Getting Financially Naked with Tai and Jordan
At the Financial Gym, we call the first meeting you have with a trainer the “financially naked session.” In this meeting, you share everything about yourself financially so the trainer knows where you’re starting and so he or she can make the plan for how you can get where you want to go. Above all other meetings, this one scares clients the most because they are afraid or ashamed of their financial situation. A few months back on this podcast, almost a year ago, I shared my financially naked session, and now it is a regular series on the podcast.
Today’s naked session is a super special one for me. Not only is the person in the hot seat one of my trainers, but she also brought her husband along for the ride. This is actually our first couples’ naked session with both partners present and fully financially naked. My trainer Tai is a financial work in progress, like many of us, and I give her mad props and respect for sharing her numbers, even though she is relatively early on in her own financial wellness journey. She did this because she wants to help others and I know this will.
What Are We Drinking?
Tai — Rosé
Jordan — Old Fashioned
Shannon — Simply Grapefruit, Vodka, and Schweppes Club Soda
- Tai is a trainer at the Financial Gym. She interviewed and was in the T2 training class in September 2017 and everybody fell in love with her.
- Everyone was excited, but when they gave her an offer letter, Tai turned it down because she wasn’t ready to move forward. She needed more time.
- After that, she and Jordan joined the Gym.
- When the next trainer class started, Tai was ready for it. On her first day, Shannon was waiting at the front door and Tai was crying happy tears. She was unhappy at her job because of changes that were being made and she kept seeing all of the great things the Gym was doing on Instagram.
- Knowing that it was finally a reality, and they wanted her to work at the Gym even though she turned them down, it was a huge sigh of relief.
- Tai and Jordan went to high school together 19 years ago. They met in their freshman year, but they didn’t date.
- After high school they kept in touch through social media and about eight years ago, they talked back and forth because of a status Tai posted. They moved to messaging each other and then to talking on the phone.
- From there they started dating, they got engaged after a year, and they got married a year later. They have been married for five years now.
- They both went to Brooklyn Tech, which has about 4,000 students. Tai thought he was cute, but she doesn’t remember much else, because she only saw him about four times the entire time they went to school there. They didn’t have any classes together, but they played spades together and she thought he was funny. It was always easy to be around him.
- When they reconnected, they started cracking jokes and they haven’t stopped.
- Before they got married, they did premarital counseling with their pastor and there was a lot of talk about communication, but only 10 minutes about money.
- Neither of them had a strong background with money growing up. It wasn’t really talked about.
- Tai’s grandma and her dad were good with money, but they didn’t teach her anything. Her parents have been separated for most of her life and didn’t get married until about four or five years ago.
- Tai has a vivid memory of a day when the cable or lights were cut off and her mom was hysterical and upset about it, because she wasn’t expecting that to happen. Tai learned that money was stressful.
- On the flip side, Tai’s grandma was paying bills and she had a credit card limit of $20,000.
- Jordan’s mom was a single parent with two kids — a younger brother and himself. She never showed that she was stressed out about money. Now he realizes how much she did for them.
- Jordan’s mom used to have a big jar of coins and it was filled to the brim. One day they started counting the coins. His mom made a game of who could wrap the most coins. Jordan was about 10 and his brother was around 5 years old. The total was somewhere over $300, and he didn’t realize they were doing it because she had to make rent that month and she didn’t have enough money.
- Jordan learned to rob Peter to pay Paul to make things work financially.
- Financial literacy needs to start in the home and most people are just stressed out about it.
- The best lesson Shannon learned from her mom was the value of hard work. Her mom had five kids at home and always had three jobs.
- The month before they got married, Tai opened up a bunch of credit cards to cover incidentals for the wedding.
- They were 28 when they got married and both went from living with their parents to living together. They never lived together or on their own before they were married.
- They each paid a few bills for their parents, but they never paid rent or all of the bills.
- About six months after they were married, they had a late payment notice on their door. Tai missed a rent payment, because she didn’t have enough money. She swore that it would never happen again, because it was scary.
- About two years after they were married, Tai discovered Dave Ramsey. She didn’t realize people talked about money and that there were ways to get out of debt. She went full steam ahead, dragging Jordan along with her kicking and screaming.
- They listened to the podcast, they taught Financial Peace University at their church two times, and she got a better job.
- When they were first married, Tai was working as an assistant. Then she changed companies and was promoted to a sales rep. She got used to commission checks on top of her base pay.
- Tai makes less at her job now than she did at her previous company, and she has more money saved here than she did before. It isn’t all about income, it is all about managing it and your savings and lifestyle.
- They never had talked about money before. Jordan was uncomfortable talking about it. He was hesitant, because of the fear of confronting his failures.
- About five years ago, Jordan was almost 400 pounds and it happened quick. One day he just noticed that he was overweight and he wondered what happened. It was the same with money for him.
- He was carefree and he didn’t want to stop enjoying himself. He didn’t want to face his own mess.
- The shame around money is unnecessary, because there was no way you could have known. For most of Americans, there is no reason you should be good with money. You didn’t talk about it and you didn’t learn about it. Since money is such a big part of our lives we assume that we should just be good with it.
- About 95 percent of people who do a warm-up call are women. Many times they get push back from a spouse.
- Tai and Jordan’s financially naked session with their trainer last October was terrifying. Tai understands why clients are so anxious about it. She was the one who had all of the numbers, but relinquishing that information makes it known to another person.
- Having someone else look at every single thing you do and ask you questions about it is awkward in the beginning. Crystal was able to bring them into a place of comfort and made it a very open and honest place that was safe and non judgmental.
- When you talk about money, someone else is going to want to have an opinion. Whether you agree with it or not, you are going to feel defensive about it, because it is not their money.
- People think that when they come to the Gym the trainer is going to be very judgmental. There is so much emotion that is being brought into the room and that first session can be intense.
- You not looking at your numbers is like you eating a bunch of stuff around the holidays and not stepping on a scale. When you step on the scale, that makes it real. When Tai and Jordan got their plan, it felt like they stepped on the scale and realized that things were not where she thought they were. Tai felt like they had been doing it all wrong.
- You make decisions that seem like the best one at the time and then they all add up.
- You need to make conscious decisions and when you stop doing that it starts to add up.
- Tai and Jordan had a setback during their second quarter and Tai tried to get out of doing this podcast because of the shame she was feeling.
- Shannon doesn’t want perfect financially naked episodes, because most stories are imperfect. They are about progress not perfection. Just like getting physically healthy, it is a lifelong journey. It is not always going to be all A’s. Even the A students have setbacks.
- If you need accountability, the Financial Gym wants to be on the journey with you. The quarterly review is the weigh in.
- It typically takes about a year for clients to hit their emergency savings goal. Most people don’t have emergency funds. If it takes you a year instead of nine months, you are still ahead of the game.
- If you have setback, it’s okay. Things happen. Get it out of your system and then focus.
- Questions from the financially naked discovery questionnaire:
- Birthday: Tai 6/5/86; Jordan 3/18/86
- Job: Tai – Financial Gym; Jordan – NYPD
- Salary: Tai $60,000; Jordan $51,000
- Net Pay: Tai $1,900/twice a month; Jordan $2,500/month
- Checking account: Tai $200; Jordan $20
- Checking account (joint): $0.90 (rent was just paid)
- Ally Savings: $7,848 (up from $1,200 in Oct 2018); goal is $10,000
- Retirement: Tai $5,500 (rollover IRA); Jordan $40,000 (pension)
- Mortgage: Not yet
- Student Loan: Tai $34,270; Jordan $0
- AmEx: Tai $1,000; Jordan $0
- Personal Loan: $26,595 (transferred from credit cards); $622/month; Previously the minimum monthly payment on the credit cards was $686.
- Personal Loan: $156/month; $10,000 for the car
- Pension Loan: $160/month pre-tax; $14,869 for the car
- Auto Insurance: $128/month
- Net Worth Increase: $15,000 in six months
- Credit Score: Tai 802; Jordan 723
- Rent/Utilities: $1,058/month
- Renters Insurance: $13/month
- Health Insurance: Yes, through Jordan’s job
- Will: No
- Children: No
- Tithe: Tai 10% gross; Jordan 10% net
- Average Monthly Expenses: $3,000
- Goals 1-5 years: Tai – buying a house, traveling more, knocking out debt; Jordan – kids, house, knocking out debt, financial security
- Goals long-term: Tai – purchasing multiple properties, ability to help parents financially, saving for kids’ education; Jordan – helping his mom financially, traveling with their kids, providing for his children
- What’s important to you (sacred cows): Tai – tithing and travel; Jordan – tithing and entertainment (including wrestling, games, and movies)
- The setback during the second quarter is that they got sloppy with their credit cards. They were supposed to be on a credit card fast, but they don’t always do what Crystal tells them to do. Things got tight and they charged their credit card and didn’t talk about it.
- They had to take about $1,200 out of the emergency fund to clear Jordan’s credit card. A year ago, she wouldn’t have had the money to cover it.
- Clients forget where they were a year ago. Trainers need to keep that memory alive to show clients how far they have come.
- Personal loans are like lapband surgery. Either you are going to clean up the debt and have better behaviors going forward, or you are going to take the weight off and gain it back, because of credit card availability.
- Tai has always been good about always paying at least the minimum on things and not being late, but not good about having a cushion.
Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is that the path to financial wellness is not linear and is not direct. You will have ups and downs, you will move backward and forward, and all sorts of directions. This is why it is important to remember that it is progress over perfection. Trust the journey no matter how difficult it gets for you. I promise that you will get results.
Random Three Questions
- What is a move you can watch over and over again and not get sick of?
- What is your favorite meal?
- 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, and Tai is a great example that they’ve lived it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go.
The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So if you’re ready to manifest your dreams, like Tai and Jordan in 2019, head over to or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.