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Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, I talk about four types of freedom versus financial; time, location, emotional, freedom. My audience is physicians, high income earners, and now investors, entrepreneurs, business owners. So my mission is actually to create a space and a community where we can empower and inspire each other to achieve the four different types of freedom on different levels, and to really get creative and get the message out there.
So today, we have a guest, his name is Eagle-Star Bowen based out of Washington. And he has a very interesting bio. And he's going to talk us through all about finances. And I'll just give you a brief bio, and I'll let him introduce himself. So his mission is to make a huge impact on the lives of blue collar men and women. And he's had a very interesting upbringing, which we'll talk about a little bit later. And he's actually on a mission to correct financial injustice to the working class and middle class families. So we're going to talk today all about finance, the financial industry. And we'll go from there. So Eagle Bowen. Welcome.
Eagle-Star Bowen: Thank you, Christopher, man, and what an honor to be here. What an honor to be able to share my heart and my passion and my mission with people. So thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to come on your show and just really pour my heart out and collaborate with another person that wants to go out there and help people do amazing things in their life through financial stability, right. So I'm truly honored to be here. Thank you so much.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I know, we were talking backstage and hearing about your backstory. So you know, tell us you kind of have an interesting background, and how that influenced you where you are today?
Eagle-Star Bowen: Yeah my life is not like not unlike so many people's, as far as growing up maybe with the odds stacked against us, right. So my backstory is, I'm 42 years old now. But I was born into a very dysfunctional environment, a dysfunctional family, not financially secure at all. My mother, God bless her, I love my mother, but she had some very severe mental health issues. And my father was a hippie drifter, and never around. When I was growing up, I remember early in my early years of my childhood, I never knew what was going to come. I didn't even know if I was going to be able to eat that day, I didn't know if I was going to get slapped across the room on a mental episode of my mother, or what really was going to be the fate of the day. And so I learned very early on. This is something that I did very early on in life. I would not want to ask my mom for food stamps, because we are a poor family. And I knew the little bit that my mom had was food stamps, and it was to provide food for us on the table, if and when we were able to have it. And a lot of the times the food that we're able to have came from the food shelter.
So I would learn the importance of making my own money. So what I would do is, I mean, at like six years old, I was out knocking on neighbors’ doors, asking them what I could do to earn some money. So all these sweet little old ladies, elderly folks that were in my little small town would open the doors, and I'd be like, Excuse me, is there anything I can do, any work that I can do to earn a little bit of money? So they would just give me something to do, give me a couple of quarters, and I'd go down to the store and buy a cran box and fill it with candy after I got my money, so enough money. And then I would tote that thing around like it was my most prized possession, because it was. So early on, I kind of learned the power of being able to make money. But I didn't learn how to do the right things with it. What I learned how to do was just spend that money on things that didn't really serve me or my future, kind of served a want at the time, but that was as deep as it went. So ultimately, I ended up in foster care and bounced around from a couple homes, a group home to another home and then to a final home with, who I call my hero in life. I love this man more than life itself. He took me and my sister out of the foster care system when I was 12 years old.
And you know, I tell him to this day, Dad you might not have saved me from death at that point or from non malnourishment and physical abuse, but you saved my soul. You gave me a strong male role model that I can be proud to emulate, and that I can learn from. And I learned so much from him. I call these things my three pillars. So that's work ethic, character, and integrity. Of how to be, how to show up in the world. You know, be compassionate. He told me one thing growing up about 14, when he told me this, and my dad, he's an old school cowboy, right, like, just imagine, John Wayne, but tougher. That's my dad.
He was quite the example. But man, a heart of gold, raised me with tough love. But he said, Son, if your fellow man needs the shirt off your back more than you need it, give it to him. And I never forgot that principle that he taught me. He's taught me so many great things, but the one thing he was never able to teach me was about money. He didn't have any. We struggled. We had enough. I mean, we had everything we needed. But I learned how to learn how to make money. And that's it.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: That's a very powerful story and very inspirational. You know, what resonates with me is, growing up money was the key to freedom. So if you could get your finances straight, you could call your own shots. And then just about the trauma we have around money, guilt, shame, not enough. Just all of that. So which we'll talk about later. So, tell us, you're in the financial industry now, prior to that, what were you doing and what made you switch career paths?
Eagle-Star Bowen: Oh, man, that's a great question. So before I got into the financial services world, I'd been a blue collar worker my whole life. I grew up my whole life working on a ranch, working with my hands working with my physical gifts. Thank the Lord, I have the ability to work hard, and my body is sturdy, and I was always strong and able to do things that other people couldn't. But you know, so I ended up in my early 20s, mid 20s, becoming a union ironworker. So, I was a union ironworker in the field for about 16 years. And I'm still a dues paying card carrying member of my union, and I will always be, I'm so grateful for the opportunity that ironworking gave me as far as my ability to make a good living. And use what I knew how to do, which was work with my hands and do physical things.
But I switched because I love iron working, and I love what it gave me, but I just knew it wasn't the end of the road for me. I had a bigger purpose and a bigger passion. And I wanted to help people. And I don't want to just build these amazing, awesome buildings and these big bridges and put up these tower cranes and stuff like that. It's great, and I love it. But one thing I need more than anything in this world is to be of service and to have a fulfilled mission. And I knew if I stayed on this path of iron working, which would serve me well for 30 more years, until I retired. But you know, what I saw as the outcome of that is, I might make some money, but I'm not going to live a fulfilled purpose driven service life. I'm going to make some money. But that's not what drives me.
Now, money is important. Don't get me wrong. But when I was exposed to this company, and this opportunity of being able to actually help people just like me, just like my family, and just like everybody else that I pretty much knew, and it helped them be able to get on the path of financial independence with real and true and correct and complete information. I knew right then and there that I needed to get my licenses. And I needed to start doing this. And I needed to go out there and help people just like me, in my sector and the blue collar work, create a financial life for themselves that they can be proud of. When the time comes, they hang up their hats and retire, they can do it without having to worry about money. They can actually just do it to begin with, because they have financial resources and the ability to do so before their body stops them from being able to actually enjoy the fruits of their labor.
So I just saw this huge opportunity to serve people just like me. So that's why I made that change. And that's why I knew that this was the path. And if I told you the story of how I even got into this, it's truly the answer to a prayer. You know, and I'm just so grateful. And I mean, that's what made me switch. And that's why my mission is so powerful. And as you can see here, I'm so passionate about what I do, because it's not only changed my life, but it's changed my daughter's life. And it's changed the future generations of my family. And I desperately want to help other people do the same thing. And not end up like my great father, who's 72 and will always have to work for someone else until I give him the life that he deserves, which is what I'm doing.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Again, very inspiring. You grew up in the lay of the land, and decided to give back and contribute to people that were struggling, and [realized that] people just need more education, information and permanence. So that's very inspiring.
Do you notice any overarching themes around money, especially in the blue collar sector? Around working, saving, earning money, investing money, any overarching themes? And what are some of the tips you can give to younger people so that they can get started earlier?
Eagle-Star Bowen: Yeah an overarching theme, that's kind of like, a bad trait is that people work so hard for their money. And they're scared of losing it. Scared of making the wrong call, they don't have good information, or a source that they can trust, they don't have someone like them.
You know, they can go into all these fancy offices, and meet all these fancy dudes and suits and or ladies, and you know, that's great. You know, it's not what we were that matters, where our hearts are, that's what matters. And they just don't feel like there's somebody that can relate to them. So there's always that kind of hesitation or reservation just on, who can I trust?
You know, you see movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and stuff like that. And you know, that, even if it's an entertaining movie, it still puts that thought in people's heads. It's like, what's going to happen if I make the wrong move, I'm going to lose everything I've worked for. And I busted my back for this. So there's that. Sometimes that people are nervous about, well, guess what, folks, I've been in your shoes. I've been in your shoes, I've lived that same fear of losing what I have by making a wrong decision. Or trusting somebody, and then them making a bad call that ends up costing me everything. So there's that reservation. And you know, just not having someone that I feel is like my person, like that they can relate to my struggles and my things.
And then the other part for advice I give for young people. Don't wait, start now. For you to actually create wealth. You need time and you need money. And if you have both working for you at the same time, you're going to be flat out stone cold, independently wealthy, by the way at an early age, if you do the right thing, and put that money to work for you the right way and understand the power of compounding interest over time.
And I’ve got a story of an opportunity that I missed when I was young. Do you mind if I share that story?
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Absolutely. Go ahead.
Eagle-Star Bowen: So when I was in my early 20s, I was probably about 20. I was 19 or 20. I just graduated high school. I just moved to Seattle off my little small town farm. The first time I'd ever been on our freeway is went through my duffel bag in the car, a pillow a blanket and had a $5 pot that I bought at a yard sale and said, I'm gonna go to Seattle and I'm gonna go to school, and I'm gonna I'm gonna start my life. And so I was working at JC Penney's in Bellevue Square Mall, which is a town outside of Seattle, Washington. And I was in the watch repair department, across from me in the Photobooth Department where you do your family photos and stuff like that.
There was this woman that tried talking to me one day, and she said, Hey, Eagle. My sister is married to a guy that is one of the early guys in this company called Amazon. She said it might be a good idea for you to invest a little bit of money with this company called Amazon. I mean, even like a grand or two, and I believe that it's going to really be something powerful.
And at that time, my mindset was, I'm away from my parents, and away from that structure. I'm just going wild. And to be honest with you, I was doing what typical young people do, I was like, trying to meet girls and trying to look cool, find my identity. So my thought process at that time was, when I got my paycheck. So I'm gonna go upstairs, and I'm gonna get used my employee discount, get all these cool clothes that I think the girls are gonna like, that I think is going to attract friends and people to me. And I couldn't have been more wrong in my life about that, but I didn't invest that little bit of money in Amazon at that time. And look what Amazon's become.
So taking advice. So every time I talk to a young person, now I tell them that story about missed opportunities, what it can turn into, if you do the right things, and you focus and prioritize the right things now, early in life, then you'll be able to have the life that you truly never even thought was imaginable. If you start doing the right things and let that stuff work it out, work itself out later. So make your money, invest your money in the right places where it can compound. And you could even start with a little bit, because you're young, and let that work for you long term. And you will become wealthy.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I think that’s well said. And that's what Einstein said, that compounding is the eighth wonder of the world. So yeah.
Eagle-Star Bowen: Yeah. Are you familiar with this other quote about compound interest?
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Tell me.
Eagle-Star Bowen: Those who understand compound interest make it those who do not pay it?
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Well said well said. And, yeah, it's interesting, because like during this time, we're in a recession now and bear market and so now's the time, have the dry powder you did, you're investing in research, and now you can buy up a lot of good bargains, right? 40-50% you know, so that's how, Joseph Kennedy, that's how the wealthy, you know, the big dips, they just, they buy and buy.
So you talk about, start early, compound in time. And then you wrote a book, tell us more about the book and what it is, and what made you decide to write it?
Eagle-Star Bowen: Well, number one, I've wanted to write a book for a really long time. I just feel like I have stuff to say. But I never thought that it would be a financial book, to be honest with you. I always went back and forth in my head. It's like, what should I write a book about? Should I write a book about how my adversities, being born in a bad environment is the best thing that ever happened to me? Or should I write a book about just saying, Go for it, like take that risk, do that thing, and like, you're gonna learn or you're gonna win, you know? Or what should I read this book about?
So ultimately, after I got into this financial services industry, I started realizing that for the general public, everything that they've typically been taught about money is a lie. Right? And they're being used. Number one, they at least need some education. So if you have a 401k, and 403B, IRA, annuities, and things like that, and you have money in the bank, you need to understand how all that stuff works, and how it's working for you, and against you. And you at least need to have true and complete information that can help you understand what you have.
Because a lot of times you get a 401k or something like that you go to a new job. You talk to the HR person that really doesn't know anything about the plan. She just says, here's this, here's this, here's this, sign this, choose your percentage, and that's what's going to happen, it's gonna come out, and we're gonna give you this and things like that. Meanwhile, the person that's going to have it really knows nothing about it. There's no education, nothing's taught. And so I wrote this book, because once I realized that, hey, people don't have enough information. They don't have right information, potentially, and they or they just don't have any information. So how can they ensure that they're making the sound and right financial decisions that are really going to truly benefit them in the future.
And so I said I need to teach people and show people the truth. So my book is called Bottom Dollar: The Truth About Money and How To Become Financially Free and Independent. And what this book was built to do was to give people complete information about all the accounts they're currently thinking about using or have used. So that way, they can verify that they're doing the best right things for themselves with real and complete unbiased information. And then also, I crack the code, which isn't really a secret, on what the wealthy are doing.
Where they're putting their money, how they're guaranteeing their compound interest, how they're able to leverage that money, how they're able to get the tax advantages, and really just enhance their wealth over and over and over and over again, just like families like the Rockefellers have done for now, eight generations later. So you know, how to really set up your family, with the trusts, and things like that. So the book was written for information, and also solutions that everybody has access to. And you know, if you can qualify for these things, you can use them. And most people can qualify.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Nice. And so, the interesting concept is bottom dollar, and what is, what do you mean by bottom dollar? And what's the significance of that?
Eagle-Star Bowen: So for me, it's partly just catchy to me, right? So bottom dollar, like I always say like, here's the bottom dollar, here's the truth. Here's the no BS, here's the truth. Bottom dollar, here's the bottom dollar, I bet my last dollar on this, here's the bottom dollar on what's actually out there, on the financial vehicles that you're using, thinking about using, or have used, and then here's ways you can enhance it. And that way you can at least be informed and feel like you're making complete and real financial decisions that are gonna benefit you.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah what a fascinating discussion, a very inspirational journey. And now I know you help clients and help people rethink how they view finances. So this has been a great conversation. I know, people in the audience may want to find out more about you, learn about you, contact you, and maybe even work with you. So how can they do that?
Eagle-Star Bowen: Well, I'll say the number one way is you can find me on Facebook, my name is Eagle-Star Bowen, feel free to send me a friend request, feel free to send me a direct message.
If you would like a copy of my book, you can go to www.BottomDollarMethod.com. If you'd like to get bulk orders, or just individual books or anything like that, you can get them directly there. I will autograph them for you personally, or you can find me on Instagram @bottom_dollar 2022.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome. Awesome. And for all the listeners on the show, Eagle-Star’s references and links and all everything will be included in the show notes. So Eagle-Star has been a very insightful and impactful conversation, and we look forward to hearing about your future success.
Eagle-Star Bowen: Awesome. Thank you, Christopher. Again, thank you for having me on what an honor to be on your show and to speak with you today. I really hope I brought a lot of value to people, and people can really know that they have someone on their side. And they can see and hear just how truly passionate I am about what I do to help people.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.