Paying Off $30k of Debt, Breaking Up With Financial Diet Culture & Enjoying The Journey Along The Way With Nicole Stanley

Episode Number: 311

Episode 311-Paying Off $30k of Debt, Breaking Up With Financial Diet Culture & Enjoying The Journey Along The Way With Nicole Stanley

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Paying Off $30k of Debt, Breaking Up With Financial Diet Culture & Enjoying The Journey Along The Way With Nicole Stanley

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Nicole Stanley joins the Journey To Launch podcast to talk about all things financial diet culture and enjoying your financial journey and life.

After battling crippling financial anxiety in her early 20s, Nicole decided that enough was enough. She went from $30,000 in debt to building her family’s net worth to over a quarter million dollars by age 27. Through her debt free journey, she realized she wasn’t alone in experiencing money stress. She began coaching to help others change their money and mental health story. 

We dive into the need for more nuance surrounding money, how frugality can actually hinder your financial success, making enjoyment a priority no matter what your money situation is and more.

In this episode, you’ll learn more about:

  • The difference between black and white thinking vs. nuance in the personal finance space
  • Why you need to stop equating your goodness with how you spend (or don’t spend) money
  • What financial anxiety looks like and how can you identify it
  • ​​How to invite a good relationship with money into your life right now instead of when you complete a goal + more 

Check out the video of this episode on YouTube below or by clicking here!

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Nicole Stanley 0:02

I had to do some self wrestling internally. Where I was like, if I told the advice I tell myself to any of my clients, it would never work. They would never pay off their debt. They would feel crappy about themselves. Like why? Why do we want to come back to a relationship with money if it's just filled with judgment, shame, self blame restriction all the time. And I was able to really confront that and start to talk to my husband like, why are we why are we like this? We don't have to be like this.

Intro 0:36

T-Minus 10 seconds.Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who rocks her, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom for three.

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to 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 an OG journeyer, or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journey to to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Jamila Souffrant 1:46

Hey, hey, hey, Jaron yours. Welcome to another What I hope to be what will be an amazing conversation, an episode of the journey to launch podcast. This week. Our guest is Nicole Stanley. She is a financial expert and founder of arise financial coaching. After battling with crippling financial anxiety in her early 20s, Nicole decided that enough was enough. She went from $30,000 in debt to building her family of fours net worth to over a quarter million dollars by age 27. And she realized she wasn't alone in experiencing money stress, she started helping others to change their own money story. And I'm so glad that Nicole is gonna join us. So we can dive into how she was able to accomplish what she accomplished and to like dive into this topic of financial anxiety. And almost not taking your finances too seriously, but in a way, you know, making it the only focus of your life. So Nicole, welcome to the podcast.

Nicole Stanley 2:44

Thank you. I'm so happy to be here.

Jamila Souffrant 2:46

So one of the things that really stood out when we connected and you pitched to be on the show, was you mentioned you want to talk about frugality obsession, and breaking up with the Financial Diet culture. And I was like, yes, there needs to be more conversations about this, because I remember what it was like when I first started my journey and how extreme or I tried to do it in a way that was not sustainable. And so I feel like a lot of people experienced that at first or change courses. So I'd love to go back a bit and talk about what do you mean by breaking up with the Financial Diet culture and what started you on your personal journey to financial independence?

Nicole Stanley 3:25

Yeah, I think that when I think about when I first got motivated with money, I did a lot of what probably the listeners are doing right now they start to follow some top podcasts, they start to read some blogs, you know, grab books. And what we do is we focus a lot on strategy, right? A lot of these personal finance resources that I was encountering, were very like how to save money on groceries, how to meal prep, which lettuce should you buy? Right? And not that these are bad things to be focused on. But while I was trying to become debt free, it quickly became almost an obsession. And I attached a lot of morality to my spending. Right. Like, I think there's a lot of people who when they're trying to improve their money, we can be so hard on ourselves. And that's how I felt, you know, if I bought shredded cheese in lieu of the block cheese, I there's a chance that I was going to go home and feel guilty about paying for that extra convenience, right. So I think that frugality is often just presented as something that if you're good with money, you're a frugal person, right. And for me that quickly became very unhealthy. Some examples were when I first started my Debt Free Journey, my husband and I would often fight about the cost of groceries or spending on things that were unnecessary. Like, you hear a lot of women on Instagram, shame themselves about spending at Target, right or spending at TJ Maxx or Amazon and not that you know, we should be Spending completely, compulsively on things that we don't care about. But for me, it turned quickly into an obsession that I believe, hindered my financial growth. And I think hinders a lot of people, because we've become so focused on how can I be, you know, the most frugal?

Jamila Souffrant 5:20

Such good points. And when you talk about the strategies, I think, you know, it's important because you need the strategies, right? Like, okay, here's like, here's the tactical ways, we are going to like reduce expenses, increase income. But for many, it's not as easy. And I always this is one of the things I explore with my content in the book that I'm writing is, before you can get to that there is a lot of the mental and emotional work that has to be done. And while those strategies and the doing is important, the being and like the work that's internal is a lot more important. So you talked about you and your husband, like, you know, fighting over groceries, but I think at that time I read in your bio that you got out of eventually you got out of $30,000 of debt. Now, did you use frugality? Like was it at that point that you were still using the frugality as your power source to get you there? Or did you ease up by then and start looking at other ways to reach your financial goals?

Nicole Stanley 6:17

You know, I think it's funny, because at the time, I would have said that it was because I was frugal. But that was actually a way that I was like, deceiving myself, because at the time, I actually worked a very aggressive cold call sales job that was commission based. And so when I look back with 2020, hindsight, I can see that, wow, I could have done this Debt Free Journey without all the stress that I attached to it, maybe, you know, it would have taken me four or five months longer. But I spent the full first year of my marriage and the full year of my engagement in complete stress and anxiety over money, when what got me out of debt was my commissions from increasing my income. But I didn't have that clarity at the time. So it was like, I just needed to save money everywhere. Like when I became a mom, I started flipping this is like my low point, okay, not that there's anything wrong with this. But I started flipping cloth diapers, on Facebook marketplace, to get extra money to be able to save. And it's like, I put myself through so much stress and cleaning these things and, you know, bleaching them, and like there's nothing wrong with a side hustle. But it was about my intention and the anxiety I felt behind it. And I think that a lot of people are feeling like that's what they need to do. So I feel like there's two camps that I encounter all the time, at least with my clients. The first is someone like me who's like, Okay, I want to achieve financial independence, I want to achieve a financial goal, therefore, I'll do anything, you know, I'm gonna go Gizelle intense, right? What a lot of us are told when we first encounter, you know, being good with money, and we do that we get burnt out. And then often we realize it's unsustainable. But the other camp is people who look at people like me, or people who are frugal, or work, you know, obsessive with their money, and they're like, Well, I don't want any part of that. So I'm just somebody who isn't good with money, then, like, I'm not good with money, because I'm not going to do that. And so I think that both are really harmful because there exists this beautiful balance in between, that we don't often talk about, where you can spend money, you can save money, but also you can ask yourself, like, Is this helping my relationship with money is just helping my relationships in my life, like my friendships? You know, there was a time when I would get invited to go out to dinner and I'd be like, it's not in the budget. When it's like, what right but I was so attached to this like, I have to be perfect I have to do this right. And if I don't do it right, then I'm failing and I think that I thought at the time like this must just be me when I've realized that it's actually a lot of people who share that struggle with me where we want to be so perfect when we're you know, saving money.

Jamila Souffrant 9:10

Yeah, I mean, so many great points because you know, there is something to be said for sticking to a budget and having boundaries right around like money. So even when you just brought up like if you go to Target and like your spending target there's nothing inherently wrong with that unless it's against the long term goals and even the short the other short term goals you have for yourself right like if you are unhappy with your finances, but yet you you're doing things that keep you stuck in a place that is not helpful or going to be useful to you then it is just kind of digging a deeper hole and then when it comes to the whole, being able to deny or say you can't do things because of a budget like I am like you like I will I rather find a way to do things, if it's reasonable, versus saying no, like I'm always gonna tend to see my close friends and family members things like I'm going to find a way to do that. But there are some instances where some people can think of other alternatives depending on where they are in their financial journey. And I think that's the nuance. I think that black and white thinking, for some people, I guess it creates safety, and it creates rules that they can follow. But it sounds like for you and me, and I think a lot of my listeners like, it can be either or, or in the middle where you need to use those strategies. And it's not always going to be the same. And that's okay.

Nicole Stanley 10:29

And I think that it's really important that you find people I didn't know they existed at the time, because, you know, you walk into the personal finance space. And for me, all I encountered was Dave Ramsey for the first two years. And he's somebody who's very black and white, and it works for some people. But I didn't even know that there were other voices in the space who were able to talk about nuance and able to talk about, this might be right for you. And it might be wrong for someone else. Right. Like, I think credit cards are a great example of that, where for some people, if you struggle with keeping and paying it off and paying it on time, and keeping your balance at zero, and you've struggled with getting yourself out of credit card debt, there's nothing wrong with saying, You know what, I think credit cards aren't for me in this season, not to say that I could never be trusted, but rather making a decision based on who you are. And there are other people who could say, you know, I pay mine off, like, I use the benefits, it doesn't affect my spending, I'm gonna go ahead and use a credit card, where we don't often talk about the nuance between we like to give black and whites we like to give all our nothings. And I think that that can scare a lot of people. And ultimately, further, maybe the negative relationship that we have with money. And I didn't realize it, you know, since I'm a millennial, the 2008 recession was hard on my family, there was different financial experiences I had as a kid that really shaped the way I viewed money. And I was actually using frugality as this, like, faux safety net, right? Like, it was like, Oh, I can keep myself safe. If I do this, if I can save X amount of money, then I'll feel secure, right? Like attaching these meanings to the financial goals, when they're all just milestones on the journey, like you can feel secure. Today, the first day you make a budget, the first day you make a plan for your money, you can start to invite that feeling of security, where often we put it as as far off destination, if I save X amount per month, then I'm good with money, if I can do this, if I can spend $200, instead of $300 on eating out, right, these very obscure goals that we like to kind of like dangle like a carrot in front of us. And I didn't realize like, Oh, I could actually start to invite a good relationship with money today, as I'm on my journey, even if I haven't accomplished what I'm hoping for yet. I think that people feel like, you know, when I'm debt free, then I'll be financially free. Well, some financial freedom, it's available to you right now, when you start your Debt Free Journey.

Jamila Souffrant 13:00

I love these conversations, this is literally what I'm talking about in the book. Because for me, you know, I think we should kind of go back just in case, there are some people who are just finding out about financial independence in that sense, and how we're talking about it. So the fire movement, the financial independence, retire early movement, what, what what it is, or what the goal is, is that you can be financially independent, meaning you don't have to actively work for money anymore, you can live off your investments. And in the sense, when I started my journey, I thought, you know, I'll be able to accomplish this in seven years. So this was seven years ago, when I turned 40 years old, I will, you know, be able to quit my corporate job and live off our investment. And I hadn't know kind of a bridge version because my husband was still going to work right. And as I found out is that freedom, the financial freedom that I was looking for, like the time energy, the dish, the energy in general, from, from not giving it away to other sources, like keeping it for what I wanted to do with it, being able to pick my kids up, drop them off, take off when I want that I was able to find before financial independence. And it's because I started on the path and on the journey and this was why these goals these goals that we'll set for ourselves when you get on this path, whether it's getting becoming debt free, or having X amount in your investment accounts are great, but those goals can take a while to accomplish and so in the meantime, are you just you're gonna just slugging it along and be miserable like that is that's not sustainable. And so it's like you said you can find freedom on your way there if you're willing to you know, change perspectives and look at how far you knew come so I want to go back to your story a bit more. Nicole? You mentioned that you realize your income because you were making Commission's was a driving force to you reaching your financial goals. And truth be told, I think personal finance in general and the things we talk about it's it's a pretty privileged conversation. And because while we talk about like frugality and like trying not to spend money, most of the people who are doing a lot of the things they're able to do, even if they're spending a little bit, it's because they're making more than the average person more than minimum wage, right? They potentially have six figures, and I've had people on who don't earn as much, but they're doing better than a lot of people. So can you talk a little bit about how you realize or what you did to increase your income? And the idea that really income is a driving force versus trying to cut back?

Nicole Stanley 15:32

Yeah, because there's a limit on how much you can cut, right? So for us, when my husband and I were married, my husband was a church worker, like a church youth worker. And I worked at cold call sales job that I totally hated. And I worked it just long enough to pay off our debt. So it's funny because I think I only worked that job for nine months. And I was like, the second I got enough money to pay off our last debt, I put in my notice. And it wasn't because I was against making, I just wasn't happy. It wasn't good for my mental health. It wasn't a great fit. For me as a person. I don't like that kind of aggressive energy. But that was a huge player in us paying off that amount of debt. But for the first five years of our marriage, our average annual income was 56,000 a year, we had our first kid, which is about the average, right? Like, it felt less when we had our first child. But that's what it equaled out to be. So I feel like I went from working the sales job making the extra money throwing all of it towards debt. And then basically, I worked another like a church job for a year and then I became a stay at home mom. And that's when I really put the intensity behind the frugality in the morality where it's like, oh, if I want to make this work, this is what I have to do. And Baba, Baba, bah. And at the end of the day, what I didn't realize was, when I became a stay at home mom, the only thing I considered was, well, how much is childcare? And how much do I make as a mid 20? year old, right, which is a very tough comparison for many people. A lot of women feel discouraged, like, Well, I'm just working for childcare. But there was so many other things I didn't consider, like, my mental health, the lifestyle, I wanted to have, you know, did I want to be able to take my kids on vacation? Did I want to be able to have experiences or put them in extra curricular activities, because at that time, that wasn't an option for us. And so I think that, for me, I still equated My goodness with money to how I spent. And it wasn't until I challenged myself to start thinking differently. And that started happening, actually, when I started financial coaching. So before I started financial coaching, I used to have a blog. And that blog was called a life on less. And it was all about all the ways you could save money and how you could do things for free with your it was this whole thing. And when I realized that as I wrote the advice, I hated myself, and I realized that it was stuff I didn't want to do. It was stuff that people in my community didn't want to do. And I remember thinking like, well, I have all these people that want to improve their relationship with money, but why won't they be a fruit frugality freak with me? If they were then it would be great. I started to realize working with other people that I got the most success with my clients, when I stopped using frugality as this thing for them to attain, and started to use their values as a way to guide them. And over about, I would say the first six months after coaching my first 30 people, I had to do some self wrestling internally, where I was like, if I told the advice, I tell myself to any of my clients, it would never work. They would never pay off their debt, they would feel crappy about themselves. Like why? Why do we want to come back to a relationship with money if it's just filled with judgment, shame, self blame restriction all the time. And I was able to really confront that and start to talk to my husband like, why are we why are we like this, we don't have to be like this. We have our goal of we want to retire we want to invest in vacations. That was when we started to put more money towards not just our life tomorrow, but life today. Well and ask ourselves, I talked about this too, with some of my clients that I I believe in rigging the system. So what that means is like when we look at your overall spending, and this is what I had to do in my life, I had to say, okay, what are the things that I'm always policing myself on? What if I didn't have to police myself on one of these things? This one, right. And I think for me that started with vacations because my husband and I love vacations. I mean, everybody loves vacations, right? But it was like, if I don't have to police myself here, what would this budget be? And at that time, I think it went from like, $100 a month to budgeting 300, which is years ago, but it was a big deal to triple that, right? And I say, Okay, well, how much money do I have to make? So I can do that? Right? And a lot of times when you start to ask yourself, like, how do I rigged the system so that it works? Which means if I if I don't want to police myself and feel bad, then how about I just budget enough? How would I budget enough and see how much money is that really extra? And I think it's a stay at home mom, I realized it was about $800. Extra

Jamila Souffrant 20:48

that you needed to bring in to support that goal of yours.

Nicole Stanley 20:52

Exactly. To support that goal. And what it did is it changed from a conversation internally of how do I live on less, less, less, less, less? To? Okay, how can I shift my way of thinking to be in a problem solving mode? That doesn't include basically relying on disciplining myself, because that's what people a lot of people say, like, Well, why am I not hitting my financial goals? Well, I'm not disciplined. And I don't actually believe that about many people. Like, I don't believe that you're truly not disciplined. That's just what we're conditioned to feel like, Oh, we're just bad people. And it's like, no, we're not, you know, there might be something else going on. It could be a simple income problem. There could be bloated expenses, right? Like, I think we, we don't give ourselves enough credit. And that's how it changed for me was ultimately coaching other people and realizing, Oh, my God, I would never listen to my own advice. So it totally shifted everything you know, and that's how we invested our first 200,000 in the stock market and reach Coast fire by 27. And I was able to start my company in 2020. And I feel like my whole life changed, you know, where it wasn't just a question of living on less, right? I don't have that domain anymore. So

Jamila Souffrant 22:07

alright, just for context, where do you guys live? Because that is a big factor. Like if you live in like a high cost of living area. So 56 At the time that you were making together, where were

Nicole Stanley 22:18

you? So we were living at the time in Phoenix, Arizona. Okay. Yep. Now we live in Denver, Colorado. That was between 2015 and 2020.

Jamila Souffrant 22:30

Okay, cool. So that's some context there for people. And the other thing is, I love how you said your first blog was called the life on less because my blog, I had a blog too, before I changed it to journey to launch was called Mrs. Budget fab. Which is so funny. Because I'm like, That's so not. It's what I started to do. And how I started my journey is like, all about the budget. All I did like when I was at my job at work, you know, people still listen from work, I used to just look at my budget every day, look at my accounts and see how they were doing, like ticking and tying every number. And then I also said, okay, that name doesn't really represent what I am trying to do once I realized that I wanted more like it wasn't just about a budget, which is why I then changed his journey to launch. So I love that you kind of started in a similar place and realize like that you didn't want your, your, your blog or your future blog brand to be just tied to that. And a couple other things that you mentioned, even just like the coast fire, which I want to just give a definition for people is, you know, there are a lot of things that we're doing that then help us in the next phase or level. So you mentioned you work the call center job. Right. And I know you are an entrepreneur now. Yeah. And so do you feel like even though you didn't like the aggressive sales approach that probably the call center managers had for you? Do you feel like that helps you now though, as an entrepreneur to, you know, reach out to people and put yourself out there, you know, what that what the chances of being rejected, but because you had that experience that helps with your confidence?

Nicole Stanley 23:59

Yeah, I think that sales gets a bad rap. But it taught me a lot of life skills that I never would have learned. And it was a very high energy, corporate environment. And so I think that the training, I wouldn't be the person I am today, if I didn't have that experience of being hung up on, you know, 60 times a day and learning how to talk with people better and manage myself and learn how to take criticism and improve right like, I think that that's what sales brought to me was that it was something you could always be improving and be okay with rejection. Because, you know, when you start a business, what your friends and family think really matters. At the beginning, at least it did to me I like really felt that as an entrepreneur that oh my gosh, what are my friends from high school gonna think and all that stuff. And so I think sales was able to kind of give me a thicker skin. And I think that for a lot of entrepreneurs who might feel that way at the beginning, like I promise Tell your friends and family what they think will not matter. Once you're just doing what you'd like to do, and making money doing it, I promise those voices are going to fade into the background. Because if you're doing your passion, I mean, I wake up every day and I'm like, Oh my gosh, I get to help people with their money at this, like, he'll. So this is so edifying for me, I love it. That's what most people go into entrepreneurship for is to do something that they love, and not everybody in your life is going to understand that,

Jamila Souffrant 25:30

right. And then also just encouragement for people who feel like they're doing something currently, that they don't want to do has nothing to do with like, what their goal life is, it's like there's probably something within this experience that you'll need at that level that you want to be just like, you know, a video game you like you're collecting all these tools, or coins, and you get like level two, and then like, you're at level eight, and you're like, Oh, I'm so glad I picked up that, you know, coin back at level two. So just saying pick up your coins, people like pick up the tools, you don't take advantage of where you are, no matter where what it is. Because guaranteed you're gonna look back and say, Wow, that this was helpful to you to help me at my next place.

Nicole Stanley 26:08

Yeah, absolutely. I love that viewpoint. And looking at things as a season, instead of you know, this is my whole life forever.

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Jamila Souffrant 27:10

Now something this is what I had made a note on and I want to go back to so you talked about how you were still learning while you were coaching. So right like while you were starting to help others and while you were helping others, you still had to grow and are still growing. And I see that this is something as people who will start looking at you. And he people who look at me, which is why I feel like it's so necessary for me to be honest about where I am on my journey and my insecurities or where I make mistakes, still to this day is because I think there's a perception of Oh, then you must have it all figured out and to be financially successful or to live the life that you live, then these are the traits that you must have. And life must be good every single day. Where and then if you don't feel that way about your own life, or don't feel you have the skill set, you say, well, then how can I reach it? And I just want to say like, I feel like none of these financial experts are educators like I'm sure like maybe even if they know things by the book and can spout out definitions and apply it to other people, that they still have their own stuff. And they might not be sharing as much but just want to. It's like you're not alone in whatever you're feeling and doesn't make you less capable of achieving the goals you want. Because you feel like you maybe you don't measure up.

Nicole Stanley 28:21

Yeah, I think that's like a really good point. Because most people just pretend like well, once I hit this goal, I was perfect. And that's bull. I don't know if I can cuss on here, but it's not true at all. And I always tell my clients this because I'm not perfect with money. I'm still learning every day. And I've made bad decisions with money even this year, every you don't outgrow making mistakes, you don't outgrow making bad financial moves. We all do it. I think that the difference is there are people who say I'm committed to having a good relationship with my money. And I know that road isn't going to be perfect, but I'm going to start it anyway. Versus I'm either perfect or not. And it's the same with that black and white thinking. But I feel that I'm not the coach I was a year ago, and the year before that, and the year before that. And it's because every you know, I think at this point, I've been able to work with over 500 people, I'm learning and constantly investing in myself constantly growing and that's what we want to do in our career is be always learning. So I think for people who might be looking back and with regret at their financial decisions. I like to look at it as just like, wow, well, this is where it wasn't my journey. And I've learned from that. Right? Okay, I can make a different decision now. Like, because nobody's going to look at their track record behind or in front of them and be like, oh, yeah, I aced that because money is emotional. And it's not perfect. And there's a lot of things we also don't have control over things like the privilege that we were given things like most of us don't I actively choose to be in super expensive areas, or certain types of training or our family of origin or our childhood trauma or race, all of these different things. So it's like putting less pressure on, I'm good or bad. And looking at it, like you said, like a spectrum and a journey.

Jamila Souffrant 30:17

I love that. Now, let's talk a bit about the financial anxiety part and recognizing that, just in case someone saying, Well, do I have that? And of course, like, we're not, I'm not a doctor, Nicole, I don't think you are a doctor or you didn't we're not analyzing or diagnosing anyone, but just to give up maybe a mirror or to help people feel seen and what what does that actually look like? And then what are some steps like concrete tools that you started to use to help ease up on the pressure that you were putting on yourself?

Nicole Stanley 30:46

Yeah, I think that the way that most people can start to identify anxiety, financial anxiety, specifically, is, if you either do one of two things, first, I find that people who avoid their money very intensely, it can be a mask for when they do encounter their money, they're filled with this fear this pit in their stomach, this guilt, shame, whatever those negative emotions are. So they avoid that feeling, right? When we're anxious about things, we either try to avoid them or the counter, which is where we obsess and try to over control. And so I would say the first thing is, if you're noticing that your relationship with money negatively affects your life, in the sense of it puts you in a bad mood. For me, it was ruining events, daily events all the time. I wouldn't say my wedding was ruined, but I was such a financially anxious bride, I did not enjoy my wedding, I did not enjoy my engagement, I did not enjoy my first pregnancy. And I did not enjoy my first postpartum. And part of that was because I actually had clinical anxiety, right. So usually it can be paired. But it was also because I was equating that with money. So I think that there's two sides. The first is therapy. So if you feel that you experience anxiety, not just with finances, but other things in your life, and it just so happens to manifest also with finances, chances are going to a therapist, you know, there's some great resources where you can find therapists who are in network for you sonder, mind BetterHelp, or asking friends or people that you know, for references. But so that's one thing of it, because financial anxiety does typically have a mental health component, they usually don't exist separate. And I work with a ton of therapists and a ton of people who are in therapy, and I think that they go hand in hand. But then the second part is once you start to heal that part of yourself that has maybe experiences anxiety just about money or other things, what you'll notice is that you want to have some strategies now, right? Because I can be like, Well, I'm not anxious about money, but I still have 20 grand of credit card debt, right? Like, there's only so much you can heal where you start to need some strategy, right, you start to need that other piece that actually gets you moving forward. Because part of I think the difference between anxiety is financial confidence. So if you can focus on building your confidence with money as a strategy, that's the other part of it, then you're going to start to experience like, okay, my relationship right now feels stressed with money. But maybe you'll start to feel like, okay, my relationship with money has a level two stress, it used to be level four. Now I feel neutral stress with my money. Now I feel 1% Confident, right, and you want to get down that spectrum. And part of that is like building those financial muscles, which is like mindset and making a plan for your money investing all those things that we always talk about in personal finance. So I think it's twofold is talking and healing the things that might be going on inside of you. If your financial anxiety is severe. Or if you're somebody who's like, I don't experience anxiety, I just feel stressed about my money, like, then maybe you just need the strategy to start and you can start to lower that stress and then build that confidence.

Jamila Souffrant 34:09

Yeah, like then they awareness that is the first step that there is an issue and sometimes like there can be anxiety or, you know, maybe that can be a heavy word for people and like you said, they were like, well, I don't feel anxiety, I feel something but I don't think it's that. And sometimes we equate a lot to a negative financial situation, like being in a lot of debt, maybe not making enough money. But then on the opposite side, I've experienced personally or know people who actually are making good decent money, have a lot of money saved, that is just sitting in savings, or even a high yield account, which not a bad thing, right? You need some of that money accessible and not in the markets fluctuating. But you know, just from how they talk about it, like they have such a scarcity mindset. Or in some cases, I had a scarcity mindset even though I had enough more than enough it never felt that way. And so it's not just like on The not the bad end because nothing is not bad if you're in debt but not on just the you're not at your goals yet crisis, right Christ org. But sometimes like a lot of people are okay. And it reminds me there was this tweet that I saw. And I think it said I don't know if it was true like the study, but the person said, There was a study done that people who die in the desert are found with water, like a gallon of water or something like they die of thirst, but they're found with water. And again, I don't know if that was made up. But then what they were trying to get to or what people were getting from that was that, like they had the resources, but they were so afraid to use it because they thought they would run out. And so that never used it and they ended up dying. And even if it's not true, that statement, I feel like it's so it still applies to a lot of things. When you think about it, and Bill Perkins book die with zero. He's been on the podcast. And he talks about that in his book, like this idea that when I came into the financial independence space about accumulating, accumulating, and like not spending until you get to like your goal, versus what have you get to your goal, and you have more than enough, and what would you look back on and say I should have spent more in this area. So yeah, I love any feedback or thoughts on that.

Nicole Stanley 36:08

I love that you brought that up, because I think that's exactly the population of people who are neglected. They're not being talked to. And they exist. And I know they exist, because those are the, you know, financial coaching as a whole as a new industry for the past 1015 years. And I think that that's ultimately who financial coaching is for is those people who they've achieved success, right. But their body or their experience is not reflecting that. And I feel like I could share a lot of stories, but I don't want to out anybody on the podcast. But it's, it's true that if you feel like, you know, you're making more money than ever, but you're still feeling stressed about where all your money's going, I have know some people who have invested enough, and they're getting coaching just because they've lived their whole life and scarcity. And they've never known something different. They don't even know how to start living a different life. And so I don't know if you've heard this before, where people say, Well, your relationship with money right now is the relationship with money that you'll have, even if you're financially successful. So if you start working on your relationship with money, before you have too much of it, that's going to start to show as you get more and more money, you know, kind of like a greedy person today is a greedy person when they're wealthy. A generous person today is a generous person when they're wealthy. So I think that that's a really huge point. Because people don't often think, Oh, I'll totally heal from this once I have a million dollar saved. And it's like, well, actually, no, if you're feeling this way, Now chances are, that's probably how you're gonna feel later on. And I think that's why it's imperative to like work on your relationship with money, even today, even before you've hit your fire goal, or before you've hit your retirement goal. Or before you get that huge promotion where you're making, you know, 300,000 a year because that's, that's gonna reflect then you can't run you can't hide, like, you still have to work on it.

Jamila Souffrant 38:13

Well, it's so interesting, you said about just there are a lot of people who are doing okay, but then have all these feelings and issues, but because to like, everything is relative, right? And so there are going to be people who are not doing as well as you are, but doesn't like take away from like, your personal feelings, right? It's like I sometimes equate it to, if you know, as a parent, parenting is like, is a lot. It's hard, whether you have helped or not. And so it's not to take away from people who are single parents, or don't have resources, like, can you imagine like, of course, it's going to, it's more stressful for that person and more pressure versus someone who maybe has a partner who is helping and equal in the relationship, or has financial stability, but it doesn't take away from the emotional, you know, mental. I say like just the weight of being a parent. I think that shame helps to then keep people like that further within whatever chains they're in when it comes to money because they're like, Well, if I can't complain about it, or I can't say this because I feel guilty, I feel guilty that I feel this way because I know that I'm doing better than a lot of people, which is why I think with the financial independence movement, or just general personal finance that like what we talked about, it's nuanced. There's some advice that we can talk about, that's not gonna be applicable to like everyone, right? It's like maybe four okay, if you like you said, you said something financial coaching is more maybe for people who are stable. And I think like, there's equity and assistance and financial education even though some people are just like that education piece is also kind of like a band aid that like you keep saying people need to be educated. It's not just that it's just it's the capitalism in society we live in that you know, someone is earning minimum wage and you they like they are being frugal not by choice, but because they have to right And so the resources that people like that need are gonna be different from someone who's making 100,000, but still feels that they're not being able to be okay. So I just feel like saying that is important because there's different types of people listening at different income levels. But realizing though, what can you take from the conversation and or there are some things that are universal, but what can you take specifically, that is really relatable or going to help you is important versus taking advice from everyone or everywhere.

Nicole Stanley 40:29

I love that you bring that up. Because really, it's about people learning what their next step is. Right? Like, as you listen to this, you might be like, Well, I'm not in this camp or that camp. I'm, I'm over here. I think that if I could caution anyone it would be if you're feeling like, Okay, I want to make progress. But I don't know where to start. Try to hold yourself back from like binging personal finance, content and doing all the things because I think that's what you know, we kind of we, we worship busyness, we worship productivity in America. And so it's like, well, I'm working on my money I'm working. I can't tell you how many people will be like, like, they'll be like, Okay, I'm going to work on my money. And maybe they have credit card debt, or maybe they have a low income with their job they need to raise, like, if you look at their budgets, like okay, hey, we've got an income problem. And it's not because of anything you're doing wrong. It's like, this is the area we live in. This is how much your mortgage costs, like, this isn't something you were doing wrong, this isn't your target runs. This is an income problem. And we need to put our thinking caps on to fix that, right. But those same people will be like, well, I want to be good with money. So I'm learning how to invest right now. And like I'm learning, you know, what I need to do and how this works in the stock market. And oh, I'm so overwhelmed, or I'm learning credit card hacking strategies, or I'm learning whatever it might be like, there's so much to consume, and so much to do. So I always tell people, like there's a million things you can do to improve your money. But that doesn't mean that they're all equally important for you right now. Yes. Right. Like, how do we find out what you need right now? And laser focus on that? If it's an income problem, let's laser focus on that. Right? Let's solve that. It might not it's not going to happen overnight. Right. But in three months, six months, one year of focus. I think people are surprised, right, when you stay on that course, rather than like, what's all the little things I can do? And I'm going to join this like receipt, cashback app and stuff like that.

Jamila Souffrant 42:29

Yeah. Sometimes it's being too spread out with the goals and things you want to do and can be overwhelming. I do want to circle back to a word you mentioned, coast fire. So you reached Coast fire. So I want to just explain for anyone this is that term is new for what that means, and why that's a great milestone to strive towards.

Nicole Stanley 42:50

Yeah, so Coast fire is when you have invested enough money in your retirement that even if you don't invest another dollar, it will still be enough for you to retire at retirement age, right. So that number can be a little bit different for everybody, depending on your age, depending on the amount of money that you'd like to retire with. Or even some people might change it. Based on the age they'd like to retire, not just the age they are right now. So for me when I did that calculation, that was when I saved my first six figures in retirement accounts. And that was when I was 27 years old. And I put the calculator out to like 65 Right. Now, do I want to retire earlier than 65? Yes, I would like to do that. But that was the milestone that I when I say Oh, I reached close fire because I will hit retirement age. And even if I didn't add to this amount, and it compounded at 10% interest, that's what it's going to yield for me is enough money to retire. And I think it was somewhere I don't know, it was over a few million. But it's basically knowing the age you'd like to retire the age you are now and how much money you have in investment accounts. And coasts basically just means if you don't add another dollar, but that doesn't mean you can't keep adding money. You totally can. It's just a milestone,

Jamila Souffrant 44:10

right? But it does, it does provide a measure or a feeling of security. I know that's how I felt. I mean, it was one of the reasons I was able to quit my corporate job is because when I figured out the worst case scenario, you know, if we were struggling because of you know, I wasn't making money with my business and or just things just change that we'd be okay. 30 years down the line, like at least 30 years down the line. Well, we will have it figured out but you know, in the meantime, and I think that's where it's confusing and or overwhelming because life and this journey. It's a balance between the now and the later. And so we talk a lot about okay, how do you set yourself up for a great future, but then how do you pay your bills and live a good life now? So like you're on vacation, it's like I want to take more vacations, I want to take more time off and I do And then I'm leaning more into that now, which has caused us to definitely change the way we think about financial independence and how we will reach it.

Nicole Stanley 45:08

Yeah, and the timeline and I think that that's okay. I like to think of it as like, you know, that episode of Parks and Rec, where it's treat yourself, like fine leather goods. Do people watch that show? Have you ever seen it? Well, I

Jamila Souffrant 45:20

don't know that but I'm sure someone listening that so you can. Okay.

Nicole Stanley 45:24

Okay. So in parks and rec, there's this part where to the characters, they have a treat yourself day where they say no to nothing, and they go get massages and leather goods. And I think we kind of like put, treat yourself as either if we're fire people were like, oh, treat yourself when I'm a granny. Right. But today, nothing. And I think that like the balance is learning how you can treat yourself today. But also still not forget about you tomorrow. So you can still buy fine leather goods tomorrow, balancing the two because they're both you write you today. You tomorrow, how can you still make sure you're spending your money on both?

Jamila Souffrant 45:58

Right? Well, this is interesting, because I was just I was smiling. Because no, we talk a lot about having support on your journey. And like having people who understand what you're doing. So like friends, like in the real world, none of my like friends and family member. Only if they don't share it with me are like aggressively trying to pursue financial independence. And so it's really, it's actually good, because sometimes they'll look at me and be like, you know, one of my friends, like, she's like, she just really she got a car. And she's like, and I probably should get a car if my husband is listening to this, which he won't. But he would be like, we need to, like your car like dies randomly, like that's not okay. And I'm like, well, like, can we just wait, you know? And she's looking at me like, Jamila, like, What do you mean? Like, because she's not in this world? Some of the things that I do, or I don't do yet, she just doesn't understand because she's like, I'm gonna get a car, like, you know, I just turned 40 I'm living my best life. And while I understand her, and I'm like, Yeah, we may end up getting a car. It's like, sometimes you do need that kind of like diversity of thought friendship, like the people who are more intense, or like the people, you follow who it's just like getting a new car based on where we are in our goals doesn't make sense for someone else. And for other people, like it's like, that's a no brainer based on what you what you're doing, and you can actually afford it. But at the end of the day, what matters is like us, right? It's not what other people think. Because if you are kind of wound up, and the whole anxiety that you talk about or overthinking things, it's good to just have the different perspectives of people bringing you either back to Earth or making you realize that you're actually not making a bad choice when they say things like, like, what are you doing, like, so it just made me smile, because I think that's also important, not just friends that are within heavy into personal finance, which is good, that could encourage you but friends that can be real, what do you and say, Wait? Are you okay? Because you seem to not be happy with the way things are going with your life? Yeah.

Nicole Stanley 47:48

And that's like, the question to ask at the end of the day is, your personal finance journey is about your enjoyment. It's your life, like, money touches everything. It's touching, where you work, it's touching, how you dress, it's touching, where you live, it's touching everything. And so if your financial freedom journey was like a vacation to Paris, right? If you are taking this vacation, you need to make sure that you're gonna frickin enjoy it, or else why are you even going to take this vacation? Why are we even bothering? Taking it? Right? So making sure that you're not just going just because everybody says you should go to the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dom, right? What if you're really into like, culinary things, and you're going to travel and do these other things? If you don't have that baked into every part of your financial journey? And you're asking yourself, Am I happy? Is this something I enjoy? Is this the right path for me? Why would you even continue your journey to financial independence? If it's not making your life more enjoyable? So having that balance, right, but that's ultimately the question, Do I enjoy this? Is this the right path? For me? Having that curiosity, how can I make this better for me? Maybe this seems like a lose lose or an or situation? How can I make it an end? What do I need to do but asking those questions? And if it's not good enough, don't settle. Ask more questions, until it starts to be something that you will enjoy. Does that make sense? Oh, it does. It does. Keep asking questions. Be curious. Yeah. Be curious.

Jamila Souffrant 49:21

Oh, my gosh, Nicole, this was so amazing. Please, please tell everyone where they can learn more about you and follow up.

Nicole Stanley 49:30

Thank you. Yeah. So if you're somebody who's listening and you experienced financial anxiety, or you know that your relationship with money is negative right now in your life, let's say you've tried the budgeting, you've tried the self help books, you've tried the mindset, and you find that it's not making progress for you, then it could be a great time to reach out to a financial coach. You can google financial coaches. My company's called a rise financial coaching. We're a rise dot financial, you can follow us on Instagram at Arise dot financial dot coaching. And we specialize in working with professionals and small business owners so that they can stop feeling stressed about money and start enjoying their financial success.

Jamila Souffrant 50:10

Yes, I will link all of that in the show notes as well as the previous links and resources you stated in the interview. Thank you so much again, Nicole.

Nicole Stanley 50:21

Jamila, thank you for having me on. This has been a dream. I've been a listener for a bit and I followed you even when I had my old blog, so it's an honor. Thanks for having me on.

Outro 50:34

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