The Path to Financial Health with Cherie

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The Path to Financial Health with Cherie

Over the last six years of helping people get financially fit, the one thing I can say is the path to financial fitness is not the same for everyone. It’s just like the path to physical fitness. Some people like the keto diet, a vegan diet, Weight Watchers, SoulCycle, Zumba, CrossFit, and so much more. Getting financially fit is the same — what works for some people may not work for you. Today I’m talking to Financial Gym client, Cherie, who reached out to the Gym over a year ago, because she knew she needed to find a better way to get financially healthy. She’s going to share her story, what worked and didn’t work for her, and how she’s dropping the shame she feels around her path to financial fitness.

What Are We Drinking?

Cherie — Joseph Handler Sweet Red Wine

Shannon —  Grapefruit Schweppes with Vodka

Podcast Notes

  • Cherie is a Financial Gym client who initially called the Gym because she was about to pay off her debt and she felt herself getting back into the habit again.
  • Prior to that Cherie followed Dave Ramsey’s plan for 29 months and paid off over $100,000 of debt.
  • Cherie was getting a tax refund check of about $10,000 in May 2015. She got into her car and heard Dave Ramsey on the radio and his accent made her feel at home. He started talking in a counter-cultural way and it got her attention.
  • Cherie lives in Southern California and she is a high income earner, but she didn’t know what her debt was at the time. She made enough money to pay everything, but when she totaled up her debt it was $113,476. She had no idea.
  • Her debt included everything but student loans. She was delusional about credit cards, because she didn’t have credit card debt, but at one point, she had four 401(k) loans, three personal loans from her bank and credit union, and a $47,000 car loan (she traded in her BMW for a minivan, because she had a child).
  • Cherie loves the podcast, because she picks up cues here and there.
  • Cherie is an extremist and she took a hard left when she finished reading Dave Ramsey’s book. She had a plan to take her mom and grandma on a cruise and she called them and cancelled the trip. She was planning to pay for the cruise with her tax refund.
  • Although she was a high income earner, she had low income earner mentality. Having a big tax return was a sense of pride. Cherie was spending so much and she knew if she got a tax bill she wouldn’t be able to pay it. She claimed 0 for her tax withholding and opted to set aside an extra $100 every paycheck. 
  • Cherie went all in and sold her car, sold her expensive handbags, and started paying off her debt.
  • She worked her first job at age 14 to buy a Coach bag. She had an aunt that she looked up to and she was the only aunt that was working. The other women in her family were homemakers. Her aunt was young and fashionable, and at one point her aunt flew to NYC to buy a bag from the Coach flagship store. After that, Cherie couldn’t wait to buy a Coach bag.
  • Cherie never had a financial conversation with her aunt until recently, and she found out that her aunt is financially savvy and lives within her means. She pays cash for her bags.
  • Cherie had to figure out financial stuff on her own. She learned from a young age that if you work hard enough, you will have enough money. She has a scavenger mentality when it comes to money — there will never be enough. There is a competing mentality that she can always make enough.
  • She has a masters degree and a lot of technical skill sets. If she needs to, she can always go and do hair.
  • When Cherie called the Gym, she had maybe $13,000 or $14,000 of debt left and she was running out of gas. She couldn’t maintain it. 
  • It was like Cherie was on a cleanse and all she wanted to do was eat pizza. There is a correlation between finances and food, because we need both and we need a healthy relationship with each. You need to do what is right for you, for your situation and circumstances.
  • The experience at the Financial Gym is unique to each individual person. A financial plan is a template, but the application of the plan is totally different for everyone.
  • Cherie struggles to find a balance between being extreme and doing what is right for her. 
  • Dave Ramsey has a formula that works for a lot of people who are looking for a way out, but at some point, you need to tailor it to fit what works for you.
  • Alicia, Cherie’s financial trainer, has helped tailor a plan to fit what Cherie needs.
  • Having gone through a divorce, Cherie is not the person she was before then. Before she got married, debt wasn’t a big deal to her. She would have $10,000 in debt, pay it off, and repeat. After the divorce debt became emotional to her. 
  • Financial health is not a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. When you fall short of established rules, there is a lot of shame that comes with that. You need to find a something that works for you and your lifestyle.
  • Following the Dave Ramsey plan allowed Cherie to fast track her debt payment, but after paying off $100,000, all she wanted to do was buy a pair of Gucci pumps.
  • There are different ways to get financially healthy. Like getting physically healthy, you could choose the keto diet, working out, and other diets. You need to choose the one that works best for you. It doesn’t matter what path you choose if it works for you.
  • If you live the standard American dream, you won’t have any money left over. The new dream hasn’t been defined yet. The number one dream for Gym clients is travel, the number two dream is pets, and the number three dream is family and/or friends, and number four is flexibility.
  • Shannon lived the American dream. She went to a good school, got a business degree, got an investment banking job, made a bunch of money, got married, had a baby, and owned a home all before she turned 30. At 30.5, she was miserable and was getting a life coach. 
  • Sign up for your own life story, not somebody else’s life story.
  • If you set goals that don’t resonate with you, then you will not be as motivated to accomplish them. You need to set financial goals that you have an emotional connection to.
  • There is a lot of emotion around money, but fear and shame should not be part of it. 
  • Cherie felt a lot of shame because she wanted to buy bags and shoes. 
  • When Hilary Hendershott was on the podcast, she talked about the emotional attachment to finances and where it all comes from and your emotional operating system. 
  • Cherie got the scholarship to go to Lola Retreat in NYC and it was a breath of fresh air for her to be around such a positive group of women. She can now start to define what that path looks like for her.
  • The right financial path is like buying a pair of black pumps. There are thousands of styles of black pumps and there isn’t just one that will be right for everyone.
  • Cherie has been a client of the Financial Gym for over a year now.
  • Financial health is a journey and figuring out the right thing for you. That doesn’t happen overnight, it is a constant evolution.
  • Cherie has been working with Alicia to find the right balance.
  • Cherie took her daughter on a cruise immediately after she got her financial plan from the Gym.
  • The three biggest spending areas for Gym clients are Amazon, Seamless/food delivery/Uber, and drugstore/personal care items.
  • You need to define what you are working for and what you value.
  • Cherie has a high-stress job that she loves. She needs to take time to detox from her job. She needs to take time to detox from being a single parent in a big city.
  • If you are not getting financial success, try a lot of different ways. Sometimes it takes a year to find what works.
  • When you are committed to your plan, you will always get results.
  • If whatever you are doing financially is making you feel shame, it is probably the wrong thing. Don’t shame yourself — life is too short!
  • You are on your own unique journey. Don’t shame yourself based on someone else’s journey.
  • The beauty of the Financial Gym is having someone else looking at your finances and giving you a formula that is specific to you.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway, other than the fact that I want to drink more sweet wine with Cherie, is that Dave Ramsey or other financial paths are not always best for everyone. You have to use the approach that not only works but feels like a sustainable path to financial wellness. There are plenty of paths so if one doesn’t work for you, don’t stop looking.

Random Three Questions

  1. Where is somewhere you would like to travel?
  2. What is something you do to relax?
  3. If you were to win one million dollars, what would you do with it?

If you’ve tried a number of ways to get financially healthy and none of them are sustainable or working for you, 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.

The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. If you’re ready to manifest your dreams of getting and staying financially healthy, head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

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