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Building a Freelance Business with Diana Davis

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Building a Freelance Business with Diana Davis

In a recent search of the top employers represented from Financial Gym clients, I discovered that the number one employer is “Self Employed.” We work with a lot of freelancing, entrepreneurial clients and it’s one of the many things I love about the Gym. Freelancer finances are difficult to understand and plan for and we love helping our clients build businesses in a financially healthy way. I also love all of the ways people can build a business, so today I’m talking to Diana Davis, a Health and Wellness photographer in New York City, about how and why she started her business and how she’s built a successful practice doing the two things she loves most, design and photography.

What Are We Drinking?

Diana — Boda Box Red Wine

Shannon — Box Chardonnay 

Podcast Notes

  • Diana has been a Financial Gym client for a long time. Shannon and the trainers have had a front row seat watching Diana grow her business. 
  • Diana does photography and graphic design and went to school for them. Side hustlers tend to turn their passion and hobbies into full-time jobs. Diana has always known what she wanted to do and she has always been happy doing that craft, no matter what setting it was in, whether corporate or on her own.
  • When Diana first moved to New York City, she would get asked “what is your dream situation”. It was difficult to answer. She thought she would work for herself eventually, but more like 10 or 15 years down the road. 
  • Diana was doing corporate graphic design as her day job, and on the side she was doing photography, when she lived in Montana.
  • Diana decided to move to NYC without a job. She grew up on a ranch. She had been coming to NYC for food shows, as part of her job working for a local food company that did infused oils and vinegar. She was their in-house designer and photographer, she taught cooking classes, she wrapped pallets, she did sales, etc. They had her going to trade shows because she was so ingrained in the company’s culture.
  • Diana fell in love with New York and she knew she needed to be there. She didn’t see herself failing, because she was wiling to do whatever it took to make it. It is very hard to get into the NYC job market when you are from a different city, especially since her resume said Bosman, Montana.
  • She had a few opportunities where companies wanted her to come in for interviews the next day, but she was still in Montana. She decided she needed to move their to find a job.
  • Diana found a roommate on a website who was renting a room in an apartment on the upper east side, on 75th and 1st, and she didn’t know what the apartment looked like until she got there.
  • Diana had a nest egg of about $4,000. She moved to New York in September and gave herself a deadline of November 1, to find a job. She did have some freelance work that carried over from her former job, but she started networking immediately.
  • Diana found a job at Time Inc. in their branded content and publishing department. A couple of years later she was poached by Hearst. After that, she went into her entrepreneurial life. She was hired by Hearst as a senior designer, and about four months later, they eliminated her position. It was the biggest relief of her life. 
  • Diana signed up at the Financial Gym shortly after she was let go from Hearst. She had a photo shoot with Caitlyn, and she invited Diana to a Wine and Learn at the Gym. Diana committed to the Gym, because she didn’t want to fail being an entrepreneur because of finances.
  • Time Inc. offered Diana a permalance position, which means freelance as a permanent employee, but you don’t get health insurance. It is like working as a regular employee without benefits, and they can let you go tomorrow. This is common in the publishing world in NYC.
  • Time Inc. offered Diana three days a week at $20 an hour and she was so disappointed. She asked them for $30 an hour and they accepted. The next week, it ended up being five days a week. She was paid that amount for a little over two years. She quickly rose to a senior position, but she was never given a raise. She had been asking for a raise for about nine months. 
  • At Hearst, she was paid $60 an hour, without negotiating. She wasn’t paid for any holidays or vacation time. 
  • Diana had a side job doing social media design, while she was at Hearst, and she is still working with them. She was also doing some fitness photography on the side and that ended up feeding her full time.
  • Now as an entrepreneur, graphic design and photography fluctuate from month to month. In the last six months, photography has really taken over. Photography is her passion and it comes the easiest to her. 
  • Diana credits her business success to surrounding herself with successful women and networking. Emily Merrell, from Six Degrees Society, sat Diana down and asked her how she pictured her day-to-day life. Diana pictured herself working with tons of different people and different companies. It helped her decide to be a contractor. She really wanted to cast a wide net.
  • She put herself in networking groups, in front of other people, and attended events to meet people. When you do a good job, people talk. Almost all of her inquiries for the first seven months were word of mouth. Now it is mostly through Instagram.
  • Diana recommends Six Degree Society. She was invited to one of their events and had no idea what it was. She was laid off the same day as their event, so she decided to go in order to network.
  • They do matched networking. Everyone has a bio and that information is sent out before the event. There is always two matched networking situations, where you talk to someone you were matched with for 15 minutes. The matches didn’t necessarily turn into her clients, but she was on the top of their minds if someone else needed something.
  • You need to make sure you are in a room of like-minded people who are there for the same reason, to connect and help each other out. Six Degrees Society and the Financial Gym do well with these events.
  • It was important for Diana to collaborate with others. Those people have referred her to a lot of other people. 
  • Shannon’s pro tip is networking. The way to successfully network is to build a garden. You need to plant the seeds and then tend to the seeds by checking in. At some point that seed is going to bear fruit when you need to be fed. Always play nice in the sandbox with others professionally. Leave your job on good terms, stay in contact with people, etc.
  • Shannon had a boss about 13 years ago at Bank of America, and she kept in contact with him after she left. Ten years later, he was the first investor in the Financial Gym.
  • When you start a business, you can’t be afraid of the freebies. Don’t be afraid to be free once in a while. That person will likely lead you to the next thing. It is part of the building process.
  • Last month, forty percent of the Financial Gym’s business came from referrals. That is a pretty consistent theme. If you treat your clients well, they are your ultimate salesforce. It is the best way to do business and to grow your business.
  • Don’t just hand your business card to 20 people and then leave. Try to make connections.
  • Diana has been on her own for about a year and a half now. Her total revenue was around $91,000 last year. Her goal is to get above $120,000 this year. As a freelancer, you are not bound to restrictions of hourly pay or getting a raise. You can make as much money as you want to make and choose who you want to work with.
  • If someone wants to take their passion or side job and turn it into a full-time job, they need to be able to hustle. If you are afraid of hard work, forget it. It is not a cushy situation and you need to pay for your own health insurance. It isn’t for everybody. You need to be all things in your business. It is exciting, but also daunting, especially when it is your only income. You need to wear a lot of hats.
  • It is always going to take time to ramp up. It took Diana at least six months for the momentum to really build.
  • The Financial Gym has helped Diana feel more prepared to handle her finances. When you take as many anxieties out of your life as possible, things are easier. On her lower payment months, she gets anxious and goes through what if scenarios. She just has to prepare the best she can and trust that everything is going to fall into place.
  • “Sometimes the best thing you can do is to not think, not wonder, not imagine, and not obsess. Just breathe and believe that everything will work out for the best.” – Hoda Kotb
  • The further you get into building your business, you realize this is suppose to be. Even with the ups and downs, you are certain this is what you should be doing. It took Shannon two years before she knew she was really on the right path.
  • Diana likes to look back at pictures from a year or two ago and see how far she has come. She is grateful for what is to come.
  • Shannon listens to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations and uses gratitude journaling to gets her through rough times with her company.
  • Diana’s word for 2019 is expansion. She does a lot of fitness photography and she really wants to travel to different places. She went to Montana last summer and photographed a yogi. She wants to travel outside of New York, because it is becoming her comfort zone. She wants to be able to announce that she is going to be in a certain city and be able to book photo shoots while she is there. 
  • No matter what you are thinking, picture your life. What does it look like when you get out of bed? Are you going to a desk job or working at your kitchen table? What feeds you in your mind’s eye? Let that lead you and go towards that. What do you want your day to look like? How do you shift your path? That looks different for everyone.

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway, and I think the number one factor in the success of any freelancer or entrepreneur, is hustling. If you’re afraid of hard work or the hustle, then this type of dream/career is not for you. 

Random Three Questions

  1. What is a show that you like to binge watch?
  2. What is a place you would like to travel to?
  3. What is a food you hated as a child and do you hate it as an adult?

Connect with Diana

Website: dianadaviscreative.com

Instagram: @dianadaviscreative

If you’d like someone to help you figure out if you can work for yourself or manage the business you’ve already started, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We work with hundreds of people building businesses of all shapes and sizes and we’d love to help you.

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward so the new rates will not impact you.

If you’re ready to manifest your dreams and grow your business in 2019 like Diana, head over to financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Getting Naked with Stacey

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Getting Naked with Stacey

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, I shared my financially naked session and it led to a request for more. Now this is a regular series on this podcast. Getting in the hot seat today and getting financially naked with you is Stacey, a Financial Gym client with a not-so-pretty past financial life, hoping you will learn from her mistakes.  

What Are We Drinking?

Stacey — Zolo Rosé

Shannon — Irony Pinot Noir

Podcast Notes

  • Stacey recently gave birth to her first child, Scarlett, in 2018.
  • She is a molecular scientist, and she works at a company that does personalized diagnostics. She does the DNA and RNA sequencing and processes the data to match treatments. Her company was recently acquired, so she is not sure what is going to happen with that transition.
  • Stacey is married and she and her husband live in San Diego. She has a great home and she has a rescue dog named Lena. She is now trying to navigate motherhood.
  • Stacey is 30 years old and she was married and divorced before. She could not have imagined having kids with her first husband. Stacey’s parents got divorced right after the honeymoon of her first marriage, and she realized she changed her values because of who she was with.
  • When she met her current husband, she wanted to have kids with him and was excited when she found out she was pregnant.
  • She found out she was pregnant three weeks after she and her husband eloped.
  • Dating after being divorced is different than if you were never married. 
  • Both Stacey and her husband are spenders and live outside their means.
  • Stacey’s parents paid for college and her cars. She had jobs when she was in school, but it was for spending money. She never had to work to pay for living expenses. Until you are hungry, the changes won’t happen, because you don’t feel the pain of it. She had poor money management skills in general.
  • Stacey treated debit cards like gift cards – try it and see how much is on it.
  • She never had accountability, because she kept getting bailed out when she overdrew her account. 
  • When her first husband was in the Marine Corp, he gave her $10,000 to use for rent for when he was gone, and she mismanaged it. She was about 22 or 23, was not yet married to him, and was going out all the time. She used the money on hair, nails, and going out. His parents were the first ones to call her out on it.
  • Her in-laws helped her get the money she needed to pay for rent and then she took a Dave Ramsey course to figure out how to manage money. 
  • Stacey donated eggs to make money. She had to fill out a detailed questionnaire, go through psychological testing, and sign legal documents. When they went to retrieve the eggs, there was nothing there and they told her she was not ovulating. Later, she was surprised when she got pregnant within four months of going off birth control.
  • It took having a child for Stacey to realize that she is trading her time to work and she needs to treat her money with the same respect as time. 
  • She transferred her bailouts from her family to her spouse. No one let her hit rock bottom. 
  • She got married to her first husband after he returned from Afghanistan, and her marriage ended after about a year and a half.
  • After the divorce, she wanted to stay in California. Her parents, who were in Texas, told her she would need to do it on her own if she stayed there. 
  • She started pulling money out of her Roth and 401(k) and she is still paying off the taxes. She was pulling money out of the accounts until last fall. She also took out a personal loan to consolidate her debt, but she ended up re-maxing out her credit cards. 
  • She went on maternity leave and thought she would need to pay about $4,000 for the hospital bill, so her husband put that into an account.
  • Stacey received 55 percent pay from the State and about 12 percent from her company and she was going to use that for debt payments. She had credit card bills along with her personal loan, but her husband didn’t realize how much she had in debt.
  • Stacey didn’t think she would spend anything when she was on maternity leave, but a lot of little expenses came up. She decided to take a full 12-week leave, but the last six weeks were unpaid so she went back to work two days a week. During that time, she had to pay a part-time nanny.
  • Stacey was making minimum payments to her different bills, but her financial situation was crashing down, because she couldn’t keep up.
  • After Stacey hired a full-time nanny and went back to work for a couple of weeks, she realized that everything was in the red. She was at work and her husband said he put more money in her account to get her in the green, but then she missed her minimum balance in her Wells Fargo account and was back in the red within an hour.
  • She didn’t have money for lunch, so she went in her car and googled “best financial podcasts” and Martinis and Your Money was on a list of 10 podcast. It was the only one that looked interesting, so she started listening.
  • A couple of weeks later a debt collector called her at work and her coworker answered the phone. Stacey put her head in the sand and didn’t pick up the call.
  • She never wants to be in that position again and she started changing her spending habits right after listening to the podcast and having her Financially Naked session at the Financial Gym. 
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions:
    • Birthday: 30 years old
    • Salary: $95,153.76
    • Pay Cycle: twice a month
    • Net Pay: $4,800
    • USAA checking account: $189.69
    • Wells Fargo checking account: $930.37
    • Wells Fargo savings account: -$4.72
    • 401(k): $4,224.97
    • Rollover IRA: $0.03
    • Roth IRA: $0.01
    • Student Loan: None
    • Mortgage: None
    • USAA Credit Card: $14,330.13
    • Citi Card: $5,188.46
    • Capital One Card: $274.92
    • Debt Collector: $540 (medical bills for birth)
    • Radiology Bill: $90
    • Dental Bill: $250
    • Personal Loan #1: $738.56
    • Personal Loan #2: $1,835.22
    • Credit Score: 504 Transunion; 489 Equifax
    • Car Loan: $7,933.67 (2.85%, $285/month)
    • IRS Debt: $320
    • Auto Insurance: $100
    • Rent: $3,400 (she pays $1,500)
    • Electric: $70 
    • Internet: $50
    • Formula: $200 – $250
    • Nanny: $1,440 (she pays half)
    • Financial Gym: $68
    • Life Insurance: $28.72
    • Will/Trust: Will and medical directive; needs it notorized
    • Children: one daughter
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $4,200
    • Freelancing through Upwork: $500/week
    • Goals 1-3 years: Debt free by 12/31/20, hopefully sooner; raise her credit score back to excellent; start an emergency fund; start Scarlett’s college fund; get educated on investing; get a Scarlett tattoo; take a vacation to Greece; maximize her 401(k) contribution to get the full match
    • Goals 3-5 years: Go back to school
    • Goals long-term: Buy a house within 10 years; retire on time or early
    • What’s important to you (sacred cows): her daughter (formula and the nanny) and time with family

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is what I always say at the Financial Gym: everything you do financially is fixable. Short of death, everything is fixable. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, or feel like you are not where you should be, don’t stress about it, just get a plan in place and start working on it. I am so proud of Stacey for doing that.

Random Three Questions

  1. What are your top two or three podcasts?
  2. If this was your last night on earth, what would be your last meal?
  3. What is a show you like to binge watch?

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go. 

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward, so the new rates will not impact you. If you’re ready to manifest your dreams in 2019, like Stacey, head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Getting Naked with Natalie

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Getting Naked with Natalie

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, I shared my financially naked session and it led to a request for more. Now this is a regular series on this podcast. I’ve had Financial Gym trainers get naked, sisters get naked, single clients both male and female get naked, and this is my first married couple to get naked. Not only are they married with children, they also run a farm. I just love the diversity of Financial Gym clients. 

What Are We Drinking?

Natalie — Pear Thyme Kombucha

Shannon — Matcha Latte

Podcast Notes

  • Natalie is a professor of environmental studies and she focuses on water quality – mostly water quality impairment from mining, oil, and gas. She lives in an area that has a lot of legacy coal mining.
  • Natalie moved to a university in Ohio to be a professor, and her family is nearby. She relocated there from northern England, where she and her husband both earned their PhDs.
  • Over the course of a few years of living there, she and her husband were renting a house from her dad.  Her dad didn’t want to live on a farm anymore, so she and her husband switched houses with him. They now have dairy goats, chickens, and chickens for meat. They have two greenhouses, an orchard, a bunch of gardens, and woods.
  • Natalie grew up on this farm, but they didn’t have livestock when she was young.
  • After earning her PhD and working a few years, she was offered a position at a university in Ohio. Her husband is originally from northern England and they met playing ultimate frisbee at the university in England.
  • When they moved back to Ohio, they wanted to have chickens and it unfolded from there. 
  • For about six or seven years, Natalie’s husband worked full time at the university. Now he works part time at the university and has taken on more of the farm work. 
  • Natalie does a lot with the plants and her husband mostly takes care of the livestock.
  • The farm is more on the homestead/sustainability side. Her husband is moving into trying to make money from the farm.
  • When Natalie and her husband relocated back to the States, they didn’t have any credit.
  • They now have two kids: Wilder is four, and Wolf is one. It changed their financial picture having the farm and two kids and planning for the future. Also, her husband’s contract went from full time to part time, and that changed their financial picture.
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions:
    • Birthday: Natalie – May 10, 1984; Husband – August 6, 1985
    • Employer: a university in Ohio
    • Salary: $127,500 (includes $17,000 for a three-year appointment)
    • Pay Cycle: twice a month 
    • Natalie Net Pay: $3,166.84 bi-monthly
    • Husband Net Pay: $250 bi-weekly
    • Husband Net Pay: $200 month (rental management)
    • Rental Home Net Income: $540 month
    • Checking account: $5,685 
    • Rental savings account: $5,000
    • Emergency fund: $4,500
    • Travel account: $4,800
    • Farm down payment fund: $475
    • Appliance repair fund: $420
    • Car down payment/repair fund: $200
    • Ally savings account: $500
    • Ohio State Teachers Retirement: 14% (defined benefit) 
    • Husband Roth IRA: $8,200; monthly contributions
    • Natalie’s Roth IRA: $1,400; monthly contributions
    • Husband Roth IRA: $17,000
    • Natalie’s IRA: $85,000 
    • Wilder’s 529: $23,000
    • Wolf’s 529: $4,000
    • Rental house #1: $53,108 mortgage; value $111,000
    • Rental house #2: $76,000 mortgage; value $114,000
    • Husband’s Car: Honda Insight (paid off)
    • Natalie’s Car: $6,800 loan; 1.49% interest
    • Student Loan: None
    • Credit Card: Netflix fee only; paid automatically each month
    • Barclay Credit Card: $2,500 – $4,000, paid off every month
    • Natalie’s Credit Score: 776
    • Husband’s Credit Score: 725
    • Rent: Sweat equity
    • Renter’s Insurance: Yes on the farm and the two rental properties
    • Disability Insurance: Short-term and long-term on Natalie through work 
    • Life Insurance: through Natalies work; looking into it for her husband
    • Will/Trust: Yes, reviewed within the last three years
    • Children: Wilder (4), Wolf (1)
    • Daycare: $1,500 month
    • Average Monthly Expenses: $5,000 
    • Goals 1-3 years: Visit family in England annually, continue investing in the farm and in the rentals, moving to the new school for Wilder, consider having a third child
    • Goals long-term: College saving and retirement, possibly more rentals
    • What’s important to you (sacred cows): family, both staying in physical touch with family far away and supporting and growing her family here; the farm; good, healthy food 

Takeaway:My biggest takeaway is to try and have as much transparency with your finances where your family is concerned. We always say it’s tough getting financially naked, and it is even tougher talking money with family. If you’re financial life is going to be impacted by the people you are related to, then you want to have those conversations sooner than later.

Random Three Questions

  1. What do you feel your farm is missing?
  2. If this was your last night on earth, what would your last meal be?
  3. If a movie was made about your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go. 

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward, so the new rates will not impact you. If you’re ready to manifest your dreams, like Natalie and her family, in 2019, head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Homeownership with the Happy Hour Ladies

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Homeownership 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 the happy hour on the podcast where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today we’re talking about homeownership – why we’ve done it or why it is not even a life goal of ours, and the pros and cons. I hope you enjoy!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — No drink – Dry January

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Kombucha – Dry January

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

Shannon — Tito’s Vodka & Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon went to the Angel’s Envy conference and spoke to their employees about financial wellness and being financially fit. In her first session, someone asked about homeownership, and she said she doesn’t think it is a necessary goal and there are other ways to build wealth.
  • One of the participants went on a rant about how you are throwing your money away, and as that story made its way around the conference, the topic of homeownership came up in every single one of Shannon’s sessions. Everyone had an opinion about it.
  • Tonya and Melanie have never owned a home.
  • Melanie is a happy renter and thinks it is foolish for people to say that renting is throwing money away. She has a roof over her head and renting gives her the flexibility to move if she wants to. She likes that she doesn’t need to fix things when they break, she just needs to call someone. Her parents also don’t own a home and she didn’t grow up with it and she is not interested in owning a home. She has never had a dream of homeownership.
  • You need to be honest with yourself about the cost of homeownership. Comparing rent to a mortgage is not comparing apples to apples. You can still build wealth when you are renting.
  • A house is an asset and a liability at the same time. If you have a mortgage, it is pretty much a complete liability.
  • Liz owns two houses, one in Cambridge, MA, which she bought in 2012, and another house in Vermont, which she bought in 2016. The Cambridge house was their primary residence for a few years, but they bought it with the idea to eventually rent it out, which they started doing in 2016, when they moved to Vermont.
  • Liz and her husband met when they were 18 and got married when they were 23 and combined their savings. They saved $65,000 in six years that they used to put down on their $460,000 house in Cambridge in 2012.
  • Liz and her husband used Redfin to purchase their house and Liz recommends it, if you know what you want and you only need someone to do the paperwork. She had a 3.8% mortgage and refinanced and got it down to 3.6% or something close to that. She has a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.
  • When Liz and her husband moved, they analyzed if they would be better renting out their Cambridge house or selling it, and they evaluate that every year. Cambridge is an expensive city, but 65% of units are rented, because of the colleges near there. Professors and students need somewhere temporary to stay. Her tenants so far have been graduate students.
  • Liz has a property manager for her rental, and so far it has been a good return. She sees that house as an asset. If you are going to rent out a house that you used to live in, you need to divorce yourself from the emotional connection.
  • Liz has a mortgage on her Vermont homestead also. They have chosen not to pay off their mortgages, because they think their money is likely to deliver a higher return invested in the market.
  • When you have a low, fixed-rate mortgage, the stock market return, on average, is around seven percent over the long term. It is a hedge against inflation and it diversifies your investments. There is very little you can do with a paid off house. It is a numbers game, but it only works if you invest your cash.
  • The number one goal at the Financial Gym is having a fully funded emergency fund. Clients feel better once they have that money in the bank.
  • You can’t build wealth by paying off houses. You need to take the emotion out of it. A paid-off house is not a liquid asset.
  • Tonya has never owned a house and she is neither for or against it. There are a lot of online calculators that can make the answer a little more clear. She has lived in a lot of high cost areas, but had she stayed in Detroit, it probably would have made sense to purchase a house because of the home prices and cost of living. In L.A., it makes almost no sense to buy a house.
  • If the right circumstances occurred, Tonya wouldn’t be against it, but homeownership is not something that is on her radar. She loves HGTV and is obsessed with homes from a viewer standpoint. She loves architecture. For her, the pros of renting outweigh the cons.
  • Shannon has been a homeowner and a renter. It depends on the situation – if you can rent for $900 or buy for $700, maybe it makes more sense to buy if the other circumstances are right.
  • In the initial thought process, you need to think about several things. Can you afford the down payment on the home? What if you have to get out of the home? Do you have to pay realtor fees to sell? Where do you want life to go in the next few years? It usually takes about six years or so to recoup the purchasing fees.
  • Make sure you have a contingency fund when you buy a house, because it becomes your liability. You need to either be handy or have someone on speed dial. Think about your competencies and how you want to use your time. If you have to hire out small repairs, they can easily be $600 or $800.
  • One con of renting is that the landlord can raise the rent or they can sell the building.
  • Liz chose a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, because the interest rate was low. It is all about the interest rate. You might be able to refinance, but you might not. It is helpful to know about the area you are buying in. She considers her homestead a $0 asset, because it will be very difficult to sell, where she sees the home in Cambridge as an asset.
  • Owning a home is not always an asset. You are not necessarily building equity or value. It depends on your market and it needs to be a minimum of a six-year commitment.
  • If you want to buy a house, think about all of the costs and start setting aside the extra amount you would need if you had the house now.
  • You do not need to buy a house, because you have kids. They won’t even remember it for the first five years of their life.
  • We are sold this dream that you go to college, get a job, get married, and then buy a house. Life is not linear and the American dream is what you make of it. There is so much more information out there now than there was 20 years ago. People are out there living in vans or RVs or abroad.
  • If you want to own a house, do it for all of the right reasons, but question why.
  • Shannon loves renting.
  • Every house project is an expense. Even new homes have things that need to be fixed.
  • Liz is married to someone who loves home projects, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there is always a string of things that need to be done. It takes time. Do not live rurally, unless you are super handy.
  • Liz likes having a property manager, so she doesn’t have to think about what the tenants are doing to her house, and she wants her tenants to be well-served.
  • The answer to the question “should you buy a house” is all about math and your lifestyle.
  • Don’t let the “renting is throwing money down the drain” rhetoric get to you if you like renting. Get rid of the propaganda. Look at the math.
  • The equity isn’t real until you sell the house.
  • Owning a house, or not, is a personal decision. Whatever your decision is, own it! Love where you live and live where you love.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to make your financial goals your own. If homeownership is a goal of yours, make sure you go into it with eyes wide open. If it’s not a goal, no big deal. It is not a requirement in life to own a home. It is important that you have life goals that resonate with you, not someone else.

If you want help identifying life goals and how you can achieve them, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. Ninety percent of our clients are hitting their financial goals, and I hope you do as well. Starting in 2019, we now offer a Martinis and Your Money listener discount of 15% off your membership, so head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com.

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!!

Unexpected Break Ups with Jenn and Rebecca

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I’ve spoken in the past about relationships and money, but it’s typically been around married couples and how to handle finances as a married couple. Today I’m talking about how someone you’re just dating can impact your finances and how you can prepare and protect yourself financially when you’re dating someone. Joining me to discuss this topic is Financial Gym trainer Jenn and her client and podcast listener Rebecca. They share their personal stories of love, loss, and recovery and how their finances were impacted because of it.

What Are We Drinking?

Jenn — Alka-Seltzer Severe Cold and Flu tablet with ice water

Rebecca — Moscow Mule

Shannon — Z Alexander Brown Uncaged Cabernet

Podcast Notes

  • Jenn is a trainer at the Financial Gym and Rebecca is one of her clients.
  • Jenn joined the team at the Gym in January 2018, as an apprentice behind the scenes. Her friend was a client of the Gym and knew Jenn had just left the hedge fund industry and was taking some financial exams to figure out the next step for her career. Jenn left her job without another job lined up, but she had an emergency fund ready to go with one year of expenses.
  • Jenn’s friend said she could see Jenn working at the Financial Gym. Jenn met Shannon and the team and fell in love with the concept of the Financial Gym.
  • Rebecca is in her late 30s and she lives in Jacksonville, Florida. She moved there from D.C. a few years ago to be closer to her family, and she is a long-time podcast listener.
  • Last year, Rebecca was on a journey to up-level her life and to get smarter and clearer about the things she wanted. She went through a bad breakup at the beginning of the year that really shaped her focus for the rest of the year.
  • She started focusing on what sort of partner she wanted and what sort of woman she wanted herself to be, and part of that was becoming smarter financially. She is great at making money and saving money, but she knew she could do more. 
  • She started working with the Financial Gym remotely. The Gym works with clients in 47 states and in D.C.
  • This past summer, Jenn and her long-time boyfriend broke up and Bridget and her boyfriend broke up.
  • How do you prepare for the challenges of a relationship when you are not married?
  • When you are coming out of a relationship, you are not thinking clearly. It is good to have someone who is objective, like a Financial Trainer.
  • Jenn was in a relationship for over four years and they lived together for a year. It was time to renew the lease and she found out that her boyfriend wasn’t ready for a commitment. They did not share their finances or have any joint accounts, but they split the bills down the middle. They did not have any formal agreement regarding financial decisions. Her boyfriend kept the apartment, since she couldn’t afford it by herself.
  • After the breakup, Jenn had the expense of finding another place and paying for a security deposit, and she wasn’t planning for it. She had just built her emergency fund back up when she realized she needed to move.
  • Many warm-up calls at the Gym are with women who are in bad relationships and need to get their finances in order so they can move out.
  • It is critical to have an emergency fund. There are no guarantees, even if you are in a great relationship. When stuff blows up suddenly, there are a lot of expenses.
  • Two weeks after the breakup, Jenn stayed at her friend’s place while her friend was on her honeymoon. Do you have family or friends you can stay with if a breakup happens?
  • Rebecca was with her boyfriend for three-and-a-half years and they were on the fast track to getting married. Two weeks before he was supposed to move in with her, Rebecca found out that he had been cheating on her for more than half of their relationship. She caught him through a series of texts, emails, and nude photos. She didn’t think he was capable of cheating.
  • Rebecca broke up with him in 2017, and she thought she was going to get engaged in 2018. Her boyfriend had asked her dad to marry her and was having a ring custom-made. 
  • Rebecca told the woman’s husband.
  • Moving on is a choice that we make. Once you choose to move forward and stop fixating on the awful things, you become much more productive. 
  • Rebecca first took an STD test and sent her ex-boyfriend a bill for it. Then she found someone to take her boyfriend’s place on the trip they were supposed to take together to England. 
  • Over the course of the next few months, Rebecca then started asking herself questions about what boundaries he crossed, where did she settle in that relationship, and what could she have done differently. She talked this through with herself and with a therapist. 
  • Rebecca used therapy and acupuncture to get through the break up, which was an unexpected cost. There were a number of other expenses that came up, because when she bought her house, she expected to have her boyfriend there to pay for half of the mortgage each month as well as some projects they talked about doing together.
  • A break up can happen to anybody at anytime. Stop and think about what would happen if your world was turned upside down by a relationship ending. What would you do and are you ready financially? Are you prepared?
  • “You’re never powerful in life until you’re powerful over your own money.” – Suze Orman
  • There is a grieving period you go through after a break up that costs money.
  • If you are in a dating relationship and you are thinking about moving in together, think about if you can afford the apartment on your own if the relationship ends and you can’t get out of the lease. Have that conversation internally before moving in. Make sure the other person has an emergency fund, in case they lose their job.
  • Don’t only think about what you can afford, but what could come up. Take a self-assessment of where would you be if things happened, and believe that anything is possible.
  • There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You are going to go through some really awful times and painful introspection. If you use those times as a learning experience, in a year, you are going to feel like a better version of yourself. You will realize that life can be bigger and bolder and better than you ever thought it could be. You can be in control of your finances.

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is that relationships are unpredictable even under what seems to be the best of circumstances. It’s important for you to be financially prepared for any outcome, because the greatest relationship that you will have in life is the one you have with yourself. 

Random Three Questions

  1. Where is a place you would like to go, if money wasn’t an object?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. It is your last night on earth. What is the final meal you would eat?

If you’d like to talk to someone and have them help you prepare for anything financially, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go.

As many of you know, at the Financial Gym, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward so that the new rates will not impact you. So if you’re ready to manifest your dreams in 2019, which is our theme at the Gym, head over to or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Becoming an Influencer with Shanna Tyler

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Last year, as we were working on building the Financial Gym brand, we worked with a number of influencers to help get the word out about the Gym. During that time, we saw the value of working with them, not only as a brand to help us build our brand, but we saw the value that could come to being an influencer.

Today I’m talking to Shanna Tyler, Life and Business Coach and founder of Self Soul Sport, about how she became an influencer, how you can become one, and how you can make money doing it.

What Are We Drinking?

Shanna — Iced Matcha Latte with Agave Syrup; Shanna buys her matcha from The Matcha Reserve

Shannon — Earl Grey Tea

Podcast Notes

  • Shanna is a business coach and life coach for women, and she is based in New York City. She is the founder of a community of women called Self Soul Sport, and she has a podcast of the same name.
  • Shanna loves matcha lattes and dancing. 
  • After Shanna got her coaching certification, she wasn’t really talking about it and she was nervous about it. She is a Financial Gym client and Shannon told her she either needed to go all in and be a coach or get a full-time job. Shanna needed that.
  • Shanna started shannatyler.com two years ago as a side hustle. She is a social media influencer and she gets paid for it.
  • She was looking for something more meaningful that tapped into her skills, and after she took a Myers-Briggs test two years ago, she found out she is an ENFJ (extrovert, intuitive, feeler, judger). This profile is good with teaching, consulting, coaching, and social work.
  • Shanna went to school to be a social worker and she realized two days in that it wasn’t for her. At the same time, in 2017, she was hosting monthly events for Self Soul Sport.
  • Shanna decided to use #selfsoulsport, which means love self, nurture soul, and live sport. She had about 20 women in a room answering discussion questions: how do you love yourself, how do you nurture your soul, and how do you live your sport. So many women were talking about their businesses and Shanna realized that she was informally coaching them. 
  • Shanna had her own career coach and decided to go to school for coaching. She now has the training from Institute of Life Coach Training and is getting credentialed. Shanna started her life coaching business about six months ago. Shanna started by coaching friends and people she knew on things like social media strategy. 
  • Being an entrepreneur is not for the weak of heart. You either need to do it or not. No true entrepreneurial journey was meant to be easy.
  • Shanna works with women who want to build their personal brand and monetize it into a business. After women make the leap into their side hustle or entrepreneurial venture and are wondering what they did, Shanna is the person who helps them get from their mission, vision, and values to their pricing packages, to make sure they make money off of their business and not undervalue themselves.
  • Microinfluencer means you have fewer than 10,000 followers. 
  • Shanna was diagnosed with major depressive disorder in 2014. She decided to create her website, shannatyler.com, because she wanted to intertwine that diagnosis with being a black woman and have a good time.
  • After a while, brands started reaching out to her and asked if they could send her free stuff. She hit 3,000 and 4,000 followers and her friends were questioning why she wasn’t getting paid. She thought the free stuff was payment. 
  • Shanna realized she was a microinfluencer and brands were realizing she had a niche audience that was dedicated to her. They are more likely to buy things from her, since it feels like she is a friend.
  • How do you go about being an influencer?
    • Uplevel your content: Get strategic, know your audience and who you are talking to, be intentional in your Instagram bio, know who you want to influence. This could be finance, girl bossing, fitness, yoga, etc. The more niche you get the better. Start with what you love. Start talking about it and creating a community around it on Instagram. Post once a day and have one or two days off. Saturdays and Sundays are not the top days to post. If you are thinking about it, do it. 
    • Professional photos: Brands like professional photos with a kickass caption. This is one that is genuine, authentic, and has a call-to-action. You need to look like you want your Instagram to be a business.
  • Some large influencers are making $300,000 a year.
  • Imposter syndrome is preventing people from doing what they want to do. Embrace who you are. Don’t compare yourself to others. Why not you? There is no such thing as the best. You are not being an imposter to anybody, but if you are going to do it, be accurate. Don’t give out wrong or bad information.
  • We influence people every day. When you are an influencer on social media, you get paid for it.
  • You only need 1,000 to 2,000 followers to become an influencer.
  • To increase followers, hosting in-person/community events helps, because people will post about. Have giveaways that are specific to your audience. Brands love giveaways and will usually say yes. Call-to-action is really important – have people double-tap if they agree or ask them to post about their day. Connect with people who are also looking to be influencers. It will not hurt you to help other people, even if you have the same product – you are all representing the brand differently.
  • To determine how much to charge, Shanna goes by $25 per 1,000 followers plus more for deliverables and other things the brand wants. It is more if the brand is a large company.
  • Shanna had 3,000 followers last year and now has just under 6,000. Her goal for 2019 is 10,000 followers.
  • Shanna has a one-word intention, which is alignment, and her goals are based on that word. For 2019, her goals are aligning with her vision of supporting entrepreneurial women through one-on-one coaching and through a group coaching program that she is planning, aligning with brand work, and aligning in her love life by sticking to her standards.
  • The best thing about being a brand influencer is you are talking about things that you love.

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is to remember the value of finding side hustle opportunities and thinking about becoming an influencer is a great way to marry the things you love with the potential to make money. It is a rare and great combination to find.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is a show that you like to binge watch?
  2. What is a food that you hated as a kid, and do you hate it now or love it?
  3. If you were to win a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Shanna

Website: http://www.shannatyler.com/

Free Discovery Call: https://calendly.com/shanna-tyler-llc/30min

Instagram: @shannatyler_

If you’d like to work with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go. 

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward, so the new rates will not impact you. If you’re ready to align with your financial greatness, like Shanna, in 2019, head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

Getting Naked with Jon

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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, I shared my financially naked session and it led to a request for more. Now this is a regular series on this podcast. Getting in the hot-seat today is my first dude! I know that my podcast may seem as though it’s skewed toward women; however, I’ve known for years that guys are listening as well, and Jon is one of those guys. Jon is a longtime listener who volunteered to get financially naked with me and all of you. 

What Are We Drinking?

Jon — Beer

Shannon — Bota Box Malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Jon has been listening to the podcast for three years and he listens to it at work. Jon told a story about how a co-worker saw this podcast on his phone and said he listened to it too. Shannon now has proof that it is not only women who listen.
  • Two podcast listeners were recently hired to be trainers at the Financial Gym.
  • When Shannon was first building the Gym, she only had three clients and used some of her free time to start this podcast.
  • The Gym is growing and this is the first month Shannon had to reassign two clients to other trainers, because she no longer has time to do their quarterly reviews.
  • Jon went to college for criminal justice and always thought he was going to get into law enforcement, but ended up in loss prevention.
  • Loss prevention is a store’s nice way of saying “Don’t take shit from us”.
  • Recently Jon picked up a side hustle as a DJ at weddings and parties in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, etc. He lives near Boston right now.
  • The New England money tribe is starting up – sign up if you are in the area!
  • Jon’s office is filled with surveillance screens. While he is watching the screens, he listens to podcasts.
  • When Shannon worked at Best Buy, they had the surveillance screens, and the employee watching them, on the sales floor. When she worked there, CDs were the most common item people stole.
  • Jon works at Sears and says the tool area is a hot area to steal from. He has been doing loss prevention for six years and would now like to transition to something like operations. He is open to new opportunities.
  • Other than this podcast, he listens to Listen Money Matters, Dave Ramsey (previously), Chris Hogan, Clark Howard, Taz and the Moose, The Steve Austin Show, Tony Robbins, Ultimate Health – a little bit of everything.
  • Jon isn’t a Gym client, but he has been thinking about it for the last few months.
  • Shannon has nine new trainers starting within the next couple of weeks.
  • Questions from the financially naked discovery questions:
  • Birthday: June 17, 1991
  • Employer: Sears
  • Salary: $52,000
  • Pay Cycle: Bi-Weekly
  • DJ: Pays per gig; approx $15,000/year
  • Sears Net Pay: $1,350/paycheck; $2,600/month
  • Checking account: $1,100
  • Cash: $600
  • Credit Union Savings/Emergency account: $500
  • Marcus Savings: $100
  • Acorns: $1,430
  • Vanguard Roth IRA: $3,881
  • Work 401(k): $1,700
  • HSA: $3,000
  • Student Loan #1: $17,696.94
  • Student Loan #2: $6,445.34
  • Student Loan #3: $1,174.26
  • Original student loan was about $39,000 – now down about $14,000
  • One student loan interest is 6.8% and the other two are 5%
  • AmEx Credit Card: $87.23 (10% interest)
  • BOA Credit Card: $710 (12.99% interest)
  • Apple/Barclay Credit Card: $800 (0% interest for 24 months)
  • Jon calls his credit card companies every few months to ask for a lower interest rate.
  • Jon pays off his credit cards every month and doesn’t pay interest
  • Credit Score: 737
  • Car Loan: $12,000 (2.9% interest; $241 per month)
  • Rent: $825/month for a studio
  • Renters Insurance: None
  • Car Insurance: $540 every six months
  • Disability Insurance: Yes, through work
  • Life Insurance: 3x annual salary through work
  • Will/Trust: No
  • Children: None
  • Pets: None
  • Average Monthly Expenses: $1,500 – $1,800
  • Goals: Transition to operations or public speaking with a company.
  • Mini-goal: Podcasting or blogging about his experience with little savings ideas and tips
  • Goals 3-5 years: Owning a multi-family home and living in part of it while renting out the rest
  • Goals long-term: marriage and kids
  • What’s important to you (sacred cows): Freedom/travel/flexibility
  • Jon has been in debt repayment mode where he minimizes expenses and pours as much money as he can into his debts.
  • Trainers at the Financial Gym prioritize emergency funds. If you don’t have the cash when an emergency happens, you will end up with debt on your credit card at a high interest. Fund it at three to six months of expenses. For Jon, it would be a minimum of $5,000, ideally $10,000.
  • Shannon recommends that Jon make more money.
  • After your Naked Session at the Gym your Financial Gym trainer will calculate how much you need to reach your goals and tell you how much you need to make.
  • On average, Financial Gym clients make about $5,000 to $20,000 more, within the first year of working with a trainer.
  • Lindsey is the Gym’s salary negotiating expert.

Takeaway:My biggest takeaway is that when your monthly budget doesn’t leave a whole lot for the extras you want in life, set out to make more money. We see our clients at the Gym get $5,000 to $50,000 salary increases just by setting out on the journey to make more. As a side note, Jon literally joined the Gym right after we ended our call. I’m so glad that he’s officially part of the FinGym family, and I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes!

Random Three Questions

  1. Where is somewhere you would like to travel?
  2. What is a show you like to binge-watch?
  3. If you were a wrestler, what would your entrance theme be?

Bonus Question for Shannon: Where would you like to go on vacation for a week?

If you’d like to get financially naked with my team, and drop any fear or shame you have around money, I hope you’ll reach out to us at the Financial Gym. My trainers have literally seen it all, so nothing will surprise us. We don’t care how you got here, we just care about getting you where you want to go. 

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward, so the new rates will not impact you. If you’re ready to manifest your dreams, like Jon, in 2019, head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to lock in your low rates today.

2018 Year-End Review with the Happy Hour Ladies

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2018 Year-End Review 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 the happy hour on the podcast where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Not only is it the last Friday of the month, but it’s the last Friday of the YEAR, so welcome to our third annual end-of-year Happy Hour special. The ladies and I are going to share our highs and lows of 2018 with you and then set out our plans for 2019. I hope you enjoy!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Vodka Martini (vodka and dry vermouth)

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Chardonnay

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Black Box Red Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon

Shannon — Tito’s vodka, club soda, and a splash of cranberry

Podcast Notes

  • This is the third year-end review with the Happy Hour ladies (click for 2016 and 2017 podcasts). This includes highs and lows of the year and goals for the new year.
  • What were your 2018 highs and lows?
    • Melanie: Highs include Lola Retreat in NYC this past spring, doing this podcast and catching up with the ladies, her cats, and the Ratchet Ride on Tuesdays and Thursdays (spinning class). Melanie is on a self-love journey right now – to love herself, be alone, and find out what she wants. Lows include dating too soon, departing from a friend, and practicing good boundaries. All of the highs have a corresponding low. It has been a great re-building year.
    • Liz: Highs include the safe and healthy birth of her second daughter,  watching her girls grow and her husband be a father, publishing her book (Meet the Frugalwoods), and promoting her book on NPR and PBS. A low is not having enough time to devote to her blog, Frugalwoods.com. A high and low is the postpartum depression she went through. It was a low going through it, but it was a high to get back to feeling normal and back to enjoying life. Other highs are enjoying the homestead and feeling more confidence in what they are doing and an ongoing building of resiliency and self-sufficiency. Another low is the frustration of not getting everything done, like answering emails and messages and being digitally unorganized.
    • Tonya: Lows include work. She is just trying to figure it out. Being too future focused has been giving her anxiety and she hasn’t felt like she has been present in the moment. Tonya is hard on herself and feels like she is trying to beat others to it. She is realizing that she is not being compassionate with herself. Highs include rediscovering beach volleyball, having a greater appreciation for L.A. as she was getting ready to leave, realizing the support system she has in her friends, and saving enough to have a cushion for a big move. A high and low was moving to Boise. She followed through with it and she is trying to learn the lessons the city and the experience are teaching her. Shannon said Tonya has been doing some part-time work for the Financial Gym and has been a lifesaver for Alicia, the COO of the Financial Gym.
    • Shannon: Highs include opening the headquarters Gym in February and appearing on the Today Show. The Gym is always a high and low. They Gym now has over 1,300 clients and continues to grow, and they recently hired nine new trainers. All of the new trainers were manifesting dreams of working for the Gym. There are now 26 full-time people employed through the Gym, plus 10 part-time/contracted people. Lows include the months of April and May, personally and at the Gym. There were a lot of challenges and lower performance that arose during and after those months. It was hard to learn those lessons. Shannon is learning that not all quarters are going to be great, even if you are an overachiever. Tonya said that Michelle Obama’s new book, Becoming, talks about this exact topic (accomplishing).
  • Review of 2018 goals
    • Shannon: 2018 goals included opening the larger flagship Gym in February (check!), opening two more Gyms (no), and raising at least $8 million in Series A (no). Those two things will be pushed for goals in 2019.
    • Melanie: 2018 goals included continuing to build the Lola Retreat brand and doing more events (check!), scaling back on writing a little, having more long-term clients, focusing on personal well-being and mental health, cultivating a sense of wonder, staying curious, focusing on joy and pleasure, becoming a better listener, being more mindful and present, and finding peace. She has done a lot of these things and improved a lot in work-life balance.
    • Tonya: 2018 goals included doing things that scare you (check!), some domestic travel, saving more, and holding a goal-setting party.
    • Liz: 2018 goals included keeping everybody alive (check, except for Frugal Hound), promoting her new book, balancing having a baby with a book release, being realistic about what can be accomplished, and enjoying infant-hood of the new baby.
  • What are your 2019 goals?
    • Tonya: She would like to find work she enjoys, is meaningful, and that pays well, whether that’s working at home, full-time, part-time, in Boise or L.A, it is to be determined. “Pays well” to her means $100,000. She is a video producer and editor, as well as a podcast producer and editor, and she has been doing billing for the Financial Gym. She is looking for freelance work as well as full-time work. Contact Tonya here. Next year, she is focusing on mastering her mind. She is not setting big goals, but what she can do every single day to get 1% better, including being more self-compassionate. Boise is teaching her kindness and she wants to take that with her wherever she goes in life.
    • Melanie: She was watching the Red Table Talk today, where Jada was talking being emotionally independent and not relying on others for her happiness and worth. This is what Melanie wants to continue working on for 2019, where she relies on herself and re-evaluates her expectations of other people. She wants to continue to build Lola Retreat – it will be in L.A. and Seattle in 2019 – and hopefully hold three dinners and brunches, continue to write, and get a second book deal. Melanie wants to become more mindful and present. She would love to continue to do her spinning class two to three times a week and get physically stronger.
    • Liz: She wants to continue to enjoy her children, be present, and see the humor in it. She would like to carve out time for Frugalwoods and accept that she cannot do all that she wants to do. Liz wants to get into better shape, lose the baby weight, and feel better through more hiking, snowshoeing, and yoga. She needs to buy clothing that fits, which she hasn’t done in four years. She has been pregnant and breastfeeding and living in hand-me-downs. Her weight is similar, but her body is different then it was two kids ago. She wants really nice leggings, a couple of wool hiking dresses, and a necklace. She wants to do something about her hair – it is too long.
    • Shannon: She needs to raise about $10 to $15 million. If she gets the money in April/May, her goal is to open at least four Gyms next year. If she gets the money after June, she would like to open two Gyms. The order is DC and L.A., and then Dallas and Atlanta. Personally, she is focused on developing more as a leader and getting an executive coach. She is always working on her relationship with her son, Will, while balancing working full-time.
  • Cheers to 2019! Happy New Year!

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to take the time and reflect on this past year of your life. I am sure there were highs and lows. I hope your highs outweighed your lows, but if they didn’t, there is always a new year to be hopeful for. Set some big goals for 2019 and keep me posted on your progress! I always love getting notes from you about how you are doing with your personal and financial goals.

If you want to work with my team at the Financial Gym to help you achieve your 2019 goals, you only have a few more days to lock in our 2018 rates, as our rates for new clients are going up in 2019. You don’t have to start your membership until January 2019, but you need to sign up before the end of this year. So head over to, 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!!