A few months ago, I got an invitation to speak at Google.
“Cool,” I thought. “That’s, like, grown-up stuff!”
The invitation came from one of my podcast listeners, David Moltz, who works at the company’s Los Angeles office and who hosted the hour-long Q&A.
“Could you talk about financial independence,” he asked me, “but maybe leave out the part about everyone quitting their job?”
“Haha! Sure thing,” I replied.
David and I planned the Q&A session through a combination of Gmail, Google Hangouts and Google Docs — and, crucially, we reviewed and polished the questions during dinner the night before the talk, deciding to focus on the philosophy of financial independence and the principles of behavioral finance.
The goal of the talk, we decided, is to introduce people to the concept of FI and encourage workers to pour more money into their retirement accounts. We wanted to get people excited about efficient lifestyles, to recognize that saving and investing is a path to greater flexibility and freedom.
The next afternoon, I arrived at Google’s hanger in Playa Vista, walked into the main reception area, and saw my own face staring back at me:
David met me in the reception area and we headed towards the stage, where the A/V team set up a backdrop of a “fireside chat,” complete with an image of a warm, cozy fireplace. The symbolism was spot-on.
We took our seats, and for the next hour, we chatted about:
- The anti-budget: why it pays to get rid of your normal, line-itemized, granular budget.
- Growing the gap between what you earn and spend.
- Why you should never delay gratification.
- Three cognitive biases that interfere with your ability to make smart investing choices.
- How to create better, stronger, stickier habits.
- Why index funds are superior to actively-managed mutual funds.
- The three biggest spending drains — and how to avoid them.
- Should a young person invest more conservatively until they see how they react to a market downturn?
This video is definitely worth an hour of your time. Check it out here, and if you like it, please give it a thumbs-up!
You’ll notice that I quote my friend J.L. Collins twice during my talk. He did an amazing job speaking to Google’s Chicago office last year; I watched his presentation in order to prepare for my own.
When you’re done watching this video (and you’re still hungry for more), you can see J.L. Collins’ talk at Google here.