03:35 Nicholle: Well, I think from a very young age, I was always extremely interested in money and making sure that I was setting myself up for financial independence. I lived in a single-family or a single-mom home. And even though she-- I mean, she did a wonderful job of raising us. We never went without. I was always acutely aware of money and the fact that she always had to depend on someone else to help her get by, and be in relationships that I knew she wasn’t happy to do that. And she did it for us. And so, because that was so front and center and knowing that we didn’t have a lot of money, and actually, where I grew up those around me did, it was constantly there. And so, I made this pact with myself that I would design a life where I would be in control and be able to create something where I could do what I wanted to do, but more importantly, just not have to depend on anyone else.
So, that is where this seed was planted. And then as I went through school in college and had some internships, and one of the jobs that I had, actually, one of the many jobs in college, was working for a financial advisor. And in that position, I really fell in love with the industry, what it had to offer and the potential to the impact that I was able to make in working with people.
05:05 Monique: I’m such a big fan of internships, to give you that firsthand experience of a possible career trajectory. And so, good for you. It looks like you were really in the right spot for yourself working with a financial advisory firm. And so, when you consider for yourself, just foundational, what are just those basic steps for ensuring that someone is actually financially prepared for, as you and I know, future challenges that are going to come out of left field?
05:40 Nicholle: Yeah. I think the first and most important thing is not making assumptions. And what I mean by that is assuming everything is going to be just fine. And that’s easy to do when you’re young because part of you feels like you have it all figured out. When we’re young, we know it all. But we also haven’t really experienced life yet and we haven’t experienced what life can bring our way. And we feel like it’s just never going to be us or happen to us.
And so, a really good exercise to go through is to ask, what don’t I want to have happen? And in that category of what don’t you want, make sure you’re laying the foundation to be prepared for those things if they should happen or to prevent them from happening at all. And so, what I mean by that is having adequate emergency reserve savings. So, that way, if you lose your job or if you get sick or you have an emergency vet bill, or you’re in a car accident, you have funds to pay for that and you’re not taking out high interest credit card debt, or going back to mom and dad, whatever the case may be. And/or what if you do get sick? What if you find yourself in an accident? Making sure you have proper insurances to replace your paycheck while you are out, things like that, and proper health insurance, a lot of stuff that we tend to take for granted and forget how important it is and what it can do for us when stuff goes wrong.
07:12 Monique: And as you consider young professionals and those who have five, 10 years under their belt working in a large organization, getting that big paycheck for the first time, feeling good about buying a car, getting a great apartment, and spending to all the trappings of success, what have you seen as just some of the most common money mistakes?
07:36 Nicholle: Well, you’ve said it, but spending, spending more than they should. And so, often when you get a big paycheck or maybe it’s your first big paycheck, and it’s quite a bit more than you’ve been used to making, we will typically tell ourselves, “Well, when I earn more, I’ll save more. When I earn more, I’ll start planning.” But if you don’t actually set the intention and take action on that, what happens very easily is that when you earn more, you just spend more. And so, a common mistake that I see a lot of young professionals making is that they’re making really good money, but they have no idea where that really good money goes. And so, that is definitely one mistake, is not understanding where the money is going, not being intentional about what they’re spending it on and not understanding how much the little stuff adds up, and then just simply not saving enough.
And another mistake that I see quite often actually is when young professionals are interviewing for other jobs and they’re going and taking another job offer because it’s a higher salary. But what they didn’t take into consideration was the value of benefits. So, in some instances, I’ve had clients where they went from one job to another because the salary was higher, but when we actually calculated the difference in benefits, they were earning less. So, it’s a really good thing to take into consideration how much that new employer is offering in terms of 401(k) match, how much of their healthcare or your healthcare are they covering? Are they providing you disability benefits? Are they giving you tuition reimbursement? The benefits have a tremendous value to them and often they’re overlooked. So, that’s another really good thing to understand, especially in negotiations for a salary, to make sure that you’re negotiating the right number and not just that base salary that you’re seeing at first glance.
09:32 Monique: And I wonder to what degree that starts with having a true understanding of where you currently are in terms of compensation. But to the point you bring up, all of those other value-based elements that they may just be taken for granted, and because you don’t see it, you forget about it.
09:52 Nicholle: That’s exactly right. Yeah. And it’s true. A lot of the professionals – I don’t think age matters in this case – don’t understand the value of those benefits. And often they’re not always noticed because a lot of them are free. And if you’re not using them, we forget about them. So, it is important to really assess that, assess where you are now, and then that can help you solve for the gaps. But then more importantly, when you are in the job market and really looking for the next opportunity, you know where you’re starting and what to negotiate moving forward.
10:27 Monique: Yeah. And you bring up such a terrific point around the spending piece. You’ve worked hard-- and this is what I’ve heard from a mindset standpoint. “Well, I’ve worked hard for it,” did this, that and the other when it comes to achievements along the way, and you feel like I’ve worked hard, I earned to do this spending.how do you support people in making those shifts in their mindset regarding money?
11:01 Nicholle: Yeah. It’s really important to start the conversation in asking them like, what do you want? Because sure, you’ve worked hard. Sure, you’ve earned the right to spend all of your money, but you’ve also worked too hard to struggle with money in the future. So, it’s bringing together that balance of YOLO and making your future self proud, and not having those regrets of “Wow, I wish I would have thought about this sooner. Wow, I wish I would’ve known the repercussions.” So, it’s all about high intention and thinking about what you want most, what’s important to you, what are your goals, not only for tomorrow, but the mid and long term, and then starting to align those dollars with that goal.
So, I always say the phrase, “Put your money where your goals are.” And so, what are you doing daily that is in alignment with who you’re becoming and what it is you want to achieve and what are you doing daily that is perhaps not in alignment with that? And the easiest example that I can give because I think many of us want to be healthier is that if you want to be healthier or maybe lose weight or feel better about your energy levels or your body, but you’re eating fast food every day. That is a perfect example of not putting your money where your goals are. And so, what are those little things that you can cut out that are just ridiculous, that you’re doing out of a habit or you’re doing out of being lazy or poor time management or impulse? And what things are you spending your money on that you didn’t know you’re spending your money on? And that would be like a subscription you forgot to cancel perhaps, or maybe--
12:45 Monique: How about those?
12:46 Nicholle: Right. Exactly. We’re all guilty of that at one point or another where something auto renewed, or you didn’t even know you signed up for it, but then you also didn’t notice it because it wasn’t a large sum of money, or how many services are you subscribing to that are redundant as well. That can probably be streamlined a little bit. So, it’s really just getting more granular in terms of where it’s all going. And most of us really could reign it in quite a bit if we were to just be more intentional, and you can still live a good life. Creating an intentional spending plan and shifting your mindset is certainly not about cutting out your lattes and being super restrictive. You still have to spend money on the things that you love and enjoy. Otherwise, what’s the point, right? It’s starting to cut out what really doesn’t matter or the things that you’re spending your money onto that you think you shouldn’t be spending your money on because everybody else is. We can get caught in that comparison again quite a bit. And so, being honest with yourself is really important, too.
13:47 Monique: Yeah. And I love that question you asked of what is it that you want most, because I often hear young professionals want flexibility, right? They do want to travel. They want to dictate how they use their time. It’s not necessarily all about work, work, work. And so, in order to have flexibility-- and I have this conversation often, is if you’re in a workplace, there are a lot of other dynamics happening around you that you are expected to perform within. There are norms and cultural boundaries, right? Well, some people get into an organization only to realize, “Ugh, this is out of alignment with who I am,” or it may be a toxic workplace for you or what have you.
Well, one thing that I know for certain is without financial support or planning and having some reserve for yourself, you are somewhat stuck because you don’t have the bandwidth to say, “I’m out of this job. I’m going to get re-centered.” Take some time or be looking for this other job. But if things come to pass that you’re out of work for three months, six months, whatever it is, either by your choice or the organization’s choice, how will you maintain your lifestyle without it being completely disrupted? And having that financial wherewithal is that thing that may just help you, help bridge you during those unexpected times. And again, even if you are controlling the narrative and say, “I don’t want to be here,” you knowing that you can take care of your lifestyle. It gives you power to make that choice.
15:32 Nicholle: Yeah. That’s so powerful. Having the ability to choose and pivot is incredibly powerful. And knowing that you can is a real big game changer because it also allows you to put up with less and demand more. And that’s a power play truly, but you have to be disciplined and know the numbers to be able to play that card.
15:56 Monique: And know the numbers. Something I know you’ve talked about, Nicholle, is the money hangover. What is that and what’s the recovery plan for that?
16:07 Nicholle: So, have you ever went on a trip that you didn’t really want to go on but you felt obligated to do because all your friends were doing it, but it wasn’t really your jam? And then you get back from that trip and you realize you just spent three grand. And you feel it like just disgusted and in pain, because you’re like, “Ugh, I just spent all of this money and I didn’t even enjoy it. I would’ve much rather gone and done something else or a trip that I like to go on.”
16:46 Monique: What about destination weddings?
16:47 Nicholle: Yeah. The destination wedding, the destination--
16:49 Monique: You feel obligated.
16:51 Nicholle: Yeah. The bachelorette parties, the bachelor parties, and half the time you’re going with people that you don’t even like. So, it’s like, “Why did we say yes to that?” Or the obligatory bridal shower, whatever. For somebody that you’re never going to see again, why do we say yes to that? Or going and buying a bunch of stuff that after the fact you feel guilty about. So, it’s really about asking yourself, “Is this something I should say yes to, or should I say no to it? Do I really want to do this or should I draw a boundary and start saying no more often?” so that you don’t feel that hangover. Think about it if you drink too much. It feels really good in the process. It’s a quick short-term fix. And afterwards you have a headache, you feel like hell, and it can take days to recover. I mean, at least the older you get, it can take days to recover.
17:48 Monique: Many days.
17:49 Nicholle: Right. Can anybody relate to that? Hopefully. And it’s the same thing as saying yes to something. It’s that temporary feel good because you’re relieved of potential guilt, or you’re relieved of the potential of, what if they feel-- what if they get mad at me or what if, what if, what if? So, it temporarily feels okay. But then when you’re in it and after, it feels horrible if it’s not truly something you wanted to do or say yes to. And it always costs us one of two things, if not both – time and money are two resources. And one of which, time, you can’t get that back. You can’t make any more of it. And then you usually spend money in a way that’s very frustrating after the fact.
So, it’s really about just setting-- one, setting yourself up and saying, “Okay, moving forward the recovery plan, moving forward, what am I just going to say no to from now on? What am I not going to do?” And write that down. If you write it down, you’re actually more likely to follow it because you’re thinking about it, you’re premeditating it. So, now your brain is aware of this. So, you’re going to be more conscious about it when it surfaces in the future and saying no and setting those boundaries.
So, what are you going to no longer do, what doesn’t serve you and what are you going to say no to, and know that it doesn’t matter what the outcome is. If they’re temporarily mad at you, that’s okay. They’ll get over it. If they’re permanently mad at you, they’re probably not worth it. But that’s the truth, right? You really have to start being more authentic to yourself and what it is you want to do because at the end of the day, life is really short and you don’t want to spend it doing things that you ultimately regret in one way or another, or just don’t feel good about. So, it’s really, really important. So, it’s a good first step.
And then if it’s you, then maybe being your own worst enemy in some scenarios and maybe shopping or spending too much due to-- if you happen to be one of those emotional buyers, and I’m sure there’s got to be people listening that do that, where you had a stressful day so you go and buy things because it feels terrific. And then after the fact, you’re like, “Why? But why, but I also don’t want to return it because I like it a lot.”
And so, it’s also seeing what your triggers are. So, if you are the emotional shopper, if that’s a trigger for you, how can you promise yourself to rewire your brain to have a new habit? So, if you know and you’re starting to think about these patterns, “Man, I do shop when I’m stressed out. On a move forward basis, I promise myself to go for a run next time I’m stressed out, listen to a podcast next time I’m stressed out, call a friend.” So, write down one thing that you’re just going to do a habit pivot for and stack on that. Just start small and build from there. And what will happen is, one, you’re creating a healthier shift in many different ways, but you’re also avoiding that hangover feeling. And once you can do that, it’s really quite empowering. And oftentimes they find clients just start to build on that and then get obsessed with what they’re actually capable of doing. Sometimes we just don’t give ourselves enough credit.
20:56 Monique: No, absolutely. And I love that around the idea of write it down because I think so we hold so much in our brain like, “Okay, well, next time I’m going to do this,” and you just have kept it within yourself. What about saying that out loud? What about saying it to an accountability partner? What about writing it down? All of those things to make it more real for you, and this whole notion of, “Oh, I just don’t know how to say no.” Well, what will you do to learn to say no? I said, because the other side of that point – saying no to some potential spend that will put you in the money hangover category – is alternatively saying yes to yourself. So, if saying no doesn’t feel good, then start saying yes and saying yes to you and the life that you’re living.
And also another, I think this is a technique that I’ve heard. Some others use it successfully. And again, it’s never one-size-fits-all, but it is the how to learn to say, “Let me think about that. So appreciative that you’ve asked or invited or what have you, I’ve taken a look at some things. Let me think about that,” so that you create some space versus feeling like, “Oh, I just felt like I had to say yes.” And the next thing you know, you’re on this huge binge that you knew good and well, was beyond scope of reasonableness for yourself. And then you’re in your hangover state, which never feels good.
And I love your point about, yeah, as we age, not only does it take longer for us to get off our hangovers, but there are greater consequences because of our responsibilities either with other members of our family or what have you. So, building that muscle now will pay dividends going forward. But I think as listeners are taking in this conversation, and if some of what we’re describing is you, recognize that it’s okay. You’re not alone. This is a very natural place to be. And now you have some tools and information for which to move yourself into a different direction.
24:42 Monique: And so, when it comes to building wealth, Nicholle, how can one align their true north, the thing that they do want, in order to build wealth?
24:51 Nicholle: Well, I think it really goes back to the basics, in your authentic self, right? What is it that you want? Not what everybody else wants, not what people say you should want or should have. I’ll use the example of owning a home, right? Because I think we think, oh, we have to own a home, but do you? What is it that you want? What makes sense for you? So, thinking about that and again, writing it down and saying, “Okay, it is what you want to be able to travel, it’s what you want to be able to retire early or set up a circumstance where you can leave behind generational wealth,” whatever that is. And it may be many things. So, writing down what you want, putting it on paper, making it real, so that way you can start to think about that reverse engineering process and saying, “Okay, now to make this happen, what are the steps I have to take? What do I need to do?”
For many people, it is enlisting a professional, whether it’s a financial planner or a coach or a CPA. It really depends on what your goals are, but then saying, “Now that I know what I want, what do I need to do with my money to get there? What are the different buckets I need to consider? Or do I need to get a side hustle? Do I need to earn more if I want to achieve this or really dramatically change my lifestyle so that I can save more?” It really just comes down to your highest intention and in what you can do with what you have, and then your potential too.
Again, we don’t always understand how much power we really do have and what we’re capable of achieving. And when we find out what we can do, it’s amazing. And that mindset shift is really incredible too. And even seeing what you can achieve over time, I think for many, is mind-blowing because so often we get caught in this phase of the here and now and being completely overwhelmed and everything feeling so out of touch. When in reality, if you just break it down into tiny, bite-size pieces, it’s really also achievable.
26:54 Monique: That’s the thing. It is achievable, and it starts with one small step at a time. You brought up-- you just shared some resources there for young professionals to consider, and in particular, around a financial planner. I’d imagine and what I’ve heard from individuals, when that topic has come up in coaching, when they’re talking about what some of their financial aspirations are or large purchases, what have you, and I say, “Who are you working with to support you in managing your finances?” “Well, I don’t know. I don’t have anyone.” And I guess I can ask some other people. What is it that you can share with our listeners in terms of that process of engaging the services of a financial planner? What to expect? How do you even find someone that may be right for them?
27:54 Nicholle: so, the world of financial planners, advisors, is a little bit wonky because they’re all created differently. And there’s some advisors who only do investment management, some who only do insurance, some who do-- they do fee-based financial planning, and everything in between. And so, the first question is asking, doing a search, and maybe seeing who is someone that you’d be comfortable with, but then asking them the questions. Do you help with planning? Do you help with the types of things that I’m looking to do? Do you have clients that look like me? And really asking the questions to make sure that that professional, albeit they may be brilliant in some category of finance, that they’re the person for you and your specific needs is the first thing.
And then the next is making sure that you do have a good rapport with this person. You trust them, it’s comfortable, because a true financial planning relationship where you’re working with a professional who’s going to help you from a holistic and comprehensive perspective on your entire financial plan and all of the details in between, you are going to be talking with them often. You’re going to be working with them hopefully for a very long period of time. So, you want to make sure that that is someone who not only gets you in your circumstances and in your goals, but also you feel comfortable having a conversation with, and especially around some vulnerable topics, depending on what it is your life has in store. So, that’s a really good thing. And then getting a clear expectation from that professional, how much they charge, what to expect for that and what that looks like, as well as the cadence of meetings. How can you communicate with them? What are the expectations? What will they be helping you with? Are they a fiduciary? All very, very important questions to be asking in this journey.
And we do encourage people to interview a few people because you want to make sure that, one, you’re doing your due diligence, but you also don’t want to just pull the trigger and be like, “Oh, yes, I love this person. I’m going to work with them,” and not ask the questions or at least go through the process, even though I think a lot of us know initially who-- we meet with someone, you’re like, “Okay, you’re it, but just to go through the process, I’m going to talk to a couple of other people to make sure,” almost like shopping for-- I don’t want to equate, of course, myself to a vehicle, but I’m going to. You sit in that first car and you’re like, “Oh my God, I love it so much. This is definitely the car I’m going to get.” But you just make yourself drive a couple of others to validate that, right? To validate that that’s the one that’s for you.
And so, in working with an advisor or any-- whether it’s a business coach or a mentor, or an accountant, it’s all the same process. You really want to make sure you are giving yourself that grace and benefit of choosing someone who’s good for you.
30:53 Monique: I imagine that there’s a range. If someone really hasn’t worked with a professional in this space, what’s a minimum someone could just dip their toes in? Is it-- can it just-- and do you have to work with it? Is it a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) to help with just budgeting, just getting a budget and identifying some goals one-year, three-year, five-year sort of thing that just maybe a series of three meetings? I don’t know. What is it at a minimum someone could ask for from a service perspective just to get themselves on their way?
31:31 Nicholle: Yeah. So, that will really depend on, again, the advisor or what they do and where their wheelhouse is. For us, I mean, we’re full range in regard to just getting started all the way to very complex, but for a lot of the beginner phases, we do more of a money coaching where it is the, “Hey, let’s just get your budget together. Let’s figure out your cash flow, understand where your money’s going,” and then help in terms of where it should be going to reach your initial goals and really going over the education of everything. So, learning about investments, learning about your employer benefits, learning about those particulars, and really setting that baseline and foundation is important.
And then I think maybe what you’re getting to is the price. And so, that’s going to range as well depending on, again, who you’re working with, how many meetings you’re going to get, the time of meetings and then complexity. And so, I’ve seen prices range anywhere from starting at maybe a one-and-done meeting for 750 bucks all the way to maybe a $2,500 range or more for a three to six-month relationship. It really does depend on the amount of time you’re getting often. And some people just need more time than others. They need more accountability, they need more handholding. And I always say to clients, “You know yourself best. What type of relationship is going to allow you to be most successful, right?” You’re making an investment in learning the things and tools that you’re going to have with you for the rest of your life to accumulate quite a bit of wealth.
So, typically making that choice to learn all the basics and most importantly, the habits, the behaviors, the things that you’re going to need to do daily to build that long-term wealth over time is certainly worth investigating those options.
33:34 Monique: And so, to craft a budget, get clarity on your cash flow, get an understanding of where your money is going, a money coach is a viable option. Yeah. And I guess I certainly hear what you’re saying also, depending on the services being offered and the qualification, I imagine, of the individual providing the services, because you can be a money coach and you don’t have to carry-- I would imagine you don’t have to carry a CFP or any industry, or do you with certifications or credentials?
34:04 Nicholle: You do not. So, there’s lots of money coaches out there slinging lots of things.
34:11 Monique: That’s the coaching industry. It’s like wild west.
34:14 Nicholle: Yup. So, you do have to be careful. And there’s many of that that are phenomenal out there, but you really do want to see what their credentials are. And we’re unique, of course, because we do both. I have a--
34:27 Monique: You do it all.
34:28 Nicholle: ...company that’s separate of our financial planning company where I do hold all of those credentials and background and licensing. Although in money coaching, and technically they’re two very separate things, right? So, even though I hold those certifications and licenses in a money coaching relationship, actually, you’re not from a technical compliance perspective using any of them. They’re very separate. So, it is an interesting industry when you look at it in terms of how everything needs to be separated and defined. But the knowledge is the same, right? The credentials are the same. And I think too, when you’re even interviewing money coaches, is that person someone who seems authentic in living a life that is indicative of someone who’s responsible with finances? So, is it like-- are they setting themselves up for success and talking about wealth that they actually have, or are they talking about being rich? Do they have a lot of debt themselves?
So, you can look at that too in their lifestyle and what they’re talking about. And their experiences and the things that they’ve built are important. You want to work with someone who is probably in a position where you want to be or doing the things that you want to do. I say that with business coaches too. You want to work with a business coach who has exceeded where you want to go, not with someone who’s behind. And so, that’s important too. And just digging in and really just saying, “Hey, is this person really qualified? What qualifies them to be able to help me?” And in our industry, it’s full of ego too. And so, if it’s someone who’s only talking about the good stuff, I’d get suspicious as well.
36:19 Monique: Two things based on what you were just sharing there, Nicholle. Number one is the notion, I’d imagine, for anyone interested in working with the financial professional, that consideration is starting with someone who’s offering the money coach, just to help you sort through and organize where you are now with your budgeting, your cash flow, those sorts of things. But what a bonus for a service provider like you, Nicholle, who then is someone that that person can grow with over time since you also offer the expertise in investments and investing vehicles. And then the second thing is just a caveat to a lot of young professionals who believe in the hype. When you see on social media everybody living the good life and telling you that it’s the best life, and they’ve got all the trappings of success. “Oh my gosh, look at that ocean view off their balcony. Oh my gosh, look at the Lamborghini.” Just know there are many people who are renting those facilities.
37:25 Nicholle: I was just going to say, exactly.
37:27 Monique: It just makes the-- they’re trying to give a visual to a story that is simply, and in many cases, a facade. Not for everybody, of course, but this is why you want to do your due diligence.
So, as we’re drawn to a close with our time now, Nicholle, what’s one thing many of your clients are surprised to learn when they’re working with you?
37:49 Nicholle: I think they are always surprised of what they’re capable of achieving. They’re surprised of what they’re capable of achieving over a much shorter period of time than what they initially ever thought. And it is really so much about simple action and being consistent. So, it’s so much more than the big stuff once in a while. It’s what you do everyday matters and the ability to achieve that isn’t as difficult as you think.
38:24 Monique: Awesome. Simple actions, be consistent, and it starts with getting some clarity on what you want. Terrific expert advice, Nicholle. Thank you so much for joining me here on the Tuesdays with Coach Mo podcast.
38:38 Nicholle: My pleasure. Thank you.