Women's Retirement Radio

Dr. Travis Parry of the Make Time Institute - Achieving (and Maintaining) Work / Life Balance - Episode 31

September 13, 2021 Russ Thornton Season 2 Episode 15
Women's Retirement Radio
Dr. Travis Parry of the Make Time Institute - Achieving (and Maintaining) Work / Life Balance - Episode 31
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Women's Retirement Radio
Dr. Travis Parry of the Make Time Institute - Achieving (and Maintaining) Work / Life Balance - Episode 31
Sep 13, 2021 Season 2 Episode 15
Russ Thornton

In this episode of Women's Retirement Radio, I'm joined by Dr. Travis Parry of the Make Time Institute.

Travis is the author of the #1 International Bestselling Book “Achieving Balance”. 

He is also the founder of the Make Time Institute. He’s earned several degrees in family and social science to better understand stress and goal achievement. 

Dr. Parry helps business owners and financial professionals achieve work/life balance. 

More importantly he is a homeschooling father of 6 incredible children and the husband to 1 amazing and talented wife of 18 years.

For more on Travis and the Make Time Institute, please check out these resources:

Get in touch and let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

And thank you for listening.

Visit my website to learn more.

Disclosures

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Women's Retirement Radio, I'm joined by Dr. Travis Parry of the Make Time Institute.

Travis is the author of the #1 International Bestselling Book “Achieving Balance”. 

He is also the founder of the Make Time Institute. He’s earned several degrees in family and social science to better understand stress and goal achievement. 

Dr. Parry helps business owners and financial professionals achieve work/life balance. 

More importantly he is a homeschooling father of 6 incredible children and the husband to 1 amazing and talented wife of 18 years.

For more on Travis and the Make Time Institute, please check out these resources:

Get in touch and let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

And thank you for listening.

Visit my website to learn more.

Disclosures

Russ Thornton:
Hey everyone, it's Russ, and welcome to another episode of Women's Retirement Radio. Today I am super excited to have Dr. Travis Parry on the podcast with us. Travis and I were introduced by a mutual acquaintance here a few months back, and have had an opportunity to chat and get to know each other. I thought, for a variety of reasons, many of which we'll cover here on our conversation that Travis would be a great person and subject matter expert to bring into the conversation and maybe tie some of his experience and expertise into a retirement planning. So, Travis, welcome. Glad you could join us today.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me on.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, why don't we start by you just introducing yourself, telling our listeners a little bit about who you are and what it is you do?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, for sure. So like Russ, I used to be a financial advisor and I really enjoyed helping my clients with a wide variety of financial planning needs, very holistic. And as I was doing that I realized, the business owner, we really struggle in this industry, don't we rest with balance and with keeping things very organized. We've got so many clients we want to help. It's very easy to get lost in the work and the minutia of the work and helping, because we really enjoy that client interaction. I always joke with advisors that we like money, we like numbers. If we didn't like relationships, we'd be accountants. So we enjoy that interaction as you do. And so I've noticed that, that gets us into what I discuss in my book, Achieving Balance, something called the workaholic trap.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And so I've also seen these other industries, not just in financial planning, but other businesses, business owners, who struggle with that. And I write in the book that the book isn't just for financial advisors, but it's for anyone, even a homeschooling mom of six can apply these principles to bring better balance to one's life. So no matter what your financial situation, your employment situation, these are principles of setting goals using your time wisely to achieve those goals and keeping it balanced.

Russ Thornton:
So you mentioned a couple of things there, all of which I want to circle back to one of which you used as an example, a homeschooling mom of six. And as I understand it, that hits close to home for you, because you and your wife have six kids, all of whom are homeschooling. Is that correct?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, that's correct. Yeah, and that was my plug for her, my wink and a nod when she read through that, is that these are principles that anyone can really apply in any walk of life.

Russ Thornton:
Well, yeah. And I can only imagine having six kids is a challenge in and of itself, but then homeschooling all of them, I suspect you can really speak to the challenges and what works in terms of achieving and maintaining a balance, having lived it and continuing to live it every single day. You mentioned your book, which was just published recently, could you talk a little bit about that, and maybe we can dive a little bit more into the meat of it in our conversation?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, for sure. So we published Achieving Balance last year and we had a great time rolling this out. It's really designed to help explain the method, I call it the make time method, to achieving your business and personal goals for achieving your purpose in life in both areas. And it's a guide, it's a system. So many people have tips and tricks and hacks on how to manage your time better and not be so scattered and disorganized. And this is really a step by step 12 step formula that helps anyone really to create an ideal calendar and put that into place that's all based on their goals and their values. And it's not Travis's eight baby steps, no offense to Dave Ramsey. But this is not me telling you how to live your life, this is you taking what you want to do and applying it to a system. And then having the concept of the accountability at the end, how do you stay accountable to this so you don't just fall off the wagon, which is something that I've spent a lot of time researching, and so why I got the PhD.

Russ Thornton:
Well, and this podcast is Women's Retirement Radio. So there's a thread of application to retirement and retirement planning through everything we talk about with guests like you. And in my experience, and I'd love to get your thoughts on this, Travis, in my experience, a lot of people, I think, think of the retirement as basically limping across the finish line, because they're so burnt out with work. Their work, for many, certainly not all, has really just become the literal grind. And I suspect maybe a big part of that is that maybe they don't have a good sense of balance that work is crept into other parts of their life or they haven't really done a good job of prioritizing the other important things or activities or people in their life. And so maybe they've gotten out of balance.

Russ Thornton:
So what I suspect, and you can correct me if I'm off base here, is if people were to achieve and maintain a better sense of balance in their life, maybe they would be able work longer if that's something that's of interest to them or maybe they would be in a position to retire, but then do something else that they find more fulfilling or rewarding, whether that's work or volunteering or spending more time with family. So in your experience, Travis, regarding balance in people's work lives in the context of thinking about and planning for retirement would you say that balance or lack thereof could contribute to people's desire to really get out of the quote unquote "rat race?"

Dr. Travis Parry:
I think there's a really great conversation we could have about that topic for sure. And it always brings me back to what our goals are. If the goal is to get out and be more free and have more financial freedom, and you've been able to say that and invest it and then get out of the rat race, absolutely 100%. So it really just always will come down to individuals goals. What are your goals? Have you looked at what those goals are related to? And are you carrying out your financial plan based on those goals?

Dr. Travis Parry:
And I go, I think, a step further and talk about values. Values is a term that is getting brushed under the rug lately, because it connotes so many things and people that want to talk about them, but I think it's crucial in financial planning, especially, as you're taking your clients through this process and values are close to them, they are able to see where their money is really going to and how it's funding. How does the retirement fund prepare them for meeting that end of day? Are they structuring their retirement so that they are living their life on purpose? Are they doing the things they want to be doing?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Just the other day in this quick example, I was at the store and I had recently moved from Northern Utah. We went to Texas. We lived there for five years and we came back. And I saw this woman working at the counter and I recognized her and I said, "Oh my goodness! It's been years. You're still working here?" She said, "Yeah, my life circumstances have changed." And I actually retired and I came back. And I didn't get into all the details, I just said, hi, but it left me thinking, "Man, what were her goals? What were her life aspirations?" And she did tell me that her husband passed away and that they weren't planning for this. And I thought, "Gee, here's somebody who really fell short on the things that she wanted to do." And not that working is bad, she didn't want to be there anymore.

Dr. Travis Parry:
She was happy, she was delightful, wonderful person, but I could tell that she was just like, "Yeah, circumstances have changed and it's really hard not to wonder," I didn't pass the judgment, but it's a hard to wonder what their planning was, and were they planning for contingencies in those plans to get her there? And now her work life balance has turned upside down because of most likely the lack of planning.

Russ Thornton:
Well, I'm thankful that you brought up the topic of values. That's something that I have written about and communicate a lot with my clients around, because I think having an understanding and acknowledgement of our values can really serve as a solid foundation for making decisions about what's important to us. How do we spend our time? Who do we spend our time with? All of what you just touched on. So I'm glad you brought that up. The other thing that I could maybe see your thoughts around balance having an application to with regards to retirement, clearly people can make the best laid plans and they rarely if ever work out according to plan, if you will. The story you just shared about your friend illustrates that, I think, pretty pointedly.

Russ Thornton:
But I think also maybe a lack of balance could also potentially carry into retirement, because I've encountered people that are just so burned out that they're not so much thinking about retiring to something, they're really just trying to get out of work or get out of their routine or get out of the grind. But I can also imagine people that do retire and now this eight, sometimes 10, sometimes more hours of day that they were spending at work or doing work is now gone. So now they have this vacuum in their life and maybe they didn't take the time to achieve balance and find other things or other pursuits that they find fulfilling or ways to spend their time. And so I'm curious, have you experienced people that have actually gone through the transition of retirement, but still find balance a challenge even when they're not working full time?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Parkinson's Law that talks about the time that we have allotted to us, we will use for a certain project or the space that's a lot of we will use up. I think that principle is so true, because I know so many who have retired and are busier than when they were working. Now it works not in their way. Now, they're accomplishing all these things and they've got programs and tasks, and I know many who do grandma and grandpa camp and they're staying connected with their family, which is awesome. And it's possible that they may be getting out of balance. But I think this begs the question of what the definition of balance is. Everybody has a different definition. I've interviewed over 200 business owners and financial advisors, and they tell me it's more integration or harmony or it's not doing everything at once.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And I've come to the conclusion that the first myth of balance in the book that I outlined is balance is not doing it all at the same time, it's focusing on your highest priorities. So it may very well be, Russ, that when women are retiring, they're able to finally get to those things that are more priority, and maybe they have a greater sense of balance. What I've seen actually more is that not only are they filling up their time with these other things and they could be off balance, but it's likely that the person they are now turning into at retirement. Okay. And this is a very real issue. The person they're turning into at retirement is like, "Wow, I lost my identity with my job, male or female." And if married, couples look at each other and go, "Well, who are you? Now, we have all this time together."

Dr. Travis Parry:
And if they haven't been building that relationship to that point yet the relationship is a high priority, they get to this point in time where it's been called gray divorce where you see a high rate of those who are now retired getting divorced, because their values aren't aligned and their goals aren't similar anymore. And it grew out of love, I call it growing out of love, people call it falling out of love. We don't fall into love, it's an action. So you grow out of love in this phase. And it was actually highlighted to me in the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce that's brought up a lot of great divorce questions. Here's people, they've got millions, they've billions, they've actually tried to give it away, yet they really have grown apart. And I find that is one of the most serious issues of this time, which does have financial implications. It does have financial planning consequences.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. And I unfortunately have seen a lot of my clients that I've gotten introduced to or referred to, have gone through great divorce, they're in their 50s, 60s, sometimes older, getting divorced after 25, 35 or more years of marriage. And it can be, talk about a plan that did not unfurl the way you thought it would. That can really throw a wrench in how you thought your later years were going to play out. You mentioned one myth in the book, what other myths about balance have you addressed in your writing, Travis?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I appreciate the question. There are really three main myths. The first one, balance is not doing it all, it's working on your highest priorities. And we've touched on that a little bit. Number two, is that working non-working, doesn't matter, if you don't manage your time well, you tend to turn towards productivity. I just need more productive, I need to get more stuff done, I need to cross things off my task list. Whether at home or work, the ever consuming idea that I just need to cross stuff off and be done with those boxes of things to do can really bog people down. So they turn to productivity. And I was there too. I actually used to train other business owners, financial advisors on productivity, and it was hailed as the whole trail at the time. And I found that productivity is actually not the magic pill that it's sold. There's so many systems out there to teach more productive and how to use your time more effectively. And so we cram more and more in yet the reality is if we don't have boundaries and we don't set times for breaks and for our health and these other areas of our life, then productivity alone can just make someone a more productive workaholic. And that can be again, at home at work, wherever you're at, regardless of situation.

Dr. Travis Parry:
That principle is true that you've run around with your head chopped off 24/7. You never feel accomplished no matter how much you check off. If you don't celebrate, if you don't give your break, time for breaks, take care of your own health, spend time with the people that you love, then what are we doing all of these things for? So that's really myth number two. And I'd love to see what you think about that before we move on.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. I'm hearing you explain myth two something that came to my mind, which I'd love to get your reaction to, but I think about just the proliferation and advancements in technology, like Moore's Law and the increasing capabilities of microchips and things like that, computers, all of that, whether you put it under the umbrella of productivity, I think that we have increasing capability over the last 15, 20, 25 years through computers and technology advancements and innovation, yet on balance I don't see people taking more time off. In fact, I've read studies that in the US people continue to take less time off each year, like don't even take a two week vacation throughout the course of the calendar year. So I'm hearing you talk about productivity, not being at all, it's cracked up to be not being a silver bullet. I was actually thinking like, as a society, I'm amazed that we don't seem to be benefiting from the collective productivity gains that we should all have been benefiting from regarding technology and things like that. So has that been your observation as well?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, I think tech is great. I love tech. I've got the latest iPhone, I've got an iMac in front of me that these things cost thousands of dollars. And it's wonderful technology and there's so much software, there's so much hardware. I'm wearing my Apple watch. I'm not trying to give a commercial for Apple, but give me a break, there's so much stuff out there that we utilize. I know as financial advisors, FinTech is huge, but then for anyone or the consumers, those who are benefiting from this technology and the productivity technology that's out there to help us be more productive, what I get a lot from people is overwhelm, just sheer overwhelm. And so I'm big on trying to stick with hardware that's the same and software. I use Microsoft software, the suite for Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, all of those things, because they work together.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And I use Mac for my hardware for all my computers, because they all sync together. And I search on other search engines, but I think when we try to use every single app, every single new tech that comes out, it can get time consuming just to try to keep up and overwhelming to the consumer, because there's too many options. You go to a really good restaurant, doesn't matter how good it is, people are raving and raving and raving about it, but if you show up and you don't know what to eat, because there's too many options, you may give up and go someplace else. And I think honestly, that's where we're at right now, Russ, is just we're overwhelmed with the amount of tech that's trying air quotes "to help us save time" that we end up buying a $1,200 phone and we never read the manual. We just jump on and try to play with it and take pictures and do the things that we think it's done and call people and text or whatever. But we under utilize the tech that we already have.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Good grief, the more that we keep coming out with 3D technologies and other things that are coming our way with AI, it can continue to become overwhelming. I understand why older generations just say, "Eh, I'm not going to learn anything new. I just don't want to make the time to do that."

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, I think again, under this concept of productivity is not necessarily the answer. I think A, you're right, and that actually hits close to home, because I'm a little bit of a technology geek myself. And I like to check out the shiny new object, app, software, whatever the case may be. But I think acknowledging that there will always be a shiny new object around the corner, speaks to the fact that we can't chase them all, because then we're just always in chase mode and we're never in a position to actually benefit from the stuff, the tools, the technology that we do have. So I think that's a great point.

Russ Thornton:
And the other thing that comes to mind too, which you mentioned earlier is I don't think productivity matters unless you have a really good sense of your values and what's important to you and what your priorities are, because if you're able to squeeze another few minutes or few hours out of your day or your work week, I think you need to first decide, well, if you get some time back, where do you want to spend that time? Do you want to spend it with your spouse, with your kids, with your church, in the community, with your friends? I think a lot of people just say, "Well, if I get an extra five minutes or an extra hour or an extra two hours, I can spend that doing more of what I'm doing," without really taking a step back and looking critically at how they're spending their time currently. So yeah, I think we could probably speak for hours on each one of these myths. But you've covered the first two myths, what's the third one that you address in the book?

Dr. Travis Parry:
So the third one is really a bigger bomb than that. And that personal development is not the end all be all. So we start with really prioritizing our life, becoming more productive by creating boundaries to keep us focused and having an ideal calendar and following some very basic principles of time management, which is all helpful and good. But what I found is I used to train other business owners, as I mentioned, just in the productivity and the priority side, and found that if they didn't have great accountability, they'd often fall off the wagon or go back to their old habits, so to speak. And when they did that, I did some research and found that a lot of those who were going back was because they weren't having the coaching anymore, they didn't have the support. But then in addition to that, they didn't have very supportive family or home life or spouses.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So the key that I found to all of this in keeping it in place is your spouse needs to be on board, your spouse needs to understand the principles of balance, but then also support you in your effort to get there. And it's really not this huge discovery, because I think a lot of people, yeah, Dr. Travis, that makes sense if I want to change my diet, if I want to change my finances, it really helps to have both the spouses there. And Russ, I know you've experienced this with your own clients. It's hard if you're only working with one of the spouses, the other one's not all that involved, right?

Russ Thornton:
Yeah.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So having them both on the same page is huge to being able to see it through. But long term couple development that I introduced in the book, I introduced the term couple development. I wrote an ebook about it in 2010, when I discovered this concept. No one else has really written about it, no one really has focused on it. And the idea of family development to developing as a family has gone by the wayside, because of some political things. But I really am trying to bring couple development into the spotlight. That is personal development is great, especially man, if you're single, that's what you have. You develop personally. But when you're married and you have someone that you're committed to, then you have a partner that you're living with. There's a level of commitment there that makes you really have to look at your time, because it's really not your own. You share that time with each other, you share space, you share resources and being able to help each other, not only is it helpful for you, but it's actually really good for the relationship.

Dr. Travis Parry:
In fact relationship, the best researchers on relationship, the expert author, Dr. John Gottman, has proven his theory of when couples are sharing goals and working to support each other on those that they're happier. My dissertation work went a little bit further and said, "What about the couples values?" When couples have the same values and goals, not only are they doing better in their relationship, but they're actually happier psychologically, and for your audience, Russ, they do better financially. So there is a big need to not only help each other to be balanced together, but continue on this path if they're married and are living together, continue on this path to helping each other, being on the same team, sharing those values and goals so that, that will continue to help the workaholic tended person to not go back to their old ways, but also move forward and achieving all these goals together.

Russ Thornton:
And I've got to believe that, that also lays a healthy foundation to help a couple avoid the pitfalls that they might otherwise encounter, where they maybe wind up in divorce court later in life, because they've grown apart or they've been focused on career or focused on raising kids or whatever the case may be. I think or I would imagine that what you're describing with this approach to couples getting on the same page and growing together, holding each other accountable, I would imagine that just provides a really deep and beneficial foundation for the relationship itself let alone the fact that they can achieve better balance and things like that. Tell me what you think, Travis, but I would imagine that the benefits of this couples approach, not just to accountability and balance, but just I would imagine it has far reaching benefits throughout the relationship and the broader family. Is that fair to say?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. And that's interesting, because I was attacking it from that perspective. And I was looking at strengths based approach to what makes really good couples really good. We tend in research, especially in family science, to focus on the problems. Divorce, well, the first year is the hardest and the first 10 years, if we can make it actually past seven, the average age of marriage divorce is seven years. And we look at so much of the reasons why things fail, but oftentimes we don't give enough kudos to those who have made it and look at the patterns of those people. And we call as a strengths based research.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And as I was doing a lot of the strengths based research through my PhD experience, this is what I came to and I discovered. And then it clicked, because it made sense that when I was helping those workaholics, who were really struggling with their behaviors and trying to fix this long term, that they'd go through this boot camp that I'd have for them, they go through some coaching. And then as soon as we were done, I'd follow up with them 180 days later only to find out that again, like I mentioned, that they've fallen off the wagon.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So when I put those two together and I really made this discovery that involving the spouse is where it's at and I started to involve the spouses. And once I experimented with couples and said, "Hey, yeah, I'm here to help you, but your spouse needs to be involved," it was like, "Oh yeah, it's true, that would really help." And all the research started coming back as I was working with real life couples that really proved the point of this theory and then the research involved in it. The actual data that I have from serving hundreds of thousands of couples that shows us that, yes, at least in America, married Americans who have the same goals and values do so much better. So it's got both the fixing a lot of the negative issues and focusing on values and goals, but also the future of helping to achieve those things, which enables one to realize that, yeah, I don't need to continue to work so much that my accomplishments can be outside of work, not just there.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, I found that just fascinating. It almost creates this virtuous cycle or loop where you're helping yourself by helping your spouse and you're helping your spouse by helping yourself, which I think is fantastic. Travis, I know we've talked around a lot of what you do. We've talked about it from the perspective of the three myths that you outlined in your book, but to draw a finer point on it, what would you say is the biggest challenge that you help people address or solve through your writing in your work?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I think the biggest issue that I help solve is achieving goals. People want balance, not because they want balance, it's the funniest thing. They feel balanced when they are achieving those things that are the most important to them. So, for example, I know a lot of people who value their physical health or spiritual health as number one or number two, depending, and so if we spend a ton of time on everything else that we have to do in life, then we're going to end up not punching the clock on those things that are super important, like working out, eating right, not stressing ourselves out. And that's the physical health, but on the spiritual side, like serving people, becoming a better person, reading scriptures, going to church, those things that we know we should be doing if that's our definition of spiritual health. It might be different for everybody. I understand that.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So when those are taking into an account and you're making achievements in those areas that are super important, you feel more purposeful and therefore you feel balanced. So balance is really this natural effect of accomplishing the things that are most important in your life. So I really do believe that my mission is to help people achieve their goals and live their life on purpose. The whole reason why I actually wrote this book, Russ, was because my father passed away at age 49. My mom was not prepared for this, our family of eight was not prepared for this sudden change in everything. It affected our family business, it affected so many relational things and I became-

Russ Thornton:
How old were you at that time, Travis?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I was 26 and I was a financial advisor and that was my first death claim. So having to process that and be my own father, I explained it better in the introduction to the book, but I was just floored. I was absolutely floored. And as I wrote his obituary, this is when I really got thinking and it started changing my life a lot going, "Man, what if I only make it to 49? What if I only make it to 40? Am I going to leave an impact on the world, on my family? Are 1,000 people going to show up to my funeral as they did my dad?" It just blew me away. That's all I can really say. And I started writing this book 12 years ago after thinking about this concept from when my father passed away.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And if we look back on our lives, as we get closer to the end, as we get to this retirement stage of life, quite honestly, those highest things in our priority, they really go to the surface, they start coming to the surface and you start feeling stress about accomplishing those things. And what I will say is it's not just about accomplishing these goals, but it is about becoming a better person about achieving this lifelong purpose that you have. And quite honestly, that is really where I feel I'm supposed to help others, everyone to live that internal purpose, those values that really drive them to become the best person that they should be.

Russ Thornton:
And I know a moment ago, you basically characterized the biggest challenge you help people address is achieving their goals, because goal achievement seems to go hand in hand with feeling balanced, feeling calm, feeling happy. But hearing you describe the story about your father's passing, it sounds to me like another layer or another facet of that is helping people minimize regret in life, which is maybe just the other side of the same coin. But have you ever thought about it from that perspective or have you had that conversation with people you've worked with about not just doing the things that are important for you to achieve goals, things like that, but also making sure that you don't miss the opportunity to do the things that are important to you and maybe look back later in life or maybe not even have the chance to look back, because you didn't get to do some of the things that are important to you?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. That is on my mind a lot. While I see the example of my father, I think really accomplished what he was supposed to do in his time. I know a lot of people don't and they live with that regret and it causes a lot of stress. So I think one of the biggest things I regret might be up there, but stress, and stress may actually drive us to worse health, speed up the process. So in a way I honestly think I'm helping people to extend their life and to really live it on purpose, have a better quality of life, which is sometimes better than quantity. But I think also extending life by reducing stress and accomplishing the things that they need to in the areas that they should can give them both satisfaction of both quantity and quality.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, that's fantastic. And I think whether you look at it from achieving goals or reducing stress or minimizing regret, at the end of the day, all of those, I think it's fair to say are going to lead to a better balance, more happiness, better relationships, all of which I think as a society, we can probably all do a little bit more of these days. So I think that's important and great work. Travis, I know you've worked over the years with business owners including many financial advisors, you've done research, things like that. Is there a favorite success story that comes to mind for you in the work that you've done with your clients over time where you maybe helped them make some progress, find better balance, maybe reorient or reprioritize some things in their lives?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Great question. So I appreciate that. I think one of my favorite stories is a guy named Raul. Raul is a financial advisor, but he's getting to the retirement age. And he's really wanting to scale back, but he's built his business and he's built his lifestyle such that it's really difficult for him working many more hours than most people want to admit. And so we started tracking it, he didn't realize how much he was actually not home, not doing the things he professed to believe in. And his health was pretty... He was suffering. He really liked to travel though. That was a fascination of his, and he traveled with his wife and his son, but a lot of the travel he did was so not present, on his phone, checking email, working while he's gone.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And I think this is where we suffer with a lot of this technology that we talked about before is it's not help keeping us present. Getting rid of technology is sometimes the answer. And as I started working with him, I've seen so much progress that now the Euro Cup just was finished. He spent two weeks with his family just going to the games in France and in England and visiting family there in France. And just really enjoying his time, not responding to email, not stressing out about his work, just has had such a huge change in his life. I think he's dropped like 30 hours out of his work week, right? And as we look at like Iceland talking about getting from 40 to 35 hours, like whoop dee doo five hour concept, this is like six times that amount. Three hour drop in his schedule so that now he's able to be there and focus on his health more and spend time with his family and travel without the ever present stress of his work.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Whatever it is for you, whatever it is that you're overworked on, whether it's your own business or if you're still working or you've got some commitments to serve and organizations, oftentimes if we aren't careful, it's not being present and enjoying those things that we truly miss out on. And in our day and age, again, with so much technology at our fingertips, screens all day long, it can really be a huge challenge. So being able to see him make this change has been absolutely thrilling for me. And the crazy thing is during that time period, his business has been more successful than ever before, less time at work, more successful. So really the time away and letting go of the control has really helped him to have a much better, healthier and purposeful life.

Russ Thornton:
Well, and I'm curious. Thanks for sharing that. I think stories are just such a great way for us to better internalize some of these concepts. But in Raul's case, has his accomplishments in cutting down his average work week, traveling, unplugging from work and continuing to have greater business success, I'm curious, has that maybe shifted his view on retirement, because I think you said he was getting towards retirement age. So I'm wondering now, if given this new approach to balance, if maybe he's thinking about working longer?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. I think actually it's allowed him to work less with fewer clients, which is enabling him to realize he doesn't maybe have to retire so fast, but he can scale out of it, something you brought up earlier. But the other thought came to my mind, his wife was a huge part of this. So women out there listening, and maybe this is not your issue, maybe you're not a workaholic, but you might be married to one, you might be married to the person who's really struggling, and it forms a negative impact on your relationships and maybe even your finances and time away going on these vacations, like Raul and his wife. He would not be able to do this without his wife. His wife was a therapist. So talk about someone who's equipped to helping and knowing that she's tried, but involving her on the system, the make time method that I use and just applying that and having her be that help has made all the difference in the world.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I have female clients as well. I have others who are younger and maybe not towards retirement. That's why I thought about Raul, because this is more focused on retirement. But I have female clients who have had the same issues with overworking and feeling the mommy guilt and has really struggled with this. One of my testimonials on my website, she is fantastic, she's in the book. And she dropped 35 hours, was able to be more productive in the time that she had, golf more, be there for her kids and really balanced the working mother type of scenario, because she was able to basically cut her time in half at work.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So it's living the dream right there as far as what a lot of women want to be doing is working part time and being there with their kids. So there's a lot to be said about that. But hearing her getting back to the game of golf and she was some of a golf pro in college and really was doing fantastic there. Getting back to the things that she loves and spending time for herself, having this self time to recreate and to distress has been life changing for her. And it's been incredible to watch. I go through this process just by using the system. So again, if you're a working woman and your struggle with this, there's definitely some concepts you can glean from the book that would help you. But also if you're married to a workaholic, someone who's really struggling, and I find this mostly with men, because I work with financial advisors, 80% are male. But the fact that you can be there to help and support him through that process is actually the key to long term success.

Russ Thornton:
So you mentioned a couple of times, the make time method in the book, and clearly we encourage you by listening to this to go out and get Travis's book, we'll have details on how to do that here in just a moment. But Travis, I wonder if you'd be willing to share maybe just a glimpse or at a high level maybe give our listeners a little bit of a taste of the make time method just so they maybe leave our conversation or walk away with some ideas on how they can maybe start working on this on their own, maybe while they're waiting for the book to arrive in the mail.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Sure. Yeah. So the make time method really at a 60,000 foot level is be productive at work or be productive during the time that you need to take care of tasks. Whatever your work is, if you're getting paid or not, it doesn't matter, be productive. And then utilize the time you save on things that are more important to you outside of work, your health, your spirituality, your relationships, et cetera. And again, I'm a big believer in the values. So in the book, we dive deep into the values and I help you prioritize them through the system that helps you pit all 10 areas of life against each other to find out what are your highest priorities. So when people say get your priorities in order, but have you ever done that? Well, this is an actual exercise that I show you how to put your priorities in order.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And then throughout the day, I have a system to help you be more productive by processing your emails, your task list, your messaging, your phone calls, your to-do lists. All of the things that are on your plate to do that day, whether you're working for money or not, they're costing you time, projects, concepts that you're trying to help other people to do. And my wife took some time out of her busy day. She's a mom of six homeschooling kids. She took my oldest daughter and they went and did service for six hours this morning, helping out in a cannery to help canned food for those who are struggling financially. And it's interesting, when you're able to do these kinds of things and put those in priority and put them in an ideal calendar that you then keep track of and care for. It helps you to be more productive throughout the day and you feel more accomplished.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So that's the big key is being able to then spend the time to create this ideal calendar. And on your ideal calendar, I suggest, spending an hour a day processing all the things that need to get done. I introduce it in a three step process of basically looking at the importance of each. And if you can take care of it in five minutes, do it. If not, put it on your calendar to get done. And the things that aren't really that important, find a way to get rid of them or delegate them or automated. Okay. And by so doing, you don't spend a ton of time trying to analyze everything that you've got to do. It's a very quick step by step process.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And then that last piece of having that accountability of involving your spouse, sharing with each other, what it is you value, working to support each other, having time together, date nights and doing those things that really build up your relationship. So it's not just about accountability, but it's building that relationship is really the missing piece in this whole balance equation.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, that's great. Thanks for sharing all that. And again, I can't encourage people enough be sure go out and get a copy of Travis's book. We'll include details on how to do that here towards the end of our conversation. Travis, a couple more quick questions. So this podcast is all about women in retirement. So I'm curious, though, you're not a woman clearly, when you think of the word retirement, what comes to mind for you personally?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I think one of the biggest things that come to mind, especially for women is uncertainty. I understand, I talk every day, men, women, about their fears, about their goals, their dreams, their concerns. And in general, again, this is very generalized for this audience, women tend to have a bigger fear of uncertainty. Men, typically, again, we're talking averages, typically are able to take more of the risk, they're risk takers from a young age, and that's a good thing, it helps to balance each other out. But with that, the uncertainty, and I found that a lot of women really just want to know what's going on and maybe not every single detail, they may not want to geek out on the analytical side of financial plan, but being involved and having say and being an equal partner in the decisions being made, I could not champion more.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And again, being a financial advisor, being on that side of the table and knowing what it's like to have clients married, clients who are struggling knowing that deep down inside, she may not be giving any consideration at home in the financial matters, strikes me as a very sad point that women who want this type of certainty should be understanding their financial plan and they should have a very big voice and role in how things are carried out, because the reality is, and I saw this as sad reality, obviously 49 is very young age, but the reality is men die first. It's just how it is. And so if men die first, then women are left to pick up the pieces and go, "Well, what is this thing? What is this plan?"

Dr. Travis Parry:
And in fact, I've seen a lot of research showing that as soon as a death in the family occurs and they've been retired, whatever, a lot of times women changing go to a different financial planner, because they were never involved in the process in the first place. So they don't even know that person, they don't even have that relationship. So rest the fact that you are making this a big part of what you do and helping women with their retirement, females with their retirement is helping, I believe, a lot of the market, just the consumers in general. And I think what you're doing is fantastic.

Russ Thornton:
Well, I appreciate that. And I also appreciate your perspective on retirement, especially as it relates to women. And the statistic you referenced, which I've I've seen, was done by Fidelity a few years ago and it said within 12 months of the death of a spouse, 70% of widows will change financial advisors, because as you stated, A, they either didn't have a relationship with the advisor, or B, they feel like the advisor is condescending in his or her communication to the widow, which again, I can't even wrap my head around that. But yeah, clearly there is a lot of room for women to be more vocal, have more of voice in the family's financial decision making. So yeah, thank you for that.

Russ Thornton:
Travis, this has been great. I feel like you and I could easily talk for another hour, but in the interest of your time and our listeners time, if there were one thing that our listeners could take away from our conversation today, what would you want that one thing to be?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Live life on purpose. Don't be afraid to do the things that you should be doing deep down inside. We all have a mission in this life to accomplish, and we're either moving toward it or moving away from it. And the peace of mind, the true balance that is felt is when you're living your life with that purpose and you're moving toward it, because it's something that motivates you. You're not motivated by the fear of not, but you're motivated by the love of embracing who you are and your purpose. So if you have that purpose, fantastic, work every day towards it. If you don't have that purpose, pick up a copy of my book, it definitely lays out why I wrote this about my father and trying to help people all over the world really to embrace this concept of better balance.

Dr. Travis Parry:
You can get that at achievingbalancebook.com. You pay the shipping. I actually will ship that to you for free. I don't charge you for the book costs. You can get on Amazon too and Kindle and such, from five bucks to $19 or something, but go to the website, pick that up and give it a good read. It'll be available on audio very soon. So make sure you pick up the audio version of it as well when you check out. But honestly, at the end of the day, Russ, the thing that I would really instill on your listeners is live life on purpose.

Russ Thornton:
I can't think of a better place to wrap things up. So thanks for that, Travis. And just so people are clear, give the a book website one more time.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yes, it's achievingbalancebook.com, www.achievingbalancebook.com. You can go to my website, travisparry.com/book. That's another linked route that you can go to and it'll be right there.

Russ Thornton:
Perfect. And we'll definitely include links to the book website, Travis's website in the show notes for this episode so people will have an easy way to follow up and learn more, get a copy of Travis's book and work on their own balance in their own lives. So, Travis, this has been great. Anything else you want to add before we wrap it up today?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I just thank you. And I hope that this has been helpful to those listening. And I really applaud everyone who's trying to serve this audience, you as well, Russ, involved to help women with their finances to be more of a voice for them. And just thank you for having me on. It's been pleasure.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Well, thank you, Travis. This has been great. I know our listeners are going to get a ton out of this conversation, so I appreciate you sharing your time and your expertise. And thank you all of you out there listening. Again, this is Russ with Women's Retirement Radio, and we look forward to catching up with you on our next episode.