FCP026 – Serial Entrepreneurship

Welcome back to the Financial Conversation Podcast!

This episode was a real treat as we were joined by a fellow entrepreneur, Matt Giovanisci.

Matt is what you might call a “serial entrepreneur” who has started several successful, and not so successful, businesses over the past few years. He also loves to rap about everything from pool care, to making money, and more.

We were very excited to talk with Matt about his experiences with entrepreneurship and running successful businesses.

In this episode, we discussed serial entrepreneurship with Matt Giovanisci, who shared some awesome insights and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs!

In this episode we discuss:

  • 1:15 – Matt’s backstory
  • 2:10 – Matt’s unyielding entrepreneurial itch
  • 5:00 – How to validate business plans and decide on good ideas
  • 12:15 – What do you do when a business fails?
  • 20:30 – Do you set income goals for your businesses?
  • 23:10 – How do your businesses earn money?
  • 31:30 – How do you know when it’s time to leave a business behind?
  • 39:45 – Matt’s favorite lifestyle aspect of being an entrepreneur
  • 48:00 – The most beneficial skill Matt has acquired over the years
  • 57:30 – A spotlight on Matt’s upcoming projects

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Our 3 Favorite Money Tips for New College Grads

Graduating from college can be an exciting (and scary) time in your life. Trust us, we’ve all been there and (fairly) recently too. 😉

When you approach college graduation, there are a lot of things you have to think about, like where you want to live, if you will be moving, searching for and finding a job, and more. With all these important life decisions looming, it can be easy to forget to think about your finances. But that doesn’t stop the student loan debt you’ve accumulated from coming due just a few short months after graduation. It also doesn’t stop the bills for your rent, utilities, groceries, car payments, etc. from coming in either.

College grads are being faced with many challenges and one of them that should be forgotten is money management. We all made some mistakes along the way with our money, so we hope sharing our favorite money tips for new college grads can help you avoid some of these things yourself.

Are you (or someone you know) a new college grad trying to navigate the best way to kick-start your financial life? These 3 tips will help you.

Find a Balance Between Fashion and Frugality – You Don’t Have to “Keep Up” with Your Elders

One of the biggest challenges I had was keeping my spending under control as a new college grad. I had landed a well-paying (for my area) full-time job and was making more money than I’d ever earned before in my life. But the down-side was I was also spending more money than I ever had in my life too.

I felt pressured to “keep up” with the people at my office in multiple ways. I didn’t have as nice of a car as my co-workers, and I didn’t have nearly as many clothes, shoes, makeup, and accessories either. I went on a huge shopping binge and spent way too much money to try and keep up and ease the pressure I was feeling.

Since then I’ve learned that it’s never a good idea for new college grads to try and “keep up” with their elder co-workers, friends, or neighbors. There’s no way you can afford the same lifestyle as someone who’s been out of college for far longer and is earning far more money than you are. Even if you go into debt to keep up (like I did), you’ll still end up losing out eventually. It’s not a sustainable way to live when you are first starting out.

I still love fashion but I’ve worked hard to find a balance between fashion and frugality so I can enjoy the best of both worlds.


Start Saving for Retirement as Early as Possible

The biggest financial regret I have from back when I graduated is that I didn’t start saving for retirement right then and there. Instead, I focused on saving…and putting money away in my savings account. However, the gains on those are paltry when compared to the gains you can experience in the market.

Unfortunately, no one told me I could open a Roth IRA all on my own. I thought the only option was to contribute to a 401(k), which none of my employers ever offered. I either worked for small companies that didn’t have one, or companies that required you to be there a year or longer to start contributing.

I really wish I knew about other options early on. I only opened my Roth IRA toward my mid-20s, and by then, I had already lost out on years of compound interest, which can make or break your retirement savings. I kick myself every time I think about it.

That might sound silly. Why am I so focused on saving for the future? Because no one else will save for us. It’s highly unlikely we’ll have access to social security, at least in the form our parents benefit from, and employer-sponsored retirement plans are putting more weight on us to contribute. It’s up to us to have a secure retirement fund in place when the time comes.

So if you have an awesome 401(k) plan at work that offers matching contributions, make sure you’re taking advantage of that free money. If your employer doesn’t offer a plan, look into opening an IRA with a brokerage. There are plenty that offer one. Every day you delay saving for retirement is possibly another day of work down the road. I don’t know about you, but I prefer freedom!


Keep Living Like You’re In College

I know this is not what most people want to hear, but it’s best for new college grads to keep living like a broke college student instead of treating yourself to things like new cars, a new apartment, and extra impulse buys. I was actually one of those people who financed a car and took a vacation not even a month after graduating. But, I financed a used car that I could afford in order to get back and forth to work and I kept my vacation frugal.

After those purchases, I committed to keeping my living standards low. I lived in a small affordable apartment with no amenities, continued to dine out less and found frugal ways to entertain myself. Most important, I started paying off my debt immediately. I hope to have my student loans paid off completely by the end of next year – just 3 years after graduating college.

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, but you can save so much more and become more financially stable if you don’t try to keep up with the Joneses when you graduate college and avoid lifestyle inflation. Let your friends buy houses, go on trips etc. and keep saving and investing your money as you build your career. You’ll soon pass everybody by in the years to come and you won’t be so stressed out about money either.


Do you have any other tips for new college grads? Did you make any money mistakes after you graduated college?

FCP025 – Things We Wish We Knew About Money When We Graduated College

Welcome back to the Financial Conversation Podcast!

With college graduation having just taken place a few weeks ago, we thought we should talk about some of the money mistakes we made, and people we know have made after graduating from college.

When you have just graduated college, you might think that the world is at your fingertips, and if you’ve just landed a full-time career job, you may feel on top of the world since you will likely be earning more money than you’ve ever earned before in your life. However, this doesn’t mean you can spend your money foolishly.

Here are some of the things we wish we had known about money when we graduated college.

Are you a recent graduate who just got a job or is struggling with student loans? Learn from our mistakes and what we wish we knew when graduating college.

In this episode we discuss:

  • 1:45 – How to do your taxes
  • 4:30 – Paying off student loans
  • 7:00 – Saving during college and after graduating college
  • 11:30 – Don’t overestimate or overspend your income
  • 13:10 – Things we regret doing wrong with money
  • 16:50 – High yield savings accounts
  • 21:10 – How to dress to impress for less
  • 29:45 – Building credit and using credit wisely
  • 40:00 – Saving for retirement

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We would love it if you subscribed via iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud, or if you left us a review! While we love getting together and chatting each episode, it’s great to know people are listening. =)

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5 Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Money – Budgeting & Debt Edition

On this week’s episode of the podcast, we answered a few of the most popular questions around budgeting, paying off debt, and a special reader question on saving for your child’s education.

If you missed our first episode, be sure to check it out here, as we covered investing and credit – two important topics that most people are afraid to learn about, or don’t think are important enough.

The truth is, when it comes to your money, just about everything matters. There’s no such thing as knowing too much. Educating yourself is the first best step you can take, as any of us can attest to.

That’s why we wanted to take some time to address these questions. We hope they help you!

Want to learn about saving for your child's education, budgeting, and debt payoff? Learn the best methods for each (they may not be what you're expecting!).

1. How Can You Budget?

“Budgeting” is a really broad term, and there’s not much use in trying to wrap it up nicely with a bow on top.

At its core, a budget is a tool that will allow you to achieve your financial goals. You should be aware of how much is coming in, and how much is coming out.

It doesn’t necessarily  need to involve a spreadsheet, fifty-million different categories, an app, or a pen and paper. It can take whatever form you need it to so you can make it work.

One example we spoke about was the 50/30/20 budget, where you spend 50% of your money on necessities, 30% on discretionary expenses, and use 20% to save or pay off debt. This doesn’t involve detailed line-items, so it’s an easier way to manage things.

Bottom line: there are a ton of ways to budget, and none are fundamentally right or wrong. Experiment, and find what works for you.

2. How Do You Stop Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck?

Budgeting definitely comes into play here. As we said, you need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. If you don’t, then you could be spending more than you earn, which immediately places you in the red.

If your money isn’t lasting you all month, then you need to do something about it. Try a combination of:

  • Cutting your expenses
  • Earning more
  • Tracking your spending
  • Paying yourself first

Cutting back helps you in the present, as you should be able to find expenses to reduce to put more money in your pocket. If you can’t, then it’s time to focus on earning more money.

Tracking your spending helps you become aware of any leaks your budget might have. You might find you’re spending more on food or clothing than you originally thought.

Finally, paying yourself first ensures that some of your money makes it to savings, so you’re getting out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. It’s best not to leave it till the end of the month if you’re finding yourself with nothing left.

3. What’s the Best Way to Pay Off Debt?

As we spoke about in our debt payoff episode, and similar to budgeting, there’s no one best way to pay off debt. It’s whatever method that works best for you.

For example, some of us prefer the debt avalanche method, which focuses on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This will save you more money in the long run.

On the other hand, some of us find it easier to follow the debt snowball method, which tackles the smallest debts first for quicker wins.

Or you can combine the two! As long as you’re paying your debt off month by month, you’re moving in the right direction. You simply need to prioritize it and commit to paying more than the minimum payment.

4. How Should You Save For Your Child’s Education?

Listener Tiffany sent us this question, and we were super excited to answer it! Unfortunately, the “moms” of the podcast weren’t able to make this episode, so we did the best we could. We may end up dedicating an entire episode to this down the road.

Long story short, 529 plans are likely to be your best bet. They’re the most popular for a reason. We wouldn’t recommend stashing the money away in a savings account, money market account, or CD, because those won’t earn you nearly enough interest to keep up with inflation.

As we all know, the price of tuition is only increasing, so that’s important to keep in mind. 529 plans usually involve mutual funds or ETFs which should keep pace with inflation, and depending on the plan and the state in which you reside in, may also provide you with tax benefits.

However, keep in mind that state-sponsored 529 savings plans are better to go with than pre-paid plans. While they “promise” to lock in tuition at today’s rates, they aren’t guaranteed, and if the state doesn’t have funding for them, they may get shut down.

5. Can You Become Rich Working For Someone Else?

This was an interesting question. We both agreed that it’s totally possible.

Yes, self-employment means that you have more control over your earning potential, but there are several costs (like health insurance and taxes and saving for retirement) that employers will cover.

As long as you’re a diligent saver and a wise spender, there’s no reason you can’t retire rich from a “regular” day job. Of course, this is easier to do if you have more opportunities to advance in your field, but there have been plenty of stories of teachers retiring rich.

Being an entrepreneur may be a quicker path to wealth, but you can still become rich working for an employer.

That wraps up our answers for this round! If you’d like to ask us a question about your financial situation, please leave a comment, connect with us on Twitter, or email us!

Were you surprised by any of these answers? Do you have a different opinion? Any questions?

FCP024 – Things You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Didn’t Want to Ask) Pt 2

Welcome back to the Financial Conversation Podcast!

In this episode, we decided to tackle some more of the most popular personal finance questions from Quora. Plus, we got to tackle our first reader question! These are a few more things you might have always wanted to know about money but were a little afraid to ask. 

In future episodes of Things You Always Wanted to Know About Money, we’d love to tackle some questions from our readers and listeners, so be sure to send us questions if you want us to answer them.

On this episode of Financial Conversation, Kayla and Erin talk about what to know about money in terms of budgets, debt, and saving for a child's education.

In this episode we discuss:

  • 1:35 – How can you budget for personal finance?
  • 3:50 – How can you stop living paycheck to paycheck?
  • 8:10 – Different types of budget plans
  • 12:50 – What are some general tips to help clear up debt?
  • 14:45 – Reader Question: How to get started saving for children’s higher education
  • 22:30 – Is it true that you can’t get rich working for someone else?
  • 27:00 – What are the best money management apps?

Related links to check out:

Like It? Subscribe!

We would love it if you subscribed via iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud, or if you left us a review! While we love getting together and chatting each episode, it’s great to know people are listening. =)

We want to hear from you! Do you have suggestions or questions? Comment below, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.