Joe Saul-Sehy: Making Finance Fun


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Joe Saul-Sehy

Joe Saul-Sehy

Joe Saul-Sehy was a financial planner for 19 years and has been an award-winning member of the financial media world for over a decade. But that’s a totally opposite direction from where he started, growing up in a household where talking about money was taboo. Like many families, his parents would shut down and send him and his siblings out of the room whenever any money talk came up.

With nothing to change his course, the financially illiterate boy became a financially illiterate man, and when Joe faced an American Express table on his very first week in college, guess who fell into a predatory credit trap? A couple of lunches “on me” later (and a sweater that would make Duran Duran proud) and Joe was left with bad credit and a bill he had no idea how to settle.

But painful as it was, that lesson awoke his passion for personal finance. And he followed that passion straight to his first job in finance, and he hasn’t looked back since.

When talking finance, for many people the word brings up images of people in stuffy suits wagging a finger about being more responsible with your money. If you got that same image, you’ll throw that notion away once you listen to Joe. An amazing storyteller, Joe is the co-host of two well-loved financial podcasts: “Stacking Benjamins” and “Money with Friends.”

Joe’s entrance into podcasting started, with his co-host OG, as two friends talking about finance, but being frustrated by their slow growth and low ranking. It wasn’t until Joe went to a podcasting conference that he came face-to-face with the reality that his show had the low ranking that it deserved and made the decision to become more professional. They redid their entire show, lost a third of their audience, but then came back better than ever, smashing records and winning awards.

Joe attributes the show’s success to being deliberate about changing the podcast from being two guys trying to be funny, to being two comedians practicing their craft and making a comedy show about finance. Both co-hosts spent time in comedy training and put even more effort into producing the show: it takes them 5 weeks to put 1 episode together. Talk about commitment.

Not wanting to become another Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman, they went in a completely different direction. With their philosophy that “If you don't think you’re learning, you’ll be much more open to learning” they’re reaping dividends.

Read the full transcript here.

Key Topics

  • IntrIntroducing Joe. [00:41]

  • Why Joe still records “Stacking Benjamins” in a basement. [01:56]

  • Joe’s first experience with the dangers of credit. [04:04]

  • From podcast enthusiast to podcaster. [06:42]

  • The road to “Stacking Benjamins”. [09:26]

  • Taking a short-term loss for the long-term gain. [11:21]

  • Getting serious about play. [13:04]

  • Balancing practical guidance and light-hearted play. [14:15]

  • Life lessons from DJing. [15:18]

  • “Stacking Benjamin’s” most requested topics. [17:51]

  • Fighting the fee battle. [19:45]

  • The drawback of compliance. [22:40]

  • Differentiating between “Stacking Benjamins” and “Money with Friends”. [24:49]

  • Moving away from comparison-based financial goals. [27:28]

  • Taking the emotion out of money decisions. [30:13]

  • Systems for financial independence. [31:21]

  • Lean into being a contrarian. [35:02]

  • The future of “Stacking Benjamins”. [37:05]

  • Joe’s love of running. [39:15]

  • The minibar story. [41:07]

Thanks for listening!
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Jay DavidEpisode 5