DR 128: What All Kids Should Know About Saving & Investing–An Interview with Author Rob Pivnick

Rob Pivnik
With a son and daughter now grown, I often wonder how well I prepared them to handle finances. While they are both now in their early 20’s, the truth is that their financial education is far from over. I continue to work with them on everything from budgeting to investing. And that’s why Rob Pivnick’s book, What All Kids Should Know About Saving and Investing, caught my attention.

Don’t let the name fool you. This book could easily serve as the first book anybody, child or adult, reads about money. In fact, I’d say it’s more for teenagers than younger children. It goes into a lot of detail on some very important topics.

So when Rob reached out to me about the book, I invited him to be a guest on the Dough Roller Money Podcast. I find it enlightening to hear how others think about money, particularly when it comes to their children. Rob didn’t disappoint. Here’s the audio of the interview, with the transcript further below.

Rob Pivnick InterviewRob: Rob, welcome to the show.Rob Pivnick: Well, thank you. I appreciate you having me.Rob: I’m glad you could make time to come on the show. You emailed me that you had an interesting book you wrote designed for younger folks with money and investing. I thought that was a great topic. Maybe I can figure out where I went wrong with my kids.

Rob Pivnick: Where we all went wrong. We can always learn from someone else’s mistakes.

Rob: Yeah. Definitely. Of course I want to hear about the book. Why don’t we start off… If you could just tell folks as much or as little about who you are.

Rob Pivnick: So, a little bit of background. I’ve got three kids. The oldest of whom is 12 right now. I wrote the book for him. I started out without even a plan on having a book. It was just putting down some good habits and some good teaching tools for my oldest, that I could pass down to the middle one. And then the youngest one, in a couple of years from now, I can pass it down to him. It came out better than I expected so I turned it into a real book. My background is, I grew up here in Dallas. I was actually born in Toronto, so I’m a Canadian. I’m a dual citizen, so I’m a Canadian and US citizen. I moved down to Dallas when I was three and I’ve been here ever since. I went to law school and—

Rob: Oh no, you’re a lawyer.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. Oh, you can’t say that. You’re one too.

Rob: I know. That’s why I can say it.

Rob Pivnick: I went to Business School also at SNU. I work for one of the big Wall Street investment banks now. And I just wanted to make sure my kids didn’t get the ‘get rich quick bug’ because I know when they get older, they’re going to be hearing about everybody who did well and had some great latest, greatest stock. It’s like going to Vegas. You always hear about when people did great. You never hear about when they don’t do so well.

Rob: Right

Rob Pivnick: So, we all want to put this in writing for the kids.

Rob: How old are your children?

Rob Pivnick: My children are almost 6, 9 and 12.

Rob: Wow. That’s a great age. Enjoy it. It goes by quick, let me tell you.

Rob Pivnick: It does. You have to learn to enjoy it while you can.

Rob: Did you have parents or other folks that influenced you when you were growing up, in terms of money?

Rob Pivnick: Yeah, I did. My dad, who is a doctor— you’d think he is probably a terrible investor but he was pretty financially savvy. When I was the same age as my oldest, when I was 12, he matched a $250 investment in 20th Century mutual funds, which I think now is American Century, if they’re still around. But 20th Century Ultra or maybe it was 20th Century Select. In any event, he matched my $250 and since then, I’ve always had that savings and investing bug. And my first inclination, anytime I made money from allowance, chores or whatever, all I wanted to do was to invest it and I’ve been doing it since.

Rob: Were you always a good saver even in high school and what not?

Rob Pivnick: Yeah, I think so. If I had to put a knock on myself about that, it’s that I probably looked to save too much and didn’t do enough of the “Go ahead and enjoy what you have, and enjoy life now.” Don’t be afraid to spend some money if it’s actually in your budget. I don’t want to encourage anyone to go into credit card debt for it. You mentioned you read the book and the last chapter on the book is that, your life in not all about money and you should go ahead and enjoy some of what you’ve got. I have to admit, that was a little bit painful for me to write because I’m all about saving and investing. So the “Go ahead and spend it” was a little bit tough for me to write.

Rob: Yeah, I’m sure. Well, if you don’t mind sharing, what is your savings rate?

Rob Pivnick: I can say probably right around somewhere between 15 and 20 for sure, which I mentioned in the book.

Rob: Okay. Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: If I could give you some facts.

Rob: Sure.

Rob Pivnick: In the book, the global average I think is right around 15. India and China top the US towards somewhere north of a 30 percent savings rate. And then the US, we come in pretty close to bottom. A dismal 4 percent of savings.

Rob: Why do you think that is?

Rob Pivnick: I wish I knew. If I knew, then we could cure it. But I think it’s probably because we are such a consumer driven economy. People have that, the latest this, the greatest this and people are not taught to save as much. Although, I do think that the rate is a little bit skewed in places. Like China for example, where people have to save. But they’re not necessarily saving for retirement, but they are saving because the cost of living in some of the cities, you know, for a small studio is several thousand bucks and they have to save to get that rent. So, I don’t know if they’re necessarily saving for retirement. It’s probably a little bit skewed. But I think it’s just because people want to buy stuff.

Rob: Yeah, I guess so. It’s a hard thing for me to figure out why the savings rates vary so much from one country to the next and why ours has been so low.

Rob Pivnick: Yes.

Rob: And maybe it is because we’re a consumer oriented economy. But yeah, 4 percent, that’s really low. You recommend 20 percent, yes? Did I get that right?

Rob Pivnick: I’d say, 15 to 20. I think the pros say 15 to 20. I try to encourage my kids to eventually get that in their mind and do that. And that’s my goal as well. If I can hit that 15 to 20 percent mark, I’m pretty happy.

Rob: Right. Has your 12-year-old read the book?

Rob Pivnick: Yes. Originally, I wrote it for him when he was probably around 11. It was a year ago. I think I dumbed it down too much, so it was kind of simple. I made it towards a little bit more in-depth. And I think his age is an age where kids are beginning to get these concepts. For anyone out there listening who is an author, if your target audience is too broad, you sound a little bit disingenuous. So I target audiences, probably I have to say, middle grade, high school and millennials. But truly, it goes up to somebody who is 50 or 60, because I have had some of my kids’ parents say, “I don’t know these stuff. Can I get a copy of the book?” And they’re 40, 50, 55 years old. So, the target audience really could be as wide as anybody who does not have these basic financial literacy skills.

Rob: Yeah, that was my take when I read it. There’s a lot of good things in here including, just the way the book’s formatted, pictures, other things, that I think make it interesting for, like you said, middle school, high school kids and maybe millennials. But there’s a lot of deep concepts in here. A lot of them that I talk about in the show that I think maybe a lot of older folks don’t know or are just learning. I read this book and I think, it actually would be a good book for a lot of people.

Rob Pivnick: I have these comments from several people. If you look online at the outline, in the outline, you mentioned it had some concepts. They’re like, “No kid could understand this. This is some complicated stuff.” But as you mentioned I wrote it with an eye towards more complicated concepts. But if you write it in such a way and explain things in such a way where the younger readers can understand it and you include fun things and pictures to keep them interested, it is something they can understand and they do grasp. Like I said, it’s got that wide swath. But I sound a little bit disingenuous saying, my book’s perfect for everybody because I know it’s not.

Rob: Well, I guess no book is perfect for everybody. But you even got in the title, ”What All Kids Should Know About Saving and Investing,” but then in yellow small print you have, “and Adults too.”

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: Right. One of the things I noticed reading in the book, you’re a believer in passive index fund investing.

Rob Pivnick: Absolutely.

Rob: We’ve talked a lot about that on the show, but let’s hear from you. Why do you think that’s the best approach?

Rob Pivnick: I am a 99 percent believer in the efficient market hypothesis. I believe the one percent out there— I’m sure there’s some room for some people who have the time and all the expertise maybe to create alpha and create some value. But for a vast majority of the population, is it 95 percent, is it 99 percent, is it just not all of them? Even Warren Buffett who’s the greatest investor that probably all of us could say we we’re lucky enough to see in this lifetime, recently said, I think it was last year, when he dies he wants his estate to invest in low cost index fund.

Rob: Right.

Rob Pivnick: So I think, unless you really can dedicate your whole life to picking the great stocks and finding the ones that are going to create alpha then maybe you’re in good shape. But I say that with a little bit hesitation because even professionals, if you look at the stats, only 20 to 30 or 35 percent professionals over the last 5, 10, 15 years, consistently can beat the market. So yeah, my pitch to my boys when I was writing this book was, “Hey, people are paid out there to do this. People whose job it is to beat the market can’t do it. Why do you think you can?” If you’ve got another career, you’ve got a life, you’ve got a family and other obligations, then how could you think you could dedicate your time to beating the market when the people whose job is, can’t do it?

Rob: Right. Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: And then on top of that— sorry to interrupt— on top of that, you’re paying them an extra percent or one percent and a half, not to beat the market. It’s like getting the worst project for higher fees.

Rob: Well, the fees are one of the big reasons that most actively manage funds don’t beat the market, right?

Rob Pivnick: Yes.

Rob: You add into that transaction costs. The other thing is that I think people tend to forget about is that, the more capital that a fund has, the harder it becomes to beat the market. It’s even something that Warren Buffett has said. He has so much capital at Berkshire that it’s going to be very hard for— you know, he can’t invest in a 100 million company—

Rob Pivnick: Where can you place it?

Rob: Yeah. It doesn’t move the needle for him. So yeah, most actively managed funds. And particularly, when you include all of the ones that have gone under because there are so many mutual funds that no longer exist.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: For your own investments, do you have a particular fund company or approach that you prefer?

Rob Pivnick: I look to Vanguard. Vanguard first, just because their fees are so minimal.

Rob: Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: I’ll give you a couple of stats. You mentioned, the fees go under. But I think in the last 10 years, 7 percent of every actively managed fund had failed every year. And over the last, I think it was 10 or 15 years, almost half of the actively managed funds closed because of poor performance.

Rob: Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: To your point, how can you pick the right one? So, I went to Vanguard. The EFT indexes are—assuming they’re all the same product, if you can just limit the fees as much as you can. I’ve got a little bit limited in terms of what I can use in our firms 401k. So I’ve got to strategically find which ones I want. But generally, I look at Vanguard first and go from there.

Rob: So what’s your asset allocation, if I can ask you? Like, how much do you put in stocks versus bonds?

Rob Pivnick: This is where I laugh because it is pretty aggressive. I wouldn’t recommend this for everybody. It depends on your horizon and your risk tolerance and all that. But I’m pretty darned aggressive. I think I’m around 40 to 45 percent domestic large-cap, 10 to 15 domestic-mid, 10 to 15 domestic-small and around 20, 25 percent international, which only leaves— I don’t know if you’ve done the math but I think it’s a couple of percent in there for some bonds. But I’m not at the point yet where I feel like I’ve got a dial back.

Rob: Right.

Rob Pivnick: I do know that the first time I have to do that, which will probably be in the next couple of years for my oldest child’s college savings plan, I may have to start dialing back there. And I think it will be a little painful because I’ve always been aggressive and let the long term do what it’s going to do. So, I may have to start dialing that back and I’m not looking forward to it.

Rob: You’re not looking forwards to bonds, huh?

Rob Pivnick: No.

Rob: Yeah. But you have to with a 529.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: They have plans now that will do all for you but it sounds like you’re taking the reins for your—

Rob Pivnick: Obviously, the buy-and-hold is not sexy. I hear people say it’s kind of boring. So if I cannot do a target date allocation, I’ll do it myself. At least, I still feel like I’m doing some sort of active something or other. But let me ask you a question. My oldest is in 6th grade, when do start dialing that back? I think it’s probably the next couple of years here.

Rob: You’re using the 529 in Texas?

Rob Pivnick: No. I think, it’s Utah. Because I think in Texas, you don’t have to match where you are. It’s actually through Vanguard which is Utah.

Rob: And you don’t have income tax in Texas, right?

Rob Pivnick: Correct.

Rob: So, you don’t get tax break.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. So it didn’t matter.

Rob: Yeah. Right. Well, a lot of the 529s have a plan that will automatically reallocate the assets as your child gets older. So, what I would do is just look to those. Even if you’re not using one of those plans and you’re investing that yourself, I would look to see what they’re doing. I think by large, they’ve got it right. In fact, I just did a podcast about 529s not that long ago, and I looked at it then. But I certainly think that there would definitely be a move more towards bonds by 5th grade. It may only be 25 percent bonds, I don’t remember, but the allocation had shifted for sure by then.

Rob Pivnick: Yes. I’m probably behind the curve.

Rob: You might be but—

Rob Pivnick: That’s probably another topic for you. If you look at the target date funds, I know that across the industry, there is no conformity. You look at the target date fund for 2055 and you could have from any different fund company, 10, 15, 20 different pretty variable allocations. So even folks who invest in those probably have to pay attention to them because they’re so different.

Rob: They are different. The various robo-advisors like Wealthfront and Betterment, their asset allocations are different. So there are definitely differences in all of these types of approaches. Although in my view, I think most of those differences by large don’t matter. I think it’s perfectly fine to invest, at least to some degree, on personal preference. For example in your case, you mentioned you have exposure to a mid-cap fund and a small-cap fund, right?

Rob Pivnick: Yes.

Rob: And that sounds like that fits your investing style and that’s great. If someone else said, “Yeah, I’m just going to throw it all in S&P 500. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over that decision.” And that at the end of the day, I would suspect, after 20 or 30 years, it’s not going to make a huge difference. I have small-cap exposure because long term, they tend to do a little bit better with a little more risk, of course. So, a lot of differences. But the more I do this, the more I think all of those differences probably don’t matter for most people.

Rob Pivnick: Yes, they do. I think you’re probably right. For me, it keeps it a little bit exciting. But that’s your point. You’re right. And going back to Warren Buffett, what he recommended was 90 percent in S&P and 10 percent bonds. So, he didn’t even go anything beyond two different asset classes.

Rob: And no international exposure.

Rob Pivnick: Nothing at all. I don’t think that’s he’s kind of method.

Rob: Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: He knows what he’s doing. He’s got to be doing something right.

 

Rob: The interesting thing about that too is that, I say, “no international exposure,” although, the companies in S&P 500 do business all around the world.

Rob Pivnick: That’s right.

Rob: And they have exposure to currencies and other things, depending on their business. I just read today that Apple maybe be doing a bond issue, not in dollars, in Euro and other currencies, for example. So I guess, you do get international exposure in S&P 500. But yeah, that was Warren’s approach. Two funds and he’s done.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. Keep it simple. And to your point, I bet you’re right. If you look over a long term, 20, 30 years, the returns probably won’t be that much different. Although I do think, probably, you could lower the risk and get the same returns. Maybe there’s some benefit to it and thinking of it from that perspective rather than thinking of it from the risk perspective.

Rob: I saw in your book that you go into all that. You go to volatility and all of that stuff.

Rob Pivnick: Yes.

Rob: I mean, there’s some pretty heady concepts for a middle school kid.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. I think middle school, that’s the beginning of it. The experts, the researchers who know about financial literacy and teaching financial education say that class doesn’t work, reading books doesn’t work. So, that’s a statement against my own interest saying, “Yeah, my book’s great.” But I think, one of the key takeaways that people can have from the people who know, the financial researchers, are that rules of thumb work. So, it’s interesting to say if you just give somebody a rule rather than give them a week, two-week, three-week long class in-depth of the underlying concept, the people who were just given the rule will end up doing better and have better recollection and the material will be more sticky than those who got the whole class. That’s why I included the simple rules of thumb in there. The habits, the buying whole, don’t chase the market and don’t invest emotionally— I think if people could remember these things, even if they don’t get the details, at the end of the day those are what really matter.

Rob: Right. Yeah. Rules of thumb definitely help. We explore a lot of them and I like to get behind the reasoning behind them. They’re a good start to understanding what can be a complicated financial decision. You have a whole chapter on negotiation and I thought that was interesting. Why did you include that?

Rob Pivnick: Aside from work and kids and from the acquired things, all that stuff, I think I finally figured out in my life what I’m really passionate about. One has always been negotiations and the art of persuasion. And the other is financial literacy. So finally, I can do something about the financial literacy. I can write a book and I can help to get it in front of non-profits and things like that. And recently, I accepted a position on the Texas affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education. So, I can do something about financial literacy. The other thing I’m passionate about, I love negotiating. I love persuasion. Authors like Roger Dawson and Robert Cialdini, I love their stuff. I think, it kind of ties into the budgeting and the savings concept which is, everything is negotiable. I’ve got my kids thinking along those lines too. Anytime you go anywhere, you might as well ask because the worse they can do is say, no. And if you get something, then you’re in good shape. So, I want to include something in the book about that.

Rob: Right. And did you mention, was it Robert Caldini?

Rob Pivnick: Yes. Robert Cialdini.

Rob: Cialdini. Okay. He wrote Influence, right?

Rob Pivnick: That’s right. He’s got a whole slew of books on Influence and Persuasion. There’s actually an 11 minute little video, you know, the videos online with the cartoon hand drawing?

Rob: Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: And somebody at the background narrating? He’s got one for the listeners out there. I think it was called, Six Persuasion Techniques by him. It is a great little 10 minute video.

Rob: He spoke at a conference that I was at. He was very impressive. Very good.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: I read his book, although it’s been a number of years now. I probably should go back and re-read it but that’s a good book.

Rob Pivnick: I’ve never met him but I love his stuff. Yeah.

Rob: Yeah. You included negotiations which I found was an interesting topic. Although, who better to write it than a lawyer?

Rob Pivnick: Yes, fair enough. Fair enough.

Rob: Does your work require you to negotiate?

Rob Pivnick: I think every attorney’s work does. I’m a transactional guy, so yeah, I’m negotiating along pretty much.

Rob: Yeah, that’s what you do for a living, so who’d better to write that?

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: You have a chapter on budgeting. Actually, that goes back to chapter two. I’m curious, how do you budget?

Rob Pivnick: My budget is a little less detailed than it should probably be. My first line, like I mentioned, is that 15 percent savings. Once I know we can do that I max out the 401ks and IRAs. Then I think I’m okay (quote unquote) ‘consuming’ the rest. I only recently got to this point— and this kind of ties into the last chapter which is to enjoy some of the stuff you’ve got now… If I look, long term and my plan says I’m saving my 15 percent— that’s the 401s and I’ve got the matches and I’ve got IRAs there, then if the rest gets consumed, it’s okay because I’m okay with that 15 percent saving rate. I kind of think that’s where I end up on that.

Rob: Right. Do you use any tools? Any budgeting software?

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. An Excel spreadsheet.

Rob: There you go.

Rob Pivnick: That’s it right there. Yeah.

Rob: Yeah. Is it just your own Excel spreadsheet? Do you have a template that you use?

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. I have a template that I use is. I just kind of plug it in and tweak it as I go.

Rob: Did you create the template or did you get it from somewhere?

Rob Pivnick: I think I probably paired it. I probably looked online and found some stuff. I created my own but I can’t say that it was an original thought in there.

Rob: One thing, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this. I’ve not been a consistent budgeter, at least in the sense of tracking and spending.

Rob Pivnick: Me either.

Rob: I kind of do what you do and that is, save first and then spend the rest. But this year I’ve been using YNAB which is a budgeting tool. It seems sort of an obvious thing but I did not really appreciate it until— I’ve been doing this now for I guess 10 months— is that as you collect spending data, it becomes really interesting to look at it. And going forward, it makes budgeting much, much easier as you see how you spend your money. I’ve seen it even in the fluctuation of utility costs. For example, I live in Virginia so it fluctuates a lot depending on the season. But just collecting all of that data and then putting that to use. I don’t know. Do you have years of spending data or do you not track it that way?

Rob Pivnick: I bet I could probably benefit quite a bit from it. As you said, you see where the spending goes. So I think I would probably say, I see a lot of waste in there that probably could be eliminated.

Rob: Yeah. It’s hard to look at sometimes.

Rob Pivnick: Right? But it’s tough. Like I said, that last chapter of the book was tough for me to write. But when I think about savings, if I can knock down that 15 to 20 percent every year and I can max out our plans— that’s what I’m planning on. My long term plan is based on those numbers. So if everything else gets wasted, spent or whatever, I should be okay with that.

Rob: Right. Yeah. I like the approach too because it’s a more positive way of budgeting rather than always thinking about cutting back. The approach is, “Here’s what I have to spend,” and I can spend this without feeling guilty or feeling like I’m not meeting my other goals because I’ve already set that aside.

Rob Pivnick: Right. With the different schools of thought I’d be curious to see what you come on this, is you cut out your Starbucks lattes and that’s $15, $20 a week and once a week bring your lunch to work and that’s $10 here and pretty soon you’re at $2,000. Hey, that’s great. But there are a lot of people who say just the opposite. “Don’t worry about the little things. It’s the bigger things that matter.” Do you have a thoughts on that?

Rob: Well, like so many of my own views of personal finance, I think it depends. If you have no debt, maybe other than a mortgage, and you’re meeting all of your financial goals, retirement, 529, emergency funds, paying off your mortgage, you’re meeting all of those goals and then you just sort of spending the rest, yeah to me, the little things don’t matter. Yeah, if you want to enjoy Starbucks, why not? You’re meeting all of your financial goals. On the other hand, if you’re struggling with credit card debt and you’ve got school loans and you can’t pay cash for your car—

Rob Pivnick: Every latte matters.

Rob: Yeah, it does. I mean, that doesn’t necessarily mean the answer is, don’t ever go to Starbucks. But I do think in those situations, the small expenses that are repeated day in and day out, we can probably do. That’s my view.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah, probably. It depends on the situation. I think, that’s probably a fair analysis.

Rob: Yeah. The other thing is, sometimes we don’t set our goals high enough. Like, you might be meeting your goals and your goal is to retire at 67.

Rob Pivnick: Oh God, help me if I’m working at that age.

Rob: Right. Well, I was just throwing out a number. If you cut back on some small things, maybe you can retire at 60. Really, it comes down to figuring out what’s important to you, I think.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: But like your last chapter of the book, you’ve got to live life, right?

Rob Pivnick: You have to. And honestly, I think that’s been my biggest barriers to allow those things to enjoy life. You’ve got to enjoy life. It’s okay to do that.

Rob: Right. So, we talked a little bit about investing. I would just say this. I think the chapters on investing in your book are really good. You talked about risk versus reward. You’re a big believer in low cost, which we preach here because they can really zap your returns. And you can kind of walk through the whole idea of versification or different asset classes. Did you learn this on your own? Did you have someone teach this to you? I know you mentioned your father but—

Rob Pivnick: I think it’s just years of organic learning. A little bit from my dad. A little bit from doing it myself. A little bit from reading. A little bit from reading folks like yourself and all that stuff. It’s not rocket science. It’s just discipline. Like we mentioned earlier, if there are 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 rules of thumb, good habits, just be disciplined about them and follow those and that’s what happens. And that’s what I want to teach my kids and it’s the word I want to get out in the financial literacy world. And none of this is original. Right? I think it’s just getting it in front of people.

Rob: Yeah. Are there any books that stand out in your mind that you read that really helped you understand the investing concepts that you write about?

Rob Pivnick: It’s funny, someone actually asked me that today. You’ve got Rich Dad, Poor Dad and we’ve got some of the Bogle stuff. Someone asked me if I’m a Bogle head. I imagine I probably am but I don’t know that I’m official because I’ve never registered on the site. But the stuff that Bogle preaches such as low cost, buying whole, don’t chase the market, ties in almost identically to the stuff that’s in my book. But it’s not an original thought. There’s no kudos to me for coming up with that. This stuff’s been out there forever. It’s just a matter of people grabbing it and really believing it and buying into it I think.

Rob: Right. Well, if folks want to get your book, where do they go?

Rob Pivnick: The website is www.whatallkids.com. And that’s actually the same as my email. It’s [email protected] Actually, Amazon is the easiest thing to do as a matter of fact. And as I mentioned before, for anybody out there who’s got a library or school or non-profit, go ahead and shoot me an email. I’ve kind of covenanted to discount the books to those types of groups. And I’m going to donate a portion of profits to non-profits that focus on financial literacy as well.

Rob: Oh that’s great. That’s great.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: Maybe it’ll come down the road, but do you have opportunities to speak to folks?

Rob Pivnick: I have. I’m doing some, locally. I guess, it depends on how much it snowballs but I’ve got a couple of local churches and synagogues I’m doing. And here in Dallas, actually a very close local library has a ‘Friends of the Library’ program and they’re running a series of seminars this summer and they’ve got me inked in for one of them.

Rob: That’s great.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah.

Rob: So, that’s got to be exciting.

Rob Pivnick: Yes, very exciting. Actually, I have a funny story. But I’ll give you a quick 30 second version. I kind of embarrassed myself. I was talking in church and one of them said, “Alright. Well, after we figure that out, let me know what kind of honorarium you’d like.” And I had no clue that word was so I didn’t say anything. So she repeated the question and said, “Let us know. We don’t have too big of a budget, but let me know.” So I said, “Oh, you want to pay me to come see you? This is great.”

Rob: That’s funny.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. It’s starting to get moving in and I’m enjoying it.

Rob: Do you get nervous before you’re about to speak in front of a group?

Rob Pivnick: I do. It’s funny, but it’s a fact that more people fear public speaking than death, shockingly. It’s crazy. I still do. Even though I’m pretty good at it. I try and keep the audience interested. You have to know your audience, right? So when I do it for kids, I have packs of gum and stuff I give out. For the adults— speaking of lattes, I give $5 Starbucks gift cards. It keeps people interested so they’re not bored. But I still always get nervous.

Rob: Yeah, I do too. Although I find that once I start talking, the nerves go away.

Rob Pivnick: I agree. Then once you start and you get out there and people look at you and you realize you’re doing something that makes sense, it works, it gets exciting and fun.

Rob: I was actually pretty nervous, the very first podcast I recorded. And the funny thing is, I’m here in my basement recording the podcast by myself. It’s not live, right? I mean, I can always just stop and start all over again.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. You can always start over.

Rob: Right. But there I was, nervous. That was about a 130 episodes ago or so.

Rob Pivnick: This is my first time participating in a podcast and I can say I feel nervous too.

Rob: And you’re just what? Sitting in your office talking on the phone?

Rob Pivnick: That’s right. I’m right there with you.

Rob: Yeah, right. Funny. Well, listen. I really appreciate you coming on the show. So the book, What All Kids Should Know About Saving and Investing… and Adults Too. Your site, whatallkids.com, it has links to among other places, to Amazon where folks can get it. Or I guess, they can just go to Amazon and search for What All Kids Should Know About Saving and Investing.

Rob Pivnick: Yeah. Put in my last name and it will pull it out there.

Rob: Okay. There you go. Well, anything else we should know about you? Any questions I did not ask that I should have?

Rob Pivnick: No. I actually want to give you one other stat. We mentioned the low cost and fees and stuff. It’s actually from Morningstar. The director of research in Morningstar said, the best indicator of performance of funds is low cost.

Rob: Yeah.

Rob Pivnick: So even Morningstar, who has the other five star ratings, even they’ve said, “Hey, the only thing that predicts performance funds is low cost.”

Rob: Yeah. Yap.

Rob Pivnick: And one of those things is “Don’t waste money on high expense fees.”

Rob: Absolutely. I love it. That was something I did not appreciate when I first started investing but I came to quickly understand. So important. Alright. Rob, listen. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Rob Pivnick: Rob, thank you very much. I appreciate it. And to your listeners, thanks everybody.


Topics: Book ReviewsPodcast

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