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Hands down, the most referenced financial protagonist in history is Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 classic, “A Christmas Carol.”
In this legendary literature, Scrooge (the main character) gets visited by three spirits who force him to confront the consequences of his pinch-penny ways. And although “A Christmas Carol” is fictional, this timeless story falls close to reality.
Sooner or later, rich, poor, or somewhere in-between, each one of us will face these three financial ghosts. And – fortunately – just like Scrooge, even though you might be haunted by your past, you can make different decisions in the present to rewrite your future.
This week, I’m shining the light on the taboo topic of financial health and intelligence. Especially for women, our relationship with money remains… complicated.
Proving that money talk doesn’t have to be convoluted or dull, it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome Julie Duszak. She’s a financial guru, female empowerment coach, and the founder of Fund Your Joy.
Julie uses a casual, judgment-free, and enjoyable approach to help people master their financial situation. Today, she joins us to share how your mindset influences your decisions, common mistakes to avoid, and pro tips to get it together.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Dragged down by debt
- Scarcity vs. abundance mindset
- Generational patterns of overspending
- When everything suddenly falls apart
- Learning financial language basics
Listen to the Full Episode
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Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 6:30 am in New York, 12:30 pm in Johannesburg, and 1:30 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
Joe Biden is known for saying, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.”
This statement is kind of one of those earth-shattering realities when you apply it to your own life. I work with a lot of women who are reclaiming their power, re-establishing their self-worth and self-confidence, and finding their own thing. And inevitably, in the process when they’re starting a business, a project or just reclaiming their health, I discover that they’re not investing in themselves. Any money that they have for themselves or in their family often goes to everybody else. And the hardest thing that they have is to invest in themselves.
In fact, there’s often hesitation before we even work together. Like, “God, I never spend money on myself. I feel guilty for investing in myself.” Our relationship with money says so much about our relationship with ourselves and this impacts how we take care of ourselves, how much support we allow ourselves to have. And honestly, if you’re running your own business it also impacts how much you allow yourself to grow.
So this episode is a bigger picture part of what we’re all excited about over at Expats on Purpose, which is the Expat Coach Secrets series where you’ll hear some inside secrets from me around running your business as well as when you’re working with expats, how to serve them best. Plus you’ll hear from my own recent graduates of Expat Coach Coalition, behind the scenes on expat life and how we can all show up differently to make the most of it.
But money is one of those things that impacts us so intimately, right? Whether you’ve only got a little bit of it or you’ve got a lot of it, how we navigate that can really impact the quality of our life. So I couldn’t think of anybody better to join me in our focus on money today than Julie Duszak.
Let me tell you about Julie before I welcome her. She’s a financial coach and creator of Fund Your Joy. I mean how much fun is that, Fund Your Joy is a name of a company. She helps women increase their financial know-how, align their money and priorities, and make sense of all those things swirling around in our heads that affect how we deal with money, right? So she is an accredited financial counselor, but what I love about her is that she is also there to guide you, not only towards what you really want financially, but she bans the word should from her work and helps her clients choose their own path, which I really love.
Essentially I think Julie and I are both about empowerment. She does it through money mindset and know-how, I do it through other channels, but that’s what I love about what Julie’s approach achieves. So I have also heard from people who’ve worked with Julie, her approach is judgment-free, casual, and I have to say super fun. This woman cracks me up. So I can’t wait to have her join us on Expat Happy Hour. Julie, welcome to Expat Happy Hour:
Sundae: So happy to have you here, Julie. Thank you for being on the show.
Julie: Thank you for having me Sundae.
Sundae: Okay, so I need to brag on Julie a little bit. And I know you’re going to hate me for it. But I have been following Julie on Go Fund Your Joy and I actually have referred a few people to you. And what I have heard behind the scenes is nuts, like the kind of impact that you’ve made on people, the kind of transformation, it’s huge shifts. So I was really excited when I twisted your arm and you finally decided to come on Expat Happy Hour. So thank you. Really I’m really happy that you’re here.
Julie: Yeah, super happy to be here.
Sundae: So I’m curious. I mean before we go further. I’m curious. This is really cool work that you do and I think it’s really important work. One, it’s about empowerment. Two, it’s about security and three is about joy. Like, how cool is that? So what led you to do what you do?
Julie: So, it’s funny because the first thing people ask me is if I was a finance major, I’m like, “Have you met me?” I just think there’s nothing about me that says I love details. I love numbers. I love economics or whatever that is. I found that I really like to help people and coach people and train people. And I’ve had years dancing around through different careers where the common theme was instructing and helping and guiding and making it easier. So I found that those just kept popping up. It was like, “Okay. Well clearly I want to do this if I was crafting every job that I had in two ways that I could do that and clearly that’s something that I want to do.” And money has just sort of been a hobby, I guess. I don’t know how money could be a hobby. But I honestly do really read personal finance books for fun. Yeah, like I always say, “I’m a dork about money, so clients don’t have to be.”
Sundae: Take one for the team.
Julie: Yes, so it’s one of the things that seeing how inconsistent and inequitable financial education is for pretty much the entire world that some people learn it, some people don’t learn it. A few people learn it in school. Some people learn it from home. Some people learn bad habits from home. Some people learn good habits from home, some people don’t get anything. So to me, it’s a huge leg up to be able to support the ones and to understand your finances and to not have to advocate that responsibility to somebody else completely. So I have a passion for working especially with women because the messages that we get just tend to really point us away from money and handling it and going after success. It’s, “I’m still working through. Gotta play nice. Can’t ask for anything.” So it’s something that I felt really fortunate that I was made aware of money things growing up. It’s not like, we didn’t sit around the dinner table talking about it, but it’s something that I became I guess kind of really into because I wanted to see if I could help anybody else out there that didn’t have a good foundation, be able to feel the confidence that being in charge of your money and knowing what’s going on. How good that feels.
Sundae: So I have like two questions that come up when I think about that because confidence keeps coming back. And I think when I hear the word confidence, it’s also confidence in strategies that would work. So I’m thinking of two different scenarios: one is a couple and an individual wants to get more financially savvy. Maybe they’re the one who isn’t working because their partner has a full-time job. Maybe they’re taking care of kids, or maybe they’re the one who’s always moving and has given up their jobs. Their partner could have their career. Why is it worth it? Here’s what I’m really curious about, if things are not bad financially, right? Why is it still worth it to get savvy?
Julie: So, the easy answer is that because it benefits us all when we have more information. But, the ick answer is that sometimes, just all of a sudden, it’s not going to be okay. Like there’s a divorce or a death that just turns everything upside down. In my situation my father passed away when I was early on in high school and my mom had to take over every bit of financial stuff for our family and for a small business.
Sundae: Oh my God, and the last thing you want to be learning when you–
Julie: Absolutely, and so I think that led to her making sure that I could take care of myself, that I would never be caught off guard in such a catastrophic way. That I would understand money and I would understand the importance of being independent with money. And then of course growing up and getting married and then trying to weave that into somebody else and then fast forward now to where I’m completely dependent on my husband for money. But what it has enabled me to be able to do is that I handle all of the money and the finances in our relationship. So that is something huge that I can contribute to our family that I might not be able to bring in all the money, but I can make sure that we can kind of control the money that’s going out and make the best of what we have and make it even better.
And watch where it’s going and be mindful of the investments and come and so we can grow forward instead of just well, “We’re fine.” We could leave it and we could be totally fine and we could retire at, God, at some horrible age, that’s way too far in the future, but I’m not okay with that. So I wanted better. And so I make sure that I stay on top of it. Talking about the retirement age, another big piece of it is that when you are trying to figure out retirement, some point when you’re like I’m done working the first thing everybody wants to know is “How much do I need?” And the question that will always come up is, “Well, I don’t know. How much do you need now? What are you living on? How much money do you actually need?” So no investment professional can tell you how much money you need to retire, if you can’t tell them how much money you need to live.
Sundae: Right? Right. Well, I mean, I’m kind of hearing that there’s a couple layers there. One is that, for those who are accompanying partners and might not for either by choice or by situation, might not be the one who is contributing as much to the family finances, it is a way to have sort of an informed conversation about the money that the entire family is impacted by. We’d also know that the accompanying partners are working full-time, but they’re just doing non-paid work, right? That’s for sure.
The other thing that’s coming up for me is thinking about the future and also having that same sort of security about the future of, “If I’m savvy about this now, I don’t have to be taken off guard when we’re older,” because then when you’re older you have so much less leverage to make money to meet the lifestyle that you want.
Julie: Yeah that it’s that’s a horrible surprise to have. You don’t want that surprise when you’re 65 that they maybe, “Oops my partner pulled away our money and we don’t really have much for retirement.” The argument that would ensue at 40 as opposed to the argument that would ensue at 65. I don’t want any argument but I’ll take that 40 argument all day.
Sundae: Totally. Totally. Yeah. Okay. So here’s the thing. I’m going to dive right in. You talk about helping people, especially women get their financial shit together.
Sundae: Yeah. So tell me first of all, what does that look like? What does that even mean?
Julie: So obviously everything starts with, it depends and it’s personal but I have a sense that I’ve put together from working with clients of some general sort of columns of, if you’ve got these things going on you kind of feel like you have your shit together. So the first piece of it is really having a plan for your money for the good times and the not so good times. So it’s kind of knowing what you’re going to do with it but then knowing what happens when the inevitable and we will say it again when the shit hits the fan.
Sundae: Right. Right.
Julie: Yeah, that’s the first piece of it. And then another piece is feeling confident in your money know-how and that sort of sometimes can appear feeling like you can go and have a conversation with your investment professional and not feeling like a Dodo, and not just knowing that you know enough that you’re not too embarrassed to say, “Well, I don’t know what that is,” because inevitably they are going to say a word or an acronym that you don’t know what it is and it’s sort of like, you don’t know what you don’t know but it’s you get to this level of, “Okay. I feel like I know enough to get by and enough to have a little bit of a conversation.” And then enough to be able to ask some intelligent questions about your money.
Sundae: That is such an important point. Okay. Are you going to give us the download of the top ones and then we go into it in detail on which one you want to do? Because I already have like a thousand questions.
Julie: So I have like five kinds of having your shit together and then we can talk about mindsets.
Sundae: Okay. I’m numbering down. So I’ve got written number one so far: Have a plan for your money not just for the good times but also when shit hits a fan.
Number two: Being confident about your money know-how. I am gonna hold on that one because I really want to talk about that. What’s the third one?
Julie: So next one up is aligning your money with your priorities and that’s spending your money on the things — and I sort of group experiences, people all under things, spending on what brings you joy instead of the crap that really doesn’t matter to you but you think it quote should. Or even like credit card interest. That’s no fun to spend money on.
Sundae: Mmm, no, not it all.
Julie: So last up is addressing the limiting beliefs that you have about money that are holding you back from getting where you want to go. So it’s basically just not letting an unhealthy relationship with money rule your life.
Sundae: So good. Okay. So I need to back up here. We’re already now having a picture of how we can get our financial shit together. And what I’m hitting already in terms of clarity is number one, about the plan for the inevitable and I think you and I share a sort of a sense of, with expat life, something is going to happen. So we might as well have what I would call “buffer” for it.
Sundae: And yeah, so what you’re saying is really make a plan but you go so much deeper in your work not just like having some money on the side for let’s say, an extra plane ticket, like what are some of the things that you think people should think about when it comes to having a plan for when things don’t go right?
Julie: So yeah, it’s not really fun to think about. So I think a lot of people just kind of, “No, that’s fine. It’ll be okay.” I feel like the mantra of 2020 was, “No. No, I’m sure it’s fine,” just because we need it to be. So just because we want it to be doesn’t mean it’s going to be okay. So, a lot of things come up where we have to take an unexpected trip home or a work situation changes and the whole rug comes out from underneath you or part of the rug comes out from underneath you and it’s just being able to sustain yourself. And also sometimes it’s other people that, depending on our own family situation, sometimes it’s prudent to have that family fund, when the family comes knocking and knows that maybe well, “Gosh, their job is very secure,” or, “They get their housing paid for,” or whatever. People who look at that and think that you’ve got it all together and it’s sometimes making sure that somebody else’s issues don’t derail your priorities.
Sundae: Right. Or maybe your heart really wants to support your family, maybe you have aging parents and they need more support with medical costs like all I’m hearing, Julie is even though these are hard things we don’t want to think about. I’m the first person who doesn’t want to think about these hard things, right? But what I’m guessing is it really does is buy you some peace of mind and security that if something hard happens you can navigate them.
Julie: Yeah and that’s what I think it’s to me. It’s really just having all of your financial life together isn’t so you can check off a box and feel like, “Okay. Did that,” so you can feel good. So you don’t feel under the weight of your money, of the stress. I go with if there’s something in your life that you can reduce the stress over, go ahead and do that because there’s so many other places that you can’t control the stress. And so our finances is a big part of our life that we actually can control. And especially in a mobile life that wow, there’s so much that we don’t have control over. So when you can take control of something, it feels really good.
Sundae: Yeah, you’re so right, you’re so right. And save that energy for like build up strength and security and confidence in that area because there’s other areas that you might feel less secure about. Let’s talk with a second one. So when you talked about the confidence, that money know-how, I kind of thought about how I feel when I go to a mechanic where I walk in there and I’m like, “You can see it coming from a mile away. You know I don’t know anything about my car,” and I’m going to try to pretend like I do and not lose face, right? That’s the same thing with going to a money advisor. If you were that competent you would be going to an advisor because that’s what you pay someone, unless it’s your job to be a financial advisor. So, of course, you’re not going to know as much about how much is enough to know, do you think to have that conversation?
Julie: You know, it’s not going to be about specifics but it’s knowing enough so you can say “I don’t understand that so I’m not going to invest in it.” It’s understanding the concept that if you don’t understand something then don’t put your money in it. And so then sometimes in that that will prompt you to go back and research to say, “Well. But my money person really talked a lot about this and they think it’s a good idea, but I don’t understand it. So I want to go back and get some better information about it. So I can feel more informed.” Generically, it’s understanding the basic investment principles. I think that’s a big piece of it. It’s understanding what choices you have available to you because sometimes a financial professional, they may not even know if you have a certain government pension, they may not understand the full details about it. So at the very least it’s understanding where you can go to get more information about something. So you don’t have to remember everything. It’s just like, “Oh, yeah, I found this really good website that if I put in some information, if I put in my question, what is this? They’ll give me a pretty good definition of it,”
Sundae: Right. Because I also feel like there’s things that I know, just a very simple principle would be compound interest. Right? Well a lot of people know what compound interest is, so you have time on your side instead of a lot of money. So you use that small amount of money over time, right? That’s my layman’s way of explaining it. I hope that’s correct.
Julie: That works. I call it a miracle though. It is a miracle of compounding interest. But sure it’s a concept.
Sundae: So the whole point is I get that’s a thing, but it’s just like moving more and eating healthier is a thing we know, doesn’t always mean that we live it, right? Just because you know about certain healthy principles around money doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to do those practices.
Sundae: It’s like we sabotage ourselves like we do with our health, right? Like we do with our time management, like we do with our energy management. We do the same thing with money, so I want to make sure I didn’t miss anything. We talked about planning. We talked about the evidence of the know-how. If you were to coach someone to say these are the basics that you should probably get savvy on, would you be able to say here are the three things or does it depend on the person?
Julie: Really depends on the person. Yeah, it’s having a base understanding of just some of the common terms that are appropriate in country-to-country things are going to vary.
Sundae: Absolutely. But what I’m hearing is you can also invest in that knowing so that you feel empowered when you have that conversation.
Julie: Yeah, and it’s at least knowing that there is the difference. And so when you go in and are talking to somebody and you’re paying them money to work with you that they’re not spending their time explaining, “Well money’s different here in this country,” you go, “I got that but I just don’t understand the details of it. So take a minute and explain it to me.”
Sundae: Right. Exactly. And if you’re paying them by the hour, then it’s important to do a little homework. Right. Okay, so I feel like I missed something. I want to talk about limiting beliefs by feel like there was one other part you said about–
Julie: It’s aligning your money and your priorities.
Sundae: Okay, that one is really important. And I really see that on your Instagram page a lot. So can you say more about that?
Julie: Yeah, I really try to avoid the word “should” so I try to stay away from like, “Oh you should be doing this, you should be doing this,” but instead say, “If you want to feel good about your money and if you want to work towards finding your joy, then you will spend money on the things that bring you joy instead of the things that drag you down.” And a big, big part of that is debt. Debt drags us all down and spending money on interest payments is not something that brings — I don’t know. I don’t think anybody really gets a kick out of that but more power to you if you do but it’s not a fun way to spend your money. And so it’s making sure that it’s getting rid of extra debt because that’s not aligned with most people’s priorities about what they want to spend their money on. And so it really is thinking about what is it that is that’s important to me? and I know a lot of us don’t really take the time, we don’t give ourselves that grace, that time to think about what really matters to me? Because I think sometimes we’re afraid that it’s not going to match up, that we’re spending money on things that aren’t that important to us. And maybe we have got ourselves into a little bit of a keeping up with the neighbors situation or too much debt, and we’re just not really happy about it. So we don’t really want to face that truth.
Sundae: Right, right. Oh, I see that all the time Julie, you know oftentimes with the work with my clients when we talk about, even what your values are, people are like, “Hmm, It’s a hard question, actually,” even though it should be the easiest question in the world. It’s a hard question to articulate that and then it’s even harder when you realize once you’re really clear on your values that feel absolutely in alignment with you when you’re not living them.
Julie: Yeah. It’s a big wake-up call. It just feels better that it feels more — you feel happier with your money and you’re happier to go and get the money. It’s easier to go to work and earn money that you know is going toward something that you’re proud of that is meaningful to you. But if you’re getting up for a job every day and you’re making money and it’s just like feeding whatever beast. That’s hard to feel joyful about your job at that point.
Sundae: Exactly. So that is, I think, a really big point I want to dive into because it’s hard to get people in alignment with, I’m going to be really honest, like what brings them joy. So I feel like you’ve got two challenges, you do have double trouble here, right? So one, you need to get people to take ownership of their money and you need to help them get really clear on what brings them joy, and then you give them the practices to start creating the structures, I’m guessing, and practices that will lead them to that. So that’s how you got your work cut out for you.
Julie: So crazy. I got this.
Sundae: So do you mind if we talk about mindset because I see that a lot in my work and I want to see if we have similar hunches around the way people think about money.
Julie: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Sundae: So when you work with people what is some of their negative money mindset or some of their fears around money?
Julie: So first, money mindset isn’t necessarily negative or positive. It’s just your money mindset is your own unique and individual set of your beliefs about money and how money works in the world. And it’s just that these mindset shape what you think you can do and cannot do with your money or how much money you believe that you are allowed or entitled or able to earn. How much you can and quote should spend. How much money you give away, so there’s a lot of pieces to it. And they all come from all these things that we heard growing up from our parents or TV or movies or friends. And it’s like I said, it’s not necessarily a clear good or bad. It just depends on how they show up in your life. So all the different things that feed into that can funnel down to a few bigger mindsets and one of the most common ones is a Scarcity versus Abundance mindset.
The answer is usually, it depends.
So scarcity mindset that can come from growing up with less or from hearing stories about parents living with less, that fed a lot of my beliefs about money is hearing my parents talk about the sacrifices that they made. It’s even like seeing in movies that money is evil or you have to work yourself to the bone to get money or even that working hard doesn’t get you enough money. And then abundance can come from it can come from having more than enough growing up. So you were taught that there is always money there. It could also come from thinking perhaps inaccurately that there will always be enough.
Julie: And it’s not always the case and it even comes from sometimes having social safety nets that people think, “Well, that’s fine. The government will help me so I don’t have to worry about it.” So it’s not super clear really where what is better or what is right. It’s not necessarily the case. So we kind of go with maybe having a healthy but leaning towards a positive balance to serve us right because either mindset could actually lead to positive and negative situations.
Sundae: Right. Right. I think it’s really interesting you bring up scarcity versus abundance and it makes me think about, if you just try to manifest it, it will come.
I’ve never heard someone explain that like that before but what I’m hearing you say is there’s also gravity. There are realities that we live in that impact how much access we have to money. Who has access to money, right? And those things play a role, those things matter and impact people.
Julie: Yeah. And what’s really interesting about all this is that the same situation, the same types of experiences or messages can lead to very different opinions about money and the same opinions about money can lead to very different actions. So like I’ll give you an example, Sundae. So scarcity, there can be positives in a scarcity mindset. So somebody can come from a generational pattern of spending beyond means and then if the way that the scarcity mindset shows up is that they adamantly want to avoid that situation. So it turns that person into somebody who saves for a rainy day.
So it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have these messages that we are raised with but it’s just a matter of tempering them because sometimes scarcity can mean that we are afraid to spend money even when we need it.
Sundae: That makes a lot of sense.
Julie: Yeah, and so like the same thing, abundance has two sides of it where somebody with an abundance mindset that if you believe that more money will appear whenever you need it, you may be led to spend everything that you make. And that’s not necessarily– that might be having faith in yourself, yes, but money is a real thing that has to come from someplace else and sometimes just thinking that it will come and believing that it will come sometimes does not manifest it. But it can also decide on the flipside sort of heading towards, “This could be good. This could be not good,” it might lead someone to take risks with their financial future which sometimes risks could be for the better, sometimes not. Same thing with a business. Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and the trust that will get where we need to go. But sometimes we can be too risky. So it’s just sort of that balance there. But then abundance can help us look for opportunities for growth either in our own money or with a business. So it can encourage us to go out there and we believe that there are more opportunities and so we go out looking for them because you think they’re out there.
Sundae: Right. Right. So how do you tease that out when you work with people? How do you find out what their mindset is and whether it’s serving them or not?
Julie: So I think most people in the sense, they feel something’s not right and they just don’t know what it is. And so we’ll talk a little bit about, go back and we think about as kids what were these messages that we got from all the different influences? Do we get taught that we weren’t good with money or do we constantly hear, “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “money is a man’s world. You’re too stupid to deal with money” or “people won’t like me if I have money.” It’s funny because some people look at that and go, “how? Everybody wants to be friends when you have money,” but it’s not necessarily the case because money can change the dynamics in relationships. Especially, we’ve talked about traveling, were when our partners make more money than us or make all the money, it can sometimes trigger things. It can trigger some things especially if we had these messages growing up.
Or even like rich people are snobby or poor people, they are the true heroes, the true noble people. So there’s just a lot of messages that we heard and so it’s a matter of we kind of talked about sort of tease out what those are and we just talk about, well, what was it that you heard your parents say a lot? Or what do you think your role is in the finances and your family? And so it’s a lot of times it does it starts to bubble up all the things like, “Oh, yeah. So that’s where that comes from.” “Yeah. I remember my mom saying all the time.” Well, my mom taught me, like I said, about the miracle of compounding interest.
Sundae: You got lucky. They didn’t teach me that when I was a kid. So what about business owners? So this is very connected to expat life and the people who are listening. Some of the people listening are expat accompanying partners and they’re solopreneurs, right? They might have a service or a product based business and they are living that complexity of a global life, and they’re trying to create some financial independence for themselves. What do you think? What have you seen with people where that can be hard? Where might our money mindset be slowing down that goal of financial Independence?
Julie: Oh gosh. Yeah, it is hard. I mean couple money is hard anyway, and then throw in maybe trying to launch a business that maybe isn’t bringing in much or has some initial outlay of money that might be required and so, we feel like, “Am I worthy of making money? Do I trust myself that I will be able to make money?” And so, our ideas about money and our partners ideas about money are absolutely going to inform how we relate to each other about it. Where, if our partner is operating from a full-on scarcity mindset of like, “Nope. This is all the money that we have, there is no way that we could possibly afford for you to put this money to invest in your business or for your own training.” And we ourselves could believe that as well, “Oh, no, that’s well. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make very much money. I’m not very good yet.” So therefore I am not going to confidently discuss this with my partner that if we truly believe we’ve got this, I can do this, that there is money out there to be made then we can have a very different conversation than, “Oh, it’s just little old me. I don’t know enough about money. So I just have to ask my partner if it’s okay and I will really bring much to the table in the way of discussion because it’s just little old me.”
Sundae: Right. That makes such a huge impact. Huge impact. So it makes that the success of your business is beyond the market research and the service that you offer is directly connected to your money mindset because it begins like, are you gonna open your business? Do you invest in experts to support you? Do you put out professional products or services? Because you’re investing in the right technology or whatever it is. It has a huge ripple effect.
Sundae: So this is where the investment is a no-brainer because that’s where you get the return on the investment down the road when you’re able to sort of clean that up. And I say this because I’ve had to do a lot of work through my money crap. I grew up with, I would call it a scarcity mindset, and it took me a long time to be able to let go of that and I know that my comfort in investing in my business has had a direct impact on the success of my business because I got over my money crap, right? So it really does make sense.
I know we didn’t have much time left, but I’m just curious if you could give a few tips or a few strategies to people who are either starting out with their company or are at home and having those conversations, let’s say with a partner or even those tough conversations with themselves. What are some of the things that you think people should stop doing or start doing that you see over and over?
Julie: Yeah, so definitely step one, if you’re not, start looking at your financial statements, especially nowadays that they don’t show up in our mailbox, our physical mailbox, I don’t even think I get an email, they’re just there, if I felt like going and looking at them they’re there. So if you’re not looking at your financial statements at least look at them every month, just so you know that it’s at least you’re not ignorant to your own situation. Not necessarily even saying you’re going to take any actions, but odds are pretty good that having some information will impact your behaviors. So then if you are looking and you do have a sense of what’s going on, but you’re not really sure where it’s going and what you’re spending it on.
So sort of the next step up is start tracking your expenses, figure out where everything is going and this again will if for no other reason everything is great. Everything is fine. You’re making it work at the very least, you might be able to have a more informed number to tell your retirement advisor. Like, “Hey, listen, I might be making this much money per year, but we don’t actually need all that to live on. This is what I need to live on. So use your magic machines and tell me how much money I need for retirement.” And whoops, we’re ready. We could go today. You never know.
So then there’s tons of apps for that, you could use paper, most people use an app for it because we just use apps for everything.
So the next step would be if you’re tracking your spending, would be to use all that information that you have right there to create a plan. So starting out at the beginning of every month with a plan for your money and see what you can do to stick to it. Of course making sure that we set aside money first for our future self. Don’t screw your future self, put aside money for savings and retirement and then see where the money can go each month.
Sundae: I’m failing on several of these criteria.
Julie: That’s why we start small, you just literally at the end of a month, look at the bank statement or look at the credit card statement. That’s sometimes like, “Oh my God, it’s eight pages long. Oh, no.”
Sundae: Right. Right.
Julie: Yeah, but the thing is the information is there. Scary or not. It’s scary to know but the information does not change whether or not you know about it. You’re spending that much even if you refuse to look at it.
Sundae: Right. But here’s a perfect example and this is, I’m a little bit laissez-faire when it comes to the detail level in my business expenses, and there was one point where I discovered I was spending money on let’s say four kinds of cloud services, right? And I wasn’t fully utilizing any of them. I was using a tiny bit over here and a tiny bit over there and I realized I was probably spending $150 too much on cloud services. Not at a train smash of a business expense, right? But like you know what I’d like to do with a hundred fifty bucks? I’d like to invest that in a cause I believe in or in professional development for my team. You know what I mean? I do not value wasting my money on a cloud service. I do value paying Rachel Cargle for her anti-racism education. So I think that’s the thing as business owners or as a family or an individual even if we’re making small mistakes with our money those wasted opportunities could go to our deepest values.
Julie: Yeah, and it’s then we just feel better about it. First we know, we’re a little bit more in control. We’ve tightened it up a little bit, that it’s nice and organized rather than just sort of chaotic and for most of us having too much chaos around us can cause stress. So it’s getting rid of some of the chaos around your money and then going laser focused on the things that you really do care about.
Sundae: It’s so good. Oh I can feel it. So Julie, if you’re someone like me who’s busy and wants to do something like this, but doesn’t understand how much time does it take to really make a shift. What would you say?
Julie: So, some people like to go out and they like to read the books and watch whatever videos and that’s going to take you a long time. I’ll be honest trying to do it on your own might take a little bit more. Then you are willing to invest in it and you’re going to feel maybe like you’re flailing around. So when I work with my clients, it’s like I said, it’s super personal personal finance, very personal. And so for some individuals when we start, I start with all my clients with a two-hour deep dive session. And so for some clients, I’ll be honest that is enough. They just need some structure put around what they’re already doing or maybe need a clear plan to pay off their debt as fast as they want to. So some people could be two hours.
For individuals who need a little bit more assistance going through the steps of making a spending plan, looking internally about how they feel about their money. So if we’re coming from a place of “I don’t know anything or I don’t remember anything that maybe I learned,” it’s maybe about six months. I work with my clients every other week for about six months and that will get the clients from a place of feeling like they’re just under a weight of it all and don’t really know where to go, what to do next, what to focus our energy on, to a place of being able to say ”I got this!” That is, ”I am on top of it and I may still have some debt that I’m working on paying off but I have a plan for it.”
And then somebody comes with less issues that they want to work on or maybe one piece they’ve got out of control. They’re like, “Yeah, I’ve got this this is. This piece, I’m really good at but I need to work on this piece a little bit more,” usually about three months.
Sundae: Okay, that’s great. And tell me, when you talk about Funding your Joy, are we talking about like travel plans or what? How do they define funding joy?
Julie: Oh my gosh. I am loving hearing what my clients want to do and where they want to head and what their Joy looks like to them. And it’s funny because these might be some people that I knew outside of coaching and then we start talking about money things. Like I had no idea that that you know, even somebody my age who’s in their mid-40s is already getting excited about the house that they are going to buy to host their events with their grandchildren. And they’re so excited about it, some of them don’t even have grandkids yet and they’re so excited about that prospect of the future. Or even opening up some kind of business that they’ve just said, “I’ve always really wanted to do this and this just really speaks to me and I want to be able to get to a place financially where if I don’t want to work in a traditional 9 to 5 and I want to do something that’s outside of the traditional,” that it’s an option for them.
And then, of course, traveling.
So travel has been a big priority for people as well.
Sundae: That’s so funny. You say that like as a kid growing up and even now I talk about money isn’t really that important to me but freedom is. So money has always been a way to have a choice even as a teenager, if I go babysitting I’d say save half because if a concert came up, I’d want to be able to fund the concert.
Sundae: Okay, that’s so interesting. So tell us where people can find you if they want to learn more.
Julie: Absolutely. I am on the interwebs at FundYourJoy.com and I am also under that same handle @FundYourJoy on Instagram and Facebook. I’m most present on Instagram.
Sundae: Oh, thank you so much for today, I think for me what I’m taking away from our time together is just because things are okay financially doesn’t mean you have it together, right? There are some things that families can do that will help prevent chaos down the road, especially when things are at the least inconvenient time, you don’t want to be dealing with extra stress. That’s something I’m also hearing, the Joy side of, “Wait a minute,” for people who are like me that are not detail-oriented, if I did invest some time on the detailed side, I would actually be able to live even more closely in alignment with my values and that is already saying enough to convince me. So thank you so much.
Julie: Thank you Sundae. I appreciate it.
Sundae: There you have it now. Don’t forget to go check out Expat Coach Secrets for more insight. Join us for these six free sessions, and if you’re interested in serving expats in some capacity don’t miss out on the link for Expat Coach Coalition because I would love for you to join me.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you the words from Kate Northrup: “The more I value myself the better my relationship with money becomes.”
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