Roshida Dowe 0:02
What we're doing, right, we're working real hard. We're working real hard to prove to people our value. And a lot of times these are people who will never acknowledge our value because they don't want to see it. They don't want to see it. They don't want to pay for it. They don't want to acknowledge it, right. They're scared of it. I spend all the time proving how good I am. And they spent all the time looking for ways to disprove it to say, you're not that good.
Jamila Souffrant 0:27
T minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who lost her time, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom in three, to one.
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Hey journeyers Welcome back to the journey to launch podcast, I'm really excited for you to talk to this guest or to hear this guest in our conversation. It is going to be Rashida Tao, she's the founder of she does on the loose and she's an expert for would be adventures coming out of hiding so they can take control of their dreams and finally plan their sabbatical journey. And she draws on her own experience from taking the plunge and leaving her career I heard you were once a lawyer, Rashida. And now you're living in Mexico City doing the damn thing, inspiring other women to go out on their own. And you know, I'm sure men can get some things from this too. But I'm really excited to learn more about your story and for you to educate the journeyers who are listening on how they can also step into a life that's waiting for them. So welcome to the podcast.
Roshida Dowe 3:34
Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. So yay, yay.
And before we press record, I was saying that one of my friends sent me your information about I think you were you were profiled on a site about moving to Mexico City, and you were just living your dreams. I was like, alright, she sounds like a perfect person who needs to come on this podcast. And then I started to dig a little bit more, I saw that you were a lawyer. And I have so many ex lawyers or people who are lawyers who have been on the show and they switched careers have they done something completely different. But I would love to go back to your days as a lawyer. And what finally gave you the courage to quit that to embark on your dreams.
Unknown Speaker 4:13
I didn't really decide to leave my job. What happened was the company I was working for went out of business. And when it went out of business, I had about six months notice that my job was going away, everybody's job was going away. And in that six months, I spent a lot of time thinking about what was next. I spent a lot of time not thinking about what was next because I had been unhappy in my job and I didn't want to get another job that was very similar to it. And so what I ended up doing, was putting it off putting it off putting it off. And then when I started doing the job search, I realized that I hate it all these jobs I was looking at like I would go to interview and I'd be like I only want to work with you like what are we talking? Why? Why am I here? I don't want to I didn't want to do the work you're talking about and I don't want to work with you. And throughout my career that had been a theme that had come up a lot. I liked the work I did. Nine times out of 10. But the people I worked with were usually the problem. And I know a lot of lawyers feel the same way. clients aren't always the most awesome people. And so the idea of getting another job, doing something similar to what I was doing before, something that was making me really unhappy, something that had me going to my like, going to my therapist every week, like girl, you will guess what they did this week, it didn't sit well with me. And I've always seen people taking long breaks. I'm also a yoga teacher, I became a yoga teacher, eight years ago, and saw people in my sort of in my sphere of influence, who were taking long breaks at work for six months at a coffee shop, and then go travel the world for six months. And at the time, back then I was like, How y'all doing this what's happening? Like, I don't understand how you can just take six months off, like somebody's sponsoring this, how's this working, that you make enough money in a coffee shop to do this, and then I realized along the way, that was one of my business, like, I didn't need to worry about how they did it. If I wanted to do it, I needed to figure out how I could do it. And so that was that was a point that kind of changed things. For me. I was talking to my therapist talking about how it didn't feel responsible to do this. So I know a lot this will resonate with a lot of people. It felt like this was not the kind of thing that I should be doing. I am a black woman, I am a lawyer, I have a on paper a great job. I know how hard it was to get here. My peers know how hard it was to get here like like this is my Mama knows how hard it was for me to get here. This was a challenge. This was a real challenge to be where I am. And what does it look like just walk away and take a break. But grow my mental health? Right? Once I look, first thing I did, and first thing I recommend anyone considering this to do is to actually look at your finances and figure out if it's possible because I told myself, There's no way there's no way there's no way. And then I started looking at some of my accounts. And I was like, oh, there's a way like, I think I could do this. And then when I realized I could do it, I still talk myself out of it. I was still like, it's not responsible. Why did I work for a year and have a plan and go off my plan and my therapist, Lifesaver was like, if you don't do this now, you're never gonna do you're never gonna do it. Pretty much like you're BSE, like you're lying to yourself. If you tell yourself that you have a dream. You don't have a job, my apartment, like my lease was up. I'm not in a relationship. I don't have kids, if you like if all of those things line up for you, and you don't do it now, when are you going to do it? Like, that was really what it was I lost my job. And I didn't like the other employment options.
Jamila Souffrant 8:02
How long ago was that?
Roshida Dowe 8:04
That was 2018. No spring. So I found out in 2017. They're going out of business. And in April 27 2018 was my last day of working for anyone else.
Okay, wow. Okay, I have so many questions. I want to go back because I did read somewhere that you also got laid off in 2009. Yes. And when that happened, that's when you started to save more money. So I'd love to kind of go back and talk about what you were doing with your money because I know lawyers and what they've been through, especially with their student loan debt, even though maybe you were earning a high income, how were you financially managing as a lawyer when you were working. And then I would love for you to talk about that to us in 2009 incident and how it kind of prepared you for your next
Unknown Speaker 8:45
layoff. So I started working as a lawyer, I graduated law school and pass the bar 2006. I started working as a lawyer in fall 2006. And it was awesome. I mean, the money was coming. It was flowing, it was here. Yay. I bought a really cheap house that I could afford. I was actively trying to work on my finances. But I got hooked up with a financial advisor that was more interested in what she could get from a situation than my overall financial health. Like one of the things she told me early on, and I just didn't know better was everybody has student loan debt. So there's no point in ever trying to pay it off. Like don't ever try, like, do other things for money. Don't ever try to pay it off. And that could work for some people, but I hate debt. I hate that beat over my head. So that didn't work for me. So I was giving her money to invest. She was at one of those large companies that takes a big chunk. So it wasn't even like the performance wasn't even doing very well. But I wasn't paying off debt. But I was still flowing, flowing, flowing. And then in 2009 When I got laid off. It was that was a job that I absolutely hated. It was terrible. Those were awful. Humans don't care if they hear this Ah, but no, I was doing commercial real estate financing work and no banks were lending to commercial lenders. And so there was no work. So I was looking for a job at the same time they were creating their layoff plan and lying to us and saying they weren't gonna lay anybody off. At the same time they were doing that I was looking for jobs, but there were no jobs. No one was hiring. And I looked, I looked, I couldn't find anything. So when they laid me off, I was like, Okay, bye. But that led to six months of unemployment, because like I said, no one was hiring for what I did. Six months of unemployment in about six months. I was like, I need to be serious. I've got a mortgage. And I don't have a sponsor. So who's gonna pay the mortgage? Right? Like, I can't, I can't call my parents and say, Can you pay my mortgage? So that was low. It was when I bought my house. I was in Columbus about house for $84,000. A mortgage was like 100, and something.
Jamila Souffrant 10:57
So you were in Ohio
Roshida Dowe 10:59
I was in Ohio was in Columbus, Ohio.
Jamila Souffrant 11:00
Roshida Dowe 11:00
so it wasn't a high mortgage, but it was still like, but if you don't pay it, they don't come get this. Like, you can't skip it. Right. So I had a paid off car, I had a house I was trying to pay. And after six months, I was like, Oh, no one money starts flowing in again, we're gonna have to do this differently, right? Like, I need to pay off debt, because I don't ever want to feel that stress of having debt and being unemployed. Because you never know. When these jobs like I said, the last job lied to me, like all of us said we would never lay anybody off. And then like a month later laid off 20% of their associates. So I recognized that this was a possibility. At any point, you can't rely on these employers, you can't rely on them to have your back. They laid us off and they were like, you get we will give you I've been there for two years. And they were like, we'll give you two weeks severance. But you have to you have to sign something that says we can say whatever we want about you. But you can never say anything bad about us. And I was like, Well, I sell my soul. For two weeks. Like y'all are terrible humans. Will I sell my soul for two weeks severance now? So I don't even get I didn't even get any money on the back end. It wasn't like I was living with this pot of money that would do me. Good.
Jamila Souffrant 12:12
Do you remember how much student loan debt you had at the time?
Roshida Dowe 12:17
When I, I had loans in college, and I had loans in law school, I paid for everything without I didn't get any other kind of support. The total debt at that time was over $200,000 in student loans.
Wow. Okay. That is like that's, it's I'm saying, Wow, just because that doesn't sound actually that far off from most lawyers that I talk to, but in general, that was still a high amount, like it's more than your mortgage was,
yes, more than a mortgage was and go student loan debt. The number never goes down.
Right? It compounds like the interest rate makes it compound. Okay, so 2009 you get laid off. It was you're blindsided, and you're realizing I need to get better prepared. And so this is when you start becoming better with money.
Jamila Souffrant 13:01
What were you doing saving? Did you start paying off the debt faster,
Roshida Dowe 13:05
I paid off my debt faster, I started making multiple mortgage payments a month. I know some people hate that idea. They're like you should invest instead. But I always tell people, you have to do what's right for me. And for me, what was right was getting out of debt and being having a debt free lifestyle. So I made multiple mortgage payments. And then when I paid off my mortgage, I put everything towards my student loans. And then it was like, Okay, now this money is mine, like any money left over after that, once I paid off all of that stuff, which took a while, it probably took me like eight years, once I decided that like getting out of debt was my financial priority, probably eight years ago.
Which is crazy. Because, you know, you made that decision in 2009. And you set yourself on this path. And then so when this happens, again, you are more financially prepared more than ever, because you took the lesson from the last time. And I just feel like there are people right now we've maybe got be going through their first lesson. And it feels like it's done. And what's the point, but this lesson or whatever you're going through now is setting you up. So you can make the proper changes. So the next time you are going to be so prepared to do what you want to do in life. So I just want to say that. So that's great that you did that. And I know some people I think what's gonna happen is it this is going to help a lot of people who are can relate to you, like who are maybe single women or kids. And then I also know there's that side of well, it's easier because you were a lawyer and you probably had a high income. And also you're a single woman. But your journey still was not without sacrifice and having to make hard decisions, right?
Unknown Speaker 14:32
Yeah, there were definitely hard decisions. There were definitely times where I was like, especially in that first job like, if I didn't need money, I wouldn't I would never set foot in this building. Again. There were there were sacrifices along the way. There were choices I had to make. Everyone has to make a choice what they do with their money and I had to make a choice just like everybody else. It's easier on paper when you don't have dependents. But just because you don't have kids don't doesn't mean you don't Have people who depend on you for money? We can't we can't lose sight of the fact that for a lot of us, especially I'm, I am an immigrant. I am a child of immigrants like that that network is kind of deep like you. If when you start making money, you can be kind of the bank for your family. Fortunately, it wasn't that deep. Like I did have some moments, people would come to me for money, but it wasn't like, it wasn't that big of a deal. Or it wasn't a regular thing.
Jamila Souffrant 15:27
Yes, good for you.
Roshida Dowe 15:29
It wasn't a big deal. But it's easy to look at someone and say you had a size, you had a high salary or you don't have kids. So it's easy. But there are a lot of other a lot of other things that play into that. A lot of emergencies. I needed a new roof, right? Like, that's got to be the price of one kid for a year.
Maybe depends, depends. No, but it's a good point. I just think sometimes we're looking at people situations. And there are some times where you can say, well, if someone's in a relationship, it could be easier because you have two incomes more than versus one, or you have dependents, that's more of a tax write off. Like there's all these things that you can either make positive checkmarks or making an ex that you feel drags you down, I always choose to look at even like the things that other people look at as a negativity or something that slows you down as a motivating factor. But always recognizing that there is a difference. There is more hurdles that people who have more responsibilities, have less income have to go through in order to achieve some of the things that you've done and what I've done. So let's go for it a little bit, if you don't mind. Because I'd love to hear like that moment. So 2018 You're like, Alright, I'm not doing this. I'm not going back to work at this point. Where were you financially in terms of debt? How much did you have saved because I want to paint the picture of what allowed you then to do what you're doing now.
So it's 2018. And I had no debts. I had tried property investing. So I bought a house with my mom in Columbus to flip. And I realized I hated property. That's the hotel that was a lot of work. And so I had to have when I moved from Columbus back to the Bay Area, I had two houses in Columbus that were completely paid off. And I saw the both close on the same week closed them ready to buy a new place in the Bay Area and the two houses the entire sales price, no mortgage not paying anyone except for you know, any realtor fees or closing costs. No, there's no money coming out of that nothing. It's all mine could not pay for a downpayment in the Bay Area, like two houses sold in full other forget that, that I was like,
Jamila Souffrant 17:37
not even not even downpayment,
Roshida Dowe 17:39
not even a down payment, but are down payments. I was like I have to say I want a down payment, I have to save more money. So I put I invested the money that I had I got from my house by half the house of the investment sale. And my own house, invested it. And I was like when the time is right, I'll buy a house. But I got laid off before the time was right. Right. And so I had house money. I will never say we talked about privilege before I will never deny that that was privileged, but it was also privileged I worked for because I worked to pay off. I made sacrifices to pay off that debt early. Right. And so that's why I had house money because I paid off my mortgage super early. So I had house money that I did wanting to buy something with and I was like, but if I'm not if right, like if I'm not I could travel the world for just a portion of this house money. And I talked myself out of it because like, but what about when I want a house? And I need this money? Or what about when I run out of money or what's the next plan. And eventually I was like, you can do this, you can do this. So when I actually left I had been paying I had been getting paid double. Let's talk about a gift for those people laid me off. We had 1000s of employees and I was one of the last two employees in the company. So they paid me double my salary for seven months to keep me around. Now that that was a privilege because I had house money and I had double the salary money. And so when it was time for me to go, it was like, Oh, I have I have money saved I had probably about just under half a million.
Jamila Souffrant 19:24
Roshida Dowe 19:25
just under half a million dollars.
Jamila Souffrant 19:26
And this was working in Ohio or were you back in the Bay Area. The Bay Area back in the Bay Area. So you probably I'm assuming renting
Roshida Dowe 19:34
or renting a place. My lease is up a week after but my final work day and they want to raise my price so it's real close to $3,000 a month. And I was like this just don't make no sense y'all. And I ended up traveling I left with like a month's notice and I ended up traveling the world for around $3,000 a month. I have friends who've done it for $1,200 a month travel anywhere they want to go under $1,200 a month. I I spent I didn't do a lot of advanced planning. So I spent around three. But when I compare what I spent in that year to the mental health and clarity that I gained from that year, and compared it to the amount of money I still had, so people are always worried, like, I help people with this all the time, I talked to people who are like, I have $400,000 saved, and I only want to travel for six months. But like, Can I do that? And I'm like, yeah, like you can do it. If you have all this money saved. We can have all these great plans for it. But if you're unhappy in your moment, and your life isn't working for you, can you invest in yourself? Right? Can you make that investment in yourself, your mental health, your well being, and do something different than what you're doing now, because what you're doing for a lot of us, a lot of us black women is specifically what we're doing that was killing us, right, we're working real hard. We're working real hard to prove to people our value. And a lot of times these are people who will never acknowledge our value, because they don't want to see it. Right. That was my problem with the law firm, like, I am good at what I do. Let me show y'all how good I am at what I do. They don't want to see it, they don't want to pay for it. They don't want to acknowledge it, right. They're scared of it. I spent all the time proving how good I am. And they spent all the time looking for ways to disprove it to say, Oh, you're not that good. The client is happy. But you should have asked for more help, even though you did it. And it's close as perfect. My client is happy. You didn't call me on vacation in Hawaii to get help from me to do it. So you're getting a ding on your evaluation. And a lot of us live in that world of non stop petty stuff. And these people are never, it's never going to get better, right? So I do for your own mental health.
Right? So okay, I can relate in some sense about microaggressions. And just living in that environment where it's just especially where you just don't feel like you fit in and that you know, or you're a token for them, honestly, to like show to clients that whenever it's like, look, here's, you know, this black woman that works with us. But let's go a little bit now to planning and what you did. So you're currently in Mexico City, but you did say that you traveled the world. And I think just practically for people thinking about this, like they may have some money invested. What were you doing with the money that you use to travel the world? Was that parked in your savings account? Were you taking money out of retirement accounts to do this? How? How did you structure kind of this nest egg that you built,
I had a money market account, a non retirement investment account, and I took the money out of there. So when I was getting paid a lot of money, for the last few months of work, I put all the money in there. And so I had money, because I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Right? Like, well, I want to sign a lease in the Bay Area when I don't have a job. No, I don't want to do that. Right, that doesn't make any sense. And so I was really never sure what I was going to do. And so when I made the decision to just go and see what happens, I had that money sitting there. I had the house money sitting there. I had retirement funds sitting there. So there was a lot to draw on. But you don't need everything that I had. And that's what I that's the message I want people to have is like it's great to talk about money. It's great to have a lot of money, like the downsides of a lot of money are very few like, I don't I don't see it. But you don't need to have all this money to make the choices that I did, right? Like I said, a friend of mine traveled for a full year on $14,000. It's not no money. But it's not you don't need a half million dollars to do that. Right. And so recognizing that you have choices and you're not stuck, I felt stuck. It's past unhappy. These jobs. Were making me depressed when I was in these jobs that were making me depressed. I felt stuck. Like my only other option is to get another job, right? Like maybe I'll find a job that I like maybe I won't. But there's no there's no way out. Because once especially like we talked about before you reach this level of success on paper, and it's like why would you ever leave this? Why?
Yeah. Because especially if you have a lot of people around you who are looking at in traditional sense, and I just heard that you are a child of immigrants like everyone's looking at you like you made it so why are you walking away from this to what go backwards? Like to go back to where we came from and not have much and not spend a lot of money like that just seems like you're hustling backwards. When that is not the point like you want the freedom
Jamila Souffrant 24:31
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How did you decide ultimately on Mexico City where you are now like talk me through that process of making
Unknown Speaker 25:51
that choice. So it's funny, I visited Mexico City twice during my career break. And I think maybe once before that, and on the second time I was here with a good friend of mine. And we were in our hotel, but we left to go take a walk and we're walking around it was so beautiful. I looked around, I looked up and I said What am I live here? And she looked at me This is someone who's known me for a very long time she could do but she looked me dead in the eye and said, Why don't you and it was just like this deadpan response and like, tell me like why don't you live here? And I was like, wait, I could. I can just move. Because it sounds so fun. Like I know the idea of leaving in the US and moving abroad is getting more popular now than it was years ago. But 2018 When I was planning on leaving, I wasn't seeing people like me taking career breaks. I wasn't seeing people like me moving abroad when it wasn't for a job when it was just like, I don't want to live in the US anymore. Right? I love that. Not even that I love this city. I love being in a city. I want to live in the city. I can just move to another country because I like the city. People do that. I was like oh wait. And then so that was January 2019. And in May of 2019 When my year of traveling was over. I moved to Mexico City and had some some setbacks had to end up back in the US for a year when Coronavirus was raging and I had to have surgery. Last long story irrelevant to this. But I got my residency in June of 2021. So I'm a legal resident now. It's a temporary residency. So I have to renew it once a year for four years, but I can get permanent residency. But yeah, like I legit live here. Now this is my home.
Jamila Souffrant 27:30
Wow. So did you know anyone living there before you got there that you had like this inbuilt network, we had to create that when you got there.
Unknown Speaker 27:38
I created that. But your people are everywhere. You belong everywhere. And your people are everywhere. I moved down here, I reached out, you got to rely on some of these Facebook groups. I reached out on Facebook groups to people I found people that I liked. One of my closest friends down here I posted on Instagram that I was going to get some pie and she was like, I'll go with you. And like three years later, we're still friends.
Jamila Souffrant 28:02
You didn't know her then
Roshida Dowe 28:03
I didn't know her.
Jamila Souffrant 28:04
Roshida Dowe 28:05
She was like, pi, I'll go. And now we're like, you know, we're Mexico City besties. It's literally like that. You don't have a network. But you can create your own networks just like you. It's think of it as like kindergarten, like just like you made friends in kindergarten. Like it's that easy to make friends in a new city because other people don't have their built networks either, right? It's not like you're trying, you moved to a city where everyone's established and everyone's lived here for 30 years. And no one wants to talk to the new girl. It's not like that. It's like, everybody is reasonably new, whether they've been here seven years or seven months. Like everyone's like, Hey, you're here. They understand what you're going through. Like when you're new to a city no matter what city it is. And they they want you to succeed 99 times out of 100 When I talk to another expat, they want to see all the other expats they come in contact with prosper, we want to see you win, right? Like, if you made this move, we want you to win.
Do you think there's a certain personality trait that allowed you to be able to take this leap by yourself because I have friends who I know why I can't do this like because I do feel a little tied down and you know, in a not in a bad way. But just a responsibility. Like I have three small kids have a husband who has his own career. And so for me just like get up and leave like it's a bigger conversation. And I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's harder. But I have friends who are single, and they talk about wanting more freedom. And then but ultimately, like I don't know that they have the personality or the desire, the real desire to do what you did. So I'm wondering if there's something about you? Whether like, you feel like you're an extrovert, like you don't mind talking to people and making new friends like, what is it about you that you feel like you're comfortable enough to like, do this on your own?
I'm an introvert, but I'm not scared of anything. That's a trait I get from my mama. Like, I'll figure it out, no matter what happens that I think that's my trait and my career break, prep me for moving really well, because when you're traveling the world for a year, things are going to go wrong, you're going to have to pivot. And so being able able to adapt, being able to pivot, that was really key for me. And so but there are situations where it doesn't feel like you can pivot like I was, I talked to people who were in jobs that don't deserve them, right. And it might feel like you can't pivot. But it's there, right? Like you might have, it might not look like what you expect it to look like. But the pivot is there even for you, right? Like, it might not look like what what we're talking about or what you expect it to look like. But the pivot is there. If you look forward. And often, like for me, the pivot was there, because I didn't have a choice, right? Like, I had to do some I lost a job, like, I did not have a job, I had to do something. And sometimes that's what it comes down to like these friends. Maybe they need that moment of like, oh, no, I have to do something differently. Right. Like, like I, I walked into the office today and flipped the desk, right? Like I got it differently, right? It might be just that they need that moment of saying this, what I'm doing now isn't working, or I don't want this anymore. And I talked to a lot of women who are in that point of like, I don't want this anymore. It's not what I want. How do I get something new?
Yeah, it's like your big Breaking Point moment, or your backs against the wall. I know, like my back was against the wall when I was having my third and I was like, I'm not going back to work after maternity leave, like this has to be my deadline. And that was my kind of like, you're going to do this. I don't care what it looks like. But you have to get this done. So I totally, totally understand that. Now, in terms of someone now listening and saying, okay, Rashida I love I love what you're saying, like, I am not happy in my job, I want you to take a break, let's talk about the different ways to think about setting up a break. Because some of it like I talked about financial independence, retire early a lot. That's when I first started out and what I wanted to do, like just quit forever and not ever have to go back to work. And then as I started on the journey, I thought to myself, there could be a more balanced approach where maybe it's not not working forever, but it's more now I'm actually doing something I love. So it doesn't matter how long I work. I mean, I could still have the option to retire. But it's not running away from something. How can someone now who has some options in front of them who wants to create options, think about this? Should they stay in a job maybe and think about just the income and saving and investing for a certain amount of time so that they could forever quit? Or should they be looking at it more as How can I take more breaks within my career so that I can have a more balanced life? Like, how would you approach that? And how should someone approach that?
Unknown Speaker 32:30
I think it depends on their goals. So for me, and for a lot of the people I talked to it is for my mental health, I need to make a change and like the next year I can then whatever money I got, the next year is the money I need to live with. Because I don't have more than a year of this left in me. And for other people, like you said, maybe they just need a six month break now. And then another three months, another six month break. So for people who aren't like, on the edge of a mental health crisis, or or a physical crisis to because we don't talk about that a lot that like the stress that we endure these jobs, it eats into our bodies, right? I know a lot of people who are like, who are actually sick until they quit, and they're like, Oh, I feel better now. Like, your job was trying to kill you, girl. But for people who don't want to maybe take a long term break, I always recommend put space between the old job in the new job, right? Like if you're going to start something new, take a month off, take six weeks off. So often we hear people quitting a job or getting a new job and giving themselves a weekend in between. And then when the new job doesn't want to approve your vacation time now you mad because you haven't had a vacation in like two and a half years. Like you need more time for yourself.
Roshida Dowe 33:45
That makes sense. And I'm just thinking financially, like how does, how does one prepare for that? Should they hold off? Let's just say they weren't as financially stable as you so they still had that and responsibilities that they have to pay for. And now they are about to switch jobs like should they forego? And this I know this is a more personal question. I have an answer also that I can give once you're done, but should they forego investing and saving so that they could create that space and pay for the thing they want to do for six months?
I would say See if you can kind of split it up. So if you have debt, like depends on how you feel about debt, right? Like I didn't like having debt over my head if you're okay with some debt while you go like take care of you. For a lot of people that means healing. That means going and really like looking deeply into what they need. If you are okay with debt, okay? Don't don't like supercharge paying off your debt, put some money aside for living expenses. But what also tends to happen is a lot of people move to lower cost of living cities and countries. And so their cost of living is already lower. So when they if they take a break, and they're actually like moving somewhere. If their cost of living is lower, if they're doing anything for income, maybe it's not the old job, maybe they're working a part time job or Most job or something, or they're building a business, or they built a business, if there's any income coming in, you don't need as much generally need as much income as you did in the US. And so you can work less for probably a higher standard of living, and still service the debt the way you were before. And so it's thinking about what are the different ways you can look at the money you have, and the money you will have in the future, to create a plan that works for you. And you're right, it's very, very personal, it's gonna depend on what they have. But for someone who can have $1,000 coming in a month, there are a number of cities you can move to right now and $1,000 a month would be enough to take care of you. And I know people who have children with them who are traveling and living on under $1,000 a month in different cities around the world. And it's like, I know a woman who works, I think she worked six hours a week, and it pays for her and her son, right. So she's not retired, she hasn't quit the job, but she works 60 hours a week, and it pays for her son,
right? Now, this is why it's also so important to get a clearer sense of where you are financially like the big picture. And I think sometimes we look at our finances in silos, like we only look at the debt, we only look at maybe how much we have saved, the full picture will give you a better idea of what is actually happening. And like in my case, I was fine with pausing investing and saving once I decided to quit my job. And I gave myself while I was pregnant to switch strategies. Instead of putting all our money into investment accounts. It's like we got to put money into like an fpu account. Now, to help cover expenses while I'm building up the business like that is fine with me because it's worth it. And so there might be some points we have to make a decision on. This is gonna be worth for me to pause. And one of the reasons why it was okay for me to pause this is because when I ran the calculations is that ultimately, something called Kosta five. So I'll just quickly define that meaning we would reach our financial independence goals, or we will be okay in our standard retirement age, if we no longer even invested in our retirement accounts, because they had that much in it, where they could compound over time for the next 30 years. So it wasn't as much as it could be if I kept investing over time, but it was just enough where we wouldn't be on the streets. For me, that was enough and a good enough safety net to take the leap because I said to myself, then that means we only have to make enough money to pay for our living expenses. And I think if you start thinking like that, and if you are in a job right now, and there you want to maybe it's not immediate, that you have to leave, but you're thinking you know what I want to do what Jamila and Rashida is talking about in the next three years, then you could start like looking at your full financial picture and planning ahead and saying, how much would I need while I'm traveling or building up this business? And how much do I already have saved and invested? And if I were to stop investing for a little bit just to take this leap? Where does that put me in the next 2030 years? Will I still be okay, so there's a lot of stuff to talk through with that. But I just think it's important to think about,
but I find that a lot of people don't want to look at the numbers. And it was it was like that for me. When I was laying off. I was like on eating out like men stop talking to me. How do I turn off these notifications? What's going on? It's hard when you think it's going to be bad news, it's really hard to look at the numbers, like the total holistic financial picture. But it's for most people I find out it's typically better than they think it is like our brains tell us that like, you ain't got no money, you ain't got no backup, like since you broke, right? Like that's what our brains tell you. And then a lot of times look at numbers and you're like, but I'm not, right, like I got a little a little change here got a little change there. That debt isn't as bad as I thought it was. The interest rate isn't terrible. But it takes facing it to know what you can do. It takes facing the numbers to say, Okay, this is what's possible in my life now.
Yes, I love that. And I find that two people are more afraid. It's like that boogeyman like the thing you think it's under your bed, but it's like not really there. And it's keeping you stuck more than it needs to one of the things that I love, I was watching something that you did on your YouTube channel, I think and you talked about the difference between being productive, and I think feeling productive. And I think what's happening for some people, when they hear about financial independence, retire early and not working like this idea of not working, it turns them off completely. Because we've been socialized in this environment in this capitalistic society that we should always be working and proving our worth. And so the idea of not doing anything is boring even for me sometimes if I'm like just not doing anything, I'm like, There's something I should be doing. So talk a little bit about that. I love how you explained it.
So for a lot of us, we like you said we've been trained that doing something. Our highest value is what we create. Our highest value is what we produce. I recognize very early in my career that all of my job, my jobs, were just making rich people richer, right? And for a lot of us, it's going to be the same thing like at the core Have your job, what do you do? You make rich people richer, like I know, someone's like, No, I'm working a nonprofit, and I'm fine. But like for most of us, we make rich people richer. And so this doesn't work. Unless we're being told that there's, there's some, like nobility in that, that we have to be productive. Because if you look at your job like that, I'm just making rich people richer, it has significantly less value, right? Like it means a lot less unless you're one of the rich people. We've been sort of tricked into believing that like, Hi, my name is Rashida and I'm a lawyer is important, as opposed to like, hi, I My name is Rashida. And I just started watching Ozarks two days ago, and I love it. And so who we are, what our jobs are, what our titles are, who we work for what we produce is seen as important in this society. And that makes it really hard to let go of to go from. I am a lawyer, a lawyer who works for BMW, right to just chill. I'm just traveling, I'm just traveling, it's fine. Right? Is hard. So it's one of those things of when people talk about retirement, one of the questions I got the other day was, why would you even retire from life? And I'm like, What is retire from life? Me? Like, I'm still breathing. I'm still doing yoga. I'm still eating snacks every afternoon. Like, What? What? Why do you equate work with life so much that the idea of retiring from work means retiring from life in your mind? And how did you type that out? I think that made sense, right? you've typed that out, and you press send. Because retiring from work means retiring from life, right? Like, that's just ugly. It's, it's kind of ugly. And it's I'm not blaming anyone individually, we've been brainwashed into thinking that like, what we do, what we produce, what we create, is our highest value. And it's not like you're valuable just by being and I have this message. I mean, black woman, I'm here for you all day long. This is my message to you, and everybody else who wants to hear it too. But like you are valuable just by being on this planet, no matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter what your past says, right, you are valuable. And you I value you, you don't have to prove it. You don't have to do anything to be a value. You don't have to create anything, you don't have to get a job. You don't have to get another certificate, you're a value. And you deserve a life of ease, simply because you're put on this planet, right? Like I am a firm believer, I was not put on this planet to work on my job. I do not believe all the things that had to go right. We'll call it right. Other things that have to line up perfectly and go right for me to be born. So I can make rich people richer. does not make sense.
Are you familiar with the nap ministry? Yes. So what she talks about, and I'm still digging into her content, but I love it talks to us much just about how much our ancestors worked, and how much they didn't have the luxury of rest and how, like, it's our time. And you know, I can't I can't say that I agree with you. If you hear that, that's construction happening in my background, but we're gonna have to work through this guy's, but I completely understand and I hear you. And but it's also met with this idea, like my push back my immediate like, push back when I catch the person inside of me talking and pushing back on what you just said, is, but it takes effort. It takes work to get to where we got to, like, we have the luxury now of saying we want to rest because we are women who have established themselves who have the nest egg already, who went to school who got the education. And we toiled and we did do a lot to get that. Which for me is true. And I think for you is true. How do we tell someone who's younger? Or who's starting out like that? They don't have to do all the work we did when the work we did put us financially to benefit in this way.
Right. So I'm not saying that it's not work, I'm saying that it's we might not need to do as much work as we think like I said, my friend traveled the world on for for a year on $40,000 and came back to like six bucks in her bank account. Right? Like there was no nest egg, she had $40,000. And she spent it all on the road, all of it all gone. But she came back renewed, she came back worked a job again, and then left again. Right? Because she knew that a lifetime of labor wasn't for her anymore. So she was going to work to make money to take these breaks. I think we all have to make the choice of what is of most importance to us. And we have to walk boldly towards that. So if living in another country is of most importance to you, for whatever reason you would choose that. Then how do you make that happen? How what are the bold steps you can take towards it? And that's going to look different for everybody. But is it going to look like laboring for 20 years? No, right? Like it doesn't it could but it doesn't need to. And so the amount of labor required is going to depend on what you decide is the highest priority for you. If getting a newer McMansion every three years and a brand new car every two years is of highest priority to you, I'm not knocking it. But that sounds like a lifetime of labor to me. What are the things you can do? Can you build a business that does not require 40 hours of work a week from you? Can you maybe work part time at a salary that allows you to work, you know, one to three days a week? And that's it? What are the things that you can do to meet your dream that allows you to step out of working backbreaking work, or mentally exhausting work every day until you're 65? Because really, that's what that is the thing that I'm saying, You don't have to do, right? You don't have to work every day until you're 65 like these people have told you. So how do you back up from that, whatever you other options available to you, and they're going to look different from everyone, right? Maybe that's a year off every three years, maybe it's working remotely from wherever you want, maybe it's three weeks off between every new job, and you get new jobs frequently, because that can bump up your salary, whatever that choice is, how do you not fall into the I have to work every day at a job I hate until I'm 65. Because that's what I was told, right? Like, that's what I want us to free ourselves from.
And it's like, what you're saying just added some more clarity is that we talked before about you're working to make someone else rich. And that's what most people are doing. But when I mentioned that we work hard to get to where we are and to give ourselves that stability. We were also maybe we have to play that game and work in a corporate environment meant to make someone else rich, but at the same time, we were investing in ourselves. Like that's the difference like the people who are just working to get by and are unhappy and not pouring into themselves in some way. Whether that's your education, your mental health, fitness, whatever that looks like for you. But putting yourself like you're getting something out of this to like, you're not going to be chewed up and spit out dry. By the time you're done in corporate America or in any situation. You know what to tango, you unfortunately have to do it for now. You're doing what has to be done, but you are building yourself up in the meantime, to do something else.
Jamila Souffrant 47:18
So the other trick part of that is, and I mentioned it with houses and cars. What we're told is that things getting things is the answer, getting things but things you just got to work harder for things right things. You got to buy a new house with the bigger closet because you've done 20 unboxings of your fancy purses online, right? Like, like the things are nice. And I am I say I'm a maximalist like I am not a minimalist. I am a person who loves things. But they're not my highest priority in life living a peaceful life. I have a business. I do not talk to anybody. I don't want to talk to nobody. That is my internal claim to fame. That is the thing I'm proudest of myself. After working for a decade of people I didn't like, now. If I don't want to talk to you, we don't talk well. No, like that's, that is at the core of my business. Because that was my priority. Like I want a I want to build a business that's easy. That I am not hustling. I am not a sleep with a dead person. I am not a house around the clock person. I am a snacks and naps in the afternoon person. So how do I do that? Right? Like how do I have that life? How do I build that? And it means less things that I might have had early in my legal career, right? Like it means less things and I might have had early, but it's more happiness. And it's more contentment because I've chosen to always be walking towards my priority. My I know what my priorities are with my money. And I want to live a life that allows me to put them first and put myself first
Yeah, boundaries. You said you were gonna boundary boundaries before and I will attest to this, everyone listening and watching because I know that we reached out to you late like last year to come on the show. And I think my assistant, she came back and she was like, oh, like, she's not doing any more interviews right now. She's like, check in early check in q1. And I was like, Okay, I actually love when people do that, because I'm just like, it shows me more than how I should respond to people when I don't want to do things. And or I'm just taking a break. And I just want to mention that as a prime example of you, we're still talking, you're still gonna be on the show. And it wasn't about feeling like you were missing an opportunity which I feel like so many of us feel like like if we're asked to do something, or put in a position we have to say yes, even though our soul and like our body saying no, and we need rest or you want to do something else. And it's just a testament to our conversation that you said not today. Check in next year. And to me that's just that's so strong. And you walking the talk of what you're saying about boundaries, and really doing what you want to do.
Roshida Dowe 49:57
Yeah, it's hard so I the reason I did that was because I took all of December off, I made the decision that I was now working in December. And so no matter what a couple things came my way. And I was like, we'll talk about it in the new year. I'm not even gonna try to schedule something in December for the next year. Nope. Like, I'm not checking email, I'm not doing anything. I know this. And that, for me, plays into the life I want, right? Like I have created this life of ease after a life of labor, right, like I put in my time. And now I have a much easier life. But like you said, it required money. But how much money it requires for you is going to be different. Like I said, in the very beginning, I was looking at those chicks who work in a coffee shop or taking six months off, like how you pay for this. And then I realized that's not my business. How can I pay for it was my business, the only thing I need to worry about is what do I want? And how can I pay for it? How can I make it work? And so I would say for everyone else out there, like, if you hear someone doing something to your point earlier of like, oh, well, they have this big chunk of money. Yes. But like, what can you do? What do you like about what they're doing? What can you emulate? And what can you do with the amount of money you have now, like look for the possibilities, instead of saying I don't have their resources, because I have been in the idle have their resources days, and I know what that's like, but it's not helpful. It's not productive, it does not move you forward, what moves you forward is saying, let me check my budget. Let me see how much money it would really take to live in Thailand for six months. And then let me see what I can do. Right? Instead of saying, Well, I don't have the money they have. So that can never happen. For me. It's the
biggest strength. And I think reason for what it looks like your success and even mine, what if, you know, I could say that, because I just wrote down the what is important to see like, like the what exposes you to what's possible, and the how, yes, it's cool to learn the how from someone that's kind of like what we're talking about here. What I hope this inspires someone to do is say, Wow, the what is look at what Rasheeda did, and the how, like I'm learning a little bit. And even if you don't relate to the how you create your own, how you take what you need, you leave what you don't want, you create your own, how you piece together the inspiration that you're seeing, and you see that it's actually possible for someone to do this. Let's see how you can make it possible for yourself to do this. Yeah, in terms of what your life looks like now. So even though Would you consider yourself financially independent? Or like, you don't have to work ever again? Or do you kind of feel like you're in that? Almost there stage? And then what are you doing for work and money while you're in Mexico City?
I don't have to work anymore. I am. I started saying it recently. So I'll say it here. Last December, I would have had over a million invested. Now it's less, I'm trying to be more transparent and talking about money. It's not the most money in the world, right. But I, I don't need more than that now. And to your point earlier, it will compound it will get bigger, I will have more money. Come on stock market, do you think right. But I do. I do work. But the work I do. They are passion projects. So when I started traveling the world, women started reaching out to me and saying like, I want to quit my job and travel to like how you do that? Or like I am planning a six month trip. But these are my worries, how can I get around this. And so what started out of that are two businesses, one in which I is a solo business, I run it myself, I help women move abroad and take career breaks. So I do one on one coaching. I have a course. And then another one, I started a summit with my very good friend Stephanie Perry, we have an annual summit called Exodus Summit. And that is for black women who want to move abroad or take career breaks. We have a Facebook group as well. We give you the information you need. And the inspiration because a lot of times like you said earlier like I can't speak to mothers who are moving have children, but I know women who can. And so we bring them on and say like this is how we did it. I can't speak to women who had low paying jobs who did it in a lot of ways. Everyone's life is going to seem familiar to someone and unrecognizable to other people. And so we grab a variety of women. We put us all together and we say like who can you draw inspiration from you're not gonna you're not going to draw inspiration from everybody. But like, who can you draw inspiration from like, let's talk about this. So we've done some it's been running for two years. The first year was really very educational. We talked about different countries and different places to go. And the second year we had women who attended the summit the first year and then moved abroad right or took a career break in the year after attending the summit. And we had them come back and speak to their experience about traveling about moving abroad about like giving it all up and starting over. It was kind of amazing. So two passion projects. I do them because I love them. I also have a boundaries that make sure that I don't do more work than I want to I don't talk to anyone. I don't want to value my piece. And as long as these businesses support my piece, I will support the businesses when they don't. I'll just dig into those long retirement investment accounts. I take some money out and be somewhere else for a few months.
I love it. Oh my gosh, I love this. I know for sure. There's gonna be a lot of people loving you and wanting to hear more from you. So where can they find you?
Okay, you can find me at nine USA. It is Rashida tao.com. That's roshidadowe.com. I also have a guide, a sabbatical planning guide, gives you 10 steps. If you want to plan a sabbatical or career break, you can grab that, to me lluvia the link that
yes, I'll link that in the show notes. So whatever, Rashida you'll send it to me. And then if you're listening to this, you can find the show notes where I've just clicked more, okay, Arrow description, go to the website when that episode comes out, and I'll link all her information so you can follow up.
It's truly like my joy in life is to see women who were like, I didn't think this was possible. But now me and my kids and my husband, everyone's Wow, are you know, we've moved abroad or we're, we're traveling around the world. And it's amazing. Because one last point I want to make most people when I talk to them are scared about what the return looks like, that's the biggest fear will I get the job? What will life be like? Will Will it be hard all these things, but then they never end up returning? Right? Like the biggest fear that was the biggest fear for me to like, well, if I take a year off, will I still be taken seriously in my industry, and then like six months into the time off, I was like, I'm never working for no money all again. Like I don't know what I'm gonna do. I didn't know what I was gonna do for money. But I knew it was not going back to the same industry the same type of employee I was not going to happen. And then I realized I couldn't work for anybody. I can't I can't work I'm I have been broken I cannot work.
Jamila Souffrant 56:58
Roshida Dowe 57:00
And that's what happens to most people is when they take this when you get six months off a year off of working you're like going back to work clocking in. No
Jamila Souffrant 57:09
Yeah. Being on someone else's time like frame and having to be somewhere like that. I choose where I show up and where I want to be i Oh my gosh, Rashida. This has been amazing. Thank you.
Roshida Dowe 57:19
Thank you for having me.
Jamila Souffrant 57:25
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