Marc Lichtenfeld, Chief Income Strategist for the Oxford Club and author of the best seller "Get Rich With Dividends: A Proven System for Double Digit Returns" shares his tips for dividend beginners and experts alike.
As a young man, he became very focused on the power of dividend stocks to create wealth. He current helps over 500,000 readers each week to build wealth and unlock the power of finding the very best dividend stocks.
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Marc's financial background and upbringing [7:48]
Marc explains his deeply held financial values [13:14]
The closest thing to a guaranteed wealthy retirement [17:11]
How long it takes to start seeing results from a dividend portfolio [21:41]
When to add to more to your investments [24:12]
How much to save and invest [26:00]
Why he wrote a third edition of Get Rich with Dividends [34:48]
Dividend Aristocrat Explained [37:00]
How many dividend stocks in a starter portfolio [42:51]
How to start with a tiny amount of investable assets [45:12]
Why bear markets can be a good thing if you own dividend stocks [46:05]
Marc explains his 10-11-12 system for investing [51:51]
When and how to use faster-paced trading [56:28]
Getting induced into the Florida boxing hall of fame and how he got his first gig years ago [1:00:07]
How to create and cultivate passions throughout life [1:03:09]
Marc's advice on expressing more creativity in work and in life [1:07:02]
Why making space for your passions fuels everything else [1:10:24]
Marc discusses his work to help with financial literacy [1:13:52]
[00:00:00] Marc Lichtenfeld: The earlier you can start the better. And, you know, start your, your kids and grandkids if you can. I started my son investing at 10 years old. Um, but even if you're, if you're older, if you're, uh, you know, in your seventies or eighties, th this strategy is, is going to be more conservative than, than most stock investing strategies.
Uh, it's gonna generate income. It's gonna grow your income. So even, even if you're not reinvesting the dividends, if you're, if you're collecting the dividends, but if, if you're invested in dividend growth, then you're hopefully keeping up with and, and outpacing inflation. So, even a year, like this year, where we've had some, some pretty high inflation readings, uh, hopefully next year because of the dividend growth strategy, your dividends are increasing, your buying power, even in a, in a tough inflationary environment.
[00:00:47] Nathan Hurd: conversation is a roadmap to take control of your finances and set yourself up for a safe and comfortable retirement no matter what. My guest is Mark Lichtenfeld. Who [00:01:00] is the Chief Income strategist at Wealthy Retirement and the Oxford Club? He's an author, speaker, and financial writer to over 500,000 readers who receive his work each and every week.
He's appeared on C N B C, Fox Business and Yahoo Finance and his best selling book Get Rich With Dividends. A Proven System for Double Digit Returns is not only a bestseller, but was awarded the book of the year by the Institute for Financial Literacy. It's a, in my view, it's a foundational finance book.
He's a friend of mine and we've worked together for a number of years, but I follow his work closely and he's one of the primary voices I turn to, to manage my own family's money. Um, today we talk about how he became interested in money. He started off early on with a salary of, I think, $18,000 and has gone on to create abundance for himself and now helps many, many others do the same.
Myself included, he's also a passionate [00:02:00] philanthropist, caring deeply about financial literacy and supporting those who don't have it, um, to become more financially literate. He's a boxing ring announcer by night, and the lead singer in a band. He lives a rich, rich life. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I.
Here's Mark Lichtenfeld.
Mark Lichtenfeld. Welcome. It is so great to see you, man. I'm, I'm, I really, really appreciate you coming and sitting down for this conversation.
[00:02:34] Marc Lichtenfeld: My pleasure. Thanks for having me, Nate. Um,
[00:02:37] Nathan Hurd: well there's so much that I'm excited to get into. You know, we've had opportunities to have long conversations so many times in the past, and I always walk away inspired and thinking creatively, and I just, you know, I'd love to get into many of the things that are part of your life.
Um, you're best known probably publicly for your, as an in investment [00:03:00] analyst Analyst, and you're certainly one of the premier voices that I turn to. Um, you've, you're a bestselling author in this space. You have, I know, hundreds of thousands of readers, and also you have. Passions that you follow. You know, I'd love to talk a bit, you know, maybe later in the conversation about your experience as a ring announcer for boxing matches.
You're a lead singer in a band. You have, you know, philanthropic, uh, interests through, you know, financial related organizations and even bone marrow donation. It's just, I mean, it just blows my mind. Um, but I thought maybe we could start on the financial side because it's what you're best known for publicly, as I said.
So, um, before we get there, I did wanna ask you one question, which is, you know, of course this, this podcast is about a rich life. And I'm always curious, and you and I have had many conversations about this topic. What is one of the most enriching things that's happened to you or enriching [00:04:00] experiences that you've had in the last several months?
[00:04:03] Marc Lichtenfeld: Um, and, and, and, and not financial related necessarily. Correct?
[00:04:08] Nathan Hurd: Yeah. I mean, any,
[00:04:08] Marc Lichtenfeld: anything that's happened to you. Yeah. Um, so about a month ago, um, I was playing in, in my band, um, uh, I'm the lead singer in a, in a Rolling Stones tribute band. And, uh, it was a very, very large crowd. Our largest crowd to date was a couple thousand people, but right in the front was a mom and her daughter.
And the daughter, uh, had autism. And, uh, the girl was wearing, uh, headphones, uh, presumably to keep the noise out cuz we're pretty loud rock and roll band. But the mom was holding a drum pad and the whole show, this girl was drumming along with us. And, and the mom stood there for the entire show holding this pad.
And, and the girl just, you know, drummed and it was, it [00:05:00] was, um, It was pretty profound, you know, here, here I am, you know, dressed up in, in costumes and, and you know, playing rock and roll and, and, and, you know, kind of the, the whole circus atmosphere of that. And here, here, you know, we, we, we clearly had some kind of effect on this girl.
And, and I hope for, for the evening at least. You know, the, the mom and her daughter had a fun night out. Uh, so it, it was really, um, the, the kind of the contrast between the noise and the crowd and then this girl just drumming along with us and, and again, hopefully having, having a, a good time, uh, really, you know, really landed on me.
And, and that was really what I, I took away from that particular show. It was, it was really meaningful to me. That's amazing.
[00:05:52] Nathan Hurd: That is amazing. It's like, you know, it's, it's interesting how, as you. You know, as you live in the world and you pursue the [00:06:00] things that interest you, isn't it amazing when these unexpected moments happen that you, you know, you, you, you had never really intended.
I'm sure to have something like that, you know, show up, but when it does, it's,
[00:06:10] Marc Lichtenfeld: it's amazing. Yeah. And never, I mean, never expected, you know, you, you expect sometimes something unusual happen with a, a crowd, especially in a, in a, in kind of like a festival situation where people are drinking and, you know, you just kind of never know what'll happen and you kind of need to be prepared for anything.
But, but I, I don't expect, you know, kind of, um, very meaningful moments like that where you kind of walk away thinking, you know, you really did something that, that might have impacted somebody when, you know, when the intent was just to kind of have a good time and, and have, you know, show everybody a good time for a few hours.
[00:06:43] Nathan Hurd: Amazing. Amazing. Um, well, I would love to, and, uh, let's definitely revisit your experience as Mick Jagger in Lead Singer of this band. Um, so cool. Um, but let's, let's maybe start with, uh, the, the financial side, which is, you [00:07:00] know, again, I, you are definitely one of the voices I most closely listen to and follow, and you've made a huge impact on me personally, um, in the way I think about investing.
Um, so how did you, where did your perspective on investments come from? And, you know, can you talk a little bit about, you know, you've now written a book. Just let's, let's set the frame here. You've written, you've written a two books, uh, but the first of which is called Get Rich with Dividends, which is one of the main investment strategies that you have focused on and that you're known for.
Certainly one that's, that's impacted me. Um, what are your. What's your background financially and how did you come into, uh, caring so much about investing and specifically the strategies that you recommend?
[00:07:48] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. So, uh, growing up, um, I grew up very solidly, middle class. Uh, my mom, uh, stayed at home with the kids and my dad when I was really little, was a guidance [00:08:00] counselor and then became an assistant principal.
So we certainly never went without anything. But we didn't live in the lab of luxury either. You know, we're just just real middle class family. And my parents, uh, as far as I know, were not great investors. I do remember my dad saying he pulled out of the market after the 87 crash and then stayed out, which was a big mistake.
Yeah. So, so they were not great investors as far as I know. Um, but what they were really good at was. Just, just kind of the, the real sensible ways that those tried and true rules for, for keeping your financial house in order. They never spent more than they had. They never carried a balance on credit cards.
As far as I know, the only debt they ever carried was their mortgage. You know, they always save, they always imparted that to me. You know, if I got birthday money or, or when I worked and I, you know, started shoveling driveways, you know, from this, uh, you know, shoveling [00:09:00] snow off driveways when I was 10 years old.
Um, they always, you know, highly recommended that some of that money go into savings. So we were, you know, very much a saving family. And so, so I really got that kind of sensibility from them. When I got outta school, uh, I was not planning on going into the markets professionally at all. I had, I kind of had no interest, and then I got my first job and I was making absolutely no money and needed to figure out a way to make some money.
So I started looking to the markets and got very, very lucky in that I, I stumbled across an article that talked about the power of compound interest and, and specifically as it relates to investing for the long term. And just the light bulb went on. I just, I, I just completely understood it and immediately started investing as much as I could, which, which wasn't very much.
I was making $18,000 a year at the time. Just about to ask Yeah. What was your starting salary? Yeah, yeah. I mean, [00:10:00] this was a long time ago. Sure. Uh, so, you know, 18,000 wasn't as, as little as it is today, but it wasn't much. And I was living in Manhattan in an apartment Yeah. With some friends. So, you know, there, there wasn't a lot of leftover cash at the end of the month, but I did be, because of the, the effect that this article had on me, I did start putting money away into an I r A and figuring out ways to put money aside so that I could invest.
Uh, and, and so that really is what kind of set the, the table for me and got me started on my journey. Uh, and then once, once I got more experience, I certainly learned about the power of investing in, in dividend paying stocks, and then the companies that grow their dividends, which is what my book at Rich with Dividends is all about.
Um, which also the, the third edition is coming out April 4th. Uh, so a little shameless plug there. But, um, the, so, so, so my philosophy really became about, you know, not just trying to grow my wealth, [00:11:00] uh, and, and help other people grow wealth, but also to increase your buying power. And, you know, when I first, when I wrote the first edition in 2012, and for 10 years, we had really no inflation, so it wasn't a big deal.
But I am old enough to remember inflation in the late seventies, early eighties. And, you know, I was a kid, so it didn't have much of a, a, an impact on me, but I do remember it, and I'm a, I'm a, an astute enough student of history to know that it could happen again. So I, I wanted to make sure that I had a strategy that should inflation rear its ugly head again, that.
I'm invested and, and my readers are invested in a strategy that will keep up with inflation and actually increase their buying power pretty much no matter what. Uh, because especially as you, you get into retirement and you're, you're not generating, you know, um, earned income anymore from a job, that investment income becomes very, very important.
And if inflation is eating away at it, uh, that can be a real problem. If you're, you know, it's [00:12:00] great to earn a 4% dividend, but if inflation's at 8%, you're losing your buying power every year. So we wanna have that 4% dividend growing by 8%, 10% a year, if possible. I
[00:12:12] Nathan Hurd: see. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So, and, and in that sense it's, it's pacing or outpacing inflation.
Exactly. Um, yeah, I, you know, what, what I love about your work and in particular this approach, which I'd, I'd love to dive into more, is that, um, In the conversations you and I have had around money and around the way that you've managed your own wealth, you know, building a machine in the background that is, you know, re significantly reduces the level of stress that's typically associated with money for, for most Americans, probably for most people, um, is so powerful.
Um, and it, and you know, I, I love the way that you have built and recommend a strategy that does just that. I guess maybe at this point in your, in your life, now that you've had [00:13:00] so much time to both do this in your own life and, and, uh, teach it, what are your most, um, deeply held financial values and principles at this stage?
[00:13:14] Marc Lichtenfeld: Um, that's a great question. Um, really it, it's. Kind of continue to, to feed that machine. Uh, you know, as, as I, I think that's a really good way that you put it, uh, that it's a machine. Uh, I want that machine to be generating income for me no matter what. And, and, you know, for my subscribers, no matter what.
So, you know, to this day I continue to, to contribute as much as I can to my 401k and to my health savings account. And, you know, I just, I guess that I, um, I remember what it's like to be broke and I never ever want to have that feeling again. [00:14:00] So icontinue to invest, to try to ensure that that never happens again.
And, and I would like to think that I'm in a position where that won't happen. But, you know, the, the world can, can get crazy sometimes, and you kind of never know what will happen. And the market could crash right at the time that you need your money. So, So having passive income is really my biggest goal financially, uh, for me, for my family, uh, and for my readers too.
I mean, e everybody wants to have a, that big pot of money and, and have, you know, lots of zeros at the end of, of your statement. But for me, what's more important is the amount of income that it will spin off. And, and obviously the bigger the number you have, uh, in, in your account, the more income it can generate.
But the, the income is really my, my principle goal. You know, I don't if, if I have enough income to last me the rest of my life, I'm not that worried about, you know, leaving a, a big chunk of money to my kids. I mean, it'd be nice, but that's, that's not my, [00:15:00] my goal, my goal is to generate enough income for me that I don't have to withdraw.
Funds and, and worry about thing, you know, the, the number in the account, the income dropping every single year as a result. So, um, and if I can provide that for my readers where, where the income is enough to sustain, you know, anything that they need and, and that they want, then, you know, then, then they don't have that kind of stress.
And, and it's really all about relieving stress. I mean, that's, like I said, I, I was broke. I remember what that's like. I remember how stressful that is. Anybody who's ever had any kind of money problems, and that's, you know, pretty much anybody who's watching this, I'm sure remember what it's like and, and how, how much anxiety it can cause and it, and it can ripple through, you know, into your personal relationships.
It's, it's, it's, it's terrible. Mm-hmm. Uh, it, it causes divorce. It, it's a, a big, big problem in the world. So anything that I can do to relieve that [00:16:00] stress is, is my goal. Totally.
[00:16:04] Nathan Hurd: Yeah. I, I mean, I, I think we've all had had those moments and, you know, I, I kind of feel sometimes like the best, like my, my money goal is to, if I want to not really think about it often at ever, if not ever Right.
There's like, like I personally, I'm an investor and I like it, and so there's like a, there's like an interest there Sure. But, um, but to not have to stress about it, certainly. Mm-hmm. Um, would you say that you, you mentioned contributing to your HSA and, and 401k as often as you can. Um, would you say that if there's a way to build a portfolio that with, you know, enough time, I suppose is almost guaranted.
To reach a point where it creates a sign, you know, significant amount of income relative to the amount put in. Like, is, is there, is there a way to do it? That's, you [00:17:00] know, barring something that's like literally never happened and, you know, the entire market collapsing or something like that. Um, that it's all but sure to produce a, a certain kind of return.
[00:17:11] Marc Lichtenfeld: I mean, I, I couldn't use the word guarantee because as you mentioned, anything could happen. But, you know, based on history, um, and historical president, if, if you invest in dividend growth companies, quality companies, and for the most part leave them alone. And, uh, when I say for the most part, you know, you should be checking them.
Let's say once a year, may, maybe twice if you're, if you really wanna be paying a lot of attention, but just to make sure that that dividend continues to get paid and, and continues to get raised, that the company does have the cash flow to continue to pay that dividend. Uh, but for the most part, if you're leaving these, these stocks alone over many years, yes, your nest egg is gonna grow quite large.
The passive income that you generate is gonna grow quite large and [00:18:00] historically, Uh, we've never seen, uh, dividend growth stocks fall over a decade. Uh, and even, even the s and p 500 has only fallen seven times over rolling 10 year periods since 1927. So meaning, you know, from 1927 to 19 36, 28 to 37, et cetera.
So even just the s and p 500 has a 90, I think it's 91, 90 2% success rate, uh, going back to before the Great Depression. And if you, the, the, the years that it, it, uh, did not work, the, the 10 year periods where you actually had a negative return in the s and p 500, the, the only times it didn't work is if you took out your money at the exact wrong times.
During the Great Depression and Great Recession, huh? With, with one ex, with one exception, which was 1946. But that was also starting during the Great Depression. And, um, but every other time was taking your [00:19:00] money out in the Great Depression or in the Great Recession. And even if you took your money out in 2010, so kind of just as we were just had bottomed after the great Recession, you still made money.
And that, and keep in mind, that's investing near the top of the.com boom in January, 2001 and taking it out in, uh, in 2010 after we've, you know, we're, we're, we're not that far from the bottom, uh, of the Great Recession. So just historically bad timing, you still made some money there. So, you know, history is on your side as an investor.
If you can just leave it alone if you cannot think about it too much and. And again, with the dividend growth stocks, you know, the numbers really, really get quite large because dividend stocks and dividend growth stocks in particular outperform the s and p 500 over the long term. So again, you can't guarantee it because anything could happen or you, you could need that money at that exact wrong time.
But, [00:20:00] you know, it's, it's over the last century, it has worked and worked extremely well. And, you know, we've all heard those stories of, of the janitor or the secretary that had stock and died, you know, with five, 10 million in their account and nobody knew it because they, you know, they bought some shares 40 years ago and left it alone.
Yeah. Um, it, it really does work. Yeah.
[00:20:23] Nathan Hurd: Yeah. And I mean, you know, it, it is a little bit counterintuitive because who, you know, if I have a block. Cash, and I want it to produce a return, and you're telling me that 90 plus percent of the time it's gonna work in my favor. And it's, it's, I I would have to have really specific and unfortunate luck for it to not do.
Hmm. Um, that seems like a really good proposition. Is there an age where you think it's sort of, uh, can this be done at any age? Can this be done at any age? And for your readers who are following, you [00:21:00] know, so buil building portfolios of these dividend stocks, like, does, do they start to see the results pretty quickly?
You know, how, how long do you, do you have people writing you saying like, wow, this is working, even if it's not, you know, gotten as far as it might get in,
[00:21:14] Marc Lichtenfeld: in the coming years? Oh, absolutely. So, uh, you know, now keep in mind, you know, anything can happen in one year, two years, three years. So if you're expecting.
To invest in a portfolio of dividend growth stocks and it's gonna change your life within the next year. It's probably not going to, but you will be on the right path to generating significant wealth and, and passive income. Um, but yeah, we, I mean, I've gotten so many testimonials of people whose portfolios were wrecked in the great recession, and then afterwards they, you know, they found me and, and a different in growth strategy.
And within a few years they were back on track and, and their portfolios were in better shape than they'd ever been. And, and importantly, they were sleeping at night. You know, we were talking a few minutes ago [00:22:00] about alleviating stress. That's the other nice thing about this strategy is that you don't have to think about it.
You don't have to think if the company's gonna beat earnings this quarter, and if it's the next Tesla, or if it is Tesla. If you know people are gonna stop buying cars or, or the, you know, a crazy c e o or, or, or any of these things, for the most part, you, you said it and, and mostly forget it. Again, I, I, you do want to.
Check on them once in a while, but you know, you're not thinking about your portfolio. You're not watching C N B C worried about every, every news event and, and every macroeconomic event. Um, so it really is about alleviating the stress and, and, and knowing that, that this works and it has worked over and over again for decades and decades.
Yeah. And, and, and as far as, as far as the age, uh, you know, obviously the, the earlier you can start, the better and, you know, start your, your kids and grandkids if you can. I started my son investing at 10 years old. Um, but even if you're, if you're older, [00:23:00] if you're, uh, you know, in your seventies or eighties, this strategy is, is going to be more conservative than, than most stock investing strategies.
Uh, it's gonna generate income. It's gonna grow your income. So even, even if you're not reinvesting the dividends, if you're, if you're collecting the dividends, but if, if you're invested in dividend growth, Then you're hopefully keeping up with and, and outpacing inflation. So even a year, like this year where we've had some, some pretty high inflation readings, uh, hopefully next year because of the dividend growth strategy, your dividends are increasing your buying power, even in a, in a tough inflationary environment.
[00:23:37] Nathan Hurd: Yeah. I wanna, I want to ask you about, uh, drip investing. I'll ask you to just briefly explain it in just a second. Um, one thing that I'm thinking of is in reading your, in reading your newsletter, I know that another part of it is that you're oftentimes will recommend specific stocks that you've previously recommended, but that are still good to, you know, take another look at now or put a little bit more [00:24:00] towards now.
So there's, there seems to be another element to the strategy, which is, you know, you build the portfolio, but you can keep adding to different positions and some of those positions can be more attractive. Is, is that, is that about right?
[00:24:12] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. So, I mean, there, there's always, you know, you know, a great investment out there.
You just have to find it. And sometimes it's something that we've, we've looked at before and maybe we got stopped out, uh, or, or something had changed. Uh, sometimes, sometimes I will no longer recommend a stock because the stock prices climbed so high, so the starting yield isn't high enough. But that could change either the stock price comes back to Earth or because the dividend has increased enough that that yield is now an attractive enough starting yield.
So, um, so yeah,
[00:24:45] Nathan Hurd: the yield, the yield being the dividend price relative to the stock price. So what percent of the
[00:24:51] Marc Lichtenfeld: stock price? Exactly. So, so for example, if a, if a stock traded $25 and it paid a $1 dividend, that would be a 4% [00:25:00] yield. Um, so if, if that same stock went up to $50 and it was still paying $1, that's a 2% yield.
That's not very high in, in the world of dividend investing. Doesn't mean it, it's necessarily a bad stock, but for, for what I'm trying to achieve, that's, that's not a high enough yield. Uh, but now if, if that stocks at $50 and the dividend increased, uh, to $2, now we're back to a 4% yield and that might be an attractive candidate once again.
[00:25:28] Nathan Hurd: Um, alright. So one other question about that, that I just. You, you kind of reminded me of before, which is you talked about early on you had very little and you were putting away whatever you could. Right. And then just a little bit ago you said, you know, there could be a situation where, you know, worst case scenario you would have to take money out that you needed for some kind of situation.
How do you think about that? How do you think about, you know, this is how much income I have, let's say this is how much I would love to push away into this [00:26:00] investment account, and how would you invite anyone listening to think about it in their own
[00:26:05] Marc Lichtenfeld: lives? So what I do is I put, uh, 10% of my. Salary into my 401k, uh, as, as long as I can remember, I tried to save 10% of my income.
Uh, I, I think when I was making $18,000, I might have been a little, no, no, actually I did. Cause I was, I was saving $2,000 a year. Cause that was the massive, it's impressive. Yeah. You could put into an IRA at the time. So, um, so yeah, since, since I earned money, I've always tried to put away at least 10%.
Sometimes oftentimes it's more, but at least 10% and into my retirement accounts, um, when possible. So I, I, I think that's a, a really good number. I, I realize that not everybody is in that position to be able to do that, but you should really try pretty hard because, you know, retirement gets expensive. And I'm not talking [00:27:00] about, you know, golf memberships.
It's, you know, uh, healthcare, uh, fidelity just came out with a new. Estimate for how much healthcare is gonna cost seniors out of pocket. The old number, the number that I had quoted in my book was I think about 250, 200 $60,000. That number is now up over $300,000 per couple in their lifetimes. One at starting at age 65 out of pocket.
So retirement's expensive. So, you know, as, as much as you can put away for as long as you can put it away, uh, is really, really important. And, you know, you might have to go without an extra dinner, uh, or, you know, you might have to cut back on a few things here and there, which look nobody wants to do. And I'm not the guy who's gonna tell you don't buy that latte.
But, you know, whatever choices you have to make to ensure that you're not gonna have that stress in retirement, you're not gonna have to worry about it is, is gonna make such a big difference. And, and I've seen [00:28:00] it. You know, firsthand people who don't worry about their money in retirement. And, and it doesn't mean that they're, you know, taking cruises, uh, you know, every, every month and they're living, uh, in the lap of luxury at all.
But it means that they don't worry about if they're are gonna go out to dinner or, uh, you know, if, if, if, uh, a pipe breaks in their house and they have to. Something in their kitchen. Uh, you know, those things don't cause them stress versus I've seen plenty of other people where suddenly something goes in their car and now they're really worried about how they're going to make ends meet that month.
And it's, it's, it's really, really sad. And especially if you're in retirement and you don't have a job where you're generating income and there's, there's no way of generating more income at that point in your life. And you, and you and expenses start piling up. So, um, again, whatever you can do to, to push away that stress and that anxiety later in life is gonna be, is gonna be [00:29:00] invaluable.
[00:29:01] Nathan Hurd: Yeah. You know, it's, uh, your, and your second book is, um, how not to drive an Uber in. Right. You don't have to drive an Uber, you don't have to drive an Uber in retirement. Yeah. So it's your point. But you see much more of that. Yeah. Uh, you see much more of that, uh, these days. And you know, working just to, to stay busy and have something interesting to do is a lot different than working
[00:29:22] Marc Lichtenfeld: cuz you really need for sure stressed out.
Absolutely. And, and I mean, I hope, I hope I'm one of those people not necessarily driving an Uber, but I, I hope I'm doing this job till I'm 80 or higher because I love it. And um, and, and you see plenty of people who, who work because they love it. Well they want something to do. Um, and, but it's, it's not because of the money and, and if that's the case, then you can really do whatever you want and not take, you know, any old job just because it pays a certain amount or, or whatever.
You know, that's, that's, that's true Freedom to do what you love, uh, and be able to take a job that you love that's meaningful to you regardless of, of what it pays. Yeah,
[00:29:59] Nathan Hurd: totally. And [00:30:00] what, you know, there's the, there's the, the phrase like, uh, it's not. Spend what you, it's, it's not save what you have left over after you spend, it's spend what you have left over after you save.
Right, right. Yeah. So I've always appreciated that. And I remember like my first like huge, I remember this moment so vividly when the moment I paid down the last, um, bit of my debt, and I remember it was, you know, I had college debt. I paid that down and that was a huge relief. And then I still had some credit cards and some other things, and I remember that clear as day, the moment I paid down that last bill.
And I just was clean, you know, in terms of debt was just, it was a, it amazed me how lighter I felt, you know, at that moment. So, um, so really amazing. Um, we should, I, I would like to mention too that you're, the, the newsletter that you write or one of the new newsletters is free, right? It's mm-hmm. Isn't Nicole, it's Wealthy Retirement.
And I believe [00:31:00] there's, you know, hundreds of thousands of, of readers that follow it. Um, so just for anyone listening, you have a free e-letter they should know about and it's easy to find Wealthy retirement.com. And, um, what kind of, just, just real quickly before we move on, what, what do you write about in
[00:31:16] Marc Lichtenfeld: Wealthy Retirement?
So there's a lot of different, uh, personal finance topics. We certainly talk a lot about the stock market. Uh, we talk a little bit about fixed income on Wednesdays. I have a column that that's been popular for years called Safety Net, where I analyze the. Dividend safety of a particular stock that's recommended by readers.
Uh, so, uh, there there's just a, a wide variety of, of financial content and it's, and it's really written for people who are not necessarily experts. You know, one of the things I I, I've tried in all my books and, and my newsletters and everything is, is to make this information very accessible and for people who've never done it before.
Because we do have a lot of [00:32:00] readers who are new investors or who haven't even started investing yet and, and are broaching the topic for the first time. So I wanna do everything I can to help them feel comfortable that this, this stuff really isn't as complicated as a lot of people fear. Um, I mean, you, you can make it complicated if you want to.
Mm-hmm. And the institutions certainly do, if you've ever read an analyst report, it gets, it gets really, really complex. But it, it doesn't have to be at all. And especially some of the, kind of the basic. Um, personal finance topics for sure, but even, even analyzing a stock and, and safety net is kind of a, a perfect example.
I just go, you know, very clearly here's why this company can or cannot afford its dividend. And, and you'll very quickly and, and just a couple of minutes understand why that would be the case.
[00:32:47] Nathan Hurd: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Thank you for that. And it's, um, it's always amazed me how. Important. The sense of empowerment is like when you go from not understanding [00:33:00] something like you, you know, there's plenty of people out there who have incredible talents, but stocks might not be one of them.
And so this area feels murky and uncertain. And then once you just get a little bit of understanding, which as you say doesn't have to be that hard, it, it makes a, it's unbelievable how much, how different you feel, you know, how, how much
[00:33:18] Marc Lichtenfeld: more empowered you feel. And, and, and like many things in life, you know, anything that you're unsure of or that you haven't tried yet or that seem daunting.
Tho those fears are usually bigger than reality. Once you start getting into it a little bit, you're like, you think, oh, that, that, that wasn't quite so bad. Or, you know, wasn't as stressful or as complicated as, as I thought. And, and the great thing about, especially the, the markets is there are so many resources, uh, for, for people who, who want a little bit of help or advice, whether it's, you know, a financial advisor who's gonna take care of everything for you to, you know, people like us that, that provide information for you for free or, or based on a subscription or what have you.
Uh, but there, there's just so much information [00:34:00] out there at every kind of level that you really don't have to be intimidated because once you get your feet wet, you're gonna realize the water's not that deep and it's not that cold and actually feels kind of nice. Right, right. Sure
[00:34:14] Nathan Hurd: does. Sure does. Um, alright, so let's, let's see if we could, I'd love to talk about your first book because it's the book that you're, your, um, That, that I know you for best, and I think most people do, uh, get rich with dividends.
As you mentioned, you're just publishing a third edition of that book, which was a be number one bestseller, and it, I, I thought it was really cool that it won the book of the year award from the Institute of Financial Literacy, which I mean, that says, that says a lot. So what, why were you compelled to write a third edition?
[00:34:48] Marc Lichtenfeld: Well, as, as I had mentioned earlier when I wrote the first edition in 2012, and then for the next 10 years, there had been no inflation. Even though the book was designed to beat inflation, uh, there hadn't been [00:35:00] any. So I thought it was important to address the fact that, okay, now we aren't an inflationary period, and this is why this strategy is so important.
Um, and also to, to update, uh, you know, a lot has, has happened in the market. You know, think about from 2012 to today, we had a raging bull market. We had the, uh, covid crash. So there's been a lot of, of things, a lot of volatility in the market, and, and I thought it was important to look back at the strategy, see how it's done, incorporate all that data, you know, from the last decade into all the other decades and, and kind of show, you know, w was the last 10 years an anomaly?
How does it fit in, you know, with history? So I, you know, it's, it's really needed to kind of complete the work, so to speak. And then lastly, there's, um, I included a, a chapter on crypto because there are some cryptos that pay dividends, and I get a lot of [00:36:00] questions about that. So I want, I did want to address that because in 2012 while crypto existed, I don't know if any cryptos paid dividends at that time.
And, and if they did, I mean, really nobody was talking about, it certainly wasn't in the mainstream at that point. So I did think it was important to, to address it.
[00:36:18] Nathan Hurd: Nice. Yeah, I mean, Bitcoin at that point was like Penn Pennies, I think It was, it was, it was very early stages. Only
[00:36:25] Marc Lichtenfeld: the, you know, the real, real believe.
Those early believers, uh, you know, were investing in Bitcoin at that point. Right.
[00:36:33] Nathan Hurd: Um, yeah. Okay. So, all right, so you, you mentioned before, but the book is about companies that pay really strong dividends. And I guess you, you, I know there's a term you use perpetual dividend razor or and or dividend aristocrat.
Can you talk about what that is and, uh, you know, why, why you feel so strongly that it's important to focus on companies like that?
[00:36:57] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. So dividend aristocrats, and, and that's [00:37:00] not my term, uh, it's, it's an s and p five, an s and p standard and Poors term, a dividend. Aristocrat is, uh, member of the s and p 500 that has raised its dividend every year for 25 years or more.
And there are plenty of companies out there that have raised their dividends for less than 25 years, let's say five years, 10 years, uh, or more. And also that are not members of the s and p 500, including lots of small caps. Uh, you know, people would be surprised that there are are small cap dividend payers or, uh, small caps that have raised their dividends every year.
Uh, but they exist. So I want, I wanted to encompass all of these stocks because they all, uh, you know, they, they, this, this whole sub-sector of dividend razors that are not aristocrats, I believe have an important place in a portfolio. Mm. Uh, and, and so that's the, the term I, I came up with these perpetual dividend razors and the, the book basically.
So I, I don't, just to be clear, I don't focus [00:38:00] on specific companies. So in, in the book, I'm not saying, Hey, buy Johnson and Johnson buy this company. But I, I do give lots and lots of examples. And the reason it's so important is, you know, we, we talked a little bit before about the income and keeping up with inflation and that's, you know, that's critical and, and kind of the key component of this strategy.
But the reason that it works is because if a company is raising its dividend every single year for decades, there are a couple things going on. One, the company is generating lots of cash flow and they're, and they're likely increasing their cash flow every year. And that's a very, very healthy sign for a company.
And most people focus on earnings and, and earnings are very important, but cash flow is really the lifeblood of a company. It, it's, it's literally the cash that's coming in, uh, to the company versus the cash that's going out. Whereas earnings have non-cash items. There are things like depreciation and amortization and stock-based [00:39:00] compensation and other things that, that make up the earnings number.
But cash flow is really just the cash coming in, minus the cash going out. So if a company is, is raising their dividend every year, they're generally growing their cash flow every single year, and that that's, Very positive, obviously. And it also gives you a bit of a buffer. You know, a company that's growing their cashflow every year, then their stock price should be following as well.
You, you know, you're, you're probably not gonna have a, a cashflow that's going up and a, and a stock that's going down over the long term. Uh, you know, in a bear market, certainly things can happen in, in a stock and decline, but these tend to be more conservative stocks as a result of, of this growing cashflow.
Um, so that, so that's, that's really, really kind of a, a critical aspect. And the other thing is, you know, I mentioned that they're conservative, so you're not gonna have these wild fluctuations typically, you know, again, anything can happen. You could be, you know, if you're in Johnson [00:40:00] Johnson, they could have, uh, a drug that, that, that had been approved that suddenly has a terrible side effect.
And, and, you know, short term anything can happen. And I don't really think about. These kinds of stocks in the short term, but over the long term, these stocks work. They, they outperform the market. They tend to be less volatile in bear markets. So it's, it's a, a way that you can invest for the future in companies that, you know, are growing and, uh, and, and, and are gonna let you sleep at night.
Uh, and the last thing I do wanna mention about these companies is that when a company has raised their dividend every single year for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and then there are companies that have done it from longer than that, 50 years, 60 years, investors have come to expect that, right? They, they've raised that bar.
They've, they've told investors that this, this is who we are, this is what we do. Mm-hmm. So you can imagine what would happen if a company suddenly doesn't raise the dividend [00:41:00] after 20, 25, 30 years Yeah. Of doing it annually. You know, the, the C e O probably has to update his resume. Um, They, they set the bar very high, and so they're gonna do what it takes to maintain that and, and make sure that they can continue to raise the dividend.
And if they don't, then that's a, a pretty clear message that something has changed. So I'm not even talking about eliminating the dividend or cutting the dividend. I'm just saying company raises their dividend for 25 years in a row, and then suddenly this year they leave the dividend the same. That sends a strong message that something has changed.
And, uh, you know, you, you as an investor, you want to, you want to look pretty closely at the company and, and what that message is. So it, it, it's a, it's a show of confidence by management that they raise their dividend every year, and especially if they talk. That they want to grow the dividend to continue.
And, and many of the CEOs do, uh, [00:42:00] in their, in their press releases and their conference calls, they do mention that they plan to grow the dividend, uh, for this considerable future or even by a certain percentage. So they, you know, they, they kind of signal Wall Street, uh, and investors what to expect. And, and it's an important message and they set that bar high and it's a, it's a big vote of confidence.
[00:42:20] Nathan Hurd: definitely. And so it sounds like cash flow, their expression of confidence and also the expectations of the market are all the, in the, there's a lot of incentives that, well, particularly the market part, incentives to continue to do so. Um, how many, like if someone's listening to this and they don't have any dividend stocks in their portfolio, maybe don't even have stocks mm-hmm.
How many dividend stocks do you think is a good number to have like a kind of a, uh, starter portfolio?
[00:42:51] Marc Lichtenfeld: Um, I would wanna see someone generally have, I mean, if, if you're just starting out, let's say five to seven, [00:43:00] growing it to 10 and then maybe more, and the reason is I, I wanna see different kinds of stocks in there.
So, you know, I, I wanna see different sectors, you know, whether it's healthcare, industrials, real estate, uh, energy. But I also wanna see different size companies, and I wanna see big caps, mid-caps, uh, small caps. I wanna see different geographies. You know, not everything necessarily has to be a US company.
Some can be, you know, global companies, some can be strictly foreign companies, you know, a, a, a Brazilian, uh, minor for example. Uh, so you know, you wanna have that kind of diversity so that something is always working. Uh, you know, if there's a bear market, let's say, and everything is kind of going down, maybe you have a, a mining stock that is doing well or maybe you have something in a different part of the world that's doing well.
If American stocks are underperforming, uh, small caps may be large caps at one point, or vice versa. So, you know, I do wanna see. I'm gonna eventually get up to, let's say 10 stocks or more. [00:44:00] But to start with, if you can start with five solid companies, let's say, you know, one or two small caps, one or two large caps, uh, on a mid-cap company, uh, I, I think that's, that's a, a good place to start.
And then as you continue to save and invest, you can add more. Okay. And then one thing I, I should add is, is yeah. You know, as, as you know now that that stock trading is, is pretty much free with most brokers, it's, it's not, um, you know, it, it, it doesn't cost you anything to do that. So even if you can only afford one or two shares of a stock, that's not a problem.
I mean, when, when I first got started, it costs $49 to place a trade. And my, and the first trade ever made, I had $300 to invest. So, uh, that ate up a, a big chunk of my, uh, yeah, of my capital. But today, you know, there's a $20 stock and you can. Two shares, you know, go for it. It, it doesn't cost you anything and you can always add more at a later date and it won't cost you anything else other than, you know, you know, your investment capital.
[00:44:57] Nathan Hurd: Yeah, no, I appreciate you saying that cuz Yeah, [00:45:00] it's, you know, it's, it's, it's really not that complicated to get started and it's, and it's better. Would you agree it's better to get started small than to wait until you know you have some certain amount and then get started,
[00:45:12] Marc Lichtenfeld: right? Yeah. And, and I think that's, that's kind of a, a misperception that, you know, people think, well, I can't, I, I, you know, I shouldn't get started till I have a thousand dollars or 5,000, whatever that number is.
You have a hundred dollars, you know, if you have $50, again, it doesn't cost you anything with the online brokers. You know, buy one or two shares of stock, get your feet wet, see how it feels without having a whole lot at risk. And, you know, you can always add more again without it costing you a, a, a penny in, in fees or anything.
So, uh, you can really go at your own speed and, and, and get started as early as possible.
[00:45:45] Nathan Hurd: Nice. Nice. All right. So one other thing I wanted to touch on here is that dividend stocks are actually, it can be good to hold them through periods of contraction if you are reinvesting [00:46:00] those dividends. Can you just briefly describe why that is and how that works?
[00:46:05] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. And, and, and in the book I talk about a bear market can be a dividend investor's best friend. So, uh, if you're reinvesting the dividend, so, so when you, when you get, uh, when you own a dividend stock, there are two things that can happen. You can get paid the dividend where the, the amount gets deposited right into your account.
So let's say you have a hundred shares of a stock that pays $1 a share dividend. You get a hundred dollars, that a hundred dollars goes right into your brokerage account, and that's cash. You can do whatever you want with, or you. Automatically reinvest it. You, you tell your broker that when that dividend comes in, I want it to automatically be, uh, I want to automatically buy more shares of that company.
And again, it's free to do it with, uh, I think almost all brokers. Uh, so it, so it doesn't cost you anything. And so if you own, um, if you own a hundred shares of a $25 stock that get, that pays out a $1 dividend, [00:47:00] uh, you would now get a a hundred dollars that would automatically buy you four more shares.
And so now the next time that pays a dividend, now you have 104 shares. So you're gonna get paid $104. And so you reinvest that into the next. Into the, into the stock again, and the next time you'll get 108 point something, 109 share dollars. And, and that's, that's the magic of compounding. And the numbers really, the, the escalation of your wealth when you reinvest dividends is amazing, especially once you start getting out in years.
The, the, you know, to be honest, the, the first few years, it's not gonna move the needle that much, right? If you're getting a 4% dividend, you know, you'll have 4% more, more shares after one year. But after you get to eight years, nine years, 10 years, and if you can leave it in for 20 years, 30 years, I mean, the numbers can really get insane.
You know, after, uh, after 10 years, you know, one time investment, you can easily triple your money. After 20 years you can 10 x your [00:48:00] money. Uh, so that another reason why I say, you know, get your kids and grandkids doing this, even if you don't have 30, 40 years to do it, because the numbers will get nuts for them for sure.
Um, so going back to, to your question now, now that we, we kind of established what reinvestments in dividend. Is, so if you are in a bear market, so you have that $25 stock and you, you were getting that $1 per share dividend, well now we hit a bear market and now that $25 stock is only worth $20. But the company, nothing has changed for the company.
Fundamentally, all that's happened is we've hit a bear market. So the company's still growing its cash flow. Uh, the company's still paying the dividend, and so now you're getting paid a $1 dividend on a $20 stock instead of $25. So when you reinvest that dividend, now you're buying five shares instead of four shares.
So the next dividend, you're gonna get paid $105 instead of 104, and you're reinvesting those dividends. And so [00:49:00] in a bare market, you start the, the, the compounding machine really accelerates because you're getting to buy many more shares than you would have if the stock hadn't fallen. So as, as someone who is reinvesting their dividends, When the bear market hits, uh, you know, I, I certainly feel for my, my readers, nobody, nobody wants to see that.
But as, as someone who is reinvesting in the dividends, for anyone who is a bear market is a great thing because they don't last forever. They historically last, uh, they historically last, I I wanna say nine months might be a little bit longer. Don't quote me on that, even though we're, you, we're recording this here, but, uh, they, they generally don't last very long.
Right. And, and within two years they're, they're mostly over. Uh, and, and you typically also have major money back within just a couple of years. So when markets tank, again, as long as nothing has changed for the company and they're paying their dividend, you get to buy more shares at a cheaper price, which [00:50:00] generates more dividends, which buys more shares, which generates more dividends, and it really accelerates compounding.
So, You know, you don't wanna have a bear market when you're ready to take the money out if you, and if you need to sell the stock. But if you're reinvesting the dividends, it is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. So, so if you are reinvesting dividends, don't sweat the bear market at all. It's, it's, it's gonna do wonders for your portfolio and you're gonna look back in five years and look at the amount of shares that you were able to buy then compared to let's say now, and, and you're gonna be really happy that it happened.
[00:50:30] Nathan Hurd: Yeah, definitely. It's, it, it puts force fuel on that whole machine and really accelerates things. Um, Yeah, my, my father accidentally, actually, he started to retire in the last couple years of all of, all times, you know. Um, but he's, you know, he's done a lot of, of, I, you know, he's done a lot of this. I think he follows your work amongst others.
And so he's, he's put himself in a really good position to, to benefit also. Um, but as you say, the, the market definitely spends [00:51:00] more time in an uptrend than it does a downtrend. So all things being equal, these, these can be, uh, blessings.
[00:51:06] Marc Lichtenfeld: Um, I mean, and when we know, we know markets go up over the long term that, you know, that hasn't changed, uh, in, you know, as, as long as, as the, as long as the stock market has been around that has not changed.
We, we certainly have periods of volatility, but that hasn't. Yeah.
[00:51:23] Nathan Hurd: Yeah. And the speed of innovation, the speed of technology, I mean, human ingenuity is, mm-hmm. Is, is just a marvel. And so, um, yeah. So it's, I mean, it's exciting to watch and, and I, I share your optimism. Um, one of the things that I know you talk about is something called the 10 11 12 system.
Um, could you just briefly describe what that is and how this has changed your own perspective on dividend investing? On investing?
[00:51:51] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. So the 10, 11, 12 system, which I write about in my book and, and is the basis for the strategy in my newsletter, also the entrepreneur income letter. It, it's [00:52:00] basically just putting, uh, kind of a framework and, and some goals around buying dividend growth stock so that you have kind of a starting point of.
To, to, to look for dividend stock growth stock. So, you know, you might find a company and and say, well, this, this seems like an attractive company. It has a 2% yield. Is that gonna get me to where I want to go? And so the goals of the 10, 11, 12 system is if you're collecting the income, if you're collecting the dividends, you're not reinvesting, uh, is to achieve 11% yields within 10 years.
Uh, and if you are reinvesting the dividends, it's to generate 12% average annual total return over a 10 year period. Uh, and 12% annual returns will triple your money in 10 years and, and 10 x your money in, uh, 20, it'll more so more than 10 x. So, um, and that's that basically those numbers, for the most part, should beat [00:53:00] inflation.
I mean, I know we had, uh, a 9.6% reading earlier. Uh, Uh, in 2022, certainly we could hit double digit inflation at some point again in the future, but for the most part, considering that, uh, the average inflation rate in the United States over the last century has been about 3.4%, even if we're, if we go higher than that, even if we double that, if you're generating 11% yield and 12% average annual total returns, even after taxes, you're, you're beating inflation.
I wanted it to come up with goals that would, again, increase your buying power, uh, you know, regardless of, of what happens over the long term with inflation. And so to do that, it's, it's a combination of finding companies with the right starting yield and the right dividend growth. And so the, you know, the higher the starting yield, the less annual dividend growth you need and the lower the starting yield, the higher the average annual dividend growth you need.
And so, uh, in the book [00:54:00] I talk about kind of different ways to look at that and, and how to figure that out. And so in, in, in the stocks I do recommend to my readers for the most part, are companies that will match those goals. And if they don't, then they're not included in, in my instant income portfolio, which is the one.
Uh, the goal is to generate 11% yield or the compound income portfolio, which is reinvesting the dividends and trying to go for 12% average annual total return. So if, if a stock, I could love the stock, I could think it's the next Facebook, but if the, the dividend yield starting yield and the anticipated dividend growth won't, uh, won't hit those goals, then they won't go in those PO portfolios.
So that, that's really important.
[00:54:47] Nathan Hurd: Hmm. This is why I love this. I mean, I love this strategy and I love your book because it's, you know, it's, it's so interesting to observe, like I, people in my life that I've talked to during [00:55:00] this period of inflation, the inclination. Like you don't really have an alternative either.
Inflation choose away at your savings if you're, if you don't have it invested somewhere or you have it invested somewhere. And if you have a strategy that almost always is outpacing inflation or at least keeping up with it, and to your point, it's so much lower risk than so many of the other investment strategies one might try.
And you've got a situation where you're actually, you know, a happy camper when the, when the, when the market's correct and when you're able to buy more shares and, and the compounding kicks in even more. I mean, that, that really is quite a, uh, quite a comprehensive, uh, you know, set of benefits from an investment strategy.
Yet, you know, our inclination is, is oftentimes not to do the thing that might be best for us. So, um, I can't recommend the book enough, certainly. And. Um, and your strategy [00:56:00] is, is something I've definitely used myself and continue to use, and it's, it's really amazing. Okay, thanks. I'm,
[00:56:06] Marc Lichtenfeld: I'm glad to hear that.
[00:56:07] Nathan Hurd: Yeah, of course. Yeah. Um, alright. One other kind of financial question that I, I was thinking of. Are there ways that you, is there like a go-to way that you like to augment a dividend portfolio strategy to create additional returns or additional, uh,
[00:56:28] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. So I, uh, so I got my start on Wall Street, uh, on a trading desk, uh, a high octane trading desk where traders were shouting orders at me.
And, and, and that was kind of my, uh, uh, my, um, the beginning of my career. And, and, and I was already investing on my own as an investor, uh, for a number of years. But my professional career really started, you know, with this, with, with trading. Uh, so that's still in my blood. So I do still like that. So for investors [00:57:00] that do have their long-term money set aside and that it's invested properly, I do think that there is a place for trading.
Uh, you know, I, I kind of look at it as a, as a barbell approach where, you know, on one side you have the long term money that's taken care of. And, and I wouldn't recommend, you know, actively trading until that money is, is put aside and, and invested for the long term. But once it is, you know, trading. And as you know, a lot of our, our readers, uh, trading can is fun.
They, they enjoy trading, they enjoy following the markets. And so, uh, so I still like to trade. I like to recommend trades. And, um, it, it can be a, a great way to add a little bit of extra, uh, capital to your accounts, generate some extra income, generate some play money. Uh, you know, you have to be comfortable with risk because, you know, when, when you're actively trading, anything can happen in the markets.
But it's, it's a really fun way to, to stay in tune with the [00:58:00] market, uh, to be an active participant, to learn about interesting companies and, and interesting concepts as far as trading and investing. So it, that's still very much in my blood and, and I still love to trade.
[00:58:13] Nathan Hurd: Okay. So foundational is everything we've talked about up to this point?
Yeah. Once that's established, well, first of all, I think once that's established, one of the things that. One of the things that I really love about, and you touched on this earlier, but when I think about living a rich life, it has to do with so many things, including my finances, but so much more as you mentioned before, divorce rates and relationships and experiences and your health and all these other things that honestly can fall b fall by the wayside if, if you're, if you have stress around money.
And so I, even the wealthiest people, I know many of them, uh, and I've talked to them candidly about this, still experience stress around money. It's just ingrained in us. So by, by [00:59:00] reducing the, you know, I think building that foundational portfolio has that natural effect because you feel like you have some steady, stable control, but then you can put, put some money to work in trading.
So that's all very, very helpful. Thank you so much. Um, alright. Uh, I do, I wanna talk about a couple other things before we close this, if it's okay because you, you have such a, an interesting. Um, an interesting approach to life, and we touched on this in the very beginning, but amongst other things, I know you and have come to have had the privilege of coming to see you once before, uh, as a ring announcer in, in, uh, boxing matches.
And some of the people that read your newsletter might not know that. And so when did you get into that? Like how, how did you decide to pursue that passion? And I'll just give you a kind of a quick shameless plug here. I know that you've recently were inducted into the Hall of fame of, of ring announcers and [01:00:00] some capacity, and so it's a, it's, it's amazing.
But, um, can you just talk a little bit about your experience there? What, what, what that adds to your life?
[01:00:07] Marc Lichtenfeld: Yeah. So yeah, so, uh, getting inducted to the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame is, uh, I, I wouldn't even say it's the dream come true cuz it's, you know, it's, it's when reality exceeds your, your wildest dreams.
Um, but yeah, as, as a, as a kid, I was just always. In love with boxing since, uh, since I was about 12 years old and always dreamed of being a part of it. And, uh, I was, I was working as a, as a freelance writer, um, covering fights, just basically so I could get, you know, ringside seats for free. Um, and there was a, a local promoter here in Florida who had a ring announcer who was, to be honest, quite terrible.
So I went up to the promoter and said, Hey, if you ever need a ring announcer, let me know. Uh, and I've, you know, as I mentioned, I was in a band. I'm in a band, and I've done theater, so I, you know, I'm, I'm used to performing on stage. So, [01:01:00] uh, having been a, a diehard boxing fan for, for decades and, and having watched, you know, I don't know how many hundreds, if not thousands of fights, uh, you know, I, I, I kind of know, or I knew at the time, uh, you know, what a ring announcer does and, and, and how to do it.
And so I just said to Ramona, if you ever need somebody, let me know. Much to my surprise, a few months later, he called me and said, I've got a show on E S P N. You wanna be my ring announcer? So of course I said yes. And, um, from there I just really hustled every, every time a any show was announced anywhere in the country, I called up the promoter and, and if they wouldn't use me for tv, uh, then I said, I'll do the undercard.
Which if, when you, if you watch boxing on tv, there's usually fights, uh, before the TV fights come on. It's called the Undercard. It's kind of like, you know, if you go see a band and there's a warmup band mm-hmm. Uh, and the big, the really big ring announcers typically don't do the off TV fight. So I did all those off TV fights [01:02:00] and just, uh, you know, I got lucky.
I was in the right place at the right time and started doing big TV fights right away. And, um, yeah, it's, it's just, it's so much fun. And every time I'm in the ring, I'm reminded of that, you know, 12, 13 year old kid and watching in my basement at my parents' house of dreaming of being a part of this somehow.
And, uh, and I get to, and I get the, the best seats in the house. You know, I'm sitting in front of the guy that paid a thousand bucks and get to be a part of the action. And, um, it's, it's so much fun. I, I, it's, I mean, there, there's almost nowhere I'd rather be, other than being with my, you know, my wife and kids.
There's nowhere I'd rather be than in the middle of the ring.
[01:02:42] Nathan Hurd: So, uh, what would you say the takeaway is for that? Like, it's just so cool that you have this experience now where you get to pursue something that was like such a, such a passion and interest for you in this way. Um, like, do people ever ask you like, you know, [01:03:00] Questions like the one I just asked you.
How did you get started? But also how can people create or cultivate or lean more into their own passions? Like do you have any perspective or thoughts that you could share on
[01:03:09] Marc Lichtenfeld: that? Yeah. Um, you know, I've been thinking about this a lot. Um, and, and as it pertains to, you know, playing in a band also, um, you know, one thing that, that as an adult I really tried to focus on was, uh, doing things that made me happy.
Because when I was younger, you know, in high school, like a lot of kids, I, I really wanted to fit in, you know, wanted to be cool. And I definitely stifled myself as far as pursuing. Certain things, uh, in order to, to not stand out and, and be cool. You know, for example, uh, you know, I was really, even though I was, I was into rock and roll and playing in bands, I was also into musical theater.
And that's, you know, that just wasn't a, a super cool thing, at least in my high school at the time. So I, I didn't pursue those things. [01:04:00] And as I got a little bit older, and unfortunately, I, I, I kind of learned this early in, in, in, in my early twenties, so it didn't take too long. You know, I kind of realized that if I had just let my, my freak flag fly, so to speak, yeah.
Um, I might have been more interesting to more people than just trying to, you know, stay in this box that I thought was, you know, what you have to do to, to fit in. Uh, and so, you know, at at, at a, like I said, my early twenties, I just said, well, I'm just gonna pursue what makes me happy at this point, and.
And so that's when I, I started, uh, pursuing acting actually in New York and, and did some musical theater there. And, um, and that's just kind of been my philosophy, you know, as, as, as long as it makes me happy and doesn't hurt anybody, which, you know, my hobbies certainly don't, um, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody and, and, and it makes me happy, then, then go for it.
And, and doesn't mean that it, I'm not, and never have been intimidated and asking for certain opportunities, [01:05:00] but, um, you know, the, what's that expression you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take. And, you know, I, I just kind of felt like I, I have one life to live as far as I know. And I wanna, I wanna be an example to my kids of how to live a full life, a courageous life, and, and not have regrets.
Um, you know, it doesn't mean I have no regrets, but, uh, you know, everybody does. But I, I, I don't wanna ha, I don't wanna have missed opportunities because I was, I was. Too afraid or, or too intimidated to ask for them. So, so that, that's really been kind of how this all happened. And then, and then once I did get in, uh, and that door opened a little bit, I, I was pretty relentless about going after it because, um, it, it was something I, I really loved and, and kind of saw that there was an avenue to, to becoming, you know, fairly successful as a, as a ring announcer.
So, um, I, I, I went after it pretty [01:06:00] hard. Mm-hmm.
[01:06:02] Nathan Hurd: So I, I really appreciate that. I really appreciate that, and I totally agree with you. And I, I feel maybe it's just because of my current age, but I feel like sometimes, uh, if, if, if you. If you're not fully aligned with your creativity in your career, and sometimes in the middle of life, and there's some stage where you, you kind of, the creativity might fall away a little bit and you're pursuing, you know, just kind of a, a career or you're raising family or what have you.
Right. Um, but you have managed to keep all this up for all this time, which is so impressive. Um, and so what would you say to someone who might currently feel that there's like a creativity inside of them and whatever they're doing, they're not feeling like they're fully expressing that, like, I'm sure you've got given your kids words of wisdom or if your [01:07:00] friends or other people, but what would you say?
[01:07:02] Marc Lichtenfeld: Sure. So, uh, you know, if it's, if that, if that, if that's from a, a job perspective, uh, and if finding a another job is not an option, I mean, hopefully right now we're in a, in a pretty hot job market, so hopefully, uh, you know, there are ways you can, you can find a, a job that will more. You know, satisfy and, and, and scratch that itch.
But if, if that's just not possible, um, you know, there, there's so many ways of, of being a creative person these days and, and just pursuing the things that are, that you're passionate about. And, and you know, there, like I was saying there, there's, you know, we only have one life as, as far as we know. So, uh, to, to not pursue happiness, to me is, is, is really a big, uh, a, a big waste.
And, and, and, you know, that doesn't mean that, that you can't have stress and have difficult times and all that, but to me the, the goal of life should be to enjoy it. Uh, otherwise what, [01:08:00] what otherwise, what's the purpose of all the hard work and all the sacrifice and, and, and enduring the difficulties that we have.
So, yeah. Um, you know, that that's really what it's about. For me. And so for what, however, you need to kind of scratch that creative itch, um, you know, go for it. And, and there's so many resources out there to, to help you find that if you, you know, if you're an artist but you don't know how, you know kind of how to do that, or if you're a writer, uh, you know, whether it's online or in your community or, or, or whatever.
You know, you'd, you'd be shocked if, if you just kind of put things out into the universe what you'll find and, and talk to people and let them know what you're interested in because you never know who's gonna say, oh, actually I know someone who you should talk to. And, and you know, what I have found in my life is very often when I do that and just kind of tell people, Hey, this is what I want.
Uh, in life, people start connecting you with other [01:09:00] people who might be able to help you or have similar interest or you might be able to help them or what have you. And, and things start to happen. You know, it might not be overnight, but it, it really does. So, um, I, I'm a very, very big proponent of, if you have an idea, or even if you don't have a, a clear idea, but a general idea, put it out in the universe and, and see what happens.
Because, you know, more often than not, things start to make their way back to you. Mm-hmm. And I know that sounds a little, you know, kind of mystical, whatever, but, but I, I, I've seen it work over and over and over again where, you know, if, if you just talk to people, um, and, uh, very often things do come back to you.
[01:09:41] Nathan Hurd: Absolutely. Yeah. I, I completely believe that. And I've had that happen in my life many times and, you know, yeah. So it's, it's very well said. Um, I, you know, I also think. It's it like for someone who's working a nine to five or has, or, you know, maybe working 60 hours a week or whatever is, is [01:10:00] very busy, has raising a family, feels like h i, how could I possibly find the time?
You know, I, I don't know if this is true. I'd love to to hear you confirm it, but it seems to me like making space for these other passions mm-hmm. Actually has the kind of the opposite effect, which is, it's, it's becomes fuel. It becomes energy that you can then pour into the other parts of your life. Is, is that, has that been your
[01:10:24] Marc Lichtenfeld: experience?
For sure. And, and there's an expression, if you need something done, ask a busy person because they, you know, they know how to allocate their time. They know how to, how to get things done. And yes, it, it absolutely, you know, I, when I come back from a, from a gig or from, uh, from a fight, I, I'm. Charged up and, and fired up and ready to get back into, into the markets and, and writing.
Uh, and, and I'm a better writer because I have these other outlets, uh, you know, for sure. Um, and, and you know, the other thing too is, You know, to, to, [01:11:00] I, I wanna be very clear, you know, when, when my kids were little, I wasn't doing all these things. I mean, I, I was doing the boxing when they were little, but I, I did not have time for a band.
So I, you know, I, I couldn't do a million things at once. So you do have to kind of pick your spots. Um, and I, and I did give certain things up when I was doing too much, but, you know, you, you can navigate that and you can pick that one thing that'll make you happy for now, and then maybe that goes in, you know, you can expand that or you can do other things as your time frees up, what have you.
Um, but, but I, I think it is so important for your work, for your mental health, for your relationships to have those things because, you know, if you're happy in, in other parts of your life that may or may not have anything to do with, let's say your partner. You're gonna be a happier person at home and, you know, that's just gonna make life better for everybody.
I know. I, I come back from a fight and I'm, I'm super happy. I'm charged up and, you know, I'm sure I'm a, a better husband, uh, and better father because I'm in a, I'm in a happy place than [01:12:00] if, if I was, you know, just miserable or wishing I was doing something else, or, or, or what have you. So, um, tho I think those things are so important.
You know, there, there's obviously a line between being selfish and, and, um, and, and being a good husband, father, partner, friend, what have you. But you, there's plenty of space, I think, for most people to pursue things that are important to them. Uh, even if it's just a little time away to, you know, to, to scratch that itch, um, will make you such a, such a, a better person in, in all areas of your life.
You'll, you'll just be so much more fulfilled. Hmm. I
[01:12:40] Nathan Hurd: love it, man. I love it. I, yeah, I, I completely agree. Um, all right. Maybe one last thing I wanted to touch on. One last question before we go is, um, you, among so many other things I know have poured yourself into some philanthropy as well, and many people don't know this [01:13:00] about you, but you're a bone marrow donor, you're also working closely with the world of money mm-hmm.
Which is a really amazing organization. Can you just say a couple words about that, the role that those, um, parts of your life play in your overall s you know, sense of who you are and, you know, what, what importance do those pieces play for you and how do they contribute to, to, to your, your life in, in, in addition to the
[01:13:25] Marc Lichtenfeld: causes?
Sure. So, uh, being a bone marrow donor in 2015 through an organization called Gift of Life, uh, I mean, that was a, a one-time thing. It was. Unbelievably profound. At the time, it was, um, a three-year-old girl with an immune disorder, um, that they said would've killed her, uh, if she didn't get a, a transplant.
So when I got the call, um, I really felt like I had no choice. Um, obviously, but you
[01:13:51] Nathan Hurd: had, you had signed up to
[01:13:52] Marc Lichtenfeld: receive the call, right? Yeah, I had, you know, I had, I had, um, gotten swab, well based all it is, is a, is a, a mouth swab and, and [01:14:00] then you're entered into a, a bank and then if you're, uh, a match, then you know, you go through some testing and, and what have you.
Um, so, so that was a one-time thing and, and it was, you know, one of the most profound things I've ever done. And, um, but like I said, it was, it was, you know, just a one time thing. Um, but World of Money is a, a financial literacy organization and. Financial literacy is something that's really, really important to me.
You know, we, we've spent a lot of time today talking about how, how much, uh, stress finances can cause people. And, you know, if, if, if, if you're not financially literate at all, obviously that can cause a tremendous amount of stress. But there's, you know, there's a tremendous amount of inequality in the world.
And, and some of it has to do with financial literacy. Uh, you know, financial literacy is not taught in, in most schools and especially in certain areas. So World of Money works with kids that [01:15:00] are mostly from urban areas. And for me, it's, it's the way that I can best use my skills and abilities to, to help level the playing field a little bit in that we're, we're teaching kids to be self-sufficient, uh, at an early age.
And that, you know, these kids. So, so the group that I work with are 12 to 17, and there's, there's even a, a group that's younger, but th they learn about the market, they learn about commodities, about bonds, about compound interest, about debt, bank accounts, uh, crypto, uh, by the end of, of, of their program, I mean, they really know how money works, how to grow it, how to save it, how to invest.
It, it, it, it's an amazing, amazing program and I, I, I just find it to be so important to. It, it, like I said, it's, it's a way that I can help society be a better place because the fewer people that are in debt, the f the [01:16:00] more people that are prepared for retirement or prepared to buy their first home, um, or, and then can teach their kids, you know, the, the better the world's gonna be.
I mean, so many of our problems, both on an individual basis and on a, you know, government basis are because of astronomical debt. So working with, with kids to set them up for success in life, you know, regardless of whether they become an investment banker or, uh, a bus driver or, you know, anything if, if they can be set up for success.
As, as I said, you know, my, my dad was middle class. He, you know, uh, but he luckily had the tools to know, to save, not get into debt and just look at the ripple effect that it's had, you know, not just from him, but then from me and now my kids. So if we can kind of. Interrupt, uh, some of the dysfunctional financial habits and, and create some better ones.
It can just have a really important effect. And so I, I love this [01:17:00] organization, world of Money. I teach in their summer program, um, and I'm, I'm on their advisory council and it's, it's, it's a great organization. If everybody wants to learn more about it, it's world of Money dot. Nice
[01:17:11] Nathan Hurd: world of money.org. I was just thinking the generational impact that, that, that can have, which is really, which is really amazing.
Um, mark, this has been so much fun. I really have enjoyed this conversation and I look forward to seeing you soon. We're gonna see each other in a couple weeks. Um, hopefully we can go on a run and keep you in fit shape for your lead singer, uh, role I knew. But, um, uh, is there any like, kind of parting words or maybe what's the best place that people could look you up if they're, if they wanna
[01:17:42] Marc Lichtenfeld: learn more?
Sure. So, uh, as we mentioned, wealthy retirement.com is, uh, is our free website. So you can, uh, sign up for free and, uh, you know, we'll send you our information on stocks and bonds and, um, personal finance, all kinds of [01:18:00] personal finance issues. Uh, so definitely check out wealthy retirement.com. I'm also on Twitter at stocks.
The letter n boxing. So I, I mostly talk about stocks, but occasionally I'll, I'll throw in a boxing comment here or there.
[01:18:14] Nathan Hurd: Stocks and boxing. All right. Sounds great. Thank you so much. And, uh, yeah, it's been, uh, it's been real. It's been rough. Yes. Has been great.
[01:18:22] Marc Lichtenfeld: Thank you so much. Thanks
[01:18:23] Nathan Hurd: for checking out this video.
Make sure you hit subscribe. I'm Nathan Herd, also known as the Rich Life Guy. You can follow me at the Rich Life Guy. Also, check out Rich Life Lab, which is the podcast available everywhere. And leave a comment and let me know if this video landed for you or what else you'd like to hear from me in the future.
Thank you so much.