Why Self-Awareness is Crucial to Retirement Planning

February 17, 2020

Why Self-Awareness is Crucial to Retirement Planning with Joe Lieberman

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Why Self-Awareness is Crucial to Retirement Planning Show Notes

When things go wrong, there’s nothing more humbling than taking a long, hard look in the mirror. We all know how hard it is to do this, and how much easier it is to blame everyone around us and the external forces impacting our lives for our misfortunes, whether they’re personal or professional. This is just as true in retirement, where I’ve seen so many people blame the markets, interest rates, and other factors instead of taking their own plans and issues into account.

Joe Lieberman explores this idea in detail in his book series, Dragons & Enemies. In his books, dragons are the external forces we must overcome to succeed in business, while enemies are the problems within that you must acknowledge and bring into alignment in order to effectively achieve your goals. Joe learned how to do this the hard way through his career in corporate America, his experiences in online startup marketing, and extensive experience as a radio host and public speaker, and he has a remarkable gift for helping others discover their blind spots and confront their bad habits.

Today, Joe joins the podcast to share the hard lessons he learned about life, business and self-awareness. How the mindset of blaming others and not recognizing your own impact affects you in retirement, and why no one should attempt to prepare for retirement alone – especially if they think they’re the smartest person in the room.

In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • Why people are so quick to blame external circumstances and forces for a lack of financial or personal success at every stage of life – and why this is almost never a productive approach.
  • How asking for help from a former mentor got Joe fired – and what he learned from the experience.
  • Why failure is not a dishonor.
  • The reason tax prep kits, online will and trust websites, and other resources are rarely a good idea – and how these tools often lead to missing major opportunities.
  • How to step back, look at the bigger picture, take responsibility for who you are, and achieve what you want from your life and your retirement.

Inspiring Quote

  • If you understand that your bias, your experience, your view of the world may be preventing you from seeing outside of the box, then you have a choice. How do you either have somebody tell you what’s bounding you in that box or how do you make the box bigger?” – Joe Lieberman
  • If you haven’t decided where it is you want to be, then how can you expect yourself to get to someplace that’s fulfilling?” – Joe Lieberman

Interview Resources

Interview Transcript

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[00:00:09] Dean Barber: Welcome to The Guided Retirement Show. I’m your host, Dean Barber, Managing Director at Modern Wealth Management. What if I told you that just about everything that goes wrong in your life is on you? Well, maybe not everything, but there’s a lot of it. We got to have some self-reflection. We need to look in the mirror and we need to understand that a lot of times the biggest enemy that we face is the enemy within. Today, we’re joined by Joe Lieberman. He’s the author of Dragons & Enemies.

He’s a corporate executive and a business startup specialist. Now, he’s written books and doing public speaking all around the country. Joe Lieberman is going to enlighten us as to how we tackle these enemies within and how we make better decisions overall not just to impact our finances, but to impact our life. Enjoy my interview here on The Guided Retirement Show with Joe Lieberman.


[00:01:06] Dean Barber: All right. We’ve got Joe Lieberman, a successful entrepreneur in multiple industries. Joe, you began your career in corporate America, transitioning to smaller companies. You launched your own startup in 1996 and then sold it for over a million dollars. You’ve hosted your own radio show. So, this podcast thing ought to be a breeze for you. You’re also the author of Dragons & Enemies, a series on self-awareness leadership. Now, how I met you, Joe, was you were giving a presentation before a nationwide CEO group that I’m a part of. And it hit me that you were talking about these dragons and enemies in the context of leadership in corporate America. And I said, “Wow.”

What you’re talking about actually is in everybody’s psyche and we deal with it on a very regular basis when it comes to behavioral finance and how people make decisions about money and how they always want to blame external forces for why they’re not successful financially, same way that people want to blame external forces for why they’re not successful in the business world or in the corporate world. So, I want you to spend a few minutes here in the beginning by talking about your background a little bit and how you came to write this book, Dragons & Enemies. And what’s it all about?

[00:02:35] Joe Lieberman: Well, thanks for having me, Dean. I’m happy to be here. I have had a varied career experience and as everyone listening has quite an interesting experience with their personal lives. And I’ve had a combination of working in a corporate environment. I have slowly downsized where I become an entrepreneur. I’ve had great successes. I’ve had failures along the way. And I also at one point in my career ended up taking a lot of what I call self-awareness courses.

They were for personal betterment. And at the time, I didn’t think they had anything to do with my professional career. But as I dug a little deeper and started to realize that we bring ourselves to every single situation we’re in, I felt and strongly believe that there’s a direct correlation between how we live our personal lives and what we bring to the office.

And today we’re going to talk about how that relates to when you’re not in the office. But you still have a professional career and then many of your clients as we’ve talked about are wanting to manage their money in a way that makes sense for them based on their goals, based on their past, and what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

[00:04:08] Dean Barber: So, introduce for us this concept of dragons and enemies and do it in whichever order you want. You want to do dragons first or enemies first. We’ll go either way.

[00:04:18] Joe Lieberman: Well, they go together.

[00:04:18] Dean Barber: Okay.

[00:04:19] Joe Lieberman: And for those of you that are watching, I think it might be interesting to see the logo on the book. It’s black and white. It looks like yin and yang for a lot of people. For some people, it’s very mysterious because it’s super masculine and has a dragon on it and the devil and what’s that all about? So, the short version of this is that out of engineering school in the 80s, I took a job with a very small corporation called Sprint located here in Kansas City.

[00:04:58] Dean Barber: A little startup.

[00:04:59] Joe Lieberman: Yeah, a little startup at the time, and I was very fortunate. I went into a management training program and I had great expectations as did the management that hired me. Quite frankly, I was full of myself and felt like I was destined to break through the glass ceiling very quickly. I was brash, I was assertive, not to the point of being aggressive, but I felt like I knew it all. And of course, at that young age, you don’t. I was…

[00:05:33] Dean Barber: Don’t tell that to the millennials though.

[00:05:36] Joe Lieberman: Well, they may need to hear this.

[00:05:38] Dean Barber: I get it, but it might hurt their feelings.

[00:05:40] Joe Lieberman: Yeah. I’m not worried about feelings. Let’s talk about reality.

[00:05:43] Dean Barber: Okay.

[00:05:44] Joe Lieberman: So, I spent six years with Sprint and on every measurable account, I had great success. I ended up in a profit center with these now unknown devices called payphones and I was basically running a business. It was very exciting, coin collections, customer service, maintenance, capital acquisitions, etcetera. It was amazing for a young man in his late 20s. What I didn’t realize that I became familiar with after the fact is that I had bumped and bruised my way in my career. And while I may not have severely damaged relationships, I certainly left some scars. And most importantly, I didn’t recognize that myself. I didn’t take ownership for it,

So, those as I’ll explain later are what I call the enemies, the enemies within. And I’ll get to this in a little bit. Shortly after that, I was able to take advantage of deregulation in the industry, in the payphone industry specifically and I moved to a fairly large startup. It was already injected with capital and had some revenues but it was early stage. And I had the opportunity to run it. And I did that for three years and we grew 1,000% in the span of three years.

[00:07:20] Dean Barber: Wow. Did you sleep?

[00:07:23] Joe Lieberman: I slept on the couch in the office. At the end of three years, shortly before that, with great expectations and shock, we saw revenues not only go flat, but they went precipitously down. And I started to take this seriously and personally. As I said, we were a funded organization so the pressures for profit were very significant and I had no idea what was going on. We had risen so fast that we kept on taking on more and more responsibilities, expense-wise, and objective-wise. And now we were in a position where our revenues couldn’t keep up with our expenses and I felt like I was to blame. I had all the answers before and now I had no idea.

So, I went to my boss who I had a great relationship with at the time and I felt like he was my mentor for life. He without naming names is actually in the NFL Hall of Fame right now. So, it’s an exciting time for me, but I went to my boss and I said, “I don’t have the answers. I am racking my brain about what I’m going to do with the organization and I just can’t see what has happened. I really think we need to plan a transition to have somebody come in who may have more of the answers than I do.”

[00:09:05] Dean Barber: That had to be a difficult discussion.

[00:09:07] Joe Lieberman: It was but at the same time, I felt like I was in a trusting warm, comfortable environment. We had an amazing friendship. The very next day after having this discussion, I found a termination letter on my desk, basically saying I was fired. And it was like a huge splash of water at my face. I began to see the realities and some of the disloyalty that employees see in large corporations occurring in my small corporation. So, it was a moment of some aspects of reality that I was not familiar with before. And as I said at the time, I took it very personally. Years later, It was clearly what I call a dragon that was so forceful we could do nothing about and that dragon was cell phones.

Cell phones decimated the payphone industry. And today, there are very few left. It’s unusual to actually see them. And so, as I look back, it’s easy to see that the payphone industry was on its deathbed and the rate at which it was going to die was so tremendously fast that there was nothing anybody could do about it. And within a year, that company shut down.

[00:10:39] Dean Barber: So, that would be a similar story to Kodak and the digital camera where the leadership of Kodak says, “No, we’re a…”

[00:10:48] Joe Lieberman: Polaroid company?

[00:10:49] Dean Barber: Yeah, yeah. “We deal in chemicals and paper here. We don’t need that digital stuff, right?”

[00:10:55] Joe Lieberman: Right. And so, it’s a little different.

[00:10:56] Dean Barber: That was a dragon for them that they didn’t recognize.

[00:11:00] Joe Lieberman: Clearly, yes. However, as in all cases, it’s my firm belief that you can break down a problem between what I call enemies, the enemies within, and dragons. If you understand that your bias, your experience, your view of the world may be preventing you from seeing outside of the box, so to speak, that your box is limited, then you have a choice. And this is really all about choice. How do you either have somebody tell you what’s bounding you in that box or how do you make the box bigger? And I’m sure we’ll get into that a little bit more. As my career progressed, in fact, it failed at that point. I had a very large mortgage. I had a young family, I had a small cat, and a bank account that basically said zero.

So, I was humbled, I was terrified, and I had to do something about it. So, I began what’s called now a digital marketing agency in the world wide web. It was like the world wide west. There were no rules. Everybody was making it up as they went along. Everybody called themselves an expert. So, of course, I called myself an expert and it grew over time. We were profitable from day one and over a 15-year period, I was able to grow it.

I attribute that to being at the right time, the right place, a lot of luck, but also using a lot of many of the experiences I had the understanding that we take our personal biases to the workplace and all the way through retirement. And we can embrace and accept the failures that come along in our life using those biases to help us move forward and address circumstances along the way.

[00:13:09] Joe Lieberman: So, in 2010, I had the opportunity to exit the company and I felt it was the right time given where I thought the world wide web was going. To this day I’m very happy that I was able to exit and then I began a career as a business consultant. I helped similar-sized companies, executives, professionals, sales professionals, etcetera, become more attuned to what their goals are, both professionally and personally, break through those barriers, understand business challenges, etcetera.

And now I’m getting to the part of dragons and enemies. This vernacular was not part of my speaking at that time. During this several year processes, I ended up taking many courses on, as I said, self-awareness and it was more on a personal basis. I wanted to dig deeper into what makes me who I am and how I can live a more fulfilling life.

So, I had that going into the stage of my career and I joined a consulting firm. The firm was made up of seasoned professionals who had all had experience like I did, running their own business sometimes exiting successfully, and applying their expertise to the people that they helped in whatever business they belong to. And there was a transition during this period of time where one of our lead partners went in a different direction and the second partner in the chain became the lead partner. And I knew this was not someone that I could get along with.

[00:15:01] Dean Barber: It was someone that I had worked with and we cooperated but as a leader running our business consulting practice, I had it in my head that this was not going to work out. He was the kind of person that had an answer for everything and would form his sentences before I finished mine. He would blame a problem on something else or someone else, he would have an answer and an instruction for how to solve a problem before there was any discussion. And I was frustrated. Now, I’ll get to this later, but my frustration was an enemy. He wasn’t frustrated. What I absorbed from that was totally on my own accord and it was a complete choice. His problems as I saw them, were his problems.

In any event, I recalled a cartoon that was popularized by Walt Kelly back in the 70s. And he said something like this, “We have found the enemy and he is us,” meaning that you don’t have to look too far to find problems in politics today, in civil discourse, in economic issues, etcetera. We have a tendency to look outside and blame other circumstances on what’s happening to us. Walt Kelly has had many other famous people like Abraham Lincoln understood that you need and will benefit by looking inside to see what it is you are doing that might be contributing to the problem. This is not saying it’s all your fault, but unless you address what I call the enemies within, you really don’t have a good shot at addressing what’s outside.

[00:17:03] Joe Lieberman: So, I said to myself, does he not realize he is his own worst enemy? I began to reflect on my past experience, all the things that I have gone through at Sprint and my corporate career where I became more and more aware of the things that I did do rather than I should have taken responsibility for or could have, that I had enemies within. That at times, I’ve been that guy, I’ve been my own worst enemy. It occurred to me that once you address those enemies within as I had been learning through the self-awareness programs that it is possible to address, identify, acknowledge, and then align your enemies within that what’s left are your circumstances, and how you choose to respond to those.

And what are those circumstances? To me, they’re called dragons. There’s just pretty obvious. So, you have your own enemies and if you can deal with those and address them, and by the way, they’re never gone, what’s left are dragons. And so, that’s how I came up with Dragons & Enemies and that’s why I’m here today.

[00:18:20] Dean Barber: Awesome. Yeah, that’s a fascinating story and I think probably one of the most fascinating things about your story is your ability to step back and self-reflect. I mean, so I want to relate what you are doing here. And your deal is, “Hey, let me coach these business leaders on trying to help them grow a business by understanding that they’re going to have some of their own enemies within and understand what those are, deal with them,” and then you can deal with the circumstances around you in a much better way. And when you gave your speech before the group that I was part of, I thought, I see that same thing every day in just about every individual that I meet with when I begin to do financial planning for them.

Because a lot of times I hear this, “Well, you know, if President Trump wouldn’t tweet so much,” or, “Gosh, if the Fed would just leave interest rates alone,” or, “Man, if we could just get a trade deal done with China.” The list is on and on and on, right? “My boss isn’t fair to me. Nobody told me that I was supposed to do the 401(k) when I first started, so I didn’t get started until I was 50 years old.” All these excuses and they’re tremendous.

And I think that so many people destroy their own ability to live their one best financial life because they’re not looking within. And so, that’s why I wanted to bring you here to the Guided Retirement Show to talk about how this not only affects a person in their corporate or business life, but I think it affects every aspect of your life, your relationships, and the way that you deal with and make decisions that can have a huge impact on your future.

[00:20:17] Joe Lieberman: Yeah, I totally agree. So, there are concepts that are somewhat contradictory here. How am I supposed to accept the fact that I have enemies within and understand that I have failures while at the same time be successful? Our tendency is to believe that failure is a dishonor. And that failure may be I didn’t set up my 401(k) in time or interest rates are not at a level that I can live comfortably at when I plan for my retirement 20 years ago. They may be at 2% to 3% now and they were at 8% to 10% many years ago. It seems to me that it is somewhat contradictory to say I am to blame and yet I have to be responsible for my own success.

And you mentioned relationships and how that can apply to it as well. My strong belief is that relationships are not 50/50. And this can apply to your spouse, your friends, your siblings, your children, could also apply to the world. It is not 50/50. It is 100%/100%. You are entirely accountable for all of the decisions you make, for all the words you say, for how you choose to respond to those circumstances.

[00:21:52] Dean Barber: Yeah, that’s true, and you’re 100% responsible for all the decisions you make when it comes to your own personal finances, right?

[00:22:00] Joe Lieberman: That’s true. And at the same time, the economy could crash.

[00:22:05] Dean Barber: Absolutely. And it will. It does. We have expansions and contractions. That’s normal, right? That to me is a dragon, right? That’s an external force that’s out there that you know it’s going to be there. Now, can you learn more about that? Can you understand how these economic cycles impact financial markets, real estate markets, exchanges, trade, all this? Can you understand that and then take advantage of it? Absolutely. That’s dealing with that dragon. That’s actually using that knowledge to your advantage, right?

[00:22:35] Joe Lieberman: Right. Examples that you would be more familiar with, and I certainly am would fall into the category of risk mitigation. Many people plan out their retirement based on a single spreadsheet, but it’s multi-relational. On a single spreadsheet, you’re saying what percentage on average am I going to earn over the rest of my lifetime? And that number might be 3%. It might be 6%, etcetera. But we know that over time that’s going to go like a roller coaster from 2% to 0% to 10% and whatever that might be.

[00:23:10] Dean Barber: And there’s going to be minuses in there.

[00:23:12] Joe Lieberman: Exactly. We’ve seen it. So, how do you plan for that? How do you mitigate your risk? There may be choices. Well, there will always be choices. There may not be solutions that are acceptable to you at the time, but if you don’t have a vision of where you want to go, then you will never get there. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish with the rest of your life, personally, professionally, financially, if you haven’t decided where it is you want to be, then how can you expect yourself to get to someplace that’s fulfilling?

[00:23:46] Dean Barber: Okay. Let’s take a quick break. This is The Guided Retirement Show. I’m Dean Barber. We’ll be right back.


[00:23:51] Female: At some point in everyone’s life, you have to go to school because let’s face it, a good education is important and just because you’re nearing retirement age or you’re already there, it doesn’t mean the learning stops. One of the easiest ways to learn about retirement is at Modern Wealth Management’s Education Center. There, you’ll find things to read, to watch, and to listen to about important retirement topics. So, go to Click on the menu dropdown. It’s in the upper right-hand corner and select Education Center.

There you can download and read our Social Security checklist, watch Dean Barber’s latest video on the current state of the markets, or listen to an audio recording about tax reduction strategies and so much more. There’s no cost. Just sign up for access at It’s as simple as that. Besides, there’s no tests, no textbooks, and I promise, not to move your seat even if you talk too much. There’s so much to learn about retirement. Just go to Click on the menu drop down and select Education Center.

[00:25:06] Joe Lieberman: My strong belief is that relationships are not 50/50 and this can apply to your spouse, your friends, your siblings, your children, could also apply to the world. It is not 50/50. It is 100%/100%. You are entirely accountable for all of the decisions you make, for all the words you say, for how you choose to respond to those circumstances.


[00:25:47] Dean Barber: Welcome back. I’m Dean Barber, Managing Director at Modern Wealth Management and this is The Guided Retirement Show. You know, it’s interesting because we have the Guided Retirement System and that’s all part of what we do. And that’s why I created this podcast, The Guided Retirement Show. And so, I was thinking one day about taking a trip. So, I’ve got kind of a bucket list of trips that I want to take and one of the things I wanted to do for a long period of time was to go down to Brazil and go giant peacock bass fishing on the Amazon River. Okay.

Now, I’m an avid fisherman, I love to fish but the Amazon River is a little different, right? So, I could take this upon myself to say, “You know, I know how to put a lure on a pole. I know how to throw that lure into the water, and I know how to reel a fish in.”

So, I’m just going to go to the Amazon and I’m going to go giant peacock bass fishing. That would be insane. This is a trip of a lifetime. If I’m going to be in the middle of a jungle and, you know.

[00:27:00] Joe Lieberman: Well, it’s actually a choice you could make.

[00:27:02] Dean Barber: It’s a choice but think about, I want a guide. Okay. I want somebody to make that experience as good as it can possibly be. So, I’m going to pay someone to guide myself and my two boys on this trip, because they’ve done it hundreds of times. Right? When we get into decisions that are personal, personal finance, business, we look to people that have been there before that have done it, that have the experience. That’s where we come up with the Guided Retirement System, right?

We’ve guided people through not just to retirement but through retirement to where they’re passing money to the next generation when they are no longer on this earth. And so, I don’t think people understand the complexities of it but a lot of times, think about the biases that are out there in the financial industry. Look, you got to be able to do this on your own, right? It’s easy.

There’s so much information on the internet that anybody ought to be able to do this on their own. In fact, you can buy a tax preparation kit in a box and do your own tax return. And you can do your own will and trust online. Why would you ever need a guide or somebody to help you through this thing? And so, I think that some of those dragons, those external forces, are causing enemies within people to say, “Well, that’s my bias. Now, I don’t need help.” But it’s not true.

[00:28:32] Joe Lieberman: Totally agree. We don’t know what we don’t know and these are called our blind spots. How do you see what you don’t know? And I’m sure we’ve all heard this phrase called the smartest person in the room and that can be very, very dangerous. If you believe you have all the answers, you’re definitely not the smartest person in the room. Effective leaders both personally and professionally always look for people that are smarter than them.

That doesn’t mean that they’re dumb or that the person that’s supporting them is the smartest person in the room but they acknowledge that there are things that they don’t know that they don’t know. And if you open up your eyes to the fact that we live in this biased world that we’re influenced intensely by these messages that are coming at us disparately, they’re not organized.

You can create your own will over here, you can create your own estate over there, you can get a tax accountant over there, and you begin to actually believe that you not only could do this, but you should be doing this because otherwise there’s something wrong with you. It should be that simple. It’s a very difficult moment in time where you can actually let go, that you understand it’s your ego that’s holding on.

[00:29:59] Dean Barber: So, how do you do that, Joe? How can you coach people on their blind spots? I remember that was one of the parts of the workshop that you did that I’m like, “Blindspot?” Well, inherently if there’s a blind spot, that means that I don’t know that it’s there, right?

[00:30:15] Joe Lieberman: Right.

[00:30:17] Dean Barber: And so, how do you address something that you don’t know exists? It takes some pretty deep into reflection of really, you know, and some honesty.

[00:30:29] Joe Lieberman: Yeah. It’s kind of like holding yourself up to a mirror and it takes courage, it takes confrontation but, in this regard, there’s only certain things that you can see about yourself. I have these bad habits, I interrupt, or I am thinking about the answer before I have fully heard that person. I’m not really listening. I’m listening to what I understand I can respond to. We are limited in that way and if you don’t accept it, then you’re not what I call ready and that’s a really important word in my world. You have to be ready. If you’re not ready, there’s nothing I personally can do about it. So, we all know these people, then I might have my moments when I have those aspects of myself. Again, this is never-ending. It just continues like a layer on an onion.

How do you start identifying what your blind spots are? Well, by definition, you’re blind to them so you need outside support. And in your world, it would be acknowledging that there are things about what you want to accomplish that you can’t know on your own. So, I’m going to have a little faith and I’m going to work with organizations like yourself to help me and I will grow and they will support me along the way.

[00:31:55] Dean Barber: You know, I think that that’s a great point and what’s the worst thing that could potentially happen if you said, “All right. I don’t know what I don’t know. And I may know everything. Maybe I’ve done it all right. But what if I don’t?” So, let’s go through a process. Let’s see if I am as smart as I think I am and let’s walk through and say, “Oh, if I’ve done alright. If there’s not, if there was a blind spot, if there’s something I missed, I want to know about it.”

[00:32:22] Joe Lieberman: Well, I have a few responses to that. One is that it’s very difficult because we’ve all gone through very important points in our lives that have impacted us and shaped the way that we view the world. So, it’s important to realize that our ego gets in the way. If it’s important for me to have made good choices then I’m really more focused on did I do the right thing as opposed to what will be the right thing in the future? Did I do the right thing in the past has nothing to do with what I want to do in the future.

When I come to Barber Financial, it should not be a point of validation based on the decisions I’ve made. It should be what have I done? What is my situation? And how can I move forward? It might be a subtle difference, but it’s really important to get your ego out of the way.

[00:33:25] Dean Barber: Right. Well, I want to relate that back to your business. So, back in the 80s, when the cell phones really just started to become popular, but I recall in the late 80s and even into the early 90s, that just about anybody could have started a cellular phone sales company. I mean, it was like the telephone companies were looking for anybody and everybody to come in and open up cell phone sales shop and sell the cell phones.

Whether you’re installing them in cars, whether it was the bag phone, the brick, not to mention the flip phones that came along later. So, that dragon that was out there, that cell phone, what was it that was the bias from the payphone industry that you were so immersed in that you didn’t see the opportunity that was out there in the cellular industry?

[00:34:26] Joe Lieberman: It’s a great question. And this comes with a lot of reflection. At the time, we were so attached to our way of generating income, that we were not willing to let go of it. We had to find a solution with the technology and the skills that we had, and payphones would never go away. So, therein lies the problem. What the solution was, was certainly not making payphones better. It would never happen. Cell phones would decimate the industry and if it were to happen all over again, nothing we can do about it. And we see that in so many other industries, the consolidation of them, the transition of them, the top my head, I’m thinking through massage parlors, easy to start.

But we’re already over the last decade seeing consolidation where you have retail franchises being set up where you can set an appointment with a number of different specialists at all times. We’re starting to see this in the CBD market. The legalization of marijuana will eventually happen. And by the way, I’m not condoning this. I’m just saying the reality is that it will happen. And what I’m seeing is that shops are coming up all over the place.

And like the cell phone industry where it was easy to get in although it was expensive, you had to raise capital to buy bandwidth, we saw hundreds and hundreds of companies startup. Some of them with the incorrect belief that they would master the market and some of them with the foresight that they would be bought out. Eventually, those will be consolidated.

[00:36:21] Joe Lieberman: And I don’t know how long it’s going to take but there are wise people out there who understand that as soon as and as fast as they can open up these shops, they’ll be in a position to be bought out down the road. So, how does this relate to the cell phone-payphone situation that I was in? I couldn’t see it, didn’t have the wisdom. It was a Mack truck on a one-lane highway that was going to crush me no matter what. But could I have pivoted?

And I don’t know that we would have been successful but we had some significant transferable skills that we could have used in other areas. We had a successful salesforce. We had a successful customer service operation. Had we used or plan for taking those skill sets, those transferable skills into another industry, then we may have survived financially as a business.

[00:37:26] Dean Barber: So, is one of the things you’re doing now, Joe, trying to sit with entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and help them see the things that they can’t see, step back and look at the bigger picture and understand all the different dragons that are out there and teach them how to slay those dragons. Is that the deal?

[00:37:48] Joe Lieberman: That’s certainly part of it. CEOs, understandably, are looking for actionable items. And while it may be interesting to them on the front end to say, “Okay, I’m the problem or at least I’m a cause in some of the problems that we experience,” they also want to know how do they apply this going forward. So, every circumstance is different and it may involve working with the team to help them go through the process of identifying I have dragons.

They may be my boss. They may be the people that report to me. I have enemies and I bring my biases. I bring my bad habits, my attitudes, etcetera. And then I have all these objectives that I want to accomplish or that I’ve been instructed to accomplish. How do I go about accomplishing those recognizing that some of my biases come into play?

And it’s very interesting. Sometimes we are able to just focus completely on the business objective because it is a dragon that has to be slain and/or danced around. We haven’t really talked about that that much and work through those issues. Or it may be that that the enemies that are in front of us are so significant that it doesn’t allow us to work cooperatively with the team, the workforce, the customers, etcetera. So, every one of them is different, but the ultimate objective is to break through barriers and become more profitable.

[00:39:18] Dean Barber: So, are your books written in such a way, Joe, where people could read these and then not be a CEO but they could read these and say, “Okay, so this would help me with my own personal life and my future planning so that I can truly live my one best financial life,” as we like to save through our guided retirement system?

[00:39:38] Joe Lieberman: Right. Absolutely. The core of what I get at is about personal leadership and taking responsibility for not only who you are, but what you want to accomplish in life. So, while there may be some anecdotes that are related to the professional world, every chapter has a personal anecdote that will apply to everyone.

[00:39:59] Dean Barber: Alright. So, here’s the way I think about this, Joe. If somebody goes into retirement, they still have a job. They are the CEO of their own financial life. Okay. So, all of the things that we applied back in the business world now just got even that much bigger, right? And show me a good CEO that doesn’t have a good CFO or a good tax department or good legal department, right. And they all work together, and they’re collaborative, right? So, that person can apply the biases that you got here in your Dragons & Enemies and put that to work in their own financial life, through the lens of just thinking of themselves as the CEO of their own retirement.

[00:40:40] Joe Lieberman: Absolutely. In fact, it becomes even more significant. As you mentioned, when you’re in a corporate environment or even collaborative with a few people. The responsibility is shared, even though I said it’s 100%/100%. Now, when you get into a retirement stage, you’re so much more accountable and responsible for your wherewithal. So, expanding that team is critical and working with financial organizations like yourself is, in my view, essential.

[00:41:14] Dean Barber: So, how do people get a copy of your book?

[00:41:18] Joe Lieberman: Well, it’s online. Thank you for asking. I have a website and it’s called, fully spelled out. And I’d be happy to personally sign any books that people are interested in buying.

[00:41:33] Dean Barber: All right. And also, that all be in the show notes of the podcast here today. So, you can just go to the show notes, There’s a link there that will take you right to Joe’s website. You can purchase a book right there. Let him know that you heard it here on The Guided Retirement Show and he’ll autograph it for you and send it to you. Joe, this has been a pleasure.

And I think about this, there’s been a lot of books that have been written on behavioral finance, and they all try to go into the deep side of the money side of things. But I think that behavioral finance has a lot more to do with your Dragons & Enemies than what anybody really has identified before. And I think that you may be onto something here that if you could expand this into a book or some sort of writing to help people make better financial decisions by acknowledging their own biases and understanding that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes, that could go a long way for you.

[00:42:37] Joe Lieberman: Well, funny, you should ask. The two books I’ve written both under the same heading of Dragons & Enemies are the first in a series of 10 books that I’m writing.

[00:42:50] Dean Barber: Awesome.

[00:42:51] Joe Lieberman: I’m currently in the process of writing three, one for entrepreneurs, one for sales professionals, and the fifth is for soul searchers. And that’s a departure from business to what you want to accomplish professionally. And after that, I’m going to take even more concerted effort to get into slices of life and financial aspects and relationships, things that are really important to us but have not been addressed in this kind of format.

[00:43:22] Dean Barber: Well, if you’re interested in somebody helping contribute to that, I’ve got a couple of books that I’ve written myself. So, I’d be happy to maybe do some contribution to those books for you.

[00:43:32] Joe Lieberman: Excellent. I’ll take you up on it.

[00:43:34] Dean Barber: Well, thanks for being here and good luck on all the book writing and I’m sure that will, as you continue to release these books and do that, I’d like to have you back on to talk more about this.

[00:43:43] Joe Lieberman: Be happy to.

[00:43:44] Dean Barber: All right. Thanks for being here.


[00:43:46] Dean Barber: All right. I’m going to encourage you to go to the show notes, Don’t wait. Do it now. Get the copy of Joe Lieberman’s book Dragons & Enemies. Get serious about this stuff. Attack those enemies from within. Make better decisions for your life. Make better decisions with your money. Get out of your own way. Understand that what Joe was talking about today is very, very real and it’s very prevalent in all of our lives.

So, get to the show notes. Get a copy of Joe’s book. If you want to talk to one of the financial planners here at Modern Wealth Management, that’s also in the show notes. We’re waiting you to contact us. You can start a communication via email. We can do phone calls. We can do face-to-face meetings. However you want to do it, we’re here to help. I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Guided Retirement Show. Please remember, share this with your friends. Subscribe to our podcasts. Get to our YouTube channel. You can watch us do the show as opposed to just listening.


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The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.