Home Blog Page 2

Finding Happiness While Working a Nine-to-Five with Monica Rivera

1

Finding Happiness While Working a Nine-to-Five with Monica Rivera

I think there is plenty of information and advice out there about how to start a business and quit your nine-to-five job, especially if you’re not happy in it, but I don’t think there is enough about how you find happiness and fulfillment while still working in your nine-to-five, which is why I’m excited to chat with Monica Rivera, host and producer of the “You Wanna What?” podcast. Monica joins me today to share her story about finding happiness in her nine-to-five and how you can do it as well.

What are we drinking?

Monica — Witches Brew (vodka and raspberry Crystal Light)

Shannon — Deep Eddie’s grapefruit vodka with club soda

Podcast Notes

  • Monica has been in corporate America for over 15 years working in different roles within marketing and business-to-business marketing, for banks and telecommunication, and now in the tech world.
  • About four years ago, Monica felt uncomfortable in her role and she felt she needed to grow.
  • When people would tell her to find her passion and go with that, it was difficult, because she has so many interests.
  • In 2013, Monica bought a microphone, and it sat there until June 2017. She finally made a decision to take the leap and record her first podcast. Starting the podcast lit up all of the lights inside of her. It is creative, she gets to talk to interesting people, and she taught herself how to edit her show.
  • Shannon has been podcasting for three years, over 200 episodes, and she still enjoys it.
  • Monica has listened to podcasts for about 11 years. The first podcast she listened to was The BS Report with Bill Simmons. She loved that he didn’t just stick to sports – he also talked about pop culture.
  • Don’t listen to self-doubt about there being so many podcast, because your voice is not out there.
  • Podcasting is not an expensive hobby to start.
  • There are almost 8 billion people in this world. You just need a small corner of people who are like-minded and share your story and that is enough. Make the show that you want to make and people will find you.
  • Sometimes we use money and acquiring things as a way to fill up holes in our lives. Monica found she was buying clothes she didn’t use and was using money to fill a void. Spend on experiences versus things.
  • Experiment! Eat someplace different, visit a new town, take up a new hobby.
  • Shannon sees it often at the Gym – when clients begin to spend more money on things, they are usually unhappy about something in their life. It is difficult to be self-aware when this is happening.
  • When asked what is important in their lives, people rarely say stuff, shopping, or aquiring things.
  • Instead of going shopping, think about doing something else. What are the things you liked to do as a child? What was fun for you? Often, there is carryover into adulthood.
  • 54% of Americans do not use their earned vacation. You can take time off of work!
  • “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush
  • We put such an emphasis on professional development and financial development. Those things are important, but we also need to take care of our self-investment. It is just as important. It makes you more productive and happy.
  • There is more to life than work and Netflix.
  • It is not necessarily your job that is killing you, it is the behaviors around it. Look for ways to fulfill yourself outside of your job.
  • It is easy to blame unhappiness on your job, but look at the rest of your life. You don’t want to be unhappy until you find the job that gives you purpose.
  • Do little experiments to find out what you like and what you don’t like. You don’t need to commit to them.
  • If you push yourself out of your comfort zone, make sure you evaluate it afterwards to see if you actually liked it. It’s okay if you find out you don’t like what you tried. Give yourself permission to try something else.
  • Experiment with a low cost barrier. Groupon and Living Social are great ways to try new places and new things. It doesn’t need to be costly!
  • The best way to be comfortable making changes is to make more changes.
  • If you have the opportunity to do something you want to do now, don’t  put it off. You don’t know if you will get the chance to do it later.
  • Ball on a budget! YOLO within reason. Get a second job, if you need to, in order to reach your goals.
  • Be open to new experiences. Take a different route – get off the expressway.
  • Think of your nine-to-five as that which allows you to afford to experience new things.
  • You can create new experiences all the time.
  • Go to new events, connect with different people. If you want to stay home, start journaling – it is just for you. Challenge yourself to do 10 minutes a day for a week. See what comes out.
  • If you are unhappy in your job, start trying different things outside of work. Your experimentation outside of work could lead to new career opportunities. If you are unhappy, stop doing the same things over and over.
  • Some jobs are really bad, but usually they are not. Sometimes you just need a different perspective.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to not dismiss the importance of your nine-to-five job. As an entrepreneur I can tell you that starting your own business is not an answer for all, and for financial and mental health, sometimes your nine-to-five is going to be the best place for you. So if you’re not finding happiness there, start practicing some of these strategies to find happiness while also collecting a stable income.

Random Three Questions 

  1. If you weren’t doing your podcast, what type of podcast would you record?
  2. If you were to leave your nine-to-five job, what would be something you would love to do?
  3. If you were on death row, and it was your last night, what would be the meal you would order?

Connect with Monica

Podcast: You Wanna do What?

Website: www.youwannadowhat.com

Instagram: @youwannadowhat

Facebook: @youwannadowhat

Twitter: @youwannadowhat1

If you need someone to chat about your finances to see if it makes sense for you to stay in your nine-to-five, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. One of the best roles my trainers play in their clients’ lives is being the sounding board you need for life’s tough money choices. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

Cash Wise Ex-Wives with Kayla Sloan and Shanah Bell

0

 Cash Wise Ex-Wives with Kayla Sloan and Shanah Bell

As many of you know, I’m a divorced single mom and I personally don’t think there’s enough conversation and discussion around the specific financial challenges of going through a divorce and then going from running your money as a couple to running it as a single person, which was why I was so excited to see the new group, Cash Wise Ex-Wives, being led by my two friends Kayla Sloan and Shanah Bell. These two ladies join me today to talk about why they started this group, share their divorce experiences and how they want to help divorced women and men become more cash wise.

What are we drinking?

Kayla — Rum and Coke

Shanah — Pinnacle Gin with lemonade and lime seltzer water along with basil, lime, herbs, and ice

Shannon — Deep Eddie’s grapefruit vodka with club soda

Podcast Notes

  • The idea for Cash Wise Ex-Wives came about a few months ago, when both Kayla and Shanah each received feedback about their divorce stories. They felt compelled to create a resource for people going through divorce.
  • Kayla and Shanah went though divorces and didn’t feel like there was anywhere to turn for information.
  • Kayla was 19 when she got married and was not married quite a year before she got divorced.
  • Shanah was 25 when she got married and was 30 when she got divorced.
  • It doesn’t matter how long you are married, there are always challenges going from teamwork to lone wolf.
  • Cash Wise Ex-Wives is a private Facebook group. Their goal is to create one place people can go to for resources. They want to create a live, interactive session each month that features an expert that addresses a challenge people face.
  • This is geared toward people who are contemplating divorce, in the middle of it, or on the other side of it.
  • The sessions will be recorded and stored in the closed Facebook group.
  • Kayla did her divorce by herself, because she was broke and didn’t have any assets or children. She spent hours Googling information and she doesn’t want anyone else to have to do that.
  • Shanah originally thought about doing her divorce herself. It started getting complicated with child support, custody, and assets so she hired a lawyer. She asked around to get recommendations. Her divorce was not amenable and was drawn out over a year.
  • Divorce can be a very scary and costly process, especially if you have a lot to sort through.
  • Shannon wanted to DIY her divorce, but her ex-husband hired an attorney. She and her ex-husband met up and worked through everything together, so they could have it all sorted out to give to the attorney to write up. Shannon read through the final document to make sure it was what they agreed on and she represented herself in court.
  • The more the two of you can agree on, the less you will need to pay.
  • You can always represent yourself in any legal matter.
  • When you get engaged, it is the happiest time of your relationship. That is the time to negotiate the end (pre-nup), because you will be the most fair. When the relationship ends, emotions get in the way, plus it shows you how the other person will treat you.
  • Shannon didn’t get married thinking it would end. She had every intention of it working out. It doesn’t have to be nasty. You can’t just walk away and never see this person again, if you have kids together.
  • The best thing you can do for your kids is to set your differences aside and work together.
  • Every month Kayla and Shanah are going to tackle one topic/challenge a month and address the emotional aspect as well. Their tagline is they want to help keep divorce from killing your finances.
  • Shannon does her own financial plan and is making changes because her numbers aren’t working. She recently had to make the tough decision to sell her house. She has been maintaining the house on her own for two years, because she wanted it for her son. It is hard to take emotions out of decision making.
  • Men are allowed in the Facebook group.
  • Cash Wise Ex-Wives charges a monthly fee:
    • Basic level includes access to the Facebook group, live videos, and resource library. The cost is $27.00 per month. They are currently running a special – use coupon code BABY10 to bring the cost down to $17.00 per month to get started.
    • Go-Getter level includes everything in the basic level as well as one monthly personal call with Shanah or Kayla to dive deeper into a topic you may not want to share in the group. The cost is $47.00 per month.
    • Killing it level includes everything in the basic level and two monthly calls. The cost is $77.00 per month.
  • The cost is only going to be worth it if you put the effort into using the information that is available.

TAKEAWAY: No matter what your current marital status is, please get comfortable making money decisions and please educate yourself on not only how to do it but how much you need to survive. There is nothing worse than staying in a bad marriage or relationship because of your money situation. You can and should have control over it if for nothing else, your own happiness and nothing is more important than that.

Random Three Questions 

  1. Would you ever get married again?
  2. What’s a show that you binge watch?
  3. What do you do to relax?

Connect with Kayla and Shanah

Website: cashwiseexwives.com

If you need someone to chat about finances if you’re going through a divorce, thinking about it, or you’re on the other side of it, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. One of the best roles my trainers play in their clients’ lives is the sounding board you need for life’s tough money choices. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

Wedding Season Expenses with the Happy Hour Ladies

1

Wedding Season Expenses with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is the last Friday of the month and my regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour, where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today is not only the last Friday of the month but it’s the beginning of Memorial Day weekend which is the official kick off to the summer in the US and with the beginning of the summer season, we are kicking off wedding season as well. For the last six years, I’ve worked with clients to both plan weddings and also plan to attend and participate in weddings and as you will hear in the episode, my experience has led to some very strong opinions on weddings. I hope you enjoy my wedding rant over cocktails.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Negroni

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Pinot Grigio (Kirkland)

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Hard apple cider

Shannon — Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • It is more difficult to manage the expense of weddings when you are a guest. When you are planning your own, you are in control of how much you spend.
  • What is your worst wedding fail and how did you handle it? Has money ever come between you and celebrating a wedding?
    • Liz: It is all about making the decision about spending in advance. Either she is going to spend the money and feel good about it or she cannot attend. She has no regrets about the weddings she chose to attend. Go into it with your eyes open.
    • Melanie: She said no to one wedding last year in NYC, because of the timing and circumstances. She has gone to a few weddings in Portland, but has offset the cost by staying with friends and flying with rewards points.
    • Tonya: She missed a few weddings in Michigan in her 20s. If she could combine it with something else she would fly back and attend. She hasn’t felt bad about saying no or had any fallout by not going to the bachelorette parties or weddings.
    • Shannon: Too many clients go through this. If you are in a wedding party and it’s local, it will be $1,000 minimum. If it is out of town, it will be $1,500 to $2,000. If you agree to be in the wedding party, you have no choices. Would you spend that much on your friend if it was just the two of you going out for a night? The biggest financial downfall happens when you are part of the wedding party. Before you say yes to anyone, think about how much it is going to cost you – it is a big financial decision, especially when you have more than one a year.
  • If you want to go to these weddings, save for it every month. Shannon breaks down the costs she sees clients have to pay to be in the bridal party.
  • Shannon shared wedding season stories of Gym clients and a bachelorette party she was in that included a $1,000 table cost in Chicago.
  • None of the Happy Hour ladies have been invited to a destination wedding, only out-of-state weddings. The ladies talk about destination weddings and the costs associated with them.
  • Liz didn’t have any bridal showers or baby showers, because they make her uncomfortable. Her friend offered to throw her a baby shower, and Liz asked her if she would watch her dog when they were at the hospital. Her friend wanted to do something to support Liz.
  • The ladies talk about funding Roth IRAs for the newlyweds and throwing showers for break ups and divorces.
  • If you are a bride, please be empathetic to your bridal party and your guests and assume that everybody coming to your wedding is in a shitstorm of a financial situation. Put yourself in their shoes and plan your wedding with that in mind.
  • Shannon has coached many women to just say no to being in the wedding party. It is okay to just be a guest.
  • If you can’t be honest with your friend and say you are not able to be in the wedding party due to a financial situation, why would you want to be in their wedding party anyway? You won’t ruin their wedding by saying no, you will ruin their wedding by being a Debbie Downer about how much debt you are in.
  • You have a year to give a gift after a wedding. If you can’t afford a gift at the wedding, wait to give it.

TAKEAWAY: Be compassionate and considerate of your friends’ financial situations when planning your wedding. Getting married is an incredibly exciting moment but I hope that you won’t let your joyous moment lead to many stressful and sleepless nights for your guests as they figure out how to afford it.

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!!

Career Change Advice with Dana Cowin

1

Career Change Advice with Dana Cowin

I end every show asking you to tell me what you want to hear, and I love when you take me up on it. This week’s show comes thanks to my listener Lisa who said, “How about a show on midlife career change, pivoting, reinvention, etc. I’m a full-time working mom of two boys, 11 and 13. I was the first person in my family to go to college and worked three jobs to pay my own way. I couldn’t wait to get to corporate America, and I have been a successful sales rep for 20 years and have learned a lot, but as I approach my 50th birthday I feel like I need a change. There seems to be a lot of focus in the media on Millennials, but how about the Gen-Xers? I’m sure there are a lot of us who feel the same way and don’t know where to start (so we don’t) or what resources are available or are afraid to change for many reasons, i.e., How do we translate our current skills to a new position? Can we maintain our salary level? Do companies view us as too old? etc., and would appreciate some direction and maybe a kick in the pants to get started!”

Well Lisa, ask and you shall receive, and I am not just talking to any old career expert today, I am talking to a girl crush of mine, Dana Cowin, the Former Editor and Chief of Food & Wine magazine and podcast host for Speaking Broadly. Yes, THE Dana Cowin, who was at the helm of all that is great about Food & Wine. Dana and I became friends through the Bacardi Women’s Empowerment Series and she frequently discussed how she became a career guru, so I put her knowledge to the test on my show. Dana has so much great information from her personal career
change experience but also mentoring hundreds of people over her extensive career. This show is great for anyone at any stage thinking about making a career change.

What are we drinking?

Dana — Chambord and sparkling wine

Shannon — Chambord and sparkling wine

Podcast Notes

  • Dana began her career at Vogue, in features, in the 80s. Since then she has worked for House & Garden magazine, Mademoiselle, and Food & Wine magazine.
  • When Dana worked in the Condé Nast building, she could tell exactly which floor people worked on when she saw them in the elevator, by the way they dressed.
  • She was promoted to Managing Editor at House & Garden and Editor at Food & Wine. After 30 years in the magazine business, at age 55, she was ready for a change.
  • Dana was told by someone at a technology startup that nobody would ever hire her, because she is too expensive, too old, and not digital enough.
  • To those people who are looking to make a change, Dana recommends having honest conversations about what you want to do.
  • Dana left Food & Wine to work for a company called Chef’s Club for a year.
  • Any time you build your reputation in an industry, you take it with you.
  • Shannon said to treat your network like a garden: water it, tend to it over time, and it will bear fruit when you need it.
  • Shannon randomly emailed a connection on LinkedIn when she was fundraising for the Gym, and the connection ended up investing $50,000.
  • If you are jumping from one industry to another, you may need to do a side hustle to build a new network.
  • Dana mentored employees at Food & Wine. The conversations that were most productive were those she had with employees who were not performing well. The more she became a leader in the industry, the more people in the industry would come to her.
  • There are typically three thoughts processes people have:
    • You have the gut feeling that you are not in the right space
    • You get fired
    • You want something more, but don’t know what it is
  • Once someone has identified the problem, where do they go next?
    • If you don’t like the boss, but you like what you are doing, you are in the best place. You can work for someone else and it is the easiest transition. The most difficult is if the person doesn’t know what they want to do. This is common in people ages 25 to 33.
  • You need to own your situation. Don’t get stuck on blame or fear.
  • For people who get pushed out, how do you help them assess how to find the next thing?
    • When people say “I have no idea what I want to do”, they typically have an answer after talking to Dana for an hour. People need someone to listen and write it down for them.
  • Dana has a three-minute test she gives people: write down the things you are really excited about on a piece of paper and don’t censor yourself. Look at the words and connect them together.
  • Shannon said to enter key words into LinkedIn search and it will bring up different jobs. Women feel like they need to have 100 percent of the qualifications, while a guy only needs 20 percent to have confidence. At a recent women’s money retreat, it was said to think like a mediocre white guy and act with that type of confidence.
  • Interviewers are looking for communication and intelligence. Are you able to be trained? Are they able to work with you all day? Be the most authentic you!
  • If you are trying to find a job, show that you are a hustler. If you are working and going to school, make sure to highlight it.
  • What do you want to do? What can you do? What skill sets are transferable? People who are in their 50s and 60s tend to pivot to consulting or limited-time work. It can be a wind up, not necessarily a wind down. Older employees can capitalize on their expertise.
  • The more change you make, the more comfortable you are with it. Keep flexing that muscle, because we live in a world of change. There is so much freedom to move and there is a benefit to it.

TAKEAWAY: You’re never too old for change, and change might be exactly what you need. With a little research, self reflection, and conversation, your next greatest chapter is awaiting you.

Random Three Questions 

  1. What story were you particularly proud of?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. What do you do to relax?

Connect with Dana

Instagram/Twitter: @fwscout

Podcast: Speaking Broadly

If you need someone to chat about finances or career changes with, I hope you’ ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We’re constantly working with our clients to make sure that they’re making the right choices that not only make sense financially but also make sense for their personal life journey. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

Five Common Advisor Questions with Joe Saul Sehy

0

Five Common Advisor Questions with Joe Saul Sehy

One of the many things I love about working as a financial planner is that you get to become the sounding board for your clients. Every time you meet with a client and they ask you a question, you have no idea what direction they’re leaning and all you can do is give the best advice from your personal experience, from a financially sound decision, and also from an understanding of your client. I was recently asked by a listener to do a show about one of the most common sounding board questions financial planners get so I thought I would expand the conversation to answer other hot topic questions financial planners get. When I thought about who I would have this conversation with, the only person who came to mind, who happens to be one of my favorite and retired financial planners, Joe Saul Sehy of the Stacking Benjamins podcast. Joe joins me today to get thrown under the bus and answer some common financial planner questions. As usual, I loved hearing Joe’s financial advice and guidance and I hope you do as well.

What are we drinking?

Joe — Black Keurig Coffee

Shannon — Tea

Podcast Notes

  • Joe was a financial advisor for 17 years. He has now been in the financial services industry for 25 years.
  • Shannon and Joe talk about how being a financial advisor is like being a marriage counselor.
  • Shannon has five common questions people ask financial advisors.
  • Question 1: Should we pay down our mortgage or invest?
    • Joe: People who nail financial independence don’t have a lot of debt. The numbers say invest the money, but when he sees successful people, they pay attention to the bottom line and pay down the debt. Joe likes a hybrid approach: set aside money to pay down the mortgage in an S&P 500 fund. For student loans, if the interest rates are close but the debts a little lower, pay off the debt. If there is a big difference, put it toward the debt instead. Look for ways to consolidate to a lower interest and then invest.
    • Shannon: If you have a 3% interest mortgage, you are better off putting the extra in the market. Do you build wealth in your home or in an investment account? You can build it in both places – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Invest with the intention to pay off your mortgage whenever you want. Same for student loans. It depends on your interest rate. It is the freedom to know you could be debt free.
  • Question 2: To invest or not to invest?
    • Joe: A few times a year Joe would come across people who are great at saving but not investing. Get the stuff where it needs to be right now since the market is up 60-70% of the time. However, if the market is down, his clients could fire him. For risk-averse clients, he would have them invest slowly over time instead of all at once like he would want.
    • Shannon: If money is sitting in a cash account, it is earning less than 1% and inflation is 2-3%. Only do this if you need the cash right away. Most clients don’t realize how much their investments are up over the course of a year, they only realize it when it is down.
  • Question 3: Should we buy a house or rent?
    • Joe: This is a tough question since people don’t stay with the same employer forever. The issue is not that real estate is a bad investment. The house you live in is such an expensive transaction to get into and out of and you need a long period of time for it to make sense financially. The life expectancy of a job went from 30 years to 6 years. If you don’t know where you will be in six years, you would be better off renting. Renting reduces the decisions you need to make and is often a better option than it used to be. The first six years your mortgage payment goes to interest.
    • Shannon: If you can cover your rent and build wealth, that is okay. When you sell the house you need to pay the realtor and closing costs, which is about 6-7%. Shannon is concerned with the long-term real estate market, since millenials are less into home ownership and more into tiny homes and traveling.
  • Question 4: Should we buy a car or lease?
    • Joe: For most people leasing only makes sense if you love cars, want the new car smell all the time, and the freedom from worry is worth it. You are paying down only the depreciation of the car plus the dealer’s profit. Joe wouldn’t lease because he can get more car and he gets a new car every three years. It may be a good option for those who need it to take clients around. Joe would rather have a paid off car, because it is not a big inconvenience if his car is at the mechanic for three days.
    • Shannon: It depends on your financial state. Cars are not an investment. What is going to work best for you? If clients don’t want a car payment, they will eventually be responsible for the repairs. Shannon has people with paid off cars have a car account so they can either pay for repairs or save for a different car. If you have annual repairs that equal $250 per month, it is no different than having a low lease payment. It’s more of a budget decision, not an investment decision. Leases are not inherently evil – it depends how they are used.
  • Question 5: What do I do with an extra lump sum of money?
    • Joe: He loves the financial plan, because it will show your strengths and weaknesses and answers this question. Joe looks at a few areas:
      • Budget and Debt: if this not okay, use the money to fund your emergency fund and make a debt payoff plan.
      • Risk Management: The more cash you have, you can cut your insurance costs. For instance preparing in case of disability or death.
      • Short- and Long-Term Goals: Are you ahead or behind? Save X dollars times Y return to get to the goal. You can now take the extra money to save faster to get caught up.
    • Shannon: She gets this question a lot, but she can’t answer it if she doesn’t know your financial plan. Get a financial plan done if you do not have one. This question will answer itself.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway from this conversation is the value of a sounding board. No matter how smart we think we are in a particular area of our lives, it always makes sense to get another opinion, especially when money and large sums of it are involved.

Random Three Questions 

  1. If you weren’t doing a money podcast what podcast would you be doing?
  2. When was the last time you were scared?
  3. What is your latest movie recommendation you would give to listeners?

Connect with Joe

Website/Podcast: stackingbenjamins.com

Podcast: Money in the Morning

If you need someone to be your sounding board when it comes to financial decisions, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We’re constantly working with our clients to make sure they’re making the right choices that not only make sense financially but also make sense for their personal life journey. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

Investing and Volatility with Kevin Matthews

0

Investing and Volatility with Kevin Matthews

For most of 2017, those of us who were investing got to experience what’s called a bull market – when the stock market continues to go up no matter what is happening around it. From the beginning of early 2018, however, the stock market has hit some bumpy roads and if you checked your first quarter 401k statement from the year, or watched any news outlet, you are probably concerned about what’s going on in the market and if you need to change your strategy. Well, today I’ve invited Kevin Matthews, a Financial Advisor and Founder of BuildingBread.com to discuss what’s happening in the stock market recently (spoiler alert, it’s called volatility) and how you can manage your portfolios through volatile markets. I hope you find this conversation extremely helpful if you’re invested in the stock market.

What are we drinking?

Kevin — Water

Shannon — Black Cherry Schweppes

Podcast Notes

  • Kevin started his career through Teach for America as a seventh grade math teacher in Dallas, Texas for two years.
  • He majored in economics and brought the personal finance piece into his class, because the kids didn’t have access to basic financial education. There weren’t financial advisors or banks that catered to the area and Kevin was interested in bringing education and financial literacy to underserved areas.
  • Kevin is now a financial advisor.
  • Most people think the stock market is only for retirement and long-term investments, but Shannon said the stock market actually operates on a two-year cycle. There is an amnesia about the downturns when the market has been good. We always remember terrible weather, but we never remember the perfect weather days. This is flipped with the market – we remember when it is up but never when it is down.
  • Volatility is like speed bumps in the road. It is the increased ups and downs of the market. It is like turbulence on a flight. Sometimes it is worse than other and it will eventually even out.
  • Kevin only recommends checking investment performance four times a year to make sure you are not reacting to the daily volatility and to make sure your investments are balanced.
  • Asset allocation is the mix of investments that you choose.
  • When thinking about volatility, keep it in context: remember what the money is for, how long have you been investing, and when you actually need it.
  • What’s normal and when should you get scared? Kevin shows clients the history of the funds and focuses on the bad years. He emphasizes the length of time the money will be in the market. If you see something drastic on CNBC or Fox, they are reporting on what is currently happening – it’s entertainment reporting.
  • Warren Buffet is a billionaire because he has a boring investment strategy. He invests in companies and keeps to his asset allocation.
  • Your investments should be like a tree. The trunk is your core portfolio and it is healthy, stable, and growing. You can take the branches and do the crazy stuff. If a branch falls off, the tree is still healthy and growing. Bitcoin is a leaf. You have to be comfortable with it not being there if the market goes down.
  • There is a huge difference between possibility and probability. Anything is possible, but the probability may be slim.
  • The worst thing that happens during volatile markets is people either jumping out of the plane or not jumping in.
  • The market is up close to 70 percent of the time. This means that 30 percent of the time the market will be down. If you hold your investments for the long term, you will be fine. It is rare to be down five years in a row. If you don’t sell, you have an unrealized a loss. Nothing is experienced unless you sell. A normal downturn is 10 to 15 percent. Anything over 20 percent is extreme and usually means something is going on. The most extreme downturn took four years to recover.
  • Asset allocation is the most important thing you should pay attention to – 92 percent of your returns come from it. It’s like riding a bike. You need stocks for your pedals and bonds for your brakes. You need both to get to your destination. It is all about having the right mix.
  • It is always a good time to get into the stock market. It is impossible to time the market. If you are always investing, you won’t have to worry about the ups and downs. Successful investors do not just invest one time. You shouldn’t be making changes during volatile times.
  • Stick to the basics of asset allocation and investing for the long term. Remember to relax, because we tend to get emotional about money but the market has no feelings about you. It will do what it’s going to do whether you feel good or bad about it. We have to roll with the ups and downs.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that while volatile stock markets are scary just like an extreme rollercoaster they also give you a great time to reflect on your investment portfolio, review why you’re investing, and reassess and confirm your approach. I would expect most of you to plan to invest for decades and if that’s the case, you’re bound to hit rough patches along the way. Just don’t let those rough patches create anxiety to the point where you make bad decisions for your financial future.

Random Three Questions 

  1. Where is a place you would like to travel to?
  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 Kevin

Website: buildingbread.com

Facebook: Buildingbread

Twitter: @buildingbread

Instagram: @buildingbread

If you need someone to help you evaluate and understand your investment portfolio, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We’re constantly working with our clients to make sure that they’re staying focused on their long-term plans and managing through the turbulence accordingly. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

 

Managing the Haters with the Happy Hour Ladies

1

Managing the Haters with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is the last Friday of the month and my regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour, where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Most of us are on journeys to achieve big things in life whether it’s paying off debt, saving for something big like early retirement or small like a puppy or making career and life changes and all of these journeys require focus and positivity; however, sometimes we get challenged along the way.

Today the ladies and I are talking about haters and how they can threaten to sidetrack our journeys or block them entirely. We’re going to discuss the haters in our lives, how we manage them and how we don’t let them stop us from what matters most. I’m excited to share with you that Liz is back at the happy hour table with us today. I am grateful for our guests but so happy to have the gang back together.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Rosé

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Chardonnay

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

Shannon — Hob Nob Pinot Noir

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon got the idea for this episode from Tonya, because Tonya mentioned she shared an idea of something she wanted to do, and someone quickly dismissed it.
  • Liz has her book for sale on Amazon and has some haters. You will not be able to do work that pleases everyone. If you are doing work that is meaningful and that challenges people to question their assumptions and the way they are living, it is going to make people angry. When you do work like that, you should inspire those emotions. You can either sit back or you can be bold.
  • Shannon read through some of the one-star reviews for Liz’s book. What do you want to be known for and where do you want to focus your energy – writing a book or writing nasty reviews? We all need to live true to what we believe. Liz hopes people will take away what they need from the book. People make up their own minds and you aren’t going to change that.
  • Tonya tries to shake off the haters. She gets a lot of opinions from her dad, who is not involved in her daily life – just the highlights and lowlights.
  • Tonya watched the new Cobra Kai Karate Kid trailer on YouTube Red, and made a comment about how bad it was. She got slammed for posting it. Being online makes it okay to post whatever you want, when you may or may not say it to the person’s face.
  • Usually negative comments are more of a reflection of the person saying it – insecurities, etc.
  • If you have friends who constantly question your decisions, are discouraging, or are negative, maybe it’s time to find new friends. Be aware of the energy you are bringing into a room as well as the energy of the people around you. What if the negative energy is from your family? Recognize the impact they are having on your life. It is difficult when it is family, close friends, or significant others.
  • Melanie has some online haters and a few in-person as well. As a blogger, you have a higher opportunity of haters. She experienced this when she had an article on Business Insider go semi-viral about how she paid off her debt. Some of the comments denounced everything she accomplished. What other people think of you is not your business. Melanie minimizes time with family members that may impact her in a negative way.
  • Shannon had the most haters when she appeared on the Financial Diet’s YouTube channel. She was letting people who didn’t know her make a judgment about her on a three-minute video. She had to let go of the negativity and tried to find the constructive criticism instead of the destruction.
  • There are a lot of angry people online writing long drawn out comments and they always want the last word. Inevitably, someone posts the GIF of Michael Jackson eating popcorn.
  • No one should be telling you how to live your life or influence you in a way where you don’t do what you want to do. Nobody else is living your life.
  • How do you overcome it so you don’t let the haters control your life?
    • Liz: Question who you surround yourself with. Be around positive people who are doing positive things. Find ways to always be creating. If you appeal to everyone, you will not speak loudly enough to the people that it matters the most. Your target demographic is not going to be everyone.
    • Shannon: Surround yourself with constructive people, not yes people, but people who are encouraging, not destructive. The best defense to the haters offense is knowing yourself.
    • Tonya: You can disagree or challenge someone’s idea without being a hater. Dr. Phil, Life Strategies: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? If you are going to read comments about yourself, make sure you are in the right space for it.
    • Melanie: It’s important to focus on ourselves and what we are doing. Know yourself. Don’t read the comments and limit your time spent with Debbie Downers.
  • Play some Taylor Swift and shake it off, Frozen and let it go, or Matthew Wilder and break my stride. Don’t let the haters keep you down – keep pursuing your dreams and live your best life.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is literally the immortal words of Ms. Taylor Swift. Haters are going to hate hate hate. No matter where you are in life and what you’re trying to achieve, they will always be out there and it’s up to you to shake them off and continue to push forward with your hopes and dreams. It’s your life and purpose and don’t let any haters keep you from achieving it.

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!!

Forty and Faithful – Shannon’s Birthday Episode

0

Forty and Faithful – Shannon’s Birthday Episode

Yesterday, I turned 40 years old and officially headed into a new decade of life and when I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about for this episode, the word that kept coming to me was faithful. When I think of faithful, there’s no one I think of more than my college roommate Jill who actually turns 40 the day after me. Before I kick off this episode, though, I need to give a word of warning. If you are someone who is uncomfortable with God or faith-based talk, then this is not the episode for you. Stop listening now and listen to a replay instead. I know that my show is a money show and I’ll return to that next week, but since it’s my birthday and my podcast, I wanted to give this gift of a beautiful conversation with my friend about faithfulness and trust to myself. I loved this conversation with Jill and I’m so thankful to have a friend like her for over 22 years now. I hope you enjoy our reflection on 40 and our years leading up to it.

What are we drinking?

Jill — Kahlua Peppermint Mocha Coffee (non-alcoholic)

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon and Jill met at college and became fast friends. They talk about their college dorm room and illegal coffee maker.
  • Shannon and Jill took a vacation to celebrate their 30th birthdays, and they talk about the seven-mile hike they took in the Catskills.
  • Shannon’s birthday is April 19, and Jill’s is April 20.
  • Jill says she feels better turning forty than when she turned thirty. She has a different perspective then when she was younger. She wants to be forty, faithful, and fabulous. Being faithful, loyal, and persevering is something you have to do as you get older.
  • Forty and faithful is what Shannon thinks of when she looks at the next decade. The path of faithfulness was solidified in her thirties. In her twenties, she had a lot of insecurities. Heading into thirty, she felt like she had it all figured out – husband, child, house, career. In her thirties, she learned what she needed to live a life true to herself. She read a book about happiness and realized that she wanted to help other people.
  • Shannon wondered why God put her through the journey of building the Gym and she realized that she asked for this when she read the Happiness book.
  • God responds in three different ways: Yes, no, or maybe. Sometimes it is yes and then some. It is sometimes in a totally different way than you expect.
  • Malachi 3: God is like a refiner who hold the silver over the hottest part of the fire until the silver is complete.
  • When things get really hard, remember, God wants you to be like the image of Christ. It’s not about you, it’s about your character.
  • When Shannon had no money in her personal account or the Gym’s account, she had no words to pray, but had 100 percent faith that God was going to provide. Two days later, she had $65,000 in the bank.
  • Tears are the expression when there are no words – Recovering from Losses in Life, by H. Norman Wright
  • That wasn’t the last time she was being refined. In January, Shannon was doing her own numbers and realized she needed to sell her house. She realized she was holding onto it, because she didn’t want to tell Will and she didn’t want to feel shame. She had to trust in God to let go and know it will work out. Shannon recently found a rental in the same school district and received an offer on her house for list price, shortly after listing it.
  • Hope International specialized in micro loans in other countries. When meeting with their clients they utilize the five W’s: Welcome, worship, word, work, wrap up.
  • Shannon’s divorce was another faith journey. She prayed a lot before making that decision. She and Bill now co-parent like rockstars.
  • For any big, scary life decisions, remember that God is the net. If you are on the trapeze and don’t let go for the other side, you will miss out on so many great things. There is a peace when you know God is your safety net.
  • Life is a lot better, when you have faith. There is less fear and worry. Have faith like a child.
  • For 13 years, Shannon worked for other people. She didn’t plan to be an entrepreneur and didn’t have the idea of the Financial Gym until she was 35. She doesn’t have any regrets, because her experiences shaped her.
  • It’s only through the broken places that light can shine through.
  • Jill’s goals for her forties: pray more, listen more, seek God’s guidance,  and embrace every season.
  • Shannon’s goals for her forties: keep being the steward she is supposed to be – the Gym is the mission. God is acting through Shannon and her team to change lives. Also, being who she needs to be for Will and to be present for him. To refine work-life integration.
  • Let go of the stupid things you tell yourself. Don’t listen to the lies. Believe in the abundance you are entitled to. Don’t just pray for rain, carry an umbrella and expect a storm.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is the value of faithfulness whenever you have big goals ahead of you. Most life journeys are filled with ups and downs and for me, my faith is the constant in all of it. It’s what gets me through the lows and makes me grateful for the highs.

If you need someone to help you in your financial life, and have faith in you, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We have clients achieving their dreams every day that they never could have realized on their own. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!