Cash. No matter what kind of job you have or business you build, everything comes down to the amount of cash you can hustle together.
Benjamin Pitts thinks about that for a living. When this one-time West Point cadet discovered that a health issue would prevent him from taking on a role in the military, he turned his attention to solving financial problems. Today, he’s building a business designed to help Americans protect their financial futures.
It’s the story of My Financial Answers on the Build.
From 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, it's The Build, conversations with entrepreneurs and innovators about their dreams, their triumphs, and their challenges. Joe Taylor: Cash: No matter what kind of job you have or business you build, everything comes down to the amount of cash you can hustle together. Ben Pitts thinks about that for a living. When this one-time West Point cadet discovered that a health issue would prevent him from taking on a role in the military, he turned his attention to solving financial problems. Today, he's building a business designed to help Americans protect their financial futures. It's the story of myFinancialAnswers coming up next on The Build. Announcer: The Build is made possible with support from 2820 Press, providing business consulting and content-strategy services to customer-obsessed companies nationwide. More information at 2820Press.com. Joe Taylor: I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. It's The Build, joined today by founder and CEO of myFinancialAnswers.com, Ben Pitts. Welcome to the show. Ben Pitts: Hi, Joe. Thanks for having me. I'm very glad to be here today. Joe Taylor: Glad to have you. Tell me a little bit about your background. I don't encounter too many folks in the finance world that got training at West Point. Ben Pitts: Sure, sure. Happy to do it. I'm actually a little bit of a unique situation. Grew up in southern New Jersey and went off to West Point. Had my mind on a career in the military, and my senior year, my time was cut short. I was diagnosed with a spinal condition, discharged from the military. It was actually my first time as an entrepreneur was figuring out how to get a job out of West Point without having first served in the Army, because I had to figure it all out. There's no career services. Ben Pitts: I ended up cold-calling lots of West Point grads and other service academy grads, Naval Academy grads, and kind of got used to the cold call, learned to enjoy it, and here I am today. Just found my way. Joe Taylor: Tell me a a little bit about myFinancialAnswers.com. Ben Pitts: Sure. MyFinancialAnswers is financial-planning software. We've built a platform that really is more of a service that helps individuals think about their entire financial life. If you think about all the personal financial decisions you need to make in your lifetime, particularly if you're Generation X or a Boomer, you're married, maybe you've got some kids, your life just gets really complex. You're thinking about retirement one day, but that's far out in the future. You've got to think about day-to-day expenses. Do you buy a bigger home? Do you downsize? How much do you spend on vacations? All those different decisions, there really aren't too many resources for normal Americans to think about and make those decisions. Ben Pitts: Traditionally, people have had to have call it a half a million dollars or more in order to get really great financial planning. Our goal was to make high-quality personal financial planning more affordable and accessible to the masses, and so that's what we're all about. Joe Taylor: A phrase leapt out at me there. When you say normal Americans, I think we hear a lot about the idea of American exceptionalism, and the fact that we all aspire to earn as much money as we can. It's something that's part of our stated American dream. The reality is financial planning is often something that's really reserved for folks who have a high degree of income, probably not always attainable by everybody. How do you bridge the gap between something that's seen as attainable only by someone with a lot of wealth by an objective standard and something that's still accessible or affordable enough to be part of an everyday routine for someone whose salary is a little more typical? Ben Pitts: Yeah, Joe, it's a great question, and actually, that's really the point. I've been in the financial-services industry doing wealth management. I started at Goldman Sachs, and moved downstream from ultra-high net worth to now where I am today at myFinancialAnswers, trying to serve the masses. I sat there back in 2012 or so, realizing that technology has really evolved. You look at products like TurboTax, where an everyday person can sit down and do their taxes, and not have an accountant. Yet, somebody can't sit down and do the same thing with financial planning. I thought to myself: Could we create a financial-planning software that would allow someone in their living room, in their office, on their mobile device, to actually build their own financial ...? Ben Pitts: That's what it started off as. Luckily, I had a business partner who had built a product that we use in a financial-planning firm, that I realized there's no reason that we can't put this in the hands of everyday Americans. When I say everyday Americans, I'm thinking people that go to work every day. We have lots of dual-income families that their mind couldn't be further from how do I make as much money as I can, and their mind is on my life today. I've got kids. It's overwhelming. I don't know if I'm making the right decision. Ben Pitts: It really is, the financial-planning world is driven by hopes and dreams. It's not driven by dollars and cents. That's one of our challenges: How do we communicate to people in a way where they understand that financial planning is about their life, and not about their money? It's all about leveraging technology to lower the cost for a financial adviser, which is my background, to service someone. They've traditionally gone after higher-net-worth people, because they had to do so much work and put so much effort to actually service that client. We're doing it in a way where we can actually take a lot of the work off of that human and get a lot of the work done in a more automated fashion. Ben Pitts: Our goal is not to be completely automated. There are a lot of people out there that are familiar with robo-advisors, Betterment and Wealthfront. They automate investment completely. Wealthfront, in particular, has decided that they have no goal really to infuse humans into that process. We think that humans are really critical. When we go back to that everyday human, if I say, "Hey, you need $500,000 in life insurance," you might turn around and say to me, "Okay, that sounds good, but could you just explain to me a little bit why?" You want some validation. Ben Pitts: What our company is, is a full service. It is technology, but it's given in a premium experience, where people feel like you care about me. You understand me, and financial planning is understanding their situation and all the details so that we can give the right advice and make that person sleep better at night and accomplish what their goal is. Goal is to make more money? Great. If their goal is to send their kids to college, that's great as well. If their goal is to just make it day-to-day, that's okay as well. We're just going to help figure out how do they get there and accomplish that. Joe Taylor: I think you're bringing up a great distinction. With a service like Wealthfront, and I've used Wealthfront, it's a really cool tool, but Wealthfront doesn't tell me how much money I should be socking away each month. I can dump money into Wealthfront and trust that it will figure out a diverse portfolio of equities and funds to put me into, but it doesn't necessarily know that I should be putting more or less of a percentage of my income toward this or that. Tell me where you figure out how to draw the line between what a human can do in this process, and where the bots and the algorithms can get involved. Ben Pitts: Sure. It's actually a really good point, and Wealthfront is a great product, but it's a point solution. The point is investments. You have other products that are point solutions for student-loan refinancing, or you have a point solution for a health-savings account. What our product does is it pulls those things together and helps people think about the trade-offs that they have in their life. Should I be putting my money in an investment account, in which case I go to Wealthfront? Or should I putting my money in a health-savings account, and I might go to a different vendor for that? Ben Pitts: Our product, and technology can absolutely help people think about those trade-offs, and we've got recommendations in our software that actually get at those trade-offs. We will tell someone, "Hey, you need to put $4,356 into a Roth IRA this year. Oh, by the way, you need to put X amount into an HSA." Technology can do the math. What technology can't do is understand that you, Joe Taylor, yes, you've got a goal to retire one day, but I've also got this goal to send my kids to college. There's an inherent trade-off there, and technology can't quite understand and draw from you, are you sure that's what your goal is? Are you sure you'd rather save for retirement than send your kids to school? Because guess what? You could have an option of working another year, or another two years, and pay for more of your kids' school and retire later. Ben Pitts: There's art and science is talked about in lots of different fields. In financial planning, there's a lot of art to what we do. It's based on science. It's based on the numbers and understanding what's right financially, but people have a whole host of reasons why they may not do what's quantifiably the best decision. Our software can't really do that either, and we don't think it can, and so the goal is to connect a human that can look at the data quickly, make sense of it quickly, and then really have that discussion to help the individual user understand what's the best decision for them, because it might be a little bit different, depending on the person. Joe Taylor: When you are looking for new customers, new users of your tool, are you recruiting people who currently aren't served by financial planning at all, or are you trying to switch them away from existing relationships? Ben Pitts: There's some interesting statistics out there. Ernst and Young has a study that only about 20% of the mass affluent, and they define that as individuals in America that have more than $100,000 in investible assets, only about 20% of those people are actually served by an advisor, a trusted advisor. That leaves 80% of Americans that actually have pretty decent means that aren't served, so that if you go to the mass market, it's even worse than that. There's not even really statistics on it, and so- Joe Taylor: What do you think they're doing right now? Are they just guessing? Ben Pitts: Yeah! Most people sort of are guessing. They've got a 401(k) at work. They talk to friends and family. They might do Google search. There was some research done by Mint.com when they launched. Excel is by far, at least at the time, the most prevalent financial-planning software, if you will, that people used. There really is no real, consistent way for people to think about their personal financial lives. Ben Pitts: I remember thinking to myself, why is this? There are resources for so many different things, but to think about our financial lives, which is the biggest stressor that people have in our lives by far, research shows it, their financial well-being, there was no real tool to help people make sense of all that. Ben Pitts: So, no, we don't feel a need to go out and find people that already have a financial planner. In fact, most people don't. We already know that, and so it is trying to find people that don't. The challenge is how do you help them realize that it's something they should have? That's why we're trying to get away from the term financial planning. I know I've said it already, but it really just has to come down to my life. Ben Pitts: People 20 years ago had a pension, and that gave them security. People no longer have pensions. Some people do, but not very frequently. So, people are starting to have these concerns, but they still don't know what is the solution that's going to give me that security? The reality is it's some understanding of the decisions I'm making, how is that impacting my life going forward, and getting people to think about it in advance. It's hard to think about it, because it's like, ah, I'll think about that later. I'll think about retirement later. I'll think about health savings later. It's not going to happen to me. Ben Pitts: The biggest part of our job today is still, absolutely, engaging people in this discussion. There's an absolute need. What drives people to a financial planner most often is some life event: I just had my first child. I just got divorced. I just got married. I lost my job and I'm looking for a new job. I want to know what to do with this 401(k). That's what drives people to seek out expertise. Our goal is to create that conversation, create awareness prior to those events happening, and hopefully prepare. Joe Taylor: If the idea here is to build top-of-mind awareness, the idea that when that life event strikes, which is the moment when folks will call up their HR advisor, if they have one at work, and say, "What do my benefits offer?" How do you inject myFinancialAnswers into those kinds of conversations? How do you get in the game at those very few moments when people are willing to start consider this kind of service? Ben Pitts: Yeah, the reality is, if we're doing our job correctly, we will do it before that happens, because, in the case of a spouse passes away, it's too late. You didn't have the right amount of life insurance. We're still pre-launch with our employer product, and that's really the main part of what we're trying to do, is go to employers and offer this as an employee benefit, but the way that we're planning to launch, in October, actually, with a large employer onsite, is to do this through onsite events, to do it through webinars, to do it through inspirational, foundational education. Ben Pitts: We're actually in discussions with a gentleman that has built sort of a university, if you will, for young people to learn about money, and we're putting that on the front of our product to have three things, education about different topics, inspire people, our technology and financial coaching on the back end. If you put those three things together, some people might skip the education and jump right to the technology. Other people might start with education, and they might not get to the technology or coaching later on when they've got a life event, but it's got to be a multi-pronged or omni-channel approach to engaging people, be it digitally, be it onsite in an employer setting, be it face-to-face through office hours onsite. Ben Pitts: We're exploring a lot of that. That's our big challenge. I can't say we've got it all figured out yet. We know that Americans, by and large, are not engaging in their own personal financial, which is the problem. [crosstalk 00:11:57]- Joe Taylor: What are we doing instead? Are we just distracting ourselves? Do we like to think about other things instead? Ben Pitts: Look, there are a lot of people that are focused on it. You can find people with certain personalities. They're Mint.com users. They love to do their budget. They do it every single day. They might log in and check their net worth or their balances on their accounts every single day, but those people are in the minority. Those are do-it-yourselfer-type people. They tend to be analytical. You'll find engineers, software developers, people like that for the most part that do that. Ben Pitts: You've got a large portion of the population that, they're doing okay. They work at big companies. They work at Comcast or Lockheed Martin or AstraZeneca. They work at these big local companies. They've got dual income. They are saving in their 401(k)s. It's not as if they're doing things terribly, but they certainly could be doing things better. For those people it really comes down to, it's a matter of priority. Going to a barbecue on a Saturday afternoon or getting home from work to go to my kid's soccer game matters more. Those folks, they'll engage, but they won't really engage until it becomes a real priority for some reason. Ben Pitts: We need to inspire people as to why it matters, and that comes down to stories, because my coworker had a husband. They were 55 years old. He had a stroke, and now they're in a bad way. Man, I hope that doesn't happen to me. I better prepare for that. It comes down to anecdotal evidence that these things do happen, it can happen to you, and you need to be prepared for it. Ben Pitts: There certainly is a segment of the population that, frankly, they're just trying to live day-to-day, and their perception is that if I think about my personal financial situation, it's just going to be bad news, so why even engage in that? It's a valid concern. We don't have the solution for that. At the end of the day, somebody needs a certain amount of income to pay their bills. We can help people put context to that, but it comes down to having inspiration and having ideas. How do I change that? If I get another $10,000 in income a year from part-time work, or driving for Uber, how will that impact it? Or, hey, I know I'm broke today, but I really want to send my kid to college. That might change somebody's psychology in order to get them to make different decisions. Ben Pitts: It's a tough problem. I think, by and large, most people are doing okay. Why do I need to think about it, unless I'm forced to think about it? Joe Taylor: I think the one thing that I heard you say that is innovative about how you are growing this business is that, instead of a straight-to-consumer play, you are partnering with employers. You're working this as a potential benefit. Tell me about the pitch. What do you tell prospective client companies about the value that you're going to add for their employees? Ben Pitts: It's a great question. They ask us what value we're going to add. The pitch is actually really simple. At the end of the day, research shows that your employees, Mr. HR, are really distracted because of their personal finances. PricewaterhouseCoopers, I think, has a study of employees spend an average of three-plus hours thinking about dealing with their personal financial situations every single week, Google searching something, calling some hospital that they owe a bill to, researching different things. Three hours a week that employees spend during work hours on personal finance. Sounds like a big number, but if we really think about we're logging in to look at our bank accounts, people spend a lot of time on it, and it keeps us up at night. What happens is those employees are distracted, and that impacts engagement, it impacts their productivity, and at the end of the day, it's a bottom-line problem for companies. Ben Pitts: The challenge is, it's really hard to quantify that for a company. We run into the same problem that health-and-wellness companies have had for years and years: How do you prove your ROI? What we've been telling companies is, "Look, the cost of the problem of employees not being financially well and not thinking about their personal financial futures, and, the costs are irrefutable. The ROI really depends on your workforce. What's the average salary of your workforce?" Ultimately, tying some ROI, some specific number, companies have tried to do it, and the numbers are in the thousands of dollars. We're not trying to do that as a company. At the end of the day, we think the companies that will implement it are companies that want to have a competitive workforce. They want to be the employer of choice. They want to win the employer best of Philadelphia award, and they're already generous with their benefits. They care about their employees and they just want to make a difference. Ben Pitts: So, is there an ROI? Absolutely, but it's mostly probably going to work out in terms of reputation: We're the company that changed the financial trajectory of this young millennial that's in the workforce and had no idea what to do with personal finances. We got him off on the right track. ROI's a tough one, but it's clearly there. Joe Taylor: You're coming into this organization that you've founded with your background in financial planning. You're the numbers guy, right? You're now coming in and learning how to build a software business. Tell me a little bit about that transition. What have you learned about taking what you know and turning it into a service built on top of a software stack? Ben Pitts: Sure. Great question. I'm not the numbers guy, really. I actually partnered with my partner, who's the numbers guy. He's a certified financial planner, got a master's in financial engineering or applied mathematics at Princeton. He and I partnered out of Goldman Sachs, he worked there as well, really because we were very complementary. Sort of a people person and a relationship person, not necessarily a very social person, but very relational, and he was a numbers guy. We figured out over time that we worked really, really well together. He had built an Excel-based product, really sophisticated, lots of VBA code, and just figured it out, based on a lot of experience he had before. Ben Pitts: I had a vision back in 2012. I'm watching the evolution of Wealthfront and Betterment and Financial Engines, which is a 401(k) robo-advisor. I'm watching this happen. I remember distinctly saying to my partner, "We're either going to participate in this evolution of financial technology, particularly in wealth management, uh, or we'll be subject to it." So, got this idea in my head. Ben Pitts: Remember, if I go back to my time coming out of West Point, I was used to cold-calling people, and so I just probably talked to 200 different entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, anyone who would talk to me about what would this be like to try to take this Excel-based product, put it on the Web, and make it accessible? I just realized over time that I could do it. If I knew then what I know now, I would've realized it would take a lot longer, more money, and more time than I ever imagined. But I still would know that it's achievable, and it's just all about continuing to grind it out. Ben Pitts: Eventually, I just pulled together five individuals, including myself, that all had a passion for it. The five of us together as co-founders had the capital to invest to get the idea started. We had a couple different skills. We had a guy that could be the early CTO. We had a guy that could be the early CFO. Myself as the CEO. My partner, Jeff, as the ... I guess product manager, if you will. He had built the product. He knew what it had to do functionally. Then, we had another guy who was sort of a marketing person. Ben Pitts: We initially outsourced all of the development to a firm in Costa Rica. Our CTO had done work with the founder of that company before, and we still work with them to this day, actually. He's actually based in Charlottesville, Virginia, but we have done some nearshoring on the software side, more recently pulling some of that technical expertise internal, and starting on the product side, because we've realized how critical it is for product people to really understand the domain that we're in. The hammers and nails can be done anywhere in the world, but building that product needs to be people that understand the domain. Ben Pitts: The hardest thing, and I didn't realize this going in, I thought raising money would be hard ... Raising money, well, not raised venture-capital money, but angel money, and people that are passionate about ... They'll put money in. That's not that difficult. The hard part has been actually finding the talent that's passionate about what we're doing, particularly on the technical side here in Philadelphia. I know it exists, and it's only been more recently that I've actually attended events like Philly Startup Leaders and talked to young developers about why they make decisions they do. It's probably my biggest mistake, was not getting more involved in the tech community here in Philadelphia earlier. Joe Taylor: I think one of the things that I know listeners will ask me to drill down on is I just heard you say that you felt like finding angel investors was relatively easy. I know a lot of folks that come at this kind of work from the opposite direction, where they are developers, coders, engineers, and they feel like building the product is what comes easily to them, and it's the finding-the-investor piece that's challenging. So tell me, how did you find investors? Is it because you are a cold-calling ace, and you just drilled numbers into your phone until you had to replace the keypad? What worked when it was time to find people to put some dollars behind this idea of yours? Ben Pitts: Yeah. Look, I guess people should take that with a grain of salt. I had sort of a natural network that would allow me to find not necessarily people that were active angel investors, but people that had money, that they had the discretionary funds that they could put into an idea like this, and frankly the passion to do it. A large part of our early investment, or all of it, came from our co-founders, which were ... One guy was a guy I met cold-calling while I was at Goldman. I was looking to make him a customer, happened to be a CFO at the country level with DuPont, so local, fairly successful guy. Another guy was a West Point grad that also cold-called him when I read an article that he wrote, and then the other two were people that I already knew. So, of my five co-founders, two of them were actually cold calls, but there were cold calls to people that I would easily relate to because of undergrad, and actually my MBA program as well. Ben Pitts: Our later investment, a large investment, came from a colleague of mine at Goldman Sachs who I had worked with and known for the time, I guess five or six years. Then, we've gotten more recent investment from one individual in particular, who I did cold call. So, I think a part of it has been my natural network. Certainly, if I look at the total dollars, most of the total dollars have come from people I know and have gotten to know really well. Part of it is just being willing to talk to anyone and everyone. Ben Pitts: We're actually in discussions with a large potential strategic investor who I met through a previous colleague of mine, but the colleague of mine introduced me to him on some other discussion about potentially being his head of sales. I said, "I'm not interested in being his head of sales, but I'd love to talk to him about our product and what we're doing." It just happened they were in the space. Ben Pitts: Sometimes I wish I could switch places with that technical person, because I envy what they have a lot. I think it comes down to complementary relationships, and no one can be everything to a startup. There are very few Mark Zuckerbergs, very few people that can take a company from idea all the way to success, and I'm certainly not one of those people. Joe Taylor: Well, let's flip the equation around a little bit, because we're talking about what people can do to achieve a level of financial security. Angel investing is a little bit of a bet, because you're putting money down, hoping that that founding team has what it takes to if not just recoup that initial investment, actually multiply it a little bit, and maybe not everyone is going to go completely unicorn, like Facebook, but if you were advising a client, what's the minimum amount of money you should have in the bank before you even consider an angel investment in the formal way that we think about it? Ben Pitts: I think very few people should be considering angel investments. It's not even money in the bank. It's how much money do you have beyond what you're going to need essentially for the rest of your life. It depends on where someone is in their life stage. Most people have no business doing angel investments, because the reality is most angel investments will be losers. Somebody needs an emergency fund of four to six months in general. If they have that, that doesn't mean they should be angel investing. Ben Pitts: But look, if I followed my own advice, I wouldn't be an entrepreneur today. I certainly was not in the financial position that I should be taking the kind of career risks that I was taking. Some of it comes down to life goals. I had a goal that I wanted to build my own business, and I had a vision, and ultimately the financial piece, and this is the art that we were talking about earlier, the financial piece means less to me personally than the goal that I had to be successful. I just have a different risk tolerance, but most people don't have that kind of risk tolerance. Most people are not in that entrepreneurial seat, willing to put their life and their family's life on the line. I've got three kids and a wife! Ben Pitts: In general, people should angel investing in things when they can actually lose that money, and it will not affect their life. That's generally the answer to that question. Joe Taylor: I think the flip side of that is also true, because as entrepreneurs, we're putting sweat equity into ventures that may or may not reach our definition of success. We know, for instance, that 80% of new ventures fail within five years. As someone who is in year 4.5 of his own venture, we're just rooting along the way, but that's the feeling of, as you point out, you're taking a risk in your career, in your standing, in your ability to earn income, and maybe taking a hit on that in year one or two, versus if you had stayed at Goldman, gone onto the partner track or hit a couple more years of Goldman Sachs' legendary bonuses, the trade-off for you is the ability to chart your own course and build something that has a little bit of a legacy. Joe Taylor: So, tell me what your dream is for this company, this product that you've built. Where do you think you want to see it in five or 10 years? Ben Pitts: My vision has always been based on impact. When I started the business, and I think it says it on our website, the vision was literally to make high-quality personal financial planning more accessible and affordable for the masses. That's what I want to do. The opportunity is to do that for millions of people. I would love for our company to do that for hundreds of thousands of people five, six, seven years down the road. That's really what my vision is. Ben Pitts: What I do love, and I think what I'm best at, is building teams. My goal is absolutely to build a team that's passionate about what we're doing, that's passionate about helping people solve these problems, and helping people sleep better at night, because they're not worried about this 800-pound gorilla in the room, which is personal finance. Obviously, some of us have the ability to deal with that and not lose sleep at night. I should probably lose more sleep than I do, but that's the vision. Ben Pitts: One of the challenge as a early-stage startup is focus and product-market fit and direction. When we were starting out, we could go after consumers directly. We could try to take this to advisors, and like we're doing now, we can take this to an employers. At times, each of those things feels very, very attractive, because we'll have advisors that reach out to us. In fact, our first customer was a wealth manager that wants to serve a lower-segment client base, to reach those masses. Our commitment is to do whatever it takes to make financial planning affordable and accessible for those masses. I think that could take on a lot of different forms. Ben Pitts: We think the biggest opportunity to do that is through employers, because employers have a really unique opportunity to help their employees because of the role that employers play in the personal financial lives of their employees, but it remains to be seen how that vision all plays out, but it's all about impact. Joe Taylor: I find that fascinating, too, because you're essentially, through those employer partnerships, you are creating relationships with people who are not at a point in their lives that they would have the kind of wealth to actually manage, but over the course of their time with an employer, let's say over a 10- or a 15- or a 20-year cycle, if they are getting the right kind of guidance, they can land in that category that you described earlier, of having at least six figures investible assets. Maybe that's something they would not have been able to accomplish if they didn't have that guidance. I think there's not, unless you work at an employer that has that kind of internal competency, you're not going to get that kind of advice. Most employers feel that it's a good day if they're even getting employees to read the entire HR manual. If they can get all their policies in place, it's pretty good! Joe Taylor: Now, if you can actually extend that relationship into, you said, the health and wellness, the overall well-being, and if you include finances into that, it does appear it would have these trickle-down feelings. You would have less stress. You would have less mental challenges, because you get that peace of security back that maybe we lost from businesses moving away from pensions. Joe Taylor: To close things out, what do you think right now, especially for folks that might not have access to your products just yet, what's the most important thing that we should be doing to take care of our financial health going forward? Ben Pitts: There's the old adage that you should pay yourself first, or save first. That's the reality. Any end-state for someone thinking about their personal financial life is they need to be putting money into buckets that are ahead of expenses. I need to be putting $10 into my savings account or into my retirement account or into my investment account before I go put $10 into Starbucks. That's a hard thing to do for people. It's a hard thing to do, because you honestly might care more about your Starbucks coffee this morning going to work, because that's your peace of mind, than you really care your retirement 30 years from now, because that's so far away. Ben Pitts: But that's really what it comes down to, is how can you get yourself in a mindset where it's important for you to start saving for the things that really matter, because those things are coming. People are retired today. They just don't know it. Your retirement will be a reflection of the decisions that you make today. I don't mean to focus on retirement, because we're focused on much more than that, but it's the easiest one for people to connect with. Ben Pitts: Same thing for health savings. Paying for healthcare is one of the hardest things for people to do now. High-deductible health plans ... You will get sick, or someone in your family, one of your kids, will get sick. You will have a big medical bill, and so you need to make sure you're taking advantage of health-savings accounts. It just comes down to being intentional about your personal financial life, and with our product, it doesn't take that long. Ben Pitts: Being intentional means, hey, I need to sit down for a half hour, 40 minutes, put all my information into this, connect my bank accounts, and at least have a picture of what my life looks like. Most people will need to actually speak with someone to make some sense of that, but it's all about just getting started. It's all about just taking a step in the right direction. Joe Taylor: Now, pushing it just one step further: For entrepreneurs specifically, we are well-known for being hard on ourselves. We're known for putting everything into our businesses. What's something that we should be doing that would ensure that we take care of ourselves financially, even though we're in this wild business of setting up a company? Ben Pitts: Yeah, I don't know the answer to that one, Joe! I wish I had the answer, because I'm trying to figure that out myself! Joe Taylor: No one's figured that part out! Ben Pitts: I think it's all about just keep going. People say fail fast as an entrepreneur. I think that's sort of a venture-capital mentality. By the way, it's not a bad thing. I think for most entrepreneurs and most small businesses, it's all about, look, if you've got a vision, if you've got some skills, for the most part, if you keep at it, you're probably going to succeed. There's probably a point at which some people need to cut bait and go do something different, but yeah. I don't have the answer to that. I'm still trying to figure it out. Joe Taylor: I find it funny when we get advice to fail fast from someone who's on a panel after they've had something like a $100 million exit. Well, okay, you failed fast, but you've got $100 million! Ben Pitts: Right. Right. No, that's right. Joe Taylor: Ben Pitts, myFinancialAnswers.com, thanks for stopping by The Build. Ben Pitts: Thank you, Joe. Glad to be here. It's a pleasure. Joe Taylor: The Build is a production of 2820 Radio in Philadelphia. Our producer is Katie Cohen Zahniser, and our consulting producer is Lori Taylor. Our talent coordinator is [Katrina 00:29:20] Smith. Our research team includes Alyssa [Hart-ney 00:29:22], John [Me-seen-y 00:29:23], and [inaudible 00:29:24]. Our post-production team is led by Evan Wilder at Flowly Audio in Detroit. My name is Joe Taylor, Jr. Thanks for listening to The Build. Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Build. We hope you'll share this series with your friends, and provide us with feedback on the iTunes Store.