Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the Journey to Launch podcast, A Q&A Episode: Balancing It All, Setting and Adjusting Your Financial Goals and How To Choose An Online Brokerage App Plus More.
Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom.
Jamila Souffrant 0:38
Hey, hey, hey journeyers I am back with another solo episode this time Q&A episode I am going to whip out a question and answer episode. I have not done this in a while and I thought it'd be pretty neat to do got some questions that came in from money launch club members. And then also a couple of DMs that I answered that I figured out answer here too so you guys can get the benefit of this information. Before we hop into this week's episode, I want to bring you a word from today's sponsor.
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If you want the episode Show Notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. in the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are in OG or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Now, let's hop into it. Okay, first question that I got Alexandria from the money launch club, said she'd love to hear tips about balancing full time work children and building a business. I mean, there are a million questions just wrapped up in that statement. Basically, how do you balance this? How do you manage so many things? So many important things, right? And listen, the real answer is you don't balance it all. Because it's impossible, something will drop, something will not always get taken care of to its best ability. Honestly, that's been my experience, that is the experience of most other moms that I know whether you're working for someone else, or working for yourself, or you're doing that two things at once working for someone else and working for yourself, right, you got that nine to five, and that five to two, plus you have babies, I mean, it's almost an impossible task layer on the pandemic, and how all our lives have shifted. Listen, I am floored at that we all are doing what we're even doing that we can even be productive. And it's not to say that you know, you can't be productive, it's just that this is a lot. And as a mom, myself of three littles It was hard last year.
So I will say some things I want to do, I do want to get specific and then offer some maybe help which you know, it's going to be relative and based on your resources. And so it's going to be levels to this. Because if you have resources, meaning whether it is Family Resources, money resources, you'll be able to outsource or get help, right. But then for you guys who are listening who don't have that as an advantage, then it's going to be harder. So let's go with if you happen to have resources, so and you know, even with resources that was more limited. During the lockdown during the real, like when we first got into the pandemic, it was harder even as someone if you had money or resources, it still wasn't like you could you could access those resources readily if you were really staying at home and keeping away from each other.
So first of all, if you have additional money, meaning you have extra room in your budget, it may have to be re diverted into areas that can help you and you can outsource so what do I mean by that you can look at in home things that you need to do. Because the question here is, how do you balance it all? So if you are running your household, you're taking care of your kids, running a business and working for someone else and or that's a lot so what can you get off your plate? So first I'd look at in home things right? What is there a laundry service that you can do or use that can help get that off your plate? Is there a food delivery service or meal prep service that you can use to get that time off your plate? When it comes to actually maybe help with family if you do have family that happens to be near or you know, you can try Can someone come over and watch your baby or give you extra help while you get things done in the house and or for your business.
Again, those require resources. So if you do have that, then I would free up some of that. So you could free up your time. So free up, meaning you let some of that go, you invest it in order to buy back some of your time. And it can also be hard if you are working towards other goals, like paying off debt and saving, right. So instead of maybe setting that $200, to your aggressive debt payoff or your savings, you are maybe spending this extra $200 on help, whether you're hiring someone to clean or you you're giving hours to someone like to help you babysit or something. But I think under the circumstances, especially even without the pandemic, I would recommend that as it was already hard to juggle and balance everything but with the pandemic, quality of life is really, really important. And we see it more now than ever, that time is our greatest resource. And not just time, but energy. So I used to say, you know, like most people time is our best resource. So yeah, money is important. But listen, you can get more money, but you can't get back time. But even with time, you can have time but no energy. Right? You can have time imagine the people who work until, you know, hated what they did worked until like 65/75. And then now they have the rest of their life. They're not in the shape that they were in, you know, when they were younger, they don't have the energy or health, right. So energy and health, I would say energy, right having the energy to do something because imagine if you had all the time in the world, if you don't have the mental and emotional energy to do anything. That's your life resource right there. And so I do believe that protecting that investing in that is important. And that may very well mean easing up on some of your financial goals in the meantime. So you can get energy to focus and invest in other areas of your life that can help eventually bring you back to a point where you can get on track or more aggressive with your goals.
So how do you balance it all? You don't, I think people who can have access to resources, use that if you can. And then if you don't, so here's the thing, I totally understand, you know, in my case, I am pretty lucky. I have you know, my aunt who watches my youngest my daughter, she's two and then you know, I'd have my two oldest and they started school again. Now, I don't know, I'm recording this a few weeks, you know, before this episode is released, and who knows, there may be a lockdown again, where school is no longer an option. But during the pandemic, they were home. And I you know, it didn't matter if I had resources, like when my older boys are home, they want to be with me. So it was impossible to get work done. So I am lucky in the sense that I have the option to send my kids to school now, where I feel comfortable to send them, I'm lucky to the fact where you know I have a spouse, I have a partner who is an equal partner in our household. So I can tell you this, I don't do laundry, he does laundry, he washes most of the dishes. And he does most of the cleaning, right. And if I had to do all those things on top of what I was doing, I mean, come on, you get an episode, like once a month, okay? So I think too, it's like comparing yourself, if you are comparing yourself to other people, you don't know their resources, you don't know the kind of fuel they have behind them that allows them to go as fast. Because I can guarantee when I was like we were in lockdown, I did not feel as productive now at least I can get a couple hours, a couple hours in a work on an uninterrupted during the lockdown. I wasn't getting that. And I felt like I wasn't as productive. But I had to let that go. And I also had to give myself grace. And then for the you know, moms or dads listening who don't have resources or help you know, the way that I do, or some people do, it's hard. It's hard. And so I want to salute you on getting it done. Even if getting it done is just like you having enough energy to give your kid a hug. And, you know, be nice to them. Because you have to pour into yourself first to have that energy.
The other thing I want to say is that you can't over analyze and have the guilt of things. So another way that I get things done, my kids are on their iPad, if I have to get work done and they're home, I have to get them on their iPad, right? And so sure, do I have guilt about that, that I'm not constantly doing, you know, arts and crafts with them sometimes, but honestly, like, I know what it is and the type of things that I need to do. And sometimes giving them an iPad, letting them watch TV is how I can get things done. So all that to say how you balance it all it's hard and impossible. And so stop trying to do it all. If you have people in your life that can help a partner ask them for more help if they're not helping, domestically or, you know, let them know you need a couple of hours to focus. You may have to give in sometimes and give your kid that iPad. You know you Have to just do what you can. And then if you do have resources, and you do have money, if that can help you free up your time, so you can invest back into your business, into your self care even just to take a nap. To that, to that a more rested, parent/mom is able to then pour better into her kids, his kids into your business into your work, and then that then multiplies even better, that gives you the reward in terms of, you know, it compounds in the other way, not just money, but with love, and attention and the wealth of relationships around you.
Last thing I'll say on this is don't be afraid to take your foot off the gas. So oftentimes, we are very ambitious, I know I'm very ambitious with the things I want to do. And you know how fast I want to get there. But if you are juggling all these things, then you may not be able to do it as fast as someone who's single and doesn't have all these polls, you know, have time, resources, limited time resources, right. So they may be able to, you know, you get that blog post podcast, done, post on social media, do all the things. And it's like, the thing you did this week was you wrote that blog, or you just posted on social media, right? It may be a little slower at first, but it's okay to go slow, let your foot off the gas. And if you put your foot down too hard, you might crash and burn and we don't want that.
Alright, so the next question I'm going to answer is from Monica. So Monica, from the money watch club says any suggestions for finding one's focus and setting future financial goals when we're struggling to get through one day at a time? Yes, I mean, this is also something that I think a lot of us can relate to, in relation to what's happening. Nowadays. So many of our financial goals have been turned upside down the things we thought were able to do, maybe they're not being done in the way we want to get them done, right, we thought we'd be able to pay off debt faster, or save or do all these things. And as I even answered in the last question, you may have to re revert your resources into something else, right, so that you can get through. And so it is important to have perspective, right? So we are not in normal time. So normal behavior is not going to be necessary, right? Like we're all going to have to stretch and do things differently. And so whatever you thought you were going to do, or how you were going to do it, you are going to have to be adaptable, and change that. And I found that like, understanding, like having a real key focus of what I'm seeing clearly is important. So I want to give you an example. I know where you're talking about kind of like financial goals. But oftentimes, if we are not really clear on where we started, where we are now and where we're going, we don't even understand how far we come. And, for example, you know, I was thinking about something with the podcast the other day, and I was like, you know, it feels like, you know, I'm not like I want it to be at a certain point with in terms of reach and download numbers, because download numbers impact everything, guys, impact everything, meaning, you know, advertisers and sponsors, and just like the reach, right? And so in my head, I'm just like,
Ah, it feels like I'm so like flat in terms of my growth. Now granted, you know, the podcast does well, right. But we all want growth, right? Like, we all still want to see things increasing. And so a long time with the pandemic, especially when it first happened. Like, I felt like, okay, there was a little dip because most you know, people stopped commuting, and weren't listening to as many podcasts and then it started to climb back up a little. And in my head, I was thinking, wow, like, it feels like it's just staying at the same pace. Like there's no, you know, month over month growth that I want to see. And then I went and looked at my stats. And I was mistaken. Like, I don't know why. But in my head, I assumed that pre pandemic, my podcast was doing one thing, like the numbers were like, a certain level like, and that was not true. Like my podcast actually was doing better. It was still trending upward. But my false perception when I was looking back had me feeling like I wasn't making any progress, which then make me feel made me feel like oh my gosh, what am I doing wrong, you know, onset of you know, all these, the emotional and the mental tricks or words and things that we say to ourselves. And so I also want to make sure that when it comes to your goals, you'd be surprised at how far even despite what's happening in the world you have come and so really important.
If you look back at where your savings account was where your debt was something right you know, pick a starting point and look at what you've done. And of course, there may be some setbacks that happen along the path, but you're more than likely see some sort of progress something and I think putting it into perspective, I know when I saw that perspective of oh my gosh Jamila let up on yourself. Like First of all, you know, and I encourage anyone who has a goal that they think they're not reaching fast enough, they feel like they're scattered all over the place is to, you know, pick one or two things and really look back at where you started, you know, last year or even a couple years ago, and where you are now. And it may not be as fast as you want, you know, I'm not at 10 billion downloads yet. And you're not at, you know, maybe a million saved yet. But you're probably better than you were a few years ago, even despite what's happening. And even if your numbers are not showing that you are in a quote, unquote, better place, what you've learned, the things we have all learned, during what has happened, what is still happening is an asset is an asset to help us on the next level. So finding focus to me is getting real specific, clear about the numbers and giving ourselves grace about those numbers, you know, holding space for the things that will occur that we cannot change, being able to get up when we fall and falter and get setbacks. Really, really important. So I hope that helps, Monica.
Next question is from Tiffany, also a money launch club member. She says how do you know which investing apps to trust? Great question. There are so many investing apps, and she's talking about online brokerage apps. So you know, if you want to buy a share of a company like Facebook, or Apple or anything like that, you need to use an online broker and there are a gazillion online brokers, it seems nowadays. You know, you want to make sure that the online stock brokers are operating in the United States and are governed by us laws and regulated by the SEC, and members of FINRA and SIPC. So you can check brokercheck.finra.org if you want to check for a specific individual that claims they're a broker or for a firm again, that's brokercheck.finra.org that just helps you figure out and make sure you get informed information about the brokers and brokerage firms and providers that you may be looking into you The other thing, right, like there's so many ways in which you can judge an online broker, right? You know, like, when I say online broker, I'll just like run down a list, none of them are paying me more. This is not an ad for anyone or an endorsement. But just want to give you an example, an idea of like, what, like some online brokers are. So you have online brokers like TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, E, trade, ally, invest TradeStation, Robin Hood, you know, and a lot more. And so there are a lot of options here, the things that you're going to want to look at is other than verifying that they are legit, you're gonna want to look at what are their commissions and fees per trade? What kind of platform do they have? Do they have an app? And what kind of tools do they use, you're still gonna want to look at the research some of these companies provide in house research on stocks, so that will help you make more informed decisions.
Again, is there an app that you can download, can you trade on your phone, if you are trading and more actively trading, you're going to want responsive platforms that you can get in and out of trades? Quickly, you're also going to want good customer service, you're going to also want to understand what they offer, do they offer education with their platforms. To me, this is huge, because, you know, I am a more a fan of a like a long term investing strategy and simple investing, like investing in index funds. But I am also you know, okay with, you know, whatever you want to do, as you you know, if you are interested more into picking specific stocks, and still holding them long term and or trading, like short term trading, and that works for you, then good, I just want you to be educated. So are these platforms, giving you the education and support that you need to make the good decisions that you need to make? Is it easy to use, you know, there are a couple of like, if you just type in compare online stock brokers, you would get a bunch of sites and you legit sites that will compare each and every one just know that typically, if you click on one of the links from that site, you're going to give whoever that owns that site of commission, which is fine, but just as long as you know that but you know, there are a lot of unbiased reviews in terms of they will compare each one for you. I'd say that the biggest thing to look out for is to make sure that you understand how much they're charging you per trade, and that the platform is easy to access. And there's customer service, you can get in contact with someone if you need it.
Alright, I'm also going to answer a couple questions that came in through Instagram. This came from Farrah, she was asking about buying a property. So she says she has current property. I'm going to read it actually right now. verbatim. She has property she wants to buy a second townhouse. She bought her first one at 26 and she's having some roadblocks in terms of she can't get funding. She can't get a mortgage for the second one she wants to buy and she understands that her dti and Credit Score plays a role, but she really just feels like she's just getting the runaround and things are just not getting approved. So this is a good question because if you are leveling up in this way you already have a home an investment property, or you just want to expand your portfolio like how do you do that? You know, one of the things I want to talk about is dti, what is dti dti debt to income ratio. So if you are going out to potentially get another property on top of the property and mortgage you already have, they're going to want to understand what your debt to income ratio is. It's a percentage of your gross monthly income that goes to paying your monthly debt. Right. And so typically, you know, the different levels that they want to see. But a ratio is 36%. That's a general rule that they want to see, your dti does not pass 36%. That means your debt is not more than 36% of your income. So if you add on a new mortgage into that, and that puts you over their dti range, that is going to be an issue, they will probably not give you that mortgage because you are more of a risk for them. Same thing with credit, right? So if your credit is not great, then that will be an issue. I did write back a little bit with Farrah, and she gave me some more information, you know, her credit score is pretty good. And one of the things that she said is that, you know, I because I asked her, I said what did what was the reason? Because she said she got denied a few times. And I said, Well, what is the reason that they gave you and she was like, well, they're not really telling me, right? So that's my biggest red flag is that if you're dealing with a broker, or realtor, they should be explaining to you things they shouldn't be, you know, giving you a runaround or giving you vague answers, these people are working and making money from your transaction. So therefore, they should be able to explain things. So I suggested to her to look for another realtor to look for a broker that can help her. And she brought up the comment that she didn't want her credit to be impacted. And, you know, if you're doing going for pre approval letters from mortgage companies, typically they may not be pulling like a hard pull, like they're doing a soft pull on your credit. So that should not impact your score. So you know, you may want to just ask them like, Okay, what kind of credit pull are you doing? Like, is it a hard inquiry? Or is it soft, it
gets get a confirmation, but typically, that should not negatively impact your score. But listen, if this is something you want to go after, then you're just gonna have to keep going. My biggest thing is getting representation and people who can actually help you. Maybe you need to go out into the community, go to the churches, see what other people who other people have used, maybe you can get a another recommendation. But I told her, you know not to give up. I mean, if your credit score is good if you have a decent dti, because at the end of the day, yes, the dti is going to prevent the lender from lending to you. But you also yourself don't want to be over leveraged, especially in times like this. While there are some good deals out there. It is a bad time. It's never a good time, but it is especially a bad time to over leverage yourself. So just be careful with that. But I wish you the best of luck Farah. So keep me posted on what happens on you going after that second property.
The next question was another DM from Brittany. She says she has a few savings account for different goals one with 10,000 with six and one with three and an emergency fund with 25,000. Okay, go Brittany, I'm considering investing the savings account until I need the money as they would earn about $1,000 a month which is decent amount and a high yield savings account would earn only a few 100. At best, what are my investing thoughts? What are your investing thoughts? Should she invest that? Okay, so my thoughts are this is a very personal decision. Because depending on your level of risk taking right, you may be able to withstand taking a risk more than someone like myself. So I am a more conservative person. I think most people need to be more conservative in these times meaning who knew right that the pandemic and lockdown will last as long Alright, so sometimes this, you know, rule of thumb that you need three to six months of emergency savings is fine. But you know, this has lasted more than six months. So even that rule of thumb is not doesn't really work for a majority of people who have lost their income. But then you know, layer on that just if you have enough money, what do you do with that money? But what is enough, right and so for me if I don't need that money at all right? So I would want to at least keep a year of expenses and it depends on my situation. So I you know, I'm married with kids. You know, we have a mortgage, a lot more of expenses that we need to be able to cover so I want to be able to have access to my savings in emergency without any issues. I also don't want those savings to be tied to a market in a crash. Now, if I had enough to where I can, you know, put away like a year, and then invest the rest, maybe I would do that right, depending on my situation. And so my biggest thing is, can you sustain your lifestyle? If something were to happen for a few months or a year? Would you be able to ride the market out? Right? So if there were, you know, not just like a little market dip, where things go down, and then they go back up in a week, but if there was a crash, would you be able to not sell at that point, and sell at a loss, right? And yes, you can go more conservative, and that would, you know, be ideal.
But either way, if you're investing the money, there's risk involved in that. And so I'm, I'm more conservative based on just where I am in my life, my responsibilities. And so I personally would not invest like emergency savings or money that I need in the market, if anything, maybe what you can do is any additional money, you're able to save you invest. So if you feel okay, 25 hasn't recovered for a year or two years, whatever that is for you that any of the money I say right now is investing, I'm aggressively investing, then maybe do that. But that's my conservative approach. Also, you know, it is hard to really juice the market, right and time the market nowadays. And so as a long term investor, you just really want to put your money in and leave it And so again, if this is not money you need right now and you will okay with markets dipping and crashing, and you're okay, then you know, you can maybe be take that risk. I know for me, personally, I would not want to do that with the environment we're in. Alright, I hope you enjoyed that Q&A session, I am going to definitely try to do more of these throughout the episodes that I released, so stay tuned.
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