Episode 82: What are you earning for anyway? The role of money and wealth in achieving life harmony – with Joseph Kuo of Abundance Wealth Planning

Founder of Abundance Wealth Planning, Joseph Kuo, discusses the role of money, the link between wealth and life satisfaction and shares his unique take on using financial planning to help uncover your life values.

Today’s guest

Joseph Kuo of Abundance Wealth Planning

Website: Abundance Wealth Planning

LinkedIn: Joseph Kuo

Facebook: Abundance Wealth Planning

Email: joseph@abundancewp.com

Are you unsure about whether to stay in a stable corporate job or strike it out on your own?  Do you find yourself more stressed out even though you are making more money?

A father of two teenagers, Joseph previously worked as a management consultant and then as the senior director of finance at a public semiconductor company before making the leap to starting his own business. 

Joseph is now a certified financial planner who is passionate about guiding clients towards living with their wealth in ways that enrich their lives.  He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, and a Non-Violent Communication Practitioner.  In his spare time, Joseph serves on the board of the San Francisco chapter of the Financial Planning Association and the Silicon Valley chapter of Collaborative Practice, and is also a volunteer mediator for settlement conferences at the San Jose Superior Court.

Joseph talks about his journey, from starting out in the family business, to corporate stability, to the ups and downs of starting and running his own practice while balancing family, work, and volunteer service.  He shares his unique perspective on financial life planning as a way to help people achieve happiness and realise their dreams.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [01:37] Joseph introduces what he does as a financial planner.
  • [03:13] How life coaching and financial planning are linked.
  • [04:24] Joseph talks about the type of client he typically works with.
  • [06:24] Joseph explains what led him to working in his industry.
  • [11:46] Common fears behind changing your career path.
  • [15:46] Why do you feel scared about changing jobs.
  • [20:30] How to dig deeper to discover your goals and understand their importance.
  • [22:11] Planning different scenarios and their effect on your financial situation.
  • [23:15] Looking at your spending and questioning why you’re spending it.
  • [28:44] Understanding your values to help you reduce your resistance to your current situation.
  • [30:50] Taking the first steps to changing your situation.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 82: What are you earning for anyway? The role of money and wealth in achieving life harmony - with Joseph Kuo of Abundance Wealth Planning

Jeremy Cline 0:00
You really want to change jobs. In fact, you are completely miserable in your current career. The trouble is that, at the moment, you are paid pretty reasonably, maybe even pretty well, and you've grown accustomed to quite a nice lifestyle. What's going to happen if you change jobs? Are you going to take a pay cut? Are you going to be able to continue to support the lifestyle which you want? If that sort of stuff is worrying you and holding you back from making a change, then this is the episode for you. I'm Jeremy Cline and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:43
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. When you're thinking about a change of career, chances are that money is one of the things that you'll be thinking about. Maybe you want to earn more money, maybe you're worried about a change of career might lead you to earning less. But how often do you take a step back and think about, well, what's the money actually for? What do you need the money to do for you? And how much do you actually need? To help answer these sorts of questions, I'm joined today by Joseph Kuo, who's the founder of Abundance Wealth Planning. Joseph is a personal life and financial planner who helps people to clarify their goals and to design a plan to help them get there. Joseph, welcome to the podcast.

Joseph Kuo 1:23
Thank you very much, Jeremy. Thank you for having me here.

Jeremy Cline 1:25
Can you start by telling us a little bit more about what it means to be a personal life and financial planner? I mean, that sounds like a very broad remit. So, what sort of work do you actually do? And who are your typical clients?

Joseph Kuo 1:37
Yeah, thank you. When we think about money and wealth, frequently, we're thinking about, how do I make more money, or what I can do with more money? And where I start, and if I offer clients to think about, is that wherever we are right now is the combination of everything that we wanted to be, what we were willing to do before. Whenever and where we are is already the result of the things that we wanted to do in the past. And so, if now we want something different, the trajectory where it's no longer good enough for where we want to go, then it is a process where we need to intentionally rethink about what we've done, the habits we built, and what it is that we want different going forward. So, frequently, when clients come to talk about money, the question they are looking for an answer to is not really about money, but about what would feel good, what it is they really want for themselves and for their lives going forward. Money just ends up being the symptom, it's not the root cause. And we're using money now as a way to open that door to explore, well, what is it that I really want in life? What is the most important? And how wealth, how finances will help support us get to where we are? And that's the context in which I view money as I work with clients.

Jeremy Cline 3:00
When you see clients, are you talking to them about money? Or are you talking to them about kind of, almost like life coaching, more about where they want to get to? Or is it a combination of the two?

Joseph Kuo 3:13
It is a combination of the two. When you stop and think about it, we assign so much value, so much of our personal value to money, it's very difficult for us to figure out what's going on inside us or in other people we see, but money is a scorecard that we can use to sometimes evaluate ourselves with other people. Money may not be a very good scorecard, but it is one that have come to be something common for people to use. People get perturbed, they start feeling that something is wrong, or they want something more when they start looking at their wealth and finance in their life, or how secure they feel about that, but it becomes a path, an opening to start having a conversation on, well, what would it take for your life to be better, what would it take for you to feel better? So, it's that combination of, there's something I'm worrying about with my finances, my wealth, that can lead to a conversation on, what needs to happen for me to feel more secure, more comfortable with finances and wealth?

Jeremy Cline 4:12
Who is it that comes to you and when they come to you, are they expecting, sort of, I don't know, traditional wealth planning? Or do they come to you knowing that you've got this sort of combination of outlooks?

Joseph Kuo 4:24
Many of the clients that come to me are, I would say, professionals, high-performing individuals. They may have started with less means and they've worked very hard to learn to grow, to create wealth for themselves. And as they start growing wealth and getting comfortable with the wealth they accumulated, what they realise is that they thought as they make more money, some of the problems, some of the fears they fear will go away, but it doesn't. In fact, sometimes it gets even worse. Because they don't know how to handle, or they feel uncomfortable now as they shift out the life they knew and into a life that's new to them. They're not sure how to deal with the new complexity and choices and options they have. And maybe getting a little disillusioned in the sense that they thought that additional money and wealth would help make their life better, but it's actually creating more stress. They may have reached out initially wanting to work with somebody to help them figure out how to do the money piece. In my conversation to clients, we usually start by me being very clear. I believe that financial planning, wealth planning, is an inside-out process. As we grow more wealth, we get additional options and choices. And some of these could be very heavy and hard to make, especially when we look at the world and look at ourselves with the lens that we had previously in the world that we're comfortable with. And so, in order to make wealth, there's a set of skills that we might, you know, the skills, education, experience that can help us create wealth, but in order to maintain and to enjoy wealth, it takes more than that. It takes a certain amount of self-reflection, of what do I really need in order for me to feel comfortable, confident, to be able to enjoy wealth I created and what are my goals to maintain what it is I've done?

Jeremy Cline 6:15
I definitely want to dive into some of this in more detail. But before we get to that, can you talk a little bit about your path? So, just briefly, how did you end up doing this? What's your journey?

Joseph Kuo 6:25
Yeah, I grew up in a family business. I can still remember when I was very young, my father had just started to create his business. So, when I was very, very young, the family wasn't very well-off financially, but pretty quickly, as he grew his business, the family started creating wealth, and I would say that growing up, I was very fortunate, and I have a lot of gratitude for the environment I grew up in. And, well, I'm going to jump the gun a little bit and say that, while my father worked very hard to create his wealth, one of the things that he never really had was a very strong intention on what his wealth is for. He started his company to be able to financially support his family, but beyond that, there were no goals, there were no intention. As he created more wealth and made more money, he just reinvested that money back in the company. And he never really kept or saved anything for himself, because he really had no goals for them. Well, sadly, during the early 2000s, between the dot-com bubble bust and 9/11 and political tensions going on at the time, their company went bankrupt. And literally, he lost his entire wealth, or the family lost its wealth, practically overnight. And that was my first experience in this dramatic change between – first perception or first experience with a dramatic change in wealth. By that point, I was in my late 20s, and I spent a lot of time diving into careers to rebuild myself to a life that I was accustomed to. And really got pretty good at something that I wasn't really excited about, but what was available at the time. So, I became a senior director in corporate finance for a technology firm. And at that time, I had hired a financial planner for myself after the Great Recession. And as I recall, I would meet with her periodically and I'd always tell her that I'm doing well in my career, but you can't assume that I'm going to do this job forever and my career trajectory will continue the way it's been, because I don't really like what I'm doing and I will eventually want to change jobs. And I did that for five years, until one day, she sat me down and said, 'You keep saying that. Well, I can tell you right now that with what you accumulated, you could stop working. I mean, if you can't do it in the Bay Area, you can move to Thailand, and not work for the rest of your life. There's something else you want more than to just make enough money. What is it?' And that resulted in a series of conversations I have with her to figure out, well, why it is that I continue to do a job I don't like and what it would take for me to be willing to explore what I really wanted to do. And what came out of those conversations, it's my realisation that I was just scared. I was scared of if I were to change job, whether I'd be able to make the same amount of money that I made before. I've worked very hard to reach a certain level of prestige or authority. If I were to change, would I ever be able to get back to that sense of accomplishment I've achieved in the past? And what I also realised is that, if I project forward and as I lie on my deathbed, one of my biggest regret would be letting fear decide what I am not going to do, and letting fear keep me in a place where I'm not happy, but just surviving. That was the point at which I decided that I would change jobs. And I was so inspired by how she helped me that I decided to become a financial planner as well, but one who focuses on this intersection between life and wealth, so that we can focus on what is going to be meaningfully impactful to clients' lives and how the wealth will support that, instead of the other way around.

Jeremy Cline 9:58
I'd love to go back to some of the points that you mentioned there, particularly this fear you mentioned of changing career and not earning as much as you were before. Because I think that is definitely something which puts people off, particularly if they are a professional, they're experienced, relatively senior, quite well-paid, and that has enabled them to get accustomed to a certain lifestyle. So, you know, the usual things, there's the family, the mortgage, when we were able to go on holiday, because at the time of recording this, we're still in the middle of the COVID pandemic, and no one's able to go on holiday, but when people are able to go on holiday, the two or three holidays a year, all that sort of thing. And one of the things that I think puts people off changing jobs is that they're not going to be able to continue with that lifestyle, that they'll take a pay cut, if they go from being a lawyer with a big law firm or an accountant with one of the Big Four or whatever it is, to something completely different. And yeah, they worry whether they'll be able to support themselves and their family in the way they have done so far. So, someone who is in that position, can we perhaps unpack their thoughts and talk a bit about what sort of thing they should be considering, what perhaps should be going through their mind as they're contemplating a change from a job which, fundamentally, they're not happy in, but perhaps they've got this feeling of being trapped in it for those reasons?

Joseph Kuo 11:28
That is an amazing question, how, the things that we do to trap ourselves, and I'm not a psychotherapist, so I'm not going to psychologically analyse the people who might be feeling this way, so I can relay a bit of what I've experienced, as well as I work with clients, well, some of them have experienced, that I've seen and had conversations with. When we think about it, we are biologically programmed to make sure that we survive. And we're constantly looking for things that are wrong to make sure that we're able to avoid or overcome things, so that we can continue to survive. But we're not really biologically designed to help us be happy. Because that's not necessarily for survival. I think a lot of times when we're younger, and looking out, there are definitely people who know at a very young age what they want to become when they grow up and have been focusing on it with this intensity to allow them to continue to grow and develop in the field of their choosing with the things that they want to do. I would say that there's a lot of people, we weren't as intentional as we were younger, and we fall into things because they were good ideas at the time, not necessarily because that's what we always want to do, or we thought very deeply about why it is we want to do them. We fall into a career and we start working on it. And if we're reasonably intelligent, and we're hardworking, and we do want to create a better life for ourselves, we will start getting really good at something without necessarily having thought about, what is my endgame with this career that I've chosen? By the time we get to a point where we're feeling dissatisfied, but we've made something of ourselves, then I would generally categorise that there are three things that we're concerned with. One is that I put in a lot of effort into getting where I am now. If I were to stop doing this, would I have wasted my years building up to where I am now? In a way, you can call that a sunk cost fallacy, like we made an investment but the investment's gone down. What do we do? There's that piece of it. There's a piece of the, what some people might call the endowment effect: what I own is more valuable than something else. I already have this, so if I were to give it up, maybe there's another job or another career that I would be more interested and passionate about, but with the things I give up, really, is the new things I find, is it worth more than what I will be giving up? And I would say the third thing is a general fear of unknown. We all seek the security, safety, as I said, this desire to survive. And if we were to leave where we are now, there's a very big question mark on, I don't know what the future brings, it's very hard to forecast and tell how I will feel when I get to this next place, but I know where I am now. That is so much easier, to stay with what we know than to go into what we don't know.

Jeremy Cline 14:15
The sunk costs fallacy, I think, is one that can, it's definitely got a psychological element to it, but to my mind at least, it's the one which can be relatively easily dealt with. A previous guest on the podcast likened it to, well, he said, well, okay, so if you spent 15 years in a career, but you know that you've got another 30 years of working life left, then, well, compare those 15 years with the other 30. I mean, you don't want to be carrying on investing, so that 15 becomes 20 becomes 25. So, I can see ways how you can rationalise with yourself that it does make sense to let go and, as it were, lose the investment. How do you deal, though, with the second issue, where you've got something, you have things and you're worried that, either you won't be able to keep those things, or you won't be able to get more of them in the future? And it's probably more of the first one, the fear of being able to keep the things that you've got, especially if it is a nice house and you've got mortgage payments to make.

Joseph Kuo 15:18
Yeah, first, I want to just quickly touch on, the sunk cost fallacy is something that has become more well-known. So, most people know what it is and they just say, it's easier to rationalise ourselves out of that. I would also invite you to consider that sunk cost fallacy is also very insidious, that sometimes we fall into it without realising that we've done that. And we need support, we need other people sometimes to point out to us that's what we're doing. So, I'll just offer that out there. As far as the fact where we, you know, we hate losing, right? There's a lot of psychological studies that have shown that we experience the pain of loss twice as great as we experience the joy of winning. There is definitely – I think, trying to wrestle ourselves out of something that we feel strongly about is difficult. Like, if we try to use our head to try to convince our emotions, why we shouldn't feel something, I think that's a very tall order. One of the books that I've read, titled Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath, they talk about the Rider and the Elephant, that our mind is the Rider and our emotions are the Elephant, and the Rider is able to guide the Elephant when the Elephant's not triggered. But if the Elephant is triggered, there's nothing the Rider can do, the Elephant's gonna go where it's gonna go. I don't want to undersell that the fear is real, and that trying to rationally justify why we shouldn't feel fear won't necessarily help us. However, if we're willing to take a moment and consider why I am scared, why we're scared, we have the opportunity of kind of going underneath it. Think of the feeling of fear as a pointer to something that we fear losing. And I don't necessarily mean material things, though they definitely are the first thing that will come to mind. Like, what if I change my job, I don't have the money to make mortgage payments, and I lose the house? But what's so important about the house? Why is the house so important to keep? And there's some pretty obvious reasons why that is. I think for most people, it's like, yeah, I don't want to lose a house. But you can go a level deeper than that and contemplate why the house is so important. Is it because it is a way for me to demonstrate how successful I have become? I mean, am I really gonna have no place to live because I change job? For anybody who has achieved some level of success, we're probably not talking about them being homeless. They may not be able to keep the specific house they have, but they're able to afford other places that they can live. Is it because this house represents a certain amount of achievement I've done, so it demonstrates my significance, my talent, my accomplishment? Is it because my family really loves it here? And I love them so much I want to contribute to their happiness and well-being? Is it because this is an area that allows me to make a lot of connections with people that I might potentially be working with, it can help me with my career success later on? What's so important about this house is my desire to achieve, to accomplish, to contribute in some other way to the world. There is a level underneath where I can see my values. What is it about my values, my beliefs in the world that leads me to believe that this particular house in this specific place is important and is worth for me to continue to be unhappy with my job, so that I can gain and retain these things? And if we start being able to dive underneath the material into why it is we believe this is important, our rules, our values, then we can start thinking about, well, is this the only way for me to experience that? It's a little bit like in negotiation, people talk about how you don't want to focus on positions, you want to focus on interests. Because position is win-lose, you either get the position or you don't. But when you go into interest, then there's an opportunity to negotiate, because you are able to trade and to accommodate interests.

Jeremy Cline 19:21
That's an absolutely fascinating way of looking at it. I love the way that you're looking at something which, to many people, is a fundamental thing, you know, the family home, maybe it's the first house you bought or it's the house you bought deciding it was going to be your forever home and it's the house that you've invested a lot in, in terms of redecorating, new kitchen, new bathroom, and it's the house where you've brought your kids into the world and that sort of thing, but maybe peeling back and looking into each of those things and saying yes, but is all of that a trade-off for being, well, miserable in your job? And of course, there's going to be discussions with other people, so, you may have a wife, husband or partner who also is involved and may not necessarily want to move the house and there's maybe where the children are at school, if you don't want to disrupt that. But I guess it's a really interesting approach that you start digging into the fear. It's not just, 'Oh, but if I change jobs and get paid less, I might lose the house'. It's, 'Okay, well, what does losing the house actually mean? Would I be homeless?' Well, not necessarily, hopefully, probably not. And you start sort of to, yeah, using it to address your values, I think that's an absolutely fascinating way of looking at it.

Joseph Kuo 20:31
Yeah. And to give an example, everything else being equal, now, if again, come back to my example, if my parents were sick and needed me to be nearby, I probably would make a decision of making some sort of career change and move in order to be closer to them, so that I can help take care of them. Has any of my values changed, has any of these important changed? They haven't, in and of themselves, but relatively, right, there's now other part of my value, to contribute to the family, to care for those that I love, override some of the other values. Now, that's important. Those are some of the areas where, in conversation with work on clients, to go one level deeper, to understand why some of these goals are important. What it is that we're really sacrificing current career happiness in order to address. And we once we get there, we can start thinking and looking at, well, staying in this job is one strategy of meeting those values. Is that the only strategy that can meet these values?

Jeremy Cline 21:35
Do you ever find when you work with clients that sometimes the fear itself isn't necessarily particularly well-founded? And so, what I mean by that is, the fear might be of not being able to get the mortgage payments upon the house, and then you start getting into the value that the house has to you and what it means and all that sort of thing. But is there a point before that where you've got to test that assumption and start thinking in terms of, well, how low would my income have to get in order that I wouldn't be able to make the payments on the house? Is that an exercise which people can go through as well?

Joseph Kuo 22:13
Yes, definitely. On the financial planning part of my engagement with clients, we use financial projection tools, gather the client's current assets, if you will, balance sheet and income statement, and then start making projections. And then we start looking at levers. Right? What would happen if income were to drop by a certain percent? What if income were to drop by 30% and the market were to go down for a year or two? What happens if... Right, the different scenarios and there are usually major levers that we can look at to help clients look at these other potential impacts, how does that feel, how does it look, is that something that a family is willing to experience. And I would put one more step beyond that. People are complicated, and sometimes we talk about making some of these decisions as if they're single decisions that, we just need to make this one and then we can look at the impact and the application of it. And the reality is that we've designed, wherever we are in life right now, we kind of design circumstances around ourselves in order to experience the life that we want to live. And I want to give a example, this will be a composite client example, obviously, to protect privacy and so on. In fact, I will give an example of somebody who happens to be an attorney. And what he, just say that what he had always wanted to do is to be a musician. He wants to go perform in clubs and things like and he enjoys playing music at home, but being an attorney is where he makes a lot of his money. So, as we look at the financial plan, the one thing that keep holding me back is that they spend a lot of money and their household income. So, as much money they make, they spend a lot of it. So that, he looks at it and is like, 'Well, how can I continue to maintain my living standards, or save for my retirement if I leave this job that does pay me quite a bit of money to do something that's much more risky?' And the funny thing is, as we look into where they're spending their money, what we end up discovering is that he doesn't have a plan, he doesn't have a spending plan, he doesn't have a goal that he's shooting for, and that a lot of his spending are, you know, we can look at it and we could say that it doesn't – I hesitate to use that he's wasting money, he just is kind of spending a lot of money that he's not, but he's not thinking consciously about why he is spending this money. And that's the part where I always struggle with because I think that whatever we do, there's a need that we're trying to meet. And we may not realise what it is on the surface, but we don't really do anything for no reason at all. There's a reason why we're doing it, even if the reason isn't obvious. As we dive into why it is that he is constantly changing cars and constantly buying these expensive things, one of the things that we realised and he realised and related to me was that he came from a family with much lower means, and in fact, many members of his family are on some sort of welfare, and they don't have a lot. And early on in his career, as he started making money as an attorney, he felt some guilt, some shame about making more money than really his families and friends where he came from. So, he used to give money back to his family and help pay for many things that his family wanted. Over time, his family came to expect it and started asking him for money when they need it, and he couldn't stop. He couldn't say no, but he didn't feel good about constantly funding the needs of the rest of the family, because he's the one who was working hard, he's the one who made the decision to get a law degree and to come work in a stressful job. And the way that he dealt with it was by spending all the money he makes, so that when people ask him for money, he could say, 'Well, I don't have any more to give you because I have a very expensive life that I have to maintain in the city with a job, with the kids, and so on.'

Jeremy Cline 25:56
Well, that's a heck of a defence mechanism.

Joseph Kuo 25:58
And I call this a composite story, because it wasn't just one person who was doing it. There are many people who are doing that. And this is, I'm tying this back to a little bit about the story of my dad as well, that sometimes people started working to create wealth without necessarily thinking about what all the wealth is for. They're doing it, initially, so that they can live a better life and fund for their family. But when they go beyond merely survival for the family, many people are so busy working, they never stop to think, where am I going with this? And that money becomes something, either, almost like a burden of, what do I do with now the wealth I'm creating? And what sometimes people solve that problem, by getting rid of it – not consciously, but it is something they're not comfortable with. Right? They live in their zone of comfort, and they never work to expand their zone of comfort, they keep finding ways to feel comfortable again. And one of the ways for us to examine our zone of comfort is to set an intention, to have a goal, to have a purpose now. For this composite client, this realisation that he was spending a lot of money in order to not feel guilty about not supporting his family, he was able to start shifting that perception into, 'Well, this is something I want for myself. I want to be able to get to a point where I can retire or retire from being an attorney, and be comfortable that I am able to do what I enjoy. And it may not be that I quit being a lawyer completely. Maybe I'll become a professor, maybe I could – there's other things I can do to leverage the skills that I developed for myself and the reputation I developed for myself, so that I can continue to leverage some income from it. But I don't need the level of income that I am using today and I don't need to spend the time I'm spending today on this one profession, so that I can actually do other things I enjoy as well.' And once there was that intention, that purpose, things started coming together. There's certain things that he couldn't imagine himself doing before that now he can. Like, there's no way I could cut back on spending, I work so hard that I have to go out and eat a fancy dinner and drink two bottles of wine, otherwise I can't decompress. But now, all of a sudden, this is the reason why I might go home and eat a home-cooked meal, because I'm going to put this away to get closer to the day when I can stop doing what I'm doing, find something else I enjoy and be able to play music and play in the band and go perform in a pub or something along that line that I would really enjoy.

Jeremy Cline 28:23
Can you talk a little bit more about that feeling of resistance, that feeling of, 'Oh, but I couldn't give up this or I couldn't give up that', and maybe a feeling of, 'Well, I shouldn't give up this, I shouldn't give up that, I've worked so hard, I deserve these, I don't know, trinkets and baubles or I deserve this particular standard of living'? How do you address that sort of resistance with clients?

Joseph Kuo 28:46
By resistance, I want to go a level deeper underneath resistance. So, I mentioned before, that it's my belief that there's a reason why we do anything. There's a need that we're wanting to meet when we have these feelings of mad, sad, fear, in this case, this sense of resistance, something's holding me back. I believe that underneath all of that are completely valid reasons for something important to me that if I were to do something different, I risk losing. And so, first, I would invite clients, we start looking at, what are the things I want out of life and what is this job currently, what is it about this job that's providing these things I'm looking for and what are those things that are important to me in life that I risk losing, if I were to leave this job? And so, none of this is about, you know, you aren't satisfied with your job, so you should leave. The end result of that conversation and that exploration might be, 'Actually I don't dislike this job that much at all. I just think I do because I see other people doing something that I would enjoy doing. And I have perceived my current job to be a limiting factor in doing some of the other things I want to do. And perhaps that's not true. I only believed in it because I haven't really thought about what it is that I really wanted, the quality that I wanted in what somebody else is doing. Maybe I can't do what they're doing exactly, like I can't just not show up to work one day and go skiing in the Alps for two weeks. Maybe that's something I can't do, if I were to stay in my current job. But what is it about being able to go to the Alps for two weeks that makes that so appealing? We can dig underneath that, we may start being able to find out that, in fact, it's a way for us to get more our life the way that we currently have it set up.

Jeremy Cline 30:30
My last question is, what is the first step that someone who's in this position can take, so the person who's in the well-paid job which they don't like, and maybe they've identified something else they want to do, but they've got these fears about losing their income and not being able to sustain the same sort of life? If you had to say, 'Okay, start here', what would be that first step you recommend people take?

Joseph Kuo 30:53
Yeah, so, I would actually put forth two first steps. The first step that I would describe is, if you're willing to look into that fear and ask the question, 'What if what I fear will happen? What are the consequences of that? What's so bad about it? And is it a one-way ticket, is it irrecoverable?' Like, if I were to make the decision, those bad things happen, I'm screwed for the rest of my life. And if that is difficult, and so you look down the tunnel, it becomes very difficult to kind of parse the emotion from the reality or the likelihood of the situation, then I would suggest looking at those values. And both, I'm not happy with this job. What is it about this job that prevents me from getting these things I want? And what's underneath those things I want? What is so important about them? What is it about the fear of leaving this job that's so important to me? What are the values and what are the goals that I fear that I will lose, if I were to leave this job? And we can start by identifying the interest, if you look at this as a negotiation within ourselves, there's a part of us that wants something else, and there's part that wants to stay where we are. So, instead of looking at the positions, or whether we stay or go, we look one level deeper at the interests. What is my interest in leaving this job? And what is my interest in staying in this job? And then we're able to start negotiating based on interests. Are there things that we can do that can satisfy more of these interests simultaneously?

Jeremy Cline 32:22
If people want to explore this any further, do you have any tools or resources that you can point people to where they can start to look into some of this in a bit more detail?

Joseph Kuo 32:31
Yes. So, if we're to kind of talk more specifically about careers, a classmate of mine, her name is Ingrid Stabb, she had written a book titled The Career Within You. So, it's a book that takes an individualised approach to determining your career type, help you forge the career path that best suits you. It's an ideal guide for job hunting and career changers, because it offers a wide variety of careers in the book that's tailored to the strengths that you already possess. And it walks you through the steps to realise that career within you. She also actually has a assessment quiz online, that's like a strength finder meets the enneagram. And the website is strengthinnumbers.com. And I'll share these websites with you. Simon Sinek, the person who famously gave a TED talk on Start With Why, on his website, he's actually got a couple of online courses, including one called Find a Job You Love.

Jeremy Cline 33:25
Yeah, I will definitely link to all of those in the show notes. So, that's great. And if people want to find you and speak to you about all this kind of thing, where's the best place people can get a hold of you?

Joseph Kuo 33:36
Yes, my website is www.abundancewp or abundancewealthplanning.com, and people are welcome to email me at Joseph@abundancewp.com.

Jeremy Cline 33:48
Brilliant. I will put links to those in the show notes as well. Joseph, fascinating subject. Thank you so much for your time.

Joseph Kuo 33:54
Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Jeremy Cline 33:58
Well, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Joseph Kuo of Abundance Wealth Planning. I think it's fair to say I don't think I have ever spoken to a wealth planner about the sorts of things that Joseph described. I mean, usually when you go to a wealth planner, you ask about performance, how you're going to achieve a certain return, maybe some saving goals. These big questions around values and what your wealth is actually intended to support – I don't think it's something that most wealth planners would ever talk about. And, well, perhaps they should. I loved what Joseph was saying about digging into the fear. So, if the fear is you won't be able to make payments on a house, well, why is that important? What's so important about the house? What does it mean to you, what values underpin your desire to carry on living in that house? It's a completely different way of answering the question, but will I be able to continue to make payments on the house? So, rather than looking at it purely in financial terms, you're looking at it in completely different terms, in values terms. I liked the idea of negotiating with yourself, as well. So, identifying the interests rather than the positions and working on what those interests might be, what you can live with, what's important to you. Overall, I just thought it was an absolutely fascinating way of thinking about money and wealth generally.

Jeremy Cline 35:12
It might be an episode that you want to dive into more than once, and you'll find a full transcript as well as a summary of everything that we talked about on the show notes page for this episode, and you'll find those at changeworklife.com/82 for Episode 82. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'd love it if you'd leave a review of the podcast, preferably a five-star review, if you think it deserves it. And if you don't think it deserves it, then send me an email, let me know why not. But if you think it deserves five stars, and you'd be willing to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts from, I'd be really, really grateful. Joseph talked a bit in this interview about looking inside yourself to identify what's important to you. And that's the theme which we continue over the next couple of episodes. So, next week, we've got an interview which is all about intuition. So, how do you actually tap into the fact that, really, you are the only person who knows the solution to the questions that you may have about what you actually want? It's quite a foundational interview to the whole subject of career change. So, if you haven't subscribed to the podcast, make sure you do and I can't wait to see you in next week's episode. Cheers. Bye.

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