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World Of Financial Planning With Jay Zigmont

Level Up with Nick Lopez | Jay Zigmont | Financial Planning


Delve into the world of financial planning with Jay Zigmont, PhD, CFP®,  on The Level Up Show with Nick Lopez. Jay shares his journey of early wealth inheritance, offering insights into navigating financial pitfalls and achieving mastery in management. As a child-free individual, Jay offers a unique perspective on how this choice influences financial strategies, advocating for a focus on personal fulfillment over traditional investments.


Throughout the conversation, Jay uncovers the distinct financial behaviors of child-free individuals, encouraging businesses to adapt to their needs. The discussion also addresses societal stigmas faced by the child-free, promoting acceptance and understanding.


Jay gives a sneak peek into his upcoming book, The Child-Free Guide to Life and Money, aiming to fill a void in financial literature. The episode wraps up with Jay emphasizing the importance of personal growth in financial planning, providing valuable insights for listeners to broaden their understanding of diverse client perspectives.

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World Of Financial Planning With Jay Zigmont

Navigating Wealth, Lifestyle Choices, And Future Perspectives

We have the absolute pleasure of learning from thought leaders in business, franchising and high-performance personal development. Our guest is certainly a high performer and goes without exception. Dr. Jay Zigmont founded Childfree Wealth. Dr. Jay is a certified financial planner, a childfree wealth specialist and is the author of the book, Portraits Of Childfree Wealth and the upcoming book, The Childfree Guide To Life And Money. Dr. Jay is the co-host of the Childfree Wealth Podcast. His PhD is in adult learning from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Jay has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Business Insider, CNBC, and many other publications. In 2023, he was named a Rising Star by Financial Planning. He is most certainly a high performer. Dr. Jay, a certified financial planner, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me.

Talk about the track record there of high performance. There’s no way I could say that without having to read it. I am a man of many rabbit trails. For me to get through that distinguished list, I am genuinely appreciative of your commitment to excellence. I mean that in the University of Connecticut there, PhD and a man of finances. Could you tell me a little bit more about how you founded this amazing company and would you share a little bit about this incredible company?

My wife and I are childfree. I was studying to become a certified financial planner because I was doing a bunch of coaching and helping other folks.

Can I clarify something? What do you mean by you and your wife are childfree?


Level Up with Nick Lopez | Jay Zigmont | Financial Planning



The definition of childfree means don’t have kids and aren’t planning on having kids ever. We’re not saying like, “No kids this weekend or they left the house.” It’s a different light. One of the things when I was researching this, I had no clue like, “Are we the only ones? Are there other people out there? How weird are we?” We’re a little weird because we’re both PhDs. We sit around and talk about research studies at night, but the question was, because we’re child freight, and I started researching this and found there’s a Reddit group, there’s like 1.5 million childfree folks in there. I was like, “That’s a good size market.” The surprising thing was when I started diving into it, there’s a study on Michigan that found that 25% of the US is childfree or permanently childless.

We’re talking a huge percentage of the country. As far as I know, I’m the only financial planning firm dedicated to serving that. If you can find a niche where you are the only person serving 25% of the country, it’s an opportunity. It’s that chance to do it. The hard part is when nobody else is doing it, you have to create a whole new structure and business that doesn’t exist. “How do we serve this particular market and all the things that are different with them?” That’s a huge challenge.

The Company

Tell me about your company.

Childfree Wealth is a life and financial planning firm. We do the investment advice and all that, but we are there to help people figure out what life do they want to live and then how to get their finances to fit it. For childfree folks, the way we say it, they have time, money, and freedom to do what they enjoy. That doesn’t mean they’re automatically rich. It’s not like the magic money comes from the sky. That’s not the case, but it’s a different way of living. What we found is childfree folks are out there going, “I want help, but there’s nobody out there serving people like me.” That’s what we do.

You serve 25% of the country, this childfree segment in the market. How do you deliver value? What do you do?

We meet with our clients on a monthly basis. We help them through their entire financial plan. We have a program we call the No Baby Steps. We walk them through everything from getting out of debt to their investing to their insurance. We work on 1 or 2 things on their finances every month. We also do the investment management, the investment advice and all that fun stuff. That’s easy stuff, but it’s figuring out, “What do you want to do with your life?”

You talk a lot about folks that are starting their own business, starting a franchise or something like that. About a third of our clients are like, I want to quit what I’ve been doing and start something of my own. If somebody who wants to start a cupcake shop, how do we do that? How do we create that life you want? How do we help both from a financial and life standpoint to make that happen?

That is incredible. When somebody is looking to make a change in their life, that is a gift because that’s an inflection in your life.

We have a point we call the ChildFreeMmidlife Crisis. That’s when you hit your personal and professional financial goals. Now you’re like, “Now what”? You talk about leveling up like, “What’s that next step of your life?” When you have kids, often what happens, your goals shift to your kids. If you don’t have kids, it’s like, “What do I want the next 40 years of my life to look like?” I’ll often ask my clients, “What do you want to be when you grow up? I don’t care what age you are, but what does that look like to you? What do you want that to be? Let’s create that life.”

We have a point we call the child-free midlife crisis. That’s when you hit your personal, professional, and financial goals, and start to talk about leveling up.

Tell me more. Personally, I have four children so I can’t relate. I am fully vested and there is no point of return. There’s no reverse. There’s no backward for me. I frankly am not your demographic. I’m 75% of the country. Pardon me, I’m going to ask a lot of silly questions, but genuinely, I’m very interested and frankly, a decent amount of me is jealous.

We get these judgments. People are like, “Your life is easier because you’re childfree.” It’s not that it’s easier or harder, it’s just different.

You’re much wealthier. You’re keeping so much more of your money. What do you do with it?

People assume we’re rich. In my first book, I had somebody I interviewed whose big success was she had moved from an air mattress to a bed. There are still people who are struggling and are childfree. If they’re barely keeping their head above water now, if they had kids, they’ve drowned. The difference is we have a lot more choices. My wife got offered a job. We said, “Let’s pack up the dogs and the cat and move. We moved 1200 miles away.” It’s not a big deal versus you moving 1200 miles away might not happen. It’s not necessarily that it’s better or worse, it’s just different.

There’s so much freedom and independence in that. You can put your money in a lot of places. If I were in a positio, if I was 25% of the market, where do we get started? What questions do you start to ask to direct where I’m putting my wealth?

We talk about it as, “How do we make your finances simple your life can be amazing?” Let me give you an example of this. Owning rentals is a way to make money off an investment, but nobody who’s owned a rental has ever thought it was simple. There are always challenges that come with it. It doesn’t make your finances more simple. The other question I ask though is, “Does it make your life more amazing?” Interestingly enough, nobody tells me owning rentals makes your life more amazing. it’s a question of are your values are connected and going in the same direction. For example, most childfree folks don’t have a priority for how much money to pass on to the next generation. You do with the number of kids you have.

We’re instead of saying, “How do we give that away?” Our nephews get what’s left over. If they get $10,000 or $100,000, that’s fine. If they get $1 million, I probably made a mistake. I should have given that away to them earlier. I should have invested in them, in time and in my life. It changes the way you look at things. What happens is when we start pulling this apart with clients, we start realizing being childfree changes about everything your finances. Life insurance doesn’t matter anymore. Life insurance is there for your kids who need the income afterward. Things like disability insurance are big, long-term care. There’s a slightly different spin on things, but it changes your focus.

Where do you find that most folks put that extra cash?

If you want to see a group that understands childfree folks, go look at the philanthropic folks from nonprofits. They’ve been targeting childfree people for a long time. If you look at the giving rate, child free folks give a higher percentage. They will spend it on travel and enjoying their life and other things. It’s not necessarily a goal of always bringing your net worth up. What ends up happening for childfree folks is they can cut back on work earlier rather than worrying about retiring they call fire financial dependent, retire early. Instead, childfree folks follow what we call file financial dependent live early. It’s more of like a dimmer switch of work, of doing the right amount of work at the right time, at the right level across your life. You’re not necessarily worried about earning more money, but more about, “What do I do with it?” We’ve tracked with our clients, we spend more time talking to our clients about spending money than saving money, which is completely backward of most financial planning firms.

They’ve been targeting child-free people for a long time. If you look at the giving rate, child-free folks give a higher percentage. They will spend it on travel, enjoying their life, and other things that are not necessarily a goal, and it always brings your net worth up.

That’s profound. Where are you advising them to place it?

As far as where to put the money, we file simple, passive, long-term investing. We invest in the whole US stock market, the world stock market set, and forget it. We’re not doing anything fancy. We’re intentionally trying to keep their money simple and boring. Our goal is for our clients to look at their money twice a year and go, “It’s still there,” and that’s all they think about.

What’s the website where folks can go and learn more?

Would you consider this a financial planning organization?

We are a life and financial planning company.

You’re going to have all of the services that you offer on your website. I highly recommend that you go and check it out. You made $1 million very young by the time you were 21 years old. You spent it all by the time you were 25. Tell me more.

I grew up that my parents didn’t have much money. My father was bus driver and my mother was disabled most of her life and couldn’t afford to go to college. In the late ‘90s, I ended up working for, in that time it was called dotcom companies and got lucky. I was in New York City, hit an IPO, and made my first million by 21. The only thing I learned in high school was financially was how to manage a checkbook, which is a waste of time.

If you give a 21-year-old $1 million, you can guess what happens to it. I spent it on a lot of good things, helping family, friends, and things like that. By the time I was 25, I spent most of it, I was like, “Maybe I should learn something about this money stuff,” because if you don’t, as soon as you get it, it disappears. We do a terrible job in the US of increasing financial literacy. My thing was, “I need to learn about it.” Once I learned about it, I said, “Maybe I can help others learn.” I have clients often ask, “I screwed up. I did this wrong.” I’m like, “Can you beat me?” They’re like, “No. We all make mistakes.” We learn from them. That’s the difference.

Deciding To Be Child-Free

That is life. You say you got lucky, but congratulations on the early success. I’m curious for you, why would you make the decision to be childfree?

My wife has a 50/50 chance of dying when she gets pregnant. I found that out while we were dating. That made our choice pretty simple for us. We’ll make your decision. You look at the reasons why people choose to be childfree and most have a variety of they didn’t want kids financial or medical or other issues. What we’re finding is with the younger generations, people are pausing and going, “Do I want the standard life script that says I got to have the two and a half kids, the house, and the picket fence or do I want something different?” For us, it was less of a choice, but for others, it’s a conscious decision.

Do you think there are stigmas between the 25% and the 75%?

I have more people praying for my soul than I know what to do with, the judgments are pretty considerable. Somebody asked me the worst thing about being childfree and the answer is the judgment by other people. I’m deep in the South, and you see it. We did a billboard in Times Square celebrating Child Free Day, which is August 1st, and we explained what childfree life is like. On there, somebody had applied on social media that we are a global psyop to depopulate the world. I’m like, “What? We’re not saying anyone shouldn’t have kids or should. We’re just enjoying our life.” All of the judgment and the stigma is there. People immediately when you don’t have kids, like, “Why?” “Why do you have kids? You choose to do your life. I choose to do mine. I don’t get a vote in yours. You don’t get a vote in mine.”

I’m sorry that that exists. Frankly, from my perspective, there’s a decent amount of me that’s jealous.

It’s interesting. I think it’s different for men than women. A lot of women get judged harder than men. A lot of men, when I talk to them and I say, “I’m childfree,” they’re like, “Good for you. You got lucky.” The most honest I ever heard somebody was a parent, they said, “I love my kids. I hate being a parent.” I was like, “That’s a deep discussion.” We do have different options. My wife and I are like, “This weekend, let’s go away for somewhere,” and we can do that. We got our dog. We make sure he’s taken care of. We’re good. it is a different life and some people do get jealous and other things and it’s not better or worse, it’s just different.

I say jealous in a joking way because to your point, being a parent is not easy. Being a young early parent, my first child, as they get older, you start realizing that, “They do everything I do.” You start getting humbled very quickly because you have to make quick changes to be a good example, and that takes work. You’re responsible for raising and developing this person to go off and contribute in the world and to do good things. That is a lot of accountability and it requires a lot of selflessness.

I learned this from my mother-in-law, who always says, “The days are long and the years are short.” I’m sure that can span and be relevant for a lot of different situations, but specifically, parenting, the days are long. You not only have to take care of yourself, you have to take care of these other humans, these children, these small beings, and then they grow into adults and the relationship evolves. First of all, thank you for shedding some light on this topic. I frankly had no idea that there was this niche and that there was this 25% and 75% of the country. From your perspective, it’s a market, but it is certainly an interesting topic and nobody else is doing this. You are pioneering this industry, what exciting work. It’s important work and folks’ finances are outside of a couple of things. Finances are at the top of the list for about everybody. This is an important work that you’re doing. Thank you.

The Child-Free Population

I appreciate it. I’m going to challenge folks reading, no matter what your business is, think about your childfree population because let’s look at yours. If you’re going to go into the painting, the remodel, the structure, let’s be real, the childfree folks may have different funds available to structure that. You may be able to reach out to them and have different communication and ideas. We’ve been having these discussions with people about marketing to childfree folks. I’m like, “Don’t market redoing the nursery. Market, ‘Here’s your new library.’” I don’t know, but how do you address these folks in your business, structure and marketing to make sure you’re taking advantage of it?

On social media, there’s a lot of work right now on dinks, dual income, no kids. That’s because dinks have money, and they can do stuff with it. In your business, can you go out and market to dinks and say, “We want to serve people like you. We have products that serve people like you. We understand your life is different. It’s not better or worse. It is different.

A child-free life is not better or worse. It’s just different

I would assume that one of those avatars in your world that you’re marketing to and delivering value to is, folks that want to travel a lot and leading with something like, “I want to travel more,” something to that extent. Here is a path, an expert can help you create that in your life as an outcome with all this extra cash from having no children.

It is weird because we have a conversation. I had somebody who doesn’t own a home, lives in a different Airbnb each month and travels the US. She wants to eventually travel the world. I’m like, “That’s a different life, but cool, let’s do it.”

The same thing with entertainment. It’s like what activities, hobbies, travel would imagine that this 25% is putting most of the money in those categories. They’re investing in themselves, their experience and life, which means they have more discretionary income in most cases and time to put in those areas clearly. I love that one of the highest categories toward nonprofit organizations is this sector. That’s neat, but what a wonderful conversation. You have a book coming out later on. Would you mind sharing a little bit more about when it’s coming out and about the book?

It’s the Childfree Guide To Life And Money. It comes out at the end of 2024. It’s a fun marketing standpoint. Some major publishers did the research like, “Why are even no financial books for childfree folks?” I’m like, “Good question. I’m happy to be the first one.” It’s like, if you’re going to have the bookshelf, you might is how well have the book. I had somebody work out right now doing the blurbs and he called it the Childfree Bible For Finance. I was like, “That’s cool.” It’s nice to be creating something that doesn’t exist.

Leveling Up

You’re a visionary in your space and creating tremendous value. You’re a thought leader and authority in this important work that you’re doing. Speaking of leveling up, how do you and your teams go about leveling up?

The way I say it is, we are primarily a learning organization that does financial planning. Everything is about learning. After every client meeting, we have a debriefing process. What worked, what didn’t, what we do differently. We are every single time looking at how do we get better. To the new staff that join us, it’s a shock because people are like, “I’d like to make sure I get feedback.” I’m like, “You’re going to get feedback.

You’re going to get constant feedback, constant growth, constant learning.” The result is our folks are learning more than they ever have in their life, but our clients are constantly learning. They’re learning more about themselves, process and structure the result is that we have super loyal clients. We’ve tracked about a third of our introductory meetings with clients end up in tears and we’re trying to figure out why. We asked them, they said the reason was that it was the first time they felt heard and seen. That is powerful that you know them, know their life constantly trying to improve them in their life. I can’t ask for a better way to live your life than constantly helping other people to grow.

A man that understands the more lives you can impact, the more value you can bring, the more impact and you are certainly impacting a lot of folks’ lives. Finances are up there. It’s up there with franchising. It’s up there with marriage, buying a home, and buying a business. These things are, “There you go. You start running out. At least, I am.” Finances even trump most of those. It’s a super important work a lot of value that you’re bringing. You’re understanding that particular sector and that sector is massive, 25% of the market. Thanks for being on the show. What is the name of your website? and the Child Free Wealth podcast everywhere you get podcasts.

Dr. Jay is a thought leader. he’s built an incredible team that is focused on learning. This is clearly a very smart man. I am very humbled by this conversation and I’m sure we will continue our friendship going forward. If you read this show and you liked it, please hit the subscribe button. The more we grow, the more we can bring folks like Dr. Jay onto the show. Hit the like, contribute to the conversation, drop a comment, and we would love to hear from you. Dr. Jay, thanks for helping us level up and join us on the show.

Thanks for having me.


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About Jay Zigmont

Level Up with Nick Lopez | Jay Zigmont | Financial Planning

Like many others, I grew up in a home where we were always struggling to make ends meet. My parents worked hard but yet it seemed to always be feast or famine in the house. It wasn’t because we did anything wrong, it was just the only thing we knew to do. If we wanted more, we had to work more. We worked hard for our money, and it was gone just as fast at it came in.

Decades later, I learned how debt can ruin your life, and that there was a way to make your money work for you. Now my wife and I live debt-free, have investments, and live a life of financial freedom that is a luxury to most.

Now I’m on a mission to help others.

I’ve spent my life learning about how to help people learn better. I have a Ph.D. in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut. That is just a fancy way of saying that I have worked hard to become an expert in both learning and how to help others learn. I have used those skills to coach both individuals and businesses over the past decade. Depending on what is needed, I’m a life coach, executive coach, financial coach, and/or whatever the learner needs.

I am also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. Becoming a CFP® professional is a rigorous process that includes four Es: Education (minimum of a Bachelors Degree), Experience (minimum of 6000 hours), Examination, and Ethics. The result is that I have broad training in the areas of Comprehensive Financial Planning: Financial Planning, Insurance Planning & Risk Management, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits, and Estate Planning.

Being a CFP® professional also means I am held to a Fiduciary Standard. The Fiduciary Standard means I MUST put your financial interests ahead of my own. To this end, I am also an Advice-Only, Fee-Only CFP® Professional. Fee-Only means the only way I get paid is from you. I don’t get commissions from anyone or any incentives to sell your products. That means if I make a recommendation it is because I believe it is best for you, not for me. Advice-Only means you pay me for my time and advice, I help you learn, and you manage your own finances (including investing).