Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the journey to launch podcast how to leverage your skills, take charge of your money and get your children on the right financial path with Catherine Alford.
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
Hey, Journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast. I'm really excited as I always am. To have you joining me today and that you have chosen to spend some time learning and getting excited invigorated on your money journey. Today on the podcast I have Catherine Alford, who is a nationally recognized financial educator who started her business with a $10 domainname and grew it into a multifaceted six figure digital media company. She is the creator of Catherinealford.com, co founder of millennial homeowner.com and author of her recent book Mom's Got Money, A Millennails mom guide to managing money like a boss. In this episode, what can we talk about all the things how we met which involves press on nails, so you want to hear that little tidbit of a story. Also her own personal finance journey from starting her blog, essentially and documenting her financial journey. Her living in Grenada, being married to a doctor who's currently finishing up med school, and how that impacted their journey and how she grew her blog from just you know, writing articles for $5 $10 $20 to a six figure business. And then of course, we touch upon managing your money as a mom as a parent, how you can leverage your skills that you're already a boss, you're running your household, you can run your money, and all the things in between. So this is going to be a great conversation. I can't wait for you to hear it.
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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 journeyer or are 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 so 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 happen to the episode.
All right, journeyers. Today in the rocket seat we have Catherine Alford. Hi, Catherine.
Catherine Alford 4:13
Hey, how are you? Good, good. And I'm really excited.
Jamila Souffrant 4:16
This is the first time I'm really getting to actually have a real conversation with you and what better way to have it than on the actual podcast in front of everyone or
Catherine Alford 4:24
in front of 1000s of people.
Jamila Souffrant 4:27
Well and so a little background so I think we met like for the first time in person at fin con the conference that we went to and first of all you were super sweet because you gave me press on nails I'll never forget that I forgot why you gave them to me
Catherine Alford 4:37
because you liked mine you like see now everyone doesn't like oh, I gotta tell you my secret girl. This is not an expensive Medicare. This is Oh yeah,
Jamila Souffrant 4:47
I think I said I like your manicure. And you know and then I remember knowing you from online so that's a really cool thing about this space is that like the personal finance space. It's like once you get like kind of in you get to know people and meet people and then if you Go to a conference like fin con, you get to meet people in person. all that to say, I thought you were super nice. And I know that you've been in this game for a while. So blogging about your personal finance journey, then turning it into a career. Now you have a book out called mom's got money. So I wanted to have you on the podcast to talk about all the things. So welcome.
Catherine Alford 5:18
Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm really excited to be here. I've watched your growth and your podcast. And I can't believe this is the first time I've been on. So I'm really glad to be here. Yes, I
Jamila Souffrant 5:28
do want to take it a little back. And you know, we'll get to the book and all the great things that you talked about there with moms and money, but back to your own personal journey, because you know, you're a mom now of twins. And you are talking about money in a way from like a educator, personal expert standpoint, which is great. But you want started, where you didn't know what you were doing. Either you had debt. And so I'd love to go to the beginning of how you started your blog and got to basically form into who you are today in terms of with your money, expertise. Sure.
Catherine Alford 6:00
Yeah. Well, in 2010, I was actually in grad school, and I was going to do a whole different career. And I was dead. Broke by graduate school stipend was $12,000 a year. So I was a teaching assistant and like a research assistant. And so I really wanted a creative outlet. I always loved to write even since I was a kid I used to make up stories, write family newspaper, you know all the things. And so I saw that people were blogging and I decided to start a blog about how broke. So I called it budget blonde, I talked about going to the thrift stores decorating my first apartment I ever had for myself by myself in grad school. And just I would share my budgets and all my different things and all the side hustles I did. And yeah, it just grew from there. I eventually rebranded it to my name and started doing more freelancing influencer work. And about four years into having the blog, it was earning enough for me to switch over to full time self employment. And now I've been self employed for about seven years now.
Jamila Souffrant 7:08
Okay, so I want to go back a little bit. So what were you in grad school
Catherine Alford 7:11
for? I was in graduate school for history, I wanted to work in museums, I wanted to be a curator, I did a lot of like museum education. And kind of the connection that I take from it is that I've always been interested in people, and why people make the decisions that they make, and everything that's happened throughout history of specifically learning about 19th century US history. And I'm always just fascinated by by humans. And I think that's where the money piece comes in is. It's not so much the budgets or the math that gets it for me, like I am endlessly fascinated like why people do what they do, and how people like backgrounds and culture and childhoods impact the choices that they make. And for me, when I first started freelancing, I was writing about budgets, and some would find my blog, there were like, not that many blogs back then. And they'd say, Hey, we want you to write for us Can you write, you know about a mortgage, and I have no idea but because I wasn't historian I knew how to research. And so I would just be like, totally, like, I'm broke out. Alright, your article for 20 bucks. And so I would just read about it, learn about it, write it. And that's that's how I learned. And over the course of a few years and more of our writing jobs, I just amassed this knowledge base to be able to do what I do now.
Jamila Souffrant 8:24
See, and what I picked up from that is and I like to ask kind of those specific questions or what people went to school for it, because there's so many people who are listening, they're in school or have this degree and they're just like, that was a waste. But then you just said something that helped you probably have a leg up above other people who are an advantage, which was your research skills, which came from your basic your education, which you wouldn't have necessarily had if you did not go to grad school. So first of all, how long ago was this so we can set like the timeline. You don't have to date yourself too much.
Catherine Alford 8:53
Today, so long ago, so I got I finished grad school in 2011. And what really happened there is my husband got accepted to medical school, and he went to a Caribbean medical school. So as I was graduating from grad school, I kind of had to make a choice like do I stay here in the US I was like working with the Park Service doing Civil War battlefield tours doing research, which is a in the in the museum history. World. Park Service is like the top like the best because it's the Park Service. And so I had to kind of decide or do I want to go to the Caribbean with my new husband with no job, no work visa nothing. So naturally being 22 years old, I chose to go to the Caribbean with no job. No work means that nothing but I had the blog, I had had it for almost, you know, a year or two at that point. But I needed to make some money. I didn't want to live off all of his like med school loans like I'm too productive for that. So I sat down and I just started pitching all these freelance writer jobs and as I was just sitting there on the island while he was studying, I was writing for five and $10 a post and it was actually a really great time for me because it was quiet there. We had, you know, no family, no distractions. It was just he was doing his thing. And I was doing my thing. We didn't have kids yet. And that's that's kind of how it started. So by the time I'm leaving the island, I have a full list of clients. I was pregnant with my twins at the tail end of our journey there. And so then I could really say like, well, I'm making enough to stay home with these kids once I have them. And that's kind of I just never went back to work in museums, because I was doing well with the online work.
Jamila Souffrant 10:28
Yeah. And so which Island did you end up?
Catherine Alford 10:31
Jamila Souffrant 10:32
Grenada, okay. And so you're now in Grenada, you're blogging, you're building up your resume in writing, and you're like, Okay, this is the thing I can like, do this full time. At the same time. I'm imagining that you guys have a lot of debt. Oh, yeah, we still do. How are you personally with your money at that time?
Catherine Alford 10:47
Well, I was pretty good. I mean, I've always been a frugal person. Like, my problem is I'm trying to learn how to spend money. Like my problem is I'm trying to learn how to let go joy. Yeah. And like, my husband is very much like work hard. Play hard. Like I always say, like, oh, if you see me wearing Lululemon pants, I promise you, he bought them. He was like, Katherine, your pants have holes in them, you must wear this, like, please, please put on a different. I like my journey has never been like, I've never had an overspending problem. And now that we're growing in our wealth and financial independence, I'm trying I'm trying to get better at it, you know. So yeah, I mean, we had little cash envelopes of Eastern Caribbean dollars that we take to the grocery store, and, you know, got to eat every now and then. But it was definitely, like I said, it's such a peaceful time, because there wasn't a ton of stores. If you wanted to order a new dress from you'd have to pay customs tax on it. So it was just a time of like, just kind of working and working on the businesses in his school. And we didn't really spend a lot while we were there.
Jamila Souffrant 11:54
Yeah, simplicity. And so but this is a great point, because I think so much rose talk about not spending money and learning how to curtail our wants and impulses, where I think there's a large population of myself also included, that need to learn to spend our money and to enjoy our money. I'm doing it more now. But just like you like, I will hold on to things and I'm just like, why are you this has holes in it? Why are you keeping it? It's like tearing apart. I forgot who said it, but it was like a light bulb. And it was like me thinking about buying this like $15 thing that I can afford, like it's in the budget if I even looked at the budget, and I was like, why? I'm like, I am poor. Like it's very interesting. And so we need to talk more of that. I think in the personal finance space about helping people spend money.
Catherine Alford 12:39
Yeah, totally. I'm cuz I'm right there with you. Yeah. We're gonna get ousted not
Jamila Souffrant 12:47
Well, listen, I think actually, things are turning towards that. And we, you know, we're talking a little bit about this, like the whole financial independence movement and how I know a lot of people journeyers listening to this, like, that's the goal. But also they want a more balanced approach. Like the whole frugality part is a superpower. I've talked about it before, I'm frugal in certain areas. And I had Rachael Rogers on the podcast recently. And you know, she talks about more about earning more, like spending less is fine. But really, it should be about women going out and earning more because people will say what we want is frivolous, like for us to get our hair done, our nails done to go shopping like it is the messages, that is not a legitimate spend. And it's like teaches us to contract instead of expand and think about ways we can earn more. So I know you talked about that in your book. But I want to talk about how you started to earn more. So you talked about getting $10 writing jobs, right? Yes. So how did you evolve then to really start to earn more in your career as a writer as a blogger?
Catherine Alford 13:44
Yeah, well, um, you know, a lot of it was the relationships I built with other writers, other people in our community, and I just grew from there, you know, I would get a $20 job, and I would erase a $10 job, and then I'd get a $75 post job and I just kept increasing rates. And then I remember going to fin con one year and talking to Holly Johnson, who is another financial writer, and she was like, oh, that clients pay me 75 I was like, what they paid me 50 and so I went I went back from that conference, and then I raised all my races. 75 Well, the more I wrote because I was freelancer, my name was like all over the place just because everybody needed freelance writers. And there weren't as many people doing it 810 years ago as there are now and so eventually that led to like influencer work and video work. And those are, you know, higher paying gigs, brand work. The blog was growing because all the backlinks from all the freelance articles were coming in, and courses and I eventually paid for a coach and did the rebrand and it's basically just multi streams of income that it wasn't like an overnight success. It was like every year, steadily I got higher paying jobs, better clients, then it was big banks instead of other small bloggers who needed a writer and it just kind of grew organically from there get but also be asking for more and me pushing forward and be asking for raises along the way.
Jamila Souffrant 15:12
And then knowing to ask for more, which is why it's so important to talk about, like, how much you're getting paid. And this is even if you're in a corporate job, it's beneficial for you to know what your counterpart is making, what people in your industry are making, because you'd be surprised like there are people paying double whatever you're getting paid to do. So right now someone is getting paid double or triple that and they don't have as much experience to do so. But they're getting paid for it. Totally,
Catherine Alford 15:35
totally. You got it, you kind of have to I always say like when you send those emails to like, ask for a raise or initiate the conversation, you should never feel good sending that email it should make you want to throw up. Because that that feeling is like you are pushing past a boundary, you are going to a place that's uncomfortable if you feel comfortable being like, Oh, well, Can I Can you give me this for this contract? You should be asking for something that feels like totally crazy to you.
Jamila Souffrant 16:02
Yeah, yeah. And then it's crazy how your your bar actually, because I'm sure there are things that you're getting now or doing now. Same for me that three years ago, it wouldn't have scared the hell out of me to say out loud. And now it's like, that's the minimum. And I know there are things I'm doing now. Yeah. And I'm just like, I know, in three years, like, I'm not even going to look at this. So I'm not going to accept that. Right. I know, there's progression. So I think for a lot of people, that's scary. But that is the way it is.
Catherine Alford 16:28
Yeah, the me of 10 years ago, so excited to get that first writing job would have never expected some of the brand contracts and stuff that would come later. So it is a progression. And I think it's good for people to not compare other people they admire their end. Like there's a lot of people I admire, but they're 10 years older than me, right. So they're, they're been in it for longer. So it just takes time to do things. And it takes time for things to work organically.
Jamila Souffrant 16:54
Yeah, yeah. And so when it comes to now you have established yourself, and you're making money on the other end, like as a partnership now, so you talked about your husband just a little bit, he's a doctor. But with that, I know that that comes with, you know, a lot of student loans, a lot of hours, and so on. And then now you have kids. So let's talk about balancing that life, because I know a lot of people in the medical field or want to be in medical field listening who are going through the years of training that your husband had to go through, but like he talked about that process and dealing with that.
Catherine Alford 17:25
Yeah, I mean, having a spouse or going through medical training, probably aside from military training is one most difficult educational path someone can take, I mean, especially a surgical residency, like my husband did, super, super difficult, dark times, you know, I mean, very, very hard. And just the hours that they work and what they have to go through and like there's no, there's no like mental health support for them. They're all just supposed to, like, get through it, especially, he just finished, you know, residency in the middle of the pandemic started a one year fellowship. So you know, my job. And the reason that I continued to work on being self employed was so that I could, you know, be there for our kids. And I could pick up all the rest of the slack. And there were definitely moments where that pressure, like almost felt like too much to me, like I was the breadwinner, I was the primary parent, the default parent, all of these things, and he was working, just non stop 24 hour calls weekends, obviously, things are a lot better. Now. You know, he's in and fellowship hours are more like nine to five. And now he's about to start his first attending job in four weeks. But there were a lot of months or I just took care of like all the money stuff, all the bills, everything because he was not here. So for us, we've always like viewed it as as a partnership was I was helping him get through that. And now once you start to take a job in four weeks, I will have the freedom to take on any project I want or start any project, I want that I don't have to stay with clients I don't like or if someone's like, rude to me, I can be like, I don't need you. Whereas before I would be like, well, I'm kind of in charge of paying for everything. So I should probably do this thing even though I don't want to. So you know, we kind of do it as a partnership to where we are like two sides of something, you know, where we we help the other person out. And we're both in a growth phase.
Jamila Souffrant 19:21
Yeah. And I mean, that happens a lot with moms, even if maybe you're not married to someone in the medical profession, but just also the home life and the running of the household and the kids. Even if you are working outside the home, like you literally have a job that you commute to when it's still just as you know, mentally taxing emotionally taxing, you still are expected to do all this unpaid emotional labor where it's not even agreed upon, like not even sit down and agree to this senate like scenario. So I want to talk about like just as mom and women, how we can be more in charge and take control especially when it comes to money because all these things that we're already doing in our lives set us up to be Really good stewards of our money and our households financially?
Catherine Alford 20:03
Yeah, well, and I'm glad you brought mental load because actually like the whole first chapter, my book, I talk about mental load. And there's a New York Times article that talks about, you know, the the way to reduce your mental load is communication. Well, all of us kind of feel like, well, I don't want to communicate, I don't want to give them a task. That's still mental load, I'm still giving them a list, you know, but for me, like, that's what works best. Like my husband is, you know, great debt, just from the beginning. He was always like, boom, right there, change another twin diaber anytime. You know, as soon as he came home, like he, he always got in there. It's just the job itself means he has not been present in this house for like, five years. Were mobbed. Especially like one thing, I really encourage you like kind of the crux of the book. It's the sort of take on this leadership boss attitude, because I think all of us were so exhausted all the time. And you know, I know I talked to my girlfriends, and we're just like, why is it so much? Why is it so hard? But I'm really trying to flip the script, like, of course, it's hard. And of course, I'm the one doing it. Because, number one, I run this place like, I'm the boss of this place. So of course, I'm the one doing it. But a good leader has to be a good delegator, right? And so that sometimes that means I have to delegate tasks. And that means I tell my husband, like, hey, there's 4000 things to do for the kids school, you get to order their lunch. So you download their app, you deal with their complaints that you ordered on the wrong thing, and whatever like that i'm not i'm not doing lunches. And it's like a stupid, simple thing. But, you know, we don't often outsource anything, or we don't often say, hey, on Saturday, I'm so behind on work, because for whatever unknown reason, the kids don't have school, whatever, on Thursday, so I need time, and he'll do it. But he can't read my mind. And he, you know, he's not, you know, he's a very, like a brain thinker. He's not like, super emotional. So is that like, Oh, I can sense that you're stressed? I have to be like, Hello, yeah.
Jamila Souffrant 21:58
I Can't you read my mind, like, I need help.
Catherine Alford 22:01
So you just like, for me, it's all like giving him the benefit of the doubt. And like, I like, I like being in charge of the money. I like having control over what we do. And so we kind of meet once a month, and we're like, we still ask each other about purchases over $50. That's something we did in the beginning of our marriage, and somehow it just kind of stuck. Although we could probably raise it now. But you know, I, I am not so much intensely budgeting anymore. So much. It's just sort of tracking cash flow as it goes. But yeah, I mean, that is the goal of the book is to sort of get moms to realize that the power that they already have, and they're already doing so much, they already have the skills to succeed with money, they just don't quite realize it yet.
Jamila Souffrant 22:48
Yeah, it sounds like you know, you already have a very well willing and like a partner in the household, like his time didn't allow for him to be there. But when he was he was there. So what would you say, though, and if he also knows what your career is in, so I'm sure money conversations may not be as hard for some people, but for people who are not personal finance educators, and in the space listening, right, like the other mom, no women or people who have that role in the household listening, how do they start to have these conversations with their partner about money, and about workload and all these things that impact the way they live?
Catherine Alford 23:22
Well, for money, specifically, I think the best way to talk is to talk about really fun goals that you both have, like, because I think that when we're frustrated, and when we're feeling like we don't have any money or your paycheck to paycheck, you immediately be like, like, I feel like waiting to talk about money. Everyone's like, oh, but if you're like, hey, I want to have some time today, I want to have like a dream big session. And like in the book, I say, I want your dreams to be so big, like you're embarrassed to tell somebody, like they're so obnoxious, or they seem so stuck up like you, you don't want anyone to know what your big dream is. And then once you think of that big dream, then go a little bit bigger, like erase it and go bigger. And that way you're starting from where you're on the same page, like my husband has a list, and I have a list. And then we have a giant list. And a lot of them are similar, like, you know, he wants to learn how to fly an airplane that is not on my list, you know that we have some some middle ground of things that we'd like to do have one day things that we'd like to do for our kids be generous, all those things. So I think that if you can start the conversation like that, and then just leave it there, just let it hang, you know, and then again, you know, in two weeks, and so every time we have our like money meeting, we still we go back over our goal list is that hasn't changed. Are we still on track? Or hey, like, we're really close to this one or whatever. And if you start from that, then you immediately start from a place of being on the same team. So then when you get to those like annoying conversations, like why you spend so much on hunting stuff or why you get golf all day, then it's like, because it all refers back to the big goal, right? Because we're all we're trying to achieve something so it makes the little things Not so annoying, or it makes them realize like, Oh, well, if I didn't do that, then we could get here faster. It takes time to train them.
Jamila Souffrant 25:08
Well, you know what it's it's so true, though about so many of it is you want to approach it from like the serious and like responsible conversations, we need to pay off debt. You know, like, it's really heavy, and people want to afford it naturally. Because why life is already there's a lot going on. I want to talk about this after I come home from a long day of work, right?
Catherine Alford 25:26
But who wouldn't want to chat about flying first class every time you go on a trip?
Jamila Souffrant 25:30
You know, what's really cool is that I'm relating this back and realizing I'm sick. I've said this before, but the way that I got my husband on board of this whole financial independence journey, because he was just like, What are you talking about was letting him think about what he wanted to do with his goals. So like, what they got, what kind of life you wanted, it wasn't about, we need to save and we need to cut back It led from what kind of life you want to you want to live? How much money do you want to have? Where do you want to travel? And so I think that's a great tip for people is to start with the start with the fun, start with the fun and the exciting goals. So to get your partner and even you motivated, yeah, to start the work.
Catherine Alford 26:06
Don't even bring up the dead stuff in that first round. Just Just let it hang, you know, just talk it out. And then it's fun. Yeah, it's supposed to sit with them for a while, you know, I got a process on it for a little bit like we got it takes them a minute or so.
Jamila Souffrant 26:21
And you know, what I think to what about also making it real for people, because some people will think like, these big goals. For me, it's not that hard. I can think of big goals, and then put myself there. And for some people like they they can't like it's like, oh, that's just too big. And that's not for me. But I think it's really important to find influences or people actually doing that. So whether it's online, I know there's a lot of funding going on. So it's some people are acting like they have stuff and really they don't. But I do think I do think though it's important to seek out the images and the people and people doing it. So you can actually see it can be done that it's not some like fairytale made up stuff like it's possible for you to fly first class,
Catherine Alford 26:59
you go to the next round, you know, like when I was first starting my business, or even when I would like approach people like kind of like I said, I would start out writing for other bloggers and like, over time, the clients got bigger. And then it's banks and insurance companies and fortune 500 companies, but I didn't just like wake up at 22 and like contact a huge bank and say like, let me be your spokesperson. So the same thing with this, like you just start with the next step. Like, I just want to pay off my hospital bill for my kids birth, you know, that's $2,000 just start small. And then you know, you kind of start surrounding yourself with people and you might lose people along the way. But I think that you should never be the smartest person in the room are the wealthiest person in the room or the nicest person in the room, I think you should always surround yourself with people who are at a level you want to be at.
Jamila Souffrant 27:51
Yet that is such sound advice.
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So when it comes to now, specific things someone can do right now, specifically, like a mom like listening to this, to empower themselves. So one, it sounds like it's recognizing that you already have the power because you're already a boss and like in your household, and then to bring your partner on board. But what are some other tips that they can like take that are not too overwhelming to start the process of, you know, living a good money life?
Catherine Alford 29:08
Yeah, I think that you really need to kind of bring awareness to yourself. And so much of this is personal development and personal awareness. Like it really isn't about personal finance. At first, if you're just getting started. It's taking these baby steps, like, I'm gonna look at my bank account every day this week, and I'm just gonna look, I'm just gonna sit with it. I'm going to notice what feelings I have. Am I disappointed in myself? Do I see you know, Target, you know, five times in a row? I do. What am I feeling as I'm looking at it because a lot of this is just getting comfortable with money in general, just the very beginning. And then you know, we're kind of comfortable with the bank, then it's like, you know what, I'm gonna add up how much debt I have. And then it's like, I'm gonna add, I'm gonna figure out what my net worth is. And I'm gonna look at that every day. Not just gonna look at my debt every day and beat myself up, I'm gonna look at like, how am I growing? And like, Oh, look, I do have a little bit my retirement account, right and you're giving yourself credit. So a lot of it is kind of self acceptance on the journey and becoming the person that you want to be imagining yourself as the person who achieved even this, even if your goals are small at first. And what does that person look like? And what does she act like? And what does she wear? And what kind of house does she live in? And every day taking a step to become her?
Jamila Souffrant 30:30
Yeah, I love I love that. And what are some things for you like personally? So you have you business or you've written your book, mom's got money, which everyone should go get. But for you like in your personal finance journey, right as a couple, so now your husband, so I also I watched Grey's Anatomy I know that's not really a good like benchmark. And I used to I don't know all the episodes, guys, but I know that. But I remember the terms attending and resident. I know, there's so many layers to that. So I'm assuming he is going to be out into like an practicing soon, right?
Catherine Alford 31:00
Yes. For weeks.
Jamila Souffrant 31:02
Okay. And so with that, though, like come to change in income, massive change? Yeah, a massive change in income? And do you mind saying what kind of doctor is he?
Catherine Alford 31:11
He is a cosmetic surgeon.
Jamila Souffrant 31:14
Okay. And so you have now this, like a huge change in income coming? How does that change your Outlook, as a family with your finances and how you intend to manage it, because also there, I'm assuming there's also debt on the other side of this, too.
Catherine Alford 31:29
Yeah. And Gosh, we have talked endlessly about this, because obviously, he has several $100,000 of student loans. And I've really been on a transition with this journey to Jamelia. Because, you know, at first, when I'm starting my business, I'm like, we have to pay all this off, as soon as possible, we have to do all this stuff. And now like he and I are both very entrepreneurial. So I would say that we're still in growth phase. And there are a lot of things we both want to do. And we are going to enjoy his income first, because for five years, we haven't taken a family vacation or done anything. And both cars have over, you know, 100,000 miles. And so we're like, they're literally like, at the end. So I think we're gonna enjoy it a little bit, especially this first year out, and then we're just going to make some choices. First, we need to see, you know how he does because it is for cosmetic surgery, it is production based. So it's he gets a certain percentage of all surgeries he does. So the more surgeries he does, the more he gets paid. So we just kind of see how it goes. But we have a wealth of a lot of ideas for businesses. And I think that's how we're going to build our wealth and eventually become financially independent is through all of these different avenues versus immediately pay off all the debt, be super frugal, not do anything, not buy new cars, and just like hunker down, I think we are going to use his income as a way to invest in other asset building things.
Jamila Souffrant 32:57
Yeah. And you know, it's great that you also got a chance to share just like the five years of not having any income and then driving really older cars, because someone's So fast forward in a year, Catherine, someone can come and look at your life and be like, Oh, of course she's like, living the life. Her husband's a doctor like of course she hasn't made but there's there was a journey that you guys had to get through sacrifices you had to make to get to that level. Like it wasn't just you woke up and it happened like there was work to be done.
Catherine Alford 33:25
Yeah, in my book, I share a story about using WIC checks, like three months after becoming self employed. Because I went through all my emergency savings. I had two little preemie twins, and I was I had to buy them specialty formula, and I just didn't have the cash for it. I mean, that that was only six or seven years ago that I was doing that. So I mean, we have really had a big, a big transition over the last couple of years. And what I really like is that our kids get to see our transition to they were not born in the house of a cosmetic surgeon and an entrepreneur. They they were with us from the beginning. And so they get to see what happens when you work hard and you do things that are outside of the norm. They've seen their mom and dad work crazy hours at night weekends, and support each other through this whole time. So they they sort of know that Yeah, we're gonna have an exceptional life. But you know, we kind of live differently in order to get there.
Jamila Souffrant 34:20
Yeah. And when it comes to your kids, what are you actually teaching them about money? I get this question all the time. You know, I'm now starting lessons with my kids. So what are you actually doing with your kids? Do they get an allowance? Are you talking to them about what kind of counts Do they have if they have any yet?
Catherine Alford 34:36
Yeah, well, they do get an allowance. I am outsourcing my, my laundry to them because I'm so done with all the laundry and they have to have their rooms clean and their laundry folded and put away. Every Friday. If they do that on Fridays they each get $5. So my husband, my husband, my son who actually is a spitting image of my husband, so I get mixed up sometimes My son just bought a $70 Lego with all his little $5 bills that he had saved any of this big chart above his desk like five plus five plus five like he knew how many weeks until he got it. And look, I'll pay one and not the other like, I'm hard for mom, like you didn't keep your room clean all by race, oh, well give it to your twin at night you like messing around with. So um, I like to connect the idea of working money, they still have to pick up you know their plates and put it up and act like normal people here. But I do pay pay them for those tasks because I want them to learn how to use it. I want them to waste it make mistakes with it. And as far as accounts, they each have an a custodial account invested in index funds. And that's why I put all their like birthday money from grandparents and stuff like that. They're You know, they're seven so they kind of know what's there. They don't really know. I'm trying to explain to them like stocks or pieces of a company they noticed that different buildings are going out of business. So we kind of talked about that they know mom has a business but not in the building. You know, it's a kind of we're getting there.
Jamila Souffrant 36:04
Yeah, no, that's really great. Like just even just talk about what's actually like the what's happening like so for example, what I started doing so at three, and the bait like the three all doesn't really get it but like I am supposed to sometimes I like forget, but they were like mommy didn't give us our allowance. I'm like, okay, just put on my tab. Like it's up to you to keep that tab that's on you. So like I give them like each I think it was like $2 I probably need to raise it, but there's three of them. Okay, so I'm like, Alright, calm down. Right. So yeah, yeah, yeah, totally, you gotta pay extra. So I give him like a couple dollars each, I'm supposed to get them a couple dollars each. And then they have like, save and spend on envelopes. Now, if it's up to my kids, every day after I picked them up from school, they would spend it, like $4 for an ice cream cone that is so not worth $4. And so I'm at the point where, like, once a week, maybe I'll let them get it. But I'm trying to tell them like this is a waste of money. But I'm also trying like you I like how you just said you want them to make mistakes. But I'm just like, there's no way that I'm buying like this ice cream for you every day of the week. And what I noticed is when they do have the ice cream tea, there's certain messages that happen. I just realized the crossing guard. And they mean so well. When I when they have the ice cream. They say oh wow, your mom does such a good mom. Because like, you know, like she got you to ice cream. But even for me the signal is Oh yeah, I'm a good mom and I buy them the ice cream. But like if they don't have the ice cream, right? I'm still a good mom. But I see that and then I so I it's interesting how as parents in general moms, we get this signals from our kids and then from society that like Oh, you're good mom, if you do these things, when sometimes that goes into contrast to really what I'm trying to teach them. But it's interesting.
Catherine Alford 37:48
It's so hard because like all these things, thinking I mean, that's just the crossing guard. That's not even what they see on YouTube what they see on a TV show or in a movie or whatever here at school. You know, my son went to on a playdate yesterday. He was like, his parents are so nice. Every time we ask him for something they say yes. And I had three cupcakes. And I was like, Oh my God. But you do like go to that friend zone sure is different from your house, your poor thing, you know, your torture? Oh, well.
Jamila Souffrant 38:19
That's the thing. Like you can raise your kids and you can have whatever these values and things you're trying to instill. But there's the real world and there's experiences and I want them to sometimes it's just like, Yes, I want you to go, just I don't care if it's expensive, go get that thing, you know, go enjoy yourself. But it's really interesting, because the other thing that started happening is that some other moms will buy them ice cream, like, you know, they're playing with the other kids at the park. And they're like, oh, we'll just buy it for you. And I'm like, Okay, this is interesting here because I'm like, do they I don't think the moms are not expecting me to return the favor necessarily. But I now feel in debt, like kind of in debt to the moms. I'm just like, so now I have to like spend $30 and all these kids ice cream? I don't know. So there's so much signaling and like social contract going on when you deal with outside people. Totally,
Catherine Alford 39:03
totally, I understand exactly what you're saying. It is challenging, you know, and I what I've had to learn is like I'm gonna make mistakes and like, I'm trying so hard to raise like confident kids about money and all this stuff, but am I going too hard on it? Like, you know, I might I might not focus enough on other things, or is it just because they're in my house? So you know, either way, like we're we as parents are gonna mess something up but as long as they have a comfort with money and a knowledge and they know that you know, we expect them to work and be independent people but we're always here for them like if something happens to them so
Jamila Souffrant 39:41
yeah, what better way for them to learn these lessons and fail with smaller amounts of money because what happens is a lot of people didn't get a chance to experience that until they got to college. So they got it was like more on the line more at stake.
Catherine Alford 39:52
Yeah, yeah. Then it's there then as a credit card and then with a bad credit score, and then it's all this stuff. So I I'd rather than you know, lose it. You know, lose a $5 bill because they didn't put it right where it was supposed to go. I just, I just let them, let them do all the things and kind of trying to make them more responsible with it. So I like the idea of kids having their own money because it it makes them have choices just like all of us like having money because it gives us choices. And so they have to decide do you want to spend it? Do you want to save it? Do you want this bigger thing? Are you sure you want that and pay you back when you get home? Okay,
Jamila Souffrant 40:27
yeah. Okay, so a couple more questions. Specifically for like moms and parents, aren't you set your kids have a custodial investment account? So what accounts if you don't you have limited amount of money to, you know, save and invest with them? Do you have a preference or just order that you suggest that people do like 529 account versus saving account? Well, I
Catherine Alford 40:49
think the 529 accounts, definitely the most tax effective one. And I am going to open up 529 529 accounts for them in this next year, again, to try to optimize taxes with higher income and things like that. But I like the custodial account, because I'm just for the beginning phases when they were babies, and I was trying to decide what to do, because it wasn't it wasn't tied to anything, you know, they didn't have to use it for school, when they're 18, they get access to it. And so it wasn't something I was expected them to use for college, but more just like a jump, you know, buy a car with a down payment on a house with it. By the time they get to that point, it gave them a little bit of flex. And then I think high yield savings accounts are fine for things that you you know, if they are, let's say, 12, and they want to buy a car when they're 17. You know, I think that's, you know, under five years, something like that. That's kind of the order I would do it. There's lots of different ways to do although high yield accounts have been some sad lately. But
Jamila Souffrant 41:44
yeah, with the interest rate, so I just want to go back really quickly, just because some people this I always like to approach it from someone who's like, never heard of this stuff before. And it's like, what is that? So 529 accounts are for like college saving. I mean, depending on your state, it can be, you know, tax efficient, because you can write it off on your gross income for your state taxes. Like in New York, you could deduct how much you put towards your 529 for the state. But then like a custodial account is different, cuz that can be used for anything, but you do have to open it up at an investment like firm or brokerage. Yeah,
Catherine Alford 42:13
company, they are listed as the child's assets. So when you apply to college, it will show that they have money. So a lot of people don't want to do it for that reason, but I'm just kind of like, my goal is not to get tons of financial aid. My goal is to pay for their college, you know, whatever happens with it. So
Jamila Souffrant 42:29
that and and you know, that's a good point, because I know also people will go back and forth about which one is the best. And I'm like, if even if you just pick one, it's better than nothing. I know like, Yeah, for sure what you're going to where you're going to be in 1015 years if your kids. Okay, actually, one other question I have about this is for moms or dads or parents that are behind on their own savings, and retirement, should they be looking into these methods for their kids? Because I think it's best that you are, you know, financially sound first, but what is your take on it?
Catherine Alford 42:58
Yeah, no, that's, that's my take, too. I think people know that intellectually, but they have a hard time doing it in practice, I think the best gift that we can give to our kids is being financially independent, that we have all of our stuff that we're not a burden to them that we're not asking our kids for money, we're not expecting our kids take care of us, like, the best gift we can give them is that it's not going to be as stressful as we get older and that we've we've saved and prepared for it. That said, I mean, as parents when parents won't eat so their kids can eat. So you know, the natural inclination is to try to take care of them. So I think if you feel guilty or feel bad, you know, it's do a little balancing, you know, I have some money for you, I can give you $1,000 towards the semester in college, but you might have to pay for the rest of your own or work or go to community college. But the biggest thing is having that open communication, just people don't communicate, you have to talk to your kids about the hard things, you have to let them know, look, this is what I have for college, if you want to go to a different college or a private college or something like that, that's going to be on you. That's a big choice to make for someone who's 1718 years old, just so you know, it really sucks to make big monthly payments when you graduate. So but it's your choice. And again, you can't make all the choices for our kids. They have to make mistakes, and they have to go and learn things on their own too. But I would definitely say make sure your house is in order first before that.
Jamila Souffrant 44:23
Yeah, yeah. All right. So tell everyone where they can find your book and learn more about you. They want to follow your like your journey and get all your other advice.
Catherine Alford 44:34
Sure. Well, my website is Catherine all four.com and on there I have a mom's got money starter pack you can download so it's like for the mom just getting started. It's kind of some different like sheets and where you can have face the numbers and get going on the journey and I've always on the gram at Catherine c alford and the book is mom's got money a millennial moms guide to managing money like a boss and it is available Everywhere.
Jamila Souffrant 45:01
Awesome. Thanks so much cat, Catherine, I keep going back and forth.
Catherine Alford 45:04
But that's fine. Thank you so much for having me.
Jamila Souffrant 45:10
You're welcome. But it was so it's really nice to have you on the show. And I wish you the best of luck with the book. I know you know that. Like, I am always now fascinated with book releases and launches because I want to be in this stage in a couple of years. So it's really nice to see like it come because you had a video on your Instagram where you like went to Barnes and Nobles. Yes. I think that's like so really like cool, full circle. I'm watching your journey thus far. So thank you. Thank you.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed that conversation and chat with Catherine, go check out her book, mom's got money. Wherever you find books, I'll link it all in the show notes. And if you did find a takeaway, or you got something really invigorating that you think will help you and you're going to execute it on your journey, let me know, tag me at journey to launch on Instagram. And tag Catherine C. Alford on Instagram. If you got something from this episode, I will say one of the takeaways that I really liked. I mean, I liked a lot of the points of our conversation. But one that I thought was really something you can use in your life right now is if you have someone that you want to bring on board, and this could actually be a friend or even a your parent, child, partner, but appeal to their dreams to their vision of the life that they want to live. So let's just say that someone in your life who is not interested at all I'm talking about money and paying off debt, and all the serious stuff, appeal to what they want, you know, the freedom, the lifestyle, their goals. And you know, Catherine talks about that, how you know, that's how she recommends people get started when they're talking to a partner and I said it in the episode but that's essentially how I got my husband excited about financial independence. It was focusing on the vision and dream first. And then you know, we get to the heavy stuff, the more harder conversations so I would love for you guys to try that if you are trying to have this conversation with someone in your life, you want to bring them on board appeal to something they want to do. appeal for the vision appeal to that thing you know, that excites them and let me know what happens. Alright, as promised, check out a preview of the axios today podcast.
Axios Clip 47:29
Hi, I'm nyla Buju host of axios. Today, it's a daily podcast that gives you the latest hoops and analysis to power your day. You're about to hear a segment from our daily episode. You can hear more by listening to axios. Today every weekday morning on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. When the pandemic took hold the venture capital industry brace itself for the worst and many feared COVID could destroy startups across the country. But VC has thrived to the tune of more than $130 billion report to axios is technology and business reporter kiya khokhlachev. Ah, hey, kiya. Hey. So why has venture capital done so well,
one, a lot of the investors already had money ready to invest. And then they also kind of got really quickly used to zoom investing, you know, we all shifted to doing things over video chat over zoom. And so they did too. You also had a lot of entrepreneurs who got new ideas during the pandemic. So they started companies and startups that would make life easier, or coming up with services and products for life after the pandemic subsides. But now we want to do things differently. And so they're going to be providing us with services and goods for them.
Why does this matter for the economy or for the rest of us?
Well, fundamentally, startups are small businesses, right? They're building products and services that consumers spend money on, they're employing people. So in a way, we should care about them in the same way that we care about small businesses more broadly. But it's also you know, the technology industry kind of leads the way a lot as far as how we do things down the line, right? They're innovating. Technology is constantly evolving. 10 years ago, we didn't know that we could just use our phone and get a car to show up and take you to the restaurant. But startups did that.
axios,Thanks kiya. Thank you.
Jamila Souffrant 49:28
Don't forget you can get the episode Show Notes for this episode by going to journeytolaunch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this and you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart.
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