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Bitcoin Explained

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martinis and your money

Bitcoin Explained

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to entrepreneur and host of the Liberty Entrepreneurs Podcast, Ashe Whitener, about something he’s very passionate about – Bitcoin. I have to confess that until this conversation, I had no clue about Bitcoin. I had heard about it, but I really didn’t know what it had to do with me personally. If you’re like me, you will really enjoy this conversation with Ashe and feel more confident in your Bitcoin knowledge at the end of the day, which is truly my goal with this podcast. I hope that at the end of every show my listeners feel educated and entertained. Cheers!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Ashe — Lemon vodka & mountain dew

Shannon — Deep Eddy’s grapefruit vodka & club soda

Podcast Notes

  • Ashe is very passionate about digital entrepreneurship and how it helps people become the freest person that they can.
  • Before becoming an entrepreneur, he went to school and graduated with a few engineering degrees and worked as a computer programmer for several years.
  • As the economy was crashing in 2007, Ashe sought out other individuals that liked economics, appreciated the free market and entrepreneurship, and wanted to take a chance.
  • He then moved down to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help start Euro Pacific Bank.
  • His interest in Bitcoin began in 2011.
  • Bitcoin was created in January 2009 as an opt-in/opt-out type of financial system and currency.
  • It is a computer science-based currency rather than a central bank and political-based currency.
  • There is a cap for bitcoin set at 21,000,000 and this allows us to know the exact inflation rate for it.
  • When Bitcoin was invented, it created the internet of digital scarcity.
    • This is the most fundamental aspect of Bitcoin.
    • For the first time ever, you can give someone something over the internet and then no longer have access to it.
  • To purchase bitcoin as an individual, you connect your bank account to a Bitcoin exchange – very similar to stocks.
  • Your bitcoin is kept in an online wallet/app – such as airBitz – which is controlled completely by you.
  • One site that allows you to pay for purchases using bitcoin is gyft, which sells gift cards from over 200 retailers.
  • You shouldn’t use bitcoin just to use bitcoin – it needs to solve some pain.
  • Shannon says she thinks a risk of bitcoin is the chance it potentially could be controlled by one person.
  • However, Ashe doesn’t believe there is much of a chance for that to happen and explains why.
  • Bitpay has all the bitcoin exchange rates.
  • Shannon asks Ashe if he is ever concerned about the exchange rate of bitcoin.
  • Ashe explains that since bitcoin is so decentralized – not owned by one central bank or central government – it trades 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year making it much more secure and trustworthy.
  • Bitcoin was the first of the digital currencies, but now there are hundreds of different digital currencies.
  • Shannon asks Ashe where he sees the future of digital currencies heading because she wants to know why she should learn and care about it.
  • TAKEAWAY: Never sit on the sidelines and feel dumb about any subject matter, like I did about bitcoin. Take the time to do some research – talk to experts, read blogs, or listen to podcasts – and find the knowledge. “Knowledge is power!” – Francis Bacon

Random Three Questions

  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
  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 Ashe:

Liberty Entrepreneurs Podcast

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

Ashe’s bitcoin t-shirt store

Do you invest in Bitcoin or use it to pay for goods or services? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Making Big Leaps Less Scary

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martinis and your money

Making Big Leaps Less Scary

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Kathlyn Hart, a motivational speaker, coach, and host of the Big Leap Show, about taking big leaps in our careers. A leap of any size can be a scary thing for most of us, even though some of us are more inclined to take them than others. I’ve taken a few big leaps in my career, and I have to say that despite the ups and downs afterward, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I encourage you to listen to this show and get inspired to make a big leap of your own in 2017! Cheers!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Kathlyn — a Moscow Mule

Shannon — a Vodka Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • Kathlyn spends most of her days working on her podcast and interviewing badass women in business.
  • Outside of her podcast, she does business consulting and website design.
  • Kathlyn says taking a leap and starting her business was the ultimate dream.
  • She wants people to know that every single person that makes something happen is scared but there is a way through the madness!
  • To take a big leap, you have to have something pulling you.
  • Kathlyn switched careers from working in non-profit to architecture – her childhood dream job.
  • She didn’t have the necessary skills for architecture so she tailored her resume to showcase how she could actually help the company and sent it to as many architecture and design places until she got a job.
  • Shannon tells a story about a previous client’s big leap and what she said to encourage her to take that leap.
  • Shannon and Kathlyn both agree that if you are going to make the big leap, don’t burn any bridges behind you.
  • Women tend to overthink more than men, and Shannon believes this is why men leap more often than women.
  • Kathlyn says if you think you want to take a leap, test it out first.
  • Shannon says if you feel like you need to make a move and take a leap, there is a reason for that – a lot of people don’t have that desire.
  • Kathlyn has interviewed almost 45 “leapers” for her podcast.
  • It took her 3+ years to record her first interview because of how nervous she was to take that leap.
  • Shannon agrees and says the Financial Gym was supposed to open 3 years earlier than it did.
  • Kathlyn has learned several major lessons from her big leap and the women she has interviewed for her podcast.
    • Taking a leap because you hate your job often leads to trouble down the road because success doesn’t happen over night.
  • TAKEAWAY: Practice leaping in smaller ways so that you can get more comfortable when a bigger leap may present itself to you! Either way I encourage you to leap!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is a book you’ve read that has inspired you?
  2. If you could live anywhere else in the country, where would you live and why?
  3. If you were to win a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Kathlyn:

The Big Leap Show

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Youtube

Pinterest

Have you ever taken a big leap in your career?

Shopping the Exchanges for Health Insurance

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Shopping the Exchanges for Health Insurance

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Jennifer Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of PolicyGenius, about healthcare: What you need to know about the Exchanges, how hard you should hold onto your family doctor, and the benefits that may be available to you. Figuring out healthcare on your own can be extremely frustrating and difficult to understand. PolicyGenius has created a great resource to simplify the process for you. Cheers!

What are we drinking?

Jennifer — Coffee

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • PolicyGenius is a company meant to help consumers shop for and pick the right insurance policy – including life insurance, disability insurance, pet insurance, and as of November 2016, health insurance.
  • Among all the financial decisions someone makes in a year, health insurance is a really important and difficult one, and PolicyGenius strives to make it easier to understand and find the right policy.
  • Open enrollment is a 3-month period that runs every year where anyone without insurance through their employer is able to purchase health insurance.
  • The purchasing period for health insurance is so restrictive so people are not able to game the system and purchase health insurance right before or after a serious medical incident occurs.
  • People who already have health insurance, either through their employer or on their own, and do not like their plan should reevaluate and choose the best policy for them during this time.
  • It is common for people to continue with their health insurance plan even if they are not satisfied with it.
  • Shannon says she notices a lot of times people are actually over-insured or under-insured.
  • PolicyGenius captures every state’s plans and offerings based on the zip code.
  • A big decision to consider with health insurance is the premium you pay and the out-of-pocket costs associated with health care – with a high premium out of pocket costs are less and with a low membership, the out of pocket costs are higher.
  • Jennifer says its like choosing a health club membership.
  • The Exchange is a government term for the online health insurance marketplace.
  • The main marketplace is healthcare.gov.
  • Some states opted to create their own marketplace and are not included on the federal government marketplace.
  • Financial assistance and subsidies are things people often don’t know much about.
  • If you make between $12,000 and $45,000 a year, you qualify for financial assistance in the form of a tax credit, which you can opt to take a head of time to put towards what you pay for health insurance.
  • If you qualify for a subsidy, you have to purchase an on-exchange plan as those are the only plans the subsidy may be applied to.
  • All of the marketplaces have a subsidy calculator that allow you to check if you qualify.
  • There are penalties for not having health insurance.
  • The tax penalty this year is 2.5% of your income or $600 per person and occurs if you don’t have health insurance for more than 3 months in a row.
  • Shannon says she has had plenty of clients find good healthcare plans on the marketplace.
  • PolicyGenius allows you to shop for insurance anonymously and walks you through the purchasing process.
  • Jennifer cautions people to not pick a health insurance plan based on whether your doctor accepts it or not because that could change suddenly.
  • There is a deadline to enroll on the 15th of every month during the open enrollment period in order to be covered by the 1st of the following month.

Random Three Questions

  1. Are you a holiday movie or music fan?
  2. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live and why?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Jennifer:

PolicyGenius

Bonus: Live from The Financial Gym

  • Shannon and Bridget are drinking White Claw Hard Seltzer which is available to gym members at the Financial Gym location!
  • Bridget is back today to discuss a story she has with healthcare insurance.
  • After leaving her previous job where she received health insurance and had to purchase a plan on her own, she opted to stay enrolled in her same plan.
  • What she didn’t realize is that she was enrolled in a plan that cost $720 a month when paying it herself!
  • Bridget decided to use PolicyGenius to find a new policy.
  • She discusses her experience with PolicyGenius as well as the steps she took to find and purchase a new policy through their site.
  • Searching for a new plan and filling out the application was a very quick and straightforward process.

Have you had to shop for your health insurance?

What to Know When Starting a Small Business

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What to Know When Starting a Small Business

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to personal finance expert and business coach, Sylvia Inks, about her new book – Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur: Blueprint for Building a Solid, Profitable Business. Starting a business is more than having a great idea. You don’t want your amazing idea to never see the light of day just because you failed on the execution of it. Sylvia discusses what to do – and what to avoid – when starting a small business.

As a small business owner myself, there are many things I wish I did differently when I established my business, and I found this conversation with Sylvia incredibly helpful. Cheers!

What are we drinking?

Sylvia — Earl Grey Tea

Shannon — Club Soda

Podcast Notes

  • Sylvia grew up in a family that talked openly and frequently about money with her from a young age.
  • When she first started dating her husband, she would talk about money with him at dinner, and he would get up and walk out.
  • She then began to realize that many educated and career-driven people with great business ideas often grow up without a background in financial literacy.
  • Sylvia wrote her book to help entrepreneurs establish a solid foundation so they can start their business from a good place where it can become profitable and stay in business!
  • The book provides 21 steps to financial success for your business as well as case studies from real entrepreneurs.
  • Shannon asks Sylvia what advice she has for someone who has a great idea for a business but doesn’t know what to do next.
  • She also provides advice for those who don’t have an idea yet but know they want to start a business.
  • Shannon says that, besides money, passion is what sustains small business owners while they are building their business.
  • Sylvia and Shannon discuss some of the biggest mistakes small business owners make when starting a business.
  • They both agree entrepreneurs should outsource some work instead of trying to do everything themselves to eliminate stress!
  • Shannon talks about how much she loves her virtual assistant ClaireJ
  • Sylvia shares her final piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and current small business owners.
  • TAKEAWAY: Take every step you can to insure that your business idea will find its appropriate market!

Random Three Questions

  1. If you could live in any other city in the world, where would you live and why?
  2. What is a book that has inspired your life?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Sylvia:

Book

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Do you have any tips for someone looking to start a small business?

Holiday Traditions or Lack Thereof – Happy Hour Style

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Holiday Traditions or Lack Thereof – Happy Hour Style

Today is the last Friday of the month and in case you are new to this blog or my podcast, on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour on my podcast where the happy hour ladies and I talk about various money topics while drinking cheap drinks! Since today’s Happy Hour episode is airing the day after Thanksgiving, the ladies and I are sharing some holiday traditions (or lack thereof)!

The holidays have different meanings for everyone, as you will hear in this show, and they evolve over time. However, they almost always bring together people who love and enjoy each other. Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out The Financial Gym and its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea with a shot of Scotch

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — SoCal Mule

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — Pumpkin beer

Shannon — Tito’s vodka with Grapefruit San Pellegrino

Podcast Notes

  • This Thanksgiving will be a first for Shannon so she will be creating brand new traditions.
  • Some of the Frugalwoods’ Thanksgiving traditions include hosting Mr. Frugalwoods’s parents and sister every year and cooking a traditional holiday feast.
  • The holidays are a time when Mrs. Frugalwoods does not worry about the costs of hosting family members and cooking for everyone.
  • Shoofly pie is a traditional Frugalwoods’ Thanksgiving dish.
  • Melanie says the last six years she and her boyfriend and family met in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving.
  • This year she is celebrating with her parents and her boyfriend’s parents as well as with her grandpa.
  • Tonya says in her 20s and early 30s, she had a lot of Friendsgivings, but now every year is different.
  • For the last five years, she has done a local 5k run with some friends.
  • She gets her Thanksgiving meal from Whole Foods.
  • Shannon says she doesn’t view family events as relaxing.
  • Melanie is hoping nobody brings up politics at Thanksgiving this year.
  • The ladies agree everyone had a “drunk uncle” figure in the family.
  • Tonya adds that she watches The Sound of Music every holiday.
  • The ladies discuss their must-have Thanksgiving dishes:
    • Tonya’s are pumpkin pie and stuffing, but not fancy stuffing.
    • Melanie’s is pumpkin pie.
    • Frugalwoods’s is also pumpkin pie.
    • Shannon’s is stuffing.
  • Melanie and Tonya say they would rather be a guest than a host for the holidays.
  • Frugalwoods enjoys hosting others for the holidays.
  • Shannon says she is not caught up in the Black Friday deals and the ladies agree; they definitely will not be shopping on Black Friday!
  • The ladies discuss who they traditionally shop for during the holidays.
  • Shannon says she is going to be spending the Friday after Thanksgiving watching the new Gilmore Girls episodes on Netflix!
  • The ladies finish the episode by telling what all they are thankful for this year.
  • Enjoy the ones you love when you are together, and if you can’t be with the ones you love, don’t be afraid to discover something new or different with somebody else or by yourself!

Do you have any holiday traditions or lack thereof?

Find Your Financial Safety School

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Find Your Financial Safety School

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Melissa Sotudeh, a financial planner with Halpern Financial, about her latest book, Find Your Financial Safety School. Melissa is the mother of a college grad and a Vanderbilt freshman so she knows what it takes to prepare for college – both as the person paying and as the parent raising students to be ready for college. Her book will help you select a school that is more appropriate for your student, understand the true cost of college education, and how to lower those costs.

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Melissa — Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka

Shannon — Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka with Club Soda

Podcast Notes

  • After her son started college 5 years ago, Melissa partnered with a private college counselor to talk with families about the college testing and application process as well as the financial aspect of it.
  • College financial aid does not adjust for higher costs of living based on your geographical location.
  • The cost of college 20-30 years ago was like buying a car. Now, it is like buying a house.
  • Shannon says the financial commitment of a college education is so extreme that the decision to actually attend college needs to be considered very carefully.
  • Melissa advises families to begin discussing the financial aspects of college with their children around 10th or 11th
  • If you are a student or a parent of a student who could attend an ivy league school, considering the return on investment by attending that school is extremely important as other schools likely would pay for your child to attend there.
  • Melissa learned that during the application process there are a lot of non-binding, early deadlines that, if met, add the applicant into a merit-based pool for financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
  • Always take every opportunity available because you never know what could come from it!
  • Melissa’s ebook has a choose-your-own-adventure structure, comes with a lot of helpful resources, and is available for FREE!
  • TAKEAWAY: Start talking about the college process early and often with your future college students so they do not accumulate unnecessary student loan debt and so you don’t have to delay your retirement goals!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your favorite show to binge-watch?
  2. Are you an appetizer or a dessert person?
  3. What is your favorite family vacation you’ve been on?

Connect with Melissa:

Free ebook

Do you think that parents should pay for college or should kids take out student loan debt? Did you attend a financial safety school or a financial reach school?

The Happy Lawyer Project

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The Happy Lawyer Project

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Okeoma Moronu, an attorney and host of the new podcast, The Happy Lawyer Project, about how she is helping young attorneys find meaning and joy while also earning the income that they sometimes need to earn. Okeoma and I actually have a very interesting past that we share on the show! I think this is a great conversation for anyone who is looking for happiness while in pursuit of your career, no matter what your career is. Cheers!

At the end of this episode we are starting a new segment called Live! at The Financial Gym where we will answer questions, highlight success stories, and more! Today you will meet Financial Gym trainer, Bridget, and find out why she joined the gym and became a financial trainer!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Okeoma — Michelada? (beer with tomato juice)

Shannon — Cava + grape fruit San Pellegrino

Podcast Notes

  • Okeoma and Shannon actually met three years ago when Okeoma became interested in personal finance blogging and reached out to Shannon.
  • They ran into each other at FinCon this year and reconnected!
  • Okeoma got the idea for the Happy Lawyer Project after she developed anxiety around trying to make money and pay off her debts.
  • She wanted to craft a life that wasn’t so stressful!
  • Okeoma eventually found happiness in the job she already had by doing more of the things in her job she actually enjoyed like mentoring and project management.
  • The Happy Lawyer Project is meant to highlight other lawyers who have found their happiness in law and help others to find happiness in their careers!
  • Shannon says there are a lot of occupations with a high pay trajectory without a high happiness trajectory.
  • Okeoma has found people to interview for the podcast through people she has already interviewed and not all are attorneys – some are financial planners and one is a relationship coach!
  • Shannon discusses how she was not happy in her career at one point and hired a life coach, which helped her rediscover her happiness.
  • She says it is how you work through it that is the game changer, and how you work through it is all in your own head.
  • Don’t wait for the “if, then” situation, start your happiness journey now!
  • Shannon and Okeoma discuss the book Happiness by Matthieu Ricard, which Shannon’s life coach had suggested she read.

Random Three Questions with Okeoma

  1. What do you do in your down time?
  2. What is your favorite season?
  3. What is a book that has inspired you?

Connect with Okeoma:

Podcast on iTunes

Random Three Questions with Bridget

  1. Are you an appetizer or dessert person?
  2. What is your favorite movie to watch over and over again?
  3. If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what would you do with it?

What do you do to find happiness in your career? 

Real Estate Investing to Financial Independence

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Real Estate Investing to Financial Independence

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Chad “Coach” Carson about how he built a real estate portfolio from scratch – with no background in real estate whatsoever – and about how this portfolio has afforded him the dream of financial independence. Chad’s story of hard work and determination was inspiring to me, and I hope it inspires you to achieve your own financial goals! Cheers!

What are we drinking?

Chad — Sam Adams Bonfire Blonde

Shannon — Mimosa with Cava

Podcast Notes

  • In college, Chad was actually a biology major, not a business major.
  • When he was 22, he chose to take some business classes and then decided to invest in real estate and acquire some rental properties.
  • One of his business professors was the person who put up the money for Chad’s first property.
  • He learned how to find good real estate deals, and that is one reason investors wanted to invest in him.
  • 14 years later, Chad, along with his business partner, now have 90 property units in Clemson, South Carolina.
  • His big picture goal from the very beginning was to purchase long-term hold properties.
  • The first few years of being in business, he lived very frugally and saved most of the money he earned.
  • He and his business partner also established personal relationships with their lenders.
  • After purchasing 30 properties this year, they hired a 3rd-party management company to manage their 90 units.
  • Chad’s ultimate goal for building his real estate portfolio was to achieve financial independence.
  • In 2009, Chad took a mini-retirement and traveled with his wife for a few months before returning to work.
  • Now he has decided to take another sabbatical and live in Ecuador with his wife and two children for an entire year starting January 2017.
  • He plans to work remotely while in South America.
  • Shannon says the clients she sees get results are the ones that put in the time and energy and work to achieve their goals.
  • Chad put in the work and now, at 36, has the opportunity to travel with his family for an entire year.
  • TAKEAWAY: Remember the importance of hard work in achieving your financial goals. If you dedicate the time and energy into learning, the same success is achievable for you!

Random Three Questions

  1. What’s your biggest financial indulgence?
  2. What is a movie that you could watch over and over again?
  3. What is one of your favorite TV shows from when you were growing up?

Connect with Chad:

MAYM Resource Page

Website

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

Do you invest in real estate or have you thought of investing in real estate?