Advised Podcast Ep 012: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck | with Ohan the Money Doctor

Ohan "The Money Doctor" is a certified financial planner who helps beginner investors navigate their financial challenges. In this episode, he passionately dispels financial myths and underscores the importance of accessible financial education. Listen in as he offers practical tips to those earning six-figure salaries but living paycheck to paycheck, encouraging them to transform their mindset and break free from financial stagnation.

He also shines a light on how to maximize your dollar, tips on card payment methods, the power of changing perceptions about needs and wants, and the critical role of setting clear financial goals. Be inspired to embark on your journey to financial independence by investing in yourself, leveraging opportunities, thinking creatively, and proactively seeking answers to your financial questions.

Learn more about Ohan at

Ohan Kayikchyan (00:00):

Just keep in mind that you only have certain room to cut expenses, but you have Unlimitless opportunity to increase your income better. You invest that money in yourself,

Rick Luchini (00:13):

You're going to work harder, you're going to enjoy your life and you're going to make more money. Your human capital is going to give you a bigger return than the stock market

Intro (00:25):

You are listening to advise with Rick Luchini.

Rick Luchini (00:28):

Alright, we're back with the Advised podcast and I've got a guest I'm really excited to have Ohan the Money Doctor, I'm not even going to try to tackle your last name. So why don't you just introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what it is that you do.

Ohan Kayikchyan (00:46):

Rick, thank you very much for this opportunity to be in your podcast. Thank you for the invite. My name is Ohan Kayikchyan and the reason my last name Kayikchyan sounds hard and in many cases people having hard time to pronounce. I go on social media on the money doctor and the doctor part. I choose because of the PhD that I have and I don't want to brag about it and talk about my designations and my degrees, but friend of mine suggested me to use on the Money Doctor so it can be differentiating factor so to say. But I'm a certified financial planner with over two decades of financial industry experience. I start as a loan officer back home. Then I became a mortgage underwriter. It was right the time when the 2008 2009 financial crisis happened. I was helping German banks to underwrite loan packages for Armenian banks where I'm originally from and after that I got, I applied for green card lottery.

If your listeners are aware of there is a green card lottery called diversity visa lottery, which is organized by Department of State every year. So I applied for it. My main goal was to come to United States first and foremost to learn English. Then of course knowing and hearing that America is land of opportunity, I like why not go to see what is it about. So I came to United States in 2009 and at the beginning I had a hard time to find the job because English was the biggest obstacle for me when I was applying for teller position. I get the answer with decline, with answer that, oh, you are more qualified. You have PhD equivalence and I'll explain why I mentioned equivalence and you have all these experiences. When I was applying for banker, they like, your English is not enough. So I was kind of in the corner.

It was hard for me to find a job. Finally, I found a teller job cash your job with a major banking United States. I went to UCLA set for the personal financial planner course, which is a requirement for CFP exam and when they asked me to present at least the bachelor degree for me to be in order to sit for the exam, I like mine as well. I'll evaluate all my diplomas. I got equivalency in bachelor's in engineering, masters in engineering, and I had a degree called candidate of science which got translated to PhD in economics in United States. So this is a little bit about my background. What I do, I help mainly beginner investors. The ones, the ideal one will be someone who is making six figure salary but still living paycheck to paycheck. I want to show them that they are ideal candidate to become an investor and by the way, anyone can become an investor. You don't need to have hundred hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars because it's a myth and in our profession, Rick, there are so many myths about, so I want to simplify finance as much as I can because at the beginning it was hard for me to understand even having a little bit financial background.

Rick Luchini (04:12):

We're going to get into how you work with clients and some of the stuff that the people listening can get value from. But I want to touch on first what that experience was like coming to this country financially and how that kind of impacts how you work with people. Now

Ohan Kayikchyan (04:33):

That's a great question, Rick, thank you for asking it. When I first arrived to United States first there is something called cultural shock. With all the pros and cons, United States is still one of the greatest countries on earth. At least that is what I believe about because it gives you opportunities and it can be something simple as having an internet to our insurance system. Not every country has insurance system that United States has, and I know we can talk about lots of pros and cons about it, but we have car insurance, we have health insurance. Again, with all the pros,

Rick Luchini (05:12):

We have a lot of things that we complain about and for good reason because a lot of them could be optimized, but we sometimes forget in this country how good we have it compared to other places in the world.

Ohan Kayikchyan (05:26):

Even something simple seems simple but very important like water right now I'm drinking. Imagine how many countries and how many people on planet earth, they don't have access to clean water. So there are so many blessings and grateful things just being here, just having the shelter, having an opportunity right now for us to being in different states to connect and make this program happen. When I first arrived to United States, the biggest obstacle, again I mentioned that was my English and I was thinking of that, oh, I need to learn how to speak English because the only English I knew a little bit was British English. After some time I realized in United States, Americans talk with the English that is specific to United States. So I like, let me just speak the English that is specific to me. So I started speaking English, but of course it was not easy, especially at the beginning.

I work even for UPS just to mention their name where having all my experience and everything, because you need to work in United States. It is not like in some countries you can have inherited home or you can have a place at least shelter to live in versus in United States you pay your rent or you pay your mortgage. It is something that ongoing payment plus your insurance. Then I live in all the time I live in Los Angeles, so as you are familiar now listeners are familiar with Los Angeles. It's high prices all around. In the meantime you cannot go around with public transportation. It is just not effective. So you need to have a car, you need to have a car insurance and all these expenses. So it was really hard. There were some times when I had only literally $5 available on my credit card availability and I used this $5 as well.

Many times I even spent over the limit that it was given, but I couldn't understand how create cards work, what means credit score, how to build a credit score. Thank God my cousin used to be a banker. He introduced me to secured credit cards, secured loans. So I had all these different products through banks. It helped me to build credit. Within short period of time within four to five miles, the score was high over 700, 720, 740. But then I went to dealership and I got my first car. After two weeks they contacted me that, oh, you need to bring the car back. I'm like, what do you mean? I'm already driving it for 10 days. They're like, oh, your score is great, but in the meantime the history is short within four months. So instead of leasing, we can sell you the car. But I was unable that moment to afford the payment of the car just to buy it. Make long story short, I took the car back. Now looking back and there were so many people around me that I'm like, no, don't even take. They cannot do anything. Just drive the car, make your payments, and they're like, no, I want to do it in the right way, which I always did. Especially in our profession, you are trying your best to be this industry specific jargon, yes, prudent man or fiduciary

Rick Luchini (08:50):

Because that is different and more difficult than this. But some of the things you're describing sounds a lot like a kid fresh out of college or fresh out of high school that's going out on their own for the first time. Doesn't know any of the stuff because it's not taught in school, has to make their own way, starts earning money and all the things that they need costs more than what their first paycheck is and that's where we start getting into debt. Well, I'll just borrow for this short term, pay it back, I'll borrow, I'll borrow, I'll borrow. But the things that you said besides the English literally sounds like a kid out of high school or college for the first time going out on their own.

Ohan Kayikchyan (09:39):

You will in my opinion agree with me that it seems from someone who is outside of finance, they don't have any financial background, that finance is very complicated and in terms it seems that industry made these, again, like jargon, the way that they told for people not to understand it reminds me of when I saw that native speakers, English native speakers, they open dictionary and try to at that time dictionary. Now you can do on Google, but they want to understand the explanation of the certain words, what it means because in English there are words which have more than one or two or 10 meaning. And then I realized like, okay, if native speakers having this, it means foreigner. They will have it's normal and the same way it's finance. Finance I consider as a foreign language itself, I need to learn English on top of it.

The foreign language, which is finance and no one explains you that in plain English they will give you some disclosures. You go and read which no one have time for that. They are more of sleeping pills. You start reading after a second page, you fall asleep because it's just not interesting. So I want to make finance interesting. I want to simplify the way that regular person without any background will be able to understand what is an era, what is the difference between a rough and traditional era, why it's important to have emergency fund, all these simple things that exactly as you mentioned, we should be teach that in school. But unfortunately right now, not every school is open to financial literacy.

Rick Luchini (11:17):

Let's get into that a little bit. Whether I'm making high income or not, it's very common in this country to be living paycheck to paycheck to have high credit card debt, all the things. What's some of the key takeaways or some of the first things that you do and try to teach and coach a person like that?

Ohan Kayikchyan (11:39):

Another great question. You are a good interviewer. One thing though, I want to talk about first and foremost about mindset. I do my best to break, burn or however you want to call the money moves that going around that, oh no, I don't have enough money to invest or it's hard to earn money. Investing is only for rich people, wealthy people. But the ideal client in my mind when I was just starting this coaching venture, money coaching venture was someone who is making six figures salary and living paycheck to paycheck. So I can meet with them and show them that it's possible for them to save and invest. But when I met the clients, I realized it's not the way that I was. It was not right. The problem that I was understanding. So I came across to clients that I started working with who have high interest debts and it seems that they can invest but it'll take for them some time to pay all debt in comparison to their income and they don't have any emergency funding in place.

So if god forbid, these emergencies come up and as you know they can come any moment, that's why they call emergencies. They'll again run to their credit card or they'll borrow money. I came to the conclusion that I help pretty much it is not right with marketing aspect to mention that I can help anyone because you need to still have a specific niche from you are helping. But I came across to people from all different backgrounds and that's not including this last two years during my working years at the bank as well. Literally you can have a homeless guy with all the respect walking to the branch, you need to deal with them, which lots of psychology and human relationships and then you'll have some famous athlete or singer to come in who is multimillionaire or even a billionaire. So it's all about human connections to listen to other people, humble yourself, be yourself and listen to other person.

So the cleanse right now that I'm dealing with are in more of in depth type of situation, but I'm doing my best through my processes to take them out from this trap of living paycheck to paycheck or in many cases again borrowing and to switch their mindset from consumer to investor. Because if you are using, let's say products from Apple as an example, you are using their iPhone, you have your headphones, you have their MacBook. Why are you only consuming from Apple? Why you don't become part owner of Apple as well and I'm not big fan of picking and choosing stocks as you know, many call it losers game. Instead of picking and choosing, maybe you can own the entire stock market or you can own top 500 companies of publicly traded companies. So what do you tell

Rick Luchini (14:52):

Somebody, and I appreciate that everybody's different, but in general that is a problem for a lot of people where almost they give up or throw their hands up, this is a losing battle. How am I supposed to pay down my debt fat? Like yeah, that sounds great Ohan, but how am I supposed to pay down my debt faster when at the end of the month I'm lucky if I have a couple bucks before payday, how am I supposed to get that journey started to even if I said I made mistakes before, I want to get out of debt, I want to do things the right way, how do I even do it because I'm barely making ends meet.

Ohan Kayikchyan (15:32):

There are two parts to that question. Another great question, Rick. There are two parts to this question. First, in order for you to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, you need to change your mindset. There is something called pay yourself first and pay yourself first means that instead of paying all your bills and doing all your wants, so to call your needs and wants whatever left in the end of the month, you direct it towards your seven and investing, which in many cases there is nothing left the end of the month. But instead when you switch and you come from the approach that okay, I decided that I can only invest 1% of my income, okay, very little or in many cases, 5% or even 10% or even someone can do more when you put this money first to work for yourself, for the money, work for yourself instead of you working for money somehow, I know it is unbelievable, but magic happens and you are still able to accommodate all your other needs including rent, your transportation and your food.

Second part of the question, which many clients and majority of population in my opinion don't like, there is something called budget and when people don't like the word budget and they stay away, I'm like, okay, let's come with an agreement. How about we call it cashflow statement or maybe we can call it spending plan, but the basis, the principle is the same. We need to find out how much money comes into your household. Either you are single or married or you are living with your partner, you have kids or you are sandwich family, living with your parents and your kids. We need to find out how much money comes in, how much money goes out. So at that point we can figure out if you have a surplus, you have a deficit or you are just on zero, which in many cases unfortunately people have deficit. And again, this country being one of the greatest countries on earth, unfortunately the country's budget is on deficit as well. So it's like

Rick Luchini (17:51):

It's learned behavior. Well, I heard a couple things I want to dig into there. One is pay yourself first. That's something that I'm always pounding the table about and there's different ways to do it, but the concept really is forced savings where the first dollar that you earn goes to whatever you set it for, whether it's your investment, whether it's double paying your credit card or a combination of both. You pay yourself and your family number one. Then the bills that you need to survive mortgage and the electric bill and all the other things, then what's left, which is the exact opposite of what people do by the way. Then what's left you get to do for your wants. And when you do it that way, you might think that you're not going to have enough. I don't have enough now to save, so how would I, well, I can tell you how because humans have a way to adjust and when you pay yourself first and the thing that's left is your once, you just do less once and that's just the way it is.

And if you're doing it for a greater purpose and you can actually see the results in the finish line by having somebody model it out and look at it, it's easier to do it. It might be a sacrifice at the beginning, but the payoff is there and that could be as simple as, like I said, double paying a debt for a little while or starting your first investment or whatever it is. But if that comes first, you realize that you might go out to eat a little bit less at the end of the month because you're starting to run out of money. But if you do it, that's exactly

Ohan Kayikchyan (19:39):

Right. If

Rick Luchini (19:40):

You do it backwards, you end up not paying a credit card or you pay the minimum and you just live in this same cycle.

Ohan Kayikchyan (19:47):

Rick, very small comment on great by the way gems that you are wrapping here as well. One small comment for me it was hard even to understand the difference between want and need. I would say maybe need and want someone who came to United States and you need this or you want this. It sounds kind of similar, yeah, I want it, I need it. But when you take your time to understand there are two different things and in many cases we have as humans, we have misconception as well. Certain things in reality can be wants that we consider them needs and some things that we consider and vice versa. Needs can be wants and wants can be needs. You need to differentiate all this stuff because wants are usually, as you know and you mentioned they are the easiest part to cut versus the needs. You need to have a shelter, you need to have a transportation or you need to have food. So I totally agree with

Rick Luchini (20:47):

No point. And then really look at yourself or have an accountability partner like you or your spouse or your partner and say, how bad do we want or how bad do we need to stop living like this, get out of debt, start saving, have money to go back and do the things that we want to do, but now we know we can afford it. How strong is that urge? And when it's strong enough, you learn how to flip flop that cashflow and pay yourself first.

Ohan Kayikchyan (21:19):

Maybe it'll sound a little bit philosophical, but in order for me to remind in times my why I'm doing my business, why I'm doing many things in my life, life is short as we always say. Time goes so fast. I came to United States 2009 it seems like yesterday, so already almost 15 years. 15 years is gone my age. Many people not only cannot make until this age, but it's considered usually half of the lifespan for people. When you start thinking about these ideas, you come to the point when you don't want disappoint yourself at the end of your life. So you don't want your dreams to tell you why you didn't follow up with this, why you want to do this thing but you didn't because you were scared why you were comfortable instead of, as everyone knows the action and the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.

And the same way it comes with when it comes to money. I know you want these second pair of shoes, but maybe right now for time being you don't need the shoes. Thank God you have shoes, they're totally fine. You don't need that second color or you don't need that car upgrade because these people who are earning over six figures, interestingly enough, the majority of them are either doctors or attorneys who are smart people, smart in their profession, but it comes to money. They're upgrading their lifestyle with their income increase. That's another thing I want to bring up and make it possible for them to see from different perspective, from different viewpoint.

Rick Luchini (23:09):

Yeah, yeah, no, I totally agree. And there's a lot of psychology that goes into all that and a lot of it is perception of yourself and how other people perceive you. Should I go buy the new car that I think makes me look cool when I'm carrying $30,000 of credit card debt at 30% interest? Probably not, but for some reason it's still being done. And so there's a whole psychology around that and I, that's a big part of mastering what you're talking about, which is taking care of yourself first and not worrying so much about how other people view you. Because the feeling of being debt free or even just being on that journey but notice that you're making a dent in it is a lot better than the feeling of buying a new car or whatever the thing is and it's attainable, but you have to start, you have to actually start taking steps

Ohan Kayikchyan (24:21):

And I don't want any of my clients and our listeners to have this wrong perception that they need necessarily go and do the background that Rick or Han had work for financial institutions or study certain. It's simple, they don't need because we already know and we want to show the shorter way to get from point A that you're into point B that you want to go. We want to literally to hold your hand and to show, because many of clients I see, yes, they heard that, okay, with minimum payment I will not be able to pay my credit card for another five or six years. Let send a little bit extra payment. Great job, you are doing a great job, but guess what? There is a certain order that you can utilize which car to send first so you'll save in the long run on interest. And these are the small techniques that we bring it to table when we talk to a client versus they're coupled but they didn't communicate to each other what debt each other has and they are wrongfully sending money, which is again still good thing they are sending additional payment but they are not necessarily sending in the right order in order for them to possibly save the maximum on this unnecessarily interest payment. Just one example,

Rick Luchini (25:43):

It's just like anything else. There's strategies that can be put in place to maximize the dollar that you already trying to allocate or save. So I'm doing the right thing, I'm starting to put money away, but if I don't have a strategy to maximize it, it's going to take longer or cost me more. And the same reverse can be said for investing, I'm investing a dollar, I'm doing the thing that I'm supposed to be doing, but if I don't have the proper strategy on how it should be allocated or what type of account it should be titled in, that dollar might not be working nearly as hard as it could be by just pulling a couple different levers and making some minor changes.

Ohan Kayikchyan (26:28):

In my opinion, the guide that I created, it gives you the most important steps before becoming an investor. So I talk about goals, I talk about income and expenses, I talk about pain of debt options and also as I mentioned, I give them the budgeting or you can again call it cashflow statement, Google sheet and also the network calculator. And then I explain them what is the difference between saving and investing because there are two different things. We sometimes use it interchangeably, but saving and investing are different as you know. And many of our listeners know. I'm of course willing and that's my pleasure to give it out. It's on my webpage, Han Money Doctor again, Han is oha, but han money doctor com

Rick Luchini (27:27):

And then we'll attach that. We'll pass that in the show notes and in the thing too or in the YouTube description as well. Now, what do you think would be the biggest key takeaway for somebody that wants to get started? They want to get serious. Whether it's because they had to get by for all the reasons that life is tough on us or whether it's because they say, Hey, listen, I didn't know any better. I got into debt or I did this and now I want to get serious. I want to get it turned around. What would you tell 'em? What's the biggest takeaway somebody listening to this should leave with

Ohan Kayikchyan (28:10):

You? Touch the point already that I will answer through it. People think that money and money matters are mainly about finance and mathematics, about digits, about numbers, but it's only apparently like there is this, well-known rule of thumb that it's only 20% of finance, which is about numbers. Another 80% are about psychology, about behavior, and this in times can sound very hard type of in regards absorbing or digesting type of matters when it comes to psychology of money. But I would like for them to start first with their mindset of switching instead of being hopeless, to be hopeful and just to believe in themself. If someone else can do, they can do it. Also, there have been many situations. I know one can have less or more depth than the other one, but it comes all about mindset and taking a responsibility. The time to leave is right now and we cannot just leave thinking about our past mistakes or being concerned about our future.

That time is right now. And if you want to take ownership of your finances first you start with your goals. Because if you don't know where you want to go it, it's really hard to go. Imagine you come out of the house, you don't know where to go, you don't put any destination to your navigation or the airplane or the ship, any type of transportation. Just imagine if they didn't have a destination, they will end up somewhere they didn't want to go. Or in case of the ship maybe they'll drone or airplane will fall or some danger will happen. So you need to first know what is your destination and then the next step is to know their financial picture. As I touch bases already a little bit just to know how much money comes in, how much money goes out. One thing though, for our listeners, when it comes to mindset, just keep in mind that you only have certain room, certain window to cut expenses, but you have unlimitless opportunity to increase your income.

Then better you invest that money in yourself. Maybe you invest in some type of a program, not necessarily about money. It can be more of a mindset or it can be about life coaching, something that will add value. The opportunities are out there. I mentioned there are so many opportunities, especially nowadays with internet, with digital world. So I will encourage and invite our listeners to think outside of the box, think outside of their mind. Don't get lost in your thought. Just to ask and always ask. Ask. You never know what your neighbor, your club member, your coworker are going through or what's happening. Just if you see they're doing something that you admire and you want to do it one day, just ask them. I'm sure people will share with you.

Rick Luchini (31:28):

No, I'm glad you said that. I'm glad you said that because it's something that I bring up a lot, which is investing in yourself. We talked about paying yourself first but also investing in yourself and when you are, there's a lot of examples, but especially for people that aren't happy doing what they're doing, invest that money invested in yourself, whether it's like you said, a course to change industries, a course to get a degree that will give you a raise at the job you have all these different, whether it's quitting your job that you're miserable at and starting the food truck or whatever your thing, whatever your passion is, passion, I promise you, you will 10 x that return way beyond anything that you're going to get in the stock market because you're going to work harder, you're going to enjoy your life and you're going to make more money.

You're human capital is going to give you a bigger return than the stock market. There's eventually a curve where you've got to start actually investing in the market, but if you're not happy doing what you're doing, put that money to work for yourself to better your income because like you said, there's no limit to your income. There is a limit to how much you can cut back on your spending, but there is no limit to how much you're allowed to make. But I think, like you said, that takes some guts. Sometimes that takes some courage and maybe even a little bit of risk depending on what your situation is. Complaining about it and not doing anything isn't going to improve your situation. Get off your ass and do the thing.

Ohan Kayikchyan (33:19):

I agree a hundred percent and these are great points you summarized and you brought up.

Rick Luchini (33:24):

Yep, I love it. Listen, I know you mentioned it before, but tell everybody again where they can find you. I know you just started dropping some YouTube videos. You've got the guide they can download. Why don't you tell everybody the best place to see you and to start learning from you.

Ohan Kayikchyan (33:43):

While I mainly thank you for the opportunity, again, while I'm mainly active on Instagram and YouTube and also trying to keep up with TikTok on all social media platforms, you can find me as Ohan the Money Doctor. Again, Ohan the Money Doctor. My webpage is where you can download for free the guide that I have, which I will ask for your email and with your permission I'll send emails for you just to know what are my beliefs about money. Just to give you some actionable tips on my emails and on the money doctor is the best way to find.

Rick Luchini (34:22):

Alright buddy, thanks for coming on and we'll talk again.

Ohan Kayikchyan (34:25):

Thank you, appreciate, good luck.

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Content Disclosure: Luchini Financial LLC is a registered investment advisor. This content is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be personalized investment advice, nor a recommendation to buy or sell any investment. Luchini Financial works closely with each client to gain a full understanding of their unique situation prior to rendering advice. The information contained herein is derived from numerous sources, which are believed to be reliable, but not formally audited by Luchini Financial. Information may include statements which are time-bound and subject to change without notice or opinions, which may not come to pass. Please consult Luchini Financial with any questions.

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