This week Marcus sits down with Nathan Lippincott, with STM Asset Management. Nathan is a fiduciary and if you’re unfamiliar with the term: he is required by law to put your interests first, making decisions based on what is best for you and your goals. On top of that, Nathan knows the best way to help his clients isn’t always to put their money into “the market” right away. He may start with giving some advice on starting a budget, help you look into life insurance, and make sure you have an updated will. His goal is to truly help you plan out your finances, not just manage some of them for a fee. Now, let’s jump into our conversation with Nathan Lippincott!
This podcast is brought to you by the awesome team over at Blue Fish.
Nathan: I'm Nathan Lippincott with STM Asset Management.
Marcus: Awesome. Well, welcome to the podcast, Nathan.
Nathan: Thanks. I'm glad to be here.
Marcus: Yeah. So, full disclosure. You and I have known each other for probably what, a decade now or-
Nathan: At least.
Marcus: Longer? Yeah.
Nathan: All the way back to building and real estate and all kinds of different things.
Marcus: Yeah. I mean, it's probably been at least 10 years now. You were the one that closed in our back porch.
Marcus: And, we've known your family for quite a long time. So, I am especially glad to have you on the podcast today.
Marcus: Because I'm excited about what you've got going on, so. But, before we get into that, why don't you give us the back story of who Nathan Lippincott is. So, where are you from? How did you get here if you weren't from here? All that stuff.
Nathan: Well, I was born in Ohio. I lived there for about 7 years. My ... Raised as a pastor's child. A preacher's kid all my life. We moved from town to town. So, about 22 years ago my dad took a church in Fairhope, Alabama. So, we've been down here now for about 22 years, living in Fairhope. And, absolutely love it. Met my wife down here. I've been married for 15 years with three kids.
Marcus: Three kids.
Nathan: Three kids.
Marcus: Yes. And, so you went to high school in the area as well? College?
Nathan: I home schooled through high school. Then I did a little bit of seminary here and there. Through a couple different schools online. I got a two year degree, but, that's about the only thing I did for college.
Marcus: Very cool. And, you have always struck me as a dude that is going to figure out how to do whatever it is that he wants to do. Is that a fair assessment of you?
Nathan: Yeah. I mean, to me you've got to find your passion and your drive. Once you figure out what that is it's, to me, very easy to accomplish it.
Nathan: There's hurdles to always jump over, but it's easy to come along.
Marcus: Yeah. So STM Asset Management is a financial services company?
Marcus: And, so why don't you describe what you all do real briefly for-
Nathan: Again, our biggest thing is we manage assets. You know, we bring in people look into retirement accounts, 401Ks, simple IRAs. That's the bulk of it and that's where we make our money from. Managing people's money in retirements. But, we look at it ... A lot different aspects of that too, you know. Financial planning. Can I retire? Am I able to retire?
One thing I like about it is it's a challenge for each and every person you get in front of. I mean, your life story is different than somebody else's life story. You know, you may be able to retire on a half a million and somebody else doesn't have a chance of retiring on that. You've got widows. You've got divorcees. You've got everybody's situation is totally different. So, it's a challenge when you meet them. And, you can't just say, "Okay. We're managing your money." We look at the whole financial aspect and say, "Do you have life insurance? Do you have a will? Do you have ..." You know, so we ask some of the harder questions and figure out what you've got going.
Marcus: I have very expensive tastes for ... Half a million will not do.
Nathan: No. You're going to need a lot more than that. A lot more than that.
Marcus: Now, we have a lot of friends that are in financial services, but, the reason why I wanted to have you on is because I know that you're a ... Is it fiduciary? Is that the correct term?
Nathan: Yes. The word is fiduciary. And, lawyers and accounts have to be a fiduciary. And, basically that just means they have to work in your best interest. At all times, in every situation, whatever question you come up with, we have to do what's best for the client at all times.
Marcus: And, that is not the norm in the financial services.
Nathan: That is not. There is some people that'll you know ... What other people are, they'll make it suitable for you. Well, suitable ma not be what's best for you. In the end it may be best for them, it could be suitable for you. So, you've got to be careful with what's suitable, what's fiduciary and things like that. So, yes, any time you get into the financial world, you definitely need to ask that question. I was listening to a book the other day by Tony Robbins and he said there's 380 thousand financial advisors in the world and there's only five thousand fiduciaries.
Marcus: And, that book was written quite a bit ago, so that number may have changed a little bit, but, I've read that same book. It's his ... I think he wrote it like three or four years ago and it's about managing money and stuff like that. And, it is thick. So, I think it's safe to say that most people ... That there's a bit of confusion around planning for retirement. Of course, when somebody like Tony Robbins puts out a book, you think, "Well, I want to read it." But, then you look at this 600 page tome and you're like, well there's just no way. Like, I'm not going to get through this and even if I did the basic premise of the book is find somebody who's qualified.
Marcus: Who's going to act in your best interest and work with them. Because the truth is I'm never going to spend all of my time ... All the time necessary in order to understand the market, the various options available to me and then make those investments. I'm better off working with somebody-
Nathan: Right. I mean, there's ... You got annuities and mutual funds and ETFs. There's a lot of different things out there that some people may not want to educate themselves on. But, again, I do enjoy it and I enjoy that aspect of it. And, to go back just to how I got into this realm. You know, when my wife and I got married, we lived pay check to pay check. Back then you knew me, I was framing houses. Struggling. You know-
Marcus: One of the best framing companies I know of in lower Alabama.
Nathan: So, we were framing and I can remember I had to work 62 hours to pay the mortgage. You know? And, we lived paycheck to paycheck. We struggled. Things like that. What got me into this thing was I started listening to Dave Ramsey, which was learning how to budget and how to plan for your life and do things. And, he is a genius when it comes to budgeting. So, we got onto a budget and paid off our debt. I mean, I could even tell you we were the worst of the worst. We owed land, we owed house, we were upside down on our house. We owed my brother. We owed ... Everything in the world we owed somebody money.
And, if I can keep somebody out of that situation, or if I can get them out of that situation and teach them that freedom. To me, it's very important to show them what the freedom is of understanding money. Because, again, most Americans don't understand money.
Marcus: So, I actually am glad that you brought up Dave Ramsey because my wife and I went through Financial Peace University three times.
Nathan: Yes. Yes.
Marcus: It took three times for it to take. But, it was probably one of the most value ... And, okay, Financial Peace University three times. But, we did the precursor to Financial Peace University, which was Larry Burkett's system. So, really it took four times-
Nathan: Yep. I've done them all. I've done them all.
Marcus: For us to do this. But, on the other side of that was debt free except for house. No credit card debt. No student loan debt. We have some car debt now, but with the amount that we have in savings that could go away if we wanted it to. It's just convenient for us to not ... To have liquid cash instead of tied up in a depreciating asset. So, describe to us ... Because I know Ramsey had kind of some tenant there. I think it's eight steps or something like that. You don't have to go into all of them. But, just because I think most people don't understand basic principles when it comes to that. Explain to them what-
Nathan: And, again the biggest thing to start with is to have some type of emergency fund. You don't need a lot. Have a thousand dollars. If you don't have any money in savings, you're going to have a tire blow out. You're going to have issues. You're going to have problems. You're going to have a doctor's bill. You're going to have something that you didn't plan for. The second thing I think you've got to have is have a dollar for every ... Have a job ... Every dollar needs to have a job. And, again, I tell most people ... Because I hear it all the time. People will tell me, "I don't spend any money."
And, I'm like, "You spend money. You just don't know it." Write down every dollar you spend. I don't care if you take a notebook. I don't care what you do. Take it to the gas station. Take it with you. Write down every dollar you spend.
Marcus: When my wife and I first got married we wanted to buy a house and they made us write down ... Because they didn't think that we were going to be able to save the amount that we needed for the down payment. They made us write down. So, if I went to the soda machine and bought a Coke, I had to write it down. And, I had a budget for lunch of three dollars. And it's amazing, this was back in '97 so I knew that there was a pizza place downstairs from where I worked that I could get a slice of pizza, a side salad and a Coke for three dollars. And, if I wanted a magazine I got one magazine a month. It was like three dollars and ... It was just that insane.
Nathan: That's a budget.
Marcus: But, it's a budget. But, go ahead. I'm sorry to you know-
Nathan: Exactly and I think the most crucial thing is most people don't think they spend money. You know, we pay our bills and there's no money left over. But, when you start counting it ... You buy Coke here. You buy a candy bar there. You buy the kids ... You buy your screaming kid a toy at the store just to get them to be quiet. Things like that. So, again we've got to start writing things down. That way we can start seeing where our money goes. Then we can start budgeting. Once we live on a budget then we can really start saying, "Okay. We can start paying off debt."
If we keep living the same way, nothing's going to change. My wife for six months she told me we would never get out of debt. And, my life is drastically different today. Same as you, we do have car payments, but, we have no credit card debt. I paid off land. I paid off my brother. I paid off ... We had 350 thousand dollars worth of debt and we were upside down on our house. Once you make a mentality change and say okay, there's no more, you can start moving forward with your life.
Marcus: And, that ... You kind of keyed on that. So, that's a very important aspect of this, right? Believing that it's possible.
Marcus: Because, so many people just get beaten down by, "It's never going to happen. It's never going to happen. It's never going to happen."
Nathan: And, if ... I'm willing to ... Like I said, I can't go out there and charge people to budget. And, that's where I sort of ... Once I realized I had a passion to help people, I was able to become an investment advisor and I enjoy the stock market and things like that. But, my passion is to help people budget and things like that. So, I'm willing to hold people accountable and push people in the right direction. If I had somebody to tell me how much money I was able to spend when I started? I mean, I had to read books. I had to ... I tried every app on the iPhone. I've tried every app on the computer.
Marcus: So, let's pause there for just a second. I want actually you to go into that. I mean, like what app do you tell people to use now?
Nathan: My favorite one today is YNAB. Like I said, Dave Ramsey taught me a lot. Brought me to where I am today. He's just lacking on a few things. YNAB is the same exact concept as Dave Ramsey. Create envelopes. Create categories. And, I call it a glorified checking account. You create different categories and instead of me thinking I have two thousand dollars in my checking account, I know I only have $20 to eat out on. Back in the day I used to think. Oh, I have money in my checking account. Let's go to dinner. Then the next day the bills show up. It's like, "Oh, I forgot about those."
Marcus: YNAB stand for You Need A Budget. So, if you go to YNAB.com that's where you'll find that app.
Nathan: Yeah. That's my favorite one. You know, there's a lot of different apps out there. Dave Ramsey has a software that he uses and different things like that. It is $5 a month, but, I still think it's well worth it. Has changed my life and you will save that $5 in just starting using YNAB.
Marcus: Yeah, I mean I know that I've listened to podcasts with the owners of YNAB and they very much started because of what you are describing. They were in debt. They needed a solution. Now, we've used MINT for a while now. I like MINT. It's free. It does a lot of things automatically for you. While I like MINT, I don't suggest it for people that are just starting that have never done a budget before. Because we're in a different situation where we're in maintenance mode. But, it does so many things for you automatically that it almost becomes too easy and I think there needs to be some level of focus on your finances, your budget. We actually used to write everything out. Like I can still ... Like visually in my mind I still understand the two column spreadsheet and how it was broken out and all the various things that you have to focus on. I think that kind of focus is what it takes in order to get yourself out of debt.
Nathan: Right. Absolutely. I mean, again, it just starts with discipline. In the beginning, you've got to be a lot more disciplined than ... I'm not as disciplined as I used to be because I don't need to be anymore. So, again, it changes.
Marcus: It's for a season, right?
Marcus: So, what about ... You mentioned books. What about any books that people could read? I mean, obviously Financial Peace University.
Nathan: Yeah. Dave Ramsey's books are incredible. I've read all of those. Rick Edelman has some. He's a financial advisor as well and he talks about a lot of ... Like I say, I do agree with Dave Ramsey on the budget side of things. I would steer a little clear of him on the investment side of things.
Nathan: I mean, I think there's a lot more in depth, a lot more better methods to it. And, again, he's speaking to a wide array of people, so it's tough for him to ... As long as somebody's investing they're doing better than what they were doing. So, if you're investing you're in a really good budget.
Marcus: Right. I think investing, if I remember correctly is like step number five or six or something like that. So, it's definitely not for everybody. So, do you remember the first time where you really realized that you wanted to go into this? I mean, because you ... You know, we've kind of hinted at it. Like you've worn a couple of different hats. But, this from what I sense, this is really what you're passionate about. And, so, do you remember what it took for you to kind of get-
Nathan: I think it was once I started paying off debt and realizing the freedom that I had. I mean my wife and I had money problems. We had marriage problems. We had kids. It's not fair to the kids to go through these money crisis. So, to me, if I can pass that on to another family if I can save a marriage ... I mean, again, I don't know what the percentage is, but, 60, 70% of marriages fail because of money.
Marcus: Because of money.
Nathan: Again, if we can stop that and show the kids, you know, nothing's changing. We've just got to spend less that we make. And, there's ways to do it or increase that-
Marcus: Or, increase the amount of money we're making.
Nathan: We can increase, yeah. I mean we've got two options. Spend less or make more. Both are easy to do in my opinion.
Marcus: Now, I know I'm going to flip the switch. So we asked about books for budgeting, but, I also know that you and I share an affinity for guys like Grant Cardone and stuff like that. Any books that you've found helpful as a business owner for understanding how to grow your business?
Nathan: Well, I really like Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. Again, that's you know ... Which everybody know about that book.
Marcus: It's a classic.
Nathan: Again, no brainer. Again, you have to believe. I you don't believe, you're not going to get to the other side. You know, my wife took six months to get on the debt ... The budget wagon. But, once she believed with me, it went so much faster. A recent one that we've been reading lately is A Happy Pocket Full of Money. Just an incredible book on listening to your subconscious mind. Our mind, it can only hear 10 or 15 things are once, but, your subconscious can hear like 10 thousand. We don't listen to it because we're always so in tune. But, it's a pretty interesting book. It's very-
Marcus: That's wild. I haven't heard of that one before that's-
Nathan: Chapter two and three, skim through it. It's about quantum physics, and I have no idea what he said. But after that it's incredible. My wife's already read it twice. It's and incredible book.
Marcus: That's too funny about quantum physics.
Nathan: I don't even know what that ... I can't help you there, so.
Marcus: That's too funny, dude. I think it's you definitely have to be of one accord when it comes to that. And, I think it's definitely a struggle, but, getting to the other side is extremely important. Now, if you were talking to someone that wanted to start running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
Nathan: Well, the biggest thing is they've got to find their passion. They've got to find their dream. Some people think it's just fun and easy to start a business, but, if you don't enjoy it, it's only going to last for so long. You're not going to make money at it. Things like that. So, you've got to find your passion and once you find your passion then I think then you start reading upon those topics. The biggest thing to me is reading. Or, finding like-minded people. Because again a lot of people out there think it's dumb to start a business. Why don't you just work eight to five? Why do you ... I get it all the time. I own a couple different businesses and people are like, "Why do you do that?" Again, if there's ways to have your money grow for you why not do it?
Marcus: So, how much has having multiple streams of income meant to you in getting out of debt?
Nathan: Oh, tremendously. Especially today, you know, I am now debt free and it taught me how to live on less. So, now I'm capable of taking that money and using it.
Marcus: In a positive way.
Nathan: If I would have made money 10 years ago? I would have been still in debt.
Marcus: Blown through it.
Nathan: I would have went and bought a nicer truck. I would have went and bought a better ... A bigger house.
Marcus: I don't know man, I've seen your truck. It's pretty nice.
Nathan: It is a nice truck. I agree. I agree. But, again once you realize money and you can save some.
Nathan: Then you're able to do things with it too. Change other people's lives too and I think that's very important to see that you can use it to help others.
Marcus: What's ... So, we talked about the one bit of wisdom that you'd give somebody starting a business, but, if somebody's wanting to get out of debt, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them? What's the one thing they should know?
Nathan: Start today. To me, it's starting today. Again, if you wait a year to start, if you take six months to start, you're going to be in the same boat or worse in six months from today. To me, starting writing down every dollar you spend and again asking for an accountability partner. If your wife or husband's not on board, find somebody that will encourage you down that path. Even if it's not me, find a friend or a family that's been through Dave Ramsey or find a Dave Ramsey class. Or, find something that can push you down that road.
Marcus: And, it's important to know that Dave Ramsey's classes are typically offered through churches. They're typically free outside of the purchase of the course material.
Nathan: Right. A hundred bucks.
Marcus: Which will usually run a hundred bucks. So, you'll end up spending a hundred bucks for the class. It usually takes-
Nathan: Nine weeks.
Nathan: Nine weeks.
Marcus: Yeah. I was going to say nine weeks. But, the nice thing about it is that you are usually in the class with other like-minded individuals that are still trying to get ... They're in the same place. They're trying to move themselves forward. We made some friends in the Financial Peace University class at City Hope, that we still keep in touch with. So, it's definitely a phenomenal ... So, if you're looking for help I'm not an expert like you are, but, at the same time having been there before I think highly of that program. And, he has a book and I can't remember the title of it. But, it's just a book outside of the course curriculum that you can pick up on Amazon.com
Nathan: Total Money Makeover.
Marcus: Total Money Makeover.
Nathan: And, everybody's been in the spot. I mean, every American has been in debt. Everybody's had credit card debt. Everybody's had ... You know there's very few people that can say, "I've lived my whole life debt free." So, to me, find somebody. Team up with them. And, try to get through it together. Or, find somebody that's already been through it and get encouragement from them.
Marcus: And, I'm going to read between the lines and correct me if I'm wrong. But, Dave Ramsey is really good at getting people out of debt.
Marcus: But, once you're out of debt and you have an understanding of it there is a place for debt in growing a business or growing wealth.
Marcus: And, Dave Ramsey is extremely against that. Believes in paying cash for everything. And, that would slow most people's acceleration of their wealth.
Nathan: Correct. And, that's where I say, the budget, being debt free, do Dave Ramsey.
Nathan: After that let's start talking to a financial advisor. Let's say, "Hey, what are my options." You know, if you can borrow money at two, three percent interest and make 10% on it. Plus it's a tax deduction. You know, on a mortgage, I really don't mind having a mortgage. To me having a mortgage for your entire life-
Marcus: And, Dave Ramsey would be against having a mortgage.
Nathan: Exactly. I mean, there's different reasons of why to keep a mortgage. The tax deduction and what you can invest. You know, there's a lot of things to it.
Marcus: Keeping your cash liquid.
Marcus: I understand where he's coming from though in just that most Americans never get out of that mortgage.
Marcus: And, then they end up going to retire and they not only do they have a mortgage but, they've not saved enough and so they end up burning through a lot of cash. Whereas if you are debt free, completely debt free, and you've saved 500 thousand dollars, well, you can live a long time off of that money if that's your situation. But, most people retire have 200 thousand dollars in their finances and they still owe a mortgage of $2,000 a month or a thousand dollars a month or whatever it is and car payments and all kinds of other debt and that's where you start getting into trouble.
Marcus: Well, it almost seems ... I'm getting tired of asking this question. I may have to strike it from the interview questions, but, what do you like to do in your free time? This is where everybody laughs at me. You know?
Nathan: I mean, I love my family. I hang out with my family. I have three kids. All from 11 to five month old. So, I get the array of 11, six and five months old. So, my family. I enjoy reading. I do read a lot. Those would probably be the main-
Marcus: No fishing? No hunting?
Marcus: No long walks through the woods?
Nathan: Watching football.
Marcus: Watching football. Who are you for?
Nathan: Ohio State.
Marcus: Ohio State? Gosh-
Nathan: I just ruined all my credit.
Marcus: You just collectively got booed by everybody that's listening. You couldn't have picked one of the ones ... You know? It's all good. Don't hold it against him people. All right, so tell people where they can find where they can find out more about you.
Nathan: You can go to STMAsset.com and recently I've started writing a blog as well. It's Talksomecents.com C-e-n-t-s So, Talksomecents, like the coins. So, I started writing a blog there and just different things to encourage people on budgeting and blogging and things like that. And, they can call me too at ... Give me a call, 251-228-2103. And again, there are no ... You know, they're all free consultations until you invest with us. The only time we make money is if you invest money with us. Otherwise, we help you with budgeting and financial planning and where the money can go from here to the future.
Marcus: Now that's awesome man. You're definitely doing a service people by offering those services. I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?
Nathan: Again, if you have a passion find a way to do it. That one thing I've ... It took me a long time to find what my passion was. It was probably about five years ago that I realized I enjoy money, I enjoy helping people.
Marcus: Money's a good thing.
Nathan: You know, money's a good thing. Yeah, I mean, try to find your passion and run with it.
Marcus: Okay. This is normally where we would exit the interview. Okay? But, one thing that I want to hop on because we just kind of joked about it, that money is a good thing. And, there is something in ... There is a belief in the church that ... There's a verse that money is the root of all evil.
Nathan: It's the love of money.
Marcus: It's the love of money.
Nathan: It's the love of money.
Marcus: Money is a tool.
Marcus: So, I know you also ... And, we're not going to get into it because then it confuses things, but, you are a trained pastor, right?
Marcus: And so that's ... I think that's part of why you feel so passionately about this.
Nathan: Take a brick and take an object. A brick is not ... The love of the brick is probably an issue as well as the love of money.
Marcus: It would be ab idol.
Nathan: Exactly. It's an idol. Whatever you love is the issue. Without money, we can't help the world. And, the more I read, if we have wealth and we have money, we can help everybody and anybody.
Nathan: That's where we can start helping the world.
Marcus: It is a tool. Yeah.
Nathan: It's an amazing tool.
Marcus: Yeah. I'm sorry. That was kind of an aside, but, I've heard that said so many times recently and I'm just ... I want people to change their perspective. Just because somebody is going out and trying to earn a lot of money, does not necessarily mean that they're bad in any way, shape or form. Unless they are actually in love with that money. And, that's where it gets to be a little bit sticky. But, if they're doing it because they use the money as a tool like ... So, business owners, like we celebrate business owners on this podcast.
Marcus: And, most business owners are after making large sums of money because it allows them to build their businesses and it allows them to increase their influence. And, it allows them to do things for their church or for their family or for whatever. It is a tool. So, if you're out there and you're listening to this and you've kind of struggled with this because you are a Christian and you've read that verse, or, you've had that verse misquoted to you, please don't believe that anymore. Because there's nothing wrong with increasing your capacity for wealth.
Nathan: I think the Lord wants us to be happy and prosperous and that's what He calls us to do and be. To be a better ... Be better in the body of Christ. To help each other out.
Marcus: Nathan, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur. It's been great talking with you man.
Nathan: Thank you for having me.