Student Loan Solution with David Carlson

0

Student Loan Solution with David Carlson

I was fortunate and privileged to have my college education funded by my parents and, 23 years ago when I started college, I knew that was a big thing. I remember watching my college roommate go off to work-study and feeling thankful that wasn’t me. Then we graduated, got similar jobs at Bank of America, and shared an apartment, and she had an extra $500 a month in student loan payments that I didn’t have. Fast forward to me starting the Financial Gym and I feel like all we see, day in and day out, are people trying to figure out student loans and live their best lives possible while doing so. I’m thankful to have my friend David Carlson back on the show to chat more about student loans and the book he’s written to help with them, Student Loan Solution: 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Student Loans and Financial Life.

What Are We Drinking?

David — Rum and Coke

Shannon —  Grapefruit Schweppes with Vodka

Podcast Notes

  • David was on the podcast three years ago, when he wrote his first book Hustle Away Debt. This is one of Shannon’s favorite books and it is in the Financial Gym library. In this book, he list pages and pages of ways to make extra money.
  • Shannon’s first side hustle was writing for David’s blog, Young Adult Money, and she made $25 a post.
  • David recently wrote a new book called Student Loan Solution: 5 Steps to Take Control of your Student Loans and Financial Life.
  • David was pretty sure he wasn’t going to write a second book, because of the sacrifice and time commitment. It becomes all consuming.
  • He wrote the first book, started his blog, and became obsessed about side hustles, because of his and his wife’s student loans. The minimum payment on their 10-year loans was $1,000 a month combined.
  • Approximately 60 percent of college students don’t know what types of loans they are getting and how interest accrues.
  • David and his wife started dating in college and they didn’t know what they had – out of sight, out of mind. At that point they were still in the mindset of anything is possible and they expected they would get jobs making more than enough money to cover the expense. 
  • David’s wife is a therapist and she had to go back to school to get a masters degree. She just finished last May and started working full time.
  • David considered going back and getting an MBA and decided against it because of the cost.
  • The most shocking statistic is the number of people in student loan default. There are eight million borrowers who are in default, and about a quarter million new borrowers every three months go in default.
  • There is no way to discharge these loans in bankruptcy and there is no statute of limitations on when the federal government can collect on these loans. 
  • It felt like the right topic for David to focus on for a second book, since paying off student loans has been a big focus in his life.
  • The first issue is the government has $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt that has been incurred and the second is, long term, what do you do to actually affect the amount of debt being taken out. 
  • David hasn’t seen much action being taken to lower tuition and the amount of debt being taken out. It probably will not change any time soon.
  • The price keeps going up, because colleges can keep raising their tuition and because the supply of student loan debt keeps matching the increased prices. Every time colleges raise their tuition, lenders keep stepping in. Shannon had this conversation with Andy from Student Loan Hero on the podcast in 2015. This will stop when companies stop requiring four-year degrees and instead accept certificates or courses on certain subjects and recognize the potential of the people that apply.
  • Other than a handful of degrees with specific requirements, like medicine and law, you learn the skills on the job. You need basic writing, communication, and technology skills. Some degrees don’t keep up with trends and the skills are learned outside of classrooms. 
  • Shannon didn’t have student loan debt, but her ex-husband was still paying off his student loans in his 30’s when they got married.
  • Some of these student loans last 20 or 30 years and at that point you aren’t even using the information you learned.
  • David was motivated to offset the $1,000 payment by making that amount outside of his job, so he could be more on par with his peers.
  • One of the bigger issues is there are some families can pay the full amount of college and others that can’t and it causes a big divide in society. The cycle continues when those students have kids that go to college.
  • About 65% of students graduate with student loan debt.
  • One of Shannon’s first pro bono clients had $250,000 in student loan debt and made $50,000 a year as an attorney. She said she felt unlovable and unmarriable because of all of the debt.
  • In the book, David talks about student loans, money mindset, relationships, and mental health. 
  • Mental health is becoming a bigger issue with the student loan problem. 
  • Not only do Shannon’s clients worry about their student loans, they worry about their childrens’ student loans. You can finance college, but you cannot finance your retirement.
  • Many parents who pay for their kids’ college are the least able to. Many of the parent plus student loans have the least number of benefits.
  • Shannon interviewed a financial planner a few years ago who said paying for college 20 years ago was like buying your kids a car, and now it is like buying your kids a house. 
  • For parents, paying for college is not something you need to succumb to. Have your kids take out the loans themselves. You can always help them pay for those loans later, if you are able to. There are other ways to help your kids after the fact, but it doesn’t have to be prioritized up front.
  • Average student loan debt is $50,000 and it keeps going up. Most people won’t pay that off in 10 to 15 years. A lot can happen in retirement, because people are living longer and medical costs are outpacing inflation.
  • Shannon doesn’t advise paying for kids college expenses, unless parents can pay cash. She had to tell a couple to stop putting money in a 529 plan, because they had credit card debt and hadn’t been able to put money away for their retirement.
  • There is a lot of negative press around public service loan forgiveness. A single person who makes $40,000 a year and goes into $125,000 debt needs to understand the benefit of the loan forgiveness program and how to navigate it. 
  • Student loan refinancing makes sense for some people, as it will save thousands of dollars in some cases, but as soon as you refinance the debt, you lose all of those other federal benefits like public service loan forgiveness. Pause before you refinance and investigate your options before refinancing, because the loan will be a private loan and you will have less flexibility.
  • Federal loans go with you to the grave, but private loans are due upon death.
  • An extra percent or two of interest may be worth it for the flexibility. 
  • Murder, treason, environmental crimes, and student loan debt default are the only crimes that don’t have a statute of limitation.
  • It is about 16 or 17 percent to finance getting out of default on top of your private loans. 
  • If you are not paying your federal loans, the rehab process is pretty flexible. Contact your student loan servicer and work out what you can pay. You have options. 
  • If you already have private student loan debt, if you can get a lower rate, keep refinancing to get the percentage as low as possible. 
  • At the Financial Gym, trainers promote a balanced financial life. What happens often is clients have an emotional tie to their student loans and want to pay them off as fast as possible and don’t save up an emergency fund. 
  • A $1,000 emergency should not be a surprise. The only surprise should be what the emergency is. 
  • You need to build an emergency fund to avoid going into credit card debt when an emergency happens. 
  • David recommends at least three to six months of expenses, because you never know what is going to happen. You need that flexibility. 
  • David has seen recently that without an emergency fund, you may not be willing to take the same career risks if you did have that cash on hand. You may end up stagnating in your career and not speaking. 
  • Having the cash in your bank account gives you more confidence to be yourself and changes how you approach your life decisions.
  • Student loans are a part of your financial life but they shouldn’t consume your life. 
  • You need to understand what type of loans you have, your repayment options, and the pros and cons of refinancing. Understand your debt, and the implications of it, and build a plan.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to remember that student loans are debt but not a death sentence. Paying them off is more like a marathon than a sprint and you will have a much more fulfilling and balanced lifestyle if you proactively manage your debt while working toward other important life goals.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  2. What is a food you did not like as a child and do you like it as an adult?
  3. If you were a professional wrestler, what would be your entrance theme song?

Connect with David

Website: Young Adult Money

Book: Student Loan Solution

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and work through your student loan situation, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go.

The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So if you’re ready to manifest your dreams of tackling your student loans while also managing your mental health, head over to financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Forward in Heels with Jenny Maenpaa

0

Forward in Heels with Jenny Maenpaa

If you’ve listened to the show before, you know that mental health is a topic that is really important to me. I always say that without physical, mental, or financial health, what are we doing this for. I view all three as equally critical to allow us to live our best lives.

Even though May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to kick off my discussion in April and speak to a mental health practitioner to answer all of the questions I’ve had around my own mental health, like how do I find the right therapist? How much should I pay? Can I negotiate? and more. Joining me to answer my questions, and hopefully yours, is Jenny Maenpaa, Psychotherapist and Women’s Leadership Coach and Founder of Forward in Heels. Jenny is a long-time friend of the Gym and I love her perspective on all things mental health.

What Are We Drinking?

Jenny — Pinot Grigio

Shannon —  Chardonnay 

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon knows Jenny, because she is a client at the Financial Gym.
  • Jenny’s trainer used to call her the billions woman, because of her job at the time.
  • In college, Jenny was a psychology major, because she thought it was interesting to study how people interact with each other.
  • She wanted to be a criminal profiler in college and she took some forensic psychology classes. 
  • After she graduated, she found out quickly that you cannot really do anything in mental health without a masters degree, so she went back to school and earned her Masters of Social Work (MSW).
  • Jenny always thought she was going to be in social services and work for the government. She realized quickly that she didn’t love criminal profiling, because you have to wait until bad things happen to people before you get information.
  • She worked in victim’s services for a while and didn’t like to feel as though she was a bandaid on the end of it. She decided to go more into prevention.
  • After she finished her masters degree, she worked in juvenile justice in a high school with over-aged/under-credited students. These are 18, 19, and 20 year olds who are not able to graduate because they don’t have enough credits. This happens if they’ve had a lot of interruptions in their schooling due to behavior or instability in their homes.
  • She was really aligned with the mission of the school, but the vision and mission didn’t align with the practices. People had good goals and wanted to do well, but they weren’t trained in leadership. When a bad boss is in physically and emotionally dangerous and taxing circumstances, that burns you out quickly.
  • A lot of the kids hadn’t learned emotional self regulation, so there were a lot of fights and challenges within the community and within the school, and the leadership didn’t know how to work with the mental health professionals to understand that they were also having experiences. 
  • Jenny worked in a lot of circumstances where therapy was forced on people and that is not what works for most people. 
  • In the spring of 2015, near the end of the school year, Jenny was burning out and she didn’t think she could do the job anymore. She was having her own trauma symptoms where she was waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, her physical body would change when she walked into the building, and she didn’t know what to do. She only knew how to do therapy in that type of environment.
  • Jenny’s coworker asked her if she had ever thought about coaching, where you use the same skills you learned as a therapist but work with people who are high functioning, in a job that is high-powered, and they come to you by their own choice.
  • Jenny left the school at the end of the school year in 2015 and she enrolled in a coaching program. She knew how to be a therapist, but she didn’t know how to run a business.
  • Jenny loved the program and she found it added a counterpart to social work, because she found that coaching is rooted in people reaching for their dream lives versus therapy that is fixing a problem and getting to a level of maintenance.
  • So many people could benefit from therapy, even if we think we are okay or good, by having that impartial and unbiased person who is trained. They can add an extra perspective.
  • Jenny liked that she could combine the clinical part of social work with the idea that you can dream a big life for yourself no matter where you are starting.
  • One of the reasons Jenny loves the Financial Gym, is because when she started going there, they made her feel like there is no financial problem that they can’t fix. It is all about getting out of debt and financially preparing for a life that you want to live. 
  • The motto of the Gym is “What are you working for?”
  • Many people have limiting beliefs of what they can do, and it is the financial trainers’ jobs to tell clients new stories. This is similar to what Jenny does. 
  • When asked what type of therapy she does, Jenny says she does a combination of psychodynamic (Freudian stuff, your past, parents, etc.) and cognitive behavioral therapy (rewriting the narrative we’ve come to accept).
  • Shannon finds the second school of thought, cognitive behavioral therapy, to be helpful to her.
  • If you do just the psychodynamic therapy without changing the narrative you’ve come up with, it isn’t that useful. Going back and examining the trauma or pain without any action is just navel gazing. 
  • A financial example would be someone who felt like there was never enough money as a child. Their parents always made it feel like they were pinching pennies to afford to eat and now the person has in their head that there will never be enough, even if they make six figures. You can examine that, but then figure out how to rewrite the idea that there is never enough by looking at the evidence and the facts. Look at the behavior and then the facts – look at the bank account and expenses. That fear is rooted in childhood, but now the person is in charge of changing that story. You can understand where the idea comes from. The pain and the experience is real. 
  • You have to find a therapist or a coach that works with you. If you are someone who wants to understand some of the past traumas, relationships, or patterns, and you do want to spend time on that, you will need to find someone who does more psychodynamic work.
  • Finding a therapist is like dating. You don’t go on one date one time and say dating is not for me because that person is not right for me, but we do it with therapy all the time. Many people go to therapy once and say it isn’t for them, but there are thousands of ways to do therapy. 
  • If you don’t have your physical, financial, or mental health, what are we all doing here?
  • There is such friction to find the right person and the right type of therapy. It is a lot like online dating, because you can filter for the types of things you are looking for.
  • The biggest clearinghouse of therapists is psychologytoday.com. It is where all therapists are listed by their degree and credentials, and you can search by ZIP code and/or specialty. Each therapist has a short bio that they wrote. They should have a website and a free consultation call or visit.
  • For people who think they can’t afford it, this is an investment. It is like brushing your teeth — you want to brush your teeth every day, even when your teeth feel fine, because when you stop brushing, that is when things get bad.
  • We go to the gym and we look at our finances for our physical and financial health, and we need to do the same for our mental health. 
  • If you think you can’t afford it, you may find that you are spending money somewhere else to cover up what you are feeling and not addressing the issue.
  • Jenny has worked with people who have high paying jobs that they hate and, because they are so unhappy, they do a lot of online shopping. When the bill comes at the end of the month, they realize they need the job to pay for their shopping. Once they start to examine why they are unhappy and make a change, they break free of the cycle, and it frees up money to spend on what they actually want. 
  • Other people do this with drugs and alchohol. 
  • Seventy percent of the population live paycheck to paycheck and there are a lot of emotions around money. When you address some of the emotional challenges, it frees up the financial resources.
  • For some Financial Gym clients, they figure out the financial aspects first and then figure out the emotional stuff. It is all entwined. 
  • Many Gym clients say their sacred cows are travel, family, time with friends, and gym memberships, and their top spending categories do not reflect what they are saying they value. It is because of the disconnect. It is easy to spend money.
  • There are plenty of great therapists that take insurance. 
  • Jenny doesn’t take insurance. She has worked for managed care companies and when you sign up for health insurance, you sign away some of your privacy, because you are agreeing a third party can access your records so they can determine if it is medically necessary.
  • Therapists who take insurance get paid a lower rate, which means they may need to stack their schedules to have enough people to see to break even. On the insurance side, they can deny treatment, limit sessions, and see all of your records. The health insurance company’s bottom line is financial, not your mental health.
  • It is important to keep in mind that therapists are required to do continuing education to specialize. Every two to three years, they need to do more and more specialization, because nobody is really great at being a generalist. When you get into more specialized fields, the cost goes up. 
  • If you are going to a therapist for post-partum depression, that is a short-term commitment. That is not someone you will see throughout your lifetime. After 12, 15, 30 sessions, you will feel like you’ve got the tools you need and you won’t need to come back. 
  • There is no set number of appointments that is going to be right for everybody.
  • There is something to be said about the chemical changes in our brains and bodies as we go through life. People may go through therapy, have the toolbox, and think they don’t need therapy anymore. That sets us up for failure, because we get mad at ourselves if we can manage it. You learned the technique, but there is still so much that is not known about the brain. Information is evolving. 
  • There are some therapists that reserve a certain number of slots for a sliding scale fee. Most therapists that Jenny knows who do not take insurance do a sliding scale for the fee. If you have been seeing someone and there is a built in, ongoing relationship, it is Jenny’s ethical obligation not to just say sorry that you can’t afford it. It isn’t just wrong, it is something she could be sanctioned for.
  • Her requirement is to work with the person to see if there is space they can free up in their budget, maybe do a sliding scale, or refer them to somewhere that is a “warm transfer”, where she knows the therapist, it is the right specialty, and she can foster the transition. 
  • Ask about sliding scale and ask about negotiating. There are a lot of regulations in mental health, even more so than financial services.
  • Therapists are not allowed to barter and they can’t charge different rates for different people, because it has to be a standardized set. Sliding scale is allowed, because it is standardized: X number of people can pay Y amount.
  • Mental health professionals are bound by certain rules and most would love to give therapy for free, but it is a service they are providing and they had to get advanced degrees to do the work. It isn’t like law or finance where you expect a return on the investment. Therapists tend to make the same amount of money post-degree as they did pre.
  • It is hard because you do spend time and invest in the relationship, and sometimes people need to stop because of financial reasons.
  • Many people think about therapy only when they are in crisis mode.
  • Last April and May, Shannon had a difficult time where she didn’t want to be the boss anymore. She sought therapy and she was financially strapped at the time, because it was right when she was trying to sell her house. She looked for an online solution, but she prefers to talk through it, not email. Oprah’s supersoul conversations and a gratitude journal got her through that time, and now she feels good, but it is not always a good idea to wait for a crisis.
  • Jenny finds that waiting is the most detrimental with couples. Nobody goes to therapy until it is too late. So many things get in the way and the fixable things become unfixable at that point.
  • Shannon has clients that have been with her for years and it is like their therapy. She has other clients who have been with therapists for years. Having a disinterested/interested third party is critical to invest in the life you are living. 
  • No matter how you feel mentally, you are just one issue away from things falling apart.
  • There seems to be this idea with millennials that nothing is ever good enough. Nobody reaches the pinnacle and says they are satisfied. It is all about the next thing. When there is never an end game, and you will never be happy with whatever you accomplish, you are just constantly on a treadmill going nowhere. 
  • Things change over your lifetime. If you are going to seek help, it is not forever. You don’t have to go to weekly appointments for the next 70 years. Sometimes it is weekly for a while and then it is every two months. It is based on what is going on with your live. It is when you need it, how you need it and you are an active part in deciding what that looks like.
  • After a therapy session there are times when people leave Jenny’s office and feel worse than when they came in. She will often check in with clients before they leave, because she doesn’t want to send them out into the world with an open wound.
  • Is it productive, is it getting you somewhere new or are you raw, sad, hurt and staying there? Therapy is an inherently shaming process, because it requires you to examine things that you don’t want to examine.
  • Your therapist is not judging you. They are not closing the door, calling their friend, and talking about you. There are trained to roll with resistance.
  • It may not be until an hour or a day later, but leave feeling like maybe it got worse but then it got better. Ideally, Jenny wants her clients to leave feeling like they are moving forward every time, but there are going to be days where you feel worse at the end of the hour. As long as that is propelling you forward in the big picture, that is okay. If you are always leaving feeling worse or if you don’t feel like you walk out with any tools or actionable ways to feel better, it wouldn’t be serving you. 
  • Speak up for what you need in the moment. You can say you feel uncomfortable and ask for a different way to talk about the issue. You can only address things if you speak up so you can find a way to make it impactful for you.
  • There is nothing you can say to Jenny that will offend her, and there is no amount of resistance she can’t work with, because of her previous experience with forced therapy in the school. She is not going to fight you and will ask open-ended questions. 
  • Having a mental health person in your life is so important. Physical health, financial health, and mental health are all investments that get returns and reflect in the quality of your life.
  • There are so many things coming at us, it is easy to get lost.
  • There is definitely a difference working with someone virtually versus in person. Jenny wants to have a relationship with somebody first, before anything is done virtually. She wants you to see her body language and she wants to see yours. This way she will know different things that are coming up, if she is on the phone with you.
  • You have to find the preferred mode of communication for you. Some people prefer to have everything written instead of spoken. It is all about creating the system that works for you.
  • Jenny is now fully committed to starting her own practice.
  • While she was putting her business together, she came across a hedge fund that was looking to reduce unconscious bias in their forecasters. She worked with them on a contract, and it was fun, but it was so different than what she was used to. This is why her trainer called her the billions woman.
  • Even in the ideal environment where everything was flexible and there was a lot of trust, she still didn’t want to answer to someone and she wanted to be in charge of how she works, set her own boundaries, and live according to her value system.
  • At this point, she has all of the degrees and has done all the gold star work, but what is it for? Why did she do all of this?
  • Jenny could probably have gotten to where she wants to be by working for someone else, with a lot less debt, but she wants to create a practice where she can decide to take insurance or not, because of what she values in privacy.
  • She wants to hire therapists who represent a wide array of experiences, different races, backgrounds, and religions as well as different practice modalities. Jenny doesn’t want to surround herself only with people who do things and think like her. She wants to create a good structure.
  • Jenny thinks women should be at the forefront of this, and her business name is Forward in Heels. It comes from an old cartoon where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are dancing. Someone said that Fred is great, but Ginger had to do everything he did backwards and in high heels.
  • Jenny wants to flip the idea of us trying to mimic male leadership and say women have their own inherent strengths and ways of doing things. We’ve done it the male way for a long, long time, so let’s see if we can design something from the ground up that is different, instead of trying to fill in the gaps where we can be just like men.
  • Jenny wants to be the therapist she wished she had in her twenties and she wants to be the mentor and the leader that she never saw.
  • It is important to stay true to yourself. 
  • Jenny started with coaching in 2015 and she made a lot of mistakes at first. She blew through her savings and she invested in things that paid dividends, but they didn’t pay right away. She did everything wrong with a mindset that it will still work out. 
  • Part of the reason she took the billions job is because if her business doesn’t work out, she can’t just go out and get a six-figure job, because her field is not high paying.
  • She now is seeing the line on the graph go up and she feels that she is on the right track with her business.
  • Jenny found the Gym, because she went to a Ladies Get Paid Breakfast at the Gym’s old location. She has been networking and it has been a very positive experience for her and her business. It all snowballs. 
  • Jenny did a workshop for her school in 2016 and two and a half years later, she got a phone call about coaching from someone who was there. 
  • Things take time. When the student is ready, the teacher will enter.
  • You can’t force people to be ready. When they are ready, it will be more meaningful.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that physical, mental, and financial health all require some sort of financial investment, but when you invest in these things, you’re truly investing in the greatest possible investment you can make — you! Why would you want to short-change you on living the best life possible?

Random Three Questions

  1. What is a food you hated as a kid and do you hate it now?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. How do you take care of yourself mentally?

Connect with Jenny

Website: www.forwardinheels.com

Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: Forward In Heels

Workshop: Aligning Your Values with Your Actions (May 1, 2019 at the Financial Gym)

Book: Forward in Heels

Email: jenny@forwardinheels.com

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go.

The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So if you’re ready to manifest your dreams, like Jenny, in 2019, head over to financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Privilege with the Happy Hour Ladies

0

Privilege with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is the last Friday of the month and my regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I host the happy hour on the podcast where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today we’re talking about what has been a hot topic lately, especially in the personal finance writing space, and that is privilege. At least we started with privilege, and then the conversation progressed to the ups and downs of being a public voice in the very sensitive days we are living in. I hope you enjoy this conversation and, as always, receive it in the positive manner in which we intend to communicate.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Malbec

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Huckleberry Vodka

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Bota Box Night Hawk Black Red Wine Blend

Shannon — Black Box Malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Tonya requested to talk about privilege, because it is such a hot topic.
  • There was a post on the Freedom is Groovy blog called The Alt-FI Manifesto, and it caused a firestorm on Twitter, which led to a lot of discussion on privilege, race, and other topics.
  • Aside from the article, Tonya’s question is if there is an obligation for personal finance bloggers to disclose that they came from a background of privilege, where does it come into play, and how do people feel about it.
  • There is a lot of back and forth about this topic in the personal finance world.
  • Do you feel like you are a woman of privilege writing about money?
    • Melanie feels like she is a woman of privilege, being born in the USA, not having any credit card debt, coming from a two-parent household, and having two parents that went to college. She had a lot of student loan debt that set her back, but she feels privileged.
    • Tonya feels the same way. She came from a solidly middle-class background and she had her college paid for, which she didn’t realize how big of a deal that was at the time. Being born in the USA is a huge privilege already, and there are a million versions of that alone. She considers herself to be very fotunate.
    • Liz absolutely feels privileged. She has devoted a lot of time in her book and on her blog talking about it. In her book, she wrote something about how on the day she left the hospital after being born, she had these built in privileges like having two parents who have been married for a long time, who had advanced degrees, and who were a supportive and loving family. She started from a very fortunate place and it has carried forth, because a lot of these things compound. If you live a fortunate childhood, it is likely that you will leverage that into a successful college career and then a successful job. Liz sees privilege layered through everything she has done.
    • Shannon has an interesting relationship with the word privilege. She never thought about using the word privilege until recent years and in the personal finance space. She feels like people use the word to say they are sorry. She feels like her journey is her journey. Shannon grew up in a HUD home, because her mother and stepfather couldn’t afford a home on their own. Shannon didn’t know this growing up, because she didn’t know about her family’s financial situation. She grew up in a very blue collar neighborhood and both of her parents grew up below blue collar. Her grandfather was a postal worker and her grandmother worked briefly for the military. Shannon’s dad grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with five people. Her mom grew up in Jamaica, Queens, and her mom’s father was a southern baptist minister. Her mom’s house was broken into on a regular basis and she thought she was giving Shannon a good life. Shannon’s dad went to the Airforce Academy and then ended up becoming a doctor. By the time Shannon went to school, he was able to pay for her room, board, and books. She felt very fortunate. Shannon has been working since she was 14 and has never given much thought to privilege, because she just had the life she had. She does feel like was better than her parents’ lives were growing up. She doesn’t know when privilege came into the picture.
  • What does it matter, if you are privileged or not?
    • Melanie thinks it matters, because it is not an apples to apples comparison. It is the thinking of “I paid off all of my debt, and so can you”, and “I retired early and so can you”. It can get really problematic, because sometimes writers don’t disclose that they are married and their spouse is helping them pay off debt. Or, they don’t disclose that they had a huge windfall of cash or they inherited a house that helped them get set up. These details are important to share for context. It all comes back to context for Melanie. In personal finance, the juicy headlines are really sexy. Everybody wants to know how Melanie paid off debt or how Liz retired early, and Melanie wants to inspire people, but it is important to know your situation may not be the same. Melanie didn’t live in L.A. when she was paying off debt and she shared an apartment with her then-partner, so she could cut her living expenses in half. Melanie feels her privilege has increased since starting her blog in 2013, since she started out making $12 an hour and living on food stamps.
    • Tonya agrees with Melanie. She sees both sides, because the titles like “How I retired at 22” are sexy, but there are all of those details that are left out and they could make a person feel bad about their own situation. It is tough, because we are all just writers writing our own thing and there are no rules about what you need to disclose. You are allowed to write whatever you want, and if you don’t like what someone wrote, don’t read, don’t follow, and don’t promote. It is as simple as turning it off. She does see where people want to have the discussion, but feels like she is on the fence about the whole thing because you are allowed to write whatever you feel like writing, but there are consequences. Freedom is Groovy now has a lot of haters. He wrote the blog post and he needs to own what comes out of it. It’s hard, because the people who are making the most money and are having the most success are the people who had the success in the first place. Tonya needs to be empowered to follow her own path and read what she feels supports her own life and interests and not get too caught up in the drama of everyone else’s lives and what they write.
    • Liz has been attacked by not disclosing enough information. It comes down to this: it is difficult to figure out what you want to share and what you don’t want to share when you write about your life and your family. Early on, Liz and her husband decided they wouldn’t be sharing specific numbers on their blog, because they aren’t comfortable with it. There are people who are angry about it. People think if you put some of your life out there that you should be transparent about every single thing. Liz tries to contexualize things as much as she can and acknowledge their privilege. The first chapter of her book is devoted to privilege. Their privilege allows them to give back by supporting their community, by volunteering, and by doing work they feel good about. Liz also gets criticized a lot about acknowledging her privilege too much. The more she writes the more she receives criticism of equal amounts from each side — you don’t acknowledge privilege enough or all you do is acknowlege privilege. The internet is a devicive place. A lot of people go there to vent or to be cruel. She fosters a positive, supportive environment on her blog, because she sees that she has an opportunity to help people. Liz acknowledges in the book that not everyone can reach financial independence by working hard and being frugal. Every journey and relationship with money is unique.
    • Shannon: When you start writing anything online, whether a tweet,  a blog, or an Instagram post, you become a public figure and put yourself on a public stage. As your voice gets to more of the public, it gets interpreted in different ways. Shannon recently watched Sex and the City 2 and wrote an email on International Women’s Day about the scene in the movie where the women sang “I am woman”, because it hit her that women in particular don’t do enough to change their own situation and help other women. There are so many more oppressed parties than women in the USA. There is so much more we can do, and we need to change our thoughts about being dissatisfied and turn them into actions. After she sent the email, she immediately received a few complaints from Financial Gym clients, saying she shouldn’t be writing about how women only have themselves and other women to blame about deep-rooted issues. Shannon was accused of being aggressive and victim blaming. Shannon wrote back that we all need to be empathetic to each other and try to understand why someone wrote what they wrote and where they are coming from. All you can speak is your truth and you don’t need to agree.
  • What about people who write their truth and it is really negative? Is it okay?
    • Tonya thinks it is okay, as long as you own what you write. The basis is the intent of the article. Tonya has been following Freedom is Groovy and they have been very supportive of her life and they tend to write about very lighthearted topics. She doesn’t feel like they are malicious people, but she feels like he is misguided in what he wrote. Unless you are writing things that could potentially endanger another human being, or spreading hate, it is freedom of speech. You need to know that people may not support you anymore, like clients who were considering leaving the Gym after reading Shannon’s email. Take a moment before you enter the battle to decide if you need to expend energy on that battle. The answer is usually no.
    • Liz likes to be supportive and kind. It is important to remember that people get in touch with you when they are upset. Think about all of the reviews on Amazon. You tend to write a review when you are unhappy about something. Negativity can be a stronger emotion for people and it isn’t necessarily representative of how everyone feels. Shannon received three emails back and the email was sent out to 20,000 people. It is important to stay focused on what you think is important.
    • Shannon has always fixated on losses. In her career, less than 10 percent of clients left, but she would always fixate on that instead of her 90 percent success rate. Whenever you feel like there is a lot of negativity coming at you, her solution is to focus on gratitude and external positivity. Shannon likes to send positive emails to people. We need to do more of this in life. Pause and take a deep breath before you are going to write something negative. It is so easy to put something negative out there. Why is something bothering you so much? What is it triggering? What response are you hoping to get?
    • Melanie quoted Lady Gaga who said “Social media is the toilet of the internet”. People spend an immense amount of time and energy fighting every single battle on the internet, but that is their gig. There are plenty of positive things to spend your energy on. If you are feeling super strongly about one or two things, go for it. There are some people who just want to stir the pot on everything. It is easy to put that out there.
  • At the end of the day, what was the Twitter storm leaning toward?
    • Tonya: There were so many directions it took, it was probably leaning toward a couple of instigators. Racism, privilege, and political leanings were among the popular topics. Brene Brown wrote Braving the Wilderness right around the time Trump was elected president. She brought up a good point that we’ve become a country where if you aren’t with me, you are against me. There is no middle ground anymore. If you don’t agree one way or the other, you are the enemy.
    • Shannon: Once a topic gets public, there is no gray. It becomes a black or white thing. Red Table Top is on Facebook with Jada Pinkett Smith, her mom, and her daughter. Recently they had on Jordan Woods, the person at the center of the Kardashian drama. It all becomes one sided. Nobody’s human existence story is one sided. There are a lot of nuances. You can no longer just defend somebody. Nobody needs to have a public stoning.
    • Tonya: If we don’t experience empathy, it is not simply that the writer is a horrible, evil human being. Tonya isn’t just going to write someone off. Maybe have a discussion with the person to see where they are coming from and see them face to face. Everyone is so critical and harsh. If you are getting angry, just turn it off. You don’t need to make an announcement that you are no longer following someone, just move on.
  • Have you ever been involved in a public rant?
    • Liz has not. She is a lover and she doesn’t like to attract negativity into her life. Negativity is a product of the internet. You reach a certain threshold of people reading what you write and it is a product, in some ways, of success. It is inherent to having a lot of people reading your stuff and it is part and parcel of doing business.
    • Melanie had negative comments on her article that was picked up on Business Insider. In regards to the Freedom is Groovy article, she didn’t agree with the post, she couldn’t finish it, and she is not going to read anyone’s 8,000 word manifesto. Anyone who is going to write that big of a manifesto should be questioned anyway. She didn’t enjoy it or agree with it, but she doesn’t feel like she needs to say something publicly or have a stance on it. She would rather not spend her energy on things she doesn’t agree with.
    • Shannon believes in the freedom of speech. The ultimate privilege is that we live in the USA and we can say these things. Some of the things we say and write can’t be said in other parts of the world and we need to respect everyone’s voice. It is not her purpose on earth to go around and try to change people, and attacking someone isn’t going to change them anyway. Pray that these people get common sense or that you won’t be stuck in an elevator with them. Move about your business and do the right thing.
    • Tonya: People always want the last Tweet or comment on Facebook and they have to be right. Just let it go.
  • So much of this comes from contexualizing your statements. It depends on how you state your truth.
  • Not everybody can be financially independent by 33, because not everybody is 33.
  • Anybody can do anything they put their minds to — not defying the laws of physics like flying. That’s not the point.
  • Anything is possible. Don’t get fixated on context, focus on making it a reality for yourself, if it is something you want to do.
  • You are born into what you are born into and you cannot change the laws of physics or the time-space continuum — you are given what you are given and sometimes that sucks. You might be privileged in the sense of money, but you might be hit by an illness.
  • You never know what is going on in someone’s life, so don’t bother trying to figure out someone else’s life, figure out your own life. Figure out what you have and where you are starting from and work with that, because you cannot just will or wish something were different. It sucks if you are given a tough hand, but that is the hand and life you were given and you need to work with it.
  • Tonya’s blog was linked in the Alt-FI article and she doesn’t care, because that isn’t her voice. Several bloggers were mad that they were linked.
  • Sometimes we are tested to access our empathetic selves and try to understand someone else’s point of view and their right to that point of view.
  • Shannon doesn’t follow Freedom is Groovy and she doesn’t really understand where he stands after reading the article, but that is how he feels.
  • There are a lot of feelings being felt out there. Daniel Tiger knows all about that.
  • Shannon has been on a lot of flights lately and the Fred Rogers documentary is shown on most of them. His whole message is all about kids just feeling their feelings. His job was to help people feel things and express their feelings. That is all this is about at the end of the day — people expressing their feelings. If we all find a better way to do this, we will all be in a better place.
  • Listen more!
  • Watch Mr. Rogers and Daniel Tiger.
  • Feel the feelings in a healthy way and it will get better.
  • It is important to recognize where you come from and that maybe there are some things that get you further ahead of other people. It is still your story and you can own that as well.
  • Own your truth, own your story. We are living our story and that is our purpose. Don’t let others change your story and don’t try to change other peoples’ stories. Try a little tenderness.
  • Whenever you have an instinct to write something negative, take some advice from Daniel Tiger and take a deep breath. Do you need to do that? If you really feel like you need to do that, take a minute and write five nice emails to other people to balance it out. Receiving a nice email is delightful.
  • Before you are ready to criticize and pounce on someone for what they wrote and who they are, are you perfect? Do you do nothing wrong? Have you ever wrote something that was controversial? Have you made mistakes? Think about that first.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is the importance of empathy in this day and age. I think there are so many intense emotions being felt right now that are compounded by social media, and I truly feel that the antidote to all of this is empathy. We don’t all have to get along and we don’t all have the have the exact same opinions and beliefs. That is not what the human experience is all about, but I do think we should always try to walk in someone else’s shoes, no matter how crazy those shoes look.

If you want to work with my team at the Financial Gym to help you achieve your financial goals this year, remember that Martinis and Your Money Listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services, and my financial trainers have seen it all. No matter where you are starting, we have the tools and resources to get you where you want to go. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com.

If you have any topics you would like for us to talk about during happy hour, please feel free to email me at shannon@finblonde.com or tweet to me at blonde_finance or join the private martinis and your money Facebook group and let us know. Until next time, take care!!

Getting Financially Naked with Anna

0

Getting Financially Naked with Anna

At the Financial Gym, we call the first meeting you have with a trainer the “financially naked session.” In this meeting, you share everything about yourself financially so the trainer knows where you’re starting and so he or she can make the plan for how you can get where you want to go. Above all other meetings, this one scares clients the most because they are afraid or ashamed of their financial situation.

A few months back on this podcast, I shared my financially naked session and it led to a request for more. Getting in the hot seat today is Anna. And I want to say that if you have any emotional triggers around abuse, this will not be the episode for you. Anna joins me today to share how she survived her abusive relationship and how she’s putting together the pieces of her financial life in a very non-conventional way.  

What Are We Drinking?

Anna — Coffee with cream

Shannon — Black Berry Schweppes

Podcast Notes

  • Anna started listening to the podcast in the summer of 2016, when she started her new job in Connecticut.
  • She started listening to personal finance podcasts, because she is an accountant and the subject interests her. Also, she has always been a saver, and didn’t have any financial problems until she got married.
  • Last summer, when Anna joined the Financial Gym, she was getting out of her five-year marriage. Her ex-husband was abusive and had bipolar disorder. Not everyone who is diagnosed with bipolar is abusive.
  • A typical symptom of bipolar disorder in a manic state is overspending.  Her ex had a lot of spending problems, but they didn’t appear until after they were married.
  • Anna didn’t know he had bipolar disorder, before they were married, but there were red flags when they were dating. Her ex was only 24 years old when they started dating, and mental illness tends to evolve over time.
  • Her ex would have occasional bouts of depression, but there weren’t any signs of rage until right before they got married. She didn’t really understand it or know what it was. She knew something was wrong, but didn’t know if she should cancel the wedding. After he calmed down, he said he was just stressed out and after they were married, he wouldn’t have the stress of the wedding. 
  • At first it wasn’t abusive, it was anger. After they were married, there were still only isolated incidents. The day after their wedding, her ex got really angry while he was driving, and he started driving really fast. It was in the middle of a snowstorm and he went off the road.
  • Afterward these episodes, he would say it was just a mistake. Then he would have long periods of time where he was fine.
  • After her daughter was born, her ex was a great dad and was very supportive. Last January, after her son was born, it got really bad. He went into a really severe episode and refused to get help. 
  • Her ex’s financial situation was always unstable. He would work and make money, then quit and do something else. He was always jumping from one thing to the next.
  • Anna decided to join the Gym after Shannon shared her financially naked session on the podcast. Shannon had talked about life choices she made and why it made sense to her at the time. Anna related to that, because she didn’t know she was in a bad situation until it all blew up.
  • When Anna moved to Connecticut, they bought a fixer-upper house. Her husband decided he hated the house and wanted to open a business. The house was really close to Anna’s work, and, after they did a few fixes, they were able to rent it out for $1,000 more than the mortgage.
  • Anna’s job was stable and she made a good income, so buying another house didn’t seem like a risky position, even though they were doing renovations and didn’t have a lot to put down on another house.
  • They bought another house that was a mixed-use residential/commercial. Her husband was going to run a store in part of it, there was an apartment they were going to AirBNB, and they were going to live in the other part of it. Again, this didn’t seem risky, even though the mortgage was expensive. 
  • A lot of things ended up going wrong with the house. It was difficult to heat and they couldn’t do the AirBNB after all. At the time, Anna had a newborn and a two-year old, and she realized she had to pay for the house and all of the expenses by herself. 
  • They didn’t have any savings and her ex ran up a bunch of credit card debt. Anna realized her husband wasn’t going to get better and he wasn’t going to get help.
  • Anna was far away from her family and decided to move closer to her parents in upstate New York, so she could have help with her kids. She left to keep herself and her kids safe.
  • The best decision she made was pursuing her career, because it is flexible and she was able to find a job in New York that paid well.
  • Shannon remembers reviewing Anna’s plan a year ago, because Anna had so much stuff going on in her life. 
  • Many clients join the Gym when their life is like a tornado, because they need help seeing clearly. The stories may start sad, but they don’t end sad.
  • Joy helped Anna negotiate her salary and signing bonus with her new job in New York and helped her reset her expectations.
  • Anna’s new job starts in July 2019, but Anna moved early, because she doesn’t teach in the spring, she only does research. She can do that remotely and goes back to Connecticut twice a month. She moved one month ago.
  • The tenants moved out of their first house and her ex-husband moved in. His dad is paying for him to stay there, but she wants him to sell it, because her name is still on the mortgage. In order to get her name off of the mortgage, her ex will need to refinance and he will not qualify. They will hopefully either sell it or his parents will buy it. There is probably $60,000 in equity in that house.
  • For the other house, she had to pay someone a small fortune to finish painting it, because her ex started painting but didn’t finish. They listed the house for sale in August, but it is a big house in a rural area, and it is not selling.
  • The house was so expensive to maintain that she stopped paying the mortgage in November 2018, and she is working with the bank on either a short sale or a deed in lieu of forclosure. It cost over $1,200 a month to heat the home and it was still cold.
  • The next step is to get the house appraised. They first had to supply a lot of information to prove they couldn’t afford it. It should appraise for more than what they paid, but there aren’t any buyers. 
  • Anna will have about a month of overlap of pay, as she will still be employed by her current job through either July or August. 
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questionnaire:
    • Birthday: May 17,1983
    • Job: Professor of Accounting (PhD in accounting); teaching and researching 
    • Salary: $201,000 current; $145,000 new job (more teaching than research)
    • Net Pay: $4,536 biweekly ($9,000/month now; $7,500 estimated for new job)
    • Checking Account: $4,890
    • Checking/Savings Account: $2,516
    • Discover Savings #1: $2,127
    • Discover Savings #2: $1,166
    • Investment Account – Son: $700
    • 529 Plan – Son: $3,157
    • Investment Account – Daughter: $225
    • 529 Plan – Daughter: $13,132
    • Prudential Retirement (defined contribution & 457): $85,509 (after she gave $65,000 in the divorce)
    • 1st House: $60,000 in equity; mortgage $2,350/month
    • 2nd House: $540,000 original appraisal; should appraise for $550,000 or $560,000, they owe $482,000, but going through foreclosure; $3,893/month, utilities $1,200/month
    • Student Loan (Federal): $89,071; $1,125/month; 5.5 years left on public service loan forgiveness; Approx $40,000 should be forgiven
    • Student Loans (Private): $14,829 at 6% interest and $17,610; $247/month
    • Payment to Ex: $66/month 
    • JetBlue Barclays Credit Card: $4,122 (waiting for reimbursements from work)
    • Credit Score: 660
    • Car Loan: $513/month
    • Rent: $850/month
    • Daycare: $1,600/month
    • Renter’s Insurance: Yes
    • Will/Trust: No
    • Life Insurance: $900,000 ($350/year)
    • Disability Insurance: Not yet
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $6,500
    • Children: Son, 13 months old; Daughter, 3 years old
    • Goals 1-3 years: Save $20,000 emergency fund, increase retirement saving to lower tax bracket, travel, pay off car in 2019
    • Goals 3-5 years: Pay off student loans, own a rental house
    • Goals long-term: Retire or be financially independent by 55
    • What’s important to you (sacred cows): Family, kids, and self care

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is that sometimes the solution to your financial problems is not the best looking on paper, but, when it comes to protecting your family and your livelihood, you may sometimes be forced to take an unconventional approach to financial stability. 

Random Three Questions

  1. What other podcasts do you like listening to?
  2. What is a food you hated as a child and do you like it as an adult?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go. 

The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So if you’re ready to manifest your dreams, like Anna in 2019, head over to or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

The Art of Becoming a PITA with Shanah Bell

0

The Art of Becoming a PITA with Shanah Bell

I always love talking to guests about how we can live a better life. After all, it is part of the slogan on my podcast. Today I am excited to have back on the show Shanah Bell, founder of Adaptive Nourishment and author of the book The Art of Being a PITA, to discuss how her career of working over 50 jobs informed how she can help other people navigate the ins and outs of getting what they want and living the life they want.

What Are We Drinking?

Shanah — Citrus Gin Fizz:

1-2 shot of gin, ice, 10 drops Crude Rizzo Bitters, 2 shots organic lemonade, 2 shots grapefruit Italian soda, 1 shot lime seltzer water, stir, top with candied lemon wedge and two candied mandarin oranges (16 oz)

Shannon —  Gin and Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • The first time Shanah was on the podcast, in March 2017, she talked about being on food stamps. Listen to that episode here.
  • Shanah is now a client of the Financial Gym and her trainer, Jen, hadn’t heard the episode. 
  • Shanah got creative in freelancing and is no longer on food stamps.
  • There are things that happen in life that lead us to some sort of evolution of ourselves. Although we don’t want to go through it, we are stronger for it.
  • Shanah decided to join the Gym to see if a trainer could see something that Shanah was missing and see what she would say. Jen did tweak a few things and now Shanah is almost to the goal that was set in December.
  • Just like fit people go to a gym, there is a benefit to joining the Financial Gym, and there is a six-month, money-back guarantee. 
  • Shanah has been with the Gym almost six months. She isn’t planning on staying long-term, because she just needed someone to look at her finances from a different perspective. As a frugal person, Shanah said it is worth the money.
  • Shanah now has her own business and just wrote a book, The Art of Becoming a PITA (pain in the ass).
  • Shanah has had Celiacs disease since 1986 and has never had a pita chip in her life. She earned a masters degree in nutrition and is a holistic health advisor, and she works with clients who have food and health issues. This book has nothing to do with food at all.
  • The book cover looks like a box of crackers and has a nutrition label on the back.
  • Shanah has been working on this book as part of a larger project for about six to eight years. This book is a smaller version of the original and she is now going to be working on the second one.
  • It took a long time to write, because Shanah got divorced and she was trying to raise her kids and survive. Writing a book wasn’t really top priority, because it wasn’t making money at the time. 
  • Shanah decided to write this book, because she has lived an unconventional life, when it comes to jobs and finances, since she was 14. She will turn 40 years old this year. “What do you do” is one of those questions that comes up in almost every conversation. People have wondered how she has made it financially without have one stable job, so she decided to write it down. 
  • In the book she also talks about what skills she has learned, what she has learned about herself, and how it makes her a versatile person to have on your team.
  • Diversified income has helped Shanah find a happy work-life balance. She is an entrepreneur, which is not always fun and games.
  • Most people consider you a PITA when you don’t conform to the societal norms where you go to school, get a degree, get a “good job” at a corporation that is stable and gives you a 401(k) and vacation time, work there until you are 65, and that’s all you do.
  • In Shanah’s opinion, the stability of any one job is not something that really exists anymore. It used to exist from about the 1900s to the 1950s and then corporate jobs started not being as stable. Now it isn’t really a thing. 
  • North Carolina is an at-will state, which means you could get hired or fired on any given day for any reason and there goes your stability.
  • If you are putting all of your eggs in one basket, that is fine, but that is not how Shanah does it. It has given her more flexibility to change and shift as the job market changes and shifts. We don’t stay the same.
  • Shanah has learned to diversify her skill set as she has gotten older, to do different things. 
  • Forty two states are at-will, which means they can let you go no matter what. At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself and protect yourself and your family and be flexible. 
  • You don’t know where you will be in ten or twenty years.
  • If you are the type of person that likes working a nine to five job, which is the majority of people, that is fine. That doesn’t mean you can’t look at your current position in your company and see if there are new skills you can learn to increase your knowledge base and skillset, which would also increase your viability.
  • You can look within your company to see if there are other people in other positions that are doing things that you find interesting. If so, figure out how to learn that skillset, whether you are getting paid for it or not, because it makes you a more viable employee and it makes it easier to shift you around in the company.
  • If there are no opportunities within your current company, or if you are not drawn to anything, look outside of your company for things you like to do. This could include photography, writing, or hanging out with babies or animals, and see if you can figure out any skills within your hobbies that you can learn more about, and do it as a side hustle. That may grow into making more money than your full-time job and you may want to shift. 
  • Shanah worked as a bartender at night when she worked in an office, because she liked bartending and missed the socialization.
  • For people who say they don’t have time for this because of their day job and kids, if it is important enough to you, you will figure it out. When someone who has one baby looks at someone who has twins and asks how do they do it, they just do. They have to figure it out.
  • Depending what Shanah was doing, she would either work early morning or before bed. 
  • If you are doing something remotely, you have more flexibility. In the original podcast Shanah did in March 2017, she was up at 3:00 am multiple days of the week. If you are a night owl, work after the kids go to bed. There are plenty of weekends where Shanah worked all weekend long.
  • You can find the time if you really want to. If you work full time, it is only 40 hours a week. It is a matter of realizing that no matter where you are in your career, you should always explore new things, either as a back up or to learn the next thing.
  • At the Gym the first goal is having an emergency fund and being financially prepared for the unknown. On the other side, there is another way to be financially prepared, and that is being as professionally prepared as possible and focusing on other things.
  • You never know what is going to happen. You may get to the point in your career that you hate your job and it isn’t a matter of being let go.
  • A typical response at the Gym is “I am going to go back to school and get a masters in something else because I want to move into this next thing”. 
  • Think creatively about solutions that don’t require tens of thousands of dollars of debt to figure out a change in life. This is what Shanah is pointing out in her book.
  • When Shanah was 14, 15, and 16, she didn’t know what she wanted to do for a job. She is still evolving and changing and she is now almost 40. As humans we are supposed to be evolving and changing.
  • You don’t know what the you in 20 years is going to be versus the you now. It is always good to keep increasing your skillset, because you never know when it will come in handy.
  • In the book, Shanah lays out each job she has had. At the time she wrote the book, it was 56 jobs. Since then, she has added dog boarding, cooking classes, AirBNB, and author — 60 jobs!
  • In the book, at the end of each job, Shanah states what she learned, and it is either skills she learned or things she learned about herself, either that she liked or didn’t like. You can see as she evolves she avoids getting into situations where the majority of the position is things she didn’t like before.
  • Every job you have, you learn something from it. It doesn’t matter if you liked it or didn’t like it. You learn things about yourself and what you like and hate about each job.
  • It is like a marriage when it ends where you learn what you liked and what you didn’t like, so you don’t replicate the things you didn’t like in your next relationship.
  • There is a portion at the end of the book where Shanah talks about creating a financial stability plan when you are making an irregular income. In Shanah’s opinion, having a budget is necessary to see what she has available and what she has to pay for every month versus what she wants.
  • Budgets get a bad rap. They are like diets — nobody wants to be on one. The biggest realization you have with a budget is not knowing your expenses (it’s like stepping on a scale).
  • Whether you like to budget or not there is an issue that has to be resolved or you will accumulate a lot of debt. You need to know your expenses to figure out how much you need to make.
  • Shanah chronicles her life in 56 jobs in the book. 
  • Another book Shannon recommends is Hustle Away Debt by Dave Carlson, who has something like 150 side hustles.
  • With technology, you have a lot more options and it is changing by the day.
  • Shanah likes to talk to people about what she likes and about what she has done before. Most of the jobs she’s had have been handed to her, because they have heard of the other stuff she has done. Talking to people and networking is the best way to get these jobs.
  • Shanah and Shannon hate networking events. Networking is just talking to other people. 
  • The answer isn’t necessarily going back to school and getting another degree. There can be more creativity than that.
  • Other than being doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and other jobs that require a specific education, most jobs you will learn as you go. Certain skills can apply to many different jobs which gives you more options in diversifying your income streams.
  • If you are feeling unhappy with what you are doing, there is an option to do something else that brings you happiness. Start having conversations with people and it might lead you to the next thing. 
  • Change is going to happen whether you like it or not. If you want to live your happiest and best life, you might need to implement that change yourself. 

Random Three Questions

  1. If you were to write another book, not book two, what would you write?
  2. What is your favorite thing to cook and is it what your kids like to eat?
  3. What is something people wouldn’t know about you through Google?

Connect with Shanah

Website: Adaptive Nourishment

Book: The Art of Being a PITA (Amazon)

If you’d like someone to help you figure out if you can work for yourself or manage the business you’ve already started, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We work with hundreds of people building businesses of all shapes and sizes and we’d love to help you.

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward so the new rates will not impact you.

If you’re ready to manifest your dreams and grow your business in 2019 like Shanah, head over to financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Getting Naked with Paul

0

Getting Naked with Paul

At the Financial Gym, we call the first meeting you have with a trainer the “financially naked session.” In this meeting, you share everything about yourself financially so the trainer knows where you’re starting and so he or she can make the plan for how you can get where you want to go. Above all other meetings, this one scares clients the most because they are afraid or ashamed of their financial situation.

A few months back on this podcast, I shared my financially naked session and it led to a request for more. Getting in the hot seat today is another dude who’s a long time podcast listener and also a long-time financial gym client. I’m excited to have Paul join me today to share his digits and his journey to a financially healthier lifestyle.  

What Are We Drinking?

Paul — Sandro Veste Wine

Shannon — Vodka with Black Berry Schweppes

Podcast Notes

  • Paul was a podcast listener for about six months or a year before he joined the Financial Gym. He has now been a client for over a year. 
  • He joined the Gym, because he needed some direction with his money. He was looking for a second opinion on what he should be doing. 
  • Paul discovered the Martinis and Your Money podcast when he heard Shannon on Listen Money Matters. He went back and listened to all of the episodes. When he is looking to make a change, Paul likes to immerse himself in relevant podcasts. Sometimes it takes time for the information to sink in.
  • Paul lived in New Jersey when he joined the Gym, but now he lives in Rhode Island. He was able to keep the same job, but now he works for a different market.
  • Paul works for Nielsen TV Ratings. The data that is used is collected from people who have a box on their TV and a people meter that participants interact with. Nielsen randomly selects people in different areas and asks if they want to participate.
  • There are about 1,300 homes that represent all of New York. Providence, Rhode Island has about 400 homes representing their state, because the market is smaller. He has worked there for about five and a half years. The company has been around for almost 100 years doing consumer research.
  • Paul and another client, Natalie, are heading up the New England Money Tribe. They had their first meetup in Boston. You don’t have to be a Financial Gym client to be part of a Money Tribe. There are now ten Tribes around the country, and the plan is to add more in other cities. If you are interested in joining a money tribe, go to financialgym.com/national-money-tribes 
  • The Gym is looking at expanding and opening physical buildings in more locations. The top two locations are D.C. and L.A., but Dallas may be next, because Lindsey, a Gym trainer, recently moved there. There is another trainer who is interested in moving to Boston, which means there may be a physical Gym location there in the future.
  • The Gym works with clients in 47 different states and D.C. 
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questionnaire:
    • Birthday: 11/9/1992
    • Salary: $52,000 base salary
    • Quarterly Bonuses: $2,000 – $5,000
    • Pay Cycle: Bi-Weekly
    • Net Pay: $1,350 per paycheck
    • Schwab Checking account: $4,800 
    • Emergency Fund: $6,500
    • Vacation Fund: $330
    • Joint Checking (Rent): $0 after rent is withdrawn
    • Taxable Investment Account: $2,100 (long-term savings)
    • 401(k): $35,000
    • Roth IRA: $22,000
    • HSA: $5,800 (to be used for LASIK)
    • Moving Expenses: Planned $5,000; Actual $7000-$8000
    • Student Loan: $29,000 (was $92,000) 
    • Sapphire Reserve Credit Card: $1,375 (paid off each month)
    • Freedom Unlimited Credit Card: $587 (paid off each month)
    • Chase Ink Preferred Credit Card: $80 (paid off each month)
    • Other Credit Card: $13 (paid off each month)
    • Personal Loan: No
    • Car Loan: N/A – Company car
    • Credit Score: 812 
    • Auto Insurance: N/A – Company car
    • Renters Insurance: $10/month 
    • Long-Term Disability: Yes, through work
    • Rent: $825 (total is $1,625)
    • Will/Trust: No
    • Children: No
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $2,200
    • Goals 1-3 years: Take and pass the CFP exam (Certified Financial Planner) and go on a cruise to the Bahamas this summer
    • Goals 3-5 years: Purchase a fixer-upper house and work in financial planning 
    • Goals long-term: Financial independence, marriage, and kids
    • What’s important to you (sacred cows): Food and family

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is the importance of planning, even if you don’t know where life is going to take you. Paul joined the Gym with general life goals but as his personal situation has changed, so have his financial needs. I always tell clients that you may not know where life is
going to take you, but whenever that next exciting chapter presents itself, you don’t want money to hinder you from going after it. 

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your most used emoji?
  2. If you were a wrestler, what would be your entrance theme?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go. 

The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So if you’re ready to manifest your dreams, like Paul in 2019, head over to or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Work Optional with Tanja Hester

0

Work Optional with Tanja Hester

When I last had this guest on the podcast, she was still an anonymous blogger who was just on the verge of making the leap to a public outing and declaring financial independence with her husband. Fast forward over a year and now she has written a book to discuss her experience leading up to financial independence and why she’s not a typical FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) persona. I’m excited to have back on the show, and for the first time publicly, Tanja Hester, author of Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny Pinching Way, founder of Our Next Life Blog, and co-host of The Fairer Cents podcast. 

What Are We Drinking?

Tanja — Coffee with a splash of cream

Shannon —  Black Cherry Schweppes Sparkling Water

Podcast Notes

  • Tanja recently wrote a book called Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny Pinching Way.
  • When Tanja was last on the podcast, she was a few weeks away from retiring from her job and revealing her identity on her blog Our Next Life.
  • One of Tanja’s concerns before leaving her job and declaring financial independence was how she would feel emotionally. She had spent years with the people she worked with and had many professional relationships. 
  • Tanja spent a ton of time thinking about how her identity would change and how she would feel worthy in the world without contributing through traditional employment. She suspects the transition was good, because she thought about the emotional aspect of it ahead of time.
  • After she left her job, Tanja actually thought about work less than she expected. She was surprised how quickly thinking about work left her head and she pivoted into the next thing. She believes it is because of the preparation and thinking through that transition.
  • In researching for her book, she found that those who celebrate the end of one part of life (retirement) and treat it as this big moment are much happier than those who are forced out. Closure helps the transition.
  • The transition for Tanja and her husband, Mark, was pretty smooth, but there were some new rhythms in their relationship they needed to figure out. Some things were better than expected.
  • One of Shannon’s fears is not being prepared for transitions in life, which is why she believes in the importance of an emergency fund. Preparation makes things so much easier to handle.
  • We can’t predict the future and we don’t know what might happen, but if you are planning a big life transition, mentally prepare yourself, because even really good changes often feel scary and can feel like a loss. Knowing that it can be sad or stressful can make it easier to cope with. It helps you let yourself off the hook.
  • Last summer was really tough for Tanja, because things were progressing with her disability and she wasn’t able to get outside as much as she wanted to. She was feeling depressed, but reminded herself that she doesn’t have to go to work and tried to think about the positive parts of her life. Feel the sadness, but don’t add extra sadness by beating yourself up about being sad.
  • Shannon is a big fan of feeling all of the feelings. In April 2018, Shannon had a lot of struggles with the Financial Gym, and it set off some emotional alarms. It was her aha moment that it is okay to have these feelings. A glass of wine and a good cry in the shower helps.
  • Tanja’s was in her late 20’s when she decided she wanted to retire early, because she realized the career promise, you climb the ladder and life will be happier, is not necessarily true. We live in a burnout culture and every time you move up the ladder, you make more money and it is good for your ego, but you trade in all of your free time.
  • Tanja’s dad has a disability that forced him to leave the workforce in his early forties. It has always been clear that she may get what he has, and it turns out she has had it all along. It is a genetic disability called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). She probably won’t get his particular manifestation of it, but she is getting other effects.
  • In her early 30’s, she realized that she may only have a decade left of full mobility and she might not be able to climb mountains her whole life or travel the way she wants to when she gets older. Work was also getting busier and busier. She needed to get on a different path. 
  • Tanja avoids the term FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), because she doesn’t think working a job is bad.
  • If she had retired at 30 or 35, she thinks she would have missed out on an important chapter of her life. For anybody who looks at the FIRE movement and thinks they missed the boat, there is a trade off. Those who retire early could potentially be missing out on something. Look at your own situation and figure out what is important to you. Value your life experiences for what they are. 
  • Shannon recommends running your own race. It doesn’t matter where you are going, it just matters where you want to go. You can run a marathon at any point in your life. Who cares if it takes you 30 years instead of 20.
  • Shannon likes the FI of FIRE. FI, Financial Independence, is the goal Gym trainers give their clients. It is the ability to work because you want to work and not because you have to work. If you want to keep working, have at it. It is a freeing idea. Any time before 59 1/2 is early. It doesn’t matter your age. 
  • Tanja ran one marathon and she is banned by her orthopedist by running anymore, because of her disability. She ran it very slowly, her time was 5:25. She views it as an accomplishment, because she ran for five and a half hours.
  • There is something to sticking with a goal for a longer period. You will always be slower than someone else. Sticking with frugality, saving, or investing for a long period is worth celebrating. We are all unique and are all on our own journeys.
  • As a society, we are really bad at teaching people how to value ourselves outside of a work context. The idea of the American dream is focused on “If you work hard _______”. The whole vision is tied to work. It does have its merits, but if you are trying to take yourself out of that paradigm, it is difficult to know your worth.
  • Tanja has heard from some of her blog readers that they reached FI and felt aimless, and it was difficult for them to get out of bed everyday.
  • Tanja spent a big chunk of the book talking about self worth and who am I, when work is no longer a part of my identity.
  • The biggest surprise of early retirement for Tanja was realizing how much she loves working, but on her own stuff, not for an employer.
  • Tanja was a consultant for 16 years and her name wasn’t on anything. Now it is on a book. Getting to own what she does is such a gift. 
  • We are not all raised to define our worth outside of the traditional view of employment. 
  • If someone asks Tanja what she does for a living, she responds based on how she feels. If she is feeling saucy, she will say “I retired!”. Most of the time she will say she is a writer. Getting to say that feels like a privilege. 
  • Retirement is still a new concept. The idea that it is one fixed thing is an idea Tanja wants us all to move away from.
  • Shannon never connected with retirement, because she wants to work. The idea of FI came to her when she worked at Merrill Lynch, and it sounded so much better. 
  • Shannon is trying to reframe retirement as FI, because retirement is too far away. The purpose of preparing for FI is to give you the flexibility to discover your big thing in life. 
  • Tanja wants to kill the idea that you need to know early in life what you are cut out to do. Over her desk, Tanja has a picture of Julia Child in her kitchen in France. Julia didn’t learn to cook until she was over 40 and she went on to be the greatest cooking icon of all time. She was able to pursue that, because her husband had a job that supported them and she had financial flexibility.
  • The power comes from just knowing you can quit a job that sucks. Knowing you are good for a year is incredibly empowering. Early retirement doesn’t need to be your goal. Semi-retirement includes scaling back on work to allow yourself to do other things that are more meaningful to you. Sometimes you don’t need full retirement.
  • Two best financial tips to help you reach FI: 
    • If you have an employer match on your retirement account, you need to get the full match. It is free money – get it as soon as possible.
    • Automate your savings and hide it from yourself. Keep it out of your checking account and continue to increase the amount. Keep challenging yourself and see if you can do it. 
  • You don’t need to cut every single expenditure, just cut the excess stuff, the mindless spending, that doesn’t make you happy. Spend money on the stuff you love, without guilt.
  • When you cut back on the crap, you have the stress-less ability to spend on things you love.
  • The Gym tracks spending on 1,700 clients. The top spending areas are food/dining out/food delivery, Amazon, and Uber/Lyft. Create more mindfulness around your spending. We work hard for our money, and we need to make it hard to spend our money. It is too easy to spend money and we are not paying attention. 
  • Tanja’s book takes a balanced approach to achieving FI. She takes readers through the emotional and existential choices of FI to help you get on the right path. The book includes questions, checklists, and other tools. 
  • Tanja had a dream of writing a book and she feels better than she expected she would now that the book is finished. Her experience was very positive and she is really happy with how the book turned out. 
  • The book publishing experience is a reminder, over and over again, about how much you cannot please everyone. It isn’t the perfect book for everyone, but that is the nature of writing a book. She is proud of what she put into it and had a positive experience with her publisher and editor. She wanted to write this book for people who are not money nerds.
  • Tanja wanted to write a book that was more inclusive. She wanted it to help people who are single, people who have kids, people who don’t make six figures, people who have a non-traditional career path, and people who didn’t go to college. She wanted all of those people to feel welcome and see themselves in the book. She also wanted to break apart the concept of early retirement, to show that it is not all or nothing, and to write something the lets people decide for themselves what adds value to their lives. Tanja feels like she has accomplished those things. 

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is that financial independence and the road to it and through it can be different for everyone. The most important decisions you can make on your financial journey are the ones that resonate most with you and bring you joy at the end of the day. Although I can’t think of anything more joyous than living a work-optional life.

Random Three Questions

  1. What would be your second book you would write?
  2. What is the next big trip you would like to take?
  3. What is something that has to happen every day for you?

Connect with Tanja

Website: www.ournextlife.com

Book: Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny Pinching Way 

Podcast: The Fairer Cents

If you’d like someone to help you figure out if you can live a work-optional lifestyle, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We have hundreds of clients currently on this path, and we’d love to help more.

In case you didn’t know, Martinis and Your Money listeners, and your friends, get 15% off services at the Financial Gym. If you’re ready to manifest your work-optional dreams in 2019, head over to financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Self Employment with the Happy Hour Ladies

0

Self Employment with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is the last Friday of the month and my regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I host the happy hour on the podcast where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today we’re talking about self employment. An interesting side note is that all four of the happy hour ladies took the leap to self employment and we all took it in different ways and for different reasons. Today we share why we made those leaps, the lessons we learned after taking them, and some really important tips we want you to know so you can make the best decisions around self employment.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Bubbles

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Chardonnay

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Bota Box Night Hawk Black Red Wine Blend

Shannon — Sweetzer Cellars Pinot Noir

Podcast Notes

  • Melanie finished the third Lola Retreat in L.A. last weekend. The next Lola will be held August 16 – 18 in Seattle. Tonya will be speaking on a panel at that retreat.
  • Melanie suggested the happy hour ladies discuss self employment, because we are in the golden area of side hustling.
  • Many people who don’t already have a side hustle are thinking of starting one. Side hustling tends to be a hop, skip, and a jump to self employment full-time. This affects your taxes, your income, your time, etc. It needs to be talked about more.
  • Self employment looks glamorous from the outside, but it can make you insane, stressed out, and financially volatile.
  • Melanie had a full-time job in the non-profit space. She did a lot of side hustling, and a big one was writing.
  • Melanie was waking up at 6:00am and going to bed at 12:00am, in order to finish all of her work before going her full-time job. After reviewing her finances, she realized that her writing was bringing in the same amount as her full-time job.
  • In Melanie’s first year of self employment, she doubled her income from $30,000 to $60,000.
  • When Melanie quit, she had $40,000 in debt and only three months of expenses saved up.
  • Shannon recommends saving up at least six months to a year of expenses, before going out on your own. She learned that from personal experience. There are so many unknowns and it is good to be financially flexible.
  • Within the first year and a half of being self-employed, Melanie was hit with a huge tax bill, right after she paid off all of her debt, because she didn’t realize she was in a different tax bracket. Melanie was reserving 20 to 25 percent, but it wasn’t enough. She owed an extra $10,000.
  • After Liz had her first daughter, she realized it didn’t make sense to pay for daycare and go back to her job, since she was planning to quit in a year anyway. Liz had been saving everything she was earning, along with most of her husband’s income. It was not a crisis situation, because her husband still worked for his employer.
  • Liz and her husband bought their Vermont homestead while she was pregnant. She did a lot of freelance work after she had the baby and while they moved to Vermont. Once they moved, they also had rental income, because they rented their house in Cambridge.
  • She wanted to earn enough to replace her previous salary. After that, she transitioned into writing her book. She stopped freelancing when she started her book.
  • Liz recommends getting an accountant, because it is really complicated.
  • Tonya was forced into self employment, because she was laid off from the company she was working for at the start of the recession. She landed a big freelance job right away, but she was spending more than she was earning. She never really felt successful as a freelancer. For every podcast you hear of a person making six figures as a freelancer, there are about 500 to 1,000 others that are struggling to figure it all out.
  • You can make $30,000 as a freelancer and be really successful. Income is not necessarily an indicator of success.
  • There is a difference of being self-employed and having a spouse with a job and being single and living in a high cost of living area.
  • Shannon never had a side hustle leading up to starting the Gym. She wasn’t allowed to do anything with finance while she was working in that industry.
  • If you are so passionate about what you are about to build that you can’t sleep at night, you will find a way to make it work. Shannon has found a way for the past six years. She always felt 99 percent sure it is what she was supposed to be doing.
  • Shannon was able to have that opportunity, because she was married and her husband had an income and health insurance.
  • The Financial Gym is now valued at $10 million. Six years ago, Shannon would have sold it for $10 million. Now she wants it to be worth $500 million.
  • Shannon did do freelance writing to bring in extra income, when she was building the Financial Gym and going through her personal income.
  • There is essentially no overhead with writing as a side hustle. There are no large capital expenditures up front.
  • How much do you need to feed yourself and your family, and how much do you need to feed your business?
  • There is a right way to start a business, such as saving up prior to leaving your full-time job and making low cost choices. Don’t wait too long to find alternative sources of revenue for your business.
  • iFundWomen is crowd sourcing for women-started businesses. They’ve helped women raise over $3 million for their businesses.
  • Don’t go into credit card debt when there could be other people out there who love what you are about to build. Think of other sources first. There are easier ways to find people who are going to support you.
  • Melanie never felt like she would need to raise money for her business, but she wants to learn more about it.
  • If you need to raise money outside of friends and family, there are so many different paths and different ways.
  • Have more investors lined up then you think you will need. Shannon had really great meetings with people and thought they would invest and they passed on the opportunity. You can’t force people to write a check for you. It takes a lot of strength and is like going on 50 first dates. If you are really passionate about what you are building, you will find a way.
  • There have been about four times over the last two years where the Financial Gym was really close to not making payroll, because of investor timing, but paychecks have always been funded.
  • Don’t avoid building something because you need to raise money. Don’t let the capital scare you, there is plenty of money out there you just need to find it.
  • Top tips for people who are thinking of becoming self employed:
    • Melanie: Save more for taxes than you think you will need. Create your own accounts for sick time, vacation time, and retirement. Figure out different ways to monetize your income, so if one stream is down, you have others to support yourself.
    • Liz: It is helpful if you know your mission and purpose. What is the root goal? Are you trying to earn a certain income, pursue a passion, or both? Don’t serve too many different masters. You need to diversify to a point and then assess if it is consuming too much of your time. Where do you really want your best energy going? You only have a finite amount of time.
    • Tonya: You don’t have to do it. There is a huge push to work for yourself. For some people that is okay, for others it is not okay. Don’t follow the crowd. When you are freelancing, you still have clients and demands. Do what works for you. Don’t try to force it if it is not working for you. You don’t need to jump ship forever – you can go back to a full-time job.
    • Shannon: It is not for the weak of heart. If you try and it doesn’t work out, or if you don’t love it, you do not fail if you go back to a full-time job. It is important to say no when you need to, even if it brings in money. Sometimes you should say yes to things that don’t pay.
  • Don’t be afraid to quit, but don’t be afraid to stick it out. There will be some hard times that you need to push through, but you will get to something better. Don’t be afraid of the friction.
  • Self employment is a roller coaster. You can have ups and downs and sometimes all in the same day.
  • Go into self employment with your eyes wide open.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that self employment is not for everyone, but as scary as it is, don’t let it scare you away from trying it, if you think it might be the next step in your life path. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you make this leap, and I guarantee you the worst that can happen is some financial troubles. Everything we do financially is fixable, and building something can be a once in a lifetime experience that’s worth trying.

If you want to work with my team at the Financial Gym to help you achieve your goals of self employment, remember that Martinis and Your Money Listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services, and our number one employer at the Gym is self-employed, so we’ve seen it all and know how to help you make and build a great business of your own. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com.

If you have any topics you would like for us to talk about during happy hour, please feel free to email me at shannon@finblonde.com or tweet to me at blonde_finance or join the private martinis and your money Facebook group and let us know. Until next time, take care!!