200th Episode – Listener Happy Hour

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martinis and your money

200th Episode – Listener Happy Hour

This is a super special episode for me to share with you, because it’s my 200th episode. Can you believe I’ve said “Hello Martinis and your Money listeners” 200 times now? Time flies when you’re having fun, and having fun is what I do when I record these shows for you and for me. When I was thinking about how I wanted to commemorate this event, the only thing I could think about was my amazing listeners – you, who are the reason why I take the time out to record and share this show. So I thought I would host a happy hour for some of my uber listeners, where I share some juicy info about this show, and about me personally, and let them ask me whatever they want. I hope you enjoy this conversation with my friends.

Jen – Tito’s Lemonade Vodka

Mabel – Shiraz Wine

Sherri – Black Box Cabernet

Shannon – Deep Eddy’s Vodka with grapefruit flavored sparkling water

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon announced that she is partnering with Bacardi, and she is about to kick off a five-city tour. It is a women’s empowerment summit for the hospitality industry, and she will be talking about financial fitness. Bacardi will be giving a one-month membership to every attendee as Shannon’s speaking fee.
  • Shannon started this podcast as a dare three years ago and has kept doing it because of her listeners.
  • Shannon asked each guest how they found this show:
    • Mabel followed Shannon to two events and introduced herself. She originally found this show through the Mad Fientist’s podcast when he was interviewing Mrs. Frugalwoods and she mentioned Happy Hour.
    • Jen is very interested in personal finance and found Shannon through YouTube. She saw a video that Shannon did with the Financial Diet. This show is the first podcast she has ever listened to, and she has listened to all of the episodes.
    • Sherri was never interested in personal finance and she wanted to educate herself. She googled personal finance podcasts and came across this one and loved it.
  • Shannon has recorded episodes that she hasn’t aired, because she didn’t get anything out of them. If she thinks the information may be helpful to listeners she will air it. She would rather replay an episode she has previously aired than expose her listeners to something she didn’t find value in.
  • Shannon gets requests every day from people who want to be on her podcast. Most requests are from people who have written books. She usually does not accept these requests, unless the books interest her in some way. She picks guests based on what she is interested in and what she thinks her listeners will be interested in.
  • Sherri now adds cinnamon to her coffee, because of what Shannon said in a recent episode.
  • The ladies talk about their favorite and least favorite episodes:
    • Mabel’s favorite episode is the Frugal or Cheap Happy Hour (Feb & Mar 2015).
    • Jen’s least favorite episode was called The Joys and Pains of Single Parenthood with Sarah Bettencourt. Her favorite episode was Credit Card Churning with Holly Johnson (Apr 2015).
    • Sherri’s favorite was Debt Repayment and Side Hustling with Melanie Lockhert. Another favorite was Open Enrollment with Charleton Lamb. Sherri will turn off the podcast if it doesn’t interest her.
    • Shannon’s all-time favorite episode was her story, The Struggle to Find Happiness, because she went through a lot and she wanted to share it with her listeners. One of the episodes Shannon really loved was The Importance of Positivity with her college roommate, Jill. She also loves the Happy Hours. They’ve recorded 34 episodes together so far. When Shannon wants to laugh, she will go back and listen to Happy Hour episodes. Shannon’s least favorite episodes are not aired. You can tell if she is not really interested, if she gets to the random three questions within 30 minutes.
  • Shannon said it is difficult for someone’s true self to come across in 45 minutes. She has personally had emails from people that don’t like her swearing and emails from people who do like her swearing.
  • Shannon shared a positive email she received from Hilary Hendershott after she aired her episode, Helping Women Talk about Money and Investing (Dec 2017).
  • The ladies asked Shannon about the boyfriend she briefly mentioned in a recent episode. Shannon shared a story about her not-fun online dating experience on Bumble. The boyfriend she mentioned isn’t from an online dating site, but happens to be her friend that gave her the first $15,000 for the gym. Shannon shared a story about almost getting caught by her son with her new boyfriend.
  • Mabel asked if there had ever been any difficult guests or anyone who drank too much while recording. Shannon shared that there was a Happy Hour episode where Melanie was in NYC and they went out drinking together prior to recording. Shannon said she didn’t remember much of the show afterwards. Shannon talked about one guest that drank too much and another that may have had a “Rocky Mountain high”.
  • Shannon shared that some of her favorite episodes include Frugality for Depressives, Disability Insurance – What you need to know, Minimalism for Anyone, Deep in Debt But Now Full of Life (Nov 2017),
  • Sherri and Shannon talk about the core philosophy the Financial Gym has about balancing life now and planning for the future.
  • Jen said she heard an episode where Shannon said the worst car she ever had was a BMW. Jen said she works for BMW and is the Marketing Director for several dealerships in her area. Shannon shared a story about how her ex-husband had a paid-off mustang and they both decided to trade it in for an expensive, convertible BMW.
  • Shannon said that she loves recording and sharing the podcasts with her listeners.

TAKEAWAY: The importance of commitment. I committed to this show three years ago. While it’s hard work and it takes time, it has led me to some amazing experiences on and off the show that I am so thankful for. I look forward to recording the next 200 shows.

If you need help committing to your financial goals, I hope that you’ll reach out to my team at The Financial Gym and find out more about what we do. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com/friends to sign up for a free call today. Also, visit the Gym’s site to find out more about our local money tribes that we’re kicking off across the country. You don’t have to be a Gym member to join in, you just have to be someone who is interested in chatting about all things personal finance with some cool people, while possibly enjoying an adult beverage at the same time. Look them up and get connected.

And until next time, take care!!

What’s the 411 on Ash Cash’s new 4:44 book?

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What’s the 411 on Ash Cash’s new 4:44 book?

Over the last four years of building my blog, this podcast, and my business, I have met a lot of people. For some people, I’m glad it was a one-time meeting, for others I’ve forgotten their names because they didn’t move me either way and others,  like this next guest, just leave an imprint on my soul. Today I’m talking to Ash Cash, personal finance expert and author, and from the moment I met Ash, I just felt like he lit my soul and my purpose on fire. So when I saw that he recently released a book inspired by Jay Z’s 4:44 album, I knew I had to have him back on the show and find out what (other than Jay Z) inspired him to write this book. As always, I enjoyed time with my friend and I hope that you do as well.

What are we drinking?

Ash — Ace of Spades

Shannon — Cava

Podcast Notes

  • Ash’s background is banking. He started as a teller and around 2008, he intentionally became a personal finance expert, because he didn’t feel that people knew what they were getting into with financial products.
  • Ash wanted to give people the information they needed to become financially free and manage their money better.
  • Ash has written six books, with the last one being released at the end of 2017. His recent book is called The Wake Up Call: Financial Inspiration Learned from 4:44, which was inspired by Jay Z’s album.
  • Ash tries to find ways to use pop culture to teach money lessons at different colleges, but people were asking for more than just a 45-minute presentation.
  • According to Amazon, the book is designed to teach African Americans how to manage money more effectively and how to manage generational wealth. The principles in the book can be related to anyone who reads it. What Jay Z was talking about in his music was geared toward the African American community. There were a lot of government rules and regulations that held African Americans back economically. We can collectively build a stronger economy and a culture that is inclusive.
  • Many of Shannon’s African American clients do not get the education at home growing up.
  • Because this book is associated with Jay Z’s album, it is targeting people who wouldn’t have normally picked up a personal finance book.
  • Jay Z is aware of the book, but Ash has not heard from him.
  • Ash felt an obligation to expand on the conversation that Jay Z started.
  • People who have read the book have purchased copies to send to friends and family. The book speaks in a language that people need.
  • It took Ash a month to complete the book, from beginning to end. The book was on pre-sale and sold 250 copies, before he was done with the book.
  • Ash was following a model for his books called Mind Right. However, right now, he is going to focus on promoting his newest book. He and his wife are working on a curriculum for those who want to teach on his new book. He is not ready to go back to his Mind Right focus right now.

TAKEAWAY: Financial inspiration or inspiration for living a better life can come from anywhere so never close your mind to the messages the universe is trying to deliver to you. I’m so glad that Ash was opened to the messages Jay was giving him because I know the words will change people’s lives.

Random Three Questions 

  1. What is another album that has inspired you?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. What do you like to do to relax?

Connect with Ash

The444book.com

Iamashcash.com

Twitter: @theashcashshow

Instagram

Facebook

If you need some inspiration to achieve your financial dreams, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym and find out more about what we do. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today! Also, visit the gym’s site to find out more about our local money tribes that we’re kicking off across the country. You don’t have to be a gym member to join in, you just have to be someone interested in chatting all things personal finance with some cool people while possibly enjoying an adult beverage at the same time. Look them up and get connected!

 

Dream, Girl with Erin Bagwell

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Dream, Girl with Erin Bagwell

I am constantly amazed at what other women are accomplishing and Erin Bagwell is one of those women. Erin always dreamed of creating her own movie and, thanks to a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, Erin created the movie Dream, Girl, a documentary about a subject that is near and dear to my heart – the stories of female entrepreneurs. Erin joins me today to share her journey that started as a dream in school and led to the White House.

What are we drinking?

Erin — Coffee

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Erin wanted to make a movie since she was a little girl.
  • She made a video for a school project and she knew after she premiered it to her class that she would pursue film as a career.
  • Erin studied film in school, moved to NYC and worked in advertising for a couple of years, and became a feminist after she was sexually harassed at work. She created a blog called Feminist Wednesday and became obsessed with female entrepreneurs, after meeting a lot of women and hearing their stories.
  • Erin put together a Kickstarter campaign to produce the film and made $104,000 in 30 days. She has been working on her film Dream, Girl for almost four years.
  • Erin uses Jillian Foster’s definition of feminism: It is about the equality of the sexes, but it’s also about preserving other women’s rights. Give people the space to make their own decisions, whether you agree with them or not.
  • When people start to dissect things that are clearly fine and don’t need to be dissected, that is when we see dissent within the feminist movement.
  • Years ago it was feminism for me, then it was feminism for we. Now it is evolved and bigger and can be portrayed as negative.
  • There is a subconscious bias against women having any power or rights. There are a lot of systems that are benefiting and making money off of this.
  • Erin deeply connected with women entrepreneurs through her blog and feature three of them in the Kickstarter trailer. Her campaign went viral the last week and her backers gave her the names of other women they thought should be featured and the floodgates opened. She interviewed between 50 and 100 women to be in the film.
  • Shannon talked about the frustration of raising money for two years. Erin said women only get 3% of venture capital funding. We need to look at who is controlling the money. Women’s companies bring in 12% more revenue, and women control 65% of purchasing power in their homes.
  • The number one thing Erin hears when screening female entrepreneurs is how to get money and investors.
  • Shannon talked about her experience with venture capitalists.
  • Erin did the Kickstarter campaign in 2014 and released the movie in 2016. She showed the movie at the White House and brought the entrepreneurs and their families. A month after that, there was a screening in at the Paris Theater in NYC with 600 people and a red carpet.
  • The hardest part of making the movie has been her job selling the film.
  • Erin wrote a book call Creative Money, which is about assigning a value to your work and what to do about discounts.
  • Erin will view success by reaching the widest audience possible. There have been over 250 screenings since the release in May 2016. Erin has been traveling with the film and speaking. She is now looking for a global partnership. Erin is interested in making another movie.
  • Anyone can host a screening by purchasing the movie at dreamgirlfilm.com.
  • Don’t let the fear of looking for the money stop you from pursuing your dream. You will find the right investor who believes in your mission.

TAKEAWAY: Never give up on your dreams, no matter how long you’ve had them and how hard you will have to work on them. Erin has been building and growing Dream, Girl for over four years now, just like I’ve been building the Financial Gym for four years. Most dreams take time to fully realize so have patience so you can see them realized one day.

Random Three Questions 

  1. What is a movie that has influenced your life?
  2. Where is a place you wish you could travel to that you haven’t been to yet?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Erin

Instagram: @erin.bagwell

If you want to make some of your dreams a reality and need someone to help you along the way, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We have clients achieving their dreams every day they they never could have realized on their own. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

Making Changes with the Happy Hour Ladies

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Making Changes 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 a happy hour, where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. This January, I’ve focused on change on the podcast and today I’m talking to my happy hour friends about making changes, how comfortable we are with making them and what prevents us from making changes, especially when we know we need to. As usual, we had a lot of fun.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Water

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Vodka

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Hot Cocoa

Shannon — Vodka

Podcast Notes

  • Liz will not be able to attend next month’s happy hour, and Shannon said they should auction off her spot to raise money for a give back fund. This fund would be used to help clients who are struggling.
  • Shannon has a client who had more than $30,000 in debt when they started working together and by the third quarter review saved $10,000 and paid off $7,000. Her client had an abortion a year ago, because of her finances, and that was the trigger to make a change.
  • Shannon asked do you need extreme things to happen to make a change in your life? How do you handle change?
  • Liz says she has evolved in her change-making process. Ten years ago she spent a long time deliberating, where now she makes a decision to change more quickly. That happened because they were unfulfilled and unhappy, prior to making the decision of moving to the homestead.
  • Melanie said she tends to hit rock bottom before making a big change. When she was in debt, it helped her to write out what she was going through on her blog. Last year, she hit a low point and she is now making changes with her physical and mental health. We are built to crave comfort and routine, and making a change is like rewiring our brain.
  • Tonya said one of her favorite quotes is “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” – Hama Tuma. If she is struggling with a situation, she debates whether it needs to change or whether she is being ungrateful. It is the risk of not knowing what is on the other side of that change. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got” – Tony Robbins. How long are you willing to put up with the situation that isn’t making you happy, before you make that change? Sometimes you need that big event to help you make a change.
  • Shannon said she has never been scared of changes. She has fears, but not about change. She has always trusted her gut and makes a decision.
  • Shannon asked what are you afraid of?
  • Tonya said not having enough money.
  • Liz said each decision compounds and lets you know that it is okay to make these changes. The worst that can happen is not that bad. “All the immediate unknowns are better than knowing this tired and lonely fate” – Rilo Kiley. You don’t know what the other side is like. Being in a good financial position makes big decisions easier to make.
  • Tonya asked what about a person who is not in a great financial situation? Should they wait to make a change until they are in a better place financially?
  • Shannon said there is a reason why you feel the need to make a change. “I’m in the gap between the two trapeze” – Coldplay. To move forward you have to let go. The middle is a scary place to be, but what’s the safety net? Shannon’s safety net is her faith. God is her net.
  • You only get one shot in life. It is important to live without regrets. Shannon’s search results on change quotes:
    • “Life is not a dress rehearsal”
    • ”Be the change you wish to see in the world”
    • ”Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”
    • ”Things change and friends leave; life doesn’t stop for anybody”
  • Financial health gives you so much freedom for change. It gives you a safety net to make change less scary. Change is like a muscle. It gets easier to make changes the more you flex that muscle.
  • It is more challenging to make changes as you get older. You have more at stake. There are other attachments to consider. On the flip side, as you make changes, you realize how resilient you are.
  • Liz and her husband have a philosophy where you cannot complain about stuff unless you make actionable change. Do something or don’t talk about it. Or decide it isn’t a big deal and take your focus off it.
  • “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” – Andy Warhol. Sometimes maybe the way you are viewing your situation is the problem. Are you being ungrateful? Is it just in your head? “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which are true” – Mark Twain.
  • “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change” – Taylor Swift
  • Don’t let yourself get to a place where you need to make a regretful decision because of your finances. Start living your best life today.
  • Accept that change is scary and hard, but sometimes it is really worth it. You can pick yourself back up if it doesn’t work out.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that change is like a muscle we have to flex and continuously work on. Change can be scary, but change can also lead you to a better place as I’ve certainly seen in my life. I hope you take the opportunity to make 2018 your year of change and don’t be afraid to flex those important change muscles you have in you.

We sort of joked about it in the show, but we will need a replacement next month for Mrs. Frugalwoods during the happy hour segment. If you’re available at 9pm EST on Monday, February 19, drop me a note in the Facebook group and let me know why you’d make a great addition to the happy hour and what you may want to drink with us.

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!!

The Year of Less with Cait Flanders

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The Year of Less with Cait Flanders

You may remember my guest today from my episode entitled Minimalism for Everyone. I’ve been blogging friends with Cait Flanders for almost four years now and I’ve loved following her blog writing and I’m excited to share with you that she’s written a book: The Year of Less: How I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store. This January, I’ve focused my podcast around changes, and Cait’s book chronicles the changes she made to lead her to the minimalist lifestyle and she’s sharing more of that on my show as well.

What are we drinking?

Cait — Coffee

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Cait started as a personal finance blogger in 2010, but she deleted her blog, because she wasn’t done spending. She had about $24,000 in debt at that time.
  • She came back to blogging at Blonde on a Budget a few months later, and she was maxed out at $30,000 in debt.
  • For a few years, Cait wrote about getting out of debt. Cait has been experimenting with different things and, since then, she did a shopping ban initially for one year, and it turned into two. She then got rid of a bunch of her belongings and is now experimenting with slow living.
  • Cait initially stopped blogging, because she knew she wanted to pay off her debt, but she wasn’t ready to change her lifestyle.
  • Every change you make pays compound interest. When you accomplish one thing, it gives you confidence to change something else. Getting one area of your life in order, like your finances, makes it easier to do that with another area of your life, like your health.
  • Cait is always willing to experiment with challenges, to get to a more aligned version of herself.
  • If you are carrying credit card balances and not paying them off in full every month, it is a sign that you are spending more than you make.
  • Cait realized she had several self-limiting beliefs about her earning potential, after her friend made a comment. Sometimes it takes someone close to you to point it out.
  • One of the books that helped Shannon when she was growing her business is Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. Shannon would one day like to sell the Financial Gym and use the proceeds to create the Golden Girls Fund to invest in women start-up businesses in the early stages.
  • You are a Badass at Making Money, by Jen Sincero, was a book that was helpful to Cait.
  • Cait’s new book, The Year of Less, is found on Amazon, under dieting and mental health. It’s not just about personal finance, it is a lot of things in one book.
  • Cait was featured in Forbes for her shopping ban. Within two weeks, she received emails from six different literary agents about turning her experience into a book.
  • When looking for a literary agent, representation is very important. Talk to everyone and interview them. Find someone you would be happy entering a long-term relationship with, since the hope would be writing more than one book.
  • It took about 18 months for Cait’s book to be written and published.
  • The timeline in the book is the year of her shopping ban, but there is a lot backstory and other information that Cait has not published in the past. There was a lot of self reflection and practical information in this book.
  • Shannon called Cait’s book “The financial Eat, Pray, Love”.
  • Cait and Shannon talk about negative self-talk and being kinder to yourself. If you make a decision to eat something unhealthy or spend on something that wasn’t planned, be kind to yourself. You might need to work a little harder now, but get over it. Don’t quit!
  • Shannon said sometimes it takes a solid year for everything to click with clients, but they keep showing up. It takes a lot of courage to keep pushing through.
  • Cait started her blog seven years ago and says she is still a work in progress.
  • Cait’s book will be released January 16, 2018, on Kindle, Audible, and in hardcover.
  • Cait’s book can be found on caitflanders.com, or Instagram

Random Three Questions 

  1. What is a book that changed your life?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. Where is somewhere you would like to go or you would like to go back to?

Connect with Cait

Caitflanders.com

If you want to make a big change this year in your finances and want someone to help you along the way, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We have clients hitting financial goals every day they they never could have hit on their own. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

Unexpected Unemployment with Bridget Todd

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Unexpected Unemployment with Bridget Todd

We are at the beginning of a New Year and many of you are planning on making changes in your lives. Unfortunately, so are companies. For many people, they are going to start the year off unemployed and this is the case for one of my listeners, Danielle, who was unexpectedly let go last week and asked if I could do a show about what to do if this happens to you. I fortunately/unfortunately thought this was a great show idea and immediately recruited my girl and lead trainer at the Financial Gym, Bridget Todd, who has counseled a number of clients through this unfortunate surprise. She joins me to share some of her best practices and how you can take the experience of getting laid off and turn it into the best change of your life.

What are we drinking?

Bridget — Hot Toddy (Tea & Whiskey)

Shannon — Vodka and Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • One of the listeners asked for a discussion on becoming suddenly unemployed due to layoff or being fired.
  • Bridget has had at least five clients in the last six to eight months who have been in this same situation and she has helped them come up with a plan to stay out of debt.
  • Companies plan on layoffs for several months and often choose the beginning of the year to stay away from the holidays. Another reason to do layoffs in January, is that it gets them out of paying bonuses in February or March.
  • There are a lot of people looking for work in January and there tend to be more openings due to those leaving their jobs in December.
  • Shannon discusses her experience at Bank of America in 2007 and 2008, when there were big layoffs.
  • Everyone who made it through the 2007 layoffs thought they were safe and were caught off-guard when more layoffs happened in 2008.
  • All of the people who were laid off ended up someplace new.
  • A common theme that Bridget sees with clients who lose their job is that they were surprised by the layoff, but they told her in previous meetings that they didn’t like their job and they wanted to do something new.
  • This gives them the time and focus to build a new skill set and move in the direction they want to go.
  • The first goal for clients of the Gym is the emergency savings goal. Having three to six months of monthly expenses saved in an emergency fund is critical. It could be health, new tires, getting laid off, etc. You have to be prepared! This is top priority.
  • When a client loses their job and doesn’t have an emergency fund, Bridget first looks at the debt situation and the client’s credit score. The best thing to do if there is no emergency fund is to have a zero percent interest credit card – if you need to pay something, you will need to put it somewhere. How are you going to pay your bills?
  • Figure out some way to make money in the interim between finding the next best job. You may need to take a job you don’t like in the meantime.
  • Using a zero percent interest rate credit card is better than borrowing from your 401(k). When you take money from your 401(k), you lose half of what you take out between penalties and taxes.
  • People get laid off all the time – it doesn’t mean that you are a shitty employee or that you will never get another job, it just means the company needed to cut costs. Hiring managers know this.
  • As a hiring manager, Shannon wants to see how the person responds to the situation, especially if they were willing to take a job that was not ideal in the interim.
  • The longer the gap between jobs lasts, with no employment, employers start to question why the person hasn’t worked.
  • Figure out what you want to do and where. Go on LinkedIn and look at the jobs available in the field. Email everyone in your network and do the work. Your new job is to find a new job – work every connection you have that is relevant to something you want.
  • Don’t worry about taking a job knowing it is not the one and that you are not going to stay there. Keep looking. It is easier to find a job when you have a job.
  • It is not typical to stay in a job for 20 or 30 years anymore. Hiring managers know that the trend is for people to job hop until they find the right position. Shorter stints in a job does not look bad anymore.
  • How do you manage your finances when you are unemployed? How can you get your expenses to the lowest possible point to give you more flexibility?
    • Can you move home with your parents and sublet your apartment? Can you rent a room in your home? How are you going to resolve paying for your biggest expense?
    • Cut out everything! Netflix, Spotify, etc. Little expenses add up!
    • What are you obligated to pay? If you have credit card debt, start paying the minimum. If you have federal student loans, can you put them into forbearance or are you eligible to defer them?
    • Make a list of necessities, like food, and come up with a grocery budget. Can you cut your cable and internet? Can you switch your phone to a lower cost provider?
    • Give yourself a little money to do something you want or so you can go out with friends once a month.
    • Contact your lender to see if you can get a month or two reprieve. Negotiate everything you can.
    • Come up with your bare-bones number and learn to live within that budget, until you find your next job.
  • It will never be comfortable, you just need to manage through it.
  • The lowest lows will lead you to the highest highs.
  • The trainers at the Financial Gym stress the importance of the emergency fund, because they have seen clients in that position.
  • If you get laid off at the beginning of the month, use your health care. If you end up with a medical bill, remember, you can negotiate those and work out a payment plan with the provider.
  • If your company gives you a severance, read through it carefully, consult with someone, and try to negotiate for more weeks of pay and insurance.
  • Apply for unemployment right away online. It will be at least a few months of some money that will help keep you afloat. Check with your HR person to see if you will be eligible. If you are being fired due to your performance, you may not be eligible.
  • If you are getting unemployment or a severance, still go to your bare-bones budget. You may not have another job once the pay ends. Try to bank the severance by getting another job quicker.
  • Flex Spending Account (FSA): tied to the employer; use it up within the deadline.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA): you can take this with you.
  • 401(k)/Roth 401(k): roll these out of the company into individual IRAs.
  • How do you manage through the process of competing for your job, against your co-workers, when your company is doing layoffs? Your co-workers are feeling the same way. Keep a list of your work achievements and times when you’ve gone above and beyond. It is every man for himself. Never speak badly about your co-workers. If you are in a competition environment, you should be looking for another job.
  • Shit happens, but it doesn’t stay shitty. It is just a period of time. The best way to shorten that period of time is to be proactive. When you lose your job, it is the universe forcing you to make a change. The quicker you accept that, the quicker the universe gives you what you want.
  • It is all about how you react when you get pushed down. You need to put yourself out there and start working.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that even the most unexpected events in your life happen for a reason, and if you lose your job, keep up your positivity and remember that this is the kick in the butt from the universe that you need to lead to you the next big adventure of your life.

Random Three Questions 

  1. If you need to relax, are you going to a hot tub or a massage?
  2. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
  3. If you were to win $1 million, what would you do?

 

If you’ve found yourself unexpectedly unemployed and need a game plan for how to get through it, please reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We will get a game plan together for you for free. It’s hard to move on to the next great adventure of your life if you’re stressed and uncertain about how to get there, so don’t be – my team is here for you. You can schedule a free call here to find out more.

 

Big Changes at All Life Stages with Amy Ogden

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Big Changes at All Life Stages with Amy Ogden

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday season and a joyous start to the New Year. I spent my holidays working on my plans for the Financial Gym for 2018, cleaning my home, and relaxing as much as possible. I’m excited and energized for the new year and I hope you are as well. Speaking of new years, new years always make me think about making new starts. So today I’m talking Amy Ogden, Senior Vice President of Brand at J Public Relations and lifestyle blogger at Sips of Sunshine about the new start she made in what felt like late in life for her. She shares the events that led up to her big decisions and how it changed her life for the better.

What are we drinking?

Amy — Hot peppermint tea

Shannon — Black Cherry Schweppes

Podcast Notes

  • Four years ago, Amy was living in San Diego and was Vice President for one of the world’s top luxury travel, PR, and social media agencies.
  • She was living a charmed life, was in her mid-thirties, but was bored and needed something else.
  • Amy always had a dream in the back of her mind to move to New York, but thought she missed her window.
  • On a visit in 2014, Amy was in NYC and had a peaceful knowledge that this was where she belonged. There was sadness in leaving her life in San Diego, but no fear.
  • When she told the company she wanted to move, they agreed to transfer her.
  • Her first hard lesson was that her stuff had no street value. She had to sell, donate, or give away all but seven to nine boxes of stuff.
  • She used Airbnb for the first two months in NYC, before committing to an apartment, and moved with only her clothing, makeup, and Vitamix blender.
  • Amy eventually decided to rent a very small apartment in the West Village. Moving to NYC was forced minimalism.
  • She never realized how much time and money she spent acquiring things before. Now, if she has free time, she writes a blog post, catches up with a friend, or goes to a Broadway play, instead of spending money and filling up her house with things she doesn’t need.
  • We’re robbing ourselves of great experiences, because we are fixated on stuff.
  • How you spend your money is how you spend your time.
  • Another lesson Amy learned is that she doesn’t remember or miss anything she got rid of. Now she has more time and space.
  • After moving to NYC, she realized she should have downsized even more.
  • When you spend money, think “What are you working for?” Don’t think “can I afford it”, but “where is its place in my life?” and “How can I get it home?”. She doesn’t have any extra space or a car.
  • She now buys the best brand she can afford, because she only has one. Quality over quantity has become a centerpoint in her life.
  • What can you do with your time instead of buying things?
  • When you free up your money from stuff, look at where in your life you could outsource that would make you happy. Reflect on where you can spend to save yourself time. Amy now can spend on a cleaning lady and a blowout membership.
  • Evaluate what you are spending on and decide if it is still worth it – don’t wait for a new year.
  • Amy calls herself a “bougie borrower”. Owning things isn’t exciting to her and she doesn’t have the space, but she still wants nice things in her life. She now subscribes to Rent the Runway unlimited. She also subscribes to Rocksbox for jewelry. There are so many ways to have nice things that you don’t need to own.
  • It is all about what you value and what’s important to you. There are so many extra costs with owning things.
  • Amy values having certain things that she can use and not own. There is freedom in renting and the time she reclaims.
  • Find out what you value and work backwards from there.
  • Don’t let story lines get in your way. You do not need to be young and broke to move to NYC. You do not need to own things to be happy.
  • Identify and work for your own story line, not someone else’s. It needs to work for you and your life, but it needs to be financially responsible.
  • Challenge yourself to look around your home and life and lighten up something – you will feel lighter. Create some space so you can breathe. Look at how you are spending your time. Pay attention to the role that stuff plays in your life.

TAKEAWAY: Let Amy’s story and the New Year remind all of us that we’re capable of making big changes in our lives at any stage of our life. Don’t let stories that you tell yourself
prevent you from making a big change that could lead you into an amazing next chapter of your life.

Random Three Questions 

  1. Do you relax with a massage or a hot tub?
  2. Where is somewhere you’ve been that should be a bucket list item for other people?
  3. If you were to win one million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Amy:

www.sipsofsunshine.com

If you want to make a big change this year in your finances and want someone to help you along the way, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We have clients hitting financial goals everyday that they never could have hit on their own. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. Head over or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

 

Year-End Review with the Happy Hour Ladies

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Year-End Review with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is not only the last Friday of the month, but it’s the last Friday of the year so that makes this a very special edition of the Happy Hour Episode. Regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. This episode is special, because it’s our third annual year-end review. We’re going to recap what goals we set for ourselves in 2017 and how well we did at accomplishing them. We’ll share our highs and lows for this year, and finally we’ll share with you our big goals for 2018. As always, I had a blast with my friends and now here they are for the last time in 2017.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Cava

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Petite Sirah

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — Hot Cocoa

Shannon — Cava

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon reminded Mrs. Frugalwoods that her 2017 goal was to keep everyone alive, maintain the homestead, and focus on strategic charitable giving.
  • Mrs. Frugalwoods’ highs of 2017:
    • Babywoods is thriving
    • She has achieved strategic and efficient use of time, due to lack of time
    • She finished her book, Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence through Simple Living
    • Homesteading went well – bigger garden, more organized, preserved more food, enjoyed their time there
    • Babywoods 2 is due February 2018
    • Uber-Frugal Month Challenge – over 20,000 people have taken it; positive feedback from participants
    • Strategic charitable giving – She opened a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) and mapped out her charitable giving
  • Mrs. Frugalwoods’ lows of 2017:
    • Understanding her limitations right now
    • Being okay with getting less done and letting go of perfection
    • She was asked to join a Board of an organization that she feels strongly about, but she had to turn it down
  • Shannon reminded Melanie that her goals were to take charge of her income and make more money from things other than writing (speaking/coaching/events).
  • Melanie’s highs of 2017:
    • Most professionally successful year
    • Contracted to plan several events throughout the year
    • Created and planned her first big event, Lola Retreat, with Emma Pattee
    • Income is on par or better than last year
    • Recognized by peers through the PLUTUS award – won best freelancer and the foundation service award for her suicide prevention blog tour
    • Travel to New Orleans, New York, Mexico
    • She adopted two kittens, Miles and Thelonious
  • Melanie’s lows of 2017:
    • Physical and mental health issues in Spring
    • Melanie and her partner of nine years broke up in August
  • Shannon reminded Tonya that her 2017 goal was to increase her net worth by more than $46,000 and to travel more. 2017 was to be a growth exploring year.
  • Tonya’s highs of 2017:
    • Net worth is over $60,000
    • Travel to Europe (Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria), Colorado, Yosemite
    • Pepe, Tonya’s 17-year old cat, is still alive
    • Good overall health
  • Tonya’s lows of 2017:
    • Work was a struggle for the first six months; it did work itself out
    • Had a few things that she wanted to do that didn’t work out; learning to let go and not get bitter
    • Missed a friend’s wedding, because she got sick after her trip to Europe
    • She didn’t blog as much as she wanted to
  • Shannon’s 2017 goal was to open 10 Financial Gym locations.
  • Shannon’s highs of 2017:
    • The Financial Gym had $65,000 in the account two days after the account was at $0
    • The Gym now has over $1 million in the bank
    • She found a number of investors who support her and believe in what she is doing
    • She was able to come through on her promise to pay Bridget for at least a year
    • She employs six people; by January ten people
    • She and Bill are doing well and are co-parenting like rockstars
  • Shannon’s lows of 2017:
    • Started the year optimistic, but investors did not pan out
    • In March, she had $0 in her personal bank account and in the Financial Gym’s bank account
    • The process of raising money with venture capital investors is humbling, exhausting, and the worst type of dating – a lot of rejections
  • 2018 Goals
    • Shannon: the larger flagship Gym should open up in February, in Manhattan; open two more Gyms next year; raise at least $8 million in Series A
    • Melanie: continue to build the Lola Retreat brand and do more events (two to three); scale back on writing a little; have longer-term clients; focus on personal well-being and mental health; cultivate a sense of wonder; stay curious; focus on joy and pleasure; become a better listener; be more mindful and more present; find peace
    • Tonya: do things that scare her; some domestic travel; save more; goal-setting party in January
    • Mrs. Frugalwoods: keep everyone alive; promote her new book that is coming out in March 2018; balance having a new baby with the book release; be realistic about what can be accomplished; enjoy infanthood of the new baby

TAKEAWAY: Just because you may not have achieved your big goal for 2017 does not mean you failed. Our goals are like destinations on the road trip; it’s nice to get to the destination, but we can’t negate everything that happens during our journey to get there. Sometimes our journey is equally as important as the destination. I didn’t achieve my big goal in 2017, but I learned so much from the journey to get there and not achieving it makes me really excited for when I do finally get to that destination.

I want to take this moment to thank you for an amazing 2017. I’ve said this in the past and I mean it from the bottom of my heart, but I truly believe that I have the greatest listeners of any podcast. You are more than listeners to me. You’re my friends and family on this life journey and having you along for the ride is a joy beyond measure. Thank you for all of your support online and offline in 2017. I can’t wait to share more fun and educational stuff in 2018.

If you have any topics you would like for us to talk about during happy hour, please feel free to email me to 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!!