Using Behavior Science For Financial Health (with BCBA Georgiy Roykhman a.k.a. Funancialism)

using behavior science for financial health featured image

Erika chats with Georgiy about how he uses behavior analysis to teach his students to invest and understand basic financial concepts. He also shares some insights on being a BCBA with a side hustle and a dose of work-life balance. Funancialism has so much enthusiasm for the work he does and just hearing his passion for it is inspiring!

Interview Highlights

  • Georgiy works at a clinic called Cortica. He is also known as Funancialism. His Instagram is a social media savvy, financially savvy page where he posts financial content regularly. [2:26]
  • When you purchase something like a course, or you start reading a book about money, you definitely start talking about it more. That’s a prerequisite skill set that you need. [7:41]
  • Having money doesn’t necessarily make you free, that’s why one of the prerequisites is being able to talk about it. [9:29]

“You need to be able to be comfortable with talking about money and even spilling your own numbers.” — Georgiy Roykhman

  • If you can pass the BCBA exam, you can retire as a financially independent or semi-financially independent person. You could live a work-optional life, because it is way harder to pass the BCBA exam than to learn basic financial principles. [15:57]
  • Georgiy uses behavioral momentum and game theory in his course. The way that people get addicted to video games is the way he wants people to get addicted to learning about stocks. [20:09]
  • Georgiy always has free content on the site. People who purchased it a year and a half ago are still coming to him and updating him on their life situations. [22:52]

“Whenever you are offering something for sale, you should have something for free because you want everyone to access the information.” — Georgiy Roykhman

  • Georgiy recommends a book called The Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins. [27:23]
  • Georgiy likes to talk about living a work-optional life, rather than retiring yourself. [28:01]

“Retirement is not just an amount of money. You have to be able to pursue passions. And to do that, you need to be working on those skill sets now.” — Georgiy Roykhman

  • Georgiy creates a separate course about retirement and another about crypto and NFTs etc. Once you’re reinforced with the knowledge of the basic foundations of investing, you can apply them to a lot of other areas like crypto, NFTs, and even Pokemon cards. [29:08]

“I think it’s always important to diversify what skill sets you have, because you never know what your passions will be 10 years from now.” — Georgiy Roykhman

  • Georgiy doesn’t like writing out plans. He likes to go ahead and just do it and be ok with making mistakes. That’s how he started his business, launching courses, and started his Instagram. It works for him, but for other people, they wouldn’t be able to do this. [32:01]
  • Georgiy shares how he collaborates with his students when they’re giving him feedback. [35:43]
  • The first thing that people need to learn about budgeting is realizing that budgeting is not something that is limiting.It’s actually a skillset that leads to more positive reinforcement. [43:14]

Meet Our Guest

Georgiy Roykhman, better known as Funancialism is a behavioral analyst, social media content creator and Youtube influencer that believes financial health needs to be prioritized. Georgiy is a refugee from the former Soviet Union. He learned his first lessons about investing while playing the trading card game Yu-Gi-Oh! He came to the realization that almost every inch of our institutions AVOID teaching about finances such as how terrible credit card debt is or how investing works.

photo of georgiy roykhman

“People come at money and investing like an individualistic act, but it can be communal. We can invest as a community.” — Georgiy Roykhman

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Read the Transcript:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Erika Ng

Welcome to The Behavioral Health Collective Podcast, a community of behavioral health professionals who are passionate about working together across disciplines to improve client outcomes by valuing collaboration, connection, humility, and evidence-based practices in a variety of behavioral health fields.

The goal of the Behavioral Health Collective is to highlight stories of collaboration between practitioners, the work that they’re doing together, and how thoughtful and ethical collaboration between fields can lead to better client outcomes. 

Thanks for joining me today to dive deeper into stories of professional collaboration.

So today’s conversation is going to be really high-energy because I am interviewing today someone known online as Funancialism and his real name is Georgiy. And he’s stoke for life and what he does is so high and really contagious. It’s insane how much energy this guy has. So it was a really fun conversation to do and just learn about his work as a behavior analyst and as someone who advises people on finances and investing.

So he’s not a financial advisor. He’s really clear about that. So this is not about giving specific financial advice, but he really likes to teach people in a general way principles of finance and principles of investing. And he often does that through a social media platform and courses. So he also though that’s just his side hustle.

So he is also a behavior analyst in a clinic and also shares some of his interesting interests, such as rapping. He has found on Spotify and also boogie boarding, cuz he lives in California. So I’ll be linking all of this and you’ll learn a little bit more in the conversation. But, this was an exciting conversation because he talks about how he works with his students, not in the clinic, like his students who are learning about finance and the principles of finance and how he collaborates with them and takes their feedback.

So it’s just kind of a different take on collaboration, but also just how he uses behavior analytic principles to teach about finance and investing. So, it’s just a very interesting conversation that I’m really excited to share. Also, just because Georgiy is super excited about life and his work. So, let’s go!

Great. So Georgiy, tell me a little bit about your nine to five and then your Funancialism and how you balanced that and how you came to be doing both of those things?

Funancialism

Yeah. So, I work at a clinic. It’s called Cortica. I love it. I love it so much that even if my stocks had me retire early, like tomorrow, I would still probably be working at Cortica.

Like I love all my clients. I love all my families. I love everyone I work with. Shout to BI in our clinical director. She’s amazing. She makes life there’s so much fun. Shout out to the ping pong table that we got. That is a game changer and unites us all as a team. Eric, I’m coming for you. 

And then my Funancialism page. That’s like my Instagram, social media savvy, financially savvy page where I post financial content every day. And I feel like my knowledge as a BCBA helps me take it to such an interesting unique niche where I could reach people who are like us, board certified behavior analysts, who typically, they have this like, huge incredible skillset about behavior change and improving other people’s lives.

And then I’m like, but are you doing it to yourself? And there it’s usually like a big, like, well, I’m like, if it works so well, why would you stop when you clock out of your nine to five to improve your own life, especially in finances. That’s where I come in. 

Erika Ng

So tell me a bit about that. So how did you get into the finance side of things after becoming a BCBA? 

Funancialism

Yeah, so it actually happened before I was a BCBA and becoming a BCBA amplified it. Not necessarily becoming the BCBA, but when I was an RBT and studying for the exam, that’s what, like I was like, oh my gosh, this is a blueprint.

This is a roadmap to building wealth if we apply these tools to our financial health and our financial skill set. So that’s kind of how it was happening. Originally, I would commute to college. I was living at home in North Hollywood, going to UCLA. So it’s like a two hour commute that way, two hour back through heavy traffic.

And that’s where I just started playing all sorts of different podcasts and my rule was, I can never listen to the same genre more than two days in a row. So eventually I reached finance and that kind of, I was like that’s it took from there. And in 2015, 2016, when I became an RBT, that’s when I started combining things where I was learning about behavior momentum and behavior change, and I was like, changed, I was like, oh my gosh, what if we just apply this to our finances?

And that was kind of it, like learning the language and then applying it to a different skill set that seems foreign, especially to BCBAs who are usually so focused on their nine to five lives. They kind of usually forget the rest of their life, which is also equally as important. 

Erika Ng

That’s so interesting. And I noticed on your site that you offer a course for BCBAs, is that correct? Like finance for BCBAs?

Funancialism

I have a general course for everyone and a lot of BCBAs end up taking it because they already like, kind of, I think being a BCBA creates that extra, like step where it’s like, oh, you know what I go through.

So they’re more likely to enjoy the content, but anyone can enjoy it. Like I had an 11-year-old kid take it. And I have someone who retired as a teacher and they just wanna learn about how the stock market works and they just turn 60. So it’s a huge range of people. But I would say maybe 30% of them are BCBAs.

Erika Ng

So do you take people on one as well on the financial advising situation? Or is it just the course and your online education?

Funancialism

It’s mostly less about people’s specific situations, because you need to be just like your, you need to be a board certified behavior analyst. You need to be, like a professional financial planner and go through like certification.

Like, just because you know about like say health, you can’t really advise people as a doctor, even if you know the same amount of content. So usually I share my story and then people can take from that. So it’s a lot of modeling, but at the same time, I am allowed to share how the market works, what are the most common strategies, what are some niche strategies? 

And I can share my own strategy, but I can’t tell someone what to do. But there’s all sorts of little loopholes, like if I was in your situation, I would either A, B, or C and go from there. Or, that usually like helps and like, we have groups Zooms where like a lot of people hop on and then we keep exchanging and talking with each other because money’s like this taboo topic where people just stop talking.

It’s like almost like religion in politics, not at the table, but it’s like, How are we ever gonna get a seat at the big table if we’re not talking about this? Because trust me the 1% people who have all that wealth, what do you think they talk about more than the 99% of us? Money. 

Erika Ng

Interesting. So it’s real. So a big part of it, it sounds is normalizing the conversation. So even just getting people comfortable talking about it.

Funancialism

Yeah, I think that’s a huge step. When you purchase something like, like a course, or you start reading a book about it you definitely start talking about it more. And I think that’s one of the prerequisite skill sets that you need.

You need to be able to be comfortable with talking about money and even spilling your own numbers, even if you’re in the hole, like starting talking about it helps because if you don’t, it’s like, there’s this dude. I think it was Jordan Peterson. He’s a psychoanalyst dude. He, you either love him or hate him, but, I love a lot of his content where he talks about like the anxiety dragon or something like that.

And it’s like, it’s in your closet. And it’s gonna grow if you leave it in there, but when you open the door, you’re still facing a dragon. So the longer you take, the bigger the dragon’s gonna get, but at the end of the day, you gotta face a dragon. So that’s what finances is to me. It’s this beast that you gotta realize that, oh my gosh. 

There’s a reason why we have all these cartoons and anime where people ride dragons. It’s possible to become friends with the beast and suddenly it’s your friend and not a beast anymore at all. And that was me. Money, I was one of those people who were like, money’s the root of all evil. Ruins everything, like we all money hungry.

And once I started learning about it, my perspective, 180. And I’m like the only reason you talk like this is because you don’t know. 

Erika Ng

I’ve heard it said as well, that if you don’t control money, then it will control you. In that, like you’re in debt. You actually can’t afford anything. You can’t do anything, you know, cuz it’s controlling you.

So that’s really interesting. 

Funancialism

Yeah. I love that phrase. Yeah. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. I don’t even know who, who said that. I wish I could quote someone. 

Funancialism

I don’t know, I go to it. I go to it a lot because even with the stock market, like you have people who have like seven figures and they’re still controlled by money. They’re still checking the market daily and having money doesn’t necessarily make you free. That’s why one of the prerequisites is being able to talk about it because there’s millionaires who don’t talk about money. 

They didn’t build that prerequisite skillset of actually like being okay. So my mom, for example, came from the Soviet Union where like scarcity was the standard. So over here, she doesn’t even realize, like, if you compare her to her peers, she usually has more than the average person in their 50s, but she still has that scarcity mindset where she doesn’t feel like she has some wealth.

She doesn’t feel like she has some leeway. She’s always, oh my gosh, I might have to sell a little bit of my stocks. Oh my gosh, I might have to dip into my savings. And I’m like, you’re good. Like number wise, you’re good. So we have people who make a million dollars or have a million dollars and they need 3 million. People who have 3 million need 5 million, but it’s not a need.

It’s a lack of that mental health when it comes to finances, it’s a skillset that they’re lacking. And usually it comes from some sort of form of trauma or something. I think it’s hard to find a person who doesn’t have any money trauma, but at the end of the day, that’s an important step, like getting over that money trauma and not just focusing on making more money or investing more money or saving more money or anything like that.

Erika Ng

Interesting. So I’m a, like, do you some ACT in your work? Cuz I, I imagine like when you’re talking about these things like budgeting and things of that nature, even like facing the dragon, like you’re talking about, I imagine there’s a bit of like, that would be fertile ground to use ACT. I’m sure in that, you know, some people do aversive things in serviceable values. 

Funancialism

Right. Right. And it’s part of like turning the aversiveness into a preferred activity. So that’s like where we start, like a lot of students, when they first hop onto a Zoom, you can tell, like, they’re kind of like hesitant asking, like, so what is an index fund? 

I didn’t look at the modules yet. But, and it’s like, it’s okay. Like, this is like part of the experience. So we meet up every Wednesday night. It’s been like a year plus sometimes people who bought the course, like a year ago, still hop on and talk about like their achievements.

It’s always nice to see old faces. And part of it is like recognizing like, Hey, everyone here wants you to win. Right? We all want you to do well in life. Like, people come at money and investing like an individualistic act, but it can be communal. We can invest as a community. I know like usually, like at least like American capitalism seems like kind of individualistic, but it doesn’t have to be, it can be this like group friendly activity. 

And I think part of like action and commitment therapy is realizing like there’s different ways to think about things and our private events can be shared. We can talk about it if we have that skillset. I know with a lot of our clients, sometimes it’s hard to do that because maybe they can’t communicate it in a way that we can understand it, or we need to work on our way to better understand them.

But there is like this, kind of bumper on the road that we gotta get past there. But most people that like are able to invest in stocks and all that, they can communicate their feelings and all of that. So we might as well take advantage of it. 

Erika Ng

Interesting. So, I’m curious about you, like really grabbing the bull by the horns and stepping into this additional role that you have outside of your clinic job. How did you, like, did you decide early on like, wow, I wanna like go big on this. Like you have a huge presence on social media. Like you’re putting a lot of content out there, like doing your Wednesday nights, your course, that’s not a small amount of time, I’m sure. 

Do you, like, what have you learned, I suppose, about doing that solo in this like niche area? I suppose.

Funancialism

I think like, it’s hard to say that it’s completely solo because I don’t hire anyone or anything like that. And like, like you could definitely say this was a self-made journey in the sense that like, Hey, some people really start from nothing in quotes, and build something up, but it’s community built.

Like if people didn’t like my stuff, if they didn’t actually draw up the like and take that like extra response effort, if they didn’t share it with their friends, if I couldn’t like, talk with my girlfriend about certain posts about like inclusion. And it’s like, she’s like this one’s kind of messed up.

I don’t know if you wanna like, do that. I’m like didn’t think about like this group of people and how it couldn’t impact them. And sometimes it’s like, you know what? I didn’t think about it, but I’m still gonna go through with it because there’s 16 other groups of people who will benefit off this and then I’ll make a post later on.

And a lot of times what I’m referring to by that is like, if I make a post like “Invest $500 a month and you will get to a million by 47”, or if I make a post like, “Invest $50 a month and you will have an extra $190,000 waiting for you at traditional retirement age”. There’s always a group of people that will be left out of that.

Cause some people will be like $50, that’s nothing. $500, who can afford that? So I think like the difficult part is like being as inclusive as possible across the posts. And that’s like a battle, but I think by the community shaping my behavior, reinforcing different posts and like the algorithm itself, like letting me test things like, I’ll literally get like zero likes.

It does not matter like how big the page becomes or how much people like me. If the algorithm sees this is radically different, we are not pushing this or the system isn’t gonna push this, then I’m punished for that behavior. And I’m like, okay, maybe I won’t try things in that direction anymore.

So it’s always like, it’s not just me. It is the whole system around me that helps me like create daily, but it does take a lot of energy. And that’s why I make sure to only do what I love, like even coming onto this podcast is something that I love to do. Because even if three people or 300 people or 3000 people hear this, and 1% of them makes a difference in their lives when it comes to investing.

And they’re like, oh my gosh, I have the skillset. I just need to use it now. I just learned a couple little terms. If you could pass the BCBA exam, you can retire as a financially independent or semi-final financial independent person. You could live a work optional life because it is way harder to pass the BCBA exam than to learn basic financial principles.

Erika Ng

Interesting. Yeah. And I suppose, like, I guess, what are the main skills that you’re trying to teach people? Like, I imagine that like actually doing nothing as in, you know, investing and waiting for the long game is like, is a big one. So it’s almost like teaching people to deal with that, with the emotions of it.

Right? And not like panicking, but like hold fast to your investments cuz you, you don’t wanna, you know, become a day trader if you have no knowledge of the stock market, right? So it’s probably a lot of like teaching them to hold off. Is that, is that right? 

Funancialism

Yeah. Usually like, people know how to hold off, but they put that as step one where they hold off making an investing account for like two or three years.

And it takes like four minutes, but that’s like step 8 on the task analysis, like, okay, once you buy your stocks in step 6 and you automate it, now, you wait. 

Erika Ng

That’s when you wait. Yeah. 

Funancialism

Yeah. People mix their task analysis and put waiting at the front and they won’t ever start. And I’m like, look, you know how to wait. You waited through like the biggest pandemic that we’ve seen in a hundred years where stocks went five years back in time, if you could wait through that, you could wait through three decades of investing for the long term and building generational wealth. 

Or you might have a different goal, like maybe investing towards a vacation fund where instead of like building up to $4,000, $5,000, you build up to six figures and then you pull from there every year.

And as it regenerates, you can basically have this infinite vacation fund for your family, which is really cool. So it can be individualized for everyone, but waiting is probably one of the biggest skill sets. And it’s kind of like a mix, like 50% of BCBAs are, this is not scientific at all, but like half of BCBAs are like super patient. 

And the other half is like, let’s get things done. We need these goals mastered out. Let’s go. So I, I kind of fall into the patient category where I’m like, look, I would rather go slow and steady, than rush certain goals. Like if it takes six weeks or six months, I’m good. But other people are like, we gotta get it fast and that’s why I love collaboration in our field. 

And I cannot wait for more BCBAs to join the investing world and all of the wisdom that will unlock through having behavior analysts participate in that. And one reason why I’m excited is because they’re, when you have like the patient BCBAs, and let’s get it done ASAP BCBAs, you create healthy politics in the work environment.

Where for example, my clinical director, she’s like, no, we need these goals mastered. And I’m like, I don’t wanna traumatize this kid by like rushing them through this and then we collaborate and like negotiate back and forth. We usually find the best path, which is the third way. And I cannot wait for more people who are experts in behavior analysis and a functional approach to start investing, because we might find a third way for investors who maybe they don’t wanna wait three decades or two decades, but they also don’t want to gamble on stocks. 

So maybe the best way to invest doesn’t even exist yet because the people who need to be a part of this haven’t started. But traditionally, exactly what you said, as long as you buy stocks that are quality companies or index funds, which are combinations of the top companies.

And you hold onto that and click a button that says reinvest all of your dividends and you wait for two decades, you’re gonna be financially independent for the most part. 

Erika Ng

Cool. So you touched on a couple things there, but are you, so in your course, for example, are you breaking down investing into things like a specific task analysis for people who have really is your course, like very beginner in that if you have zero knowledge, like it’s that simple? 

Funancialism

I use more behavior momentum and video game like theory. So the way that people get addicted to video games is the way I want people to get addicted to learning about stocks. And in my course, I make sure that like, level one is super easy.

It might be like, 50% of concepts you already know. So you’re like, okay, I’m flying through this and learning some things that I didn’t know or consider and then by the time you get to like module two, it’s all like, whoa, now I have that like foundation built. And I can actually start like, building on top of it because of the behavior momentum. Just like level one in any video game is like grab some logs and set them on fire.

Now do that 90 times and you’ll get to level five and on level five, you’ve gotta do it like 900 times. Imagine you started off at, do this 900 times and you’ll get to level two, no one would play the game. So you need those fireworks to come out really quickly. And that’s what I do with my course and even my free content, I make sure to get to the point quickly, where if people want to go deeper into it, they’re now more motivated to, because they got reinforced with an answer for their curiosity within 30 seconds, within 60 seconds or within a few minutes.

Erika Ng

Awesome. Now, if there are BCBAs, you know, say listening to this who are curious about finance but don’t know much or maybe even like people who have taken your course, like what are some ways that you think people could get into this? And be doing similar work that you’re doing, I suppose, like using behavior analysis to invest?

Funancialism

I think anyone can learn, like even without a course, like they just need to know what to look for. And that’s the biggest problem. They don’t know what to Google. They don’t know what to YouTube. And if they do find something that’s helpful to their life, they might find it out of order. Like they might learn about 401ks before they learn about index funds.

Erika Ng

Oh, interesting. 

Funancialism

That might get them oh, okay. I’m investing in my 401k. I’m good. But I’m like, hold on. Are you paying fees? Like you need to know how to check that. So like expense ratios, and I think part of finding like a course or program or book or something like that is you will get to learn in a sequential pattern where you learn the prerequisite skill and then the skill you need and then the prerequisite and then the skill you need.

So that’s kind of what I pride myself on. And I never push, well actually, I do push a lot for my course and things like that, because I’m super excited, but, about something that I made that I think will change people’s lives for the better for decades to come and their family for generations. But I never push, like you have to buy this to be a good investor.

I always have free content on the side where I try to put in as much as I can where it’s like, okay, now you got the training wheels and you gotta learn to ride the bike on your own because my time is also precious. And, if you won’t pay me, then you got me forever. And that’s what one thing that I think makes my course unique is that people who purchased it say a year and a half ago, they’re still coming to me and they’re updating me with their life situations.

And I have over 150 students or something like that. So it’s really cool to keep up with all of their needs. But for BCBAs, just they’re just looking for something. Every, like I wanna say three months or so, I do create like a free workshop just for BCBAs and I’ve had two of those in the past, and there’s no obligations.

You just hop on. If you got questions, but it is completely tailored towards BCBAs. It’s using like, kind of estimates of BCBA’s, incomes and things like that. Eventually I hope to create like a course with CEUs where people can receive that’s something I’m working on and collaborating with other like behavior analysts in the space.

But right now I think the best way to like, show people that like, yes, this is gonna change your life at least the knowledge itself will let you see a better future for yourself, financially, which unlocks a lot of other futures as well, is by offering something for free. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. Yeah. So you got some free resources and. 

Funancialism

Yeah, always, I think it’s important to always have something for free as you’re building. 

So whenever you are offering something for sale, you should have something for free because you want everyone to access this information. Even like the great Warren Buffet and Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard.

They would always have huge speeches with a lot of value that they’re just giving away to the people. And I’m like seeing this and I’m like, wow, people would pay like 50 grand to sit down with this person for dinner so they can say the same thing to them. So that’s kind of like why I go on Instagram Live so much about like once or twice a week.

And I just preach like as much as I can and I talk fast like this so I can get as much information out there as soon as, as quick as possible for people to be like, oh my gosh, okay, I’m gonna go buy a book. I’m gonna start watching YouTube videos. I will invest in a course where this financially savvy BCBA guy will talk me through everything for the years to come as long as I’m still alive, hopefully, knock on wood. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. I guess on that note, do you have specific resources that you would, I mean, without giving away all your, all your top tips, but like, do you have a couple books for people to, that you recommend? 

Funancialism

Yeah. So I never withhold information. Like if someone’s like, I wanna learn about this. Can you give some tips? I never withhold information. I’m like buy my course or something like that. That’s why I make those free resources. The only weakness of free resources is it’s a lot harder to tailor it in a sequential order. Like we make a YouTube video, it’s gonna be out of place. It’s gonna be out of context.

It’s, it’s like you’re reading chapter 14 of a 50 chapter book. So that, that’s the only kind of difficult part with that. But ultimately, yeah, I think offering free is a big key to getting other people excited about investing. And yeah, I, I just model everything after the greats.

Like if they’re 90 years old in doing this, then a thing or two and referring to Jack Bogle and Warren Buffet. And so I’m always like, okay, how can I do what they’re doing, but for BCBAs, for people who are like in my niche?

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. Off the top of your head then, like, would you have a book or like, what are some of the go-to things that you, if someone’s like, listen, I wanna get going, like what’s the best?

Funancialism

Yeah. I think the best, best place to go is I actually created a playlist. It’s really goofy. But it’s meant to be goofy and kind of cringy because cringiness helps us memorize things. And it’s on my YouTube under Funancialism. And it just says, this is the funniest playlist for beginners or something like that.

And it’s literally 20 minutes long and it’ll arm you with everything you need to kind of know what you need. So, that’s something that I create. Of course, like there’s always my Instagram page people could go to. When it comes to books, I think one of the greatest books that I never read because I already understand the principles. It’s called The Simple Path to Wealth by Collins.

They basically talked about like how to live a financial they talk about the fire movement, which is financial independence and retire early. It’s a little bit dated, but the principles are great. And what I mean by dated is I think they didn’t consider some people like really love working.

They just don’t want to be a dependent on the system. And they want to like go in because they want to go in, not because they have to go in. So I, I talk way more about like living a work optional life, rather than retiring yourself. No, the math does say your odds of death do increase if you retire earlier in life, because retirement is not just an amount of money. You have to be able to pursue passions. And to do that, you need to be working on those skill sets now. Like if you wanna travel the world when you’re retired, you need to learn how to travel the world frugally and without, without deprivation right now while you’re pulling up to it.

One thing that I wanna do is rap and create albums and mix tapes and drop them, but I’m not waiting until I’m work-optional to build that skillset. I started earlier. I want to be able to go out and travel the world and boogie board like on random Wednesdays to Fridays. So I’m practicing that. I’m getting my work done at my clinic early, writing reports.

So if I want to go on a Thursday morning from like 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM, I will go. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. 

Funancialism

Yeah. It’s all a skillset. And that’s something I actually did create a retirement, like separate course and everyone who completes my main course, they basically get all the side ones like the crypto one, NFTs, all of that, because I feel like once you’re reinforced with the knowledge of the basic foundations of investing, you can apply them to a lot of other areas like crypto, like NFTs and even Pokemon card.

Erika Ng

That’s cool. Okay. So, and that’s also on your website, like your retirement course?

Funancialism

Yeah. So all people need to do is just message me. And then I respond with all of that. Usually though, like the actual investing course covers everything, but then it gets into like the spirituality of retirement, like, okay, you got $2 million, but are you happy as a 50-year-old who does not have to go to work or as a 40-year-old who doesn’t have to work?

You have to build up those muscles. A lot of retirees suffer from like they never worked out and things like that. And can you even travel? And there’s like a lot of ageism to, like the typical financial content where they just expect you to have like this healthy body that never ends. Right?

But how do you preserve that and keep training that to make it last as long as possible?

Erika Ng

Wow. That’s super interesting. I really love that you’ve gotten into that and yeah, tho those are really important things that I think a lot of people don’t think about. So that’s, yeah, interesting that you actually make that explicit to have people consider early on. And I love the phrase work-optional. That’s I think that makes a lot of sense, especially for younger people who are seeking that.

It’s not like, oh, when I retire, when I’m like 60, it’s or maybe you just like have a second career, a third career, like you make these changes, but you’re not a slave to the money or. 

Funancialism

Exactly. That’s part of the reason why I even continue my Instagram and treat it like a business because it’s like, when I am work-optional, what if in 10 years I don’t want to do ABA anymore?

Well, I’ll still have a, some sort of stream of income from social media because I’m building a presence there. I’m diversifying across different platforms from YouTube to Instagram, little bit of TikTok. And now I started even with Facebook and things like that, and I think it’s always important to diversify what skill sets you have, because you never know what your passions will be 10 years from now.

Erika Ng

Cool. 

That actually makes me think, so you have a lot of things on the go. How do you balance and manage your time well? Like, do you have any tips for behavior, like I think it is becoming more common for behavior analyst to have, know, many, do you have an online presence where they’re putting in content and such and balancing a few different things? Especially in, I feel like for millennials, you might have a few streams of employment or things of interest that you’re putting your time and effort into.

So do you have any tips for people on time management?

Funancialism

I think one of the biggest tips is, not an argument, but a situation I kind of had with my clinical director who I love. By the way, she basically showed me how she schedules out her clients at her at the clinic where we work at. And she had like this whole intricate, like thing with every meeting written down and then she’s like, okay, so what do you do?

And then I literally just keep it all in my head. So I don’t like writing out plans. I like to go ahead and just do it and do it wrong. That’s how I started my business. That’s how I started launching courses. That’s how I started my Instagram. And I’m way further ahead than people who spent months writing out a plan and then making blueprint. 

And it works for me. For other people, they wouldn’t be able to do this. They’re not gonna remember without an alarm clock that they have a podcast at 12:30, right? Things like that. So for me, it’s like, it’s almost in my blood, at least right now at this moment in time where I do have it all scheduled out.

One thing that really does help a lot is giving, and I do this rarely, because there’s usually so many things that you need to do when you’re like a BCBA at a clinic, when you’re writing reports for insurances, when you have like a, almost 1000 person email list that you have to, you know, keep entertaining, when you have to post at least twice a day on social media, when you have to post at least once a week on YouTube.

So sometimes, and this is recent, I give myself one hour and I give myself three tasks. And usually it’s like film a YouTube video, upload it, which is also a lot of micro tasks. I have to know how to make a thumbnail within like four minutes and make it exciting, which means I need to take a good picture.

And so by giving myself that small amount of time to get it done, I get it done. And that’s more important than for it to be the best that it can be, because my whole thing is how to be a lazy boy and I try to do the least to get the most, which actually has me working way more than other people, because I see how much I can get reinforcement from doing a little bit here and a little bit there. 

Things that people would be like, well, I would never do that. Like learn to play ping pong or make 16 different investing accounts because each one pays you like 20 to a hundred dollars for three to four minutes of work. Do you really need to do that? I do, because it’s the least amount of work. I’m like, oh my gosh, four minutes to make a Charles Schwab account.

And they’re gonna give me $101. I’m in, right? Most people wouldn’t do that because that’s not in their like skill set. So I always try to learn a little bit about everything so I can make the most of it in that skillset. I mentioned ping pong because ping pong is one of the skills that I’m learning right now.

And I’m learning so much about it. So when I do play random people at ping pong, I will know some of like the professional techniques. And so like against the average player, I should have a huge advantage, which is just enough for me to have fun and be better than everyone around. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. I love that. So I wanted to know a little bit, actually, no, first I wanted to ask about working. When you’re working with your group of people that are say coming to the Zoom or in your course. So I, you know, I’m gonna call them your clients, but I know that they’re, you know, I guess your clients. Yeah, cause they’re taking your course, your students. 

So tell me about how you kind of collaborate with them when they’re giving you feedback. Like you mentioned earlier, the community shapes your behavior, you were talking about, you know, wanting to make your post inclusive. Talk to me about collaboration, I suppose. And like working with those people to make it accessible and like implementing their feedback, stuff like that. 

Funancialism

One thing that I want for all of my students is I want them to be the best that they can be, which means I overinvest in them. I had students who were basically like, they just came to me because they wanna learn about stocks, but they see me always full of energy and excitement.

They’re like, man, what are you doing? You’re shaping their knowledge. Okay, how can I do that? And then, like, last night I had a, or two nights ago I had a very intimate, a zoom night where only one person came. And so I dedicated that whole entire hour. We actually stayed even longer an hour and a half just talking about her life and her passions and her relationships and how like money influences all of them and how she can take her skillset and just spread it to the people like even in a different language and start making her TikToks and things like that. 

Which is the cool thing about those Zoom nights is sometimes like when the market’s crashing, like 15 people show up and when things are kind smooth and everyone gets it, like one person shows up to say, hello so we get a lot of like unique experiences there. And it’s so funny because, this is a little off topic, but those Zoom nights, that was just a bonus that I added because the main thing that I wanted to get out there was the modules. And there’s a certain type of person that’s like, yes, I want self-paced information, or I actually want to come hang out for an hour.

And now it’s basically that. We’re hanging out for an hour. One way that my clients kind of changed my behavior is I used to have that hour planned out to a tea. And that was difficult. It was difficult because new people would buy the course and they wouldn’t, they would miss out on what we talked about last week and the conversation was continuing.

So I was like, do I really want to now kind of freeze enrollment to the course while I kind of get through like seven weeks with this first group? Or do I want it to be like free flowing? So, that’s one way that my clients kind of shaped my behavior. And I kind decided with a hybrid where I’ll just close enrollment for like two months at a time, so I could build a relationship with people who do come to the Zoom night without new people coming in. 

And then after that, they kind of become their own leaders and they’re willing to like start sharing information and I could kind of pass the mic to them. So it’s not always through me and they can see cuz you know, I kind of look like the typical dude who invests in stocks, you know, mail and pay.

So hearing like, you know, women of color, like talk about who live in Canada, talk about their experience and how they’re buying US stocks and the hardships that they go through, which are unique to their life story and their, you know, racial and all those categories. I can’t do that. So by investing in my students that increases the quality of the course that way. 

We had another student who’s a BCBA, shouted to Jocelyn. We did a live the other day cuz she’s like, look, I wanna do this social media thing too. So like I will give my platform to my students and we will talk for like almost two hours and maybe that’ll get him, them some followers, or at least build up a deeper connection with people who already follow them and give them practice to like talk live and go back and forth and not be nervous.

So it turned out to be way more than just investing, but that’s up to you as like the consumer of where you want to take this. So that’s one way, like we shape each other’s behaviors. 

Erika Ng

Very cool. Yeah, you sound really dedicated to your students and seeing them succeed. But I love to like how you mentioned the beginning that, you know, you’re also aware of your ethical obligations, like with your role and stuff.

Like it seems like you’re there as a coach and then, you know, in the end, leaving the things that are not your role like to other people. Do you ever work directly with like financial planners or anything? Have you done that? I’m just curious. 

Funancialism

Yeah. So I actually met with my CPA and there were certain things where like he mentioned, and I’m like, whoa, you know what, I don’t think that’s true. And like this world is ever expanding, especially with crypto and NFTs, there old rules being used in new ways, which might be legal today, but illegal tomorrow. So that’s one way that I collaborate with like professionals with licenses. I have my…

Erika Ng

Like to stay current, is that what you mean?

Funancialism

They have to stay current and sometimes they don’t even know like the latest stuff that’s happening. And I think…

Erika Ng

Yeah, that’s interesting. 

Funancialism

Because of the people I talk to online, there’s, there’s financial planners that I can send a DM and ask a question about a super niche nuancey situation.

I did that just the other day about tax lost harvesting, where my brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, they actually said that something that I did not count as a tax saving method. But the fine print said, this may not count. And I am 100% sure that it does count. And I messaged like a lot of like financial planners, one in particular, my buddy budget dog.

And he replied like, yeah, they’re absolutely wrong. But there’s so many little nuances in the financial world. Like once you know the basics, you keep learning forever. It makes, the more you learn, the smaller of a difference it will make. So like if you’re in the 51st percentile of people who invest, getting to like the, I would say the 70th percentile won’t make a huge difference in your portfolio, but it will make a difference.

And it’s just like, you can keep optimizing forever, like with any skill set. That’s why people who are masters of basketball and they’re in the top 1%, they keep practicing. They keep getting better. Same thing with investing and NFTs and crypto, like there’s always ways to get better and spread what you’re able to do.

And if anyone’s curious, we were talking, the question that I had was tax lost harvesting where I sold one fund and I bought another fund, but they were considered by my platform to be too similar for it to count as me securing a loss . And so, I disagreed with them because I basically sold what’s called the S&P 500 fund.

And then I bought a total stock market fund, which some people say are too similar, cuz they basically have the same returns, but there was a gap where they were different enough and the market was down so I could sell my fund and kind of be like, I just lost $500 that I could write off my income while investing in something that moves kind of in a similar pattern. But it’s still a different fund managed by different people with different principles and different goals.

So, my brokerage said that those are too similar. And I say, I’m still gonna write it off. So you need to be confident. And sometimes like the pros will tell you, you cannot do this. Institutions will tell you, this does not work. And you have to be confident enough to be like, actually it does work. 

Erika Ng

Interesting.

Funancialism

Yeah. There’s gray area. 

Erika Ng

Sure. Sure. Yeah. Cool. Okay. So yeah, some collaborating, you do quite a bit of collaborating, I suppose, like with not just with your clients, but then also with other professionals, which is awesome. 

Okay, last thing I wanted to ask about before I ask about you rapping is budgeting, like budgeting as a skill. So I think a lot of people struggle with this. Do you include the skills of budgeting in your course and what are some common. I’m just curious, like what are some, what’s the first behavior that people need to learn for budgeting?

Funancialism

So I’ll answer this in reverse order. So the first behavior that people need to learn in budgeting is realizing that budgeting is not something that is limiting. It’s not something that takes away. It’s not negative reinforcement. It’s actually a skillset that leads to more positive reinforcement. 

A lot of people associate budgeting with being cheap and budgeting is more associated with being frugal, which is not the same as being cheap. Cheap is when you save money at other people’s expense, like if friends get like a soda or whatever, like me not giving them a dollar for it. That’s cheap. 

Like, I got you last time. So this time I’m not getting you. And that’s called being cheap, but frugal is when you do it for yourself, like you’re focusing more on bettering your life and it’s no coincidence that the greatest philosophers from like the Greek ages, when those guys were the bosses of the world or part of the world 2000 years ago they had a saying, I forget who it was is.

Someone like Plato, maybe Socrates not, it wasn’t them. It was someone else, someone like them who said, frugality is the mother of all virtues, because if you’re frugal, you’re not gonna be wasteful. If you’re not wasteful, you’re not contributing to things like climate change as a typical person.

You’re not being greedy because you are giving with purpose. You’re not getting out of guilt. You’re able to basically lead with your values, so, what, what budgeting and frugality is a preference assessment. What do you truly value? What is important to you? And so to some people, traveling will be their main value, but can you do it frugally?

Because it might cancel out your value of paying people who hate you by taking on credit card debt. Those people hate you. So can you learn about investing? Can you learn about travel hacking? In about two hours, you could probably change your life for the next forever. So those are important skill sets to learn and budgeting unlocks that.

And there’s different styles of budgeting. I actually had a budgeting professional join one of my zoom nights. So sometimes, yeah, I would hire out like other people who are highly skilled in other financially savvy areas of life and they would hop on and now I have those recorded. So I have permission to share that with new people who take the course. 

So if they’re struggling with budgeting, I’m like, look, I have this whole presentation recorded on budgeting and you have that. Here you go. So those are kinds of the things that I look into. For me, the best style of budgeting is actually the pay yourself first model, where I don’t, like I said earlier, I don’t like, I’m not much of a planner. I’m more of a doer. So, what I make sure I do first is I send my money more than, now it’s like 70% of my income straight to my investment portfolio. Before I had a whole year. 

This probably its own podcast interview cuz it was really gnarly, but I actually invested 100% of my income for a whole entire year. And there’s definitely a lot of privileges that I took advantage of. But that’s another Ted talk right there, because a lot of people don’t know how to capitalize off their privilege. They’re like I have privilege, but I don’t know how to use it.

And most people end up wasting it. So that’s stuff that we talk about more in the Zoom nights rather than in the modules of the course itself. 

Erika Ng

Sure. Okay. Yeah. Interesting, cool. 

Funancialism

Big key, big key.

Erika Ng

Now, just to wrap up, I’m really curious about your rapping. So I did listen to some of that on Spotify and I, oh my gosh.

I was laughing so hard with the Lazyboy song. Oh my goodness. So this is a passion of yours. I just found it so funny because it’s true. That kind of is the essence, like let’s just be real about it. Like, who wants to be working more than they need to be? Like, you want to have a low, like you want it to be a low response effort in life to get more reinforcement, ideally.

So anyways, great lyrics. Do you have plans for recording and like how often are you actually working on your music? 

Funancialism

So rap is something that I picked as a skillset to build, because I was way below average, whereas like way below zero. So I had no sense of rhythm. I literally did not understand how people in groups know to bob their head at the same time to a song.

I had no idea that 1, 2, 3, 4 existed. Tempo, all of that, no clue. It was like outside of my realm. And I was like, listen, if I can make a rap song that people listen to, then anyone in this world can do anything. So it took me Uh, it took me a number of years. My first songs that I recorded, oh my gosh.

I would record the same line, literally, 67 times to get it on beat. I would have 67 files for the same like, vocal take, because I, it’s not natural to me. Like I had to count it, so people, I would go to people who do hip hop music and go to their houses and they’d be like, what are you doing? I’m like, I’m counting.

Like, what are you counting? I’m counting the beats. And they’re like, it’s not a math problem. And I’m like, I have to approach this my way, which is the numbers way. And they’re like, you know what? One guy was like, I respect that because like, you can’t tap into this naturally, like maybe I can cuz I grew up with this, but for you, it’s like a math problem. 

So it’s really tough for me, but, yeah. 

Erika Ng

Good for you for, you know, jumping into something that you had, as you said below zero knowledge. I like how you phrase that. 

That’s incredible. Cause I, I feel like a lot of people, I don’t know, my personality certainly is like, if I can’t do something well right away, it’s like hard for me to get started on something. So I do really respect that you just jumped into something that you wanted to learn from the ground up.

Funancialism

I think like sucking at something is always the first step of being great at it. It’s rare, very rare to like grab a boogie board and just know how to ride waves. Or know how to shoot three pointers or know how to do a top spin in a ping pong game at any given moment or an underspin and all of that.

Or even understands spinning in ping pong, like I always thought it was a, just hit the ball game, but like, you actually have to subtly spin it and sometimes you wanna hide it from your opponent’s view. So there’s a lot to it. And that’s what I mean about doing the least. It takes maybe an hour of YouTube videos to get to above average knowledge compared to the typical person in almost any skill. 

So that’s what I’m doing because of ABA. With ABA, I learned that like these clients that we have, a lot of times, they start at 0% of opportunities for a lot of things. And to get to doing like 20% of the time is literally infinitely better than where they started.

And I’m like how dare I like teach kids these skill sets when I can’t do that for myself. So, that’s where I think it was who Ogden Lindsley, I think he has a quote where it’s like, you’re not a true behavior analyst until you analyze your own behavior. And that’s like, that’s it. I’m not gonna write goals or track things for myself because that’s immersive to me.

So I found a way to do it on my own without tracking my progress and instead, what I’m doing is just investing the most amount of money that I can. Spending the least amount of time learning about new skills, so I could be better than average. And that increases the quality of my life because I made so many friends like at the gym.

So many friends, boogie boarding, so many friends playing Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. So many friends rapping, all skill sets where I started at negative one. So that’s kind of like my whole like, life motto. When it comes to rap, it’s still really hard even with my seventh year into it. There’s a lot of times where, like, I just can’t catch a beat and it feels like I’m riding a wave and literally like it’s crashing on top of me.

I’m underwater. And there’s even like a technical way to crash. Like you have to learn to pause the instrumental, walk away for two minutes, shuffle your Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and come back. And all of a sudden, you’re way better. That same skillset works with investing where like you maybe read something at night, have no understanding, fall asleep, wake up in the morning, read it again, and it clicks. 

Same with ping pong. You could be having a terrible like day playing ping pong, but you’re picking up the skills. As soon as you go to sleep, you wake up and you come back, you’ll be twice as good as you were. So that’s another thing like, why like one of the first songs I released is called Lazyboy is because I value sleep so much.

I think sleep is where we heal, where we learn. It’s almost like a church that we all go to that no one else can join us in. It’s a combination of everything we’ve ever absorbed in one place that we experience individually that we would not be able to without the community and the world and all of existence around us at all times.

So I’m a big sleeper, eight hours a night. That’s my whole thing. I think that’s some important and the Lazyboy song.

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. Yeah. There’s so many great lyrics in there. No it’s so good. 

So how often are you working your music, like every week? On a regular basis? 

Funancialism

No. So usually like there’s stumps where like, it just doesn’t come naturally.

So what I do is writing comes naturally to me. And then when I have a moment or create a moment, cuz we all have time, we just need a, make use of it correctly. In my opinion, at least we could debate that. I hop on and then I play different beats until like, it feels right. And then I send it to actually a friend of mine who I met on MySpace in 2008 and he can make beats.

And so Lazyboy, my To The Moon song and like a bunch of others that will be releasing on Spotify comes because I kept in touch with this random kid on my 2008. And that’s kind of like how it works. So like, I don’t pressure myself with it. Sometimes having a 20 minute session is way better than having a three hour session. And I find like, that works really well.

I know speech therapy does that too. They have shorter sessions and they like cut out everything that they don’t need. But I think in part of ABA, like some, I think clinics are testing those shorter sessions. But I think with ABA, like we don’t develop a friendship a lot of times, like we’re not supposed to blah, blah, blah.

But we create like this friendly energy. We create a bond that is so unique that like it’s its own category. And I think like, time is needed there. So I’m not advocating for sessions to being like or anything like that. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. That rapport time is important, for sure. Yeah. 

Funancialism

Every session, like every session that free session rapport, like the first 15 minutes and a three hour session were just on dang. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. That’s awesome. 

Funancialism

Yeah. Then that’s what I’m doing with my Instagram. That’s all me building rapport with people who eventually might become my students because that’s that trust being built. That’s the community being built. That’s what the raps are. Not everyone likes that stuff, but if you like rap and you listen to my songs, you’re gonna like it.

Like I’m very confident in that, like, no, one’s gonna listen and be like, oh, this is garbage. They’re gonna be like, you know what? Only you, only you. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. Yeah. That’s so awesome. Cool. I guess my very last question for you is, what is your favorite place to boogie board?

Funancialism

I like to go to a private spot that I won’t reveal its information.

Erika Ng

Okay. Okay. That’s fair. 

Funancialism

Going there cuz I am literally like sometimes the only one there and it’s great. It’s there’s free parking there so. 

Erika Ng

Nice. Even better? 

Funancialism

It is in LA. So I’ll say that much. But one of the dreams that I have is to go to the wedge and that’s in like Huntington Newport beach area to be able to ride those waves.

I watch those videos like a lot. And we’ll break your back if you don’t know what you’re doing out there. I’ve had some gnarly experiences scratched my face before, like crashed in the sand. I got stung by a stingray. Yeah, I cried. It was so, so bad. So like rest in peace, Steve Irwin. So like a lot of like, that’s kind of like the boogie board situation where it’s. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome.

Funancialism

A secret spot and no one is coming here. Like I always wanna be like, okay, who wants to go here? I did take people from my work there, which was a blast. But they’re not really boogie boarding type. 

Erika Ng

Yes. You weren’t really giving away to any competitors. 

Funancialism

Yeah, so. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. I love that. I, okay, actually, I keep thinking of questions, but how did you get into boogie boarding as opposed to surfing? 

Funancialism

Yeah, so my mom, like she came here, single mom from the Soviet Union. No English, had to learn all sorts of skill sets from scratch hair. Very tough. And she always wanted me to get into sports, but like, I didn’t have a dad and she’s not the sporty type.

And she kept like shoving me into things. She’s like, do baseball, do this. Then she was like do acting. And eventually she got me a board and she was like, go into the water. And so I did and I never got out. 

Erika Ng

That’s awesome. 

Funancialism

That’s I think one unique thing is like about me is like, when I start something, I stick with it for like decades and I wasn’t apply for like, you know, too long, in my opinion.

So like, yeah, that’s the whole thing. 

Erika Ng

Cool. So you’ve been doing it for a really long time? 

Funancialism

I mean, since I was like nine or so I’m far from professional, but I’ll take my risks. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. 

Funancialism

Water, for sure. 

Erika Ng

So, cool. That’s great.

Well, Georgiy, thank you so much for chatting with me today. I really appreciate it. It was so interesting to hear about your work and just all the things that you’re juggling and your stoke is so high, that it is so exciting to just hear about how passionate you are, not only for work with your clients.

Like I can just tell talking to you that, like you love the work that you do with the kids at your clinic, but also the people that you work with in your courses. So, yeah, it’s super energizing to talk to you. So I really appreciate that. So keep up, keep that stoke high and keep that content coming on Instagram.

Thank you so much. 

Funancialism

Peace out. Follow your boy, Funancialism. 

Erika Ng

Will do.

The comments and views expressed in this podcast do not constitute or replace contractual behavior, analytic consultation, or professional advice. Views express are solely the perspective of the speaker and do not represent the views or position of their colleagues, employer, or other associates. Please seek out a behavior analyst through BACB website if you would like to receive further behavior consultation. 

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