Episode Number: 274

Episode 274- Cashing Out Into Financial Freedom + How To Leave The Rat Race With Julien & Kiersten Saunders Of rich & REGULAR

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Cashing Out Into Financial Freedom + How To Leave The Rat Race With Julien & Kiersten Saunders Of rich & REGULAR

Kiersten Saunders 0:03

Pick your heart, you get to pick your heart when you are financially secure and responsible. Otherwise, it's picked for you, right? You can choose to struggle now or you can choose to struggle later. But like you don't get to escape life without going through any sort of conflict anywhere along the way of your career and you're earning and so yeah, it's just a matter of like, which heart do you want to do? Do you want to do the heart of having to Job hop and explain to different recruiters and interviewers that you deserve this position and that your experience matters? Or do you want to try and test your skill set in the open market and try to convince strangers to exchange money for whatever you're offering? They're all hard. T minus 10 seconds.

Intro 0:45

Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who wants her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest, and build real wealth. joins are on the journey to launch to financial freedom in three, to one.

Jamila Souffrant 1:12

Journey to launch is supported by first republic bank, a seamless banking experience is something we all want. But what does it really mean? At first republic, it means you have access to your own personal banker, someone who knows your name and is there for you when you need them. I know at anytime, I can just reach out to my personal banker Linda with any questions that I have. It's amazing to know that I won't get the run around by the automated voice recordings and number prompts that leads you to a dead end that I don't have to be put on hold for hours before I can speak to an actual person. Whether you're browsing their full suite of services, or just have questions about your bank statement. You can reach out to your personal banker by phone or email, and through the best in class banking app. See what a difference and always on seamless banking experience can make for you. Visit first republic.com today to learn more. That's first republic.com Member FDIC equal housing lender.

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to launch.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 journey 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 journey to launch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Okay, there it is. I am really really excited to bring back this powerhouse couple they've been on the podcast before actually twice. I think you're on a roundtable discussion and then you came on like way in the beginning I was your first interview Hey.

Kiersten Saunders 3:10


Jamila Souffrant 3:12

Well, yeah, Oprah stage just remember the little people. Okay, so I have on Juliet and Kiersten from rich and regular on the podcast, I'm so excited to have you back. Julian and KEARSON are the couple behind the award winning blog rich and regular. And the new book cashing out when the wealth game by walking away, I'm so excited to have them on. They are also producers of the award winning video series money on the table. They host their own podcast, the rich and regular podcast and they're based out of Atlanta. I'm really excited to talk to them about kind of like where they've been since our first episode conversation. And I'll definitely link that in the episode show notes. Talk more about their book, which will be out by the time you hear this interview. And so welcome back to the podcast.

Kiersten Saunders 3:59

Thank you so much for having us. It's funny, because the first time we were here, you were pregnant with Blake, with your youngest. And now I see you're on Instagram all the time cutting up and it's so amazing what could happen in a couple of years.

Jamila Souffrant 4:15

I know. Because she's four now. That's crazy.

Kiersten Saunders 4:19

That's crazy.

Jamila Souffrant 4:20

That is crazy. I was I must have been working in corporate America then because I didn't quit until after I had her.

Kiersten Saunders 4:25

Yes, yeah. You told us like, offline, that was your plan. And we were like, Why did you sit on the back?

Julien Saunders 4:32

Yeah, we both read because I remember hiding downstairs. I mean, our son was probably just like a few months old, I think or something like that. Yeah, yeah. We were just hiding downstairs trying to be quiet. So cool. We have one set of headphones I had on the ride so yeah, so it's a full circle moment.

Jamila Souffrant 4:56

and I mean you guys have grown so much like in terms of like I'm For individually behind the scenes, but just like as a brand, the things that you were able to like put out and do. I think both of you quit your job since I think the last time we had our conversation. And now you have a new book cashing out. And I want to talk about it all honestly, like, I don't even know where to start, because there's so many places we can. But I want to do like a quick recap, even though everyone could go listen to the original episode, but just a like a quick where you currently are in terms of your financial independence journey, and then we can get into the juiciness of the book.

Julien Saunders 5:32

Yeah, so gosh, previously. That's a lot launch. Yeah, it was it was it was a lot. It's been a wild ride. And so I left my job in 2018, for unfortunate reasons, but we were able to kind of turn that negative into a positive because it allowed us to really kind of double down on our entrepreneurial ambitions in our business. And so far, that's been going really well. At the time, we were real estate investors, we had a rental property and the home that we were living in at the time we turned into our second rental, there was a debt prevented, because we paid off the mortgage on that property back in 2017, as well. But we've since sold all of those properties we've completely gotten out of real estate. And again, focusing on our current business, which is predominantly online and a few other projects that we have in the works KEARSON walked away from her job in 2020

Kiersten Saunders 6:28

2020. Yeah, right before the pandemic, before the pandemic.

Julien Saunders 6:31

And, yeah, a month after we signed the deal to write this book. And so we've spent the last two years it feels longer than half actually, it's closer to like three years, like writing the proposal, writing the book, doing the research, figuring out which parts of our story and the stories of others, supplemented by all of this data around investing, and diversity, equity and inclusion, really just a shot to capture the essence of our story and our message, but also our book, which is catered specifically to black professionals. And so that's been a bit of the journey, I'm sure we've missed out

Kiersten Saunders 7:11

on parenting in between.

Julien Saunders 7:14

But yeah, it's been it's been, it's been dope, like, I'm not even gonna lie, it's been really, really fun. And we're really fortunate to be where we are at this point. So we've hit my guess what they call Coast Fie, we do not have to really think about funding our retirement anymore. So the work that we do is the work that matters to us the work that we care about, and what interests us, in most cases, in his creative work, like this book, like the mixtape, like money on the table, etc. You know, I was telling someone else, like, I'm really fortunate, I get to do what I love with someone that I love. And for people that I love, and it's a dream, it's a dream come true.

Jamila Souffrant 7:54

Oh, my gosh, it's so beautiful. Okay, so many questions, I would love to tee on the real estate, I get a lot of questions. I know the market is kind of crazy right now, like if you're a buyer, where you know, people want to be real estate investors, and there's a pull to it. There's like this prestige to it. And I would love to know for you, what made you decide to get out of the real estate game, lessons learn anything you would have did differently for anyone who would love to learn from you.

Kiersten Saunders 8:20

Yeah, I think for us, it was a matter of having something to compare it to. So a lot of real estate investors get involved in real estate, they go deep on real estate, they join the communities, and they become the identity of a real estate investor, which means getting as many doors as possible and accomplishing all the things that come with the hallmarks of being a real estate investor. And for us, when we thought about what we wanted our identities to be and what we wanted our assets to look like, real estate really didn't fit in with the kind of lifestyle that we wanted, we wanted to be able to have variable levers to affect pricing. So with real estate, I mean, unless you're doing short term rentals with like an Airbnb, you don't have a whole lot of levers, if you don't want to be an unethical landlord, where you're just constantly raising the rent on people. And then there's a limit right there, the market kind of determines those conditions. Whereas in the creative economy or in digital entrepreneurship, kind of sky's the limit, right, you can create as many products and sell them as many times to as many people as the internet connection to. And so that was far more appealing. When we started thinking about where we wanted to live long term. If we think about you know, relocating out of the country, we didn't want to have to have three assets here that we needed to maintain and, you know, monitor or liquidate. And so it just made sense for the life that we wanted to live. I'm sure there was some math involved. That's more Julie's feed. But when I thought about how I wanted my ideal day to stack up, it didn't align to real estate even though we were the kind of the laziest real estate investors ever. We had a management company we had, you know, we had a first line of defense, but even then, like I just did not want to worry about anytime. issues.

Julien Saunders 10:00

Yeah, we actually think about our website as a form of digital real estate, right? It's a piece of property online that we own, we get to charge people rent, we could sell it if we wanted to, we can use it as a distribution engine for products, or affiliate marketing or any number of other ways. And so, to kiss this point, like, we had the privilege of being able to look at a variety of income sources and thinking about which ones we wanted to really focus on. And more often than not, real estate just kind of felt like, quite honestly, like an old school way of building wealth. It's not to write it off. But for us, considering the properties that we had, considering the amount of energy and the complexity of it, yeah, our

Kiersten Saunders 10:43

learning curve, like there are some people who have the right skill sets for real estate, they're, you know, former project managers, they are their children of builders, like, the learning curve for us, as brands and marketing professionals was just high to get into the kind of real estate that we wanted to, and it was kind of like, um, I can probably cash out on some skills in another area much quicker,

Julien Saunders 11:07

it's a lot easier to drive traffic to a website than it is to raise rent on a property.

Jamila Souffrant 11:13

This is so refreshing. Because, you know, as someone who was also very interested in real estate, I have my masters in real estate, when I tell people about like my background, they probably wonder why don't you like investing more in real estate, the truth of the matter is, like I have enough things I need to do and worry about, like, I don't want to add any more work to my plate. But I love that we are like you're sharing this because like some people just want to do things because it like looks cool. And like they think that's like the next step. But there are multiple ways to build wealth, but there's no one path. There's multiple paths. But if you truly love real estate, you got the energy and time to do it go all out. But if you like, have a nagging feeling, because there might be someone right now we're like stopping from making a mistake, like they really don't want to do it. But it's you know, the podcast and the social media, folks are encouraging them. Like, that's the way to like get out. And it's like, there are multiple ways. And I know that's what you talk about with your book. And it's there's simple ways to like it's old fashioned, it's kind of like the lazy way. But that's kind of like my, that's my style. That's my speed. And I feel like that is what I want to talk about. Because your whole like premise, like the whole rich and regular brand is like you can be rich, but you can be regular, like it doesn't have to be a life of opulence. Like if you want that that's fine, but it can look a certain way. So I'd love to talk about how like this book for you kind of synthesizes, like everything that you've been talking about for the past couple of years. And really, if you were to like, say two sentences of what it like means to cash out because the title of your book, like what does that mean, and then we'll get into it.

Kiersten Saunders 12:45

So let's start with what it means to cash out. I think it goes back to what you're saying, we're so conditioned to be excellent in all things, we're so conditioned to work twice as hard for half as much. And so cashing out is really flipping that on its head. And it becomes the financial and career blueprint that shows people what winning actually looks like. We tend to think that winning is like getting the big job getting the promotion, getting the position that you've wanted the whole time. But really, in today's market winning looks like being able to walk away on your own terms with your dignity intact. And so we feel like everybody should have the right to quit a job when they're done doing it. And unfortunately, that's not the case for many black professionals for a number of reasons, some within our control and some without, but cashing out is really about giving black professionals and people of color in any marginalized identity, there have been white women who are neurodiverse diverse, that found a lot of lessons in the book to be meaningful. But giving them a new narrative to say this is what winning looks like, I know what you've been told, I know, all the stories that we've heard over the years from women and men and well meaning adults, but this is a new economy. And what you need to do is build your own safety net so that you can ultimately rest that was more than two cents.

Jamila Souffrant 14:01

Actually, no, but I love that though. Because that's the thing. I think there's this like perception. And we've talked about this in the past but like to bring it back here. It's like there's just perception that you know, you have to like look like wealth. And again I'm not saying that you can't look like wealth right with like the nice house nice car, or be like in the forefront, you know, but this idea of like, there's so many like people who really have money and you can't tell you know, stealth wealth, like they have money, you can tell they have money, people that you assume that have money and that they have they don't have anything but when it comes down to having like this option of walking away, and not being stuck in a situation or with a manager or in a career that you hate, like they can't do anything about it. They feel stuck. And so you're teaching like concepts in this book about like how people can get out of that. So I'd love to go into like if someone is like, all right, like I get it like I need the ability to cash out at some point. What does that look like for someone who's first finding out about financial independence? Maybe we can go old school and just do financial and penance, one on one from your terms, what it means and then like what this first steps are in order to put yourself on this path to cashing out?

Julien Saunders 15:08

Yeah, so I think there are a couple of chapters that are really specifically get to the root of offering kind of the basics for people who kind of need that help making sense of it all. And I think the first one is around giving your income a very clear purpose. So we've created this four step, or four part framework that helps people understand like what the purpose of income is, because I think a lot of us are just drawn to creating income, trying to have as much of it as possible, but we don't really know what we're aiming for. We just kind of went that number, right. And so people who are making six figures want to make six figures. And then people who are making six figures are trying to make seven but there's no like, it doesn't really matter. Like I'm we know several people. And I think you and I specifically Jamila, like we know several people who bring in millions of dollars in their business or half a million dollars, or whatever it is, but they don't keep any of it right. And I think if you just do a couple searches online, you can see that this is actually very prevalent. And so I think that's the first part is helping people understand and get really clear on what your what the purpose of your income is. And to us the ultimate purpose of your income is to help you achieve financial freedom, right. So beyond financial independence, we believe financial freedom is the ultimate goal. The second piece is helping people to think about their jobs, you can't really talk about money without talking about work, because that's how a lot of us actually earn our income. And specifically for people of color, and other marginalized groups like we have to, like shed the romantic relationship that we have with this fantasy that we have with where we have to actually be honest about some of the other uglier parts, whether it be fatigue that says sin, or burnout, or racism or sexism, or ageism, or any of the other negative isms that creep outside of our lives and into our day to day, work lives. Like they all have an impact on our earning potential, which has an impact on our ability to save. And so this idea of just kind of doing the work working hard, assuming that you're going to get this promotion, or that you can even catch up later, because you will always earn more than you are earning right now or the same amount that you will in the future. It's just not true, right? Like it's not true for the vast majority of people. And so we need to be honest about that. And use that to rethink the way that we plan our careers. And so we offer up a framework, which is to help people really put a limit on it, right, let's begin with the end in mind, we're not going to walk into our careers thinking that we're so dope, so smart, that we're going to be able to keep this thing going, the gravy train is going to be smooth. It's like Nah, let's put a cap on it 15 years, and here's how we break it down first five years, this is where we're going to do to help eliminate debt or limit debt to the point where it opens up opportunities for us to reallocate our money. second set of that time period, we're gonna start focusing on skill building, not just that we can earn more at the job, but so that we can earn more outside of the job, which of these skills are monetizable outside of the job and inside the job, and then the last five years is really saying, Alright, let's press it, test it, let's see us off these skills that we've identified, which we're calling our superpowers, which one of these we think has the greatest amount of growth potential. And throughout that time period, you're also investing so that at the end of that 15 year period, you got options, which is a privilege to have, right? Whether you are tired, whether you get laid off, whether right now there's a threat of a recession, or any other reason you at that point, will have the freedom, the ability to say, Hey, I'm good. We've planted we've invested along the way we've completely eliminated debt, we've built skills that allow us to build a business or just sort of take a break if we want to. But I think it's about being able to walk away and like redefining what a successful career looks like, which is inclusive of putting a cap on how long it is.

Jamila Souffrant 19:02

Right. And so I want to like just reiterate like, and I think this is a powerful concept that you do have is that really in 15 years, anyone can gain this level of the ability to cash out. And it doesn't mean financial independence in the sense that you never have to work again. But it means probably how it relates mostly to like my level four, when I talk about the stages of financial independence is this work flexibility stage, it's like you have options to walk away from something that's not serving you. Right,

Julien Saunders 19:28

without question, and I can already feel the arrows, right? So there's some people who say, Oh, that's easy for us to say, right? You live in Atlanta, and Atlanta is not nearly as expensive as New York or y'all make more than six figures. And I hear that we account for that in the book. But it doesn't take away from the fact that we know that this is possible because we've done it. We talked about some of the stories that other people who've done and by the way, many people who've done this and are really diligent about doing it, more often than not end up leaving well before that 15 year mark. Right. They're able to walk away because of a boom market or week As they realize that actually, the skills that I've been giving to this employer at a discount are far more valuable in the open marketplace, or my side hustle after four or five years is now starting to earn me supplemental income, which I've been able to use to eradicate debt or invest at a significantly higher rate, and so on. And so we account for that we acknowledge the fact that it's certainly a lot easier to do for dual income, or dual earning high income houses. 100% understand that. But we do know that for other people with a couple of tweaks, and thinking differently, and acting differently, you can certainly make progress to help you get on that same path.

Jamila Souffrant 20:40

And it's interesting, you said, like, oftentimes, it can take less than 15 years to get to this like flexibility stage or this cashing out stage. And it's so true. And it's almost as like, you know, you say 15 years, even though for some people, that doesn't even seem long enough to like, say people can do it in that time. But like, for most people, it does end up being less because of this, like you said, the skill sets you acquire, and like for those of people who are listening, and they're like, well, you're saying it's gonna take five years to get out of debt based on kind of like, where I am, I feel like it feels like it's gonna take like, 15 Do they feel like it's going to take longer? And then they don't start I feel like so many people are like, are in that part of the process, where it's just like, why even start, why bother? Because it's going to take so long. And I think what you're doing is trying to encourage people and really che like, it actually could take you less, it's taken, it's I think it's taken probably you less, it's taken me less time to get this level of flexibility. And I couldn't have accounted for that before I started. But like you said, like things start happening fast compounding for you, as you start doing these things.

Kiersten Saunders 21:37

That's because your brain changes along the way. And that's what people can't calculate, right. It's like trying to calculate exponential math, right, our brains aren't set up like that, we think it's just going to be linear, you no measurable improvement. But once you start realizing the benefits of freedom along the way, where even if you can't knock out all your debt, if you can knock out 40% of it, 20% of it, you got some different options, because your credit score reflects that your career goals can change because you have different debt obligations. And so the goal is to just work at it chip out along the way, and then be open to how many options become available to you as you make progress in the 15 years.

Jamila Souffrant 22:18

Right. So the first five years, like if we do break this down, again, in terms of like the debt payoff stage, you're still saying to invest, like, it's important to still invest in this stage or throughout the all these stages. What are some strategies? If someone is listening, and they're like, Alright, I'm in debt. Now, I have this corporate career. But I don't want it to take five years or you know, maybe it will take five years. But what are the strategies that I can go like through to help me get there faster? What are some tips or advice you'd have for them?

Julien Saunders 22:45

I think it really depends on the person and the situation. I mean, you've done so many episodes on things that people have done to grow their income, or people who've gotten really crafty. And so I would say start there, right? Like, if you're listening to this podcast, go back and listen to some of the others. Because any number of things will work. Like we've done it all, we've not at all but and we

Kiersten Saunders 23:06

write about that and we talk about snowball the Avalanche method, we frozen credit cards, like literally in blocks of ice, we gone cash only we done envelopes, or as the kids call it these days cash stuffing, like, okay, you've done a little bit of everything. And I think it's just to find the thing that works best for you buying that is not working anymore.

Jamila Souffrant 23:30

So as we get into like the next five years, it's like this honing of your skill set part of the journey, I find that there's so many people who may be feeling like, Alright, I have no, I have skill sets, like I know, I'm valuable in the marketplace. But I don't know necessarily that I want to pursue that skill set, or there's something else. We don't even know what those skill sets are, how does one find out like what it is that they can market and what it is that they actually want to do so they can capitalize on it.

Julien Saunders 23:56

So we actually don't talk about this in the book. But I think that's a really great question. And I can tell you what we did. And it's really kind of paying attention to, especially if you have a job, like if you work a corporate gig, pay attention to the contractors at your company, right. So if you think about who the paid employees are, there's always gonna be an organizational chart. And those are the people in the position and the types of departments that the company believes is core to business operations, but pay attention to who the contractors are. And so in my case, the contractors, as I think back to my career, the contract is mostly project managers, PMPs. And people who were well skilled in what's called an agile methodology, which is like a project management approach to help getting things done more efficiently. Those were really, really important skill sets, right? And so that should be an indicator to you to say, alright, this might be as I'm thinking about what my next certification may be, this may be the thing that I really want to pay attention to. Another way to look at it is to look at at a company and everything About All right, here's the budget that let's say they give for marketing. And well, let's say it's a million dollars, but they always carve out another 500,000 for this particular agency, right, there's value there, right. And you need to actually start thinking about yourself as potentially being the person that is leading up an agency. And it doesn't mean that you're going to be the person who has a team of 10, you could be one person or two people. And then the other person could be just a friend of yours who fills the gap for the skill set that you just don't have. But the point is, you have to look at yourself as a business a little bit, right, you have the ability to earn income in so many ways beyond just your salary, one of the things we talked about in the book is that your salary is not your ceiling, right. And you have to think differently, because so often, we conflate the two, he was talking about income, but we're really just talking about our salary, or we're talking about what we actually earn in terms of our actual wage, your salary could be significantly greater than that. But that's where rent collected comes in. That's where all the 1099 is, and all the other things that could be coming in from any number of people who value your skill set, whether it be consulting, or project management, or speaking, or hell, it could be an ebook. We talked about that all the time. Like, you don't have to be a New York Times bestselling writer to earn money. Having written an ebook, right? I think about so many of the presentations that I've given at my job, when I had a traditional job that I did that I just thought were just the most absolute beautiful presentations in the world. And then you find out that the executive that you wrote it for, like, didn't even look at it, right. There are people right now who are taking all of the principles and all those skill sets, turning it into a course, and earning supplemental income off of that very same set of design skills and thought. And so that's really what we're talking about is like beyond just blocking or really trying to plumb it, you're spending like we really have to think about income differently. And so whether it's a side hustle, whether it's a second job, or if you want to join the over employed this new set of people who are working multiple jobs remotely and earning twice, or in some cases three times as much like this is the world that we live in right now. And so many of the rules that were written 1020 30 years ago, literally do not apply anymore. And so we're trying to introduce people to a new set of rules and what we call rituals that we think they should be factoring into their careers and their financial.

Jamila Souffrant 27:31

today's podcast is presented in collaboration with behind the brilliance and interview podcast for the intellectually curious and relentlessly ambitious. Each week host Lisa Nicole Bell talks with innovators, creatives, and entrepreneurs about their lives and work to reveal inspiring stories and practical strategies for leveling up. Behind the brilliant has more than 200 episodes in the archive, and past guests include Debbie Millman, Seth Godin, Issa Rae, and yours truly, with millions of downloads and a devoted following of smart and successful listeners, behind the brilliant has been praised by Inc, or finery 29, Forbes and Apple for consistently delivering new perspectives on timeless topics. Learn more at behind the brilliance.com and subscribe wherever you listen to this podcast, or wherever you stream your podcast.

For you entrepreneurship is like a big part of that. But what about those people who are just like one? I don't think that's for me, I actually don't want the extra work or to come home and do this side hustle? Do you really feel like that? That is actually the way that a lot of people shouldn't be like, veering towards like this creative economy or you know, like online digital space of selling things? And can you do it just with a full time income from your job like reach this? cashing out? Like follow your framework to cash out by just working?

Kiersten Saunders 28:59

Absolutely, yeah. Easiest way? Yes, the easiest way, if you can continue to upskill so that you have relevant skills that attract high paying employers that are keeping up or outpacing inflation and the other costs of rising the rising cost of goods, then yeah, great. Like, please continue to fall under the safety net of a consistent every other week paycheck. But what we're finding in the data is that very few of those jobs actually exist. And then if you dig deep into the demographics of the companies where they do exist, the likelihood that if you are a black woman or a black male or disabled or any marginalized identity that you would be along the same trajectory, get the same pay, get the same opportunities as your white male counterparts is very slim to none. Right? You look at these huge companies that offer giant salaries and they have 4% of their employees over Back, or 2% of them are black women. And then if you get to the C suite, or the VP level of director level, it's even slimmer. So I think we do have to confront the uncomfortable truths. I'm not saying that you need to make a VP level salary to do this, it's kind of depends on your expenses. But you do have to consider which you're going to be putting up with while you pursue this in a traditional career. And making plans the times we want to stay employed. But it's not our choice. There's a group of people that flex and Mehta and Google right now that are dealing with unexpected layoffs, and they're the most talented in their class, and they still got let go. So it's just something to consider that corporate America is not necessarily the safest bet, either you have to be prepared for disruptions in income, regardless of what path you take.

Jamila Souffrant 30:46

Yeah, and to let go of the like that loyalty, like from the people who do stay within the corporate realm to earn their income, like, and they make significant increases to that income. It's not what the same company usually like. It's like, they have to Job hop and change companies. And so be to be open to that. And to look for those opportunities. If you are taking the career track to wealth.

Kiersten Saunders 31:08

Yeah, we always say pick your heart, you get to pick your heart when you are financially secure and responsible. Otherwise, it's picked for you, right, you can choose to struggle now or you can choose to struggle later. But like you don't get to escape life without going through any sort of conflict anywhere along the way with your career and your earning. And so, yeah, it's just a matter of like, which heart do you want to do? Do you wanna do the heart of having to Job hop and explain to different recruiters and interviewers that you deserve this position and that your experience matters? Or do you want to try and test your skill set in the open market and try to convince strangers to exchange money for whatever you're offering? They're all hard.

Jamila Souffrant 31:49

Yeah. Okay. So you also talk about, like, these different kind of personality types or spending types within the book. And I'd love for you to go through them, like, explain what they are like a brief overview, but then hopefully, someone can identify where they are on this spectrum that you talk about.

Julien Saunders 32:07

Yeah, and I will start with a disclaimer, because anytime you are like adding a label and talking about people, you're obviously making a generalization. But there are certainly patterns that you start to identify. And I'm sure you've done the same thing. When you have 1000s of conversations about money with people, you it's very easy. And in some cases, in just a few minutes, you can identify exactly who they are. And so there are three kind of personality types that we identified. One was what we called the financially insecure. And these are the people who are kind of in a perpetual state of always having more month, at the end of their money, I've been financially insecure, I support a financially insecure parent, the way that you see the world, when you are constantly running low, is very, very different. The possibilities are very different for you what you value is very different in life. And so it sets the tone for just about every single thing that you do, including relationships. On the other end of the extreme, you have people that we call fast spenders. And these are I find them to be just a fascinating group of people because they don't have and a similar emotional relationship with money than most people do. Money is just something that flies in and out of their lives, it's all about fast, they earn it fast, they burn it fast. They are highly specialized people, they could be the person who was in tech, with a legal degree. Or I'm in corporate finance, or pharmaceutical sales, all these people are, you know, the in the software engineers of the world that are able to just, you know, move really, really quickly when it comes in. And when it comes out, they're not thinking twice about it, they don't have time to track it, because it doesn't even make sense. They just know that there's more coming tomorrow. And what we've learned is that a lot of them, especially amongst the black folks, but they're not factoring in the one thing that gets all of us, which is Father Time, right? It gets all of us, you will get tired. And unfortunately, you especially if you are in a position where you're always reliant on someone else to pay you especially like a job, they have every incentive to try to cut expenses to and in some cases, that comes out a loss of income for you. And so we actually don't try to help them too much because there aren't that many of them. But their unique set of people that we know that we've come across them quite a few times, who we are talking to who we are targeting in the book, are the people that would be called the middle is the people that are in between we think they're the most interesting of the three groups as well. Because what I found is that a lot of them have sort of grown from being financially insecure, but they can't let go of that identity. They remember the days where they had to fight and claw for every single dollar and it sets the tone for how they manage their money today, and in some cases, that's a good thing because they don't want to go back to where they used to be. But oftentimes, it also leads to them having limits in terms of what they believe is possible, risk averse, they're very risk averse, which is why they double down on their careers, they double down on their jobs, they double down on traditional ways of building wealth, like real estate, and ignore newer ways that I like tech or the creative economy. And then on the other side, and what I find is interesting about the middle is that their taste preferences are oftentimes set by the people who we consider who they consider to be fast spenders, right? So those people who are able to make hundreds of 1000s of dollars, they're out in Bali right now, or taking trips and doing those things. It bothers them. It is like, Oh my God, that's what they believe, is success looks like. And so that sets the tone for what they want. And so they get stuck in the cycle of never feeling like what they have is enough, right? I will call someone out right now without actually calling their name and one of our families never

Kiersten Saunders 36:01

get it this because he'd be given all the descriptors

Julien Saunders 36:05

he's not gonna listen to this episode.

Jamila Souffrant 36:07

You never know who's a journeyer he may be a journey or you never know, right?

Julien Saunders 36:13

No, right. Obama, Janka will make up for it. But like, and I'm sure there's somebody listening right now what they'll say things you know what gas prices are high, this is ridiculous, I'm gonna go ahead and buy me a Tesla. That's a hell of a leak. That's a hell of a leak, right? There's a lot in between gas prices are high, I can't afford a car. And so the next logical solution for me is to buy a luxury vehicle that allows me to save $100 every single month, because that's just too much. But the $75,000 solution, which is going to cost me significantly more, if I finance it, is exactly what I need at this moment in time, right. That's a great example of them, like being stuck in between these two worlds, they don't want to go back, they feel pressed by the 100 or $200, that they're spending every single month right now ignoring everything else that they're spending. But their taste preferences are very much set by the upper echelons of luxury and those kinds of things. And so it creates this warped sense of understanding. And I think it really highlights the lack of purpose that they are applying to their income, they're sort of stuck in this mindset of believing that the sole purpose of the income is to afford them the option to buy the things that they like, and not to ultimately achieve financial independence, or move beyond that, and actually achieve financial freedom.

Jamila Souffrant 37:29

This conversation reminds me kind of back when we first talked, and we had a roundtable discussion, and we were talking about just like black people and wealth and sometimes like this concept of financial independence, and some of the Levers you can pull to reach it are like, you know, being frugal, and not spending all your money, you know, all your income investing it. And like it kind of, it's in the opposite of maybe what our family members who came here like are their whole point was like it was education so that we could live the life. And like, now there's so much messaging on you deserve it, like, you know, especially like as people who have been marginalized and treated so badly. In this country, it's kind of like it's your time, right? So if you deserve you want that bag, you want that car, black people can have wealth too, we can have luxury to like, it's confusing, it is confusing, especially if you are not financially secure. If you're not investing already on just like just to play an investing Simple Path to Wealth, kind of like track. And you're hearing these messages. I feel like while I agree, like we should be able to have and if you want to show your wealth in that way, go ahead. We do deserve the luxury. But it's kind of like I sometimes feel afraid for people who are not to this point yet who are listening to those messages. And then it's like, it's literally keeping them held down to a job to a situation that is not great. So let's talk through that a bit. Because I feel like we're not going to solve it here. But

Kiersten Saunders 38:54

it's so interesting because at the time we're recording this Walmart just came out with some Juneteenth branded ice cream. And black people are up in arms about the commercialization of our pain and our suffering and like Juneteenth is not something for you to make a profit off of it is it is meant to be a commemorative holiday. But what we haven't gotten to the point of understanding is the commercialization of luxury is also an issue. It is also an issue that plagues our community. Luxury is not necessarily a branded item, it's not necessarily the biggest, Blinky gayest thing that's available. Luxury is being able to wake up every single day and decide what you want to do. And if you don't want to do something, you just don't do it. Luxury is not having to ask people permission to get what you want. Luxury is being able to make moves based on the fact that you just feel like doing something different. And so the more we start to normalize those narratives in addition to the fact that yes, luxury can be a handcrafted Irma's bag that you know, with aged leather, and it can be that too, but like we need to kind of talk about a more exciting Answer a definition of what luxury is in this time, because again, the old definition isn't going to serve us forever, it's just going to lead you to be somebody with a bunch of items, but still has to go to work every single day or can't afford a health emergency or can't do what they want to do with their time or with, you know, their caretaking because they've been bogged down by all of their things.

Julien Saunders 40:22

And a lot of ways this actually also makes me think about the beef that I have with the term black excellence. Because it is the term that we use to celebrate when we see people who are doing great things. But I also think that it is like the the mantra that leads us to believe that we deserve these things and should be also like endlessly resilient, meaning we should go to work and, you know, what we are faced with pales in comparison to what our parents generation or what our ancestors, um, had to deal with. And so this is a drop in the bucket. And the reality is like, it's okay to be 40 and tired, right? Like, it's like, it's okay to admit that it doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't make you soft, to be an exhausted white collar worker, just because so many of your family members are blue collar workers, and they don't count it if you say that you tie it and make a joke about your fingers and your thumbs. Like, these are the things that that are, I think, baked into the culture and set the tone for how we view work and money. And what we're presenting to them is like we really need to reframe the reward. There are so many other things that are just as valuable, if not more valuable, right? Like being able to comfortably support. A parent who is financially insecure without resentment is a huge reward, being able to take your children on experiences that they saw on television, and not have to worry about, you know, asking a boss, whether or not you could take that time as a reward, and so on and so on.

Kiersten Saunders 41:59

But the irregularities of not having not feeling like you have to be excellent all the time. Like,

Julien Saunders 42:06

yeah, there's a there's a quote in Queen and slim about that, you know, where he was like, now why don't we feel like we need to be excellent all the time. Like, you know, our peers don't have to do that. And they're doing just fine. So there's something to be learned from that. And we talk about that too, in our book. And so, you know, it's not that I reject the term, I understand its value. But we have to look at both sides of it right on the other side of black excellence is that black excellence is Austin. And we offer, you know, we have to give ourselves an opportunity to just rest. And to just appreciate simplicity to your point about the investment approach. You don't have to wake up to think to be financially savvy, you do not have to wake up and review charts, and do any of those. And you don't have to do any of that. You can literally be dollar cost average, I'm going to commit to paying myself first every week, and let the market do the rest. And quite honestly, let all of the other black excellent people who work for publicly traded companies do their part to drive up the valuations of those companies and you as a stockholder reap the benefits. And that, to me is a better quality of life. And I think more of us need to kind of embrace that simpler approach.

Kiersten Saunders 43:15

Yeah, I was gonna say, You also don't have to wait for the revolution to rest, right? A lot of us are looking for big macro solutions that apply to every single black person, and all of us can go to none of us should go. And it's like, at the end of the day, it's important like that, we recognize that that's not how social change happens, right? We've never had a sweeping change that affects everybody the same way all at once. But it's important that we rest because movements require funding movements requires strategists, movements require people more than just, you know, protesters in the street. And so like, we have to make sure that we put our mask on first, and make sure that we're taking the breaks when we need to like I love that ministry and all of our good sisters fighting for the revolution, too. There's not shade at all, like, but we have to, you know, at some point, put on a personal financial plan and be like, I want to be able to do that I completely agree with everything that she says we deserve. Rest, that's what we deserve. We deserve a break. As much as we deserve luxury, like we deserve rest. And there's a personal finance plan that you can implement that allows you to take that when you need it.

Jamila Souffrant 44:25

Yeah, and the thing about too, like I love this whole conversation around excellence because I always like to say like, I don't know what it looks from outside like I feel like I'm basic but in a good way. Like you know, like I don't need a lot of things

Kiersten Saunders 44:36

relatable, super relatable.

Jamila Souffrant 44:41

But again, if you need to do all the other things, that's fine, but in terms of like being basic, I don't mind sometimes just being basic and doing the minimum okay, you know what's crazy though, I think we should also recognize that perhaps sometimes like what I consider basic and minimum to other people's like that's still you doing a lot of you still you still doing a lot or it looks like in a certain way I think it's also important to talk about this in your book, the community aspect is something that's so important here, because the flashy is sometimes, you know, again, there's so many ways to create wealth. And if you're into it and doing it kind of like the flashy in your face way, like, I'm entertained by that, too, you know, like, that inspires me sometimes when I see that I'm like, oh, okay, I didn't know about that thing. Like, I'm gonna look into that put that on my wish list is something I can look forward to doing. But I think there's a lot of us who are doing it, I guess, the more responsible way, and it's not as flashy, the type of luxury that you just defined, like, you know, having the option to take your kids to school, or hire certain help in a household so that you can do other things like, it doesn't seem as outwardly flashy. But you wouldn't know that unless you're like really paying attention. Because I also find that people like us who are doing that we're not always plastering that all over the internet. And so, do you feel like it's our responsibility, though, as like, leaders of the basic movement? Where's that balance between? Like, should we be talking about our wealth more publicly so that people can see that it can be done differently? Because I don't necessarily talk as much anymore about how much I'm saving and investing. And I don't know how much you guys talk about it. But should we be doing more than to show the other side of it?

Julien Saunders 46:16

Just you may have a different point of view on this than I do. But I think that there's a balance to be struck. Because if your goal is to reach people in the show people, that it's possible, and that this is what it actually looks like, I think you really have to be mindful of the role that media plays in that, right. And because right now, the reason why so many people feel like, rich looks like this very specific visual that they have in their mind, it's because that's the image that the media has pushed to them, whether it's in magazines, or online on social media, like that's what you see, you take a basic picture on IG, it's not Comcast, the types of license to use this literally baked into the algorithm, like you got to be really popping and moving in order for people to see that. At the same time, I think but it really, what it also highlights is the importance of role models, right? So when we look at black people, like in white America, like this is actually a well known sort of idea, you know, we talk about this, this notion of health, wealth, you know, like, it's the very, it's an identity that they are likely more familiar with, than black people are, right, we don't have that we don't have those stories to tell, with nearly as many I should say. And so it's a balance, right, because people like us who are sort of kind of advocates of simplicity and stealth wealth, we owe it to ourselves to, especially if we want to grow the message, encourage other people to do it, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of media opportunities to help blast that message to as many people as possible. But to get to the point, we also owe it to ourselves to stay true to who we are, and to rest as needed, right. And the reality is to do all of that is invite a whole bunch of things. That one is also exhausting, but might be contrary to your own value system. And so there's a balance to be struck between the two, I think, for us, like being able to publish a book, at a high level, being able to do things like money on the table, which our hope is quite honestly, to take it to television for that very reason. But there's a balance, right? That's not something that's gonna take us all year to do. But we're passionate about it. And so it's, it's complicated.

Kiersten Saunders 48:20

And I think we do have some role models, but we just chalk it up to the culture. Like we all laugh about the phrase rich auntie, right? Like, because we all have one. And we all we all joke about being the one that made it because we all know that in a given family, there is usually somebody who makes good financial decisions or gets financially lucky. And so we do have those examples. But the problem or the challenge is we don't ask the right questions. We're not asking different questions about what trade offs they made along the way, we just see the outcome. And then we label it like, okay, recharging, like, we need to start going back and kind of excavating their process and getting them to talk about some of the moves that they made, what it was like to leave the state what it was like to apply for jobs that they may not have been qualified for, what it was like to challenge authority and save money at a time when everybody was asking them for stuff. So we need to kind of enhance those those conversations to make sure that we are getting the same lessons and wisdom that our white counterparts are getting.

Jamila Souffrant 49:20

Now for you, you've again, grown so much since we last spoke like years ago, like more than four years ago at this point. And I heard you say in the beginning of the show, like your coast, FYI, which for anyone listening that's like at the ability where, like your standard retirement age, you have enough that you're good. You don't need to really invest as I understand it. You could correct me if you look at it differently, that you don't need to invest anything else in your retirement account. You'll have enough by the time of the standard retirement age. Yep. Are you still pursuing financial independence and early retirement and not in the sense that you're gonna stop working but for you is there like a mark where you're saying to yourself, we're still investing and save Bing so that, you know what, like, if we don't want to do podcasts, if we don't want to, you know, have this blog anymore, we'll be able to stop that in a couple years, or for you Have you met and married, what your purpose and passion is to work. And so it doesn't matter how long you do it.

Julien Saunders 50:14

So yes, we are at what is known as coasts, FYI, coast fire, I really don't really love these labels. But to your point, that's exactly what it means it's custom. It's Yes, the idea that, you know, we earn enough income to support our cost of living right now, we don't really have to save, we are actually fortunate in that we earn more than we actually need. And so we're able to save. And so when we start thinking about ways to save and invest more, we're doing things like ourselves five to nine padding that some more things like the custodial IRAs, but also just being mindful of the rest in in the types of memories that we want bottled up and capture during these really interesting moments. And so we're thinking about our parents and their golden years, and being able to take vacations with them. In terms of how long we'll plan on doing this, there's certainly a cap to it. Because I think like anything else, like we owe it to ourselves to just let things go and open ourselves up to other opportunities. But right now, I think we are really living the dream. Like we have the ability at a high level to create content to collaborate with brands to do things like public speaking to travel to financial conferences to do things, what we call solve $1,000 problems, right? There are tons of $1,000 problems around the country, little things that we have the ability to solve with money, right. And so Money solves a lot of problems in this world to care since point movements need to be funded. And so for us, we're at a really cool point where it's like I we've got enough, we've got more than enough for us for our family and we're just doing our part to give back. It's something that we're we're committed on for a couple years, and then We'll reevaluate and see, see what the next chapter is.

Jamila Souffrant 51:56

Okay, sounds like yep. Oh, fine. Well, okay, I love this conversation. You know, I love talking to you guys. Every conversation, I learned something new about you. Can you please tell everyone where they can get your book and learn more about you if they want to dive deeper? Yes, our book cashing

Kiersten Saunders 52:14

out when the wealth game by walking away is available June 14, wherever books are sold, we would so appreciate all of your support. Thank you to those who may have already preordered but if not, it's not too late, get your copies. It's in all forms, audio and print, and ebook. And then if you want to just keep up with our shenanigans, you can find us at rich and regular.com. And then we are on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, at rich and regular.

Jamila Souffrant 52:41

Yes, and I will link all of that in the episode show notes. Thanks again, guys.

Julien Saunders 52:45

Thank you.

Jamila Souffrant 52:50

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to launch.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 journey to launch.com/jumpstart. If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you're not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to launch. Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journeyers

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Julien and Kiersten Saunders, couple behind the award-winning blog, rich & REGULAR, producers of the award-winning video series, Money on the Table, and authors of new book, Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game By Walking Away, join the podcast to discuss rewriting what it means to succeed with money and why cashing out is the ultimate wealth move.

In this episode Julien and Kiersten unpack cultural narratives, why rest is an integral part of the wealth equation, how you can reach financial freedom in 15 years, and more.   

In this episode we discuss:

    • Giving anyone with a marginalized identity a new narrative of what it means to succeed
    • Confronting uncomfortable truths within a traditional career in corporate America
    • The decision behind Julien and Kiersten pulling out of real estate investing
    • A 4 step guide to the purpose of your income: financial freedom
    • Beginning with the end in mind when it comes to your career
    • A more expansive definition of what luxury really means + more

Episode 274- Cashing Out Into Financial Freedom + How To Leave The Rat Race With Julien & Kiersten Saunders Of rich & REGULAR Share on X

Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Julien & Kiersten:

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