Tell me about what you currently do?
I am a lot of things! I’m a real estate investor with over 35 units in Louisville KY; I’m a former financial advisor; I’m a professional speaker, and I’m a bestselling author with two books on financial literacy. My superpower is making money management fun and sassy for female millennials. What people find most intriguing about me, however, is that last year, at age 27, I quit my job and retired and am now living off over $10,000 per month in passive income.
What was your inspiration for this?
Throughout high school and college, I was the “go-to” person for all my friends and family, for all things personal finance. I began to wonder why they weren’t reading books or learning about the topic on their own. Then I remembered – “DUH! Finance is BORING. It’s intimidating, dull, and complex.” I thought about how I could make this topic fun, simple, and humorous instead, and that’s where the idea for my first book, “Money Honey,” came from.
Did you start this while you were employed?
I began investing and real estate and writing my books while fully employed. For two straight years, I was working 80-hour-weeks. I’d work my full-time job as a senior finance analyst, manage the rentals on the weekends with my husband, and write my books in the evenings.
What have been your biggest challenges?
One of my biggest challenges has been overcoming the impostor syndrome. About 4 months into writing “Money Honey,” I quit. I felt like my writing was total crap! I thought, “Who are you, Rachel, to write about finance? Why would anyone care?” I was convinced it would be an embarrassment if I went through with publishing it. It wasn’t until some time later that a friend and coworker encouraged me to pick it back up, that I realized I was battling the impostor syndrome. The only reason I went through with publishing it is because I told myself, “If I can just help ONE person, this will be worth it.” Writing is a very vulnerable thing and I think all authors or soon-to-be authors can relate; just don’t give in to those negative emotions.
I have also struggled with anxiety and burnout as an entrepreneur. I went from working a very rigid schedule with clear start and end times each day, to working from home where the lines were blurrier. I had to learn to be comfortable saying “no” to things, in a culture that tells us to “say yes to every opportunity!” This is something I’m still working on.
What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
The emails I get from my readers are absolutely humbling. They have thanked me, told me that my book changed their life, celebrated their wins with me (debt payoff and credit score increases and enormous amounts in savings!) Knowing I’m making an impact is all I ever hoped for.
If you were to start over, what would you do differently?
I would tell myself to relax a little! I’ve always been a Type-A overachiever. I feel rushed to do things and accomplish goals. But the journey is a lot more fun if you make sure you’re slowing down and actually having fun, rather than just trying to check another thing off your to-do list. You’re young, Rachel! Relax.
What is the best and worst advice you were given?
Although I didn’t have many money mentors at a young age, I learned from my favorite authors: Ramit Sethi, Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki, and so forth. All financial gurus have one piece of common advice: start saving and investing at a young age. This is simple, common knowledge, but most people fail to implement this in real life. This is the best advice I was given. Time is your biggest advantage! Start young; you’ll be better off starting young and making mistakes, than you would be waiting until you’re an “expert.”
The worst advice that I wasn’t necessarily given, but I see being given all the time, is to “take a leap of faith and the net will appear.” No, no, no. Don’t just quit your job to follow your dreams. Test out your side hustle or business on the side. Have a strong financial foundation in place before you quit your job. The last thing you want to do is operate your new business out of panic or desperation because you have zero income.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have for yourself when you were first starting out that you wish you knew?
(Refer to #6)
How do you stay motivated?
I’ve always been intrinsically motivated… but my biggest motivation comes from fear. I’ve always had this fear of not having enough money. Of not being able to take care of myself; or worse, to take care of a loved one in need. That still drives me to this day, but I try to balance that out by knowing I have more than enough money and being grateful for the financial abundance.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
We are in a financial education crisis. At no point in our lives are we taught how to manage our money. Then we’re left as young adults to try to figure it all out on our own. Unfortunately, and for young women especially, this results in feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment that we don’t know how to manage our money well. The biggest misconception is blaming yourself for this issue, when in reality this is a nationwide educational problem. Do not feel discouraged. We are all in the same boat, struggling to learn how to get better. This isn’t your fault, and you can absolutely learn and be in complete control of your financial future!
What setbacks have you had and how did you overcome them?
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Start with the basics. Do not try to skip to any advanced money-making techniques. Do not fall for the get-rich-quick schemes. Do not invest your money in things you don’t understand. Just start at the beginning. Build a solid budget, increase your savings rate, invest in index funds, and pay off your high-interest debts. Just doing those four things will put you ahead of 99% of people.