S2E2: Stress Testing Your Financial Goals
S2E2: Stress Testing Your Financial Goals
New year, new goals, or same goals, but we are going to meet those money goals this year. This week we are building goals, breaking down barriers, and stress testing your new year financial goals with money expert Jully-Alma Taveras @InvestingLatina - whether it is making budget, pay off a debt, or to start saving…finally.
Download Investing Latina's FREE guide on money and investing here.
Read Jully's article on TIME Magazine about her survival number here.
Check out Investing Latina's latest investing workshop here.
Welcome back money people. Thank you for joining us again on Your World, Your Money. We missed you. It's only been like seven days, but let's be honest. We did. January flew by so fast. I still can't believe we're in 2021. Like what is actually happening? So we're here now. Hi, welcome to February, everybody, including me, cause we're here. Now that we've come to terms, mainly me, with being in February of 2021. It is the perfect time to dive into those financial goals that we set for ourselves and actually put check marks next to them, or maybe break down the barriers emotionally or otherwise that are holding us back from making, achieving and nailing those goals. So we're going to talk about writing goals, stress testing our new financial goals together today, and talk about ways to recognize our weaknesses, stick to our plans as much as possible, and you know, just kind of get through one of the scariest goal-setting things that we can do.
Joining us today is an amazing money expert - Jully-Alma Taveras, founder of @InvestingLatina. Investing Latina is an online community for financially powerful women. Doesn't that sound amazing? It does. She is an award- winning money expert writer and YouTuber that covers topics around personal finance, investing and entrepreneurship. She's a speaker and facilitator that has led workshops at NASDAQ, Google, other fortune 500 companies and startups. Her money philosophies have inspired thousands of women to live minimally and spend intentionally so that they can invest more. Her program "the investing workshop" teaches foundational investing principles and strategies. So, hi Jully, you sound amazing. I'm sorry. Fortune 500 and startups and NASDAQ. That's just casual. What?
Hi Mary. Thank you so much for having me. And I'm really excited to be talking all things money. It's something that I feel like people sometimes don't feel really comfortable talking about and maybe oftentimes, and those are the things that we want to break down, right? We want to let them know it's okay to talk about money. It's okay to talk about, you know, the stress that that money brings. And so I'm really excited for our conversation.
Right? And I love this. So as a money expert and investing educated, can you tell us one of your big financial goals, like one of your 2021 monetary dream goals that you put out for yourself? One that you're working on?
Yes! You know what I'm actually going to give you my goal from last year. Because as we know last year was a crazy year. I had a huge goal for 2020, and it was to save up $50,000 for a down payment on a property. And it's actually something that a lot happened of course last year. And I didn't reach the goal. And what I ended up doing is, you know, that's going to be my 2021 goal. I, I really got to the point where I was probably at like 50, 58% of it. So, you know, I did a good job, but because of all the things that happened and the shifts that I had to go through last year, I didn't reach that goal. And we'll definitely talk about that, what it is to not necessarily reach your goal in the timeline that you imagined, but still continuing and still pushing through to make it happen. So my 2020 goal kind of rolled over into 2021, but I'm looking forward to it because to buy property is something that's really important to me. I already have one and this would be my second one. So something that I am really looking forward to.
I want to take a step back and maybe go for the conversation around, like maybe there's people out there that haven't set financial goals before, or maybe they've set them, but they didn't really know how to like build benchmarks into them. So let's go back to that first side, like maybe the first time you set a big financial goal or if somebody comes to you and they're like, I want to buy property, but I have no idea how to start that goal and get it going, where can we start? How can we build a long-term or short-term financial goal?
Yes. So I think setting goals is probably the only reason why I've been able to accomplish the things that I have. And I personally grew up not really learning through action, how to manage money through examples, on how to manage money. I grew up with entrepreneurial parents that had their own business and I always watched them work really hard to make money. And that was a great thing to see because I saw them hustling. I saw them doing everything that they had to do to, you know, take care of our family and to also do the things that they wanted in life to travel and to buy the things that they wanted. Uh, but I didn't really have that tactical. Okay. This is what you do. This is how you budget. And I had to kind of figure that out, you know, so as I grew up, I went college and I actually studied fashion design. And I worked in the fashion industry, which is really, I know people are always very surprised by that because, you know, I talk all things money, but I studied design and merchandising. And I worked in the fashion industry for a long time. I also studied economics in school, so those are my two big passions. It's like, I love fashion and clothing and accessories, but I also, also really do love how money in the world functions. So that's really where I kind of started picking up on, Hey, you know, this is what, this is how the world is set up. And these are the systems that are in place. And if you want to be successful, you kind of have to play by these rules. You know, you have to set goals in terms of what your credit looks like, so that you can get access to capital if you want to buy a property or if you want to invest in business.
So all those things really started to kind of come like, you know, in the back of my mind and like settle. And so what I had to do is slowly learned, slowly learn and slowly kind of figure out how was I going to get from the place where I was, where I had just grown up learning. You have to work. You have to just make money, make as much as possible, do what you have to do. And I did those things, but then after I got it, I didn't know how to control it. And I became a shopaholic actually. And I spent a lot of money. We, you know, working in the fashion industry, it was like, oh, glitz and glamour and handbags and stuff. So I set the goal after I became a shopaholic. And luckily I'm recovered now, y'all. So don't worry.
I think we all have to have that phase, right. I think we all have to.
Absolutely! So I set the huge goal of paying off all of my credit card debt and I had to break it down. Like you said, when you set a big goal, it's important to kind of break it down tactfully. So you can say, okay, if I'm trying to pay $10,000 off, as an example, I can do about a thousand and that'll be 10 months worth, or I can do $500 and it'll be 20 months worth. So if you pay down 500 per month, tactfully you're going to get to that goal. Right. Or if you decide you're going to do a thousand per month, when it comes to money, it's a little bit easier to break down the math and you can kind of say, this is where I need to be in X amount of time in order to stay on track. Like those benchmarks that you were talking about, right? How do you set benchmarks? And you're like, okay, I'm halfway through. So I'm halfway through my timeline. So am I halfway to my goal in terms of debt pay down. So that's one of the biggest ways and the most impactful ways that I really learned how to set the big goal, but then also break it down. So it's important to kind of do both things and something that I always celebrate with my community is small financial wins. So that's a really great way to keep yourself really excited and motivated. And also it's when it comes to money. There's a lot of shame when it, when people think about money and how they manage it. And there's a lot of judgment and criticism, Oh, why are you doing this? You should be doing it like this.
So there's this whole idea that your way might not be the right way. And for me, I think that that's like such a horrible thing. You need to always kind of keep in mind what your personal goals are, what your ambitions are. And you want to take away that stress, that other people put on you to accomplish certain goals by like certain age. You know, those, those type of headlines are really rough to see. It's like, Oh, this and that by this age. And you take away that shame and you take away that stress, and you really put yourself in the position where you can do things kind of on your own timeline. And that's something that I really had to learn that was kind of tough, but you push yourself through and you make it happen. And the only way you can really do it without feeling shame is by being proud of yourself and celebrating those small financial wins and being like, you know, okay. I was only able to, only in quotes, air quotes, I was only able to put $500 towards my debt pay down, but that's a great thing. You made it happen and you should be very proud of that. So I'm a big advocate of celebrating small financial wins.
I am obsessed with everything that you just said, and I just, I have to highlight for everybody listening. Like if for some reason you didn't catch it, maybe you got up to like wash the dishes or, you know, your kid was screaming and you had to go hang out with them. I need to highlight what you just said. Cause it was so important. And I think everybody just needs to hang on to that as we continue to talk about goals. And that's what you were saying around your path, your timeline, your money goal. Your money goal is yours and your path to get there is yours, your timeline to get there is yours. You want to be aggressive. You want to go for it. You want to be passionate about it, but it's still yours. And I love that you mentioned that. I had to highlight it again because you're exactly right. In the financial world in general, there's so much judgment. There's so much shame because every money conversation is inherently a value conversation. So even if we're not meaning to, there is so many opportunities for shade or judgment to come into it. And so I just needed to highlight that because throughout the rest of this conversation, I want everybody to remember what you just said there because it is so true.
That actually is a beautiful segway. Thank you so much. Um, and you just set it right up for me. When it comes to timing for financial goals and setting them, so let's say somebody has their personal financial goal, how can they kind of think of a way to break it down into a timing that for them, like, how can they say, oh, $500 a month is something I can do, or maybe they do that for a few months. And then how can they tell like, well, maybe I can do more than that. Like where can that timing start to play? And how can people see that that's very effective for them.
Yes. And that's the thing with setting financial goals. A lot of times you start to get comfortable with the rhythm that you're currently in and you're like, well, I'm doing that and I'm doing fine. It's okay. And you might not try to, uh, increase it or, or challenge yourself. And so there is this sense of becoming very comfortable where you're at and it could go in both ways. It can go in the sense of being comfortable with having debt and just paying down minimum or a little bit above the minimum. And then it could also be in the point where you are maybe on the other side where you're investing, right? So I talk a lot about investing and a lot of people that come to me to lean further into their investment journey will tell me, well, I'm contributing to my 401k, but I'm doing kind of like the minimum, right? Whatever the match is. So that'll be like 3% or 4%. And what I always end up telling people is that you have to challenge yourself. You want to set up something that can be a good rhythm for you, but always say, okay, in six months, I want to try to increase that. I either want to increase my payments for my debt, or I want to increase how much I'm contributing to my 401k or other investment accounts. So I think it's really important to kind of re-analyze where you are every couple of months or twice a year, I think is enough. You know, you don't have to drive yourself too crazy and make too many changes because something that I really live by is simplifying life and simplifying your finances. Because if you are extremely intentional, about three big goals in one year, you can have that focus to accomplish them and crush them.
So I think that it's really great when you are specific about what it is that you want to accomplish and not try to go too far out, don't set 10, 20 goals for yourself in a year. It's going to seem, it's going to be overwhelming. And you might want to give up. So I think that that's a big part of it. And I'm a big believer in, if you set three big goals for the year, you can just focus on them. It will reduce your stress levels because you're not having to overanalyze and over budget on things and say no to a lot of things because you're trying to do too much. So that's kind of how I see it. You really want to set little reminders in your calendar to say, okay, re-analyze money goals. That could be the name of your calendar invitation to yourself. So you can have a money date with yourself with some like wine and cheese or something.
Ooh, that sounds beautiful. Wait, I'm doing that tonight. I'm going to have like some wine. I can't have cheese, but like, I'm going to have some wine and something. That's like cheese going to pretend like I'm eating cheese. I love what you're saying here. And I think that, just like to build on what you're saying and continue on that thought. When you're saying that it needs to be specific. So when it comes to timing, make it a specific goal and make the timing around it specific because no matter what walk of life you're living, as it specific like that, and you have that number, you get to discover how you enjoy succeeding. Maybe there's a person out there. It's like, Oh, now I can game-ify this. And I can like not buy this sweater and put it over here. And then I'm going to watch that go down. Or maybe it's a person that, you know, it's just watching the number decrease. And that's what brings joy. And my favorite are the budgeters that are like, I'm going to do that crazy, like creative budgeting. And then it's going to go towards the goal. And I think that that's such an important point to really continue and hold on to, because having those specific goals allows you to kind of figure out your way of getting excited and passionate about reaching that goal.
Yes. And that's a great point. Like passion, you have to feel it, you know, the more that you feel it and the more that it moves you, the more you're going to commit to it. And I find that a lot of people, when they get started, it's really hard because you aren't necessarily in the habit or the rhythm of continuously and consistently doing one specific thing. But I do find that after a couple of months, that's it, people are, they become totally committed and they become completely obsessed. And so I think that's also a really powerful way to keep the momentum going and to help you get to your goals faster.
Oh, absolutely. And I think something that's so important about highlighting there with like the passion and the drive and just like finding your way to it, that goal that you mentioned before that like $50,000 for a down payment, you know, I'm thinking, wow, that's like almost my salary. Like that's almost like my yearly salary. And so that can be a really scary, daunting goal. But once you break it down into a timeline that works and you make it specific and you start to find your way, suddenly it becomes such an amazing challenge. And you're like, that is such a huge part of my salary. Or maybe it's not, live your life, you know? Um, maybe there's people out there that are like, no, I can do that and be like, kill it, do it. I have a bigger goal, but like do it. And so, I think that that's something that's so important to highlight that you can have those big goals, those really big ones that you're like, how am I going to do that? That's like my entire yearly salary. How can I do that? But there is a way to still fight for it and get towards it and consistently move and create a challenge out of it. So something that kind of falls into that when we're talking about the different ways to get closer and closer to a goal that kind of has some judgment around it that I really want to dive into and kind of like break up is that, and there's, there's truly a book about this. I won't name it, but there's this idea that like, if you just save away the same money that you spend on a coffee or the same money that you spend on, you know, like a small transaction, that's gonna get you to your financial goal, that's going to get you to financial security. And so the question within that concept, or that belief that has been going around is really how can we use daily interactions, daily exposures, daily money transactions to actually get us closer to these financial goals? What are the tangibles that we can do and say, I did this today and that got me closer to this big yearly seemingly sometimes unreachable goal.
Yes. So what I believe when it comes to daily interactions with money is that I think that when it comes to this whole concept of the latte factor, right? Is that the name of the book? Sorry, it's like, if you don't buy this, you're, you'll, you'll be able to buy a house. And the fact is that that's not really how it works. You know, the math doesn't add up when it comes to that. And it's so funny because it is a really big thing. And I think that it's just a catchy thing and that's why people, it causes like discussion, right? Which in a sense is great. I'm very glad that it caused discussion, but it really doesn't make financial sense that you'll be able to cut out one thing and all of a sudden be able to accomplish these huge goals. But that being said, I also think that what's important about daily interactions is that you're doing things that you value consistently. And if it's not something that's important to you, and it's not something that you value on a daily basis, but you're doing it anyway. That's what you have to kind of look at. And it might not be a coffee. It might be, you know, a little shopping like it was for me, like a little shop in a day, catch my stress levels away or lower. And the thing about it is that you try to align yourself more and more to your true self. And a lot of times when we are doing, if you're spending on a daily basis, I'm a person that I actually don't spend a lot of money. I wrote an article called "My Survival Number" for Time Magazine.
And it really has to do with the fact that I've been able to find a really good flow for how I spend money. And that is not very easy to do. It does take discipline and it does take self-reflection. And this is why I think about what your values are and how you can really align yourself to what that is and what you do. And what I like to do is you can sort of journal in the morning and think about your future self and say, this is what I would like to do. And this is the life that I would like to lay. And if you start to really think of it in that way, you're not going to say, well, you know, the life that I want to live, I want to be able to do everything. You know, you're going to say, I want to just be able to do these types of things, because these are the things that make me happy and maybe that's travel. And the thing about it is that I don't see money as a limited thing, however, we go through life and we go through different stages in life. Like when I was out of college, I made no money, but in my mind, I thought I was rich because I had never made that much money before. So to me, it was just such a huge thing where I was like, oh, I'm rich. I could go shopping every day now. But then when you start to think about, okay, I do have this money coming in, but what is going to be the purpose of it? What am I going to do? And how am I going to set my life up in a way that I'm really proud of it. And when you kind of start thinking of it that way, and you start to imagine, or write down those intentions at the beginning of the day of what you would like to do and what you would like to be as your future self, which really is just a better version of you. It's not somebody else. And that I think can be a mistake that people can make when they're setting financial goals. And they're just like, Oh, I'm going to be, you know, this completely different person once I get out of debt. Or I'm going to be this completely different person once I reach my savings goal. And the fact is that you don't need to be a completely different person. You should still be your complete self and that's what matters. But you want to also kind of think about what is my true self outside of ideals and social pressures. So I think on a daily basis, try to be a little bit more of yourself and do things that you value that, you know, will make you happier. Instead of trying to please others.
From the foundation side, we always really emphasize the importance of money goals being life goals. Like if you have a life goal, it's a money goal. So like if there's a life goal of, I want to have three kids, that is definitely a money goal. I want to own a house. There we go. Look at that. And so all of these life goals are money goals. And because they are life goals, they're founded in values, just like you're saying, like, it's founded in a value that you hold, maybe you value family or you value, you know, owning property or having a place to call your own, whatever that value is, it's founded in a value. And so I love what you're highlighting about every day, you can make those decisions based in a value, like, does this actually get me closer to owning property and having something I can give to future generations?
So something that I want to kind of go into and we've alluded to it a lot. And you talked about this at the very beginning with your goal - is kind of the emotionality around having a financial goal. The fears, the being scared, the judgment around all of it, because there's so much, and there's so much that we face and we don't even realize it. Like we can have a financial goal and somebody can be tossing shade and we don't even, we don't even realize it until maybe a day or two later when we're like, wait, I was really proud of that. And, you know, there was shade tossed on it, or there was judgment passed on it, or maybe it's completely internal and you have fears around it. So there's not really a direction that I want to send us in with this question, but kind of just to jump into the idea of that society, plus internal judgment, fear, that's really around financial goals and talking about them and putting them out in the open and kind of breaking those down.
Yes. When it comes to fear, I think that money is a big fear for a lot of people where they fear that they won't make enough or they won't be able to accomplish enough or get to the place where they really want to get to. And the way that I've been able to kind of tackle that is by continuing to dream and continuing to push myself and also continuing to ask for help. So if you're very fearful of something you need support and that's okay, that's healthy, that's wonderful. That's a good thing. And for you to be able to lean on somebody and ask for support is a very empowering thing. A lot of people who might be kind of hesitant to do it because they're like, well, you know, I might risk judgment and they won't understand, but you can find your people. You can find your tribe. You know, it might not happen right away. You know, maybe your, your closest circle, your current close circle might not offer you that. And that doesn't mean that they're bad people or nothing of that nature. It just means that you have to look a little further and you have to find people that can see things the way that you see them. If you have a big financial goal, but you find that the people around you don't get it, or don't see the value in it, don't be disheartened by it because everyone is, we're all individuals, we all have different things that we want to accomplish and different ways of seeing the world. And even though it is like a little bit of a bummer like, damn I wish you could have supported me in this and, and been open to this conversation, but we might not always get that. And, and that oftentimes is the case with family. So when we talk to our family about our goals, there is already so much, so many other factors like my parents, for example, they never saw the value of investing, in the stock market specifically. They never thought that it was a thing. They thought that it was way too risky and that it just wasn't something that we did. People from where we're from, I'm from the Dominican Republic and I'm an immigrant. And so my parents came here in the nineties when I was four years old and, and we had to start a new life here. So they never understood the value of investing and that wasn't something that they focused on. But like I mentioned earlier, they heavily focused on entrepreneurship and their own business. And that's where their investment money went. Right. Which is fine.
Everybody, like I said, we'll have a different idea and a different goal in life. But for me, when I started investing, which was at 19 years old, I came home and I told my mom, I was like, Oh, there's this thing called a 403B and it's for retirement. And she was so perplexed. She's like, why would you do that? You're going to have less money in your, in your check. Why would you put money towards something like that? And it kind of, you know, it was a bummer because I was a bit excited about it. I had no idea what investing was. Right. But I was a little bit excited and mostly excited because I was getting a match for my company, but she kind of imposed her fears on me. And that's something that we have to be very mindful of. And this is why I tell people, if you have something that you want to accomplish. And if you see something that you want to reach for, whether that be financial independence, retire early, whether that be having a million dollars in your account by the time you're 65, whether that be owning your own home, if you imagine those things and they sort of make you excited, or the idea of it makes your heart skip a beat, listen to that, listen to that and drown out all the other noise. Something that I think is not celebrated enough is being able to make friends in adulthood. Like a lot of people kind of stick to childhood friends, and it's like, you don't have to, if you're different from them. And if you've grown to different parts of life and you have different ideals now, then it's okay to make new friends. Right? And I was able to do that. I've been able to do that in the past year and a half since I established Investing Latina over online and on Instagram and on Twitter, and I've met thousands of new friends and I've connected so deeply with so many of them that it's been such a beautiful thing to do in my thirties. Right. It's like, I thought I was always just going to have the same friends. And of course I still do have those friends, but now I have other new friends that I talk money with that are really excited to talk about real estate investing. And I think that's really cool. And I think that you focus on that, take that risk, you know, go out and find people that really can see the world in a similar way to you.
I have to commiserate so strongly on so many things that you have just said first, I want to kind of repeat back because it was so important. And again, I don't want anybody to miss it that if your financial goals are based in your values, then that goal has value. No matter what anybody else says around you, family, friends, your puppy, I don't know. But like whatever people slash your dearly beloved animals with their judgey eyes are saying about your financial goals. Like if it's based in your values, it has value.
So coming to like what people can take with them that they can kind of walk away with. What are the practices that you would hope everybody kind of remembers or walks away with or use this day to day when it comes to setting up and, or really going after those financial goals?
Yes. One of my favorite practices is really writing it down. And a second thing that I want to say, besides writing it down is that it can be any time of year. It does not have to be at the beginning of the year. It could be the beginning of February. It could be right now. It could be the day that you're listening to this episode. I think that it's always just a matter of you taking that step. It doesn't have to follow a calendar and doesn't have to follow, you know, anybody else's timeline. But if today you decide that you want to set a goal to save $50,000 to buy your property, write it down today and take steps to get there. I think that that's one of the most powerful things we can do is writing it down and like making it a screensaver. I used to do that a lot and I haven't done any recently. And I think I want to do that now.
I still do. I still do. My screensaver right now on my phone is my goals.
I love that! So making your screen saver, repost it on Instagram as many times as you want, be proud of the goal that you want to accomplish and let everyone know and share it. And you'll see that that tribe that I was talking about, they're going to come to you and that's really going to be one of my biggest tips. Another thing that I love to always share with people, investing is really important. It allows you to accelerate how quickly you get to your financial dreams. You don't have to work for every single dollar that earn, and that is what the stock market and that's what investing does for us. And as I mentioned briefly earlier, I started investing when I was 19. And even though I got pushed back and it was weird, I didn't stop doing it. I went ahead and kept doing it. And I kept learning throughout the years. And I'm really proud of that. And I think that once you recognize that you're like mind blown, you're like, wait a second. I'm going to leave this little number here for you all. I want you to know that in order to have a $1.2 million portfolio, all you need to invest is about $220,000. And I know $220,000 sounds like a lot of money, but let me tell you, if you really kind of pace yourself and spread it out and break that that 220,000 into, you know, 10 years and smaller goals and you can, okay, this is what I would have to do to get there. You can accomplish that. And then you start to wonder where did all that other money come from. And that's money that the stock market does for you. That's what companies and businesses do. They work harder. So you don't have to earn every single dollar in your accounts. So my thing is always keep investing. If you haven't started get started. If you need guidance, hop on over to investinglatina.com. I have a wonderful guide, and I know the team here also has some really great guides that you can use and reference to get you to set those goals and get to the place where you are. You feel good about them, and you feel good about the daily things that you're doing to get to those goals. So feel free to hop on over there and you can always reach out to me. I actually have a texting number and I'll share that with you quickly. It's (917) 636-4049. You can ask me money things. That's what I invite you to do with that number. Ask me money things. You can send me any question like, oh, I want to get started with investing. How do I start? And I will help you. I would lead you in the direction in terms of how to start your investing education.
Oh, that's so incredible. So we're going to link that workbook that you mentioned, and we're going to put your number on the podcast page. So if anybody, like, if for some reason you can't find it, like, I don't know why you couldn't find it, it's @InvestingLatina, but it'll also be linked there because they're going to be incredible. We'll link to more worksheets for you guys and who knows, maybe you're going to get a text message tomorrow and someone's gonna be like, Hey, so I want to start this big goal of $220,000. Where do I start? I am ready for something to send this.
Yes, I'll help you! Thank you, Mary, it's a pleasure.
Hopefully everyone listening is thinking about their own financial goals, whether you are making them for the first time this year, or really pushing through barriers to meet them. We wanted to take this minute at the top of the new year, ish, we're still coming to terms with it being February, and this new, crazy well to talk about goals. Because if we're being honest with ourselves, just like Jully mentioned, having goals that you feel like you can reach is what gets us up moving and going with passion and drive every morning, at least, you know, that's how it works for us. And we're doing all right.
So thank you so much for joining us today. And next week we will be kicking off a two part mini-series diving into some of the academics, as well as the practicality of being low-income in the United States. We will have Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines the VP of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress joining us to talk about this and try and get to a real answer on why is it actually so expensive to be poor in the U. S. Thank you guys for listening this week, post us over your thoughts and questions. You'll be able to find the worksheets and all of Julie's info on the website page for our podcast ywympodcast.com. We live for the questions that you send us. They're pretty great. And until we hear from you, we'll be talking to you guys next week.