Series 35: For the Love of Transitions | Episode 07
Owning and Knowing Your Finances with the “Budgetnista”— Tiffany Aliche
As we continue in our For the Love of Transitions series, we’re tackling one of the most stressful transitions to face in life–a change to our financial situation. Perhaps a job change/loss reduced your income unexpectedly, or maybe a medical situation came out of the blue and drained your bank account, or maybe you went through a divorce and are down one income, and/or never had to be in charge of your own finances as an adult. Tiffany Aliche, aka, The Budgetnista has some thoughts for you, the most important one being; you can Get Good with Money (also the name of her New York Times bestselling book). Even though Tiffany grew up with a dad who was a CFO/accountant who educated her about finances, she experienced her own financial struggles and found herself moving back home at the age of 30. Having gone from owning her own home and making good money to having literally nothing took its toll on Tiffany’s psyche, but she was determined to not let shame win, and building her way back from the bottom is what has informed her life’s work–primarily to empower women to know and own their own financial well being. She and Jen candidly talk about their rock bottom financial moments and share their experiences of feeling powerless dealing with finances to getting help, getting educated and taking ownership of their financial lives and futures.
Hey everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, host of the For The Love podcast. Welcome to the show. Right now, we are in a series titled For The Love Of Transitions. We wanted to bring this topic to the forefront of our shared discussions for a few reasons. Number one, every single day we are transforming and learning and moving forward, and that will always be the case. Nothing is static. Our circumstances change, our relationships change, we change. This is good, not bad. Two—transitioning and moving through life allows us the time and the understanding to grow into who we’ve always wanted to be, into who we really even are in our core. I approach this idea of transition from a positive angle. With great hope embedded inside of it, with expectation, with possibility. I don’t see this as, life is a bummer and how do we just pick up the pieces? Because I could do that too. I have access to that angle personally. But rather, what can we do? What’s possible now? I am really excited about today’s episode. Really thrilled that you are here.
Just don’t miss any of this episode today, because one thing that a lot of us are transitioning inside of right now by either choice or by kind of what was forced upon us this last calendar year is sort of financial upheaval. Our finances. A lot of us had to take a look and go, “Where am I? Am I out of control here? Am I driving this ship? Is the tail wagging the dog? Do we have to make some renovations? What does this look like moving forward?” A lot of people lost their jobs. A lot of people downsized in their jobs because you had to stay home and manage kids. A lot of industries were hit really, really hard. Then for some of us, like me, I went through a divorce. So all of a sudden I am in charge of finances in which I had never played a role, never. I’m 46 years old, never. I didn’t know what I made. I didn’t know what our bills were. I didn’t know if we had a budget. I didn’t know if we were saving. I didn’t know anything.
I told Tiffany this, who I’ll introduce to you in just a second, but the outward facing way that I couched this was like a little cutesy, whoopsie, shoulder shrug, helpless lady. “I don’t know what I make, guys. I hope nothing ever happens to Brandon because I don’t know how the electricity gets paid.” Well, something did happen and all of a sudden I needed to know how that electricity got paid. All of a sudden I did need to know how much money I make. All of a sudden I did need to say, “Wow, the only person I can count on for the rest of my life is me.” So that includes financial stability. For those of you who have been with me for the last year, you’ve watched me do this in real time in the public eye.
When I tell you that the first time I ever sat down in my accountant’s office, who I’d never met with, and literally I had to say, “What are our accounts? How many accounts do we have? What banks are they at? How much money is in there?” I mean, I was at ground zero guys. The work of just inching through account by account, bill by bill, was the work of my adult life. I figured it all out. People taught me. They helped me. They advised me. I asked 1 million questions. I just decided right upfront, I will ask any question I don’t understand. Because it’s already embarrassing to be a 46 year old who has no idea how much money she makes. Who has handed over her financial independence on purpose to great detriment. That’s already embarrassing and I’m like, “You know what? This is the time to be humble. I will ask questions. I don’t care how silly they are, how elementary they sound.”
I did. I used anybody who would help me. I worked with my bankers. They work for free and they’re surprisingly helpful. This is what they do. I worked with my accountant. I worked with a bookkeeper. I worked with a financial planner. There’s a bunch of stuff online. I worked with my mortgage lender. I’m not paying them. They work at the mortgage company. I worked with everybody. I slashed and I cut and I reduced and I canceled subscriptions and I trimmed and trimmed and trimmed and trimmed. Then started working through the steps of like, “What’s one level deeper than just a budget?” Like, “What’s past, this is what I make, this is what I spend, this is what’s left?” I moved into savings and I moved into investments and I moved into estate planning. I discovered that I was pretty wildly underinsured. That if I’m the only person, if I don’t have a partner and something goes down with this ship, I wasn’t insured enough to manage my life. I just want to tell you that 10 months later, I am sitting in such a different place and it’s not as hard as you think.
It’s time consuming, especially upfront. You’ve got to front load a lot of hours. But this is possible. This is so possible. I remember the day that I refinanced my house. Because I was asking questions, “What’s the thing to do? What’s the next thing I should do?” My financial planner was like, “Interest rates are at an all time low. You are already living under your means in the house that you live in. You have the potential to really drop this down.” I refinanced my own house in my own name for 2.1%. I remember closing on that just thinking, “I did it. I did this. For about the same mortgage, I’m going to pay off my house 15 years earlier.” It’s just all possible. I’m just a person. I am not a math person. I am not an economist. This isn’t natural to me. I don’t have a head for numbers or budgets or…I just want you to know I’m a word person, for crying out loud. Yet if I can figure it out, so can you. Not only, so can you, so should you.
I don’t care if you’re single like me, newly, or if you’re hap hap happily married, you should still know this. You should still be an active partner in the management and the planning of your financial stability, of ultimately your financial flourishing. My guest today is just pretty incredible. This is going to be a great one-stop shop for you if you’re like, “I don’t know where to start.” Tiffany Aliche, AKA The Budgetnista, she co-hosts the award-winning Brown Ambition podcast. She appears as a financial expert on The Real. She runs an online school called the Live Richer Academy, where she has taught tens of thousands of women how to create and implement and automate their financial plans. She has been featured in a slew of publications, including The Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise, and Reader’s Digest. It goes on and on and on. Her series of recorded financial tips created for CNBC reaches 80 million unique viewers a month.
She’s really, really smart and thoughtful in the financial space, but she had to learn it the hard way. Wait until you hear her story. Her work to teach women has been a real inspiration for me. I love Tiffany because she’s trustworthy. She learned this the hard way. She bootstrapped this. She learned this by being in the hole and digging out. You could trust her. She’s a trustworthy advisor and accessible. I found everything she said easy to grab onto. She’s a good teacher, a really good guide. If you feel like you are just in the quagmire of question marks around this conversation, this is your leader. This is your leader. I am so pleased to share my conversation with the absolutely wonderfully smart, talented and charming Tiffany Aliche.
Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Get Good With Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole by Tiffany Aliche
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XO – Team Jen