Declaring Bankruptcy with Colleen

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Declaring Bankruptcy with Colleen 

People frequently say to me they want to join the Financial Gym, but they don’t think they can afford the monthly membership. My reply is always, “If you can’t afford the $85 per month, then you NEED to join the Financial Gym.” Our membership is now over 1,000 people and growing, which means I’ve reviewed probably over 1,500 financial plans, and a consistent theme we see is a need for a lifestyle change, but a lack of knowledge on how best to change it. Some of our clients need to make more money, and we tell them how much. Some of our clients have some glaring monthly expenses that need to be cut and we help them identify them. Some clients, like Colleen, need to be coached on making some extreme changes in life. Colleen joins me today to share her story about why she reached out to my team and the dramatic transformation her life has taken in just three short months.

What are we drinking?

Colleen — Winking Owl Merlot

Shannon — Cavit Pinot Grigio

Podcast Notes

  • Colleen is a client at the Financial Gym. Colleen’s trainer, Joy, requested Gym Magic funds so Colleen could purchase a URL for her blog mystraightuplife.com
  • When Colleen graduated with her undergrad degree in finance, she had about no debt. In 2007, after a year of living with her parents in Albany, New York and working, she decided to quit her government job and move to Charleston, South Carolina in October 2007 with her friend. Colleen’s sister lives in South Carolina, but in a different city, and her first day in Charleston was her first time there ever.
  • Colleen couldn’t get a job in finance because of the economic downturn, so she took a job at Enterprise Rent-a-Car in December and stayed there for two years.
  • She had $9,000 in cash when she moved. A few months later, she was living paycheck to paycheck. She spent money on food, going out, drinking, shopping, makeup, clothes, etc. She ended up in credit card debt and consumer debt. She attributes this to emotional spending, bad relationships, and insecurities. This is when the spiral started.
  • This debt started catching up with Colleen about three years ago, when she couldn’t pay the minimum payments.
  • Colleen left South Carolina and moved to Virginia for her fiancé about a year ago. She met him on a blind date, when she was set up by her sister-in-law. They dated for four months when she decided to move, and they got engaged a few weeks ago.
  • Colleen had never talked to anyone about her finances. She realized about six months ago that she needed help. Colleen searched online and found an article on Business Insider about the Gym. She hesitated because of the monthly fee. A month later, she called the Gym and scheduled an appointment, because she had bill collectors calling her and she couldn’t afford to pay anything.
  • She had her financially naked session with Joy. She had about $65,000 in credit card and personal loan debt, her credit score was about 520, and she had about $200 in the bank. Colleen was embarrassed, but it felt like a weight lifted off her shoulders, because there was no judgement. Shannon and the Gym have seen over $1,500 financial plans so far, and debt like this is not unusual.
  • Joy gave her two options: (1) double her income (she was making $43,000 per year), or (2) declare bankruptcy.
  • Colleen met with an attorney in mid-June and was told that it would be simple, because she didn’t own anything. She decided she wanted to go through the process and she had to pay the attorney and court fees up front, which were $1,600.
  • Colleen lives in her fiancé’s house and pays $600 in rent every month. He waived her rent, so she could focus on saving for the attorney and court fees and she also received an $800 quarterly bonus from work. She was able to pay the fee within a month and file by August 1, and she had her court date in September. Now she is waiting for the discharge letter.
  • A year ago, Colleen’s father gave her a $15,000 loan. She is paying her parents back and she had to list them as someone she owes. Colleen had to tell her parents about the bankruptcy. She decided to tell her fiancé, because of this podcast and the damage it causes when couples hide money problems.
  • She told her fiancé about the bankruptcy first, about three months ago, and she thought he was going to kick her out. He didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Her parents also didn’t judge her. They were more upset that she didn’t talk to them about what she was going through.
  •  There is help out there – you don’t need to go through this alone!
  • When we tell our truth, we all win. Share your truth with others and learn from it.
  • Colleen had a good first quarter review. Most Gym clients have something positive to show during their first quarter review.
  • The Gym is currently offering a money-back guarantee. There is no excuse not to call. They guarantee they can help you!

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that sometimes it takes money to save money. Investing in yourself, whether it’s your mental, physical, or financial health, from my perspective, always pays off in the long run and you’re worth that investment.

Random Three Questions 

  1. If this was your last night on earth, what would be your last meal?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Colleen

Blog: mystraightuplife.com

Instagram: @mystraightuplife

If you’d like some help getting your finances together, so you can get unstuck from bad behaviors, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We’ve seen clients of all financial shapes and sizes and my trainers are waiting, without judgment, to help you reach your financial goals. Go to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.

 

Retire Early with Real Estate with Chad Carson

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Retire Early with Real Estate with Chad Carson

I recently met with a client who listened to my financially naked episode and assumed I wouldn’t approve of a real estate purchase she made, because I declared in that episode that I was over real estate. Well, I am over real estate, but just in the sense of owning where you live. I actually love real estate as another stream of income for investment purposes, or, in the case of this client, owning a place that brings joy and makes the daily grind worth it.

Today, I have back on the show Chad Carson, who is a firm believer that real estate is the way to financial independence. He should know, he is living proof. He is going to talk about his latest book, Retire Early with Real Estate.

What are we drinking?

Chad — New Belgium Voodoo Ranger

Shannon — Pinot Noir Irony

Podcast Notes

  • The last time Chad was on the podcast was two years ago, when he was planning his sabbatical to Ecuador. Click here to listen to the show.
  • His sabbatical was planned for a year but ended up lasting from January 2017 through May 2018. Chad and his wife love to travel, both speak Spanish, and wanted to live in another place and have their kids immersed in a different language and culture. After four or five months, their kids were speaking in Spanish. Their kids were ages 3 and 5.
  • Chad and his family lived in an urban area, and they enjoyed not having a car. They were happy without the traffic and walking everywhere. It gave them an opportunity to bump into people. Life was slower there. They learned to take it easy and slow it down a bit.
  • Boredom breeds creativity. Sometimes you need to unplug to figure out what is next.
  • Life in Ecuador is less expensive. The city Chad lived in was $600 a month for a furnished, two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. Monthly living expenses were $3,000 a month for his family.
  • Anything is possible if you have your finances in order.
  • Chad recently wrote a book called “Retire Early with Real Estate: How Smart Investing Can Help You Escape the 9-5 Grind and do More of What Matters”.
  • The framework is to use real estate investing to help you reach financial independence. He gives different options on how to use real estate. There are a lot of diagrams in the book to help explain the concepts. The bottom line is real estate doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Main concept: Buy a property in a good, working class location, and make sure the income on the property meets a certain goal (rent, appreciation, etc.). The reason you like a neighborhood should be the same reason you buy a property.
  • Do an extra layer of due diligence up front when researching a property. If you do your homework, it can be very profitable down the road.
  • Chad has 90 rental units that he has other people managing. The most important team member is a local property manager. Put the most effort into vetting this person – check their references.
  • If you have good credit, sometimes you only need $10,000 to $20,000 down. You will need to budget the property manager into the income you expect to receive from the rental. If you have more than one unit, you can leverage the amount of units to get a better rate from the property manager.
  • Property managers typically work on commission based on what they perform. Often you pay 10% of the rent they collect and 50% or 100% of the lease when they rent it out.
  • It is important to have written qualifications on what a renter needs to have in order to rent your unit. This could include a certain credit score, income, references, time on the job, etc. If a renter doesn’t meet the qualifications, you move on to the next person.
  • If you have a mortgage, make sure you have some safeguards in place.
  • Big Shifts Ahead, written by John Burns and Chris Porter, is a book about real estate trends that Chad recommends. The long-term trend is that home ownership rates are not going to be as high as they were in the past. Being a landlord is filling a gap in the market. When looking for a property to buy, you need to follow big-picture trends.
  • If you have a location you like to visit, you can live in another place and purchase a rental. Airbnb has made it easier to rent out your investment property, if you don’t want to use a property manager.
  • BiggerPockets is the biggest online community of real estate investors.
  • Chad’s book can be found on Amazon and BiggerPockets.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to literally buy Chad’s book, if you are thinking about real estate as a part of your investment portfolio. I rarely to tell you to spend your money on things, because I want you to spend it wisely, but I really, honestly love this book. It is such a great all-around resource, and I appreciate all the work he put into it to provide a great real estate solution for just about everyone.

Random Three Questions 

  1. Would you take another sabbatical, and, if so, where would you go?
  2. If you were on death row, what would be your last meal?
  3. If you were to live anywhere in the U.S. other than the south, where would you live?

Connect with Chad

Website: www.CoachCarson.com

Book: Retire Early

Instagram: @coachcarson1

Twitter: @coachchadcarson

Facebook: Coach Carson

If you’d like help figuring out how real estate can lead you to financial independence, or attaining other financial goals, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. I believe so much in my team and our process, that we have recently implemented a money-back guarantee. I guarantee that you will be better off having worked with us. There is no excuse to not reach out! Go to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.

 

Debt and Mental Health with the Happy Hour Ladies

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Debt and Mental Health 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 to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today is not only the last Friday of the month, but it’s the last Friday in September, and September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This month I committed two shows to talking about finances and mental health.

At the Financial Gym we have a slogan “what are you working for”, and if you don’t have physical health or mental health what are you working for? A few weeks back I spoke with my friend Ash Cash, and today the Happy Hour Ladies and I are sharing our personal stories and struggles with mental health. As a heads up, we got very honest about our personal journeys, and if you are triggered by suicide conversations, prescription drug conversations, or depression conversations in general, you may want to pass on this episode. For everyone else, I hope that this helps you or someone you love who battles with mental health.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Margarita

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Prosecco

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Boxed Malbec

Shannon — Vodka & Lemonade

Podcast Notes

  • For the past three years, Melanie has been doing a blog tour in September with her personal finance friends to get people talking about suicide, debt, depression, and mental health in general.
  • Before the tour, the most consistent search term to find Melanie’s blog was “I want to kill myself, because of debt”. Melanie felt compelled to write about how debt is not a death sentence. To this day, that term is still her top search topic.
  • Melanie’s maternal grandfather killed himself when her mom was five. Last year, her mom wrote a post about being a child of suicide.
  • When Melanie was a teenager, she had thoughts of suicide. She told her mom, because she was scared, and she sought help through therapy and medication.
  • Every September, Melanie wants to reach out to as many people as possible.
  • In 2016, Melanie emailed every personal finance blogger she knew and asked them to write about suicide and debt and debt and depression and publish it anytime in September.
  • According to Psychology Today, people in debt are eight times more likely die by suicide.
  • Liz’s experience with mental health was non-existent, until a coupld of months ago, when she was diagnosed with post-partum depression. She thought how she felt was normal, because she was tired and she has two kids who need her. She started doing more self-care and eating more protein and thought she could muscle her way through it.
  • Liz didn’t want to write, she missed a podcast, and she started to hate the homestead. She questioned every decision she ever made. Liz’s husband convinced her that she needed help and she went to a therapist. Within the first few minutes, the therapist diagnosed her with post-partum depression and recommended that she start taking medication. She went to her primary care doctor who said the same thing and prescribed medication.
  • Liz went through a couple of weeks of therapy, before she had the prescription, and it was clear that medication was necessary. Liz was not able to see this by herself.
  • Within the first week of taking the prescription, Liz was back to loving her life, her husband, her kids, and writing. The medication was transformative.
  • Click here to read more about Liz’s experience.
  • Depression is a liar. It’s easy to get into the trap of hating yourself. When you get the help you need, you realize that you cannot trust your thoughts. There are some periods of time where you cannot just muscle through it.
  • Tonya is more on the anxiety side versus depression. She has gone to therapy but has never been on medication. She has seen the effects of depression on friends who are going through financial difficulties.
  • At the Gym, it is a priority to set aside money for physical and mental health. If something feels off, don’t let money get in the way of seeking help.
  • At the very least, go to your primary care doctor as a first step. If you have an imbalance, you know pretty quickly if medication works. Be open to a solution, even if it means medication.
  • Melanie was on medication from age 16 to 23, because she was suicidal as a teenager. From 23 to 33, she was medication free. She was able to get out of down times with therapy and exercise. Last year, Melanie tried everything and was still miserable, so she went back on medication and it got her back into a groove she needed.
  • If you struggle to get through the day, get help as soon as possible, because medication can take up to four weeks to work.
  • Shannon had a depressing period this past spring and sought help. She didn’t want to be the boss and didn’t want to read emails. Don’t stay in the bad place – there is a solution! Don’t give up on the things you are pursuing.
  • Listen to the people around you, if they suggest you get help.
  • If you are drinking a lot alone or with your friends, using drugs, or other things to numb your brain, seek help!
  • Therapists help you understand different ways of thinking. Women are more likely to believe the bad thoughts.
  • Depression is a medical diagnosis. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Mental health and money are the final taboo topics, because nobody wants to be around the person who is feeling bad. We all want the quick fix, but we need to talk about it more.
  • You do not need to apologize because you have depression. There shouldn’t be any shame around taking medication to get you back to yourself.
  • If your financial situation doesn’t allow you to get the therapy or medication you need, you need to find a way to get your finances in a better place. Nothing is impossible. Your mental health is a priority.
  • If you are in crisis, text the crisis text line at 741741. Trained crisis counselors talk you through what you are going through. This is free for anyone who is less than suicidal but more than depressed.
  • Talk to your doctor, your child’s pediatrician, whoever is the lowest barrier to get information and help. Take care of yourself and the ones you love.
  • If you are in crisis please call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741

TAKEAWAY: First of all, thank you, as always, to my friends for being as brave and honest as they always are on this show. My biggest takeaway is to never feel as though mental health is a taboo topic. If you’re not feeling yourself, reach out to people you love and share that with them or if people you love are noticing a change in you, don’t dismiss it. Their feedback could be life altering for you.

If you’d like some help getting your finances together, so money doesn’t contribute to poor mental health, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. There’s no better time than now, so head over, or send friends to, financialgym.com to sign up today.

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 Naked with Caitlin Lyttle

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Getting Naked with Caitlin Lyttle

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 that 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 so this group could start dropping any fear or shame they had. Well, podcast listener and Facebook Group member Dylan suggested I share more naked sessions on the podcast because mine really helped her open up about money with her friends. Well Dylan, ask and you shall receive. I thought this was such a great idea that I’m making it a regular part of this show. Once a month, I’m going to have a guest on who’s going to get financially naked with you and the first one up is my Marketing Manager, Caitlin Lyttle. Caitlin joins me to share her career background, why she wanted to work at the Financial gym, and exactly what her financial picture looks like. I hope you enjoy!

What are we drinking?

Caitlin — Kane Head High

Shannon —  Vodka with Black Cherry Schweppes

Podcast Notes

  • How to make a Rusty Nail cocktail: 3/4 oz Drambuie, 1 1/2 oz Scotch Whisky; Pour all ingredients directly into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with a lemon twist. Serve.
  • When you meet with a trainer at the Financial Gym, the first meeting is called the financially naked session. After Shannon aired her financially naked session on the podcast in July, a listener requested that she do more of these with Gym clients and trainers.
  • Shannon’s hope is that people will feel more comfortable talking about money and realize everything financial is fixable. She wants to get to a place where sharing your finances is not being brave.
  • Caitlin has always been open about her finances.
  • Caitlin is a marketing manager at the Financial Gym, but she started there as a client. She originally found the Gym through a marketing event. Crystal is Caitlin’s trainer. Before the Gym, Caitlin worked in merchandise planning through Ann, Inc. and realized she needed a change.
  • Caitlin was very passionate about the Gym and what they were doing, and she referred a lot of her friends. One of her friends encouraged her to talk to Shannon about a job. At the time, the Gym needed a new marketing manager based in New York.
  • When Caitlin was at Ann, Inc., she was making $70,000 a year and received 10 percent bonus payouts twice yearly. Everyone who joins the Gym has to take a pay cut, so they understand what clients are going through. For the first three months, Caitlin was paid a $55,000 salary. After three months, her salary went back up to $70,000. Starting trainer salary is $60,000.
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions:
    • Birthday: February 16, 1992
    • Employer: The Financial Gym
    • Current Salary: $70,000
    • Checking Account: $1,000
    • Savings Account: $2,300 (includes travel)
    • Emergency Fund: $10,128 ($128 from interest)
    • Betterment: $15,200 (major purchase/home fund)
    • IRA: $14,500 (previous 401(k)s)
    • Student Loan Debt: $6,800 ($75,000 was forgiven after her father’s death)
    • Co-Signed Loan: $52,000
    • Gap Credit Card: $130
    • Capital One Venture Card: $500
    • Credit Score: 771
    • Car Loan: No
    • Other Loan: No
    • Own or Rent: Rent
    • Current Monthly Rent: $1,200 (Jersey City, one-bedroom, her share)
    • Renter’s Insurance: None
    • Life Insurance: None
    • Disability Insurance: None
    • Will or Trust: No
    • Children: None
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $2,700
    • 1-3 Year Goals: Wedding, September 2020 ($60,000 max, $30,000 each)
    • 3-5 Year Goals: Have a baby
    • 5-10 Year Goals: Buy a home
    • 10+ Year Goals: Buy a beach house
    • What is important to you? Family (beach house)
  • Caitlin has been working with Crystal for the last year and her assets have increased more than $10,000. This includes the time when she took a pay cut. She feels much more financially literate than before.
  • No advice is given during the first session. Some trainers like all of the expense information, others like a ballpark figure.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to set goals for yourself and believe they are all possible. Of course you can get married and buy a home! Of course you can take a pay cut and still save money. Never sell yourself and your life plan short because of money.

Connect with Caitlin

Instagram: @caitlinlyttle

Instagram: @thefinancialgym

Facebook: Caitlin Lyttle

Facebook: The Financial Gym

Random Three Questions 

  1. Where is a place you would love to travel?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  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. Head to financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.

 

Making Sense of Kanye with Ash Cash

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Making Sense of Kanye with Ash Cash

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and I am committing two shows this month to talking about finances and mental health. At the Financial Gym we have a slogan, “what are you working for”, and if you don’t have physical health or mental health what are you working for. Today I’m talking to my friend, Ash Cash, whose latest book, Making Sense of Kanye: A Spiritual Guide to Financial Freedom, Peace, Love, and Happiness, discusses the importance of mental health and money, and in a few weeks the ladies of happy hour will share their mental health and money stories.

What are we drinking?

Ash — Rosé

Shannon — Bubbles

Podcast Notes

  • September is suicide prevention month.
  • Ash wrote a book called Making Sense of Kanye: A Spiritual Guide to Financial Freedom, Peace, Love, and Happiness. Ash felt like there were so many things happening in the news, but what about those that are happening that we don’t hear about.
  • One of the main triggers of suicide has to do with money. We don’t give it enough credit as it relates to depression and anxiety. He wanted to have this conversation more about mental health.
  • Kanye West has been vocal about his experience with being bi-polar.
  • Ash has had bouts of depression and anxiety himself. Spirituality helped him overcome the anxiety he was dealing with.
  • If you listen to some of the things Kanye is saying, he has great messages but the delivery is off. There are a lot of things he says that could help people deal with mental health issues.
  • Ash wanted to take the messages and interpret them differently for readers. He hopes this will help others.
  • Ash uses his negative thoughts to empower himself to think positively.
  • Everybody has triggers, how do you not offend people? Shannon had a lot of people message her when she talked about her faith on the podcast.
  • When Shannon feels compelled, she writes something in the Financial Gym’s newsletter. Shannon shared a response to her recent article about weight gain and her decision to get back to healthy eating.
  • Part of what is happening is our culture is putting the onus on other people for how they feel and they are not living up to their truth.
  • People are living out their ideal ego – a life based on what other people want to hear or see. We now have all of these lives that are not maximizing their full potential. It is important to live your truth!
  • We never want our truth to make people feel any way, but that is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to be empathetic and not try to hurt anyone, but everyone should respect for how people feel.
  • We get into the space of mental health, depression and anxiety, when we are afraid to be ourselves. We worry about the backlash are we going to get. We need to stop worrying about others’ opinions.
  • Ash saw what was happening with Kanye, with people being upset with how he felt, and Kanye had to issue retractions about something he felt he needed to say.
  • The message you speak or write is for someone. Someone will read it or hear it and it will speak to them. All messages will empower some and anger some. To maintain our peace of mind, we need to make sure we are not giving power to other peoples’ opinions.
  • Don’t let them test your Gandhi, no one can hurt you without your permission.
  • Social media gives us an instant way to communicate, which we didn’t have before.
  • People are not posting things to hurt you personally – they are speaking their truth. Try not to take it personally.
  • Some people get uncomfortable when others talk about their sadness, but maybe it is because they haven’t addressed their own sadness.
  • April was difficult for Shannon financially and mentally. There is nothing more important than your physical and mental health. Without both of these, you will not be able to enjoy your life or help others.
  • It is so important to check in with yourself.
  • Shannon did a podcast called Frugality for Depressives in May 2016, which is about a book that deals with the challenges of maintaining your money and being responsible when your mental health is all over the place.
  • Some plans at the Gym include budgeting for therapy and medication.
  • Bad times will always happen. Good financial practices need to be part of your life.
  • Automate what you can automate. It is key!
  • We aren’t perfect, when you derail for a little bit it’s okay as long as you don’t live there. Don’t give permanent energy to something that is temporary.
  • We are not robots! When some clients go off the deep end, they are left with credit card debt, which is a bad reminder. Control what you can – try to have your finances under control as much as you can.
  • Shannon’s trainers are obsessed with emergency funds, because they know how important they can be.
  • Negative thoughts are not bad, they show you that something is off. The point is not to make you feel worse.
  • There is a book called Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. In the book there is a chart of emotions and they are ordered from 1 – 22. The top emotion is joy. The worst emotions you can feel are fear, grief, depression, despair, and powerlessness. If you are feeling guilty or unworthy, you need to try to move up the scale to joy and freedom.
  • See the negative emotion as an opportunity for growth – explore it.
  • If you have a pair of shoes that are too small, you will feel pain because the shoe is too small. Without the pain, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong and you would damage your feet. The pain is a trigger that something is wrong with your shoes, not to make you feel bad. Same with negative emotions. Question what is off, why am I feeling this way. Find the root cause of what is happening.

TAKEAWAY: I can’t tell you enough how important it is for you to prioritize your mental health and don’t let finances come in the way of you getting the care you need. Speaking from experience, there is no
greater investment than in your mental health and when you feel good mentally, it’s actually easier to manage your money and make smart financial choices.

Random Three Questions 

  1. Who is the next artist you imagine writing a book about?
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  3. If you were on death row, what would be your last meal?

Connect with Ash

Website: Iamashcash.com

Book: Making Sense of Kanye

Instagram:@iamashcash

Twitter: @iamashcash

Facebook: @iamashcash

If you’d like some help getting your finances together so money doesn’t contribute to poor mental health, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. If you’ve ever thought about joining, there’s no better time than now. We have a number of summer promos for individuals and couples that are about to come to an end. Go to financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.

 

Achieving the Impossible with Laniece and Jo

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Achieving the Impossible with Laniece and Jo

At the my company, the Financial Gym, we like to call the financial plan you get from us the starter plan. It really is an initial roadmap plotting out how you can achieve your goals. Some clients get the road map and put everything into place and follow it to a tee. Some clients get the roadmap and think it’s impossible and never even do the work. And then some clients get the roadmap and life throws them a series of detours and the road trip changes. The plan is a guideline but it’s never really set in stone.

Some plans we work on are easy to put together because the clients’ financial lives are easily aligned with their goals, and then some plans, like today’s guests, are not easy to put together because the roadmap is filled with uncertainty. When my trainers have to deliver those types of plans, they’re actually not overly concerned, because after years of doing this, we know that anything is possible if our clients put their minds to it. We actually LOVE it when our clients accomplish what seems impossible at the beginning and this is the case with Laniece and Jo. They are two Financial Gym clients working with my trainer Joy, and they join me today to share why they wanted to fix their financial lives and how they went about accomplishing what seemed like impossible goals from Joy.

What are we drinking?

Laniece — Apple Cider Mimosa

Jo — E & J and Cranberry Juice

Shannon —  Gin and Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • A year ago, Laniece reached out to the Gym, because she and Jo were engaged and were going to combine finances.
  • About 95 percent of warm-up calls are female. The Financial Gym community is 60 percent female and 40 percent male.
  • The biggest cause of fights and contention in marriage is due to money and they wanted to have a third-party involved to make sure they are going in the right direction.
  • They were both invested in their finances, but not in the details.
  • Everybody has a vice – Jo spent a lot on food, but not much on other things. Laniece spent a lot on her hair.
  • The first meeting it was surprising to see their incoming and outgoing numbers on a screen.
  • The biggest difference in goals is that Laniece didn’t want a wedding. She thought it was a waste of time and money. Their financial plan showed that it was going to be tough to pull off.
  • For the wedding, they called in a lot of favors and they made many things themselves. Instead of a limo, they rented four luxury SUVs from a rental place for less than half the cost of a limo and they had them for the entire day. They chose brunch for their meal at 3pm on a Sunday, and saved compared to serving dinner on a Saturday night.
  • In addition to paying for the wedding, Jo and Laniece wanted to buy a house. Jo wanted to buy a house right away, because the area Laniece was living was not safe. Laniece wanted to stay there for two years to pay off debt and save up a down payment.
  • They came back from their honeymoon and their landlord said they had 65 days to move. There is a program called NACA that offers financial benefits to home buyers, but it is a strenuous process.
  • Rent in Philadelphia is typically $1,500 to $1,700 per month, and they were paying $900 per month, so they decided to purchase a house.
  • The NACA program restricted the purchase amount and required that they keep a certain amount in their bank account at all times. It was an extreme financial reset from spending on their wedding.
  • Anything is possible depending on how much work you want to put into it. It’s your journey and you are the driver.
  • At their quarterly review, Jo and Laniece were saving 21 percent of their income. Their mortgage is $1,382, which includes escrow.
  • They attribute their success partly to their support network and their faith.
  • Once you know where you are financially, it helps you make better decisions.
  • Goals help you stay focused. When you get complacent, you fall off the wagon.
  • Sometimes you need to delay or cut in order to meet the bigger goal.
  • There is always a goal.
  • Clients who have goals will get there. It is difficult to motivate clients who don’t have goals.
  • One of Laniece and Jo’s goals is to leave a legacy. Another is to make more money.
  • The reason the Financial Gym exists is to help this generation and future generations get and stay financially healthy. The biggest problem is financial education is not happening at home.
  • Laniece’s advice is if you are feeling like your finances are out of shape, reach out for help and get the reality of the situation.
  • Jo’s advice is to not wait to get help with your finances. Get started as early as you can. The earlier you get on top of it, the healthier you will be. You will slip, but there will always be a boulder you can hold onto.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to never give up on your dreams and never think that any financial goal is impossible. For the last five years of building the Financial Gym, I’ve witnessed many stories similar to Laniece and Jo’s, and the greatest common denominator was a sheer determination to make their dreams a reality and never giving up even though the path seemed hard. I hope you set out today to lay out your hopes and dreams and take action in making them a reality

Random Three Questions 

  1. Is there any place else in this country you would like to live?
  2. What is a show you both agree you like to binge watch?
  3. If you both won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

If you’d like some help in laying out your financial plans and putting those plans into action like Laniece and Jo, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. If you’ve ever thought about joining, there’s no better time than now. We have a number of summer promos for individuals and couples that are about to come to an end. Go to financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.

 

Vacations with the Happy Hour Ladies

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Vacations 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 to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. I know it’s literally one of the last weeks of summer but this week we’re talking about vacation, the importance of it, how we like to take our vacations, how we pay for vacations, and what we like to do on vacation.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Riesling

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Black Box Malbec

Shannon — Gin and Tonic (Bombay Sapphire)

Podcast Notes

  • Tonya’s post about moving.
  • Shannon instituted mandatory vacations at the Gym. They are closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s and one week in the summer that is voted on by the team.
  • Shannon wrote an article in their newsletter about vacation and how important it is to take, but she wasn’t planning to set up an out of office on her email. The Sunday before, she decided to actually take the week and unplug.
  • Vacation is the time to remember why we are working.
  • When was the last time you took a vacation and how do you view vacation in your life:
    • Tonya: Loves vacation! It depends on the year. She was supposed to go to the Canadian Rockies in June, but she had to cancel it because of a death in the family. She likes to visit her family in Detroit, because it is inexpensive and she doesn’t feel like she needs to do anything. She doesn’t have anything planned for 2019, but she will do something. Tonya set up an auto draft into her savings account for vacations.
    • Liz: It has changed because she has two children. You are always working when you are with your kids. Before kids, she and Nate traveled abroad at least once a year and did other regional trips. They would still do that if they didn’t have kids. Her in-laws live in North Carolina and her parents live in San Diego. Last summer, she and her husband went alone to Portland, Maine, and nine months later her second daughter was born. She looks forward to traveling with her kids when they are older. Liz has the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card (recently merged with Marriott) and racks up points on that card to use on vacation. If you travel for work, see if you can use your personal credit card to get the points. They would choose a week to travel and find the cheapest airline tickets to any destination. Traveling internationally during the week of Thanksgiving is cheap, because nobody in the US is leaving the country. Only pay for one meal out a day – try to get breakfast included at your hotel and buy food at the grocery store. Plan your itinerary around free activities.
    • Melanie: The last couple of years she has had working vacations, because she is a freelancer. She uses credit card points. In June, she went to Mexico City and stayed in an Airbnb. A couple of years ago she went to Spain and Portugal for two weeks and stayed with friends and in hostels. This vacation gave her clarity around paying off her debt and it gave her motivation to keep going. Vacations are a great way to reset.
  • There is a right way to take a vacation when you are in debt repayment. Don’t put your vacation on a credit card, if you have a credit card balance!
  • Is staycation a vacation? No! You have to get out of your house, otherwise you will still feel compelled to be productive.
  • If travel hacking stresses you out, don’t do it! It is not for everyone.
  • What are your philosophies on travel hacking:
    • Liz: Once she and her husband are ready to start planning trips with the kids, she will get more organized about it. She is concerned she will not meet spending limits, since she doesn’t spend much in a month other than her mortgage. She currently has the Starwood card. The best way to do it is to know where you are going. She does plan to take a vacation with just her husband next summer – possibly Scotland.
    • Tonya: She goes back and forth on travel hacking. She knew she was going to be moving, so she got a Citibank American Airlines credit card. For 50,000 points, she had to spend $2,500 in three months. Tonya doesn’t plan her cards around where she wants to go. The Chase Sapphire card is one of the more flexible cards. She has thought about traveling to Hawaii to visit Kauai. She has been to Hawaii four times, but never to Kauai. There are Airbnbs and other ways to save on the cost.
    • Shannon: She promised to take Will to Universal to see Harry Potter land. Other than that, she is interested in taking him to Ireland. She currently set up an auto draft to save for vacation. Shannon got the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but there is a $450 charge to have the card and it is charged on day one. They give you a $300 travel credit, which she used on a vacation, but it still cost her $150. Don’t overspend just to get points!
  • What is your ultimate goal of vacation?
    • Melanie: New experiences, relaxing, and practicing Spanish
    • Tonya: Europe is sightseeing and history, Hawaii and Costa Rica are more for relaxing. It depends what she needs and wants. She doesn’t need to be sightseeing hardcore every vacation. She likes to have balance.
    • Liz: They vacation by walking around and stopping for coffee and then stopping for beer. They don’t usually have an itinerary. Now, vacations are about relaxing. She is a fan of the Sheraton and loves hotel points.
    • Shannon: She would rather stay in a hotel than an Airbnb. She wants new towels every day and her bed made every day. She would rather save longer and spend a little bit more and it has to be relaxing. Shannon uses vacations to unplug.
  • How do you feel about the work you leave behind? Do you feel stressed about it?
    • Melanie: She used to get stressed, but now sets expectations by telling people ahead of time that she is going to be on vacation. The work is not going anywhere. Thinking about work detracts from the point of a vacation.
    • Tonya: No
    • Liz: Being away from her children is a vacation. She finished her book when they were on vacation. It was relaxing, fulfilling, and she could get uninterrupted work done. She wasn’t answering emails.
  • Set vacation goals for yourself and the plan becomes easier.
  • Allow yourself to really enjoy your vacation. We get too caught up in work and it ruins your vacation when you think about it. Don’t miss the opportunity you are given to unplug and relax!

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that we all work hard and plug into our jobs on a regular basis, and we need to take vacation as an opportunity to unplug from work and plug into what it is we’re working for. For me, I unplugged from the gym and plugged into reading and relaxing and being fully present in the day, and I shared all of this in my Insta story and felt it was so important that was saved. I encourage you to find the time and money to unplug from work and plug into something more fulfilling as much as you can.

If you need help finding the money to go on vacation, I encourage you to sign up for a free warm up call with my team at the Financial Gym. There’s only a few more days left of summer and we have great summer promos going on right now. So head over, or send friends to, financialgym.com to sign up today.

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!!

Accepting your Financial Reality with Paulette Perhach

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Accepting your Financial Reality with Paulette Perhach

Today I’m talking to journalist, and now published author, Paulette Perhach. Paulette joins me today to share her honest and sometimes cringeworthy journey from writing the viral fuck-off fund post to having no fuck-off fund at all. She shares why she wanted to write a book for writers that’s not just about how to make money writing. It’s a great conversation with lots of learning lessons.

What are we drinking?

Paulette — Mate

Shannon —  Club Soda

Podcast Notes

  • Cut down on non-essentials, don’t cut them out completely.
  • Willpower Instinct – a book about the hidden factors about willpower and how having something be forbidden and bad is not helpful.
  • When you cut out everything, often times you will go to the other extreme. It’s like yo-yo dieting.
  • Unfortunately, the biggest way to build credit is by using credit cards. Credit card companies report to the credit bureau the most. You need to know how to play the game.
  • Take the buffet of wisdom that is out there and apply what works best for you.
  • If you join the Gym, you need to commit to it for about six months. The plan is very formulaic, but the magic happens in the trainer/client relationship. The trainers find strategies for each individual client that work for their financial health. There are over 700 clients at the Gym and their plans are all customized.
  • Saying you hate yourself because you failed is just a waste of time. You could spend that time solving the problem.
  • Paulette has had a tumultuous time with money. When she was around eight or nine, her dad lost his job and they had to live on her mom’s small teaching salary. Buying basic needs was difficult. She was scared and embarrassed a lot.
  • When Paulette was 17, her dad was working again and was killed in an accident at work.
  • When she was 23, Paulette received money from her dad’s death and put it into purchasing a house in Florida in 2005. She had to short sale her house later.
  • Paulette joined the Peace Corps after that.
  • Paulette has a journalism degree but was moving toward creative writing.
  • In her 30s, Paulette had a good job and a few thousand dollars in the bank. She realized how different her previous situations, including a bad relationship and being sexually harassed by her boss, could have been by just having some money saved up. She would have had an exit.
  • In 2016, Paulette wrote The Fuck Off Fund essay and it went viral. In 2017, she decided to travel in South America for three months. She drained her fuck-off fund and then moved to Seattle to a 150 square foot apartment and tried to rebuild her fund. She was the fuck-off fund girl with no fuck-off fund.
  • Paulette started a blog at fuckofffund.com.
  • Any time you start getting down about yourself, you have to say this situation is a result of your choices and if you want it to change, you have to make different choices. Take the emotion out of your financial situation.
  • Half the battle is seeing the reality and acknowledging the choices you’ve made. Getting out of a bad financial situation is not easy. If you put in the hard work, you will get results.
  • Move from the victim mindset to a power mindset around your financial situation.
  • Women don’t think about growing richer. Often, they feel bad about wanting to make more.
  • “What would I do if I were a man?” has been Paulette’s guiding question.
  • Paulette wrote her writing course after she had a bad day at work and read The Four-Hour Work Week. She wanted to be a writer who helped writers be writers. She wanted to open up and be really honest about the difficulty of being a writer.
  • A book deal was offered to her through Sasquatch Books in Seattle and she wrote Welcome to the Writer’s Life. It’s a combination of some of the things in her writing course and her life. Paulette’s style is to write about things that confuse her, because she wants to share what she learned. This book lays out a buffet of options if you want to incorporate writing in your life.
  • Paulette got paid $40 for the Fuck Off Fund essay. It has taken her 20 years to make money from writing. Write because you love it.
  • Paulette’s safety net is knowing that at any time, she can move into a room and make a life there and be okay with it.
  • Over the next year, Paulette wants to give herself a freelance MBA, where she learns about being an entrepreneur.
  • Shannon attributes time blocking as a huge part of her success and her trainers’ success. Time blocking is all about taking an assessment of the things you have to do in a week and figuring out what gets lumped together naturally. Then choose the most efficient time to address those. Are you more creative in the morning or at night? Match your tasks with your most productive time in the day or week.
  • Paulette’s book, Welcome to the Writer’s Life, came out on August 14, and it is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell’s. There are a lot of online elements including courses and coaching. When you get the book, join the Facebook group to become part of a community of writers.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is the importance of accepting your financial reality and acknowledging the choices you made to get there. I love that Paulette embraces her decisions, even the bad ones, and she continues through her journey. At the very least, she’s getting lots of fodder for her next book.

Random Three Questions 

  1. If you were to write another book, what would it be about?
  2. It’s your last night on earth and you are on death row. What would be the meal you eat?
  3. Where would you like to travel to next, if money was not an option?

Connect with Paulette

Blog: The Fuck Off Fund

Podcast: Can We Talk About Money

Website: Paulette Perhach

Instagram: @paulettejperhach

Twitter: @pauletteperhach

Facebook: Paulette Perhach

If you’d like help saving and preserving your fuck-off fund with an accountability buddy, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. If you’ve ever thought about joining, there’s no better time than now. We have a number of summer promos for individuals and couples that are about to come to an end. Go to financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.