Financial Crossroads Podcast

Work and life involve more than making and spending money. Still personal finances and values can impact career and lifestyle transitions. In this podcast series, hosted by Rand Spero, hear from people who have effectively navigated their own crossroads. What proved unexpected and what worked for them? The goal is to inspire by sharing guests’ sense of adventure and their willingness to grow.

15: Young People Navigating Their Financial Future, 5/22/24

Young people must navigate a financial world filled with manipulative traps.  How we help them become smart consumers?   Media and financial literacy become critical skills.  Jim Wasserman and Jiab Wasserman address this educational challenge in two exciting new books “The Social Media Diet “and “Behavioral Economics.”

Both bring a wealth of knowledge to this endeavor. Jim Wasserman is a former business litigation attorney who for the past two decades has been a media literacy, economics and humanities teacher.  Jiab Wasserman is a former industrial engineer and Vice President at Bank of America.  I am thrilled to have a chance to talk to them about how teachers and parents can provide needed guidance as students face their own financial crossroads.

14: Margin For Error, 7/31/23

Last year I was asked by personal finance writer Jonathan Clements, who founded and edits the blog https://humbledollar.com/ to submit an essay about my own financial journey. The process required considerable personal reflection. His recently published book My Money Journey – How 30 People Found Financial Freedom provides many interesting stories. It inspired me to conduct interviews with other contributors.

My guest Anika Hedstrom is a certified financial planner who co-founded the advisory firm Uplevel Wealth. Her previous work experience included international and domestic investment trading.  In her essay “Margin for Error” written for the book My Money Journey, Anika shares how she faced unexpected medical and financial challenges with her young family.  This profound experience helped shape her business vision, while she grew her advisory practice.

13: Taking Control, 6/10/23

Last year I was asked by personal finance writer Jonathan Clements, who founded and edits the blog https://humbledollar.com/ to submit an essay about my own financial journey. The process required considerable personal reflection. His recently published book My Money Journey – How 30 People Found Financial Freedom provides many interesting stories. It inspired me to conduct interviews with other contributors.

This is the fourth episode of a series of talks with these writers. My guest Jiab Wasserman, grew up in Thailand, and received an engineering degree at a top university in her native country. Two years later, she moved to the United States to pursue her MBA degree. Overcoming challenges as a frugal, single Mom who worked in a traditional male field,  Jiab became a successful financial services executive.  At the peak of her career, she retired at the relatively early age of 53, to travel and live overseas with her husband.

12: A Costly Education, 5/29/23

Last year I was asked by personal finance writer Jonathan Clements, who founded and edits the blog https://humbledollar.com/ to submit an essay about my own financial journey. The process required considerable personal reflection. His recently published book My Money Journey – How 30 People Found Financial Freedom provides many interesting stories. It inspired me to conduct interviews with other contributors. This is the third episode of a series of talks with these writers.

My guest Dr. John Lim is a practicing radiologist and financial educator, who is fascinated with behavioral finance. In his essay “A Costly Education”, John tells stories about his own mistakes as an overconfident investor, and the lessons he learned. John’s passion for spreading financial literacy can be seen through his offering classes at the hospital where he works, and at a local university. He is a regular contributor to HumbleDollar, and John has published a book, How to Raise Your Child’s Financial IQ: The Most Important Things.

11: A Rocky Road, 5/15/23

Last year I was asked by personal finance writer Jonathan Clements, who founded and edits the blog https://humbledollar.com/, to submit an essay about my own financial journey. The process required considerable personal reflection. His recently published book My Money JourneyHow 30 People Found Financial Freedom provides many interesting stories. It inspired me to conduct interviews with other contributors. This is the second episode of a series of talks with these writers.

My guest Don Southworth transitioned from the corporate finance and sales world to become a Unitarian minister. From his early life with gambling addiction, he learned how to heal himself and help others. He was able to integrate his values of charitable giving and effective money management. In his essay “A Rocky Road”, Don shares how he had “enough”, far earlier than he ever expected.

10: Driven to Succeed, 4/29/23

Last year I was asked by personal finance writer Jonathan Clements, who founded and edits the blog https://humbledollar.com/, to submit an essay about my own financial journey. The process required considerable personal reflection. His recently published book My Money Journey – How 30 People Found Financial Freedom provides many interesting stories. It inspired me to conduct interviews with some other contributors.

This is the first episode of a series of talks with these writers. My first guest Dick Quinn rose from a modest background to become a successful compensation and benefits executive.

Reading his essay Driven to Succeed, he exudes a determination to be financially independent while having a positive sense of family and self. Retired since 2010, Dick and his wife have visited 44 countries.  He frequently writes for HumbleDollar and has his own blog https://quinnscommentary.net/.

9: Musical Marvel, 7/13/22

My guest Thomas Stumpf is a musical marvel.  He is on the faculty of Tufts University and has previously held academic positions at Boston University and the New England Conservatory.  Thomas has composed and recorded a wide range of classical pieces both as a solo performer and as a frequent collaborator with musicians around the world.

But in his forties, Thomas reached a personal crossroad when he decided to move away from an ivory tower college position to engage as a full-time music director for an church with an extraordinary musical tradition.  After 2 decades of engaging that community with inspiring musical leadership, Thomas again faced a crossroad by moving beyond his comfort level to expand his musical reach.

https://www.thomasstumpf.com/composer.html

8: Later Life Fulfillment, 6/2/2022

These days we are hearing a lot about disgruntled people as they reach retirement age. But what about those who find a new calling?  These people continue to work past their retirement to follow their own curiosity and interest.

Phyllis Paster had a successful health care management career in the Boston area for over 25 years before she felt burned out and took an early retirement. But soon she got reenergized and developed satisfying encore careers. Phyllis started her own business “It’s About Time” which provides professional organizing services primarily to seniors. She loves bringing order to her clients’ lives. She also offers a genealogy service where she helps her clients explore their family roots and stories. Unlike the recent “resignation generation”, Phyllis has no plans to stop working.

7: Multi-Dimensional Role Model, 12/2/21

Dr. Luis De Leon teaches evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is married with young twin girls. His own personal growth involves an inspiring story. Born in rural Panama without running water in his house, he followed his passion for science to become the first in his family to attend college at the University of Panama. Then he ventured far from home to earn a doctorate in evolutionary biology from McGill University in Montreal. Overcoming the numerous cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers in a foreign city proved challenging. Today Professor De Leon instructs and mentors diverse students in an urban environment, and provides fortunate young scholars with a “life changing” experience doing field work in Panama and the Galapagos Islands. Serving as a role model for American and Latin American students, he offers an important and necessary dimension in contemporary education.

6: Follow Your Passion, 10/29/21

Losing a high-level software development job during the 2009 recession can be devastating. Having the courage to explore your hobbies can lead to new opportunities. Following his love of grilling and food, Ivan Basch works as a “food rescuer” as the Chief Procurement Officer for Lex Eat Together, and is a board member of the non-for-profit Food Link, which rescues surplus fresh food and delivers it to community organizations.

Ivan is also a life-time Boston Red Sox fan, and a year-round tour guide for Fenway Park in Boston. Prior to following these passions, Ivan worked as the Director of Program Management for the software firm MathWorks, where he was responsible for software development and project management.
https://www.foodlinkma.org/get-involved

5: Elevating Careers, 10/14/21

Imagine having a full-time, high-level career and simultaneously developing a successful executive coaching practice. Joe Kwon is a global privacy attorney for the accounting firm KPMG. He is also the Connection Counselor. In this role, Joe helps busy professionals elevate their careers by teaching them how to connect to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. He is author of “Unlock your Executive Presence: Feel Like a Boss”; creator of the course “Executive Presence and the Diversity Dilemma”; and hosts a daily podcast “Executive Presence Morsels”. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Virginia, a law degree from Georgetown, and lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.
www.connectioncounselor.com
www.joekwonjoe.com/morsels

4: Scale to New Heights, 9/20/21

Anwell Tsai is a self-described introvert and relentless optimist. He is a professionally trained violinist with degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. Instead of following a traditional musical career, Anwell created an innovative, hands-on program for preschoolers. His company, Playful Tunes, inspired over 100,000 kids to love music. More recently, he followed a different path and founded the training company Brantio. Using software, online tools, and workshops, his company helps shy executives in biotech and pharma to better promote their ideas.

3: A Russian Immigrant’s Journey to Find a Home, 9/17/20

Irina Morrison studied and worked on three continents. She faced career and financial challenges that would have overwhelmed most people. Listen to her inspiring story.

2: Smooth Transitions to Encore Career, 9/3/20

Kevin Dorr, a successful direct sales manager, saw the need for a late career transition. Then years later, he was unexpectedly forced to face a second career transition at an age many people retire. Hear how Kevin makes decisive moves at times when other people might get stuck in an uncomfortable situation.

1: Spring Cleaning, 8/18/20

An owner of a dry cleaning business shares his pandemic responses.

Can a small business owner, Todd Feigenbaum, of a 103 year old family dry cleaning chain handle another pandemic (the first pandemic hit them in 1918)? For many customer contact businesses, all the established rules of business interactions have changed. How did he adapt and plan for the future?