Her Money with Jean Chatzky

0

Her Money with Jean Chatzky

I know dozens, hundreds of people in the personal finance space, but there are really only a handful of them that I look up to, and Jean Chatzky is one of those people. Jean started her career as a journalist and then grew to write personal finance books, appear on Oprah, become the finance editor of the Today Show, and now she runs the Her Money media brand, which is growing by the minute. Jean joins me today to talk about her career progression and why she’s taking on such a big challenge at this stage in her career.

What are we drinking?

Jean — Chardonnay

Shannon — Malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon has been a huge fan of Jean since the Oprah Winfrey Show. When Shannon was an advisor for Merrill Lynch, she saw Jean on the train platform in her neighborhood. Shannon got to her desk, looked up Jean online, sent her a message, and they met for coffee to discuss women and money.
  • In high school, Jean was focused on theater. In college, Jean worked for her school paper and loved it. While in school, she built a good journalistic resume and knew she wanted to work in magazine when she graduated.
  • After graduation, Jean was hired at Working Woman’s magazine as an editorial assistant to the business editor.
  • Jean wanted to be a fact-checker at Forbes like her friend, but they didn’t think Working Woman’s magazine was serious enough experience and basically told her she needed to go back and get her MBA. Jean didn’t want to go back to school and get into debt, so she applied for jobs on Wall Street.
  • Jean worked at Dean Witter for a couple of years in equity research, because she could apply her writing skills, but also learn about finance.
  • Barbara Corcoran’s first book was called Use What You’ve Got. You don’t always need a higher degree. Figure out how to get to the job you want with the skills you already have. Are you going to bring it every day and are you going to get along with other people?
  • After working for Dean Witter, Jean went back to Forbes and interviewed with the same person and showed him what she had done. He offered her a job.
  • She worked for Forbes as a fact-checker for a year and a half and then moved to Smart Money to work as a writer. While there, Jean started doing television. Her theater background helped and her dad ran television stations when she was growing up and she was able to see the TV anchors as people.
  • Jean wrote a book called Pay it Down, and she was working on a television series called the Debt Diet. She pitched Oprah on a TV show about helping people get out of debt.
  • Louis Uchitelle wrote an article about how Americans own less of their home than in previous generations and are in credit card debt and student loan debt.
  • On the Oprah series, Jean and a couple of others were given six months to work with families to help get them on the right track.
  • Debt is growing. Lenders are offering more and more financing to people. Many people get laid off in January, so be careful of spending and holiday debt.
  • Shannon downsized her life to start her business and help people get out of debt. What do you value? What are your sacred cows? You can have two or three, but you can’t have a herd of cows.
  • The top three spending areas the Financial Gym sees are Amazon, Uber, and Seamless for New York clients and CVS or Duane Reade in other areas. These are not usually the sacred cows.
  • Jean recently acquired Daily Worth. She is building a brand that is bigger than her. We need more voices and a platform where women can come and know that they can get straightforward, judgement-free, quality personal finance advice and information.
  • She acquired the assets of Daily Worth, which is a long-standing personal finance website and incorporated it into Her Money newsletter, podcast, and website. She is looking to do more and more to give the community of women more of what they want and need. Listeners are going for the meat, not the dessert, such as investing, earning more, work-life balance, and stuff that really matters.
  • Jean feels the need to build something bigger.
  • To find and follow Jean, go to hermoney.com, or text 888111, and Breadcrumbs will ask for your email and get you signed up.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to pivot your career. You can actually make money while doing it, rather than taking on student loan debt. Try like Jean to get on-the-job experience in an area you want to work in. I love her story and advise clients to do the same thing, and I think you should consider it as well.

Random Three Questions 

  1. What is a food you hated as a kid and do you hate it now?
  2. What do you do to relax?
  3. If this was your last night on earth, what would your last meal be?

Connect with Jean

Website: Her Money

Website: Jean Chatzky

Podcast: Her Money

Book: Pay It Down! Debt-Free on $10 a Day

Last CallNetworking

If you’ve ever thought about joining the Gym, you really need to consider signing up before the end of the year. A little insider tip for all of you listeners is that our rates are going up on January 1, for new clients. If you sign up before the end of 2018, you can lock in our rates now. You don’t have to start your membership until January 2019, but you need to sign up before the end of 2018. Head over to, or send friends to,  financialgym.com to lock in your low rates today.

 

Getting Naked with the Cash Sisters

0

Getting Naked with the Cash Sisters

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 around their money. 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. This is now officially part of the show. I’ve done two naked sessions with employees of the Gym and this is our first non-Gym employee naked session, and it’s actually a two-fer. You’re getting two naked sessions in one, as our clients, Caet and Samantha Cash, share their details with you. I hope you enjoy.

What are we drinking?

Samantha — Pabst Blue Ribbon

Caet — Black Box Chardonnay

Shannon —  Bota Box Malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Samantha had recently switched to a civil engineering position in upstate New York, when she started listening to this podcast. She was making more money and needed help figuring out what to do with it, so she joined the Gym. She found this podcast through Listen Money Matters, about two years ago.
  • Samantha’s trainer is Joy and she is a saver.
  • Samantha’s life goal was to hike the Appalachian trail, like her sister Caet. She didn’t have a timeframe on it until Joy wrote it in her plan.
  • Samantha took six months off work and started the hike on April 26. The trail is 2,089.9 miles. She was the recipient of Gym Magic funds, because she was raising money for Casting for Recovery, which is a charity that sends women with breast cancer, or recovering from breast cancer, on free fly fishing retreats. Samantha visited the Gym after she finished the trail and met Shannon and the other trainers in person.
  • Caet lives in Asheville, NC, and she is a spender. She joined the Gym after her sister and her trainer is also Joy. Caet is a wilderness guide and she works for a small, women-owned hiking company.
  • Samantha bought Caet a gift certificate for the Gym, but Caet hesitated on joining. She was having difficulty getting her finances in order after she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail last summer, which was 2,650 miles. Their mother is an avid walker from NYC, and their father is a woodsman.
  • All of Caet’s hikes are solo, except she and Samantha did the last 277 miles of the Appalachian Trail together.
  • They are both avid podcast listeners and they did not share their numbers with each other prior to this show.
  • Samantha wasn’t nervous for her first financially naked session, but Caet was terrified and cried afterwards. Sam was told to spend money and Caet was told she needed to make more money.
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions for Samantha:
    • Employer: A small engineering firm
    • Current Salary: $60,000
    • Monthly Take-Home Pay: $3,500
    • Birthday: 6/15/88
    • Emergency, High-Interest Savings Account: $10,700
    • Checking Accounts: $4,000
    • Betterment (House Goal): $14,000
    • Betterment IRA: $2,900
    • 401k: $8,000
    • AT&T Stock (gift): $1,500
    • Government Saving Bonds: $1,000
    • Student Loan Debt: $10,000
    • Mortgage: N/A
    • Bank of America Travel Rewards: $0
    • Citi Double Cash: $0
    • Credit Score: $760
    • Own or Rent: Renting a room in a house
    • Monthly Rent: $600
    • Renter’s Insurance: No
    • Life Insurance: No
    • Disability Insurance: Yes, through her job
    • Will or Trust: No
    • Children: No
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $1,200
    • Current Monthly Saving: $2,300; Her savings rate is 46%
    • 1-3 Year Goals: Write a book with her sister about their trail experiences; a new car; a canoe
    • 3-5 Year Goals: Purchase a house in the Catskills
    • What is important to you (sacred cows)? Family, experiences, travel
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions for Caet:
    • Employer: Blue Ridge Hiking Company
    • Birthday: 3/2/90
    • Current Salary: $25,000
    • Freelance Writing: $3,000 per year
    • Monthly Take-Home Pay: $2,000 – $2,500
    • Checking Accounts: $6,500
    • Emergency Fund: $4,500
    • Investment Accounts: No
    • Retirement Savings: No
    • Student Loan Debt: $36,000
    • Mortgage: N/A
    • Personal Loan: $4,000
    • Credit Score Now: 655
    • Credit Score in January: 595
    • Own or Rent: Lives in a van in the Appalachian mountains
    • Current Monthly Rent: N/A
    • Renter’s Insurance: N/A
    • Life Insurance: No
    • Long-Term Disability: No
    • Disability Insurance: No
    • Will or Trust: Yes, a will
    • Children: No
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $1,000
    • 1-3 Year Goals: Write a book with her sister; build a website around the book; grow the company she works for, so she can make more money
    • 3-5 Year Goals: Hike the North Country Trail; build a yurt in the woods
    • What is important to you (sacred cows)? Family, personal and professional success, making a difference as a woman who is in the outdoor industry

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is the importance of living a life, and setting goals, that are true to you. You don’t need to make six figures and live in a big home to find happiness. Connect with what truly makes you happy and the money will figure itself out.

Random Three Questions

  1. Do you have any trails you want to hike outside of the US?
  2. What shows do you like to binge watch? What is your entertainment in the van?
  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 your money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all so nothing will surprise them. 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.

 

Manifesting Dreams with the Happy Hour Ladies

0

Manifesting Dreams 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 we’re talking about manifesting our goals. In case you haven’t heard or
seen, a few weeks back, I fulfilled a multi-year long dream of appearing on the Today Show. A dream that I honestly didn’t know would become a reality, but as I continue to learn, the more we put our dreams out there, the more likely they are to manifest. So the happy hour ladies join me today to talk about the seemingly impossible dreams they’ve manifested, the reason why they’re not, and what happens when you don’t know what to put out there. As always, we had a great time.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Limoncello

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — 44 North Huckleberry Vodka with Prosecco and a splash of pomegranate juice

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Bota Box Nighthawk wine

Shannon — Bota Box Malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon has been getting a lot of questions and wanted to share how her dream of going on the Today Show happened. Ten years ago, Shannon liked to watch Hoda and Kathie Lee on her computer at work.  Four years ago, she said I want to be on the Today Show with them to talk about financial health in a segment she wants to call the Fin Fit Club.
  • Shannon has been regularly saying she wants to be on Today Show to people she knows who are one degree of separation from the show. Her newest investor in the Financial Gym is Jean Chatzky, who is the financial editor of the Today Show. Two months ago when she was talking to Jean about investing in the Gym, Shannon said to the team that she was going to be on the show in January.
  • Two weeks ago, Shannon received a message and a phone call from a booking agent who found the Gym on Instagram, because she was searching women and money. They asked if they could attend the open house that was being held soon. Events usually have about 40 people who attend, but this one had about 150. The camera crew came to the Gym that night to film the recorded segments.
  • Shannon appeared on the 9:00 am hour of the Today Show. The producers were still putting the show details together the day before and didn’t think the live segment was going to work, due to the time crunch. Emily, one of the marketing staff at the Gym, pitched several ideas in a push to get Shannon to her goal of being on the Today Show.
  • Shannon’s segment was taped in a different area than Studio 1A, but Shannon really wanted a picture with Hoda. As Shannon was talking to a producer about the 10:00 hour of the show, Hoda walked in and Shannon asked to get a picture with her. The producer said that Hoda is typically not there on Friday’s, since her segment is pre-recorded, and she is not usually in that building.
  • The segment had three hosts: Dylan Dreyer, Jenna Bush Hager, and Sheinelle Jones. Shannon had to get through her five numbers in three minutes.
  • After the segment, the producer said she nailed it! The booking agent and producer said to pitch them ideas for her to be back on the show, and Shannon pitched the Fin Fit Club idea.
  • Shannon asked the Happy Hour Ladies about when their big, scary, ridiculous dreams manifested in reality.
  • In 2013, Melanie wrote on her blog that she wanted to pay off the rest of her $60,000 of debt in four years. She was making $12.00 an hour at that time. Between her blog, freelancing, and events, she was able to double her income and pay off the debt in three years instead of four. Melanie wanted to make $50,000 a year, so she wrote a check to herself in that amount. During her first year of freelancing, she went from $30,000 to $60,000 and exceeded that goal. If you put your goals out there and you work for it, things can happen.
  • There are over 1,200 clients at the Gym, and Shannon said that 90% of them are hitting their goals.
  • For Liz, the dreams she manifested included publishing her book, moving to the homestead, and having her kids. It took them 13 months to get pregnant with their first child.
  • She started Frugalwoods, and yoga, in part because she wasn’t pregnant. She needed something to do, an outlet, that didn’t include tracking her fertility.
  • It is important to prioritize yourself and not always achieve. It is okay if you are not always accomplishing something. When you put a goal out there, you have to be prepared to accept it.
  • When Harper Collins emailed Liz about the book, she had a three-month-old and was moving to the homestead. Her friend said Harper Collins will only email you once. She had to take the opportunity. Liz had a baby two weeks before the book came out and didn’t realize she was suffering from post-partum depression at the time.
  • Shannon is hiring eight to nine trainers in December and was busy planning for them when the opportunity to go on the Today Show came up. You have to figure out how to incorporate it into your life.
  • Tonya moved to Boise this year and says to be careful what you put on your vision board! Life has not been linear for Tonya. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not. She has had a little different experience than others. You need to try to go for what you want and keep pushing for that. Tonya has always fantasized about being in a movie and winning an Oscar. A lot has to do with putting in the work as well as luck and timing.
  • Just because you manifest a goal doesn’t mean you have to like how it turns out. Life is unexpected and has twists and turns. You can weather the ups and downs of life by having a financial cushion. It gives you wiggle room and more choices.
  • Setting a goal and having it manifest in a way you don’t want is better than not setting a goal. If you have no direction then you will just flounder. You may be at a point in life where you don’t know your next goal.
  • Live fully, without regrets, by taking the opportunities that are presented. There are times when you are sowing and times when you are blooming. Sometimes you reach your goal and realize your it has changed and is not what you want anymore. It is disappointing, but you have to be willing to accept it and create a new dream. At least you went for it!
  • After you’ve achieved your goal, how do you set that next goal?
    • Shannon: Open Gyms across the country and either continue to run it in some capacity or sell the company. If she has a windfall of money, she wants to create the Golden Girls Fund and invest in women entrepreneurs in the early stages. Shannon didn’t start the Gym until she was 35. The Golden Girls Fund idea came to her two years ago. Before that, she just wanted to do well in her job. She didn’t have other big goals.
    • Melanie: She is determining where she wants to take Lola Retreats. There will be two this year, one in L.A. and one in Seattle. She wants Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital, to speak at Lola. Melanie wants to be on the Ellen show and to grow the connection of women and money.
    • Tonya: She is currently freelancing and doing side hustles, but searching for a full-time job is her main purpose. She is not quite ready to reveal any other goals yet.
    • Liz: She has many ideas for Frugalwoods and was thinking about putting both of her kids in full-time daycare so she could work on them. She decided to hold off on that until they are both in full-time school, so she can spend more time with them while they are young. She is happy that she has the flexibility to wait.
  • Don’t be afraid to set goals. Only set goals that you are prepared to handle if they come your way. Keep dreaming big or small!

If you’ve ever thought about joining the Gym, you really need to consider signing up before the end of the year. A little insider tip for all of you listeners is that our rates are going up January 1, but if you sign up before the end of 2018, you can lock in our rates now. You don’t have to start your membership until January 2019, but you need to sign up before the end of this year. 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!!

Ambition Redefined with Kathryn Sollman

0

Ambition Redefined with Kathryn Sollman

I always say that getting financially fit is just like getting physically fit – they both require that you do two things. To get physically fit, you need to eat less and work out more. To get financially fit, you need to spend less and make more. It sounds easy, but if it were that easy, we would have a bunch of skinny millionaires running around. We joke at The Gym,  where are the skinny millionaires at?

It is hard work to get physically and financially fit, but today we’re talking about one of those areas of financial fitness, and that’s making more money, specifically for women. Women frequently feel torn between caring for their loved ones, whether it is kids or parents, and trying to make money. Today I am talking to Kathryn Sollman, Career Coach and author of the new book Ambition Redefined, Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Everyone and What to  Do Instead.

What are we drinking?

Kathryn — Lipton Tea

Shannon — Coffee, light and sweet

Podcast Notes

  • Kathryn is a career coach for women. Previously, she was a marketing communications strategist for several investment firms. After 9/11, many of the investment firms took this job in-house. Katheryn was looking for something else, and, at the time, there was a woman who was providing programs for women who wanted to get off the fast track, and she wanted Kathryn to bring those programs to Connecticut.
  • Kathryn decided to work with a partner to create programs for women who wanted to return to the workforce. The program was called Opportunity Knocks, and it became very successful and turned into a big network of women called Women at Work. After that, she worked as a recruiter, helping women find jobs, and it grew from there.
  • In 2012, Kathryn left that job and started Nine Lives for Women, which led to her writing a book, Ambition Redefined.
  • Kathryn says it’s important to always work, but in a flexible way. Most women need some kind of flexible work. Not just a part-time job, but professional, flexible work. It is possible to work, whether you have one child or ten.
  • There are six different kinds of flexible work right now, to fit work into your life:
    • Flexible full-time job: some employers are allowing flexibility in terms of hours or where you are working.
    • Part-time jobs: Every professional job, in every industry, could be part time.
    • Job shares: Less common than other forms of flex work. This works great, if you complement the other person. Kathryn recommends Work Muse, which is a job share solutions firm.
    • Telecommuting: working at home or in a shared workspace, either all or part of the time.
    • Freelance: Working on projects in a short-term way.
    • Entrepreneur: Those who decide to start their own practice.
  • How do you have the conversation to create a flexible work environment? There are a number of women who will assume there is no flexibility and won’t ask. What Kathryn sees more frequently is that women ask, but they make a simple ask. For instance, it is brought up as an afterthought at a meeting about something else. If you want to have this conversation with your boss, it needs to be a pitch.
  • Check your company handbook. If there is nothing written in the company handbook about flexibility, create a pitch.
    • What are you asking for? Be specific about the flexibility that you want. Then talk about where the work is going to be done.
    • Be clear that you have the productive, professional setup. Is there other software or equipment? Would you be willing to pay for that if the employer isn’t.
    • How are you going to communicate with the team?
    • What if you manage people? How are you planning to continue that if you are not in the office?
    • What about team meetings? Will you be able to participate in person or offsite?
    • Talk about ways this arrangement could help your employer. Don’t only show how it benefits you.
  • Shannon and Kathryn agree that women should always work in some capacity. Women who leave employment to care for family leave for an average of 12 years. Women need to think about caring for themselves for the long-term, as women live longer than men.
  • If you leave the workforce, you are giving up up to four times your salary every year that you are out. For 12 years, that is 144 paychecks that are not earned, saved, or invested, and that is really hard to recoup.
  • If, through a part-time job over 20 years, you could save and invest and end up with another $500,000, that is huge!
  • Kathryn’s book includes many helpful tips and suggestions.
  • What about the woman who doesn’t like her job? Does it make sense for her to leave her job? Or what about the woman who is out of the workforce and is thinking she wants to get back in?
    • If you don’t like your job, you could find flexible work somewhere else. It is easier to find a job while you have a job.
    • Think about small or mid-size companies. Many large, global companies are not able to offer the flexibility of small companies. As company size goes down, flexibility goes up.
    • Think about your network and get creative about the next chapter of your life. It should always include working.
  • What about women who have a fear of age and that it will dictate or limit their options?
    • Stop thinking about age. There are older and older professionals in the workforce right now. There is a talent drain, because of all the baby boomers leaving the workforce. Companies are no longer pushing older employees out the door. There is real, perceived value  in people who have more life experience and more knowledge about various industries.
    • You don’t need to get hung up on your age. You do need to get hung up on whether you are acting old, dressing old, or your hairstyle is not current. Sometimes Kathryn has to direct women to update their look, otherwise it will work against them.
    • If you are energetic and full of ideas, your age will not work against you, unless you are thinking of going into an industry that is very young. It’s all about how you act!
    • There are opportunities to pivot at any age.
  • How do women approach getting back into the workforce after 12 years?
    • Most women who have been out for a long time end up being mega volunteers in their communities. Step back and describe the activities in bottom-line, business terms. Managed, generated revenues, negotiated, etc. Talk about all of the business skills you used.
    • Don’t downplay volunteer work! If you can describe it in business terms, it should be on your resume.
  • Women owe it to themselves to create a strong financial foundation. Work doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing choice. Caring for family members is temporary during different chapters of our lives, but throughout we need to keep supporting ourselves financially and not making this an either/or decision. You don’t know what is going to happen in the future.
  • If you feel like you need to be home 24/7 with your children, if you are not financially secure down the road and run out of money, it is those very same children that you will burden.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is the importance of continually working, for women. As a single, working mom, I know that it is difficult to balance making money and caring for your family. At some point, the family care needs will lessen, and I want to make sure you are financially set for wherever your life journey is going to take you. Consistent income is going to give you the most flexibility in that journey.

Random Three Questions 

  1. What do you do to relax?
  2. What is a book you would recommend to other people?
  3. If you were to win a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Kathryn

Website: kathrynsollman.com

Book: Ambition Redefined

If you would like help getting your finances in order to find out how much you need to be making, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. My trainers coach men and women on how to make more money and improve their financial health along the way. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about where you want to go. Head over to financialgym.com to sign up for a free warm up call to find out more.

 

Getting Naked with Allie

0

Getting Naked with Allie

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 have around their money. 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. I’ve done two naked sessions with employees of the Gym, and this is the first non-Gym employee naked session.

Allie, a new Financial Gym client, volunteered to share her numbers with this group. A word of warning though, before you listen to this episode, Allie’s story has a very intense back story. If you are somebody with PTSD, or you have triggers around violence (specifically gun violence), this is an episode you should not listen to. I am giving you warning that this was very intense for me to hear and for Allie to live through, and unfortunately, she was one of the episodes I lost when recording, so this poor young woman had to share this story with me twice. She is an absolute rockstar, and I appreciate her willingness to share everything, but, again, if you can’t handle these types of things, please refrain from listening.

What are we drinking?

Allie — Coffee with hazelnut creamer

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Allie’s story really begins in August 2017. She had put herself through college and graduate school with student loans and had close to $75,000 in student loan debt. She was on an income-based repayment plan and had resolved that she would do the payback plan for 25 years and then age out.
  • She never saw major movement in her balance, even when she would pay larger amounts. When she did the total calculation, she found that she would end up paying over three times the principal balance.
  • She decided to do a little more research, when her payment increased.
  • Her interest rate was 6%, and she was paying much more in interest than principal.
  • Allie’s friend sent her a debt snowball payment worksheet and she began using it as a starting point. She was able to see the impact of putting extra on her loans each month.
  • She then created her own spreadsheet that allowed for variable payment amounts every month. She figured out her fixed expenses and cut her budget, so she could put extra on her student loans. She was making about three to four payments on her loans per month.
  • On October 1, 2017, Allie was at the Route 91 music harvest festival in Las Vegas. She was on the field watching Jason Aldean and was shot three times by a gunman. She loves live music and the tickets were a birthday present. It was supposed to be a fun, week-long vacation.
  • Allie was close to the stage on the right side, which was the worst place to be, based on the people who were injured and the debris afterward. It was the last day of the festival and she heard what sounded like fireworks going off, but it seemed too early for that. During the second round of fire, she was shot in the leg, and she thought she was burned by fireworks, because it was a searing, burning pain. She was then shot two more times.
  • Allie was with her partner and her friend at this time, along with a 14 and 16 year-old they met that day at the festival. The 14 year-old’s mom was fatally wounded on the field. They applied pressure to the wound, but she didn’t make it. They then had to run because the shooting started again.
  • They ran about a mile and took shelter in a diner.
  • When Allie realized she was shot, she tried to convince everyone she didn’t need an ambulance or hospital, because she was afraid she couldn’t afford the bill.
  • Allie ended up going to the hospital and they found she was shot twice in her leg. They cleaned the wounds, covered them in bandages, and told her to get a tetanus shot when she gets home, since they ran out.
  • The bullets are still in her leg. It’s impossible to forget about the bullets, because they still cause her pain.
  • When she got back to the hotel, she realized she was shot a third time in her hip. The type of bullets she was hit by fragmented on impact, so it’s not just a solid bullet.
  • She didn’t go back to the hospital, since they didn’t do anything, and she figured she would go to her primary care doctor when she got back home.
  • Allie had a high deductible insurance plan and the starting estimate from the hospital was $50,000, for two hours and a band-aid. Her maximum out-of-pocket was $5,000 and she only had to pay $4,500, since she already had paid $500 in medical costs previously. By the end of it, the hospital was paid $25,000.
  • Allie is going through a specific type of therapy called EMDR, which is the most common for PTSD. Prior to the shooting, she had been in therapy. She stopped going after the shooting, because she wasn’t ready to talk about it. She went back in February 2018, and wanted to go to that type of therapy to address the underlying issues. She was eligible for funds from the Las Vegas victims fund, which was started the day after the shooting through Go Fund Me. There was over $33 million in the fund for those injured at the event. She was also eligible for funds from the Victims of Crime fund through the State of Nevada, after her insurance company paid.
  • Allie is getting her plan from the Gym tomorrow. Her trainer is Georgina.
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions:
    • Employment: Employed as a trainer
    • Birthday: September 6, 1988
    • Current Salary: $91,700
    • Monthly Take-Home Pay: $4,290
    • Checking Account: $91.50
    • Savings Account: $65.20
    • HSA: $6,400
    • 401k: $50,000 (Target Date Fund)
    • Employee Stock Program: Yes
    • Student Loan Debt: None – paid off $75,000
    • Credit Card 1: $680
    • Chase United Credit Card: $550 (paid off weekly)
    • Car Loan: $5,650 (2.29% interest, 13 mos left)
    • Credit Score: 760
    • Own or Rent: Rent
    • Current Monthly Rent: $760 (half)
    • Renter’s Insurance: $10
    • Life Insurance: Free through employer
    • Disability Insurance: Free through employer
    • Will or Trust: No
    • Children: No
    • Pets: Yes
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $2,800
    • 1-3 Year Goals: Apply to a one-year program at Stanford, which will require a move to the Bay Area (she is able to work while she is in the program); Total cost is $1,500 in 2018, and they only run it every two years. She hopes to attend in 2020. The second two quarters, they pay you about $1,500 per semester, as they teach you to facilitate one of their courses through their graduate school of business.
    • 3-5 Year Goals: Travel, work on her f-off fund
    • 5-10 Year Goals: Possibly have one child and adopt another one
    • What is important to you (sacred cows)? Health care, self-care/therapy, explore pain management care for her leg wound, continue to grow, learn, and push herself, traveling

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that money should never be a reason you can’t take care of yourself physically or mentally. If you’re finances prohibit you from taking care of yourself, then this is a sign you need to fix your finances and become empowered by them instead of controlled by them.

Random Three Questions

  1. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
  2. If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
  3. If you were to win 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 your money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all so nothing will surprise them. 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.

 

Icebreaker Questions with the Happy Hour Ladies

0

Icebreaker Questions 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.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Ace Pumpkin Craft Cider

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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

Shannon — Bota Box Malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Last month’s Happy Hour was about mental health awareness and prevention and Shannon decided to have a fun, lighthearted discussion today.
  • Shannon found these questions to help listeners get to know the Happy Hour ladies better.
  • What is an article of clothing someone could wear that would make you walk out on a date with them?
    • Melanie: Suspenders (withdrawn); MAGA hat (Make America Great Again)
    • Tonya: Wife beater tank top and/or jorts, or socks with sandals
    • Liz: Tee shirt with an offensive slogan
    • Shannon: Bow tie
  • The zombie apocalypse is coming. Who are three people you want on your team?
    • Melanie: Unsure
    • Tonya: MacGyver and Ryan Reynolds
    • Liz: Her husband, Nate, and two kids
    • Shannon: Doesn’t want to survive and live off the land; if she had to pick, her brother-in-law, Ben
  • What is your most used emoji?
    • Melanie: Cry-laughing emoji
    • Tonya: Tongue sticking out
    • Liz: Cry-laughing emoji
    • Shannon: Kissy face and prayer hands
  • What is the worst style choice you’ve ever made?
    • Melanie: Overalls and oversized Gap sweaters
    • Tonya: Shoulder pads
    • Liz: Everything she wore in 7th grade
    • Shannon: Shoulder pads, layers of scrunchy socks, and most other middle school choices
  • What was the worst haircut/style you ever had?
    • Melanie: When she used too much Sun-In at age 13; When she tried bangs a few years ago and cut her them too short
    • Tonya: Permed, wavy hair; hair wings
    • Liz: Hair down to her waist; sprayed, curled bangs
    • Shannon: Teased/sprayed bangs and the time she cut her own bangs when her hair was wet
  • Who was your favorite actor/actress crush?
    • Melanie: Joey Lawrence and Jonathan Taylor Thomas
    • Tonya: Anybody in the Outsiders (Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estavez, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon)
    • Liz: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Joshua Jackson, Prince William
    • Shannon: Kirk Cameron, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, the actors in the Outsiders
  • If you were a wrestler, what would be your entrance theme song?
    • Melanie: Super Freak
    • Tonya: Another One Bites the Dust
    • Liz: Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto
    • Shannon: For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
  • Have you ever been told you look like someone famous?
    • Melanie: Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon; Kate Blanchett
    • Tonya: Molly Shannon
    • Liz: Mrs. Frugalwoods
    • Shannon: No one
  • Did you have a name for your first car?
    • Melanie: None
    • Tonya: Rabbit
    • Liz: current – Snowdrop and The Truck
    • Shannon: Marty (1980 Chevy Cavalier)
  • If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?
    • Melanie: Indie comedic drama; Greta Gerwig
    • Tonya: Indie comedic dramedy; Emma Stone
    • Liz: Western, like Little House on the Prairie
    • Shannon: Comedy; Amy Schumer
  • If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
    • Melanie: Lola Retreat and the things she is doing to mobilize women and money; to become a prominent thought-leader in mental health and money
    • Tonya: Acting
    • Liz: As the mom of her kids (i.e., the president’s mom)
    • Shannon: Financial Gym; for changing the financial services industry
  • You have to sing karaoke. What song do you pick?
    • Melanie: Just a Girl, by No Doubt
    • Tonya: I Want You to Want Me, by Cheap Trick; The House that Built Me, by Miranda Lambert; Portion for Foxes, by Rilo Kiley
    • Liz: Anything from Les Misérables; Jolene, by Dolly Parton; Lonestar, by Norah Jones; Silver Lining, by Rilo Kiley
    • Shannon: You’re So Vain, by Carly Simon
  • What was your least favorite food as a child, and do you still hate it now?
    • Melanie: Mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, and olives; she still hates them all
    • Tonya: Brussel sprouts; she likes them when they are cooked right
    • Liz: Powdered milk; she still hates it
    • Shannon: Her mom’s meatloaf; she likes ketchup-based meatloaf
  • If you were left on a deserted island with either your worst enemy or no one, which would you choose?
    • Melanie: Worst enemy
    • Tonya: Worst enemy
    • Liz: Worst enemy
    • Shannon: Worst enemy – she would use the time to make things right
  • If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go?
    • Melanie: No
    • Tonya: No
    • Liz: No
    • Shannon: No
  • Sixties, seventies, eighties, or nineties, what decade do you love most?
    • Melanie: The 90s for music
    • Tonya: The 60s for music
    • Liz: The 60s for fashion and music
    • Shannon: the 80s for music
  • What is your favorite sandwich and why?
    • Melanie: Grilled cheese with brie
    • Tonya: Grilled cheese with artisanal bread
    • Liz: Grilled cheese with mayonnaise
    • Shannon: Grilled cheese; When she was pregnant with Will, it was all she could eat the first trimester

If you need help getting your finances in order, 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 Bridget Todd

0

Getting Naked with Bridget Todd

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 around their money. 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. This is now officially part of the show. Last month, my teammate Caitlin got naked with me and today Bridget Todd, employee number one at the Financial Gym, is in the hot seat. I hope you enjoy!

What are we drinking?

Bridget — Malbec

Shannon —  Irony Pinot Noir

Podcast Notes

  • Bridget was employee number one at the Financial Gym, and she recently celebrated her two-year work anniversary.
  • When Bridget started, Shannon had about 30 clients and now the Gym has 1,000.
  • Prior to working at the Gym, Bridget was working for a hedge fund in a middle office type of position, which means she supported the traders and portfolio managers. She found her days to be very monotonous. She felt like she was helping rich people get richer.
  • About three years ago, Bridget found out about the Financial Gym through her friend who was a client of Shannon’s. Bridget heard Shannon speak at an event and signed up as a client with Shannon.
  • Shannon figured out a way for Bridget to save enough money to take a pay cut to come work for the Gym. Bridget was making $85,000 and Shannon offered her $50,000. Bridget countered with $70,000, and Shannon paid her the same as herself, which was $60,000. Bridget accepted the job knowing that Shannon could only guarantee one year.
  • In the beginning, Shannon didn’t have a lot of time, and Bridget had to figure a lot of things out on her own. They would sit down together once in a while if there was something Bridget really needed. Once Shannon makes up her mind, it is not worth getting mad about the decision. Once a decision’s made, it’s made. Bridget feels like she is usually aligned with Shannon’s decisions and where she wants to take the company.
  • Bridget is on the Executive Team at the Gym.
  • Everyone has bad days and Shannon admits when it is not a good day to talk about something. She is very good at making quick decisions. Shannon has the least patience when people waste time on things that aren’t going to happen.
  • They are both good at having disagreements and moving forward from that and don’t hold a grudge. Save the drama for your mama!
  • Shannon wants to serve their clients and make sure everyone on the team is in the right position.
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions:
    • Employer: The Financial Gym
    • Birthday: 5/4/89
    • Current Salary: $100,000
    • Monthly Take-Home Pay: $5,700
    • Checking Account: $3,000
    • Account for Work Expenses/Reimbursement: $160
    • Savings Account: $1,500
    • Moving Fund: $3,500
    • Travel/Fun Account: $2,000
    • Emergency Fund: $15,000
    • Betterment IRA: $36,572
    • Betterment Roth: $20,445
    • Charles Schwab Account: $82,622
    • LVest: $150
    • Assets as of Now: $165,000
    • Assets as of 1/27/16: $94,000
    • Student Loan Debt: $0
    • Mortgage: N/A
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve Card: $1,734 (pays in full each month)
    • AmEx: $2.99 per month (pays in full each month)
    • Amazon: $323 (pays in full each month)
    • Capital One Venture Card: $531 (some work expenses)
    • Credit Score Now: 799
    • Credit Score in 2016: 760
    • Car Loan: N/A
    • Personal Loan: N/A
    • Other Loan: N/A
    • Own or Rent: In between/Living with parents temporarily
    • Current Monthly Rent: N/A
    • Renter’s Insurance: N/A
    • Life Insurance: No
    • Disability Insurance: No
    • Will or Trust: No
    • Children: No
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $1,500 – $1,800
    • Current Monthly Saving: $2,200 for a rental or to purchase a studio, $1,500 into investment accounts, $460 into retirement accounts, $500 into travel
    • 1-3 Year Goals: Move out to a rental or purchase a studio; make more money; travel to Europe
    • 3-5 Year Goals: Marriage, kids, purchase a house on Long Island
    • 5-10 Year Goals: Financial independence, travel
    • 10+ Year Goals: Help kids pay for college, purchase a vacation home
    • What is important to you (sacred cows)? Family and friends and being able to buy gifts for them; having money to socialize; traveling; working out at a gym; being comfortable with her own finances; her own place (either rental or owned)

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is the importance of taking a leap of faith. Sometimes it sounds really scary to give up money in the pursuit of your passions, but, from my experience, those leaps of faith usually pay off. As you can see from Bridget, she’s in an even better place than she was two years before she took the leap.

Connect with Bridget

Instagram: @thefinancialgym

Facebook: The Financial Gym

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team and drop any fear or shame you have around your money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all so nothing will surprise them. 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.

 

Declaring Bankruptcy with Colleen

1

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.