All right. Mic check. Hey, Brian. Welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Bryan Kuderna (00:08.178)
Hey, Murasir, I'm doing great. Thank you very much for having me on. I'm excited for our conversation.
Let me do it once, I just need to turn the AC down. So please give me one second.
Hey Brian, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?
Bryan Kuderna (00:25.682)
Hey, Modus here. I'm doing well and thanks for having me on. I'm excited for our talk.
Very grateful for having you here. Usually when I talk to somebody, it's people who have very different background. They're from business world or from an engineering background or something like that and somehow ended up in investment or in business, they're entrepreneurs or something. But yours is as amazing as I could imagine because probably first or second person that I'm interviewing from finance standpoint. So, and I'm a huge fan of context. I think whoever we are today.
There's a whole lot of history that has shaped us in becoming whoever we are today. So tell us who Brian is actually, and how did you become whoever you are?
Bryan Kuderna (01:04.253)
Bryan Kuderna (01:09.174)
Sure. Yeah. So it's a big question. I'll try and kind of summarize the key points. But I grew up in New Jersey, you know, here in the States, um, right along the shore, you know, been here all my life. And, um, when I was growing up, I was big on sports and everything. Uh, didn't really know what I wanted to do. I get, you know, as far as kind of life goals when I was in high school, um, college was always kind of a question mark. You know, I thought about, am I going to go into a trade? Am I going to be a chef? You know, I'd actually applied to culinary schools.
And, um, you know, I had a couple of coaches that, that, uh, you know, taught me some business and entrepreneur classes and that really resonated. So ultimately that's the route I decided to go, um, went to college, started out as a marketing major, ended up pivoting. It's a whole nother story for finance. And, um, eventually you fast forward a little bit. I graduated from the college in New Jersey. I had an internship with a wealth management firm and that was in 2008.
And essentially I just kind of took that and they gave me the ability to say, Hey, you know, we'll give you the tools. You go out, you create your own practice, you know, make of it what you will. And that was music to my ears, you know, having kind of that entrepreneurial itch. So that's what I did. And, um, from there, I mean, I was just kind of pounding the pavement. I was cold calling. I was doing everything under the sun just to meet people and make contacts. You know, as kind of like a green 21 year old kid.
And along the way, you know, I just got to learn a lot about finance, insurance, investing, and ultimately just built this really big practice. And that allowed me to pursue other passions as well. Um, ultimately writing, uh, which I'm sure we'll talk about today and coming out with a few books.
Awesome. I want to ask you actually, like, why finance? But you mentioned something very interesting, which is you were doing, you were working with a wealth management company, and that too was in 2008, like right at the cusp of when the whole economic crisis happened. So yeah, what was it like, you know, working with a firm, doing wealth management, and what's the inside look like? Because outside was like horrible, horrible scenes out there.
Bryan Kuderna (03:06.944)
Perfect timing. Yep.
Bryan Kuderna (03:15.23)
Yeah. Well, you know, what's funny. So when I was working with this firm in Oh, wait, and the, the firm itself, you know, large, I would say kind of middle of the road firm. It wasn't one of these huge wire houses or banks that you hear about on the news. Um, but they weren't just a small kind of two man shop either. There were about 60 financial advisors there. Um, so good size. They were going through a rough patch, you know, as was everyone else in the industry, but it, what was,
Kind of ironic is here I came in, you know, clean record as a 21 year old kid just graduating college and one of the things I had almost an advantage of was number one, every single person I met with was starting to take their money a lot more seriously and they were questioning where their money was at that time because they had just gotten clobbered in 08. So I was able to walk in and kind of say, Hey, you know, I've never lost anybody a penny because I've.
never really managed money before. And so it, in some ways it was a good time to come in because it was kind of like the whole industry was turning over a bit and I was able to walk in. Like I said, with that clean record and, um, you know, pretty much kind of tell people, Hey, maybe now's the time to revisit things, you know, learn some different, um, concepts or ideas out there, maybe shake it up and, um, you know, and they were receptive to that because
Everybody was in some way shape or form upset with their broker or their advisor at that time so It was an odd time to get going but there was a lot of silver lining there for somebody that was a rookie like myself
Yeah, coming back, coming down to all these years, learning all the things that you have learned. So if you could summarize what exactly has happened inside, what exactly has happened in 2008 for most of our listeners are young entrepreneurs who probably don't know the whole story behind that. What exactly has happened? And do you think, I'll follow up question on that, do you think we're probably gonna repeat the same thing in 2023, maybe 24?
Bryan Kuderna (05:20.806)
Yep. Yeah. So what I would say to answer the first part of the question of like, what did it look like on the inside, if you will. So 2008, I mean, and people have studied this ad nauseum. It was really brought about by, you know, hubris and people living so excessively as happens in bubbles. You know, this is kind of nothing new in history. It's just, this was a bigger one and it was propped up on real estate. And ultimately, you know, you had all these subprime mortgages out there.
where you had banks and lenders that had no business making some of these very large loans to consumers out there that had no business being able to acquire these loans. So it was so lax. It was kind of like, oh, nothing can go wrong. You know, okay, you make $20,000 a year. You've been in and out of work part time. Why not get a million dollar mortgage? I'm sure you can make it work.
And so you were starting to kind of see more and more of that just kind of, um, wild, wild west mentality of, you know, everybody kind of gets in on the game, no matter what your background is. And so when you had so much of that, it was just inflating this bubble. And there's a saying that when you owe the bank a million dollars and you can't pay, then you're in trouble. But if you owe the bank a hundred million dollars and you can't pay now, the bank's in trouble.
And that's really what happened is, you know, you had now all these consumers that were watching the real estate values plummet. They weren't able to pay for these big mortgages and these adjustable rate mortgages and things. All these banks got left holding the bag and they weren't collecting anything. And that's what brought about, you know, there were other things as well, but that was the main cause that led to some of these collapses, you know, at Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns and the rest. And, um,
And it was a tough time. I mean, that's where the government stepped in and said, you know, we might have to bail these out and not to digress too much. The American people by and large, I think we're like, that's BS. Like they screwed up. That was poor management. Why are we using tax dollars to bail them out? But the government was essentially saying, you know, this is our only, uh, you know, only option, you know, they are, our banking system is the bedrock of our economy, we need to bail them out.
And so that's ultimately what happened.
Yeah, and the follow-up was, so I'm gonna give you a little bit of context here. So you probably, not probably, probably like 100% you already know what happened with Silicon Valley Bank. That was like not too long ago with SVB, right? And then, and Twitter was like blowing up that day. Like it was like blowing up everybody because it's just like every entrepreneur, every founder, investor, whoever that is.
Bryan Kuderna (07:50.774)
Bryan Kuderna (07:58.514)
Yeah, with SVB, yep. I've spoken on it.
is on Twitter and then everybody's like, hey, we got so many friends out there, we just need to pay the team, just need to run a payroll or this and that and we're just blocked, nothing we can do. Do you think? And it's a hunch that I actually have. I think in 2020, post-COVID actually, 2020, 2021, all these startups actually were inflated as well. So stupid valuations, you came up with an idea, it's like, yeah, okay, that's, I don't know. You...
Bryan Kuderna (08:36.083)
Brian had an idea that's probably worth 100 million because you just Brian, and you check all the boxes, so you're based in Jersey, you're white, you're this and that, and you just have a cool idea. So it's a 100 million dollar product, and we can give you, I don't know, five or 10 million and just go, go crazy, do party or whatever. So all these flated startups actually, there is a whole bunch of money, and most of them are shutting down, or cutting costs, or cutting operations altogether.
Bryan Kuderna (08:45.779)
Just because there's exactly. So what do you think is similar in terms of 2008 and whatever is happening in 2023 now?
Bryan Kuderna (09:21.714)
Yep. So I would say that there's some similarities and some differences. And that's why, like they say, you know, history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes. And I think that's very true. So if, if you look at 2008, again, it was a bubble. It was really on the back of real estate that then it eventually popped and it, you know, there was contagion and it led to a lot of other issues throughout the markets. And then, you know, the Fed cut interest rates and everything to rock bottom and was able to kind of get the economy back on its feet.
So here we are in 2023. Uh, it's a little different in the context that it's not real estate driven. Um, the, the little scare that we've had this year was in the banking sector. And what was different is like in 2008, the concern wasn't really bank runs. It was, can these banks stay solvent if, you know, all of these outstanding loans are going to get defaulted. Um, so what happened, you know, this year with SVB.
First Republic, Signature Bank, and those, is they were actual bank runs. So with SVB, they had a very concentrated depositor base that focused on venture capital in tech, hence Silicon Valley Bank. And so ultimately they were a poorly managed bank. They did not manage what was called their interest rate risk. So a lot of their balance sheet that they were holding when the Fed raised interest rates so quickly.
It's kind of like a seesaw for fixed income where then their holdings that the bank had, you know, they depressed in value. So if they had to liquidate them, they were going to end up selling them possibly at a loss. So they had to shore up their books. You know, this, these rumors, if you will, started to kind of spread. And then on Twitter, you know, through social media and in the, um, when they did kind of the autopsy report on SVB, they actually referenced social media as a cause.
because you had some of these really big depositors go on there and say, just at a rumor, there could be a bank run and SVB, consider withdrawing your money. So they just threw this idea out there on Twitter and through an email chain. And then instantly with the technology we have today, you know, all of these, you know, very concentrated close knit community said, forget this, we're going to pull our money out. And that would already created like an instant bank run on SVB.
And there was just no way to bail them out quick enough. And that's kind of what happened there. So that's a little bit different than Oh, wait. Um, the lead up to it is maybe more comparable to kind of like the dot com bubble, like in 2000, uh, where, like you said, you know, it's, it's kind of like, Oh, anything with a.com we can buy, you can't lose. And then that blew up. There was somewhat similar where we were on the, you know, coming off of the pandemic where there was just so much stimulus in the economy interest rates were at rock bottom.
there was all this just kind of frothiness they say in the market. And so that led to these overvaluations. And then when they weren't doing so well, it always trickles back to the bank. And then there was bank runs. So some similarities, some differences, but I think that that was much, much more isolated. And as you could see for context, you know, the market this year, as you and I talk, the S&P 500 is up about 10% year to date.
So it's not like there's panic in the markets. Whereas in 08, when those things like Lehman Brothers started to happen, the market just fell like a rock on water. So it's a bit different.
Okay, that's good to know. So it's probably not as bad as everybody is like, you know, blaming God on Twitter, right?
Bryan Kuderna (13:02.094)
No, no, because like you what was worse was in 2022 last year when it was like, OK, inflation has, you know, arrived and it actually came about in 2021. The Fed more or less ignored it, which I think was a big mistake. They said that the inflation was going to be transitory is what they kept saying. And then when we saw in 2022, it was only accelerating.
Bryan Kuderna (13:28.53)
which I think you had to recognize with the level of stimulus that our government pumped into our economy that inflation was only going to be a natural byproduct and so That was kind of the crazy time was last year and then the Fed said alright, you know all hands on deck We're gonna Jack rates through the roof as fast as we can and that was a shock to the markets but now Inflation which was public enemy number one has kind of been brought under control to an extent
And so the higher interest rates, which was kind of like the, um, think of it as almost like the, the chemotherapy or the radiation to the cancer, it was able to really kill for the most part inflation, but some of the ancillary damage was like the banking sector. And so we'll see how far that goes. Fortunately, I think right now it is contained. I think we're okay. Um, so that's where I think it's quite a bit different than O8 from that, that standpoint.
Okay, and this is why venture money is actually drawing up as well, because nowadays you, so I get to invite privilege enough to talk to a lot of VCs on this podcast, and people are not making as much investment. I mean, good deals are still happening, but it's just not like a couple years ago where just like every dumb idea is getting a couple million dollars paycheck. So yeah, do you think that's the reason which...
Bryan Kuderna (14:44.723)
And that's simply because there's just not enough money around. Like if you rewind two years ago, you could hear an idea and say, Hey, why not? We'll throw a few million dollars at it. Now, you know, we're kind of shrinking the money supply. The feds getting much tighter. And so the trickle effect is then banks and lenders are saying, all right, we really need to tighten the belt. And so we can't take on as risky ventures, you know, every day like they used to in the VC space.
Gotcha. I love it. Why finance? Of all the things, why finance?
Bryan Kuderna (15:25.246)
for me, like my career. So it's a great question. I would say, um, if, if I look at really what I want to do, and this may sound corny to an extent, but like, I want to help people. I want to teach people, uh, and I want to be an entrepreneur. That's, that's what I found out. That was kind of like my, my purpose, if you will. Um, and then finance ultimately just became that kind of means to an end, uh, where
Bryan Kuderna (15:54.394)
It was something I kind of fell into for lack of a better phrase, you know, when I was in college and, um, you know, I've learned quickly, like, okay, there's a way I can utilize some of this knowledge or skillset and finance to help people. Because if you look at people, you know, what are they really, really worried about? They're worried about their health and they're worried about their wealth. Okay. And they kind of go hand in hand. And sometimes if the wealth isn't so good, the health suffers and vice versa. Their health isn't so good. Then the wealth suffers.
So it was like, all right, this is kind of the course I've chosen. It's interesting to me. I love economics. I think it's just absolutely fascinating. That's why I wrote a book on it. Um, but that's kind of why is I feel like it's just my way to go out and have a big impact and help people, uh, so then all the other parts of their life can be a little more enjoyable.
And that's when you started writing. So just to spread the whole message and reach the wider audience. Right?
Bryan Kuderna (16:52.154)
Yeah, exactly. You know, I always, I liked writing, you know, when I was growing up, like I wrote for our school newspaper. I managed our paper in college, the signal is called. And there was always that passion there, like how can I write? And so it was in 2016 that, you know, all along, like behind the scenes, I was accumulating stories with clients, like things that were awesome, things that were terrible, you know, just all these kinds of case studies of dealing with the public.
And I was like, man, all these stories would be so informative as a whole. And so that's where I came up with my first book, which was called millennial millionaire, and it was a way for me to merge kind of my passion for writing. Also with financial literacy, uh, so that it was kind of applicable, you know, to my day job, and that's when I had my first book and then that did open doors for, you know, some of the other writing that I wanted to do.
Tell us a little bit about that. You know, what was it for? What was the message? How did the audience perceive it? Yeah, anything you can talk about that.
Bryan Kuderna (17:53.462)
Mm-hmm. So it was, um, it was very much a learning experience. It was kind of like, I, I love writing. I know I'm pretty good at it. And I have some really interesting stories from my clients and my experiences. So I put that all down on paper, um, over the span of maybe a couple of years or so, uh, I wrote this book and then, um, didn't really know what to do with it. I worked with some literary agents. They really wanted to kind of change a lot of the content and
rebrand it and I was like, this is too much. Like you're kind of taking my voice away. So I ended up self publishing that book and it did well. When I kind of got it out to the media, to CNBC and Forbes and some others, they liked the idea of millennial millionaire. There was such a craze about millennials at the time. So it did well and eventually that's kind of what brought about this follow-up, which is my new book, What Should I Do With My Money?
Little bit different. We can get into that, but that's it all started with that first book in 2016.
And while we're at it, let's talk about your new book that just came out, I think, which is What Do I Do With My Money? So, how did you come up with this idea? Because the name is like catchy as hell.
Bryan Kuderna (19:11.234)
Well, that's exactly it. Everybody was kind of asking over the past six years, are you going to write a sequel to Monial Millionaire? Is there going to be a follow-up? There's so much that has happened in our economy. You think about it, when that book came out, Donald Trump hadn't even run for president yet. Then the whole world changed dramatically in six, seven years.
So long story short, I started compiling a lot more content, doing a lot more research, more economic driven than personal finance and started talking with a lot of bigger publishers. I signed a contract with McGraw Hill and when I was writing this, I was like, a lot of what I'm explaining here is kind of the why behind a financial plan and the why behind the economy.
So I was like, I don't know if it's really a how to, from a finance standpoint, it's a more understanding the overall construct of our economy and how we fit into that. And so as we're kind of going through different title ideas, you know, I already had the entire manuscript, uh, you know, written at that point. And my editor was kind of toying around with some titles for me and they were just like, you know, what about, what should I do with my money? You know, it's just such a Google term. And so
Part of it was like it's very fitting and part of it was also, you know, it was perfect for SEO and stuff where it's like, it's always going to be there.
So usually, and I'll come back to the context of this particular question as well, so usually when you talk about money, a lot of people let you think about how to make more money. I mean, that's probably one of the most Google term out there on research-wise. But you guys focused on what do I do with my money, right? So what the whole book is exactly about, is it more about a framework, is it more about individuals who are looking to build wealth, is it more about...
Bryan Kuderna (20:56.67)
businesses to make smart decisions, do smart investment. Like what is it exactly about?
Bryan Kuderna (21:18.61)
Yep. Yeah. So I don't think it's necessarily for businesses. It's more for the individual and the general public at large. And so kind of the concept and what I explained in the introduction is, you know, every day I go to work or I have a zoom meeting or whatever it might be. And I sit down with a client and ultimately they say, what should I do with my money? You know, that's the question that I answer as a financial advisor. And then what happens is, you know, I'll start to explain to them,
You want to do X, Y, and Z. And this is, you know, the plan that you should have. And then what they're going to say is, well, why, and then that Y is kind of what opens the can of worms. And that's what gave birth to my book ultimately. So whether we talk about, you know, an insurance product or an investment or a tax strategy, they're going to say why. And then as they dig a little bit deeper, it's going to kind of like peel back all these layers of the onion.
that are going to introduce, you know, well, why is our entitlement set up the way they are? Why are, you know, our education system set up the way it is? Why are, why is tech a good investment or why is going green a good investment? You know, why is our tax system the way it is? Should it be capitalist or socialist? And you get into all these deeper and deeper questions, like very quickly, uh, with clients. And so that's what I tried to do is kind of explain how we got to where we are with these major hot button issues.
and how the macro environment comes all the way down to the micro environment and the kitchen table decisions that we make. So kind of drawing that connection is what I tried to do so that then when people devise a plan, they now have conviction. They're like, I get why I'm doing it. And I understand kind of where I fit in this gigantic puzzle.
So if somebody like me were to read this book, what would I get out of that?
Bryan Kuderna (23:09.97)
Yep. So I think it's going to be just a very broad knowledge, both from like a historical standpoint of like, when people say like, why does social security even work? Like, how did it come about? Like, is it still going to stay solvent? Are my kids going to enjoy it? Things like that, those kind of questions. That's where we take a step back and say, here is the concept behind it. You know, when it came out of the, you know, the New Deal, and, you know, when we came out of the Great Depression and
That's just one small example. Why is that there? How is it funded? What's the math behind it to do something like that? And then bring it all the way up to today in 2023, when now we have 8 billion people here roaming the earth. How can these different programs survive when there's only a finite amount of dollars that are being kind of competed for, for all these different programs, for defense, for entitlements, for health care?
And so I think that's the thing. Like if you read the book, one, you'll get an understanding. And then two, it concludes with a, a, uh, financial literacy course in the final chapter. And so you'll understand how to draw up your own financial plan in reference to all the major things that are going on in the world today. And so I think once you, a, you have a plan in B you understand it. Now you can really, you know, make some head.
Because if you don't understand it, your plan is meaningless. And if you do understand what's going on, but you don't know how to draw up a plan, it's also worthless. So this kind of marries the two together.
Yeah, I love it. So I come from, I was at the age, and we grew up reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which is probably the most read book among one of those. And then we read, what was the other one? Think and Grow Rich, something like that. Napoleon Hill one, yeah. So the point I want to make is, we're just listening and reading a few weeks ago, and I just got to know the average household
Bryan Kuderna (24:55.958)
Mm hmm. Yep. Great book.
Bryan Kuderna (25:04.357)
in Napoleon Hill, yep.
the average individual income of a person in the US who's a US citizen is $55,000 per year, okay? And the average income of a top 1% person around the world is $32,000. Anybody who's making $32,000 a year is considered top 1% globally, okay? And then, so my question is that all these books like written on making millions and the one that...
Bryan Kuderna (25:37.746)
probably is very, very famous these days is $100 million offers, Alex Hormozis. So there are like hundreds and thousands of book and these few books sold millions of copies around the world, but we do not have that level of success coming towards people. So why do you think that is so? Like people are reading, the books are selling, the message is getting out there, like this is how you can make more money, that's the framework, like that's exact.
Bryan Kuderna (25:49.398)
what you need to do in order to make more money. But people are like not making more money. Because if that was the case, the top 1% should be, I don't know, the average should be at 100K at least, not 32K, right? So why do you think that is so?
Bryan Kuderna (26:22.426)
Yep. Exactly. So there's, I'd have two answers to that. The first one is, you know, everything's relative. So you could make $55,000 in the US, in New York City and live in complete poverty. Because it just $55,000 won't even get you an apartment in New York City. All right, where that same $55,000 if I go down to Tijuana or to Costa Rica, or
to some other place in the world, I might be able to live like a millionaire. That might go very, very far. So I think you just have to recognize kind of the context that money goes further in different parts of the globe than others. The second thing, and I think what really speaks to my new book is if we were to take this million dollar seed, we had a seed to a beautiful redwood tree that was going to be the most beautiful tree in the world. If we put that in a nice fertile soil.
it'll grow and it will be that most beautiful tree in the world. If we just drop it on a rock in the middle of the desert, it will never ever change. It will never ever go anywhere. And so I think that's kind of the thing is you can take one of those books that you just mentioned. And if you give it to a child in a privileged background in a private school in Manhattan, maybe it accomplishes everything and becomes the millionaire. If you give it to someone that's in a third world country, um, where schooling stops in sixth grade,
there's only so much you can do. And so I think that's one of the biggest messages of my book is looking at the macro economy and figuring out how can we continue to kind of spread so that there's more and more of those higher starting points around the globe. And I think eventually we're getting there step by step, but it's a process and there's still parts, you know, pockets of the globe and even our country that are left behind.
And they, you know, they need to be improved or else the people in those economies don't really have as good a chance.
100% agree to that and I loved your second answer actually quite a lot because what I think is so when I get to meet a lot of people and you know you do all that networking thing everybody's just like There's like nothing stopping you just can go and do whatever I want and then you see over the internet Especially over the internet everybody's like an expert on anything and we're gonna come back to that later on is just like you can you can Make I don't know pick a number like ten grand a month or something It's pretty easy
Everybody should be able to do that. It's just like that easy. And if you're not, if you like don't have a couple of millions going on for you, you're probably at a failure. You're like, haven't done anything in your life. But if you look at the macro economy, you'll get to see most of the people on this planet earth, most of the people, their problem is not about making a million dollars a year or, you know, even 10 grand a month. Like that's not their problem. Their problem is like probably staying alive, staying healthy.
and just eating like three times a day. That's their biggest problem, drinking water and health and all of that stuff. So I think one of the things, my personal problem with the books and with this messaging that we have over the internet is it's like, there's a book streak thing, I don't know if you know about that or not. So the book streak thing is you're like reading a book, every week, so it's just like probably 52 plus weeks in a year.
Bryan Kuderna (29:22.516)
Bryan Kuderna (29:30.875)
Bryan Kuderna (29:47.497)
So you have to read a book every week. And then you have to just go and you have to just post it. Like, okay, so this is week one. I had to start with why. Week two, I don't know, you know, leaders eat last or something. And then you just kept doing the same thing every week, every week, every week. And the message somebody trying to put out there is just like, okay, so if you're like reading, you know, regularly, it's gonna change your life. It's gonna do this thing. No, it's just like, no. Like, without context, book don't mean anything, right?
Bryan Kuderna (30:03.082)
Bryan Kuderna (30:06.716)
Bryan Kuderna (30:19.062)
Books don't mean anything if you don't have a context. And exactly to your point, I think, which is like, if you're not looking at the bigger economy, if you're reading these sort of books and people who are privileged enough, they went to private school, they don't have these three times a day eating problems and they're not fighting for survival, they can definitely be a millionaire. They should be easily a millionaire. So that's the schema for them, not for everybody. So the audience is much different.
Bryan Kuderna (30:37.406)
But the way social media is like pushing these information to everybody. It's like, oh yeah, okay, take it. Just go become a millionaire.
Bryan Kuderna (30:51.526)
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, and you know, I think it is a good thing in that, that effort, if you will, it, maybe it's kind of pushing the boundaries a little further and it's bringing that knowledge to more and more people that maybe are on the periphery and they can jump in and benefit from that. But you're right. There's other people that, that is like speaking another language that just won't land. And that's why with my book and why I structured it the way that I did.
is we start with kind of defining wealth and not in a monetary sense, but in just a sense of wellbeing and how to really live kind of a full balanced life. And then I go into economics. I take a very deep dive into economics because economics is ultimately what controls everything. It's what decides, you know, in one country, you know, you have a great starting line versus another country. You know, there's a very low ceiling that you can kind of get to.
So that's why there is that structure of define wealth and success in your terms, understand economies and how they work together and some of the pros and cons of each one, and then ultimately get to finance. Because if we go straight to the last step, that's like picking up one of those books you mentioned and all the stuff before it, we're missing it. There's no foundation there. So I think that's what's so key is that we have to recognize that.
And then we can start to make, you know, realistic decisions as opposed to just pie in the sky that that may never even really resonate with our situation.
Yeah, 100% agree to that. Speaking of private schools in Manhattan, for very personal reasons, do you think formal education means something in this world anymore? Or is it like, no, that's gone, that's done?
Bryan Kuderna (32:41.674)
So another great question. That's a, it's actually the sec or third chapter of my book. So I, I start with population and kind of defining like the context and the dynamics of people. Then I get into entitlements. And then the next one goes into education, which is kind of the incubator of everything else that we could possibly discuss. So what my message is, is I think knowledge is power. I think education is one of the most important assets you could attain.
But what I'm very crystal clear on is that education can come in so many different formats and it doesn't have to just be that four year degree that costs, you know, $200,000. So I don't think that that education in that context is dead. Um, I just think it's going through an evolution, uh, right now, which is a good thing. I think any system that just becomes so ingrained in society, it can become complacent.
And so you need to every once in a while, shake that up and say, okay, you know, let's see what kind of falls out, what's good and what's bad. And I think at least here in America in particular, we're going through that. And the reason is the student loan pandemic that we're going through, um, where you're having all these young professionals, you know, trying to find jobs out there. And at the same time, they're saying, man, my starting line is negative $150,000. What do I do?
And then that has kind of a ripple effect to all the other big life events and getting married, having a family, buying a house and starting a business. So it's kind of, we're just in that, that moment in time where it's like, we're shaking that pot up again. And I think what you're going to see is, uh, maybe a little bit of a pullback on the four year university experience. You're seeing a rise in community college, in trades, in more
what's just go out and learn what we need to learn to have a job as opposed to the liberal arts of just kind of learn a little bit of everything. So it's, it's not a bad thing. It's just something that I think needs to happen. In a closing note on that, that's why I'm, I'm pretty loud in opposed to the student loan forgiveness, because at least here in the States, what that would do, if we were just to wipe out the student loans, is that
kind of defeats this entire evolution that I'm describing. And it gives the schools essentially a blank check to say, keep doing what you're doing, keep expanding and opening the doors to everybody. And don't worry about the price tag because the U S government is going to back it all up. And I think that that takes away some of the value, both of the education and the sense of urgency of the student to really get value out of it. So that's, that's kind of a whole nother issue.
Okay, that's a very interesting take. Speaking of students and you know, different age and different eras, what do you think about financial management and different generation? Like previously, people wanted to go, have a secure, safe job, 95 thing, like that was it, right? And then at that point, entrepreneurs were like labeled as like non-serious idiot guys who just like running around doing stupid stuff and they're like not serious with their lives.
Bryan Kuderna (36:01.078)
But today is like totally different. And then all of a sudden, it's like there's a switch. So more and more people want to take risk with their life. So in terms of financial management, in terms of wealth management, how do you see a difference with the generations before and the generation now?
Bryan Kuderna (36:23.882)
So I think, again, this is kind of this long evolution that when we're in it, it seems to take forever. And it's kind of like, how is this ever going to come to a happy ending? But when we take a step back and we look at it from like a historical standpoint, things happen kind of quicker than we actually realize. And so ultimately, like, if we look at and I talk a lot in my book about this, if we look at after, you know, the 1930s, 1940s.
That's when we built up this entitlement system in America. And so when we essentially had the government enter the picture and say, almost in essence, we'll take care of everything. You just, you go to work, take care of your family and we got the rest. And that was done through social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and on and on and on. And so the baby boomers, you know, prior generations were able to say, I'll just kind of put my head in the sand. I'll work hard.
And then when I retire, you know, I'll be taken care of and I'll sail off into the sunset. Now those programs due to, you know, financial and economic issues, uh, are, are not as solvent as maybe we originally expected them to be. And so it's kind of saying, all right, now the government and pension systems and the like can't really uphold their end of the bargain. So we're shifting the responsibility to the individual or to the small business owner, the household. And so.
they're being forced to kind of step up to the plate and take the reins. And with that, they need to get in the know, they need to get educated financially. So I think we're kind of in this chasm again, where we're going from a generation that was taken care of and didn't need to be so savvy financially over to a generation that needs to really get their financial IQ up to speed because they need to be able to fill those gaps. And so it's always that in between
during the transition period where some people can kind of get left behind. And that's what we're trying as hard and as quickly as we can as a society to make up that gap. So that's from the financial literacy standpoint, from, if we take a step outside of the classroom, what I think really also helped the baby boomers in the prior generations is while they may not have had this huge financial IQ, they had the discipline and the habits.
to be successful because their moms and dads went through the Great Depression and they understood that it could all be gone tomorrow. And so by having gone through that, they were extremely frugal and they understood you don't spend what you don't have. You work and you save what you have. You put money under the mattress, you be conservative. And so they took that kind of mindset forward. And as we went further and further into this,
beautiful economy we enjoy today, that pain of the Great Depression just became further and further away. As such, people lost the discipline to be frugal. That's where now we've got to be able to let that pendulum swing back to where now we want to have the knowledge and the discipline to be okay.
I think in this particular race, it's like knowledge is in abundance, but the discipline is not there. Right?
Bryan Kuderna (39:45.574)
Yes, I think you're exactly right. And it's true, because I'll meet with young professionals every day that can tell me about the latest cryptocurrency. They can tell me about these new venture capital ideas they're reading about online, stuff that my parents or grandparents would not even understand what that was. And they say all that, but then meanwhile, they're buying stupid stuff on their credit card. They're buying stocks on the Robinhood app for $15 and
It's like, what are you doing? Like you're learning a lot, but what you're doing is not, not smart. And so I think that's where you need to be able to connect the dots.
Yeah, I want to ask you something on these different financial models. And the question actually popped up yesterday. So I was just, you know, going, was doing some research. And then, you know, one short or like TikTok or whatever that short form video is. So that came up and then that person was describing what the whole private equity thing is. Right. So I'm from the world of startups, so I do know what private equity is. But yesterday was the day when I get to know, okay, so how big of a business that is.
and that is one of the most successful way of making wealth, at least in the US. So what's your thought on this entire private equity system, which is like, you know, 10 people get together, like somehow they're in the $10 million, $100 million fund, and then they're like pouring investments here and there, and then just, you know, reap. So what do you think about that?
Bryan Kuderna (41:15.57)
Yep. So I wouldn't say that I'm an expert on private equity, but I know that, and I hear different opinions on it too. I hear that kind of its day is done that, that it had a really good run. And now it's not as advantageous as it was maybe 10 years ago. But you know, buying large it's, it's, you know, these people coming together with a large amount of assets and, you know, buying opportunities out there that just the average Joe can't do.
which is kind of similar in essence to like a hedge fund or a mutual fund and what they would do just from a purely investing standpoint. And a lot of people have the allure when you get in the higher net worth space of, you know, I want something different. I want something that I can have that you can't have. And that gives a little bit of that sex appeal, if you will, to private equity. So, you know, I don't know if the returns in PE, if you look at the whole space have really been that much higher.
than what else is out in the marketplace. What I do see a lot of in private equity though is there are investments, heavy investments into healthcare, in particular long-term care. And I think that that is something that's a little bit alarming is when you look at these nursing homes and these assisted living facilities. And it's not that grandma and grandpa had a lot of money and they own this assisted living and take care of everybody.
you know, give them quality care. Now you're seeing, you know, you name the big private equity firm. They'll cut a check for a billion dollars and buy five of these assisted living facilities. And their only motive at that point is to turn a profit for their investment. And so now it's like, you look at, there's kind of a, a contradiction between drive a profit and well, what about the quality of care of the people laying in all those beds there in those facilities?
and they're not maybe on the same side of the coin. So I think with private equity, there can be a place for it, but there's some places where if greed is the motive, which is the purpose of a hedge fund or a private equity, then it's like, is that going to have a happy ending? And I think that's something that needs to get more and more attention.
Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot. Speaking of greed, and we are in the age of internet and all the tech thing that's happening. So one thing that I almost ask all my guests is, like, over the internet, everybody's an expert on anything, everything, right? You go, you Google something, you'll find an expert, you go to YouTube, you'll find like 20 years old kid teaching you every single thing that you're talking about, like probably more than whatever you're talking about.
Bryan Kuderna (43:52.927)
Bryan Kuderna (44:02.046)
So everyone is teaching how to make more money, right? Overnight, especially, you can turn this thing around, like, I don't know, sell this Apple pencil and then you can make 100 grand in a month. So if people are doing all that, that kind of would be like, probably one of the most searched terms is how to make more money. My question, it's a two-fold question. So question one is, why do you think people are doing that? Because it's easier to scam people now, given all the information is out there, and it's like, if I were to sell you
or my audience a course which is more like, okay, so this is how you guys can make a million dollars overnight. Is it like, what exactly is out there which is why all these content, like all this kind of content is getting so much popularity and people are getting scammed. A lot of people are getting scammed. They're taking courses, buying courses, launching weird businesses, but not making anything out of that. So what do you think about that? Like why is it happening?
Bryan Kuderna (44:58.942)
Yep. Yeah, it's, it's a real problem. I'm in agreement on it. And I try to really sound the alarm, you know, through my podcast, through my book, through, you know, the platform I have to really address that because it's true. I mean, I can have these, you know, advanced degrees in finance. I can have every license and certification under the sun. And then to go out and impart wisdom and recommendations, I have to go through a million hurdles of compliance.
to have it be okayed that I can give this general advice to the public. Whereas if I'm an 18 year old kid that just signs up a TikTok account and I have, you know, cool music going on and flashing lights, I can just start shouting out the craziest, stupidest investment ideas out there. And if it sounds cool, it might gain an audience and it might gain some traction. And so you have kind of that combination where there's like literally zero barriers to entry.
All right. Particularly in finance. Um, and that's where I spend so much time, you know, in my book, trying to hammer into people is to have a certain level of respect for the industry and, and recognize that, you know, get quality advice and counsel. It's just like, if you were going to get surgery, you know, you're going to have brain surgery from someone that's studied the brain for 20 years through residencies and fellowships and the like, before they get there.
You're not going to listen to some kid on TikTok about what to do with a tumor in your brain. So you got to really kind of give it some respect. And then the other thing is from the consumer standpoint, it's just we've become accustomed to being scammed. And I think people are okay with that. And I talk about this in both of my books, that if I open up men's fitness or something, we could put on the front page, follow the food pyramid.
don't have too much sugar and just go out and have some exercise for 45 minutes a day. And if you do that, you're going to be a very healthy person, but that would never ever sell a magazine every single month. So what we'll put in there is how to get abs in six minutes and bench press more tomorrow with the supplement. And that's what people naturally like is that instant gratification. And so that's applicable in finance as well.
Bryan Kuderna (47:25.098)
chasing that is just chasing a ghost and you chase it further and further and further and it doesn't end there's not a win there and So that's why it's kind of like this self-fulfilling prophecy that just doesn't go away
Yeah, I love the answer. I love it. One thing that you mentioned is instant gratification. And the second question was like along the same lines is everybody wants to have the result like next day, like literally next day. So I was like doing a lot of research and like really interesting to know that you know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Huge fan, by the way. So yeah, coming out of the point. So what people think is, is it's like, you know, I go to gym today. Next day, I'm going to have like six apps.
Bryan Kuderna (48:00.618)
That was awesome.
or like six pack or whatever. Okay, so I go today, I'm gonna lose like 20 pounds next day. And then they get to know, oh, okay, so the road is not as smooth and as silky as we were thinking, so it's probably gonna take a lot of time, it's probably gonna take a lot of work. And that's when the whole, like that's the whole supplement market actually exploded, right? Like that's it, that's the game. Is it's like, we're gonna help you get there faster, and plus that they add some insure to on top of that, like you are.
Bryan Kuderna (48:12.302)
definitely going to get there. If you take our supplements, you can definitely have all these abs and you're going to look muscular and you're going to look beautiful or like have I don't know, beautiful hair or this and that. And people are like, oh, okay. Instant gratification, that's the thing that I should buy. That's the thing I should spend money on because it's going to reduce my time. So I don't have to be patient. I don't have to put in that much amount of work. It's just like if I buy this stupid thing, I can be like whoever I want to be. Right? So
Bryan Kuderna (48:47.686)
Coming to financial literacy, coming to wealth management, and linking it up with instant gratification, do you actually think that this entire get rich, quicker thing actually exists or not? What do you think about that?
Bryan Kuderna (49:23.526)
No, it doesn't. It's it's been a scam since the beginning of time, since it was thought of. It's been a scam all the way through and it still is today. And there's still just as many people as ever that say, all right, maybe it is a scam, but I'm still going to try it anyways. And that's, it's a sad thing to see. And I do see it all the time, you know, just constantly being out with people having these conversations. But that's, that's kind of the world that we live in. And that's why
Like I keep saying, you know, I wrote this book and I put down 275 pages of the real world and this is what's going on. And I very upfront, I put like a disclosure as soon as I can in the introduction that you're going to read things in this book that you like and you're going to read things that you don't like. But acknowledging that that's, you know, the reality that we live in is the first step to making progress. And I think that's what people need to see. And as a financial advisor.
You know, I'll share that with people. I'll try and motivate them. I'll hand them a copy of my book. Um, but fortunately I'm at a position now where I can say to clients, if you can't get on board with this, then I'm not your guy, I'm not your advisor, you know, cause I want to show you what to do with your money. I don't want to spend all our meetings trying to convince you why you need to care about your money. And that's the key thing because.
A lot of people out there, I just don't think they care as much as they should. Otherwise they wouldn't chance, you know, chase these pipe dreams of, you know, Hey, I'm going to make quick money or I can do this or that. Um, and I know we're going back and forth between, you know, kind of my book, what should I do with my money? And then some of the things you mentioned of like, how do I make more money? Um, the, how do I make more money? I just always answer people and they ask me, you work and work is work.
And that's just that that's the way it's always been. You know, you can go become an influencer or go, you know, get some Tik TOK followers or do these different things and maybe you can make a quick buck and that's great, but you have to think about what's the longevity and the sticking power and the only thing that lasts is, you know, what has an impact. And so that's, I think what's key is you need to be able to conjure up whatever skill it is to have an impact that lasts. Otherwise, you know, it's just.
not going to last.
Yeah, I was just like, you know, on that influencer note, was just like, you know, reading something the other day, especially around viral content, like how somebody created a video, not somebody, like probably a few hundred people created a video on how to create a viral content and like millions of views and this and that. And then some guy probably under it, he posted this thing, like the problem with posting or like making viral videos is like, why not 100 times in a hit or home run, right? You're gonna get
millions of subscriber is going to boost your channel this and that. But like that is it. Like long time no plan. The audience is not yours. Like whoever, you know, signed up is because they're like, oh, yeah, well, OK, cool, vital content. So I like the memes. You know, I'll just subscribe or whatever. But the moment you actually start thinking about, OK, so how do I monetize this audience? Zero answer, because there's like nothing. They're like not the actual subscriber. So I think to your point as well.
Bryan Kuderna (52:29.744)
like this entire get rich quick thing is like that's a scam, right? That's like that's a whole scam and we have seen that in this entire crypto market. So there was this like FOMO, everybody was buying stupid stuff, weird named coin, this and that like every day it's like hey I'm an influencer I got like I don't know a million or two people following me so I'm just launching my own coin and then you know swept the floor under everybody's feet and then made up I don't know.
Bryan Kuderna (52:57.878)
how much money and then all people are left-handed, right? That's the reality of it.
Bryan Kuderna (53:22.854)
Yep. And it's, it's true. And, you know, I feel the pressure too myself because when I, you know, write articles for the media or, you know, even when I was writing my book and I was dealing with this team of editors, they were, they, they continually try to kind of tease out of you that that new idea, like what about this trick? What about, what if they did this? Like they want me to, to almost, you know, offer that up to the audience.
Cause they know that there's this timeless appeal for that instant gratification. And that's one of the hardest things for me is, you know, pretty much telling people like, no, I'm not going to do that. Like I'll, I'll try and entertain and I'll try and share good content and stories that come back to my narrative of more slow, steady discipline. Um, but you know, and a lot of people are, you know, have that appropriate mindset out there. I don't ever want it to appear. That's not that way.
But I think that the media is so enamored with this timeless audience that is just always going to show up every day for the scam or the get rich quick scheme, and they want to avoid nuance. Cause even if you put one of those scams up there and said, Hey, you know, invest in this, it's got a great meme. It's got a huge following. It's on Twitter, you know, blah, blah, blah. If you said, you know, before you do that, click this link and you have to read these two pages and then you could do it.
I bet you the amount of investors would drop by 90% because they'd say, well, it sounds so cool, but I don't want to read the two pages. They would just check out. Which is sad, but it's easy to make money off of them and kind of prey off of them. But I think that's a smaller segment of the population. That's what I try and focus more on is hopefully win them over, but then let's get down the
kind of make headway and that's learning economics and then having a sound financial.
Yeah, totally agree to that. Speaking of trends, actually, everybody's favorite, what do you think of AI? And how do you think, good or bad, how do you think that's going to change the whole financial management, wealth management thing? And is it going to be helpful? It's not going to be helpful. It's going to be harmful. So what's your take on that?
Bryan Kuderna (55:46.438)
I think it's great. I think any innovation is a good thing. It can be used for both good and bad. You could say that about any technology since we invented the car up to advanced weaponry, to computers, to the internet, and on and on to AI. What it can do is the whole purpose of technology is to get things done faster and to get things done a little bit easier.
the only motive, then it's a good thing because it's being able to take a little bit more off of my plate so that I can allocate more of my finite amount of time to other things that are more productive or happier for me. So in that regard, I think AI is just like any other innovation where it's taking off some of the workload from us. Now is it going to replace financial advisors or anything? I get asked that a lot.
I don't think so, not at all. Maybe it will for some of the kind of lower, uh, lower talent or lower level tasks, you know, which is okay. Cause then we can let that be taken care of maybe in a more cost efficient or a quicker manner through AI, but there's still going to be, um, you know, me sitting down with a client motivating them and convincing them that you're taking, you know, your life savings and putting it here.
And that for a whole variety of reasons, this is why it works. Where AI just one, it's not going to inspire that level of safety and comfort to the client where then they can take action, which they need to do to have any sort of improvement in two, it may not be able to look at all those what if scenarios, um, you know, that we can. So I think there's still a long way to go before robots kind of take over.
Now, are there things that are scary about it? You know, there are, as you start to get into other aspects of the economy, and in particular, you know, what I talk about too in my book is, you know, what they call black boxes where, you know, you get the artificial intelligence to do something that you want it to do, and then you don't understand at all how it actually came to that conclusion and got there. And it's very difficult then to understand and reverse engineer that to, to kind of, um,
figure it out. And so when AI starts to kind of go down this dark road that we can't really follow, that's where, you know, like anything else, again, you know, there's there's good applications and there's bad applications. And so I think that's where there just needs to be constraint around it. And you want to try and obviously keep that in good hands as opposed to, you know, terrorists or nefarious hands.
Yeah, great. All right, Brian, so we have this ritual on the podcast. So what we do is we ask all our guests a question for our next guest without knowing who the next guest is gonna be. So we obviously have a question for you and at the end of the recording, I'm gonna take a question from you as well for our next guest. So the question that I have for you is a very interesting one. And this is by your fellow New Jersey, person who's in New Jersey by the time I interview him.
So if you were standing on a stage, the world was ending tonight, and you had the entire planet listening to you, what is the last thing that you would want people to hear? Like the most profound stuff you got, your best stuff, what would that be?
Bryan Kuderna (59:19.963)
And everybody's going to die tomorrow.
Okay, so it doesn't matter anyway.
Bryan Kuderna (59:27.734)
If that's what you're saying, like if it's if I'm on the stage and we're all going down tomorrow the world would be no more I would just say You know Love someone and show them that you love them You know, cuz if it's coming to an end, you know, that's all we got is kind of that connection with other people So let them know it's there, you know, sometimes we don't get to say the things we wanted to say and then it's too late So while we're here
Bryan Kuderna (59:54.61)
You know, I would just say, don't be afraid to show that.
Great answer. I'd like, thank you so much for the time. We love talking to you. Appreciate it and we should do that again. Probably on some more controversial finance things and economics or something like that. Okay?
Bryan Kuderna (01:00:11.986)
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Thank you so much. I'm gonna see her and everyone go check out my new book again. It's called, what should I do with my money? I know we gave some world teasers today, but it's just such a deep dive into some of these issues. And that's, that's what I think is so key. Just get understanding. Once you get understanding, then the world's your oyster. So, you know, that's what I want people to get out of my book.
100%, you can check that out in show notes as well, as well in the YouTube description. Thank you so much, guys, for watching my part for us.
Bryan Kuderna (01:00:45.022)