The Personal Finance Show

The Personal Finance Show is a place for people to tell their personal finance stories. Everyone has a personal finance story.

88 - Ericka Young

June 27th, 2019

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Ericka Young wants you to be intentional and have a plan before you spend any money.

This applies to every single situation that involves money, which is pretty much everything.

As Paula Pant says at the beginning of her podcast, you can afford anything, but not everything.

Unfortunately because of loans and credit cards, we think we can afford everything.

This happens to too many people. They make good money, and can pay the bills, but the bank account doesn’t grow and the credit cards stay at the same level.

When you start out in debt, that’s what you know, and it becomes normal.

But living on credit creates this mindless spending, which can easily get out of control. You make decisions without thinking and sometimes those decisions have consequences.

There are so many people like Ericka who could easily break free of the mountain of debt that they are trapped under, if only they would step back and have a closer look at their financial situation and whether their spending habits align with their financial goals.

One day Ericka looked at her low bank balance and her high credit balance and asked herself: What’s going on here?

The process she went through was so motivating that she knew she wanted to help others achieve the same thing.

Ericka launched Tailor Made Budgets in 2005 and has been helping people change their money habits ever since.

Ericka joined me from Indianapolis, Indiana to share her personal finance story.

NEXT EPISODE

89 - J. Money


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87 - Robert Farrington

June 20th, 2019

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Robert Farrington wants you to think before you click the button and accept your student loans.

Getting an education is an investment and you should spend some time thinking about what you’re investing in and what kind of return your investment will provide.

For example, you may not even need a degree at all to work somewhere you like and that pays well. You may need a degree to get promotions and more responsibility but that might not be until later and who knows, your employer might even help pay for your schooling.

We have been brainwashed over the years that to get a “good” job you have to spend a lot of money on school, and then eat ramen noodles while living in a tiny apartment and work 12 hour days to repay your loans.

After the interview with Robert I realized that some part of me is still brainwashed, and it actually scared me a little.

Robert worked at Target for over 16 years. He mentioned this right at the beginning of the interview and I totally didn’t hear him say that he only stopped working there 2 years ago.

So I kept asking him questions like “So what was your next job” not fully comprehending that he was always at Target until he decided he was making enough from his side hustles and he wanted to spend more time with his family.

I realized that there’s this part of me that still finds it hard to believe that someone would work in retail for that long and it’s scary to think that I have these notions in my brain somewhere, when I don’t actively believe this is true. But on auto-pilot, the notion that guided me to my next questions were that he must have got a better job. No one works at Target for 16 years. It really sucks but it seems I’ve been brainwashed to think that this is not a good job, without even knowing what it is that Robert even did for 16 years.

Of course there are people who spend their whole lives in retail and are very happy. Robert actually ended up with a lot of responsibility, managing several hundred employees and millions in sales. But he shouldn’t be any less valuable to me as a human being if he simply pushed carts and stocked shelves for 16 years instead. Especially when on the side he was building a web empire that now has millions of visitors per month.

Even more ironic is that I’ve been driving for Uber since last September. And I’m sure there are people that think it’s odd that someone with a university degree and 15 years working in accounting and finance would be an Uber driver. But I actually really like it and it fits with my flexible schedule.

I decided that even though it makes me seem like a classist jerk, I needed to talk about this. Maybe you do this too and you don’t even realize it. Talking about it openly is the only way to shake off these archaic notions about what is good or bad, what is the right path and all the other societal norms that seem to only cause us to spend money we don’t have and take jobs we don’t want.

So as Robert suggests, before we just press a button and fund our future with debt, we need to spend more time thinking about what it is we want. Are you going to be able to pay back this debt? What kind of job will you get after you graduate? If you’re going to take on tens of thousands in debt, shouldn’t you at least have a general answer to these questions? Why is the default: get the loan and figure it out later.

Personally I think we have it all backwards. We should try working in jobs in our areas of interest or curiosity, make some money, and then take whatever training or schooling is necessary to move forward in that area of work, if we enjoy it.

Why is a 4 year degree the thing that everyone cares about? Logically it doesn’t make sense.

Most people hire someone who works well with others and then train them how to do the job.

We’re focusing on the wrong things and it’s creating a society that is trapped by huge amounts of debt.

As Robert wrote in a recent post on his site The College Investor, student loans should be your last option. If you do decide that you want to go to school before you have enough money to pay for it, there are so many options to explore before going straight to student loans. If you or someone in your family is in the process of deciding how to pay for school, I fully recommend going to thecollegeinvestor.com and reading everything.

Robert joined me from his home in Southern California to share his personal finance story.

NEXT EPISODE

88 - Ericka Young


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86 - Stacy Yanchuk-Oleksy

June 13th, 2019

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Stacy Yanchuk-Oleksy wants you to see a non-profit credit counsellor if you have credit problems.

Stacy is Director of Education and Community Awareness at the Credit Counselling Society.

If you’ve listened to episode 76 of the show, you know that I had credit problems 11 years ago. I filed a consumer proposal with a licenced insolvency trustee, under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act of Canada.

My case was severe so I skipped the first step that many take and that’s going to see a credit counsellor first to discuss options.

There are a lot of great people out there looking to actually help you get out of debt.

Whether you see a counsellor or a trustee, most will help you make the right move for your debt situation.

As Stacy and I discuss in the interview, just make sure that you don’t pay anything upfront for debt solutions and don’t just click on the first link in the online search.

There are websites and companies that appear to be offering debt settlement solutions, but they are just payday lenders in disguise.

Make sure you find out about the company that you’re dealing with. The legitimate trustees and non-profit credit counsellors have nothing to hide. They have names of staff and locations and they are active on social media.

Stacy is very proud of the free workshops and educational resources that the Credit Counselling Society provides in order to try to prevent Canadians from getting into unmanageable debt in the first place.

The most important thing to me is that you know what your options are when you’re in trouble. And I fully recommend you take advantage of free consultations with as many organizations as you can handle. Go meet them in person and talk to them about solutions. Everyone’s situation is different and the more information you have from multiple sources, the better you will be at determining which solution works for you and more importantly, the one you can live with.

Stacy joined me in the studio in Hamilton to tell her personal finance story.

NEXT EPISODE

87 - Robert Farrington


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To register for my next available personal finance webinar click here.


85 - Shanah Bell

June 6th, 2019

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Shanah Bell wants you to lead a happy, unorthodox life.

You can be successful without following the traditional 9 to 5 career path option. It’s true.

But to get there, you have to be open to opportunity and change, and sometimes you have to be a bit of a PITA, which I recently learned is an acronym for Pain In The Ass.

In fact, Shanah’s new book is called The Art of Being a PITA. It guides new adults and recent college graduates through the ins-and-outs of living life the way they want to. The way that no one talks about.

As she tells it, most people believe you are a pain in the ass if you do things that are contrary to societal norms. For example, if you don’t follow this checklist: 9 to 5 job, marriage, house, kids, work until 65, retire and then finally do what you want, society is like, stop being a pain in the ass and just do what the rest of us are doing.

Shanah’s path is a bit different. She figured out how to do many, many different things for money, on her own terms.

Because this show is about her personal finance story, we didn’t spend a lot of time delving into the 56 jobs Shanah has had, but if you’re interested in the details, pick up a copy of the book, where she goes through each job and the lessons she learned from each one.

Since she wrote the book Shanah has added 4 more jobs: dog boarding, cooking classes, AirBNB, and, of course, author.

Shanah joined me from her home in Raleigh, North Carolina to share her personal finance story.

NEXT EPISODE

86 - Stacy Yanchuk-Oleksy


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To register for my next available personal finance webinar click here.