove all freedoms, we have a free society and people are choosing to do what’s good for their neighbor, and choosing to do what’s good for their own family and their own health.
I think it’s more powerful, I think it’s the strength. I would say this, I talked to my brother Dermot this morning, you know, Dermot, he’s our CEO, and he’d been talking to our staff and I said, “Well, how is the team doing?” He said, “I’m 20 years at Buffini & Company,” he goes, “I am inspired.” He said, “I’ve never been so confident in our people.” This can be our best of times, in the midst of the challenge.
Everybody knows it. Everybody is having a family time that was unexpected. I have kids home from college, eating me out of house and home and it’s fantastic. We have dinner together every night for the last four weeks. That hasn’t happened in years, where every single night we were able to get together. So there’s a lot of blessings coming out of it, but there is some financial challenges, and we’ve got some particular things I’ve been focusing on for the real estate community and the housing community, but let’s talk a little bit about the dynamic.
You have two great words; you are the king of the slogans. I love your phrases because they stick with people, which is important, and is a great teacher, they can remember. You talk about, protect and conserve in regards to the finances. Give us some tips on protecting and conserving at this time.
HOGAN: Those two words resonated with me as I was really thinking about for myself, “What did I need to do right now?” Protect and conserve, I want to protect my mind, I want to protect my emotions as well as my resources. That means I’ve got to look after them, I’ve got to be a guardian around these things. Conserving means that I’m not going to do the unnecessary, I’m going to reel in.
I’m not going to get confused with what I want versus what I need. So I think we need to conserve our energy because we don’t know how long this was going to last, and we definitely need to conserve our resources, our money, and our talent, and really be ready for the long haul.
BUFFINI: Maybe there’s a few subscriptions we’ve been paying. It’s funny, just things that we haven’t gotten around to for a while. There’s a couple of drawers in my office, catch-all drawers and guess what? I’m five years in this house but I suddenly got around to it this week. I’ve also been doing it. The kids like the football on DIRECTTV, but with it came some movie channels on it that nobody watches. So I called up this week, I reduced my bill maybe $39 a month or something, but I just got around to it.
It was 39 bucks, $480 a year I was wasting, and there’s a number of those little things that we can do and like as you say, without getting stupid, without cutting off the oxygen and you know many of our folks are businessmen and businesswomen and they’re leaders in their communities, and it’s important that they don’t cut off their business, they can be so scarce. I think that wants versus needs a very big thing. What would be a few other things you’d recommend or you’re hearing through the Ramsey organization that people are saving money on right now?
HOGAN: Well people are definitely. I mean like the gym membership, Brian. I mean the gym is closed right now, we can’t get there. Shut that thing down. That’s $100 to $150 right now that you could be saving. But like you said, with the subscriptions, I’m also finding people are taking the time to reach out to their insurance companies and getting quotes, finding out if they can get a cheaper policy or getting that multiple policy discount that maybe they were too busy to take the time to do, now’s the time to sit down and do that.
People are being smart right now and I’m proud of them. Another thing they’re doing is they’re pulling the food out of the pantry, Brian. Those cans of lima beans you’ve had for about 10 years, eat that and look at the food in the freezer. Hey, I have made some creative meals my friend, but guess what, it works, and I’m eating what I have so it means I wasn’t spending money.
BUFFINI: Yes, very good. Very good indeed. What advice do you give for people right now that they were trying to pay down debt? They were on the plan, they were trying to pay down debt, and the coronavirus has hit. What are you advising people at this stage? Maybe they feel beat up, they were making progress, and now they feel like their plan’s on hold. What encouragement you have for somebody in that spot?
HOGAN: You know what Brian, my team and I sat down just a couple of weeks ago and we were walking through this very thing. I’ve been doing a lot of media hits on it and helping people understand this. If your income has been reduced or you lost a job, number one, my heart goes out to you, but we’ve got to regroup and rethink and be smart. If your hours have been cut or your job has been lost, this is not something people are normally used to me saying, but guess what, you’re going to pause attacking the debt.
You’re not going to be able to attack it right now. You’re going to have to go into conserve mode, move this money over into your savings. We’ve got to make sure we’re taking care of the four walls. Brian, by four walls I’m talking about your housing. That’s your rent or your mortgage. Next, you’ve got to take care of the utilities associated with that. Then you’ve got to make sure you’ve got food on the table and that you’ve got your transportation.
You’ve got a vehicle that can run with gas and get you where you need to go. So if your hours have been cut, you’re going to pause attacking debt, make the minimum payments. However, Brian, I know your organization is healthy and you’ve been teaching people for years how to build wealth and do money the right way, if your income is stable then keep stepping. I tell them keep attacking debt. Keep investing. Stay focused on the goal and following your plan.
BUFFINI: You bet. We have thankfully a lot of people with a lot of reserves, they’ve been working our plan for a long time. We have some folks who they’ve worked very hard, they’ve done a great job and they built it into retirement. They have a lot of their holdings in real estate but they had their retirement in a SEP IRA as those kinds of things in stocks. They’ve seen a 30% reduction. Now we’ve seen a bit of a push back lately with the stock market. What advice do you have to someone who was either in retirement or close to retirement and they’ve just seen a major adjustment in that area?
HOGAN: Here’s the thing. The stock market is a living breathing thing. I tell people, “Listen, the stock market is like the supermarket. You can go in the supermarket and get some stuff that’s good for you and you can get some stuff that’s bad for you.” The stock market’s the same way. We need to be aware of what we’re investing in based on our risk tolerance and based on our goals.
For the people that were in retirement, and like you said, have seen a 30 to 32% reduction in their assets, the big thing is this, we’ve seen this movie before. This virus is a new thing, but we saw something similar with the SARS epidemic back in ’02 and ’03. The market dropped 12%, but by the end of ’03, it had rebounded and it was up 19%, higher than where it was before.
We saw it with 9/11 when those cowards attacked us on our own soil and the market took a hit in the drop, but guess what, we came back because we’re resilient. We saw the same thing in the recession in ’07 and ’09. I’m just telling people the market is down but do not eject. Stay focused and not finish because it’s going to rebound. When you stay consistently investing right now, you’re buying stuff on sale and get ready for it to grow.
BUFFINI: Great advice and I think the big picture here for people. 40 days ago, we had record unemployment. 40 days ago, the jobs report came in at 100,000 more than expected. 40 days ago, the real estate industry showed its hottest February in 13 years. 40 days ago. The two words I hope to lose out of all this, I hope six months from now we never hear the word unprecedented and social distancing. I hope after six months, we’ve said it so much, we’d never say it, we’ll expand our vocabulary. But no one’s ever shut down a country like this. No one’s ever shut down an economy like this at this speed.
I just want to encourage people as well, it may not come back at the speed it’s shut down. There’s a lot of things, there’s a lot of people unemployed and so on and so forth, but it is going to come back. I’ve bought a lot of stock during this time. Not because I’m trying to make a quick trade but I’m planning on the stock market being 40,000 in five to seven years and that’s where my mind is at. I’m not ready to retire yet and I’m thinking in terms of the long haul. A couple of things I want to encourage people that’s just why we’re talking here.
We’ve been doing a lot of podcasts and a lot of messages, we’ve had Dr. Ben Carson on from HUD. We’ve had chief economist for the National Association REALTORS®, we’ve been reaching out to a ton of people, and we have a lot of information laid out for people especially in our community on buffiniandcompany.com/bcbonus where there’s resources for you. So buffiniandcompany.com/bcbonus and we have a whole bunch of free resources, for example, self-employed people for the first time can file unemployment, what you can do about getting a PPP loan at this time for your small business. It’s very important that you keep going and the big thing I want to say — and I’m a guy who have never taken a nickel from the government in my life. When I got my motorcycle accident and I’m $250,000 in debt as a 19-year-old, I refused to file for unemployment, because I’d never wanted to get on that cycle. I would say at this stage of the game the government has shut everybody down.
If you’re unemployed, and you’ve been self-employed, if you want a business and you need help, there is no shame in getting help at this time. The government shut you down, it’s going to open up here sooner than not, but there is no shame in that and I just want to let people know especially for unemployed people. By the way, if you just go to your local state and ask for unemployment as a self-employed person, they’ll blow you off. So go to buffiniandcompany.com/bcbonus and we’ll direct you exactly how to go and get unemployment benefits.
For a self-employed person, it’s a very different game. I think this is a big picture, obviously, look, you’re a very optimistic, hopeful, look towards the future guy. You’re an inspiration guy Chris, and my wife has a phrase that many people coin called “this too shall pass.” I think it’s very important for us all to think through this because if we make short term emotional decisions regarding our long-term financial wellbeing, we’ll end up in trouble.
So you can be too scarcity-minded, we should definitely clean up the budget, save everywhere we can, no question about it, but can you help us a little bit get past this “too shall pass.” Take us about six months, a year, a couple of years, how should we be thinking now so we can be on the right path when this is all cleared up and life as we know it, it won’t get back to the way it was but it will be some version of the new normal, will happen within the next six months.
HOGAN: Yes Brian, I think right now when this period that we’ve gone through, we’re going to have an awakening and I truly hope people begin to look at their financial situation on a little bit deeper level. Understanding the importance of having reserves, of having that emergency fund tucked away. The importance of really looking and understanding that we have to be in control. I’m going to tell you something, I’m with you with the government. I think their job is to keep us safe.
I want them to focus on getting this virus contained and getting our economy back moving, but I’m going to tell you, listen to this stimulus check situation, the bipartisan politics getting in the way of wrangling back and forth where we have hard-working men and women who’ve had their jobs taken away from them because of the way the government chose to approach this. I’m not throwing darts, I’m just stating that reality. The bottom line is we have to make sure that we take control of our financial future not waiting on the government to save us.
As I tell people, I’m not worried about what’s going on at the White House. We need to focus what’s going on in your house. I think getting on a plan for debt reduction, getting on a balanced spending plan, a budget, and having reserves for the future and saving and investing for the future. If you can’t wake up and see the importance of this, then you’re not paying attention.
BUFFINI: Right, and I think the big thing is to understand not only this too shall pass, but we need to learn from this. I’ll give an example from our own life, for myself personally and also as the chairman of Buffini & Company. As you know, we’re the largest coaching company focused on the real estate industry. In 2007, when the Great Recession was upon us, we knew and our coaching program sooner than anybody did. That went on for six-and-a-half years. It was painful. I had 400 and some employees going into that and I had 112 employees coming out. It was a brutal time.
The real estate industry lost about 80% plus of its income earned dollar as an entire industry of 1.4 million people. It was a brutal time, but coming out of that, I said to my staff at the time, “This recession is a terrible thing to waste. What we need to do is get more efficient as a company. We need to diversify our product line.” We also needed to view how we had our reserves differently, how we capitalized differently and we had to be able to be prepared. I want to give people encouragement because we took steps and over that period of time we learn from this.
What we learned was this, we had a year’s worth of reserves as a company built up for our business. We invested millions of dollars into salesforce and very advanced phone technology. We already had 40 people working from home before this virus. We sent 240 people home once the virus hit. For me personally, I have many years of reserves sitting in the bank which I always thought was on I need money to go to work for me and so on and so forth. Which I do.
The reason I say that and I don’t want to bum anybody out who is not in that situation. I was not in that situation when the recession hit in 2007 and 2008. I learned from that recession. I changed my business as a result. I innovated as a result. I changed how I viewed cash. I changed how I viewed reserves and going forward when the next thing came. There always will be a next thing. In the Book of Genesis, you have Joseph and they had seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. After seven years of famine, he bought everybody’s land and everybody’s cattle, that’s a smart principle.
If you’re not on that cycle now there is another one of these come in six or seven years from now in some capacity, pandemic, war, or some other crazy thing, the economic markets. It happens all the time. What we need to be doing is learning from this, feel the pain and use that pain to make progress. For me, we’ve built reserves, we built technology, we innovated our business, I took my own personal financial position differently, and that’s why right now we’re buying and growing instead of dying. No matter how painful this is, this can be the ultimate personal growth experience for people.
They can learn from it, and go forward, and build a financial fortress that can withstand any storm in the future. I know that you’re a big part of that. If there is someone out there right now and they’re just- what would you recommend for them? Let’s say that they’re unemployed, they can’t pay the bills, they’re really in a tough spot, what advice would you have for someone like that, Chris?
HOGAN: Well, the big thing for them is- I agree with you. I think we all get an opportunity to learn. They say information without application is just information, but information that gets applied has an opportunity to become wisdom. So for someone out there that’s had a job loss, my heart goes out to you, but I need you to regroup. I need you to regroup, rethink, and recommit. What that means is you get serious about your future. We all get dealt some cards sometimes. Here’s the thing. We’ve all been through some battles.
We’ve all been through some stuff and we’ve got some scrapes and some bruises, but we’re still standing. One of my favorite pictures, there was a picture of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston. This was someone that he said that he could not defeat, that Liston was going to tear him apart. Not only did Ali not hear that, he went in and did his job. The beauty of this is we may get knocked down but we’re also the referee. So don’t ever count herself out. I want you to reach out to family, and friends, and peers, and co-workers, let them know that you’re looking.
I want you to get a job but don’t look for the job, just a job, because it’s easier to find something when you’ve got something. So get money coming in and it’s going to change your spirit, it’s going to change your outlook, and then you keep looking and you progress. This life is not easy. It’s hard, but if you don’t give up, if you stay focused, as I say on my radio show, when people ask me, “Hogan, how are you?” I say, “I’m focused and not finished.” That means I’m focused on what I want and I’m not finished yet.
BUFFINI: Yes. Hey, man. Well, it’s great stuff. I will say this. In the midst of all this stuff, Amazon is hiring. All the pizza companies are hiring. Walmart is hiring. They need drivers. They need delivery people. Many people don’t realize, Brian Buffini, and private jets, and the big companies and stuff like that. When I was starting out in my real estate career, and I had two young babies, and things were getting tight, I signed on to drive the SuperShuttle at night to take people to the airport. You do whatever you have to do. Just do whatever it takes. There is a power in doing.
Some guys drove up here the other night in front of my house in a van, they dropped off a package, it looked like it was a hit from the mafia. It turned out they were part-time people working for Amazon, driving their old van. So, there are companies hiring by the hundreds of thousands right now, and you can be doing something to bring in a few extra bucks that it’s considered essential work. Put a mask on, wear a pair of gloves, take care of your family and do something. You can get out of the house, you get the bills paid.
I do think this, the last recession, it lasted for six years. This deal right here, it’s going to be months, it won’t be years, it’s going to be months. There is an end date. I’ve talked to some of my business associates in China and South Korea that we have business relationships with, they’re already opened up for business back there. It was about 10 weeks from start to finish.
I know the president just formed a task force on opening up the country. We’re dealing with some metadata companies that are giving us data to help know based on the marketplace, on the virus, and so on and so forth, where they’re going to open up the markets first and they’re going to do it in a staggered effect. We know this. Help is on the way we’re in the middle of the storm. It’s like the hurricane is blowing over the top of the house right now, but it’s important not to lose the house in between your two ears. Chris, you’re a special guy, you got a special spirit.
I think you got a house in front of you that’s spectacular. I want to share with everybody right now, for the last, I don’t know how many years and years and years, when somebody needs to start the budgeting process, I’ve always encouraged them to get Dave’s book, “Total Money Makeover.” It was great then, it’s great now, it’s just the most phenomenal place to start. I know we’ve helped sell hundreds of thousands of copies of that book, because it’s so helpful and gets somebody started. I also think “Everyday Millionaire” is a book, now’s the time to read it.
You have time on your hands, be a student, you prepare in peacetime, so you don’t bleed in war. Now is the time. Get your mind on being a millionaire today because when the gates open, and they open up the door, you’re ready to go. You have a plan, you have a set of goals. I love the simplicity. I love the power. I love the encouragement. As a blue-collar guy, a house painter’s son who was an immigrant who came to America, I became an everyday millionaire, and I love the idea of it. I love the spirit of it. To me, it’s the very essence of America.
It’s the reason I got into the real estate business and it’s the reason why I champion the real estate business today because there’s every day millionaires made every day in real estate. I encourage everybody to get a copy of that book and now’s the time, you got a chance to read it. Now you got a chance to apply it. When the doors open up, we want everybody to make 12 months’ worth of income in nine months’ worth of work. That’s our goal. Final words, Chris, final words you have for our audience today, maybe a final word of encouragement?
HOGAN: Well, I’m going to tell everyone out there that, listen, where we are right now is a great opportunity to learn. As you said, we’ve got more time than we’re used to having. I want you to use that in a smart way, but also, I want us to focus on the spirit of gratitude. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we don’t have, I think it’s important for us to be aware of what we do. I’ve sent out a tweet several years ago, and it went viral. I said, it’s hard to be hateful when you’re grateful. I want to encourage people out there to write down some things you’re grateful for.
It’s really easy to get caught up in what you don’t have, but be grateful and make that list. I make a Post It note of a three to four things each and every day and I slap them on my door. That spirit and that mindset helps you to change your outset. Where you are, you’re not done, you are not done. So be encouraged. Stay focused, you’re not finished. Keep feeding your mind positive stuff and keep taking steps.
BUFFINI: Well, that’s a good life and you’re a good man and I can’t agree more with that. We love it. It’s the power that keeps on giving, and I think there’re so many things, we’ve lost a lot of convenience. When you think right now, I’ve talked to people I haven’t talked to in years, I’ve had interactions or conversations. We wouldn’t be talking today, Chris, we’d be seeing each other a MasterMind, but we wouldn’t be talking today if there — There’s been a lot of rich experiences and conversations.
Obviously, people are sick, there’s people dying, it’s a brutal situation, but there is still enough left to be grateful for. It’s still a good life, it’s not always a great life but we can have a great future. Chris, I thank you for all you’re doing, I appreciate you keep hitting the airwaves, bringing this positivity to all these TV shows and radio shows. I hope everyone gets a copy of “Everyday Millionaires.” More importantly, I hope everyone becomes an everyday millionaire. Thanks for joining me today, pal. God bless. I really appreciate joining in our show.
HOGAN: Thank you, my friend. It’s always a pleasure.
BUFFINI: Well, that was a pleasure. What a positive force he is. He has a great story. Chris Hogan was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s come from humble beginnings to build a great success. That’s still the opportunity in this life and that’s still the opportunity here. For every one of us listening, there’s still great times ahead. I’m talking to you today about the things I’ve done to protect our company and our family.
Here’s the thing, I’ve been through the wringer a bunch of times, and so this might be your turn going through the wringer, I just want you to know, it is still a good life and good days are still ahead, and this too is going to pass and you can use this time to really focus in on the areas that you need to improve. If one of them is finances, now’s the time to get serious. Get serious about earning, serious about growing. Maybe it’s time to seriously get a coach.
There’s no doubt, we know this that the average person working with one of our coaches makes 10 times out of their nearest competitors, 10 times, and we’ve been doing it for 25 years. I hope that’s the case for some of you. If it’s time to get a coach, go and contact Buffini & Company. Most of our coaches work with people in the real estate industry but we actually serve people in 47 businesses outside of real estate, believe it or not. Maybe you know someone who needs to get their business on track right now, time to go get a coach at Buffini & Company, go to buffinicompany.com and we’ll be happy to help them.
Let me leave you with the Irish blessing that we always like to have, and I mean it more than ever before. May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind always be at your back. May the rain fall soft upon your fields, and that’s the money verse, and may the sun shine warm upon your face. Until we meet again, may God hold us all in the hollow of His hand. We’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.