Best of Both Worlds podcast: How to Money’s Joel and Matt

Personal finance can be a dry topic. But Sarah and I both really love listening to the How to Money podcast, hosted by Joel Larsgaard and Matt Altmix. These two Atlanta-based best buddies talk money, while drinking craft beer, twice a week on their iHeartRadio podcast. I was a guest last spring, and so I was excited to have these two working dads come on Best of Both Worlds.

They talked about how they met, their money philosophy (you can save for the future while enjoying the present — hence the craft beers), and their various gigs. Both have main jobs — radio production (Joel) and a photography business (Matt) — and then side gigs including rental properties and (of course) the podcast. Joel and his wife have three kids, Matt and his wife have four, and these two friends’ infant sons were born two days apart this fall! Talk about doing everything together.

We discussed their schedules — the podcast is recorded as a “split shift” activity! — and how they arrived at their family set-ups. One of the reasons Joel became interested in finance is that he had seen his parents go through rough financial times. His mom had wanted to stay home with her kids, but hadn’t been able to, so to Joel, this was always a goal — that his wife would have a choice in the matter. He noted that since he worked in radio, not known for lofty salaries, this really got him thinking about other ways to generate income. Hence the growth of the rental property empire.

In the personal finance community, there’s a lot of emphasis on achieving “financial independence” (the point where income from investments can cover your living expenses, so you don’t have to work) and early retirement. Having lots of kids (as Joel and Matt have done), having stay-at-home spouses, and prioritizing spending time with your family (as opposed to taking second jobs requiring a lot of weekend/evening work) can all delay that. So we talked about their philosophy of needing to live the life you want while you work for your financial goals.

And finally, we talk about what to teach your kids about money — and what steps Joel and Matt are taking to help their kids make wise decisions there.

This was a really fun episode (we chatted for a while before and after too, but we couldn’t do a 2-hour podcast!) Please give it a listen, and be sure to check out the How to Money podcast as well.

22 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: How to Money’s Joel and Matt

  1. I just want to commiserate with the questioner! My spouse is a surgeon and I hear you on the timing/inflexibility/typical spouse role associated with that job. I am the primary parent while also managing a full time job and going to school part time. Even with no guilt about using sitters, there are a lot of things to handle and sometimes I just feel I’m on a treadmill. No magic solution to offer, but I do hear you and I give you a virtual hug!

  2. I can so relate to the Q&A! I am the only member of upper management in my company that has both parents in their household working outside the home. My husband and I both are passionately invested in our careers so we, too, have had some of the disagreements that Laura mentioned she’s dealt with in the past. I agree that even with outsourcing a lot there is still much to manage—including expectations. The fact that my husband and I both travel can complicate things further. Tetris, for sure!

    1. @EM- there is a lot to manage. Figuring out travel was definitely a breakthrough for us. These things aren’t automatic, which is one reason I write about them and have the Best of Both Worlds podcast.

  3. Yet another listener that could relate to the question at the end of the episode. I work in asset management, which is male dominated. The wives of the older men are/were SAHM. It seems like this is changing as my younger male colleagues have partners with careers for the most part. That said, we have a women’s networking group and have had a few events featuring women high up in our company or at another company and they all have husbands that stay home or they don’t have children… It’s great to hear insight from senior leaders but it’s a little bit frustrating/disappointing that all the senior women who have been featured aren’t dual-career couples… Maybe this will just take time to change and us women have to speak up more and talk about how we make it work as a dual-career couple. In my case, it’s more manageable becuase neither my husband or I travel. I used to travel but I stopped traveling when becoming pregnant – by choice. Luckily the area I’m focused on at work requires a lot of conference calls and excel/proposal work so it’s better for me to be in the office. The dual-career couple thing is so much harder when one or both spouses travel!

    1. @Lisa- it is harder when one or both spouses travel BUT it is still doable! We have a BOBW episode about the two-travel job couple. I forget exactly when it ran but it offered some suggestions.

  4. This was a funny one! I’m glad Sarah pushed back when Matt or Joel was talking about how it can make financial sense for a spouse to stay at home at the two kids point (and I am all about everyone making the best decisions for their family). I thought it was odd that they framed that decision based on income and childcare costs at that point, when I think it’s important for women to be looking at long-term earnings potential and the loss of income over their full careers if they choose to stay at home. Would love to hear that discussed with someone who’s a personal finance type expert in the future. I thought this analysis was too quick and simplistic and I like to keep my eyes on the prize! (That’s not a knock on either Laura or Sarah – really just a result of having guests with a particular arguable blindspot in this one area).

    1. @Mary – we’ve definitely talked on the podcast (and here!) about how this decision should not be made looking at just one point in time. When people take years out of the workforce, they lose big chunks of their long-term earning potential. I wish this wasn’t true, but it currently is, and it’s best that people know so they can build it into the model.

    2. I think this was what made this episode less relatable for me. I appreciate that everyone was treading lightly around this topic and I appreciate the diversity of guests and having dads on the show, but I really would have preferred someone like Laura or Sarah’s husbands, who are *in* a 2 working parent family. I know that wasn’t the point of having these guys on.
      I just felt like there were a couple of moments when I was rolling my eyes a little but it’s my own sensitive spot after dealing with years of managers with stay at home spouses – they don’t totally understand “the struggle” 😉

    3. SO MANY people have this blind spot. And it’s not just your future career opportunities you give up when you choose to stay home. It’s potentially your independence as well. You better not have a husband who gets disabled, cheats on you, develops a drug or alcohol problem, or otherwise turns into an asshole, because you become financially bound — likely permanently — when you quit your career.

      1. @omdg- another interesting blind spot: in the event of a divorce, an increasing number of family courts are defaulting to 50-50 custody splits. And if you’re splitting 50-50, there’s no automatic entitlement to child support. Which means if the family doesn’t have significant assets to split, people can find themselves in a bad spot of needing to figure something out fast.

        1. Yep, that happened to a friend of mine. Husband still makes a lot of money and has new rich wife. Wife still has her old job. He pays no alimony or child support, but he does pay for the kids’ school. They are 70/30 her/him. She is understandably very bitter about this as she had quit her job to stay home with the kids, and as a result had nothing of her own when they filed for divorce.

      2. Agreeing that this episode made my hackles go up with their blithe ‘this is what works really well for us and oh, our wives ‘get’ to stay home and raise children.’ They’re young and life doesn’t go as perfectly as we plan. As a senior manager in tech ( who took off 9 months after our daughter was born – and another year when she was 7) – with a husband who works longer hours because he loves what he does too – these attitudes rub me the wrong way. I would have much more enjoyed hearing their wives’ stories because I’m betting it would be more nuanced. For exampIe, I work because I went to grad school (twice) to work on things that fascinate me – as well as saving for college and for our future.

  5. I’d love to hear more from mom’s that do – temporarily (I’m thinking 5-10 years) – play a largely SAH role. I’m just transitioning out of being home part-time with my kids (the rest of the time I work from home, so I have a lot more flexibility than others might have; and, admittedly, I also work on my jobs on days they’re home as needed).
    I know your podcast is largely geared toward full-time working mothers, but would love to hear more perspective on the SAM angle; we do it for financial (we have an AMAZING preschool, but it comes in far higher in terms of cost than the other local options), logistical reasons (hubby travels a lot), and timing (I delivered my first 5 months after defending my Master’s thesis, so I’ve not honed my career trajectory as much as many of my peers have at this stage in motherhood; that said, I’m only 32, so feel like having the little-kid years behind me leaves me with a lot of flexibility in the future).
    Love, love, love your podcast. I’ve cycled through and tried a lot of shows, but yours is the only one that sticks!!

    1. I would also love to hear about moms who have taken time off and come back and what that’s like, as this has been my path too. I started working part-time in 2010, took about 18 months off in 2012, went back full time for 18 months in 2016, took another 6 months off and then worked part-time, and am finally now back full time (but working remotely) for the foreseaable future. (gotta send these kids to college!) I run into a lot of people at work who want to know more about my checkered work history 😉 and every time I quit I had this nagging fear that I would “never be able to find a good job again”. But my salary has increased every time (but Laura is absolutely right that if I had worked through, I’d be a couple of levels higher and making more $ but we’re comfortable with that tradeoff.) At least in the tech industry in the US (and if you don’t have immigration issues), it seems relatively easy to step on/off the career path and not a huge hit career or income wise, depending on your goals.

      1. I did this. I am a 59 year old RN so I’m from a different generation. I worked for 11 years (a couple years part time when kids were born). When our kids were 5 and 3 we moved across the country and I stayed home with kids for 12 years. At age 44 when kids were both in high school I went back to work full time. There was no problem getting hired but healthcare has lots of jobs. I have no desire to move up the corporate ladder so my break didn’t hurt. I know I have not made as much money as I would have but I really enjoyed being home. My husband had a good job in tech so we did fine on one income. In regards to the guy’s response on the podcast, my experience is that everyone defends their own choices so of course they are going to say staying at home is best. There’s no one right choice. I hope the mommy wars are over.

        1. One more thing I want to add. Obviously I’m not in your target demographic for your podcast but I really enjoy listening. It’s interesting to hear how another generation is doing work and family. Laura and Sarah, I really admire your energy and ambition.

        2. @Linda and ARC- it’s a fascinating topic. I think some industries are easier than others – probably if you have specialized skills and there are a lot of jobs (e.g. nursing and tech, like you guys!) We definitely do intend to cover the topic of getting back in the workforce, or scaling up after a period of downshifting (leaning in, if you will…) I think there are certain things anyone can do while taking a career break to make sure that you can get back in. A lot of networking, continued professional development, some freelancing, etc.

  6. Loyal listener from the land down under here! And yes although I’m all for diversity I was cringing quite a bit for this one… Women so often take leaps of faith by staying home when the reality is that this is so risky for their futures! In terms of guests who started their family young and then scaled the ladder I’d highly recommend Polly Parker. She’s the deputy dean in our business school, starting with an unlikely phys ed degree she got after baby number 1. She has a great deal of insight. She’s also super frank.

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