In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick chats with Motley Fool senior advisor and CFP, Robert Brokamp. Robert gives his key takeaways from the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.53%) (BRK.B 0.47%) annual meeting. Later, they are joined by founder of the blog Smart Money Mamas, Chelsea Brennan, who talks about changing how you think about money and turning it into an act of self-care. She talks about the importance of growing wealth and how to go about it, having conversations around money, planning for the future, and much more.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on May 4, 2020.
Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick, joined as always by Robert the great Brokamp. Joining us this week --
Robert Brokamp: [laughs] Well. Hi!
Southwick: [laughs] Hi, Bro. joining us this week is Chelsea Brennan, she's Founder of the blog Smart Money Mamas, and Bro is going to give us some highlights from the Berkshire Hathaway meeting. All that and more on this week's episode of Motley Fool Answers.
So, Bro, what's up?
Brokamp: Well, Alison, we often begin by talking about what happened in the previous week, but since we just closed out April, let's review what happened over the entire month and Sweet Cheez-Its, what a month it was, truly one for the record books, both, for good and for ill. So, each week, we all know, we learned of millions more Americans filing for unemployment benefits. Total tally now surpassing 30 million and that is most definitely an understatement given the difficulty many people have had with filing for benefits.
On April 15th, the Federal Reserve announced that U.S. manufacturing output contracted in March by the most in any month since 1947. On April 29th, we learned that first quarter GDP experienced its biggest decline since 2008, and the biggest drop in services and consumer spending on record. And most certainly, second quarter GDP will be much worse.
But you wouldn't know all that looking at the stock market. The S&P 500 returned 12.8% in April, its best monthly return since 1987 and the third best month for U.S. large cap stocks since World War II. So, for the year, which includes last Friday, May 1st, which was a slightly down day, the S&P 500 is down 12%. Since 1950 there've only been 11 times when the S&P 500 returned more than 10% in a single month, according to Ryan Detrick of LPL Financial. What happened over the subsequent 12 months? Well, Detrick found that the index was higher in nine of those 11 times, so that's encouraging for the next year.
Smaller stocks did even better in April, returning more than 14%. In fact, starting on April 22nd, the Russell 2000 Index of small-cap stocks went on a six-day streak of returning more than 1% in a single day, and that has happened just in one other time in the index's history, it happened back in January of 2000, according to the Bespoke Investment Group. That said, despite an excellent April, small-cap stocks are still down more than 20% for the year as are international stocks.
So, that's what happened in April.
May kicked off with one of the biggest events of the investment calendar, the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.
Southwick: Hurray! Huzzah!
Brokamp: Hurray! [laughs] But instead of 40,000 people flocking to Omaha, Warren Buffett sat at a table in a near-empty auditorium. I don't know, did either of you watch it at all? It was kind of this surreal experience.
Southwick: No, I mean, I saw, like, two seconds of it, I haven't gotten around to it, but it just still blows my mind that 40,000 people go to Omaha just to maybe get a chance to see Warren Buffett. That's crazy.
Brokamp: And it's crazy that he can sit up there for that long and answer question after question after question. Now, usually he's also joined by Charlie Munger, this year he was not, instead he was joined by Greg Abel who is the Vice Chairman in charge of all operations instead of insurance. But it still went on for more than four hours. The first more than an hour was a presentation that he gave. So, I listened to the entire meeting.
In past episodes I've said that my personal investing philosophy is, be a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist, and that, sort of, seems to me like it was the message of the whole meeting. So, on the pessimistic side, they're clearly not doing anything, they've still kept most of their $130 billion in cash. He did not use the downturn as an opportunity to go on a buying spree. He essentially likened previous downturns to a train that is slowing down, this time, he said, "We took the economic train off the tracks and I don't know of any historical parallel. And the range of possibilities on the economic side are still extraordinarily wide." In other words, they're still kind of sitting pat on what they're going to do. He also said, "We have not done anything, because we don't see anything that attractive to do."
He also actually spent a good deal of time talking about some of the past challenges and failings in America's history. So, for example, he pointed out that despite the fact that we have a Declaration of Independence that claims that all men are created equal, when you look at the 3.9 million people living in the original 13 states in 1790, 15% were slaves. He pointed out that during the Civil War 6% of the male population between the ages of 18 and 60 died. So, the 2020 equivalent of that would be 4 million deaths according to Warren Buffett. And that it took 131 years for women to have the right to vote and another 61 years until a woman was appointed to the Supreme Court. So, he often talks about the long-term success of America, but he did spend a good bit of time talking about some of the things that we have not done so well.
He spent a particular amount of time going over the Great Depression, I think, partially because he was born in the middle of the Great Depression. So, he pointed out in September 1929, the Dow was at 381. The S&P 500 didn't exist back then, so he's just using the Dow. And then in a little more than two months, it was down 49% to 198.
You move ahead to August 29th, 1930, which is the day before he was born, it was backed up to 240. So, it had rebounded 20%. People were feeling like, "Okay, stocks went down, but they've gone back up." Back then people weren't thinking that they were on the verge of the Great Depression.
You go ahead less than two years to July of '32, the Dow is down to 41. So, from the peak, it went from 381 to 41; a decline of 89%. And the Dow did not get back to its 1929 peak until 1954. He did point out that people got dividends. And back then dividends were higher, but still, on a price percentage, the market was down for more than 20 years. So. Buffett called the Great Depression a testing period that caused some people that lose faith in America. I don't know if he was pointing it out to say, like, times ahead could be tougher than we think or just pointing out that America has seen worse times. But regardless, he says that anyone who's going to lose faith in America, that's a big mistake. Which brings us to his persistent message of being a long-term optimist.
He pointed out that despite all these challenges from 1989 until today, the wealth of the United States has grown 5,000%, and that's adjusted for inflation. And he also pointed out that since the year he graduated from college in 1949, at the age of 19, $1 in the Dow has grown into $100.
So, how should people benefit from what he calls, "the American miracle?" Well as he often does, and I think it's always interesting that he does this during the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, because it's an annual meeting of people who own individual stocks, he thinks the vast majority of people should just buy an S&P 500 index fund. And he mentioned, that's what he does, that's what he has directed in his will, when he passes away, assuming he predeceases his wife, 90% of that wealth would go into an S&P 500 index fund.
In fact, one questioner asked about Berkshire's underperformance as a stock, it's underperformed this year as well as the last decade, that's something I know personally because I've owned Berkshire for more than a decade. And he has basically said, I agree that that's an issue, he said that, the truth is that I recommended S&P 500 index fund to most people, and I happen to believe that Berkshire is about as solid as any single investment can be in terms of earning reasonable returns over time, but I would not want to bet my life on whether we beat the S&P 500 over the next 10 years.
So, as always with Buffett, it comes down to betting on America for the long-term, but it's clear he means the long-term to be, like, very long-term. He had mentioned the timeframe 20 to 30 years a couple of times. The only truly positive thing he said about a shorter timeframe, at least that I can remember, was in response to a question about whether Berkshire expects significant layoffs among its workforce? Which at this point it employs almost 400,000 people. In response, he said that some businesses will have to make adjustments, you know, See's Candies is closed down, Nebraska Furniture Mart, some of their factories may have issues.
Southwick: It's always the funniest list of companies, I'm sorry. It's like it's Dairy Queen, See's, it's like, what, what?
Brokamp: ... Energy, it's manufacturing, I mean, it's everything.
Southwick: It's all this list of companies that you're, like, "Yeah, I think I've heard of them or haven't at all."
Brokamp: Right. Yeah, it's quite amazing. But, while he expects that there will have to be some layoffs, he doesn't expect them to be significant, and that five years from now, he expects Berkshire will be employing considerably more people. So, that to me says he expects five years from now things will fully recover.
And I think that's a reasonable timeframe, I certainly expect that in five years this time period will feel like somewhat of a distant memory; I certainly hope so. But it's certainly possible that over the next year or two, things could turn out to be pretty rocky. And that, Alison, is what's up.
Southwick: We're so excited to be joined today by Chelsea Brennan, she's the Founder of Smart Money Mamas, and she's going to talk about how moms or anyone, really, can change how they think about money and turn it into an act of selfcare. Chelsea, thanks for joining us.
Chelsea Brennan: Alison, thanks so much for having me; I'm excited to be here.
Southwick: Well, we're excited to have you, and I'd love to hear more, though, about you and your journey, because you actually got your start on Wall Street before founding your blog Smart Money Mamas, right?
Brennan: I did. So, right out of college I started as an equity analyst on Wall Street, actually focusing on metals and mining companies, of all random things. And then after a few years there, I transitioned to a hedge fund where I was for several years, and ended up taking out over my own portfolio. But this was always a first act career for me, I knew I wouldn't want to do it forever, I wanted work with more purpose.
So, right before my second child was born, I left to start Smart Money Mamas and really connect more with the teaching that I love to do and helping parents feel more confident with their money, because I feel like money is such a huge stress item for so many people.
Southwick: Yeah. We know the stats, we've talked about it before on the show, but you know what, let's just talk about them again. We know that women tend to live longer than men, meaning that they need more money saved for retirement, and then there's the wage gap and the fact that women tend to take time off from work to raise kids. And then all of these compounds, resulting in women being less prepared for retirement, having less savings.
According to a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey, the median household retirement savings for women is just $23,000 compared to $76,000 among men. Both could improve, but we can see that women are falling farther behind from men. Almost one-third of women say they have saved less than $10,000 for retirement or nothing at all; don't our moms deserve better?
Brennan: Oh, my goodness, absolutely. And that same Transamerica study talks about the fact that women think they need about half what men say they need for retirement. So, they bring that number down. And whether that's to keep it realistic, because they know they don't have the savings to begin with or they're just not appreciating the cost and the length of retirement and what it's going to take.
This is a huge gap and it's something that especially with divorce rates and the fact that most women outlive their spouses, which has two ramifications, one, they need more money, and two, they need to know how to manage their investments because they're ultimately going to have to do it on their own.
Southwick: Yeah. Now, your purpose statement at the top of your site says, "Mamas, handling your money is a radical act of selfcare." When I think of selfcare, the first thing that comes to mind is Instagram hashtags for photos of wine glasses and cake. And selfcare is important, but it's almost lost its meaning and, kind of, become a joke to let stressed out moms indulge in binging Netflix or shopping or eating or drinking things we feel guilty about. And I'm not judging because Netflix and gin are very important in my life, especially right now. But, like, what do you mean when you're talking about handling your money as a radical act of selfcare?
Brennan: Okay. So, most of our perspective on selfcare these days, at least what's put in the media, the Instagram post you're talking about, they're band-aids, right? They're to feel better in the moment when we're not taking care of ourselves in general. And so, when we talk about money and selfcare, we're saying, if selfcare is really about reducing stress and anxiety, bringing more joy into your life, handling your money is going to take away one of the biggest items of stress on your list, it's going to let you afford more of the things that you want, more of those, like, Instagram selfcare things, where you can go for a massage without stressing out that you're putting it on your credit card and how you're going to pay for it down the road? This is really about preparing for the future and long-term selfcare.
Southwick: Now, you say, it's not black-and-white dollars-and-cents. So, aside from the fact that women make less than men and they live longer, which is already setting us back here, where do you see the real struggle when it comes to women managing their money?
Brennan: I think the thing is that we think we can avoid the topic of money. We don't want to talk about it, it's stressful and we think, OK, we'll just push it to the side. But the fact of the matter is, money touches every single area of our lives. We can't make a big life decision without in some way making a financial decision, it impacts where our kids go to school, where they go to day care, where we live, the jobs we take. Money is inherent in everything that we do.
And so, as much as we want to think about it as just math. If I could just figure out the math, if I could just figure out how to budget. It's more than that, there's an emotion there that it ties into our sense of security and our sense of safety. And so, we have to look at it in a more holistic way in how money impacts our lives and our emotional relationship with money, to be able to get where we want to go.
Southwick: Now, where do you see that moms need the most help when it comes to understanding their money? Is it, are most women just looking for help budgeting, are they looking for help with that mindset shift? Where are you seeing the most help needed?
Brennan: So, I think the first thing is that mindset shift is where we see most often people need help, but the first thing is understanding that there is a mindset problem, right? So, exactly what we just said a few minutes ago that we want to put the band-aid on it, we want it to be dollars-and-cents. People come to us and they say, like, "Well, I just need to spend less on groceries." And it's like, OK, you know that and you've tried to cut your grocery budget six different times, what's holding you back? Why do you keep going over? Why is this not important enough for you to stick to it? And then we can connect them to, like, OK there's habits involved here, there's mindset involved here. You have moments in the past where food wasn't readily available, right, if your parents struggled when you were younger. And so, you keep overbuying food because you just want to have more food in the cabinet, right? So, we do the mindset thing first.
And then, the second thing that we really find that women need help with is, identifying and solidifying their goals and what they want their money to do for them. And getting out of that rut of the day-to-day monotony of what's going on and patching the problems that are right in front of our faces and thinking about, OK, what do we want our retirements to look like? Where do we want to be in 10 years? And once we're clear on those things and we can set goals that excite us, it's a lot easier to think long-term. When you're just stuck in the moment, changing those habits is really, really hard.
Southwick: Yeah, I have no idea what my goals are for 10 years or beyond. And it's not just our current trying times here. But I think it is so easy for moms, because we have to be in the moment, we have to be, because of kids pulling on us asking for snacks. Love you, Hannah, but you're always asking for snacks. You know, they're jumping off of couches and trying to hurt themselves. There are so many moments actually pulling you in every different direction. I think that's becoming more equal across men and women, it's definitely improved, but I think for a lot of women it's still not an equally shared burden.
Brennan: Yeah. And we don't like generalizing across genders as much, but we have found, just from our readers, is that husbands seem to have an even harder time doing that dreaming and setting for the future, even if he can make time for it, right, because so much of their self-worth and their mental state is around providing. And when we feel like we have those conversations, women come and say, like, "Hey, I have this big dream from 10 years from now," it's one more stress item, right? Even in cases where the woman is the breadwinner in the house, there's this stress and this tension around, like, "Okay, how do we get even more money?" "How do we afford even more things?"
So those conversations, we're a big advocates of make it a moment of selfcare, even in the traditional way, like, decide that, OK, Friday nights we're going to put the kids to bed, we're going to light a couple of candles, we're going to sit in the basement with our favorite drink, and we're going to have this conversation. And we're going to talk about the dreaming, we're going to talk about what went well this week, not just where we slip back.
And as you build that habit of, like, OK, this is actually a fun relaxing conversation and not a, we're bickering and arguing, then it all gets easier.
Southwick: Yeah. You talk about the importance of learning beyond budgeting and the importance of growing your wealth. Women are traditionally seen as savers and not investors, do you see this as true?
Brennan: Yeah, I think that dollars in the bank is a real comfort for women. And whether that's not being educated around investing in the first place or just knowing all the things that can come up in life. Like, knowing that your kids are going to grow out of their clothes or mom is going to need some help coming down the road. There is more concern about having enough cash.
Southwick: So, going back to the Transamerica study, just 14% of women frequently discussed saving, investing and planning for retirement with friends and family, and 32% report never talking about money. Which is funny to me, because women tend to like to connect with each other and learn from each other. And so, it's funny, like, I think about the conversations that I've had with my girlfriend, so to speak, we've talked about everything, everything, but we never talk about money. Like, we never talk about what we're investing in or how we learned about something or we refinanced and isn't that great and wonderful.
And so, it is fascinating how the way that women tend to like to learn together by talking to each other, and yet, we're not talking about money with each other at all. Why do you think we don't? Why is that topic still taboo?
Brennan: It is really funny, they're some of the statistics that women are far more comfortable talking about sex with their friends than they are talking about money. And so, I think a lot of that is, both, a lack of self-confidence in the subject, right? We don't want to look like we don't know what we're doing and it's a sensitive subject. It's worrying about the pushback of someone not wanting to talk about it. And that when those conversations do happen there are so often negative, right? It's like, I'm stuck, I can't afford this thing or I had another money fight with my spouse or whatever it is, it's negative and so we want to avoid the topic completely.
What we found in our community is that a lot of moms want to talk about money, they just don't have the outlet. And when you give them that safe space of, like, hey, this is a bunch of women that we might not all have it figured out right now, but we are trying really hard and you can come here and you can complain, we will get ... we have thousands of women that want to come have those conversations really quickly.
Southwick: And what are the kind of conversations that they're having together?
Brennan: So, a lot of the conversations are around the slip-backs in the journey. So, once you set, like, OK, we want to be debt-free or consumer debt-free in two years, or we want to save enough for our kids to go to college. And then, dealing with the blips. The, well, we thought we planned for the month and then we blew a tire or we needed some major maintenance on the house and now we're a step backwards, and I don't know how to keep going. Or, I had this big idea and this big goal and I've been reading all about budgeting and investing and I'm excited to get started and I went and sat down with my spouse and he completely shut me down. [laughs] He's like, "I don't want to talk about this." And so, it's a lot of the struggles in getting that support.
And then the other side, the flipside of that is the big wins. It's like, I just paid off $40,000 in debt. And if I say that to any of my friends, one, that's uncomfortable, because it's a big amount of money, and we don't want to feel like we're shaming our friends that may be aren't on this journey with us yet. So, it's having a place to be able to come and be lifted up in the positive moments.
Southwick: Since starting your site, what do you think has been the biggest change in your thinking when it comes to moms and money?
Brennan: I think the biggest change in my thinking, since we started talking about this topic, is how we think about goals and dreaming and what we're willing to accept and what we want, and that we find a lot of women don't want to say they want to be wealthy or they say I want $1 million so I can give to this charity. There's not that confidence in, "I want money because it makes me feel good and I can do fun things." And so, embracing that, that that can limit us too. That we give more to charity before we're even on our own feet because we feel like we have to be helpers and servers and some of that is upbringing and training.
So, we change more about that if you can thrive, that's the best example you can set for your kids. If they see a mom who has a career that she loves and she's succeeding and she's doing things that make her happy, that gives them permission to go out and chase what they want. So, that's our biggest thing is making sure we're always encouraging people to think big.
Southwick: Beyond budgeting and living within your means, making enough money, seeing your money grow, what about for people who just don't have a real love or interest in their money? That's OK, right? [laughs]
Brennan: That's OK. But they have a love or interest in something, there's something they want in life. And likely it costs money. And so, I don't care if you don't love crunching numbers and spreadsheets, it's not everybody's [laughs] favorite thing to do, for most of us, it's not. But there is something that you really want that you can get excited about and figure out how to handle your money to deal with.
Brokamp: Related to that, when people heard those stats from that survey, I suppose many of us thought of women in our lives that maybe might be in trouble, maybe don't have that interest in finance, maybe are behind in some way, maybe our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends. What would you say is a good way to help those people to sort of get them a little bit more interested and maybe give them a helping hand to get them on that road?
Brennan: Yeah. So, there's two strategies both of which work, and this is going to depend on the women in your life and how well you know them. Some of it is uplifting. So, there's an Instagram post we did six months ago, that was like, you're the only one who can give your child a thriving, happy mom. And that sparked, like, completely viral of people being, like, oh I've never thought about it that way before. If I don't prioritize myself, what example am I setting? So, taking it that way of, "Hey, I know you've talked about in the past that you really want to live on a lake someday, have you ever thought about what it's going to take you to do that?" And start from the positive perspective.
The other way that we actually have a lot of moms come into our system is not understanding what happens if they don't plan. So, when we say that women are 80% more likely to live in poverty in retirement than men, that sometimes shocks people into it. We come at it often from an emergency planning perspective, like, "Hey, if something happened to you, what would happen to your kids?" "Do you have guardianship set up?" "Do you have assets for them to pass on?" And really get them into the planning. And once they've done the basic planning, then it's easier to transfer the next step, because they've had to take a close look at what's actually set aside in their accounts for retirement and things like that. But those are the two strategies and it really depends on someone's personality.
Brokamp: I have to ask, so you worked on Wall Street in a hedge fund, you worked in the belly of the beast. What's your take on investing? And especially since you mentioned working with, I think, you said mining companies. Did that make you an investor in gold? Do you think that's something people should be doing? How much investing advice do you give?
Brennan: So, we do a lot of investing advice. We stick very much to index fund investing and not stock-picking. You know, we've seen all the stats on how hard it is to successfully stock-pick. And that most women and most moms are busy, we don't want to spend time, hours a week researching companies, making sure you're picking the right thing, rebalancing your portfolio. And so, for us, it's let's take the path of least resistance, let's keep fees low, let's make it so that you can automate this as much as possible. And frankly, that's what I do in my own life too.
Gold is a whole thing for me. [laughs] Like, it has no intrinsic value, so it's almost impossible to forecast the price of gold. You're really doing interest rate forecast and foreign exchange forecast and, like, it's so volatile. [laughs] So, I don't invest in gold. I know that there's people that are high-level investors that do, but we don't really talk about precious metal investing with our audience at all. We stick very much to like, let's get you started [laughs] and let's make sure you're consistently investing. And if you want to do more than that I have people I can point you to.
Brokamp: So, Chelsea, on your website you actually have workbooks, you have a financial wellness bundle. This is very action-oriented. I'm curious about what's your take in terms of getting people to do those things. We've tried those things at The Motley Fool, it's sort of like going to the gym, right? People sign up, they think I'm going to finally get in shape, but then they don't often take advantage of it. So, I'm curious of your experience so far in getting people to sit down and do the nitty-gritty of taking care of their finances.
Brennan: Yes. So, our biggest undertaking in the Financial Wellness Bundle is our Family Emergency Binder, which is really laying out everything someone we need to know, if you're incapacitated or gone. And so, we talk about the fact that our will and our life insurance policy will handle some things, but they won't tell your spouse how to pay the cable bill. And so, that's a huge undertaking. That is a long document.
And we have people, when you buy it, it's broken down into chapters and we tell people, like, we're going to email you one-a-week to sit down for an hour and do this thing. And for that, it's really more of an emotional pull of people being worried of what if I don't have this. And there's actually an email in that sequence after we sell it that says, "Okay, it's really good that you bought this, but if you pass away and someone in your family finds it and it's blank, they're going to lose their minds. [laughs] So you need to fill it out now that you bought it." So, some of it is that, but everything else we keep it super-bitesize.
So, even our courses, our videos, our five to 10 minutes, we break it down to small pieces. And say, like, set aside 10 minutes a day. And set a time on your phone, and no matter how busy you are, you've got 10 minutes a day. Like, you can say, we're going to do it before you turn on Netflix after the kids go to bed. So, we just try to keep things small, because we do these big undertakings. We have the same experience that it's just too hard to fit in.
Brokamp: I know two guys who went through the process of getting life insurance, never finished it, didn't send in that signed application and they passed away. One was in his 30s, one was in his 40s, leaving their families at a significant financial disadvantage, so. And one of the widows, in particular, is pretty bitter about it, because it would have changed their whole trajectory if he had just sent in the paperwork.
Brennan: That's the hardest thing, is that, that's your family's last memory of you; whatever you set up or didn't set up. And that can make it incredibly -- we have a neighbor that had the same experience, except it was their will. And so, she's a single parent, she had done her will, she just never had it executed, she passed away, had a two-year-old daughter, and it created so much chaos for them, of who is going to get guardianship and going through all those court things. So, definitely important to get it done.
Southwick: Well, what do you do for selfcare other than managing your money?
Brennan: I do a few things for selfcare. I make sure I wake up every morning and meditate and go for a long walk on my own or with the boys, if they happen to wake up early. [laughs] I just throw them in the stroller with a blanket and I'll go for a walk. My other thing is I love to draw and doodle. So, I make some time every evening, usually 10 to 15 minutes, to do some kind of doodle and kind of shut my brain down before bedtime.
Southwick: Bro, how about you, what do you do for selfcare?
Brokamp: Walk, walk, walk. I am walking one to two hours a day. I don't know how I could survive this pandemic without the walking, so I totally second the walking recommendation.
Southwick: Yeah. Rick, how about you?
Rick Engdahl: [laughs] I don't have time for selfcare, I'm caring for too many others right now.
Southwick: That's true, right? Alright, Chelsea, I'm going to put you on the spot, and how about you close us with an inspiring message to all of our moms out there.
Brennan: My message for all moms as we come into Mother's Day is that, you have an incredible opportunity to create generational habits with money, and all the stress you felt as you came into adulthood of figuring this all out and feeling like no one ever taught you, you get to do it over with your kids, you can show them the things you didn't learn, you can speak to them about money in more positive ways, so they're not overcoming negative language. You have a ton of opportunity. And so, even if you feel like you're not the best with money, now is the time to start learning and even start learning with your kids and telling them, I don't know it right now, but I'm going to figure it out. And it'll instill that growth mindset and really leave them in a place that when they enter adulthood, they're in a stronger place.
Southwick: Awesome! The website is SmartMoneyMamas.com. Chelsea, thank you so much for joining us.
Brennan: Thanks so much for having me.
Southwick: Alright, before we go how about a weekly recommendation for our listeners. I will go first. My recommendation is birdhouses; [laughs] this is getting weak, but it's true. Okay. So, several years ago, a couple of years ago, my husband and my daughter, I said, what do you want for Mother's Day, or maybe it was Mother's Day, and I said, I want a birdhouse. And so, they got a birdhouse and they painted it; they did a lovely paintjob. And it was a very special birdhouse that was only big enough for wrens and it took years and years and years, but finally, finally, right this second, there is a wren right outside my window building a nest in our birdhouse and I could not be more thrilled.
It is so great that the birds keep getting little sticks, and I think it's maybe it's the same bird, there are a couple, I don't know. And there they keep flying with sticks and putting the sticks in the birdhouse and wow! I don't know, it's just really great. [laughs] I'm losing my mind, aren't I?
Brokamp: No, not at all, because a bird had built a bird nest in between a window and a window, like a storm window, in our house. The birds hatched, the mom kept feeding them, the mom went away, all but one of the baby birds escaped, except one got trapped between the window and the storm window and it kept flapping its wings, couldn't get out. So, we're trying to figure out how we can lift up the window and get it into a pillowcase. [laughs]
Southwick: Wait, right this second, is it, like, struggling and flapping?
Brokamp: No, this is yesterday.
Southwick: Because I was, like, what are you doing right now? Go save the bird, shut up and go save the bird, Bro.
Brokamp: We're trying to open the window and get it without it flying into the house because then who knows what would happen. Our brave daughter Zoey, put on a glove, went in and actually grabbed it, put it into a pillowcase, brought it out and set it free. And it was like the highlight of the day. So, I'm pro-bird, for sure.
Southwick: I'm pro-bird too. Yeah, so we think it's a house wren. Anyway, it's just a cute little brown bird. So, birdhouses. Check them out, pretty cool. All the kids are crazy about them these days. Bro, what's your recommendation?
Brokamp: Alright. So, several episodes ago, I said that instead of just listening to whatever podcast shows up in your podcast timeline or whatever they call that, search for something you want to learn about. Well, now my recommendation is, search for someone you want to hear from. So, it could be a historical figure, celebrity, sports figure. I am a World War II buff, so I just searched on "speeches by Winston Churchill" and sure enough there are whole podcasts devoted to great speeches in history.
We are recording this on Star Wars Day, May the 4th. I looked it up, can I find interviews with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford? They're all out there. So, if you're just going to go for a walk, take a long drive to the mountains every Saturday morning, I take my two-hour drive into the mountains. Choose a podcast, I think, alright, who would I like to hear from? Could be even a great investor. God! There's got to be many podcasts where Warren Buffett or Charlie Munger are giving their wisdom. So, that's one way to find a podcast that you'll be interested in.
Engdahl: Well, since everybody has been practicing their ukuleles, and is now writing songs, it's probably time to write a song in a different language. So, get yourself the Duolingo app and learn a new language. You just do a little bit every day, and before you know it, you'll be speaking en français, I guess. Obviously, I've not used the app myself. I'm learning to learn how to do that. [laughs]
Southwick: No, I've used it, I use it to do Spanish, and it's great. Like, you do, you just do a little bit every day. And so, they do bits where it's like flashcards and you have to learn, but then they also do parts where you have to speak it back into the phone, so that your phone is, like, OK, yeah, your pronunciation is OK or you got it. It's a great app. I really enjoyed it.
Engdahl: My kids are using it. My niece used it and she's an adult, but she used it to learn Spanish and now she's going to be tutoring my kids.
Southwick: That's great. I'll +1 that recommendation of Duolingo.
Alright. Well, guys, that's the show. It is edited monolingually by Rick Engdahl. Our email is Answers@Fool.com. For Robert Brokamp, I'm Alison Southwick, stay Foolish, everyone.