The Man That Helps People Live their Financial Dreams with Comedy – Charlie Epstein, Host of Yield of Dreams

Introduction (yield of dreams)

In this interview, Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA discusses using comedy to help people reach their financial goals with Charlie Epstein, author and principal of Epstein Financial Group, LLC and Epstein Financial Services, a Registered Investment Advisory firm.


Charlie Epstein

My ministry in life is to ease people’s pain and suffering about their money and make money funny. They go. So I’m blessed that I’ve found this vehicle, the show that I created called yield the dreams where I get to entertain people live on stage.

Or if you download the version of the show, you can go to yield to dreams dot bat live and just stream it, watch it in the comfort of your home. So it’s an entertaining experience.

It’s a play. But inside it I’ve also snuck in money principles, that I’m trying to get people to think about the myths they have about their money that influenced their decision making and I think influenced their passions.

Because people are more focused on money than they are on their dreams and their passion. You know, as soon as I have enough money, then I’ll do what I always wanted. I’m not good enough. So I’ll go take the stinky job for 40 years, get a pension or a 401k.

And then I’m gonna live my dreams, right?

Alan Olsen

This is Alan Olsen of American Dreams. And my guest today is Charlie Epstein. Charlie, welcome to today’s show.

Charlie Epstein

Yes. So good to be here. I was with you yesterday in Chicago.

Alan Olsen

That’s right here. We got a couple days together. And big day for you with the yield of dreams coming out.

Charlie Epstein

Thank you so much. Yes, I’m up in the clouds. Right now. We’re in the cloud spend a three year journey. Actually, it’s been a 65 year journey if I tell the truth, right. Well,

Alan Olsen

let’s spend a little bit of time talking about that journey. Charlie, I think it’s an amazing, amazing journey very unique in the way that you started out.

So why don’t you for the listeners here, give us a timeline of how you started your career transition to what you’re doing today. And then your what you’re currently up to.

Charlie Epstein

So I usually start off by saying I was born with a divine discontent. You know, we’re all born in certain circumstances. My circumstances were my mother was an opera singer. And her father, my grandfather was a violinist and a starving artist and painter.

And then my father was an entrepreneur and his father, my grandfather, Max was an accountant.

So that’s why I say I was born with a divine discontent, you know, entertainer, entrepreneur, entrepreneur, entertainer, but I grew up in this incredible household of joy and wonder man.

And my mother was always discovering something new, my dad was building his business and then helping build another business. So you know, it’s a very rich environment. But kind of contrasting those two worlds.

I always wanted to be an entertainer, I always wanted to be a performer, I, my mother, and I would, you know, we would perform together and entertain each other. And, you know, just life was great. And I did plays throughout school.

And when I went to college, I was an economics major, who lived in the theater. And when I got out, I was gonna go to New York and be a starving actor with all my acting friends. And I ended up meeting someone who became my mentor in the financial world.

So because of my economic background, I put on a suit and tie. And I went into the insurance business and the investment business and you know, was very successful early on, but I never gave up the entertainment, passion, the desire.

And about eight years in selling the building my business, I decided I was gonna go for it. So that’s kind of the they’re

Alan Olsen

looking at you today. Charlie, what do you want to be known for? You’re the entertainer. And you’re also a financial planner, wealth manager, retirement specialist.

Charlie Epstein

Yeah. So which is I tell you what my ministry in life is to ease people’s pain and suffering about their money and make money funny.

They go, so I’m blessed that I’ve found Now this vehicle, this show that I created called yield to dreams where I get to entertain people live on stage.

Or if you download the version of the show, you can go to yield to dreams dot bat live and just stream it, watch it in the comfort of your home. So it’s an entertaining experience. It’s a play. But inside it I’ve also snuck in money principles.

And I’m trying to get people to think about the myths they have about their money that influenced their decision making and I think influenced their passions. Because people are more focused on money than they are in their dreams in their passion.

You know, soon as I have enough money, then I’ll do what I always wanted to do. I’m not good enough. So I’ll go take the stinky job for 40 years, get a pension or a 401k and then I’m gonna live of my dreams right? That’s where most people live

Alan Olsen

you know having having this vision of yield or dreams of fact, very unique. I’ve never heard of the you know that the entertainer side, the financial planner side, but but actually for you very unique and it works, it works.

So tell us a little bit about how the show was born. Now it developed and got to where it is today. Yeah, well, how

Charlie Epstein

Did you become an overnight success and 65 years journey?

You know, it’s this, Alan because So in 1988, I decided I was going to take the summer off and do summer theater, and I’m 31 years old, and I ended up getting paid $25 A week plus room and board at the state Shakespearean Theatre in Monmouth, Maine.

And I took three months, literally three months off, I would work one day, a week, Monday, and then it’d be up at this year. And at the end of that year. Having worked only nine months in my business, I made 50,000 More than I did the year before, where can 12 months.

And, you know, that was like, whoa, wait a minute. I just worked less than made more money and had the time of my life. I gotta do that again. So I did for the next 13 years. And it was like I was like Alice in Wonderland.

You know, I fell into that trap door and life as I knew it was never going to be the same. And the more time I took off to pursue my acting passion, the more money I made my financial world. And then the week before 911, I was in an off off Broadway play.

We were in rehearsals. And I was having a lousy time. I hated the process. I didn’t like the people. And I remember the end of that week standing on the curb on 57th Street on the east side. And the leading actress who couldn’t remember her lines was babbling away in my ear.

And I just remember looking up and saying I’m done. Ever had that moment in your life where you were like on this journey. And then it was done and complete. And I went home and I thought about it.

In the morning of 911 I called up the director who’d got me the part he’d got me on guiding light at a small part and guiding light. And I said why don’t you replace me? And he laughed. He said, You know, the first week of rehearsals is bad.

And I didn’t want to tell him no, this is never gonna be good. And I knew I was burning a bridge for life. And I hung up the phone and 20 minutes later, the first plane hit first tower. And life as we all knew it wasn’t going to be the same.

And I was done in that moment. Acting but I wasn’t done on this journey. Like we weren’t done on, you know the journey of what it is to be on this planet.

So I took a year and I ended up creating a coaching program called the 401k Coach program modeled after, you know, Strategic Coach meeting every 90 days. And within a very short period of time.

We grew this coaching program, we coached over 10,000 financial advisors, but what it was, is I was the producer, the creator, the performer, the because I was in front of 5060 100 advisors on any given Wednesday or Thursday.

Sharing my recipes I like to say I was Duncan Hines. I was Betty Crocker selling my recipes that Duncan Hines right to my competitors. And it took off I mean and it also fulfilled my my desire to be in front of people and entertain them and have a good time and, but be creative and create value.

And then 13 years into this journey. Everybody became a coach in my industry and was giving it away for free and you know what happens then it’s a commodity. So I shut it down. I didn’t sell it. I shut it down. But here’s the lesson.

It took me three years. I had it become my identity. Do you know how when somebody becomes your identity, it locks you in I was the 401k coach. I was proud of it. I was known for it everywhere I went. You know, it’s like my moniker.

But it also trapped me. And as we were bleeding out and losing money, I was trying to keep my employees employed. And finally my new CFO came in one day. He said have you seen this financial statement?

I said no. It’s because you’re losing money. Stop it. I went, Oh, yeah. Shut it down. Gave up that identity. And then I wandered aimlessly in the desert like Jews like we do. I was in the desert wondering who am I now and, you know, what am I going to become?

But I knew I wanted to get back into entertaining and I thought I was going to do stand up and then I met this guy by the name of Mike Canucks. You know, this guy, Mike Canucks,

Alan Olsen

I know Mike kainic good friend, and now, you know, as a lot of credibility behind what he does.

Charlie Epstein

So I met Mike 2021 abundance. And the first day of abundance, the first hour is a networking session. And I did an impact filter on what I wanted to get out of abundance that year, one of it was to make connections with certain people.

And the first person on that list was my cane eggs. And I went to the session, I was the first one in the room, you know, there’s 10, round tables with 10 chairs, and I sat out a table, and the first person to sit next to me was my Kleenex.

And I turned to him, I said, Oh, you’re my first person I wanted to meet. He goes, Well, who the hell are you? all warm and fuzzy. We had lunch at abundance. 360. And I told him, I thought I wanted to go back and do stand up, but maybe write a show.

And over a six month period of time, Mike said, you know, Charlie, you should be like Leno and Letterman, every talk show hosts, they have a comedy team to help you write the show that you want to get out of you. And I said, that’s great, Mike.

I’ve been in the business 19 years. He said, Well, if you hire me, I’ll get you the comedian’s and we’ll make it happen. I said, Let’s do it. And in October of 2020 2020, before COVID, I flew out to his condo in La Jolla looking out over the Pacific coast.

And you can see this in the documentary film that Nick Nanton made of the making of the show, because Dan Sullivan was smart enough to say, you know, you got to film this journey while you’re on it. So we did. And I literally had nothing.

When I flew out there. I had nothing written down. It was all ideas in my head. And that’s when the gods I like to say took over because as I was flying from Atlanta to San Diego, that morning, I get on the flight and I sit next to Mr. Yield. I didn’t know he was Mr. Yield.

But he was this very successful CEO of a Capital Markets Consulting Group, and we you know, five hour flight, we get into this conversation. But I could sense the guy wasn’t satisfied with his life, like something was missing.

And I finally said to my son, what do you really want to do? And he said, What do I really want? I said, What do you really want to do? He says, I want to run a nonprofit and make an enormous impact in the world. And so why don’t you just do that? Now? He was 50 years old.

He said, No, no, no, no, no, I need another 10 to 12 years to get the yield on my portfolio to a certain place. And then he just looked out the window and let out this deep sigh like a wounded animal. And I was like, well, that’s interesting.

So I get out to California. And the next morning, the comedian show up and Mike’s there and Marissa brassfield, who helped Peter Diamandis build abundance 360 was there.

And for the first two or three hours, these guys, these comedians are saying you want to do money workshops you want to do so I said, No, I want to do stand up. I want to do stand up. Like, we’re trying to figure this thing out.

So I started telling the story of beating this guy on the plane. And about one o’clock in the afternoon, one of the comedians says to me, Oh, I also told him my favorite movie is Field of Dreams. That’s the connection.

Right? And you have to understand in that movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character. You know, he’s longing for something. And he mows down his cornfield, his only source of income, his livelihood, and bets the farm on this dream. Like who does that?

Alan Olsen

That many does. Yeah.

Charlie Epstein

So one of the comedian’s says, you know, the title of this show is going to be yield of dreams because Mr. Yield and the point of the word yield is everybody has yield Looking for something in their life, there’s something they want.

They want to make happen. They want to create, they want to be involved in fill in the blank. And then they’re holding back. They’re yielding, waiting for the signs waiting for the, what do I do next? And they spend their lives never going after what they really want.

Alan Olsen

Charlie white? Why is that? What is it that

Charlie Epstein

we’re afraid that we’re afraid people are afraid? Why didn’t I go into New York and be a starving actor when I was 21 when I had nothing, and I could risk everything, and instead, I went into the financial business.

Now, thank God I did, because I’m in the position that I’m in now to do what I’m doing the way I’m doing it. But who knows? It’s fear. Fear drives everything.

Alan Olsen

To have people balance a passion versus the income side. Can you have both?

Charlie Epstein

I’m proof. I’m the proof. You know, I’ve been able to bring these two worlds together. Charles Epstein, the finance Charlie Epstein, the financial advisor and Charles betaine, which is my stage name the actor into this.

What I’m doing right now, you know, every day I still solve people’s financial problems, try to ease their pain and suffering about their money. And every day I try and entertain people and make it a better day for them. And then of course, the show is the ultimate

Alan Olsen

to share Surely, I want to get to how people tune into the show. But before we go there when I ask a question at the end of life, how do you want to be remembered?

Charlie Epstein

You ever watched the TV show? Bravo Inside the Actor’s Studio? Never Whiteside? Sure, okay.

Alan Olsen

I have it but I will. So

Charlie Epstein

the gentleman who ran the Actor’s Studio interviews a famous actor on each show. And at the end of the show, he’s got the seven questions that he asks everybody the same seven questions. And the last question is when you get to the pearly gates of heaven, what do you want to hear God say?

And it’s really cool what everyone’s answers are, but I always remember Tom Hanks his answer. And Tom Hanks says he wants to hear God say, ah, back you go.

Alan Olsen

I love that answer.

Charlie Epstein

So when you say how do I want to be remembered?

Tell you the things that ran through my head, that it mattered I was here that I made an impact in somebody’s lives or lives. And that I left people with this spirit bound, infectious desire to wake up every day with wonderment joy, laughter and play and discovery for discovery sake.

That’s my mantra in life. Like imagine waking up every day going, what am I going to discover today? What can I be in wonderment about or joy or laughter because people are so right.

Alan Olsen

So generally, how do we how do we connect into yielded dreams give us it’s a

Charlie Epstein

you got to yield the dreams dot live. It’s all there. That’s it. You’ll see a whole platform you’ll see it. My ambassadors Peter Diamandis, Dan Sullivan, Mike Canucks, Howard gets in a whole bunch of people talking about the show.

We’re also donating half the proceeds to a nonprofit called Creative vets. Great events helps our veterans who are suffering from PTSD.

We send them down to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, we hook them up with a country singer who writes their story in a song and heals their psychological wounds. It’s an amazing experience. So you’ll be also enjoying the show.

Learning something you may not know about you and your relationship, the money and out impacts you and helping our vets yield of dreams with an S dot live. And you can buy your ticket right there.

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    Charlie Epstein on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
    Charlie Epstein

    Charlie has over 39 years of professional experience in the financial services industry. As the principal of Epstein Financial Group, LLC and Epstein Financial Services, a Registered Investment Advisory firm, he continually provides corporate retirement plan consulting, as well as wealth management and comprehensive financial planning services to business owners, professionals and individual plan participants.

    He is a Qualifying Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and Top of the Table Member. Additionally, Charlie is a Certified Family Business Specialist, from the American College and he is the founder of the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley, where over 300 local family businesses have benefited from attending the Center’s business forums. Most recently, Charlie has been appointed as a Trustee to Holyoke Community College.

    Charlie established The 401k Coach® Program in 2002, offering support to other advisors on how to effectively manage their roles and responsibilities in this ever‐changing industry and provide training to develop the skills, systems and processes necessary to excel in the 401(k) marketplace.

    Charlie’s first book; Paychecks for Life: How to Turn Your 401(k) into a Paycheck Manufacturing Company is solely focused on teaching Americans how to maximize the 401(k) savings strategy with a practical and systematic approach, without getting lost in all the technical jargon, giving participants a chance to adequately save for a successful retirement.

    Charlie’s second book; Save America, Save! The Secrets of a Successful Retirement Plan, released in 2014, is written for the plan sponsor, trustees and fiduciaries of retirement plans. The book is a roadmap for making effective improvements to a company’s 401(k) plan. Save America, Save! is all about creating successful experiences and outcomes for the plan sponsor while making sure the participants are creating their “Paychecks for Life.”

    Charlie’s multi‐dimensional business practices and considerable knowledge provide him with a unique perspective on the challenges that face the retirement plan industry; from individual financial advisors to the financial institutions manufacturing retirement products, as well as the many challenges facing plan sponsors and plan participants in achieving successful retirement plan outcomes.

    These accomplishments have gained Charlie recognition as one of the Most Influential People in the Retirement Industry and as a Top Influential Retirement Plan Advisor in the U.S. by 401kWire.

    Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
    Alan Olsen

    Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

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