No matter what happened to us in the past, we could always start all over again. If we want to be financially stable and start up a business, it’s still possible despite the tough circumstances we have gone through. Daniel Blue proves to us that it’s possible for anybody to follow his dreams regardless of the past he has dealt with. Victoria Wieck sits down for a conversation with him, and they delve into how businesses could create wealth and get creative with self-directed retirement accounts. Daniel is the owner of Quest Education, a company that provides financial solutions for individuals and business owners through education. Growing up with no entrepreneurs to guide him, he directed himself to be a successful business owner. Join Daniel in this episode, where he shares more powerful insights on financial literacy and wealth management to grow our businesses and attain success.
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From Drug Addict To CEO: Financial Literacy And Retirement With Daniel Blue
Welcome to another episode. You’ve done all the right things, save money, put maximum contribution to your 401(k), IRA, all of that stuff and you wanted to know if you have any access to that money until you retire. Many of you have postponed retirement or you have retired but you didn’t need the money. Maybe you’re getting close to it you want to buy a house. Having a house is hard. If you wanted to know if anybody could have access to it, I’ve got an expert. His name is Daniel Blue. He’s not only an expert. He founded this company called Quest Education, which is a company that’s dedicated to helping you access your money sooner than the law says so. Completely legally, of course. It’s also tax-free. He’s found all the different ways you can get this done if you want it to.
He’s got a company called Quest Education. You can find that on YourQuest.com. He’s the author of the upcoming book Blueprint to Your Best Retirement as well. I want to tell you one thing that’s interesting about Daniel. He learned how to do all this because probably out of necessity. He has become a parent at age nineteen. He’s gone through some financial ups and downs. He is a very interesting, amazing human being on top of being an amazing expert and an amazing teacher. I wanted to help him tell you his story rather than me going through his bio. Welcome, Daniel, to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. What an introduction. I’m honored to be here.
I know there are more important things here but I got to tell you, I have to tell my audience here, you became a father at age nineteen to a beautiful daughter named Bella.
I did and I still remember that day like it was yesterday when I got the news.
I assume that has changed your life a lot in all the good ways. The first way that a child will educate you is you got to learn how to exist on no sleep. Other than that, they cost a lot of money and you, as a parent, want to provide for your child. Not just what they need like food, diapers, school education and all that but also for their future. The birth of your child, did that have anything to do with being financially super responsible or were you like that before?
You have to look at personal preferences and your goals.
I grew up middle class and lived in a cul-de-sac in California. I had a great life when I was 5 to 12. I stopped at twelve for a reason as my parents got divorced. My dad ended up moving to Mexico out of the blue. I was a teenager and now it’s just my mom. She’s working all day. I don’t get a lot of supervision. My dad moved to a different country and didn’t come back. I don’t know why he left. I’m going through all these different thoughts. When you’re 12, 13, 14 years old, you start getting hormones changing and all the fun stuff there. I didn’t have supervision. I’m ditching school. I’m experimenting with drugs and hanging with the wrong people.
I saw my mom struggle. She was a social worker. She worked her tail off. I got to a point where I wasn’t going to pass high school. I was going to flunk. My mom ended up shipping me from California to a small town called St. George, Utah. We knew one family there. My mom one day came to me and says, “I want you to finish school. If you stay here, you’re going to end up in jail or you’re going to flunk school. I need you to finish school.” She shipped me off to this family. I lived with them. I finished my senior year of high school in this new city, a new school in St. George, Utah. The readers are entrepreneurs or side hustle.
There are two types of entrepreneurs. You’ve got people like Gary Vee that were an entrepreneur since they came out the womb. They were trading sports cards and selling Pokémon cards. They were hustling at a young age. They knew they were going to be an entrepreneur. You got people that stumble into being an entrepreneur. That’s me. I didn’t grow up wanting to become an entrepreneur. I grew up not wanting to be in the same position I saw me and my mom in. Where we were struggling financially and money wasn’t in abundance. I wanted to be in a better position financially and ended up getting into sales at a young age but I wasn’t able to define who I was.
That’s a lot easier in life when you can have standards and core values and know who you stand for. I didn’t have that when I was 18, 19 years old, which led me to make some bad decisions included getting on the drugs. I was addicted to OxyContin. All of this time, I’m making good money selling but then I ended up getting a woman pregnant at eighteen years old and then I had my daughter at nineteen. That was a monumental moment in my life as far as I needed to change and wake up.
I found your story fascinating on multiple fronts. I am a mother of somebody who’s probably your age. I’ve got a couple of kids and they have a bunch of friends. I’ve seen a lot of my daughter’s friends get into similar problems that you were in. They felt abandoned and lost. They felt they don’t matter when parents go through a divorce and all that. I want to break this interview into two parts. The transformation story that you’ve gone through, I would say that’s a huge transformation story. You went from being a high school dropout, a drug addict, being irresponsible and borderline going to jail, according to your mother, to being a responsible father. You’re financially literate, founding a company and you’re helping a lot of other people find their footing.
Also, having gone through with this entrepreneurship in a way that’s you stumbled forward, I would say then you founded this. When other people wouldn’t have access to money or into their retirement funds, they know that they’ve got the money and they want to start a side hustle. You’re helping those people. I think that your transformation story is very inspirational. I have quite a few Millennials reading. You’ll find this interesting, Daniel. I wrote a book. It’s going through its second phase of edits. Editors are tough on me.
Basically, I wrote a good enough book to attract all these agents. They’ve told me that anything I say, I had to back it up. If I say, “According to the latest news XYZ,” they’re saying, “You have to cite the newspaper itself, what issue, which day.” I did all this research and you’ll find this interesting that you might want to go with this. UPS did a survey two years in a row. UPS Stores have those mailboxes at their stores. They say, “The majority of Americans who are now facing retirement would prefer to own a small business over retiring because they have more financial resources than when they were twenty years old.” They are at the height of their knowledge base where they know a lot more about their expertise or the area. Even if they work for somebody else for all their lives, they have the expertise that they had built.
They’re living longer and healthier. Something like a majority a 55% of Americans would prefer having a small business over retirement. I did all this research. I think this was a survey done by Vistaprint. They were saying that, “Three out of five Millennials, 63% of Millennials either already has a side hustle business or they dream of owning a business someday.” I started my business with $30. If you wanted to have $3,000 access to your 401(k) account and you don’t have that or the psychological, you think, “If I fail for the next six months and I need to have access to some of that. I don’t want to pay huge penalties. How do I go by getting that?”
I’ve heard that you can have access to your 401(k) but I’ve always heard that you have to pay some nasty penalties, which nobody wants to do. From what you were telling me, there’s always the workaround with this as well. Tell me, how does anyone have access to their retirement money without penalties? Secondly, would you ever advise somebody to take the money out before they need it?
This concept was first introduced to me when I was selling. When I was eighteen years old, I got into the sales industry. I was selling real estate coaching for a number of years. As I was talking to these real estate investors, they started talking about how they use their retirement account to buy a house and flip it. They used a retirement account to purchase a rental. That thought process, that concept was foreign to me because I always thought that retirement accounts were for stocks and mutual funds. I didn’t know that you could use your retirement account to make alternative investments like that. This is something that not a lot of people know about. It’s not some brand-new loophole that came out in 2020. This is a strategy that’s been around for decades and it’s IRS approved. If the readers can get one piece of information that they can write down, put in their notes on their iPhone, write down solo 401(k).
If you’re an entrepreneur, you have a side hustle, you want to start a business and you don’t have any W-2 employees other than you or a spouse. You can have 1099 Contractors. You can have VAs. If that fits you then the IRS says you qualify for a solo 401(k). You’re right, someone that has money in a 401(k) from an old job or an IRA and they want to take $10,000 out. They’re younger than 59 and a half years old. How much are they going to have to pay in penalties and taxes? At least 20% to 40%. There’s a 10% early withdrawal penalty. Plus, they have to claim the money as income. It could be 20% tax rate, who knows, 25%. Either way, it’s a lot of money. The way around it is someone can have that 401(k) from an old job or an IRA and convert it into a solo 401(k). From there, they can take money out penalty and tax-free. They could use that money however they want.
I was talking to a friend, a client. She lives in Las Vegas. We helped her access money from her retirement account penalty and tax-free. She took out $10,000, bought a bunch of products for her Amazon store. She’s been able to have a successful Amazon store for a few years now. She was able to quit her job. That’s the goal why younger people want to have more freedom with the business so they can call their own shots. We want to have more time freedom. There are a lot of options that people don’t know about and that’s why we exist.
Be the best you could be, no matter what position you are in the company.
I love that. I read those two, the Vistaprint and the UPS thing. This will be all be in my book Million Dollar Hobbies. To back that up even more, in 2020, the US Census Bureau had more applications for an employer ID number, EIN number, which is what you need to do to start a business than any other time in history. They’ve had something like a 20% increase year over year. The number is incredible. I also think during COVID, a lot of people probably had a shift in priorities. All of us, as human beings, now crave a little bit more about human interaction with people that you want to have interaction with.
I read a lot of other studies about ditching a lot of luxury stuff that is fluff now. From the whole Amazon thing that you were saying, it’s like you have a 401(k) from some other job. If you want to start your own business, you work for yourself. That’s a different job. Is that right? You convert your old 401(k) into the new solo 401(k). They still considered the solo 401(k) but you can invest that money to real estate or something else. That’s brilliant. What are some of the tips that you have? I have a lot of people who are 40 to 65 people year old people that want to start a side hustle. They’re sitting rich and have a 401(k) account. What are the top tips that you would give to someone who is considering doing that? I think that one thing is you’re working for a company now, then the decision one is, “Do I start my own business?” What happens if they go from a one job to another job? If they’ll go from working for UPS to FedEx, can they do similar things?
If that 401(k) from UPS, the original job, if they take that 401(k) from UPS and move it into their new company they’re working for as an employee to FedEx and they move 401(k)s, we can’t help them. The only type of accounts that can get moved over into a solo 401(k) is a 401(k) from an old job. Not a current job. Unless you’re over 59 and a half years of age, then if you have a 401(k) from a current job then we can help or an IRA. I do want to touch on a point you brought up earlier in terms of, should people access money from the retirement account penalty and tax-free? There’s that whole concept of, “That’s money for retirement. That’s money from when I’m 60. I don’t want to rob my future.”
You just have to look at personal preferences and your goals. Some people have the conclusion that they would rather have some of their money. Not all of their 401(k) or IRA money but some of their retirement money in their possession where they can invest where they want. They come to a conclusion, “Instead of having this $10,000 or $20,000 in the stock market where I don’t have control over these stocks, I can make more money. I have more control over this $20,000 if I put it into ABC business.” There’s risk everywhere. We lose money in the stock market every day, every other day, whatever it works out. We make money in the stock market, same with the business. You make money. You lose money. It comes down to your financial goals and what you’re looking to accomplish.
I know when I started my business, I was young. I was in my 20s. When you start your business, everybody tells you you’re going to fail. My rationale at that time was if I’m going to fail, I’d rather fail when I don’t have any kids or any other obligations so where I can start my life over. I went ahead and did it but most people don’t have money when they’re in their 20s. I didn’t have parents or anybody I can rely on. The jobs that I had before, I probably had a total of $10,000 in my 401(k) at that time. I wish I had had access to it because I had to start my company with little. I didn’t have money to even make a single sample, which sucked. I’m glad you answered that because you’re not advocating even when you transfer it over that you risk all that. You’re basically saying if you have a calculated risk situation and you need a little help, that money is there for you.
It’s a good option to have. Also, one thing to talk about is credit card debt. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve talked to over the years have $20,000 in credit card debt and they’re paying 15% interest on their credit card debt. Their retirement account is making them 8%. If they’re making 8% a year on their retirement account money and their credit card debt is costing them 15%, they’re losing money faster than they’re making money. When you take money out of a solo 401(k) penalty and tax-free, the IRS comes to you and says, “We don’t care what you use this money for. You do have to pay back if you’re going to utilize the loan feature.” The loan feature is on the solo 401(k) where you can take out up to 50% of the account value or $50,000, whichever number is less. As long as you pay your retirement account back your solo 401(k) back within five years, there are no penalties and no taxes.
The cool part about the loan feature is there’s an interest rate of prime plus two. The interest rate’s about 5.25%. That interest goes back to your solo 401(k). You’re not paying anyone else the interest but yourself. This strategy works out great where if you used the loan feature, let’s say you take out $20,000 and you invest it in your business, you’ve got five years to pay back that $20,000 plus the interest to avoid the penalties and taxes. You can take that $20,000 and pay off credit card debt that’s costing you 15%. Now your credit card payment is gone. You’re not bleeding the 15% and you’re paying yourself back.
You could pay off all your debts. Basically, anything with the interest rate that’s above the 5% and you’d be so much better off and having that one bill. Any interest that’s accrued is going back to your own accounts. I think that’s brilliant as well. In your book, The Blueprint to Your Best Retirement, is this primarily what you teach? Are there other tips on how to live your best retirement?
I think one thing I wish I would have done earlier in life and everyone reading this can extract value from the bullet point I’m willing to hammer home, is the power of a Roth retirement account. When you put money into an IRA or a solo 401(k), when you contribute new money, you have the option to make the contribution as a Roth contribution. To break it down to the simplicity term, the money you put into it, you pay taxes on it. You don’t get any tax breaks when you put the money in the account as a Roth IRA or a Roth solo 401(k).
However, let’s say you put in $10,000. If that $10,000 were to grow to $50,000 over a period of time, that’s 100% tax-free. I don’t care who you voted for the president. I try not to get into politics because, as an entrepreneur, I’m going to make money no matter who’s in office. We will need to have tax-free money because the taxes will eventually go up. We’re operating at a historic low from a tax standpoint. I’d rather pay taxes on my money now. That way, when I’m older, I have tax-free money. As entrepreneurs, we love hearing tax-free. That gets us excited.
The Roth solo 401(k) for you, high-income earners with your side hustle or your existing business, depending on how much money you make as a business. You can contribute up to $58,000 per year into a Roth solo 401(k). You compare that to a Roth IRA. You’re only able to put in $6,000 a year. Not a lot of people are familiar with the Roth solo 401(k). I touch on that subject or the chapter in my book about the power of the Roth solo 401(k) and having tax-free money.
When it comes to retirement, how to live your best retirement, a lot of that which you’re talking about it has to do with the financial part of this. Is that right? You’re not teaching people how to go on wonderful vacations and stuff.
If you want to start a business, remember the most important thing is your personal brand.
Yes, by proxy. Have some nice tax-free money set up and you’re chilling on the beach having peace of mind.
The other thing I want to talk about too is I wouldn’t want to deep dive into this but I think that what you’re teaching is not necessarily retirement money. It’s more or less you’re teaching financial literacy. A lot of Millennials, my whole house is sometimes full of Millennials. My kids are Millennials and all their friends are Millennials. I’ve got 2 or 3 teachers in my family. They’re professors of Millennial kids. They don’t seem to understand the concept or they don’t think that it’s important for them to understand financial literacy now because they’re so young. Would you advise that you basically become financial literate early on because of every penny you save? I don’t think a lot of people understand the concept of compounded interest coming back to you.
There are two ways. Either you educate yourself through YouTube University or you read books. You join masterminds. You surround yourself with people that are more successful and you learn from them and ask questions or you’re a knucklehead like me. When I was younger, you learn from your mistakes. When I was 18, 19, 20 years old, I was making six figures. I was living the dream. I didn’t care about my credit score because I thought, “Why do I need a credit card? I can pay in cash. I don’t need credit.” No one taught me the importance of a credit score, utilization rate and having access to the bank’s money.
Luckily, I was able to learn from some mistakes. As I turned 24, 25, 26, I worked on my credit. I had a great credit score. When I started Quest Education, I was able to get a bunch of 0% credit cards to invest in my business. If I didn’t have that, I don’t know where Quest Education would be now because you need money to make money. Whether it’s at the beginning or the middle, you have to have capital.
I talked about earlier at the beginning of my interview that I was going to get a little deep dive into you as an entrepreneur and what you do as an entrepreneur. You, as an entrepreneur, founded Quest Education, which is educating people about financial literacy, access to money, access to money that you already have. What would you say was the most pivotal thing that caused you to venture into entrepreneurship? Was that by necessity? I know that you said you stumbled onto this. At some point, you do have to make a decision. “I don’t want to work for anybody anymore. I’m going to work for myself and I believe in myself.” You have to have the confidence and the competence to start that entrepreneurship journey. What happened?
I know it’s a mindset. When I was a young kid, I saw my mom work as a social worker. She was one of the only ones in the office that did not have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She didn’t have that degree to have that position but she was in it for a long enough time and outworked everyone. She was able to do what she did and was good at it. She had the mentality of, “I’m going to be the best social worker I can be.” That’s lost in society nowadays. My nephew, he works at McDonald’s. I tell him like, “Be the best fry cooker. Be the best in your position.”
The reason why I asked you that, Daniel, is that based on what you’ve said before about your background, your parents getting a divorce and growing up and everything, you didn’t grow up in a family full of entrepreneurs. That’s why somebody like you would need a pivotal moment or series of events that caused you to do that. Let’s say your father was a serial entrepreneur and he kept on failing at entrepreneurship but he kept doing it. You’d still have that model or something in you being an entrepreneur and failing, this is normal but you didn’t have that. You grew up with a mom who devoted her life to helping other people for very little money. The question is how did you end up there?
Enough period of time of always wanting to be the best at something, then eventually getting to the point because it started off when I bagged groceries at a grocery store. “I’m going to be the best grocery bagger I can be. I’m going to be the best grocery cart corral gatherer I could be.” When I got into sales like, “I’m going to be the best appointments setter I could be. I’ll be the best closer I can be. I’m going to be the best sales manager I can be.” I finally got to a point where I’m just like, “I like winning. I like competition. Why not get in the business?” That’s the next step.
I liked the idea of being able to lead a group of people. I played sports my whole life. I do think there’s a lot of parallels between competition, sports, whether it’s gymnastics, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer and business. There are a lot of parallels between those two. I think that had a lot to do with it as well. In terms of, “I’m 24, 25,26 years old, I want to be an entrepreneur. I’m ready for this.”
Even though you went through drug addiction, all the stuff that you went through. You still had core values, which were to always be in search of excellence. You must have had that discipline because when you play sports, you do have the discipline to show up on time, to be the best you could be, to give it your all. You have to face defeat and victory in a very similar fashion. I think that’s great. Your transformation story is fantastic in the sense that you go from literally in the worst-case scenario.
If somebody looked at just on paper when you were nineteen years old, “This guy’s a deadbeat.” You look at it on paper, they’d go, “He’s got a kid. He’s addicted to this and that. He dropped out of school. We don’t want to hire him. We don’t want to have him consult us or help us.” That’s how society judges you. Here you are. You are now a seven-figure entrepreneur at such a young age. You’ve got a secure business where you’re helping other people achieve their dreams. That’s fantastic. When I say fantastic, meaning it’s such an explosive story. I wanted to help other people. Some of them are on the verge of starting their own businesses. What does it take to start a business? You did it the hard way. You were a single father on top of that.
You created this seven-figure business. That’s not easy to do but it is not impossible to do. I like all of you who are reading to be inspired by someone like Daniel. Also, you could get financial advice from anybody. There are a lot of people who have a certified Financial degree, CPAs, wealth management. The whole world is full of people. When you look at someone like Daniel who’s gone through a lot in his young life, for me, I would trust someone like you who had some real-life experiences. You know what it’s like to be down and out and have no money.
Our goal in life is to have more time, peace of mind, and freedom with our businesses.
I commend you for having made that transformation and you’re paying it forward. Here’s another thing I’m going to tell you. If you were making seven figures, writing a book is the most stupid thing in the world when it comes to money. Isn’t it true? When I go on TV, I get paid in dollars per minute. Every minute you got to make so many thousand dollars of sales and you get a percentage of that. To devote 1 or 2 years of your life to writing a book that’s going to maybe sell for $10 a pop and if you’re lucky, as an author, you get a dollar out of every $10. Usually, authors make about 10% of the whole retail price. That is a poor use of your time if you think about it.
Not a great ROI. I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. We are not crazy people. I think that authors who share this type of information do it because we love it. We do it because it is ingrained in us. For me, my success, I would say I’m not Oprah Winfrey or anything like that by going from $30 to $500 million, that is also a transformation story. I feel like so much of what happened to me, even though I worked my rear end off to get every penny that I have, everything that I have, there was a lot of luck involved. I would say that’s my way of paying it forward.
I’m sure, Daniel, you’re very similar in that when you write the book because you can reach people through your website, DanielBlue.me If you can, sign up for his book because us authors, we write books because we want to share. We are dying to share our information. It’s the best investment you’re going to have the $10, all the knowledge that we have put into this.
My editors, my publishers, they make me write. If I say, “I saw it a UPS survey,” what date was the survey was done and who published it? I had to write the guy who wrote the article to the paper like it was Wall Street Journal, whoever wrote the article, where it was published, all this stuff. Literally, it is a lot of work but we do it because we love it. We want you to have a piece of our legacy. Sign up for a Blueprint to Your Best Retirement by Daniel Blue. I have a lot of advisors to handle my money for me. I’ve never heard of the Roth solo 401(k). I never heard that before but I’m going to go check that out right after I get this show. Thank you, Daniel, for coming. How would you like people to get ahold of you to get more information from you?
The best place is DanielBlue.me. That’s my hub. I’ve got a link to my company’s website Quest Education. If you got a 401(k) from an old job or an IRA and you’d like to learn how to tap into that account penalty and tax-free, you can visit the website Quest Education on DanielBlue.me. There’s a link there. My team can assist you. If you’re interested, I do have a podcast. It’s called How Winners Win. I talk about how people can win in their personal, entrepreneurial and financial life. It’s something that I have fun doing. Also, a link to my book. I also have a course called The Quest Way: How to Make Money Tax-Free. I expand on some of the topics that you and I have discussed here on the show.
If you’d like to dive into the course, it does have a link to the course as well as my contact information, my social media handles. To the 30% of people that are thinking about starting a business or want to start a business, the biggest thing is a personal brand. The reason I can assume why you wrote your writing your books is it’s talking about branding. We’re not going to make money off this book but it’s all about our brand. That’s why we start a podcast, we have a book and we’re active on social media. You have to have a personal brand in the year 2021. Even if you don’t have a business concept or a business launched, start building your personal brand. People want to do business with people that they know, like and trust. You can start building your brand now, no matter what service or product you’re selling.
Thank you so much for coming by and sharing all your knowledge and information on yourself. For all of you readers, I always sign off by saying until next time. Please stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. I wish you lots of great choices. Thank you.
- Quest Education
- Million Dollar Hobbies
- How Winners Win – Daniel Blue podcast
- The Quest Way: How to Make Money Tax-Free
About Daniel Blue
Daniel is the owner of Quest Education, a company that provides financial solutions for individuals and business owners through education. He educates entrepreneurs on their finances so they can focus more on growing their businesses. Quest Education is a 7-figure company and has helped over a thousand customers throughout the country.