Jay Gabrani’s Wife Died from Opioids and Now he Wants You To Be Prepared | PoP 448

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Jay Gabrani’s Wife Died from Opioids and Now he Wants You To Be Prepared | PoP 448

How do you secure your family’s financial future? How do you make sure you’re prepared for life’s curveballs? What are some things you can do today to get started?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Jay Gabrani about how his wife dying from opioids has taught him to be prepared and how you too can prepare yourself.

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Meet Jay Gabrani

After his first child was born in 2005, Jay jumped into the world of real estate investing. Overcoming many challenges, he built a seven-figure real estate portfolio. That portfolio helped him take a multi-year sabbatical to deal with heartbreaking personal tragedy when his wife passed away in 2014.

Before his wife passed away, Jay thought he was financially prepared. After going through the experience of being the executor of his wife’s estate, he realized he wasn’t.

Today, Jay makes an impact on raising his three children and empowering Fathers to secure their Family’s Financial Future as the founder of Prepared Fathers.

Visit Jay’s website, connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and listen to his podcast.

In This Podcast


  • Taking a sabbatical
  • Lessons learned
  • Being prepared
  • Building blocks of being a prepared father
  • Things you can do today to get started

Taking a sabbatical

Everyone will go through tough things, at the end of the day you have to take care of yourself so that you can ulitimately take care of your children.

After Jay’s wife passed away suddenly, he took a sabbatical. Most of his days were spent empty, pondering and he dedicated himself to the needs of his 3 kids. He also made the time to get back into exercise, he introduced the practice of meditation and did a lot of reading and educating himself on the study of people.

Lessons learned

Good things happen in life, bad things happen in life, the only thing you control is how you react to any of it.

Everyone gets thrown life’s curveballs and this is something he has taught his kids to recognize.

Being prepared

If your family won’t be ready, especially if you oversee all the finance, then some steps have to be taken.

Jay found himself in a very tough position after his wife’s passing, where he was the executor of her estate, and he was not prepared. He did not know passwords, where the safety deposit box key was and the only thing he had at this point was a will that they had previously drawn up. Jay started talking to other fathers and asked whether they would be prepared if something were to happen in their families, and the answer he continually got was a resounding ‘no’. This was the start of Prepared Fathers.

Building blocks of being a prepared father

How hard you work has very little to do with how well you retire,

There are components:

  1. Preparedness – are your wills in place, do you have powers of attorney in place, have you reviewed your insurance program?
  2. Income – are you making enough money to look after yourself today but to also put away money for your family’s future?
  3. Wealth building – what do you invest in so that it grows over the next 30/40 years so that it can support your family when you retire?
  4. Financial lessons to teach children – are you having these conversations with your kids, so that they are also saving and learning?

Things you can do today to get started

  1. At the very least, make sure that you have a will drawn up. If you can’t get it legalized for any reason immediately, at least make sure that you have it in writing.
  2. Skills pay the bills, invest more in marketing and your sales education so that you can build up your business. If you’re always working on your practice and you never outwardly focus on growing your business outside of yourself, then you are at a competitive disadvantage.

Click here to get these 3 checklists and schedule a free 30 min call with Jay:

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Financial Preparation for Fathers
  2. How Fathers Can Oversee Their Family Finances On Their Smart Phone
  3. 5 Things That Non-Financial Spouse Needs To Know

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK]: This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok session number 448.
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Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I am so excited that you are here and I’m excited that you’re getting things done. You know, every single day, well, not every day. I work three days a week, but every single day my team is helping people out. You know, even the other day, Jess, my director of details, she was texting me on a Sunday as I was driving. And I’m just like, “Why are you working?” And she said, well, I had some extra time. I wanted to catch up on emails and make sure people were being served through the website. If you don’t know, we now have live chat through our website practiceofthepractice.com, where if you have a question, if you’re like, “Hey, I remember this podcast, can you help me find it?” Or, “What resources do you have about these things?” Jess, is there letting you know kind of how to go in the right direction.
Or, you know, whenever we have a launch like Next Level Practice or Slow Down School or Killin’It Camp, she’s there to answer questions live so that you don’t have to email back and forth. I mean, it’s really amazing, just the team that we have. I mean, we have now three people in South Africa, we have four sound engineers here in Traverse City, we have Jess down in Florida, and then we have, you know, our three consultants that are with us also. So, I mean, it’s such an awesome team to have to support you in your private practice journey. And we continue to expand even beyond that into helping people launch podcasts. And so, we are going to be pretty soon here are taking applications for people that want to have us help them launch their podcasts. They want to be a part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network.
And we would love to help you do that. At the time of this recording, the best way to do that is practiceofthepractice.com/apply. We are going to have more pages around there, but honestly at this point we only take on four or five people at a time so that we can really launch those podcasts well. We say that the Practice of the Practice podcast network is a family of podcasts that are trying to change the world. And so far, I think we’re doing a pretty good job at it. Look at the podcasts that we’ve launched over at practiceofthepractice.com/network. They’re impressive people, people that I just feel so, just full of gratitude that they wanted to have us help them launch these big messages.
So, make sure you check out those other podcasts because there’s some really important things going on, both in how to develop your practice, but then also just how to develop yourself. So again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/network. Well, today we have Jay, whose wife, as you see in the name of this episode, his wife died from opioids and now he wants you to be prepared and he talks all about just what it means to be prepared for life’s curve balls. And I don’t even want to talk much about this because he gives so much amazing content. And so, without any further ado, I give you Jay.
Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Jay Gabranis. After Jay’s first child was born in 2005, he jumped into the world of real estate investing. Despite several challenges along the way, he built a multiple seven-figure real estate portfolio. That portfolio helped him take a multiyear sabbatical to deal with the heartbreaking tragedy of his wife passing away in 2014. Today, Jay makes an impact raising his three kids and empowering fathers to secure their family’s financial future as the founder of Prepared Fathers. Jay, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[JAY GABRANIS]: Great to be with you, Joe.
[JOE]: Yeah, I am so glad to have you here. First, I just can’t imagine losing your wife and, first I’m so sorry. I know that that was several years ago, but wow. Like, do you want to dig into that and tell us kind of what happened and how the, maybe time away, the sabbatical helped you with that? I don’t even, I was going to say work through that, but I don’t know if working through would even be the way to talk about it.
[JAY]: Sure, sure. Definitely. Well, you know what, I’ll give you a little background first. So, married 2004, three kids; 2005, 2007, 2009. So, let’s just say that life was pretty busy, a normal married couple. It was more a conventional relationship. I was more of the outwardly focused economic spouse per se and she was focused very busily on our children and the house so that everything was going fine. Back in 2011, she had a little slip and fall accident and she went to the doctor the next day and he prescribed her painkillers, Oxycontins. So, I know your audience is going to be very familiar and they probably heard this kind of story before. Unfortunately, Joe, over those next three years, she developed a very bad addiction. She had never touched a painkiller in her life until that 2011 day.
And that three years she developed an addiction threw on top, the children, young children at the time. When she passed away, they were five, seven and nine. So, it was an exceptionally busy household. So, you mix in the depression, addiction let’s just say it wasn’t a very good scene. I could see my wife kind of losing her confidence every day. Her self-esteem, it was just getting chiseled away. And yeah, on that 2014, late October, she made the decision that she didn’t want to be here anymore. So, it’s one of those things where I share this story because I value genuineness very, very highly. And I know already that, especially in your audience here, even if they’re not suffering, they have heard stories. Their patients, their clients go through these types of things all the time.
And let’s just say it was the biggest regret in my life. But you know, I had to take that sabbatical. I was running a business at the time, quite a good one, a mobile marketing agency. I just had to shut everything down and just inwardly focused to mourn, to help my children adjust, and basically to just figure out what I was going to do next in life. And thankfully, yeah, a real estate portfolio I had built, it let me do that. So that’s kind of the story. Please go ahead and ask any follow-up questions you have.
[JOE]: Yeah, I remember I was in a training around opioids and it was being put on by the local police mixed with, there was an advocate that was doing it with them and I forgot what the exact stat was, but they showed how I think it was, if you had a six-day prescription, you had like a 30% chance of getting addicted or something crazy like that. And they were talking about how like doctors don’t know these stats and how important it is for you to say, “No, I do not want a 30% chance of getting addicted to this. I only want a two-day prescription for this and then I’m going to switch to Tylenol,” or whatever the situation is. And just to know, and I don’t remember what the exact stat was, but it was something that shocking where it’s just a couple of days that it took to really get hooked. And to see just how that issue kind of comes to reality in your family, man. When you say that it’s one of your biggest regrets, you mean like not intervening or what do you mean there?
[JAY]: You know something Joe, like, again, when I have talked about this before I try and bring up the point that, you know, our schooling system, our education, nothing ever trains us for something like this, right? They don’t train us for marriage, how to be parents. But then at the end of the day, you get hit with this situation where your loved one, your spouse is just kind of deteriorating in front of you. What I mean by my biggest regret was I would always ask her, like, “Do you want to go see someone? Maybe we should go see this person, a psychologist or a doctor again, like et cetera.” And she would always refuse. And me, I was, not wanting to upset her further, so I didn’t push and say, “No, no, no.” I didn’t grab her by the hand and say, “We’re going. We’re going here and we’ve got to get this looked at.”
I really was unaware. I wasn’t overly supportive because at the end of the day, I didn’t quite know what this was. I would say silly things like, “Snap out of it. Your kids need you.” So, there’s definitely, as I look back now, you know, like I was not supportive and that’s really the biggest regret; is that I didn’t know how to deal with it and help her to deal with it. So that’s really where it’s the biggest regret. So, I talk about it so that, you know, maybe five years from now, someone will come and say, “Yeah, I heard you on Joe’s podcast and yeah, someone in my family was going through it and I intervened.” That would make me very, very happy. So that’s where I talk about it so that, you know, everyone goes through tough times in life and that just happened to be my most toughest, but if it can help someone, then that’s great. That’s why we talk about it.
[JOE]: Yeah. Wow. Now, in those years of sabbatical, how much time was that, that you took sabbatical?
[JAY]: It started with an intention of maybe one year and it ended up being four years just because I wasn’t ready after one year. I just needed more time. So, a four-year sabbatical, late 2014 to late 2018.
[JOE]: And maybe share a little bit of what was helpful during that time. Like what helped you grieve? What helped you grow? What was helpful?
[JAY]: Great question. So, I can tell you that, you know, now again, 20, hindsight, 2020, right? It’s a lot easier to connect these dots, looking backwards. I just, you know, whatever the funeral was, maybe three or four days after she passed away. I called all my clients in business. I said, “Sorry, I got to shut it all down.” And then Joe, it was just inward focus. My days were like this. I’d drop my kids off to school, I come home, and all I would do is like think and remember, cry a lot of tears. And then after school I’d go pick my kids up and I just spend the whole day with them. It was all about them. They were so young at the time. I just knew that if I didn’t really just dedicate myself to them and their needs, and of course my own of mourning, then things might go off the rails a little bit. So that’s really what it was. A lot of the days were just spent empty pondering on the positive side during those days.
I started exercising again. I introduced the practice of meditation in my life, which I’d never done before. And let’s just say that I spent a lot of time alone. I am an introvert by nature, so I’m very comfortable with that. And I did a lot of reading, educating on different topics, not only business and autobiographies and stuff, but just the study of people and just realizing kind of the different, that people are very different; different things make them tick. So it was, that’s why after one year I was nowhere near being ready to go back. And I’ve always been a business guy. My entire adult life, I got trained and educated in university as an accountant, as a professional accountant, but basically, I’d always promised my parents I’d never work for anyone after 25. And the day before my 25th birthday is the last job I ever had. That was like 20 plus years ago. So, I was always business, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to restart business or do anything.
So, it took more time, those extra two, three, four years. And it was very helpful just because my children, they started growing a little bit, they started adapting and adjusting to the fact their mom wasn’t here anymore. And yeah, we just stayed. Even to this day, very, very close. Now they’re 10, 12 and 14 but, again, a lot of it is dedicated to them and that’s what I want the audience to recognize; is that everyone will go through tough things but at the end of the day you have to take care of yourself so that you can ultimately take care of your children. And that’s really the philosophy I followed during the sabbatical.
[JOE]: What an amazing message. Well, when you did all that reading, were there things you gleaned during that time that have kind of stuck with you as maybe pillars that maybe, I don’t know, post this situation have really helped you or kind of move you in a certain direction?
[JAY]: Yes, definitely. There were several books I was reading, but there was one message that I still remember to this day, except I don’t remember the book, but this is a lesson which I taught my children. It was ‘Good things happen in life, bad things happen in life. The only thing you control is how you react to any of it.’ I was teaching this to my kids at five, seven and nine because they had just lost their mother. So, it’s really a tough message to get through, but now you see that was obviously a mountain in their life, right? Like losing their mom.
[JOE]: Oh yeah.
[JAY]: But now things that come up, which really when I asked them, a very typical question I asked them is, “So was this experience that you’re telling me about right now that you have some difficulty with, is it a mountain or is it a mole hill?” So, what that saying helped them do was recognize, “All right, this is really not that big a deal. It’s more of a mole hill. It’ll pass,” versus, “Okay, this is a mountain. We really got to spend some time and deal with it.” That’s one lesson, which I hope everyone understands because everyone goes through it. There will be good things and there will be bad things. If we’re living life, we unfortunately will lose someone at some point. Something may happen to us, like an accident. There’s always going to be these situations. I call them life’s curve balls. Everyone gets thrown life’s curve balls. So that was one message which really stuck with me and sticks with my children to this day.
[JOE]: Yeah, we often talk about in our family, is your reaction matching kind of what’s going on? And so, I just remember, even the other day, the two girls were fighting over walkie-talkies. They’re five and eight right now and my youngest one Laiken, she was like, “I got this for my birthday. These are mine.” And Lucia, our eight-year-old was like, “But you can’t do walkie-talkies without two people.” And they’re just like fighting and I’ve been teaching them that they can call timeout at any time when they’re fighting and then say, “Should we figure this out or should we ask an adult?” Because I don’t want it to just be that they always come kind of knock out each other, but I also don’t want them to feel like they’re on their own. And so, then I hear Lucia say, “Timeout, okay, should we figure this out or should we have dad help?”
And then they both said, dad, and they came over and you know, I kind of, I was really proud of them just for doing the time out thing. Yes, finally, it’s working. And then to just say, “Okay, Laiken, yeah this was your birthday gift. You own these walkie-talkies, but how fun will it be by yourself to do it in the other room, all by yourself?” And then Lucia was like, “Yeah.” And then Laiken goes, “Well, they’re not charged anyway.” And then she just like walks away. So, it’s like a pointless fight, but just that idea of helping them learn their emotions and to just be able to say, there are really big things that happen in the world. And there’s also things that you can just have some compassion for your sister in this situation.
[JAY]: 100%, been there, done that. I could tell you lots of stories. One little tip I’ll give to people who have two children that kind of get into it all the time is now if there’s two of mine that had a little issue with each other, I use this thing called the 30-second hug. They have to hug each other for 30 seconds and just not disconnect. It’s amazing, Joe, what happens when the two children, even though they’ve just had an argument, you kind of just say, “All right, you got to wrap your arms around each other and you got to give each other 30-second hug. It’s amazing. Try that as a little strategy with your kids.
[JOE]: Yeah, I think with my wife, Christina, I could see how, if things are rough to maybe say, “Maybe we need a 30-second hug.
[JAY]: Yup, it’s very helpful.
[JOE]: So, when did the Prepared Father, when did all that start to kind of brew in your brain as something that you could have be this kind of next phase of your career?
[JAY]: Great question. So, let’s go back to the sabbatical. So, I was the executor of my wife’s estate, right? Like when my first child was born back in 2005, my wife and I set up wills, never, ever thinking that we would need them, you know, whatever, it was, nine years later. I thought that’d be decades before we’d ever need a will, but we did get it set up. So, during this executor state, so I’ve already mentioned, like I went to school to be a professional accountant. I am a pretty well the entire adult life, 20 plus years, an entrepreneur. And for about, since 2005, when my son Jayden was born, I’ve been a real estate investor. So, you would think that all the paperwork and stuff like that, I would be okay to handle it. Yes, like just be the executor, go through the process but then I realized I wasn’t.
And I was like, “This is ridiculous. Someone who’s trained like me, this should kind of be straight,” and forget the emotional stuff. I’m just talking about the technical financial aspects of it. “This should be easy for me.” And it wasn’t right. Like, I didn’t know all of her passwords, I didn’t know where her safe deposit keys were, all these types of things, which we just don’t even think about. So, I went through that process, it was quite difficult for me, but then I just started asking other fathers. Typical conversations just with no intention of doing a business behind it. But I just started talking to other fathers, saying, “Hey guys, if something happened in your family, like what, like if you passed away or your wife passed away, like what would happen? Would you be able to handle it? Would your family be okay with everything, non-emotional?”
And unfortunately, Joe, the answers I got back were really not good. Like a lot of fathers who mainly, that mainly it was the fathers responsible for family finances. I know that there’s a lot of moms out there who do it and I kudos to them, but same thing, same messaging; is if your family won’t be ready, especially if you’re kind of the overseer of finance, then some steps have to be taken. And that is when I started talking to more and more fathers and I noticed the questions they would come back to me with were things like, “How do I get prepared financially? How do I secure my family’s financial future? What do I invest in?” Stuff like that. And then I realized, well, I always wanted, in business, I was always about how do you make an impact through your practice, through your business, through whatever? How are you impacting and helping people?
And that’s when I realized and I was like, “Oh man, all these guys are asking me about money, money related questions, totally outside of what a financial advisor would do, but just more, how do you allocate, how do you do all kinds of things? How do I get myself ready, wills, et cetera? Like how do I just have a really good solid financial base?” And that is when I realized, that’s where I came up with Prepared Fathers. So Prepared Fathers, the whole mission of it is to empower fathers financially, wherever their blind spot is. It doesn’t matter. We talk about it, and we have programs for that. So, that’s where it was born and yeah, that’s where, when we met at the New Media Summit, it was just me going out there to talk about, “This is what I do, this is how it helps.” And I’ve received an exceptionally favorable response so far.
[JOE]: Well, what are some of the building blocks of being a prepared father?
[JAY]: Great, great. So, let’s talk about, you know let’s think of a table, right? And a table has four legs to it. Leg number one is the preparedness side of things. And that’s what I was talking with wills. Are my wills in place? Do we have powers of attorney in place? Have I reviewed my insurance programs? Do I basically kind of, anything that’s a life’s curve ball; a disability, a death, an accident, a job loss, a recession. Am I prepared for that?” So that’s leg one preparedness. Do I have those ducks in a row? Do I have my affairs in order? And I think everyone should start there before moving onto the second one.
The second one is my income. Whether I’m in business, whether I work for somebody, am I making enough money to not only look after my expenses today, but to also put away money for future self and for my family’s future, right? That’s leg number two.
Leg number three is now that I have, from leg number two, I make enough money and I put some money aside, I want everyone to realize that how hard you work has very little to do with how well you retire. It’s actually where you put that money that you’ve saved up into the third leg. The third leg is wealth building. What do I invest in so it grows over the next, whatever 20, 30, 40 years as I approach retirement and that will support my family? That’s the third leg.
And the fourth leg is really simple. And this leg, I find exceptionally valuable, it’s financial lessons I teach my children and we have a whole module or two on that. We basically break down a lot of the lessons that I teach my kids, that I’ve been teaching my kids pretty well, their whole life. All of them can have an intelligent conversation with you about real estate investing, all of them put away 50% of any money they earn or get as gifts, et cetera, for their future selves. So those four pillars, those four legs is what makes a really solid financially prepared father. And that, I don’t, there might be little issues inside of each of those legs, but we try and help our clients work through each of them, especially starting with whatever their biggest blind spot is.
[JOE]: I was listening to, there was a podcast that came out just for, it was only out for about a year that Tony Robbins did around investing in your retirement. And he said something where for every percent that you’re giving a financial advisor, you’re giving someone else, that’s about 10 years of retirement income if you look at the compound interest over a lifetime and I just stopped. “Oh my gosh,” like, you know, that’s, I mean, that’s why we’ve really followed kind of the Bogleheads approach of investing in Vanguard and low fee, whole index funds and really try to max out the retirement. And I mean, I can’t wait for my kids to start making income so they can open up their own IRAs and we can work with someone that knows what they’re doing to get that all set up. You know, even just as we look at launching another podcast as a family, when we are doing this big nine-month road trip in national parks, to do that podcast and, you know, figure out how to monetize it for the kids.
And I love those four legs. Maybe when you think about those four legs, are there spots in each of them that tend to be the biggest challenges for people? Because I know like the first leg, for me, for the longest time, I’m like, “I know I need to have a term life insurance policy and I’m going to get that set up,” and it took forever. I finally I joined a local CEO group and one of the guys was an insurance guy and it just was like, “Okay, this guy is in this group and for the longest time I’ve wanted to do it.” And just the feeling of relief to know really for me, it was, you know, if Christina passes away, financially, I know that we’ll be fine because I’m the primary breadwinner. So that’s not as much of an issue. I know that we have enough savings that if I were to pass away, she’d be pretty fine.
You know, she’s an occupational therapist, she has family, the life insurance policies is hardy. We have savings, but really the biggest thing was if both of us passed away to make sure that, my sister who would be raising the kids has more than enough to give our kids the kind of lifestyle and the kind of opportunities that we would give them. And so to just have that relief of knowing like this amount of money is going to be going to my sister to raise my kids and then to, you know, we had kind of a legal Zoom will, and then we met with an attorney this year and really did it correctly to have a trust in the estate and the executor and all of that.
And again, it was one of those things that I don’t know why we delayed it. I think it was actually after I heard you. It was after I heard you talk at New Media Summit that I said, “Okay, we’re doing this thing for real. Come on, let’s get this going.” And it was in the fall that we got to go in. And so just that feeling of, “Okay, this is in order if something happens.” I don’t know why I delayed so long. I don’t know what my question is in there, but what other things maybe stand in the way of people getting these things in order?
[JAY]: Yeah, I think a lot of it is just, it’s going to sound a little harsh, but basically, it’s some level of financial negligence, like, especially on leg one, the preparedness. The answer to your question is like one, a lot of people are focused on, “How much money do I make” how can I make more money?” A lot of people are definitely focused on, “Okay, now that I have some money, what do I invest in?” I know several multi-millionaires who do not have their paperwork in order. Okay. So, it’s a, and it’s not even willful. I think a lot of it again, let’s go back to our base roots. Did you ever take a personal finance or investing class? Did you ever receive one in school?
[JOE]: We had one with the lady that taught it. It was one of those kinds of elective classes where I knew that I could just kind of blow off the class. And I think we played on the computers, like, I don’t know, Minesweeper more than anything, but so the answer is no. I listened to some Dave Ramsey when we first got married to just kind of make sure we are on track, but really it was, my brother-in-law Billy really dug into it and then kind of passed on some literature that helped me kind of understand that world of investing and finance more.
[JAY]: Totally. So that’s really what it is. It’s that we weren’t brought up with thinking about it. So that whole out of sight out of mind, then you get married and usually one spouse is kind of the one overseeing everything. And that role is usually just what I’ll call inherited, right? In my household, it was inherited. It was understood. Her parents were very old school, my parents were very old school and we got married and also tended to be very old school. I was the finance outward; she was the inward focused spouse. So, a lot of it came down to that if you’re not educated in it, you never really think about it and you don’t really get around to doing it. So, let’s circle back here.
For those folks out there, they own their practice, so they already know, I know that they have an asset. They probably have a house or maybe some stocks or something like that. If you have assets and you have children, please, you must get a will at a very minimum. If there’s anyone who wants to know the base one step, get a will. Yes, there’s more advanced things, powers of attorney, et cetera, but if you don’t have a will and something happens to you, let’s just say on top of the emotional stuff that your family is going to deal with, it’s going to be very tough for them because the government will either, they’re either going to take more than what they should get in their terms of estate or probate taxes, because your wishes are not written down and secondly, almost for sure a guarantee is it’ll take longer than it would if you had a will; the process of settling everything so that your family maintains control.
So, I hope that at a very base minimum, you said legal Zoom. You know what? Great first start. Go ahead. If you don’t want to see a lawyer, yet, at least get something put down on paper and then later you can take it to a lawyer to get their eyes on it, clean it up, and formalize it more. So, I really want the listeners to understand, the audience to understand we’re building these assets and everything. You know, at least I am for my children, but if we don’t effectively transfer it, then we’re really missing the point. So, I hope everyone will take that step if they haven’t already.
[JOE]: Yeah, for me, one of the big things was, at least in Michigan, if there isn’t a clear estate, there’s the chance that your kids will go into foster care until they decide kind of who should take over the kids. And oftentimes it’s then a judge deciding rather than us deciding. And just even that idea of, you know, a judge potentially deciding that my kids need to be in foster care even for one night, and those that are in the foster care world, I know you guys do your best, but having been a foster care supervisor, I don’t want to unnecessarily put my kids into foster care. And I know they usually seek out, you know, family or relatives or things like that but if it’s not in your will, it’s not guaranteed. And that to me was the game changer where I’m just like, “Are you kidding me? Like I am going to decide where my kids would go, if that were to happen.”
[JAY]: It’s terrifying. So, yeah, please, please have, people in the audience definitely take that step at the very minimal.
[JOE]: Yeah. So, what are other things within those legs that you would say are really important? So, the will kind of in leg one, that’s just really important. You then talked about kind of your finances and saving for retirement. Maybe share a couple more tips within each of those legs for us.
[JAY]: Sure. So, for people, the next most kind of biggest one that I see people needing help with is their income. A lot of times, let’s say they’ve just started their practice and it’s just starting out, they’re part time at it, they have a full-time job, et cetera. So it is, I recognize a lot of people, a lot of therapists per se, they get into the practice because they love being a therapist. However, you need to recognize that when you are running a business and you now want to create income from that business, a lot of them are not, a lot of people are not trained in business skills. So, I want everyone to recognize that, I have a saying this kind of ties to leg two and to leg four, income and lessons I teach my kids. I have a saying with them ‘Skills, pay the bills.’.
So, if you are opening a practice, the one thing I think is going to be super important is you need to get your clientele. You need to figure out how am I going to attract clients to my practice? And once they come here, how am I going to, I guess, convert them into ongoing clients that need my help, that I can add value to? So, you can be the greatest therapist in the world, but if you don’t know how to market and eventually sell you are, you might be the greatest thing nobody has ever heard of. So, I would highly encourage, and I know you have programs which help these practice owners, right? I would definitely encourage them, invest more in your marketing and your sales education so that you can build up the clientele, not only for you, but also when you decide to expand office space, more clinics, I think you call them clinicians, assistants, et cetera.
When you can then get to the point where your marketing system is filling up your practice, and then you can have those clinicians handle most of the appointments and the actual time that is when you, as a business owner will truly feel like a business owner. If you’re always working in your practice, unless you want to, but if you’re always working in your practice and you never outwardly focus on how am I going to bring more clients than you are at a competitive disadvantage.
[JOE]: Well, and yeah, you are really giving yourself a job instead of a business too, when it’s based on your time. And that’s the biggest shift. I was actually just talking to one of my consulting clients right before you and she’s in that transition point where she’s like, “I have 30 clients, I’m making all this money and I’m realizing I have a message that’s way bigger for the world.” And so, you know, she’s planning to do the Done for You Podcasting that we offer. She’s looking at leveling up, maybe coming to Slow Down School, all these things that are going to help her find a vision for something bigger and better for herself. And you’re right. There’s some people that they are content, just having a private practice, doing that work. They can do that the rest of their lives.
And that’s awesome for them. The world needs them, but there’s also people that have a message that the world needs to hear beyond just kind of one-on-one counseling. And that’s the biggest, I think disruption to this private practice world that, we’re excited to be behind; is you don’t have to just do the clinical work. Like you can go do e-courses and podcasts and put on retreats and design this life that, you know, it brings in more money and isn’t always based on just your individual kind of in the chair work
[JAY]: 100% right. So, I guess acquiring those skills, that’s what I teach my kids by the way, marketing and sales skills and investing skills. But that’s more for leg three. So, marketing and sales, yes. Just spend your time, invest your money in improving those skills, upleveling those skills and I’m sure you will find your practice growing and you being able to live the life you want. And I agree with you. Business is all about the impact and if you don’t know how to get your message out there, then unfortunately you’re going to impact a very limited number of people. So, I totally agree with that.
[JOE]: I got to tell you a story Jay, about how we taught a little business, a kind of sense to my daughter, Lucia. So, Lucia in the summer, she said she wanted to do a lemonade stand. And I said, “That’s awesome. Let’s brainstorm things and then decide what kind of lemonade stand you want to have and kind of the best way to get kind of a good, I didn’t call it ROI, but ROI on your time so you’re not sitting there for 25 cents an hour.” And so I said, “You know, you could go kind of where you buy the cheap powder and you sell it and that’s probably going to go for 50 cents a cup, or we could hand squeeze lemons and make a simple syrup and maybe have some basil leaves or frozen strawberries you put to it, and maybe get $2 a glass. What do you think?”
And she said, “Well, I want to make $2 to glass.” And so, we watched all these videos on how to make homemade lemonade. We tested it out. She didn’t like the basil in it, but she knew adults would. And so, we, you know, made this big Vista print sign that was Lucia’s Handmade Lemonade. And it was on the day of a marathon that we did it on the corner of where our friends live. I mean, I said, I also said to her, “Okay, it’s in the morning, there might be people that don’t want lemonade. What else could we sell that people like in the morning?” And she’s like, “We could sell coffee.” And so, we sold coffee and after she paid us back for everything in like three hours, I think she had made $200. And so, it was like, that teaches her so many lessons in her being a part of that process. Then, you know, I mean, it’s fine to have a kid just make a pitch of lemonade and just sit there and have, you know, the neighbors who feel bad for them and pay for it. It’s a whole another thing to have a whole bunch of actual customers think through it weeks ahead of time, and then go through the work of getting all these darn lemons that we hand squeeze.
[JAY]: It’s amazing. My children went through that. All three of them have done lemonade stands as well in previous years. Their little upsell or cross offer was freezies. They had a freezer there. So, lemonade stand, if you don’t want lemonade, do you want like one of these big, long freezies, different flavors, you know, a dollar and 50 or whatever it was. So yeah, I encourage kids to get started. If they don’t want to do a lemonade stand, now, my kids have graduated to selling things on Kijiji, things that are just sitting around the house that are idle, that aren’t used anymore. My oldest happens to be a very good Fortnite video game player and I said, you’re wasting your time playing this all the time. And he goes, “How about if I earned some money teaching other kids the strategy.” I go, “Okay, that’ll make it more acceptable.” He went out and he recruited or whatever you want to call it. He marketed and three kids pay him 30 bucks a month right now to oversee their Fortnite sessions. And he strategically helps them.
[JOE]: That’s awesome. Oh my gosh. Yeah, Lucia, she had this idea. We have all this tea, like I swear, I don’t know, for some reason tea comes into our house at a rate that we don’t consume it. Like, and so she knew we had all these boxes of tea and she said, “What if I go around the neighborhood with hot water and go door to door, selling tea to people?” And I’m like, “Great.” And she got all these neighbor girls to help her with it. And they had a wagon and they were occupied for probably four hours selling this tea door to door and did this hot tea. And, I mean they made, I think she gave each kid about 20 bucks at the end of it. And it was just awesome. It was her idea. And I think that when it becomes fun for them, that’s when they’re more likely to want to have it be a part of kind of their everyday lives.
[JAY]: It’s amazing.
[JOE]: Well, Jay the last question that I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[JAY]: You know what, it’s something that they don’t have to be a private practice practitioner but, as they’re a business owner, I really want them to understand something that our lives these days obviously have gotten so much more busier with the advent of cell phones and all the technology around us that we get interrupted a lot during the day. Like it’s just constant interruptions and it’s distractions and I want to encourage business owners that I found that when I was kind of in that phase, I always made at least one hour a week, usually on a Sunday evening for reflection. And I really want business people to understand that that might be the missing link. If you’re struggling, if you’re overwhelmed, if you’re frustrated, then you should really look at spending one hour a week, asking yourself a few questions, writing it down in a journal or typing it in your phone, you know, like, “What frustrated me this week? What did I accomplish this week? What’s the next step in my main goal this week? What am I grateful for this week?”
These types of questions, write it down so that at least you can see the pattern of what went wrong. I’ve been keeping journals now for, since 2007. I probably have like three to 4,000 pages of written journals. And as you go back, you will start seeing your progress but I think a lot of people miss it. Most business owners I talk to do not take quiet time to reflect; no interruptions, no family, no nobody. Just they themselves, maybe a little music, their beverage, and just spend an hour thinking about it. So that’s what I’d like to tell them; is get that practice going inside of your practice.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s so cool. So, one hour a week, or you might say one week a year at slowdownschool.com. Come hang out with us on the beaches of Northern Michigan. We talked about a few other things, the Done for You Podcasting or consulting. If you want to apply for that and schedule an interview with me, go over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. Jay, you have a bunch of resources that go along with this episode. I know that there’s so much more that we could have gone into and we could have gone way deeper and we just don’t have the time for it. And people though can take next steps and download some checklists. Maybe share a little bit about these checklists and how they can download those.
[JAY]: Yes. Good. Great. So basically again, I want the audience to get a lot of value out of the episode, but then, you know, walk away with something that they can download and look in their hands. So, there’s three checklists that I’d like to provide the audience. The first one is called The Ultimate Guide to Financial Preparation. A lot of the stuff that we talked about, wills, assets, stuff like that. It’s a simple checklist about here’s where you kind of need to start. Here’s the areas you need to go over. It just gives you a really nice place to get started on that avenue. The second one is, every one of us has a smartphone and let’s just say early, before smartphones, I had a tough time even being an accountant. I had a tough time keeping all my stuff organized. There was papers, everywhere, mail, everywhere, all that stuff.
Then with the smartphones, the second checklist is called the guide to, like how do fathers use their smartphones to manage their financial future? Of course, moms can use it as well, but it’s one of those things where let’s use the technology we have with us 24 hours a day pretty well. How do we use our smartphones and get better organized so that we eliminate a lot of paperwork, eliminate a lot of filing and just use our phones? And the third checklist is, this one will be relevant for a lot of folks in the audience or their spouse. It is The Five things the Non-Financial Spouse Needs to know. So, in my case, I was the financial, in your case, you’re the financial. Our spouses, there’s certain things they need to know; locations of cash, bank account numbers, et cetera. It’s a simple checklist that they can go and grab so that they at least are able to cover those things off as spouses.
For these checklists, Joe, I’d love them to go to www.preparedfathers.com/Joe. They can find all the checklists there for free download. There’s a link there if they ever want to have a discovery call with me about, you know, their financial blind spots, they can click it. But other than that, I just want them to get a lot of value out of it and move, and secure their family’s financial future. That’s what this is all about. It’s how do I secure my family’s financial future? How do I make sure I’m prepared for life’s curve balls? And those checklists will certainly go a long way to helping you yet.
[JOE]: Oh Jay, thank you so much for taking what’s been a tragedy in your life to help other people to kind of avoid some of those things and for sharing your story today. We so appreciate you being on the podcast.
[JAY]: I had a great time, Joe. Thanks very much for the fantastic conversation.
[JOE]: You know, as a direct result of this podcast interview, I had some conversations with my wife, Christina, about, how to access even my passwords. You know, I use LastPass, which is free unless you have the pro one. Like we have, how do you access that? I even gave her the hint to see if she could figure it out what it is for my master password and she could not. So, I have a way that she can get that if I pass away and, you know, having a trust set up, having a will set up, having the kind of next in line if both of us were to pass away for our kids. I mean, it’s devastating to think about my kids being raised without their biological parents, but to be prepared, you know, I’m an Eagle scout and be prepared, that’s, that’s our motto.
So, it’s really important to kind of listen to what Jay said and take it to heart. And don’t just put it on a to-do list. Put it on your schedule to get it done. Well, we have to thank our sponsor today because you know, Therapy Notes is such an amazing sponsor for us. they have the best electronic health records out there. They really are there with their customer service as well. So, head on over to therapynotes.com, use promo code [JOE] to get two months for free? And if you’re a Next Level Practice member, let us know and we can connect you with their head of marketing and they’ll get you, it’s six months for free, three months for free. I have to look. I should have that prepared. I think it’s six months. We’ll get you some months, either way.
So, thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing week. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.