My Personal Finance Journey As An Entrepreneur
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 117

Personal finance as an entrepreneur can be beyond confusing. Not only does much of the personal finance advice out there apply to those with paychecks, but we also get conflicting advice.

Entrepreneurship is inherently risky. With so much personal finance being about saving for a “rainy day,” estimating conservatively, anti-debt, etc. it can feel like you can’t make a right move as an entrepreneur.

On the other hand, there’s few too many “success” stories out there of entrepreneurs making millions of dollars but having a million more in debt, none in savings, little to no profit margin, etc.

I’m not a financial advisor, but I have navigated both extremes. I’ve gone into credit card debt AND now run a debt-free business. I’ve been terrified to quit my 9-5 AND turned my 9-5 salary into my monthly salary. I’ve had to pay for health insurance out of pocket AND max out my HSA account annually.

You CAN do both. Here’s my journey and I hope it helps you.

Want to be coached by Leah directly? Head to her waitlist to be the first to know when spots open up. And get the chance to win a FREE intensive with Leah!  Leahgervais.com/waitlist

If you want more inside business secrets, then head over to my Seven-Figure Secrets Podcast! There, we discuss what goes on behind the scenes of running a seven figure business, and I give you the scoop on how to make it happen for you. 

Personal finance as an entrepreneur can be beyond confusing. I'm not a financial advisor, but I have navigated the extremes. Tune in to learn more!

Hear the Episode

Episode Transcription

Leah Gervais: Hi everyone. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision Show. This is Leah, and I’m excited to be back with you guys for what is the first episode of this podcast in quite a while. And I’m really hoping to bring back more over the summer as I am much more pregnant. Now I am, um, in my third trimester as I record this, and the beginning of this year was just such a whirlwind with my early pregnancy not being so easy. My first trimesters of both my pregnancies have been difficult, uh, for me to say the least. 

And, um, they get a lot better, so much better. My second trimester was euphoric. I still feel really good right now, but I’m letting myself slow down proactively. Um, but during my second trimester, we traveled a ton. I was traveling basically every other week for work or for family stuff, or just for vacation.

Um, I hosted VIP days in Vegas, in Charlotte, in Italy. Uh, we went to Florida to see family. I went to Ireland to host my best friend’s baby shower. My husband and I went to Italy for a little baby moon. So it’s been full, to say the least. But we are switching a little bit into seasons, and I’m hoping to do a lot more podcasts. 

So I’m excited to be back here with you today. And this is a pretty personal, uh, episode, but one that I have a lot to say on, and one on a topic that I continue to find myself wanting to talk more about. And just that I think is really important in the entrepreneurship space, um, but it is hard to talk about. And I hope that this episode kind of dissects some of why, or just shine some light on why I haven’t always known how to address this because I’m a little bit critical of both ends of the personal finance spectrum.

Uh, I think that both can be extreme, obviously, right? Extremes of anything are typically problematic. But I wanted to illustrate it in the terms of my own journey and talk about how I started with my journey on personal finance in my early twenties, trying to do everything by the book, trying to do everything right and how actually toxic that was for me, and how unhelpful that kept me, and how small that kept me. It really kept me in a fear-based mindset, um, and in a scarcity based mindset. 

And if I would have stuck to the book advice by people like Dave Ramsey or other conventional personal finance experts, um, I, I certainly would not have had the financial growth that I’ve had over the past 10 years. I don’t think I’d be anywhere near in the financial situation that I’m in now, which I’m really proud of.

On the flip side, along the way, I did take a lot of risks and I did do a lot of work on my mindset, and I did do a lot of things that were conventionally considered potentially dangerous or, or high risk, I guess is the better way to say it. Um, and sometimes I think that those things are too normalized by some of the woo woo mindset, money, mindset, entrepreneur crowd. Um, and that really became very clear to me a few years into my entrepreneurship journey when I started realizing how many people out there were sharing very large numbers that they were making, but on the backend, they actually had very little to no money. 

And I don’t think that that’s a great thing either, actually. I don’t, I don’t wanna be judgmental of other people’s financial situations. If those are the situations they choose to be in, then I think that that’s fine.

And we all have the choice, you know, to decide what we want to do or don’t spend our money on. Where I think it’s problematic is where it feels like we as a collective, and I was in this trap, assumed that if I saw someone’s income or how much their business was pulling in, then that was reflective of other parts of their personal finances. Like, if you’re making X amount, then you must be able to put X into retirement, or you must have X in savings. Or if you’re buying that bag, then you must also, uh, not have a certain amount of debt or whatever. And all of that is just not necessarily true. And, and again, if there’s anything I did that to a financial advice expert, they probably would look at and say, this is super irresponsible. You shouldn’t be buying this way.

He still had debt. So I’m not judgmental of those decisions. I’ve, I’m sure I’ve made some of those decisions, but there had to come a point for me where I said, okay, how am I going to really make the most of the money that I’m making and grow it? And I wanna talk about how I navigated that dynamic, because that is where I think there’s a lack of support is like, at what point do you stop having, making money exclusively be the only goal? 

And do you want to think about growing that money, investing that money, diversifying that income, et cetera, et cetera. So this is just sort of my journey of personal finance as it has pertained to my business and how it has treated me as an entrepreneur. So this all started when I was in my early twenties before I had my business.

 

And I was working as a paralegal here in New York City. Many of you know my story. I was making $45,000 a year. And just a heads up, if you’re new to me, I’m gonna be very transparent and open about numbers. I think it’s really just the most helpful. So I was making around $45,000 a year. If you do a little bit of math and consider New York City taxes, that is not a lot of money at all, right? You’re making around $3,000 a month after taxes.

 Actually, I probably make a bit less after taxes. I remember my paychecks being, uh, below 2000 every two weeks. So I was making under, under three k, I think a month take home. So I was not making very much money and I was paying off tens of thousands of dollars of student loans that I had accumulated from attending NYU. I had chosen to pay off my loans pretty aggressively.

I didn’t wanna be on the 30 year plan for it. I wanted to, I think I had chosen to pay them off within like 12 or 15 years or something. So my monthly loan payments were quite high. They were not reflective of my income. They were, you know, in the, in, I think it was around 700 a month. It was very high. Um, and so long story short is I didn’t have very much money at all, you know, between what I paid in rent, what I paid in my loans.

 Um, there, there wasn’t really much left over. I mean, one whole paycheck went to rent every single month. My rent was like $1,200 a month. And that rent was for a one bedroom apartment that three of us lived in, because that is New York City for you. Now, I wasn’t in a very financial, like, bad situation, financially bad situation at the time.

I grew up with a CPA as a father. And that is kind of a backdrop for my story here is my dad, you know, uh, who I adore and I miss. He, you know, my late dad, he has passed away, but he had a very much kind of what I now know, to be a little bit of a middle class mindset. He was a little bit more daring in the sense that he started, also started his own business. He believed in risk. He and my mom were very entrepreneurial, both in his business and outside of their business. 

You know, they were always thinking about how they could strategically grow their wealth. But there were a lot of these old adages that I now know are pretty toxic that he subscribed to and that I grew up with. Things like, money doesn’t grow on trees. Um, you know, the harder you work, the more you make.

Like there’s no other way to make money without working hard, things like that. Um, and debt is evil. It was a big one, especially consumer debt. I mean, my parents had a mortgage on the house that we grew up in and everything, but credit cards are bad. Don’t live above your means. Um, be happy with what you’ve got. 

You know, gratitude is what happiness is about, not things, et cetera. So because of this, by the time I found myself in my early twenties, I had made some decent financial decisions, by which I mean, I didn’t have any credit card debt and I did have a budget. I was very particular about how much I was spending every single month, uh, because I knew that I had so little money between paychecks to work with. It was like, like I said, one paycheck went to rent. So I had a few extra a hundred dollars a month to spend on anything.

Basically going out, living my life, work clothes, um, food, groceries, electricity, I mean, really the whole rest of my life. So money was constantly a stress. There were many, many nights that I was up at two in the morning in that old apartment that I lived in with two of my good friends, wondering how I was going to pay for small things, having $20 in my bank account, um, you know, having peanut butter and jelly for dinner because I didn’t have enough money to buy actual food and I wanted to stretch before I bought groceries.

 All that kind of just like broke girl stuff, honestly, that a lot of us know from either pop culture or because we’ve been there when we were in college. And it just kind of carried on with me. So money was tight. And I’ll never forget feeling like that.

I think it’s still a lot of what fuels me still to this day. I remember I worked, uh, in midtown in Manhattan at, uh, at this law firm. And if, if you’re familiar with New York, you know that Midtown is where most of the corporate offices are except for downtown where the financial district is. But Midtown is very corporate. It’s where a lot of people are working in nine to fives throughout the day. Not as many people live there. 

And during lunches, you see all of these small shops, you know, small lunch counter shops, open places like Chopped, just Salad, um, NAYA, Pret, um, just basic, basic pickup stores, you know, that a lot of, a lot of cities have. They’re not all unique to New York, but there’s tons of them. And they all have lines at the door at lunchtime. And for between 10 and $20, you can get something for lunch there.

And I remember walking around at lunch. I’d always leave for my lunch break that I had as a paralegal ’cause I wanted to get out of the office, but I would just sort of aimlessly walk around ’cause I could never afford it. And I always would be looking at all these other people thinking, I wonder if they know how lucky they are, just that they have enough money to buy themselves lunch today. I always would pack lunch or I would try to, you know, scrounge over leftovers or sometimes our work would bring in, um, catering if there were events and stuff.

 And I would just eat those leftovers. I mean, I really just kind of did whatever I had to do. And still to this day, I mean, it’s been 10 years, I’ve made millions of dollars. And still every time I pick up a lunch somewhere, I have a moment of gratitude where I just realize, you know what?

I know what it’s like to not be able to afford this. I know what it’s like to not have enough money. I remember so vividly, almost being envious of people who did. And I’m just so grateful that I’m in a situation where I don’t even, I don’t even know how much this costs. You know, I don’t even, I didn’t even have to look about, look at it. I don’t even have to think about this. This will truly never affect me. It truly, it doesn’t matter. That gratitude still comes back to me. I digress going back to my early twenties. So I’m in this situation, I don’t have a whole lot of money left over, but I’m determined to start building wealth because I knew that that’s what, you know, the life trajectory I wanted to go on. So I get very immersed in these personal finance pieces of media.

I started listening to Dave Ramsey. I started listening to, so Money With Furnish, Tara Robbi. Um, I started reading, you know, rich Dad, poor Dad, the Millionaire Next Door, all these kinds of classical entrances into personal finance. And I loved them. I mean, I really loved learning about it, and I honestly did feel like I had a, uh, kind of, uh, level up amongst a lot of my peers. Not that I was trying to compete with them, but I felt like I knew a lot about personal finance at a pretty young age. 

You know, I already was thinking about automating my savings, and I did then I didn’t really have any money to put into savings, but literally I would put $10 a month into a high-yield savings account in case, um, my cell phone broke because I was, you know, party girl in my early twenties then.

And it wasn’t out of the realm for me to go through a cell phone, and I didn’t want it to cost me an unexpected expense. So I knew about automating your income and I read about couponing, and I also would apply for credit cards if they had really good point systems on there. Like I did the personal finance hacks that I could, given the very limited resources that I had. 

And at that time, I also was starting my then side hustle, my now successful business, but I wasn’t really truly going all in on it, be mostly because of money, because I was way too afraid to spend money that I didn’t have or that I didn’t know if I’d be able to make back on something that was not a proven business or was not a proven source of income. It just felt incredibly irresponsible.

It honestly didn’t even cross my mind. I had trained myself so much that I would never go into credit card debt. The idea of hiring a coach or ta you know, buying one of these expensive courses or joining an entrepreneurship program, it was an immediate no, for me. It wasn’t even a consideration because in my mind I just knew that I didn’t have the money and that was the end of the story.

 But I was trying to do things with what I could to learn to make more money. So I was downloading a lot of freebies. I would bargain shop on sites like Udemy when they would have sales, which they do a few times a year. And you can get these courses on how to do things like learn SEO or Facebook ads for, you know, 20 bucks, which now looking back was a huge waste of money because none of those courses are actually helpful unless you know that they pertain to the business you’re building.

And I did not because I didn’t know what business I was building. And those classes are, I’m sure fine, but pretty generic. You know, they don’t really have a ha like they don’t really take any consideration of your business for SEO for example. So that’s kind of how I did it. Um, but nothing, nothing was really happening.

 And as I did this, I started learning about people like Bob Proctor, like David Nagel, who I’ve since talked about a lot and learned a great deal from, uh, like Gina Devee who I’ve had on this show. I love her, Anne Williamson. And these people have started to talk about money in a way that was completely contradictory to Dave Ramsey, you know, personal finance crowd. It was a lot more, they introduced the concept of abundance to me. I didn’t even know that. I didn’t even know what a scarce mindset I had.

 

And at first I was very skeptical of it. I did not understand manifestation, I did not like the deal of the secret. It all felt very scammy to me. It all felt very risky and simply irresponsible. And I just felt like it was a lot of smoke and mirrors and people on the internet trying to tell you that if you act a certain way or essentially give them money, then you two will somehow have money. And just nothing about it sounded legitimate to me. 

But then I read a book that David Nagle and Bob Proctor both recommended and talked about a lot called The Science of Getting Rich. And I’ve talked about this book ad-nauseum on this show and with my clients, it is the single most influential book I’ve ever read in my life. And this really changed everything for me because it put into words things that I had always believed, but never had the confidence or the articulation or the awareness to properly say.

And it put into words some of these concepts that have been honestly just twisted by the kind of woo woo community about abundance that actually were very logical to me and made a lot of sense. Things like, if you spend more time worrying about money, how are you going to make more money? 

And I started thinking, oh my gosh, well, how often am I awake at two in the morning worrying about money when I could be not awake in the morning, getting up earlier instead, and putting more time into my side hustle or something like that. It talked a lot about attraction and again, that, that kind of felt woo to me at first, but it started making me realize that I’m probably repelling financial opportunities because I’m constantly in this mindset of there’s not enough, um, I’ll never have what other people have my salary’s my salary.

And there’s no two ways around it. And of course that then kind of becomes truth because your world is always meeting your expectations. It’s always meeting your views. So the science of getting rich was a pivotal moment for me and made me realize that if I really wanted to get rich in the way that this book describes, I’m not, I don’t mean to sound so superficial, then I actually was going to have to start doing things differently because I had kind of maxed out the potential of my income as the advice would give from many of these personal finance experts. There wasn’t really much more I could do at that point. I simply wasn’t making enough money. 

Now without going too deeply into my story, this was a big reason I now can kind of identify that I made the pivotal decision in my life to decline my law school acceptances and end up what I ended up doing was going all in on entrepreneurship.

It took me a few years before I went all in. I even actually got another nine to five job in the meantime. But as I was learning more about these concepts of money, I, you know, was realizing also more and more that was this math really going to make sense of going to law school and going into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just to then basically be forced into going into corporate law because it would be the only type of law that could wipe out my loans with any reasonable timeframe. 

You know, people are so concerned about business debt. Obama paid off his law school loans as far as I know, I think when he was president, if not right before. So these things carry, you know, carry with people for a while and they don’t really prevent you from, you could still build wealth around them like you could.

They’re not, it’s not considered bad debt. So it’s not like it would prevent you from building a house. But it really just made me realize that I was kind of trading in my freedom for the sake of this hopefully good salary because I felt like I’d have to go have that high salary or I’d go practice a different kind of law, but then yes, be in debt, a ton of money. And it just sort of felt like, man, for how much I’ll be working, I just dunno if this is worth it. And I started seeing people on the internet be able to make a lot more, uh, without doing something so intense or without doing something so grueling or without doing something so expensive. 

And it really kind of got my wheels turning. So this, it was the start of a new chapter for me, and I would say the accumulation of this new way of thinking and the realizations that these personal finance conventional pieces of advice weren’t gonna work for me came to a head in at the end of the year in 2017.

At this time, I was making a bit more money. I was at a different nine to five job. My side hustle had taken off a bit. I mean, I was at least making some money from it, but I was not making enough to quit my nine to five. And I was getting to the point where I no longer believed that would ever happen because it had been two years at that point, and it was the end of the year, it was the holidays. And I was reflecting on the year and just feeling like, man, I am really in no better of a situation than I was this time last year. And that was really deflating and discouraging and hard to stomach. 

And it was what I needed though to have a come to Jesus moment and realize that I still was holding back on some of those principles that I had learned about abundance and having a healthier money mindset and viewing money as a tool, not viewing it as something that you should be afraid of.

Because I really was afraid all of that time I was afraid. And that is my biggest critique with people like Dave Ramsey and this very conventional middle class personal finance advice. Their teachings are constant underpinnings of fear. There’s not enough. What if you run out? What if doomsday happens? What if there’s a medical emergency? What if you lose your job? All these, what if the worst case scenarios without breathing any life into the best case scenarios? What if, yes, you go into debt, but your business takes off?

 That’s what happened to me. What if, yes, you end up stretching yourself a bit to live in a place that might be above your means right now, but it boosts your energy and gives you, puts you in a much better head space such that you’re able to then get a raise because you perform better at work or maybe it’s closer to your job and then you’re not as drained from commuting.

Or maybe you get to see your family more and that frees up some of your mental health and you’re able to make money in a different way. Like there’s so many other ways to think about how you can leverage some of these financial decisions that they just deem right away as bad ideas because they’re afraid, or I don’t even know if they’re afraid. I don’t know if Dave Ramsey himself is afraid, but he teaches fear-based teachings, right? Everything is about not enough worst case scenario doomsday. 

And there’s really no underminings of a best case scenario. What if things do work out? What if the risk is worth it? You know, it really keeps people in a very small minded place. So with my new conviction to be a best case scenario person at the end of 2017, I made the decision that I had never made up to that point, which to me was the biggest deal and the biggest risk and the biggest change in identity, particularly because by then my personal finance loving father had recently passed away.

And I was terrified of disappointing him from beyond. I know that that might sound a bit morbid, but that’s the honest truth. I felt very, very afraid that I would be disconnected from him. He actually had not passed away at the end of 2017. He passed away at the beginning of 2018, which was when I was still making some of these decisions. But my point is this was a huge deal for me and I decided to go into credit card debt. I decided to take out loans from my credit card and go into a year-long coaching program for new entrepreneurs. I also went into another year-long program that I’m still part of six years later called Successful Ads Club that would teach me how to run paid ads because my organic marketing wasn’t really working or it was, it was working too slowly.

I spent $4,000 on a brand photographer. Up until then, my brand photography had been my good girlfriend, Alexis, who is still a good girlfriend to this day, and was the MVP walking around New York City with me and taking pictures of me. She’s a very good photographer, but, but hiring Wendy was more of an editorial branding decision. She had thousands of dollars. It was a full day. She had a driver. We went over the wardrobe, she had all this stuff staged. I mean, it was, it was a much more professional experience.

 Um, and I really just said, okay, self, you know what? Give it one year to go all in, go into debt, don’t make stupid decisions, but don’t hold back if you’re going to do this. Spend money on whatever you need to reach the goal you’re working toward. And the goal I was working toward at that time was getting out of my nine to five job, which to me meant I needed to make as much, if not more money from my side hustle to leave my nine to five, which wasn’t that much.

I mean, I was only making by then, I think I was making like 55 or something thousand dollars a year. So I didn’t even need to be making $10,000 a month. But in my mind I thought, okay, I’m gonna take these big financial risks for one year and if they don’t pay off, it’s gonna hurt. I’m gonna have to dig myself out of credit card debt. It’s gonna be embarrassing and that’s gonna be hard, but I’d rather try than not and be in this place of limbo any longer. 

Well you probably know the rest is history. It did not even take me a year after that fateful decision to get my income up to surpass my nine to five. It happened in a few months. Um, I think around eight months after that decision, in September of the following year, I resigned. Um, my last day was in November and that November was also my first five figure month.

And I’ve gone on and on, as many of you know, hit six figures after that, have had six figure months, have had two seven figure sales years, have hired my sister. I mean, on and on. My finances have changed in the most spectacular of ways. It’s still a regular shock to me and pinch me moment that my life looks the way it does and absolutely nothing about me and my family’s life. 

Living near Central Park, living in New York City, getting to, you know, save money the way we do traveling the way we do. I mean, I have had nice vacations over the years, not a few. I mean, I’ve stayed at some of the best hotels in the world over a few years. And even if I would’ve gone that law school track, the lawyers I know still aren’t, they can live comfortably, but they’re not really in this kind of abundant place that I’ve been able to get myself.

It doesn’t mean I have unlimited money, but I do have an unlimited income, which is, which is worth everything. I really can control it. So that was the best decision I ever made for myself. And I took on those risks. And I think that that’s a very important perspective to share because so many people stay stuck out of just pure fear and pure, um, you know, belief of these I ideologies of how money works that aren’t even theirs that are passed on from their parents or their church or their peers or family members or their spouse.

 And while they’re probably well-meaning they don’t necessarily reflect you or your situation or what you’re capable of. And I think breaking free of those shackles in my mind was the most freeing thing I ever did. And starting to see myself as someone who did make this money back, who did multiply her investments, who did trust herself to make this back, who did follow these teachings that I knew to be true.

That it didn’t have to be scary. We didn’t have to be broke. I didn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. It was transformative. However, after several years of this, my business grew at a rapid pace and I did not slow down on investing, you know, I was, I, my business’ income went up and up and up.

 But I still took, I still had a credit card balance for quite a few years and I carried a lot of shame around that. I talked to a lot of coaches about that. I talked to therapists about that. I felt like I was a fraud because I was building this business and I was a business coach and I talked a lot about how I had changed my finances and multiplied my income, which was all true. I never lied. And there was the, the additional truth of that, you know, I still had debt and I wasn’t saving as much as I wanted.

And what I ended up learning was that the criteria I had in my mind, kind of the assumptions in my mind I had for, if you make X amount of money, then therefore you must have X amount of savings. You must put X amount into retirement. You must be x amount of years from buying a house. Everyone has different ideas of those. So someone might assume if you’re making six figures, you absolutely should have no debt and you should be maxing out your retirement fund and you should be a homeowner. And if you have six figures and you’re

Not those things, then you are either bad with money or, uh, you have no profit margin and you’re kind of being sneaky in the way that you market your business. And I understand that there could be some hesitation with that. But the honest truth is, even if you’re making six figures, at the rate things cost these days, that is no indication at all that you could be debt free and max out your retirement and own a home.

You could maybe be one of those things, honestly. So everyone’s assumptions around those are different. And I think I had to learn that. ’cause I assumed that everyone assumed the same thing as I did, which is that once you get to a certain point, you ought to have these other personal finance boxes checked off. And that was my old programming for my Dave Ramsey days.

Now, I did start realizing though that I, some of the assumptions I was making about other people who were making far more than six figures and realizing that those things weren’t true. Like people hitting seven figures and having no profit margin or people having multiple six figure businesses, but still not having savings or not paying themselves or people having, um, seven figure businesses and still, uh, trying to save money to have, you know, a savings or like put a down payment on a house. 

Those things did start to feel somewhat off to me. And now I realize that those people, unless they were lying, they still weren’t being dishonest. But it was a flag to me for my own internal comfort and my own internal preferences. And what that forced me to do, which was really, this is the main message of what I want this podcast episode to be about, is it for forced me to sit down and say, okay, at what point, what is my own standard for myself for when I want to be saving more, investing more, putting more into retirement, buying a home, you know, whatever things I wanna do with my money before I start feeling like I’m being irresponsible for not doing those things.

 

And what this forced me to do is have an honest look at how much every month I wanted to be making to sustain the life that I wanted, and then realize that I was going to spend whatever I needed to spend to get my business to that monthly point without beating myself up about it, without questioning my decisions, without making myself feel like I should be saving more for retirement, any of that. And instead put it all into my business. And then once I reach that point, then start to diversify and pay more attention to what I wanted with my personal finances. And for me, that number was around $30,000. That was kind of the sweet spot for me where I felt like, okay, that’s how I can run my business at the place that I want to. That is how I can live in New York at, with, you know, at the where I want to.

Um, that is how I can, uh, just kind of make my world go round. And then anything after that I can start to strategically build wealth with. So I unapologetically kept going with reinvesting into my business, spending more on that, spending more on coaching, spending more on courses, spending more on, um, whatever would grow it, you know, whatever it needed at the time until I got there. And then things started to shift for me. 

And that is where I’m really proud to be right now, because I know that there’s people out on the internet that make more money than I do. I know that, you know, and that, and that’s always gonna be the case. You will, there will always be people making more than you. I also live in New York City where there’s always people that are gonna have more money than me, a lot more, more than me, man.

I would feel so much more successful if I didn’t live in such an expensive place. It’s very humbling. But now after these years, this is where I’ve been able to say, okay, we do wanna max out our retirement funds. We do wanna have five 20 nines for our kids, my, my baby on the way and my son. Um, we do wanna max out our HSA account. We do wanna be investing more every single month. We do wanna have a rental property.

 All those things that used to excite me so much about personal finance, but I was so far from ever being able to achieve because my income was so low. Those are the things I now get to play with. And how can I keep my income the same without working more? In fact, how can I keep it the same while working less?

Those are really my two main focuses now. So yes, could I be working to make, you know, a hundred thousand dollars in cash every month? Sure. Could I be working to make $2 million in sales? Sure. But that’s just not what’s most important to me right now. And if it means that other people surpass me in their income or if people don’t see me as shiny because I’m not making a hundred thousand dollars in cash every month, so be it. This is my business, this is my life and this is what’s important to me. 

And I share that to empower you to one, forgive yourself. If you’re still working on the personal finances that can come from whatever income you’re making. Maybe you’re still in that ramp up phase, you know? And when you’re in that ramp up phase, my humble opinion, and I’m an action taker by nature.

So keep that in mind. You’ve gotta go all in on it until you’re at the normal level you can be at. Um, until then it’s really, really hard if you’re gonna start and stop and always make yourself feel bad that you’re trying to get your income up and trying to grow your business, but simultaneously not saving enough or simultaneously not investing as much as you should. You, you’re only, you know, one person you can. 

And, and I think that you’re gonna have a faster result growing your business if you focus on that exclusively. Now sometimes you don’t feel like you have the luxury to do that. Maybe you already have children and you wanna be putting away in the 5 29 for them right now immediately, that’s fine. But then you need to forgive yourself if your business income isn’t growing as quickly as it would if you were putting all that money into your business. And you also

 

Might just wanna sit and do the math. Is the growth opportunity in a 5 29 more than the growth opportunity in my business? Only you can answer that with where you think your business can go and with how much you trust herself. But it’s not a no-brainer. You know, some people are like, well, I have to put money into retirement because I have to. ’cause that’s what everyone says. Well, you don’t have to. 

And if you are making more in your business than you would in your 5 29, maybe you shouldn’t be. You know, all that said, I do want to talk about some of the things we do as, as an entrepreneurial couple in my marriage that I’m proud of and I wish more people talked about because I do think it’s empowering. We max out our HSA accounts. We do put money into a 5 29.

By the way, I’m not a financial advisor. I’m not a CPA, I’m sure you all know this, but I wanna include the disclaimer, do your own research, talk to your own professionals. Um, we do put into a sep IRA every month that’s a very advantageous account for, um, self-employed individuals for retirement. Um, we also max out our Roth IRA every month, or I’m sorry, every year we normally invest, like we just normally put money in the stock market. We do have a rental property that we lease out. We have what I love. 

One of the things I think has been so fun about my income coming up is, or yeah, getting to where it is, is we have several, what I call short-term savings accounts. We pay a lot in cash. So for instance, I’m seven months pregnant right now. We have a savings account, a high yield savings account that we started when we found out I was pregnant and have added up all the expenses that we need during the newborn phase.

 

I’m self-employed, so I don’t have maternity paid leave, um, that we need for, uh, a baby nurse, uh, you know, a newborn specialist, the hospital bill, um, just postpartum care in general, a little bit of extra childcare. And we divided up how much that would cost us by nine. And every month we just put that into it. So when the time comes, we’re able to pay for all of that in cash because I do not wanna have any stress in the very early weeks and months of my pregnancy, or I’m sorry for my baby’s life, wondering how I’m going to pay for these very supportive and important things. Um, we have a similar account for the holidays every year, um, by, you know, the time the holidays roll around, we all know what it’s like to feel like, oh my gosh, there just went a few grand in Christmas gifts.

Now I know that some of the personal finance people could say, don’t buy such expensive gifts. That’s not me. I make money so I can spoil the people that I love. Gifts is my love language receiving yes, but more so giving, I love giving gifts. I don’t wanna not give nice gifts, but I also don’t love being hit with a big bill with it. 

So every single month we put in a few hundred bucks and then at the end of the year, we have a few thousand to buy gifts for our friends and family. We have a short term savings account for, uh, travel. We do the same thing at the end of every year. We look at the following year and think, what big trips do we wanna take? Where are we gonna travel to? What family, uh, travels? Well, we know we do.

Neither me or my husband are from New York, so we travel a lot to see family. Pretty much every holiday we either go to his family or my family. So we spend a lot of money on airfare. It’s also how our son has already flown like 20 times at two years old. So we add all that up, you know, and estimate how much that’s going to cost us.

And then every month we put in, uh, a 12th of that. Basically we divide it by 12 and start putting that away so that we don’t get, you know, hit with extra huge credit card bills on months that we have booked a lot of travel and things like that. Um, we’ve done that with, uh, big vacations. We have taken, we uh, we did that with our babymoon, both baby moons were over five figures in pure cash that we paid.

I mean, we put it on our credit card and then paid off right away for points benefits. But I’m not, I always pay off my credit cards in full. Uh, I have no interest in having a credit card bene, uh, credit card balance personally. Um, again, I have in the past so no judgment, know where you’re at. Uh, but what we do is we just add up how much we wanna spend on these things and then start putting it away once we know that we’re going to be doing that slowly until the money is there. 

So short-term savings have been a beautiful thing for us, um, as we’ve just had bigger expenses. And it’s a nice way when you are self-employed and have less of a predictable income than a nine to five to feel predictable about, to feel like those big expenses are predictable.

Okay? So that is where my personal finances currently stand. My advice is to find the healthy middle for you between the fear-based, stringent go, uh, you know, never enough ways of personal finance thinking. Even now there’s this one, um, personal finance account I follow. And I really like some of his advice. I’ve learned a lot about investing on behalf of my son from him, but I hate him. He has this theory that everyone who lives in an inexpensive part of the country is throwing away money. 

And in, in some sense, I understand where he’s coming from. Obviously what we pay for our small apartment in New York City, um, you know, would be what we could get, I don’t even wanna, I don’t even like thinking about what we could get in other parts of the country. If you live in an expensive part in the country, if you live in New York, if you live in la I mean, I think, I think New York is the worst, but if you live in any of these big cities, don’t play the sick game of with yourself of going and looking on Zillow in places like Texas or, um, Florida.

Even Florida can even be kind of expensive. Uh, yeah, it’s very depressing, because you can’t believe how much you could get for what you’re currently paying. Anyway, my point is, this person has this narrative that anyone who, like if you really care about money, should move to a cheaper part of the country. You should move to a no income state. And you know, there, there just has to be a line. Life is short. Could I, could I have more money saved if we packed up our family and moved to Nevada or Texas or Florida? Of course, if we didn’t have income tax, if we had a lower cost of living, of course we’d have more money. 

But I love it here, you know, and maybe we won’t live here forever. Maybe we will eventually move. It’s not me saying that, I’m never gonna think differently about this, but there has to be a point where you’re thinking, what is the point of having money if I’m not enjoying my life, if I’m not fulfilled by where I live, if I don’t get up every day excited to greet the day and, and with gratitude of where I live.

And I have to say, other than a few rough months, this, this particular winter where I was in my first trimester and I was sick and I think I had kind of, you know, seasonal depression. I get up every day here and I just can’t believe I get to live here still. So that to me is worth money. That to me, pushes me. It excites me, it encourages me, it inspires me. I truly think it makes me a better entrepreneur. 

So, you know, live your life and, and you can take personal advice from people, but don’t make decisions out of fear. On the flip side, use discernment. When you’re looking at the internet at how much people are making, remember that you have no idea what their profit margin is, what their cost of living is, how much debt they have, what they’re doing with their diversified means of building wealth, like their retirement account, like their investments, like their properties.

You also have no idea what other advantages they have. You don’t know how much family money they may or may not have. You don’t know how much their spouse may or may not make. You don’t know how much, let’s say their parents and maybe they live near parents and they don’t have to pay for childcare. 

So maybe they’re saying their profit margin is very big or they’re saving X amount of money, but maybe you don’t live near your parents and you’re paying for childcare. Like, there’s always things we don’t know. And, and that doesn’t mean that you don’t have advantages that you might not be, you know, paying attention to. Like I’m pretty unapologetic about my success because yes, I’ve had advantages to help me get here, but I also have had circumstances that other people don’t have that have made it harder for me to get here.

We have one and a half children. We actually have two and a half if you count our dog. But we pay for childcare completely on our own. We both are self-employed, so we pay for healthcare completely on our own. You know, other people have spouses that have nine to five jobs and that covers their healthcare. So we all have our advantages, we all have our disadvantages. Don’t assume that just because you see someone making X amount means that they also have X, Y, and Z behind the scenes going down how much you wanna be making this. 

If there’s just one prescriptive way I could say that I think the best thing you can do for money as an entrepreneur is for your personal finances, know how much you wanna be making, and be relentless about getting there. Be a beast about getting there. I mean, make it fricking happen.

And then once you’re there, you gotta pause yourself. That’s hard. ’cause a lot of people get so caught up in it and then start to get strategic about building your wealth. And then you have to kind of put on your blinders and think, okay, maybe I am not gonna double my income this month. Maybe I’m not gonna double my income this year. Maybe my income’s gonna go down a little bit. Other people might surpass me. That’s okay. This is your journey, this is your life. These are your goals, this is your story. And most of all, I hope my story and this message reminds you that you can build wealth as an entrepreneur. You can build wealth while taking risks. Risks can pay off. And you have a hell of a lot more control over all of these things than a lot of us give ourselves credit for.

Okay, this was a very long episode. Thank you guys so much for sticking in there with me. I hope that it helped you think about building wealth as an entrepreneur and how capable you are for doing it. I think another big takeaway is that you can’t out budget a crappy salary. So if you’re still looking to just get your salary up, get your business going, you know, and even if your business is going to get your income up, no one’s gonna do it for you. This is up to you. So we’re always here to help. You can message me. If you’re looking for help raising your income and you want us to help you, email me, message me.

We’re here to help you and I’ll talk to you guys soon. Have a great day and thanks so much for tuning in.

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