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BiggerPockets Money Podcast 187: Tiffany Aliche’s 10 Financial Components to Become ‘Financially Whole’

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 187: Tiffany Aliche’s 10 Financial Components to Become ‘Financially Whole’

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Tiffany Aliche is back for her third appearance on the BiggerPockets Money Show! We’ve talked to her about how to teach your children about money and climbing out from financial rock bottom, now we talk to her about making millions!

If you haven’t heard from Tiffany before, we’ll catch you up on her backstory. Tiffany was doing well with money up until her mid-twenties, then she hit a few snags, and even got scammed out of $35,000 from who she calls “Jack the Thief”. She was living with her parents in her thirties and had a lower net worth at thirty than she did a sixteen. This is what she refers to as hitting her financial rock bottom.

Thankfully, she had some friends who helped pull her out of her financial shame. She then went on to work hard, started putting away money in savings and investments, and now she’s running businesses making 7-figures, every month! That is no small accomplishment, but Tiffany doesn’t want to go small, she wants to go BIG! Big retirement accounts, big businesses, and big dreams!

Tiffany’s current goal is to hit $10,000,000 in retirement savings by fifty, but thinks she may be able to do so before she turns forty-five. This is all accomplished through creating big visions, setting the pace for the rest of her financial life, prioritizing tasks in her life, and farming out her profitable skill sets. Tiffany’s friends say that everything she touches turns to gold, but Tiffany says “I only touch gold!” 

You can get Tiffany’s new book Get Good with Money today!  

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast show number 187, where we bring Tiffany Aliche back again to talk about getting good with money.

Tiffany:
From that space, I’ve been able to build multimillion dollar companies. From that foundational space, I’ve been able to go on and donate hundreds of thousands of dollars. From that space, I’ve been able to help millions of … Especially women get and stay on financial track, and that’s why I wrote Get Good with Money, because I wanted people to have access to … It’s not a magic trick or tool but to access to, how do I build such a strong financial foundation that I can build whatever financial house I want to moving forward?

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen. With me, as always, is my needs to stand just a bit closer to the razor co-host, Scott Trench.

Scott:
I almost stumbled to come up with a response to that one. That was a close shave, Mindy.

Mindy:
That is not a close shave, Scott. Scott and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else, to introduce you to every money story. Because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting.

Scott:
That’s right. Whether you want to retire early and travel the world, go on to make big time and assets like real estate or start your own business or build a huge business with a huge financial goal, like Tiffany. We’ll help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way, so that you can launch yourself towards those dreams.

Mindy:
Scott, I am so excited to bring Tiffany back on. I love her story. I love the way she tells her story. Her excitement, the way she tells her story today is just … Oh, if you needed to wake me up, this will wake you up. Tiffany has some high level goals and is crushing them at every turn. She has written a new book called Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole. I really love her phrase financially whole. Financially whole doesn’t mean that you are fixing one section of your finances, it means that you’re fixing all the sections of your finances. Tiffany takes you step by step through the different ways that you can fix your finances to become financially whole.

Scott:
Yeah, this is a great episode. She just got going. It was amazing. She is just a brilliant, seasoned executive, has a crazy story from rags to riches at being financially savvy, getting into a bad situation, and then getting really on top of it, and building a huge business. It was fun interviewing her and listening to her story and her obsession with success, personal finance, wealth building business. We had a great time, you’re going too as well. Let’s let her roll.

Mindy:
Tiffany Aliche, welcome back to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I’m always so excited to talk to you.

Tiffany:
I love that you guys have me back. Thank you so much, Mindy. Thank you, Scott. I feel like I’m a regular now.

Scott:
That’s right.

Mindy:
You are.

Tiffany:
Like cheers. Our norm.

Mindy:
I think you’re our first three-time guest, which is nice. Okay. Tiffany, you are a master of all things money and finance. Where your budget needs to story starts, you were a financial disaster. You had a lot of shame over your situation, and that caused you to withdraw from friends and basically from life. What would you say to 30-year-old Tiffany going through all of this financial horribleness and to others who are listening who are feeling ashamed of the financial situation they’re in? How do you get you to stop feeling bad about a mistake that you’ve made?

Tiffany:
Two things, I’ll say get you a Linda, and I’ll explain what that means in a minute. I’ll say shame is a liar. The way I was able to go from this secret of shame when it came to my money was that my best friend Linda, who’d been trying to reach out to me for months after I’d lost my job, after I’d lost all my money, after I’d been scanned into $35,000 of credit card debt, after I couldn’t afford my mortgage and had to move back home at 30. I was at the bottom of the bottom.
I remember literally looking up at the ceiling from my middle school bed saying, you know you had more money at 16 than you do at 30 in total. I’m talking about retirement, savings, pennies in my purse. This was like shame on top of shame. Linda called me after trying to get me on the phone for some months. I was going to pretend like everything was okay, that I was just busy. Your best friend knows you best. She was like, “No, what’s really wrong?” I burst into tears and told her, “I lost everything, [inaudible 00:04:45],” just like the litany of all my financial mistakes.
She was like, “Wait, what? That’s it?” I remember thinking, “I’m sorry, that’s not enough trauma for you?” She was like, “Well, one, welcome to credit card debt. Girl, we’ve been in our 20s for the last 10 years, we all have it. You were the only one who had avoided it. That’s one. Two, welcome to the great recession. Hello, we all are jobless. Three, I’m talking to you from my mother’s house where I now live as well.” I decided that I was the only person in the world who was struggling through this. Because I felt like 30 was when you’re supposed to be your full, full grown self.
One, I always say get you a Linda, meaning finding a safe space to share your shame. Two, it’s really to share your shame. I have a friend, and she’s a coach. She’s also a therapist, and she shared with me, this is why shame is so detrimental. It’s a very dangerous emotion. Because shame is a liar. Shame doesn’t say, hey, Tiffany, you made a mistake. Shame says, hey, Tiffany, you are a mistake. She’s like, shame is really deceptive. Shame thrives in shadow. Shame thrives in fear. Shame thrives in silence. Shame loves it when you’re alone. The only antidote to shame is voice.
The reason why I was able to start the process of cleaning myself up financially is because I told Linda my shame, and shame receded. Then I shared it some more and it receded some more, and I shared it some more and receded some more. I have not stopped sharing my shame. I don’t feel shameful about it anymore, because I give voice to it. Find yourself a Linda, a safe space and give your shame voice in a safe space, so you can then see the solutions that are there in front of you. I promise you they’re there.

Scott:
How long were was this going on until Linda came around and you were able to confront it? Was there a hard pivot point? Or was that early on in the …

Tiffany:
No. It was all like a year-and-a-half, honestly. If you’re thinking to yourself like, oh, a few months. No. I was just under two years of me maybe just getting her. She’d get me on the phone and I would talk for two minutes and pretend like I was busy or just wouldn’t pick up the phone for months. I spent about almost two years in this like funk, where I just didn’t want to talk to anyone because I didn’t want to admit that … Because I was the go-to money girl for my friends until about the age of 26, I was financially perfect, great credit score, savings, budget.
I was like the go-to because I learned at home, my father was a CFO and an accountant. He really literally would have money lessons with myself and my four sisters. That’s how I identified myself. The thing that I identified myself as the go-to money girl and a teacher, I was an actual teacher in a classroom. Those things were gone. I didn’t know who I was. It was just under two years that I lived in that funk until, finally, Linda forced her way through. Now I realized that I used it as a tool. It’s the reason it’s got why I started my group, dream catchers.
It’s this free Facebook group. There’s half a million of us in there. It’s filled with Linda’s, because I know everyone doesn’t have a Linda in their life. Maybe it’s your mom, maybe not. Maybe it’s your sister, maybe not. If not, I wanted to create a safe space where you can get empathy, sympathy, normalization of the process, and accountability.

Mindy:
When you’re going through something like this and you’re thinking, oh, I can’t talk to anybody because I’m so ashamed of this. That’s the time to start talking to people. Because like Linda said, “Oh, is that it?” That’s all you can think of. You’re just like cycling it through your head. You’re not alone. Nobody who is listening to this has ever made a mistake that somebody else hasn’t made. Coincidentally enough, my money mistake was also named Jack, and he’s not in my life anymore. It wasn’t quite to the level that you were, but I still learned a lot. Don’t give money to somebody just for their benefit.

Tiffany:
Yeah, so what Mindy’s talking about Jack the Thief, he’s inside my book. I find his real name. His name is very unique, so I wouldn’t say it. Yes, you’d be able to Google it and see that he’s now sitting in federal prison.

Mindy:
Good.

Tiffany:
Yes, and not because of what he did to me, but because he continued his scamming and decided to level up to the federal government and they have more resources than I do. Jack the Thief, yes, he was, air quotes, friend and that left me $35,000 in credit card debt right before the great recession. It was just like this accumulation of choices that I made that just turned into this fireball of financial messiness and drama and trauma. I’m glad, because I rose like a phoenix from the ashes. I started the Budgetnista and I created a movement to really help people move from financial brokenness to financial wholeness.

Mindy:
In the book, you have this quote that I think is just amazing, “getting good with money is about mastering the fundamentals, not magic.” On this show, time and again, we interview people who have a boring story. The boring stories are also the ones that are the most successful ones. Of course, it would have been fantastic to be able to invest with Jack the Thief, into … He had a clothing store, Tiffany was going to fund his inventory, and then she was going to get a 10% repayment on her initial investment for every month, for perpetuity, apparently.

Tiffany:
Two years.

Mindy:
Oh, for two years, okay. Well, so that’s flashy and sexy and fun, but that doesn’t always work. In fact, most of the time, flashy and sexy and fun doesn’t work out. It’s great to be like bitcoin right now. Is it … I don’t know, $100 million an ounce or whatever, however, per coin. Clearly, I don’t invest in bitcoin.

Scott:
That’s exactly right.

Mindy:
I don’t know anything about it. I don’t invest in it. I’m totally cool with that.

Tiffany:
That’s okay.

Mindy:
That sounds really sexy and fun. I think a lot of people are hesitant to jump in because it sounds there’s red flags. How do you separate fact from fiction? How do you how many red flags are too many red flags? Is there such a thing as get rich quick?

Tiffany:
For the most part, it is possible to get rich quick, but very rare that it’s going to be you. It’s like it is possible to get struck by lightning, but it’s not that common. I mean, how many people do they’re like, oh yeah, last week, whoo! That lightning. It is possible, because there are people who, when GameStop was at its fever pitch, they put money in and pulled money out. I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but it’s not probable for most people. I don’t want you to bet on the improbable. I want you to go for what’s most likely to happen and navigate from that space. I’ll say that.
A red flag, one, if it seems too good to be true. Because, really, you think to myself, so Jack the Thief, told me, “Hey, Tiffany, invest $20,000. At the end of two years, it’s going to yield like 200,000.” 20,000 to 200,000 in two years? Possible, yes. Probable, not so much. If it sounds too good to be true. It likely is. That’s one. Two, if you don’t feel comfortable sharing it with the people that you trust, red flag, like I didn’t tell my father. He has a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in finance, and just years and years and years and years and years as a CFO.
I mean, I don’t know anybody who knows more about money than my father. He’s 80 and still is like, “Let me see your tax return. This is not how you do this.” I didn’t want to tell him because I was like, la la la la. I don’t want him to hate on my parade, because what could he possibly know that my 20-something-year-old self could not have figured out. If you don’t feel comfortable singing it from the rooftop to the people that you trust, mm, Houston, we have a problem. Then three, there are usually signs.
What Jack the Thief had me do was to pull money off of my credit card as a cash advance. I never heard of that before. When I went to the bank to get the money, they literally sat me down for like 45 minutes quizzing me, “Is someone threatening you? Are you okay?” You would think I’d be like, who? This seem like odd questions for a legal transaction. Are you sure? Because I was still a preschool teacher then. As a preschool teacher then, we used to have to wear like nurses smock, so we wouldn’t get our clothes dirty.
Here I was, in my teddy bear nurse smock pulling out $20,000 at the bank from a cash advance from a card I just opened. They were looking at me like, who is this young girl? What’s going on? You would thought that it was like caution, caution. Those are the things. Yes, if you can’t share it, if it’s too good to be true, and you get these like little nods along the way, they’re like, hmm, that seems odd. Those are red flags to really lean into you.

Scott:
Yeah, the only too good to be true investment out there is the house hack, whereby you … That’s where you get the 200% ROI.

Mindy:
You’re still putting money into that house hack. That’s not just I bought a house for $1 and it makes me a million dollars, that is a red flag. Well, so I don’t think that you always have to be 100% conservative with your investing.

Tiffany:
Agreed.

Mindy:
I think the amount that you are gambling on should be extremely small relative to your net worth. I’m going to put Scott on the spot here, because he does invest in bitcoin. Compared to your net worth, what percentage of your money is in bitcoin, Scott?

Scott:
Less than a quarter of my cash position. Again, I don’t think of it as an investment. I think of it as a hedge against inflation where, hey, if I’m going to have an emergency reserve of a year or two years, I have a two-year emergency reserve. Because I wrote a book called Set for Life and feel that it would be very embarrassing to go broke after writing such a book.

Tiffany:
In one year. I feel you, Scott, mine is one year. I’m like I’m pushing for two years. My CFP is like, “Tiffany, I don’t know.”

Scott:
I spread that across cash, gold, and bitcoin, just because I am worried about inflation to a certain extent. It’s a tiny percent of my net worth is in cash, and a fraction of that is in bitcoin. It’s not what I’m considering an investment, it’s more of a alternate currency to the dollar. I guess that is how I think about it.

Mindy:
Did you have that cash readily available, Scott, to put into bitcoin or did you have to get a cash advance on a brand new credit card to fund that …

Scott:
That’s just cash, yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Mindy:
… purchase? Okay. I don’t say that some kind of snotty. I didn’t say that to be like, oh, Tiffany, look what you did. I’m saying that like, if you don’t have the cash on hand to make an investment, don’t borrow money to make an investment. I heard about people who were mortgaging their house or taking out a second loan on their house, so they could buy bitcoin. Those are the same people who know as much about it as I do, which is why I have a 0% position in bitcoin.
It hurts me to read that story about how you took out a cash advance and the bankers were like, hey, we really … Like when you go and withdraw 300 bucks, they don’t ask you if you’re in trouble, they don’t ask you if you are being threatened. That’s a red flag. I love the one where you couldn’t even tell your dad. I want to have your dad on the show. Does he do past interviews?

Scott:
Well, I …

Mindy:
[inaudible 00:16:23]

Scott:
… just want to chime in here on this with the investing piece. You have to play to win at some point. The time to play like that is not when you’re taking out, maxing out your credit card with an investment you would be scared to talk to your dad about with that kind of stuff. It’s I’m going to build a strong financial position, and then I’m going to put a small amount of chips in on a few winning bets over here, I’m going to have a consistent investing philosophy over here, and those types of things. By the way, this is going to take everybody off, but I put in a lot less into bitcoin than 1Up, and so that it became a larger percentage of my cash position.

Tiffany:
No. I completely agree. That’s why I was always one of those kids like I didn’t learn the lesson from you telling me the lesson. I’m like, the stove is hot. You sure? Oh, hand the sizzling. You know what? Third degree burn. You are right, stove is hot. I’m grateful for that. Because what it did was, it taught me empathy. Also too, it’s one thing to learn financial lessons externally. This is how you do this, this is how you do that, which is how I grew up. It’s another thing to work through every financial mistake that you’ve made.
Because to your point, Mindy, when we first got on, you said like when you read Get Good with Money, you were like, Tiffany, this is such an easy book to read. No jargon. Because I’m speaking from a place of this is how I build my financial foundation. What I want for people is the same thing and the same reason why I became a preschool teacher. I want to be the foundational teacher in your life. You’re not going to stop with letter, shapes, colors, numbers, and a little bit of early reading. If you had this strong foundation, it’s the reason why I started that young.
Then I know that you can build any type of education and life that you want to live. If you had this strong financial foundation, something that I call financial wholeness, these 10 components, then you can go off and build whatever financial life that you want. If when another recession comes or depression comes or pandemic and quarantine that I know that you have this rock solid foundation, not that it can’t be shaken but not easily sell. You can rebuild even stronger. To me, that is my role as the Budgetnista. I’m not going to teach you how to trade options.
I’m not going to teach you how to short. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do those things, I’m saying after you build your strong foundation. I know it’s not as sexy as like what other folks talk about, but I think it’s critically important and it’s what saved me. I am now a legit millionaire. I always tell my husband that whenever he’s like, “Uh, 50 cents, oh no.” I’m like, “Baby, you know we’re millionaires right now.” He’s like, “Yeah, yeah, I know.” Because it’s hard to absorb. From that space, I’ve been able to build multimillion dollar companies.
From that foundational space, I’ve been able to go on and donate hundreds of thousands of dollars. From that space, I’ve been able to help millions of … Especially women get and stay on financial track, and that’s why I wrote Get Good with Money, because I wanted people to have access to … It’s not a magic trick or tool but to access to, how do I build such a strong financial foundation that I can build whatever financial house I want to moving forward?

Scott:
Can you describe what that financial foundation, what financial wholeness means?

Tiffany:
Financial wholeness is when these 10 components, which I’ll share, lock in together to create this strong foundation that cannot be shaken. They work together to create your biggest benefit and your riches life. Those things are budgeting, savings, debt, credit, learning to earn your income. Those are the four Five. That the first layer of your foundation. Then you’ve got investing for both retirement and wealth, you’ve got insurance, so you can protect that investment and yourself, you’ve got of creating a money team, financial professionals around you, you’ve got net worth, and you’ve got estate planning, that’s the next layer.
Those are the 10 core steps to financial wholeness. If you master those, and you can, no matter what your gender is, no matter how much you make, and no matter what you do for a living, anyone can achieve financial wholeness.

Scott:
I just had a curiosity. I’m interested in hearing more about the … I love the concept of invest for retirement, invest for wealth. Can you dive into what you mean, specifically, by that step?

Tiffany:
That was the most challenging tactic because I was torn like, ah, how do I share with the beginner, maybe someone who’s not a beginner, my philosophy on investing? Oftentimes, what I find for women, in particular, is they don’t see retirement as investing. I wanted to point it to say, retirement is not … You’re not saving for retirement. You’re investing for retirement. It’s a different desired outcome than investing for wealth. When you invest for retirement, you are investing in a way to help maintain your current lifestyle for when you are no longer working.
Investing for retirement is for you, for later. Investing for wealth is so you can increase your current lifestyle now and potentially leave money for your heirs. Investing for wealth is for you now and potentially for your heirs later. No matter what, you should be investing for retirement. You don’t start investing for wealth until you reach certain places, like if you have high interest debt, your bills are behind. Investing for wealth is when you are on a plane of where you have gotten yourself to a solid financial foundation, then you can start to look for investing for wealth.
Investing for retirement, I feel as mandatory because I plan to be here when I’m 80. I hope you do too. No matter what’s going on in my life right now, as 40-year-old Tiffany, I need to set aside for my 80-year-old self. So much so, I gave her a name. I named her Wanda. I think I mentioned that before that. Because there was a study done, where they found that people are financially disassociated from their older self. They don’t see themselves as their older self. I said, well, why not lean into it?
Rename your older self, almost like you’re talking about your grandmother or your grandfather. I named mine Wanda. Tiffany’s job, one of my main core jobs is to take care of Wanda, and so no matter what. If I can’t get to invest in for wealth, fine. At the very least, I need to invest for Wanda.

Scott:
I love that. Because when I was getting started on this journey, I was 23. I was like, well, retirement is three lifetimes away. I would not have articulated like that at the time. I was like, that is not appealing to max out the retirement account. That’s my early retirement. Really, stood out to me as a potential thing and it got me excited about this. Because it’s like, oh, seven years, five years, that’s much more aggressive timeline, that’s more real to me.
Once you’ve articulated and defined your future self, what do you recommend for somebody who’s maybe in that position trying to get out of debt, trying to build that financial foundation? How do they begin to think about what they can reap as far as wealth for now, downstream? How do you balance that with retirement investing?

Tiffany:
You have to set goals. You tell yourself, okay, at the bare minimum, how much do I want to be living off of in retirement? Setting that goal and really, for retirement, when you’re maxing out and you’re contributing to your retirement funds, you pick your fund, you set it, and you basically say, am I forgetting? Then you can really lean into the fun stuff. You can decide, okay, you know what, I would really love … I remember I was first broke, newly broke, and I moved out of my parents’ house and onto my sister’s couch.
I had this journal where I wrote all the things that I wanted to do, and everything that I want to do as far as traveling and giving and starting a business. It said I would have to make $300,000 a year. That’s what like after sharing and monetizing. That was a fun stuff like, okay, well, what do I need to do to make $300,000 a year? Because I’m currently making whatever unemployment is giving me. I started to map out. That to your point, Scott, that’s what got me excited. With time, it didn’t get me excited, but it was okay. I set it and said, forgot it.
Because that’s the bare minimum to take care of Wanda. I started to think, well, if I can do … I started to think backwards. Like at the very least, if I can make 500 bucks a month, how do I do that? Once I did that, well, how do I make 1000? Okay, well, how do I make 5000? Then slowly, but surely, I started to grow. Now my company’s make seven figures a month. That’s crazy. I used to make $39,000 a year, so to now run companies that collectively make seven figures a month. It’s mind blowing. It started with that fun part, Scott. Because that’s what motivates me forward.
It was like, okay, I have my initial bare basics goal, it’s running behind the scenes, and let me lean into what’s going to get me excited to get up every day to move toward. That’s what I suggest for people. Don’t leave your Wanda out there flailing. I get it that it’s super exciting to work on like building wealth now, but that is a maybe. You want that. You have set aside definitely for your older self, set it and forget it, and then set your wealth goals and make them exciting and lead toward them and chart the path. I love a good journal. What I do, too, is I have a vision board.
I have this check that every year, I update it. I’ll say, I remember the first one, I was like, one day, someone’s going to pay me $10,000 to do budgeting stuff. It took about two years into business and somebody hired me to do a speaking engagement. I bought books or whatever, and there was a check for 10,000. I re-wrote myself a new check, was like, one day, someone’s going to pay me 30. Right now, I think I have on there, that one day, someone’s going to pay me like 20 million.
Somehow, someway whether it’s going to be like a show that’s amazing, because I kept upping it. It’s the thing that makes me say like, go Tiffany, go, but Wanda has been more than provided for. Because I cannot work from a place of anxiety about my future, so I have to set that before I can move forward with other things. That’s what I teach in Get Good with Money.

Mindy:
Okay, I want to talk about how you set up Wanda, what is this set it and forget it that you have mentioned several times? How is Wanda set up? You said that you figured out what’s the bare minimum for Wanda, how did you figure out what the bare minimum is?

Tiffany:
I sat down with my CFP. I suggest you could just sit down with yourself and decide, well, how much money … I use the rule of 25. I said, how much money? Then I add it because someone … I want to live a little better than how I’m living now, or at least be even more comfortable. I said, how much money, Tiffany, are you wanting to spend a year when you are … I told my CFP, I want retire at 50. Well, not even retire. I want to know if I didn’t want to work anymore like 50, what does that look like? She was like, “Okay, so let’s just say you’re going to live into 100.
How much money do you have to have for 50 years of not having to work?” I mean, I could technically not work now, but it wouldn’t be at the lifestyle level that I’d like. At first, I was thinking, is $100,000 a year enough? Then my husband and I went back and forth and I said, “If we have no debt,” because right now, we have no debt, we own our homes free and clear. I’ve since paid off my parents’ house. I don’t have my student loan debt anymore. I always say I’m debt free like a five-year-old.
I’m like, “Let’s assume that we’re going to maintain being debt free and $300,000 a year.” That’s what we’d like to see. We did the math of like, so what does that look like? How much money do I have to have put up to be able to withdraw if I wanted to up to $300,000 a year? You have to also consider your health insurance. Thankfully, my husband works for the city, because he would have retired already. He’s got literally a couple more years. We could take that retirement with us, because that’s really important.
Not the retirement, but take that health insurance with us, which is super important. I didn’t have to calculate our insurance cost, because you want to do that as well. The number that I came up with to have stashed away is between $8 to $10 million stashed away, that if I had to live off that, the interest without touching the principle that I could do so fairly comfortably. I think, Angeli, at the time when I first met with her, she said seven. Now, looking at it, because I pushed up how much I wanted to live off of, we pushed it up to eight.
For me, my goal is to have $10 million set aside that I don’t have to worry. Then I know honestly, because I’m an overachiever, I’m going to go above and beyond that. That is my bare minimum that Wanda is like, 10 million sounds good to me. Now that might sound crazy to you listening. For you, it might be $1 million. You want to do the math backwards. How much do you want to live off of? When do you want to stop working? How much interest on average? We don’t count last year, you’re looking 7% to 8% yield on average, the last 30 years.
If you pull out no more than 4% from your portfolio, what does that amount look like? Doing that math, what about health insurance? How much does that going to cost us? The one thing that I am slightly worried about is … What is it called? Long term care insurance, because there’s no way to prepay for that. Honestly, sometimes premiums can jump 70% year to year. That is something that like … That’s why I want to have a little extra stash. You want to think about what your life looks like then doing the math backwards, and then deciding, okay, this is what I need to set aside.
I know I’m someone who needs a carrot. I know what my carrot is every year that I need to put up in order to establish that while still continuing to enjoy and live life now. I’m very mindful of that. When I take on jobs, when people ask me to speak, I look at those numbers. Even the way I navigate my business, I’m consolidating some businesses, I’m creating new business revenues. Because I know how much money I want the business to pay me, but also the people that work with me.
Having that number trickles down into all the things that I do, even the way we purchased this home. I don’t think this is our forever home. I’m thinking to myself, okay, the next home likely is we will likely keep this home and maybe rent it out, because it’s in a great neighborhood. We have a second property. These are the things. When you create your big vision for yourself, it allows you to trickle down to the rest of your financial life and set the pace for the rest of your financial life. There are things like I negotiate harder now.
I, literally, I have something on my rate sheet that I used to charge $30,000 for. Looking at the goals that I wanted to hit, I was like, I’m going to put 50 on there. My spokesperson agent was like, “No one’s going to pay that.” I was like, “Let’s just see.” Well, guess what? Someone just hit her up and they’re like, “Yup, we want Tiffany for the 50,000.” I was like, “Aha! You never know.” I did that because in my mind, I was thinking, hmm, I want to double what I invest this year, because I want to hit my … Civilly, I want to hit my goal by 45, not by 50.
I know that’s a long way of saying it, Scott. Basically, I like to think big picture and then trickle it down to what I need to do now to hit my goal every year. I’d like to hit my goal at least by the six-year mark … I mean, the six-month mark, if not, sooner for setting aside. Currently, my goal is I have to set aside at minimum about $500,000 a year to hit my goal if I want to hit it before 50. I really strive to do double that.

Scott:
I think it’s an incredible amount of aggression and a huge, huge vision with those types of things. It all came after building your foundation.

Tiffany:
Exactly.

Scott:
Now you’re just snowballing and accelerating it.

Tiffany:
Exactly.

Scott:
If I’m listening, though, and I’m probably maybe not in that category of income, where if you’re going to invest $500,000, you’re going to have to earn much more than that in order to invest that and fund your lifestyle. If I’m earning between $50,000 and $150,000 a year, let’s say, how do I think about that? Do you recommend that you put down that vision, that $8 to $10 million and 300,000 in passive income? Or do you start with something smaller that’s more attainable? Or do you just write down exactly what you want in great detail and figure it out? How do you think about that?

Tiffany:
I think that you should always have your big, big, big vision listed, but then chopping it down to, but what can I do now? Because like I said, I was literally on my sister’s couch and was like, I want to do all these things. $300,000 a year, that was like saying, a trillion dollars, what does that even mean? I said, that was the carrot. It took over 10 years for me to even be in that realm. I believe in having that big, big goal, because you have to know where you’re going. Then literally, I was like, okay, we know that’s the goal, slapping on my vision board.
Now, how do I make $500 a month, Tiffany? I can rent this room, because a friend of mine had found this really cute brownstone and she was renting each room out for 500 bucks. I wanted to move off my sister’s couch. That was my goal. How do I get my … Not to say that I wasn’t at the time trying to work toward the $300,000 a year when I was on my sister’s couch. It was just duly noted acknowledged. That’s the big, big, big picture. Right now, I would like to get my own room so I don’t sleep on the couch anymore, 500 bucks a month.
Now once I accomplish that, it was like, can I do 1000? What does that look like? What do I need to do? Once I accomplish that, then it became, well, can I do five? What does that … Because what you’ll find is that success and goals are cumulative, that if you can do … I used to hear, I remember Warren Buffett, I think it was Jay Z or somebody who said like, “Wow, making your first million is the hardest.” Warren Buffett said, “Wait till you see your first billion.”
What I found is then, that it actually … Like making that first $500 to $1,000 was so hard because I didn’t know how to do anything. Once you learn a thing, I was like, okay, well making from 1000 to 5000, not that it wasn’t hard, but I had more skills under my belt. Then from 5 to 10, I was like, okay, Tiffany, we know how to do this. Because you know what, you can either multiply your effort or get more clever in what your efforts look like. I remember the first time, I was like, it was so hard to get my company to $100,000 in a year.
I remember it took every last piece of brain cell that I had, but to get my company to a million dollars in a year, actually, wasn’t as hard because I had collected so many lessons along the way. Then once I realized that, I was like, okay, then actually, surprisingly, getting to a million dollars in a month, to me, it was actually harder to get to $100,000 in a year. Because by then, I had collective relationships, I collected knowledge, I collected know how, I was more savvy. You will find that you don’t have to be as aggressive with your initial goals.
Because those initial goals, you might find actually might be harder to attain and to achieve. Success is a layering like a cake. You are layering your cake. Eventually, you’ll have the bigger cake if you just keep going. There is nothing special about me. I know people are like, what? How much did she make? I mean, I only ever had two jobs as an adult, preschool teacher, Budgetnista. Literally, just over 10 years ago, right now, around this time, I will be getting the kids ready for nap time, we’d be cleaning up from coming in from outside.
During that time, I would be reading financial books and trying to make my life bigger than what I knew it could be. The only thing that I’ve seen about myself that makes me special is I am obsessively consistent day in, day out, day in, day out. A day does not go by that I don’t work on my dream in some way, whether it’s listening to a podcast. I have a podcast called Brown Ambition, where we talk about money and career and things like that. Whether it’s reading a book, I’m really big now, I take a walk every day and I listen to books on Audible.
Whether it’s writing out my goals, whether it’s journaling my dream, whether it’s actually doing the actual work, whether it’s talking to someone, there are people who come to me now, Scott and Mindy, who are like, Tiffany, I remember, I first met you at the supermarket, and you were like, and I started this thing called Budgetnista and then Budgetnista, and then … People who’ve known me for the last 10 years, I’m like, oh my God, this girl about this Budgetnista thing. I was obsessive about consistently pouring into my goals and dreams.
You cannot lose if you just keep going. Now, winning is going to look different for other different people, but you cannot lose if you never stop. That’s what makes me special. It’s so critical to start with that foundation. Because once you have that, any other layer you build, it’s just … I mean, the sky is the limit. I’m, even now, just starting to awaken just how much more I’m capable of, just how much more I’m capable of. I mean, I was like ABC student. Of all my sisters, I definitely was not the one with the biggest potential.
I mean, my parents are shocked as hell, let me just tell you. They are. I always tell people who have kids like, if you’ve got that wild middle kid, you leave him alone. They might turn out … For me, what really gives me great pleasure, at the end of the day, I’m a teacher. I cannot learn a thing and not teach a thing and not share a thing. To me, that’s also maybe a little secret sauce. Because when you teach, you get to learn twice. Writing the book, I just got even better at getting financial wholeness, writing every chapter, I got better at credit. I got better at budgeting.
Because it forced me to see it through someone’s eyes who might not know how to do any of these things. It’s just like a magical time, because I’m what I call I’m at the beginning of the middle. Just last year, I felt it. I was like, Tiffany, this is the end of the beginning for you. If you think of your life as this trajectory where you’re going up, you peak, and then not to say you go down, but like any superstar or whatever, we’re not listening to like Bing Crosby anymore. He peaks and he comes down. He’s still an icon.
For me, I finished the beginning or the end of the beginning last year and I met the beginning of the middle. I have not yet peaked. I suspect that you’re listening to this, you have not yet peaked either. The world is … There’s so much awaiting you if you will build a foundation consistently, consistently, consistently go after your dreams. If you ask me, I believe giving back and giving activates abundance and go back and help other people. That’s the magic sauce to doing well.

Scott:
Yeah, I love it. What you’re doing is all out. Especially at first, you were in complete command to your spending. You’re still in command in you’re spending, I’m sure. You just have more income. You can lighten up a little bit, I bet on the spending side. You’re in complete command of your spending. You built your financial foundation or got the basics right with that. Then I think what’s interesting is you would not be able to achieve that vision in the timeline that you wanted as a teacher. I don’t mean that as a bash or anything like that.
I had a similar thought when I was at my old career like, hey, if I continue this, I will be a financial analyst too and then a senior financial analyst and then finance manager, and my vision will not be realized under that track. Do you have any comments on that like, hey, I’m listening, I’m inspired by what Tiffany just said, and I want to go after that big vision. Obviously, my current career track is not going to support that. I would have to make a hard pivot and take on all the risks and the all-out intensity and obsession for one decade or so, in order to begin getting on the route that you’re on. How does one begin that mental process? Because that was really difficult for me, six, seven years ago,

Tiffany:
I say this that, one, don’t despise humble beginnings. There is no Budgetnista without preschool teacher Tiffany, there just isn’t. I learned to teach in that classroom. There’s nothing harder than getting a three-year-old to understand what you mean, how you mean it, and for them to learn a thing because you couldn’t be like, “Hey, we’re going to learn the color red today, red like an apple.” You’re going to get a three-year-old that might say, “What’s an apple?” You’re like, “Wait, what? Now I got to teach you an apple is a fruit.” “Well, what’s a fruit?” Oh my goodness.
Now before we can even get to the color red, we have to go back, back, back, back back. One, just know that where you are is preparing you for where you want to be, to not despise humble beginnings. Because I suspect wherever it is you’re going, you can’t get there without the lessons that you’re currently learning where you are. That’s one. That, two, farm your skillset. At the end of the day, I’m still a teacher. Someone told me the other day, “Tiffany, wow, you’re like … ” What did she say, “You’ve got the golden touch. Everything you touch turns to gold.”
I’m like, “Here’s my secret. I only touch gold.” I’m like, “I don’t have the golden touch, I stay in my lane.” All I do is teach. I teach through podcasts, I teach through on my online school, the Live Richer Academy, I teach through going live on social media, I teach through books, like Get Good with Money. I don’t do anything else. You’re not going to see me doing anything else other than what I know that I’m good at. I’ve been honing my skillset for the last 20 years. I’m a really good teacher.
Whatever it is that you’re doing, there’s either an obvious skillset that you are honing or maybe a more subtle skillset that you don’t realize. I’ll give you an example. My sister was a financial analyst for seven, eight years. She hated it. This was a kid, because she’s two years younger than me, they used to bring a briefcase to third grade. She and my dad are like twins. She was so organized. She would iron her clothes at night in fourth grade and layout her clothes. Her attention to detail is sickening. That’s why, as a financial analyst, although she did well, she hated it.
Just recently, because with pandemic and quarantine and everyone losing their jobs, she was like … I told her, I was like, “I’m looking for a new publicist, and I want to bring it in-house. In the meantime, can you help me?” She was like, “I don’t know how to be a publicist.” I’m like, “Yeah, I know. A lot of it’s just being organized. I just need you to pitch folks, and they keep track of who said yes and when and what and what’s happening, and then keep track of putting it on my calendar.” She was like, “I guess.”
I mean, but when I tell you that latent skill of highly organized, ain’t over retentivity, if you will, has made her the most incredible publicist I’ve ever had. I mean, the platforms that I’m on now are greater than the combined of my first nine years of business, like in the one year, I mean, Good Morning America, Today’s Show, Cosmo, GQ, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour. I’m like, “How are you doing this?” She’s like … She’s just hyperorganized and it lends itself to this field. I just hear that, too, that you listening might think like, well, I’m working.
Maybe I’m a buyer or maybe I’m a mechanic. There might be an obvious skillset that you can hone or a latent skillset that like just below the surface that you’re actually tapping into to do what you’re currently doing, tap into that, and continue to mine that and something else that you can do. Try new things while you’re at your job. I used to do a lot of volunteer work. Volunteer work is not only good for your soul, but it’s actually good for your heart and mind too. Meaning that it was through volunteer work that I realized that I like teaching financial education.
Because it got me to test out like, oh, I like that. Because I would volunteer at the boys and girls club. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be like, I don’t know, helping the kids draw with chalk outside. I’m talking to the counselor and saying, “And that’s how you raise your credit score.” Or I’d be serving food at a homeless shelter. Then me and the person next to me serving food, I’m like, “Girl, that’s not how you budget it. You know what, after this, I’m going to … Let’s just lay out your budget.”
Even when I was a teacher, during that time, parents would come in because I was doing everyone’s budget, I was helping everyone file their taxes. This is 20, 21-year-old Tiffany, literally, the maintenance men used to come in. They love to clean our classroom, because they would be like, “Do you have any more tips about raising my credit score?” I didn’t see that as a thing. I’m like I just enjoy it. Through volunteering, I realized that there’s an avenue here to take the skillset, that I can pour it into this avenue.
That’s what I would share for someone listening that don’t despise humble beginnings, what you’re doing now is going to prepare you for the future, to mine whatever those skills that you are developing where you currently are, and ramp it up. Ramp it up to three volunteering to see like, what else did you … Volunteer doesn’t have to be super, super heavy lift. It just might be then you sit down with your sister, reach out to your college roommate just to test out other interests that you might have.
Because if you can creatively take your skillset and work it outside of your current environment, the sky is truly the limit for you. Honestly, the sky is truly the limit. I wish more people realize that they’re living so close to ground level, that they could pick their head up at any time and breathe different air. It’s less competition up here. Because most people just never pick their head up and realize, wait, there’s something else I can do. I mean, if the recession had not happened, I’m not super special. The recession took my job.
I would still be teaching preschool if the recession didn’t say, hey, Tiffany, there’s no funding for this nonprofit school where you work. Snatch, I would still be there. Thankfully, that it did, because it forced me to pick my head up and say, there’s more out here. I promise you that it actually gets … I mean, it gets harder the work, but it gets easier in some aspects too. Because there’s really hardly anybody up here. The people who are up here pull you in. I can’t tell you how many people in my inbox.
The more I do, someone who’s doing way better than me will say, I was waiting for you to hit the spot. Come on into the room. I’m like, wait, there’s a rule? Everybody makes $20 million a year? Where I’ve been? Then you hit 20, and then someone from the $15 million a year. I just, literally, had a phone call with a young woman who’s in her 30s who makes $50 million a year in her business and through trading. I was like, “Can I talk to you every week?”

Scott:
I have a chicken or egg question here for you. Does this big vision and these like, what is my potential moving towards it aggressively? You just talked about this with so much energy and so much passion just now. You clearly love it.

Tiffany:
I do.

Scott:
You clearly love the journey of this, and that, I think, evolves rather than turns on one moment in time. My question for you is chicken or egg, this what you bring with your passion and energy and ambition and huge goals, is that more driven by you writing down the big vision? Or is that more driven by your day to day … You love your day to day life and journey, I can tell from that. You probably have hard brutal days. I certainly do, not quite similar, but a different way, a different line of business that I work in on day to day basis. I love what I do day to day as well with that. What’s the chicken or egg there? Is it build the day to day that you like that is moving you, propelling you towards it or start with the vision?

Tiffany:
For me, I think the vision starts first. Meaning that for me, the thing that gets me excited above all else is to teach and to transform. It’s that energy that you’re hearing and seeing because I’m currently teaching. When I talk about I love teaching, I love teaching. If it wasn’t this, I would be back in the classroom. It’s the thing that gets me up. It’s the thing that gets me hyped and excited. When people are like … Sometimes when you just said, Scott, that I could tell you’re super passionate, I didn’t even realize. I’m like, wait, am I too passionate?

Mindy:
Really?

Scott:
You’re being passionate. Don’t worry.

Tiffany:
I tell you, earlier today, I literally woke up. I had no sleep. It was a brutal day. I was like, because I’m sharing the book, I’m doing six interviews a day. I’m so exhausted. I am fully energized. I’m 120% Tiffany right now, because I’m currently teaching. I’m doing what I love best, and that’s what fuels and makes the other things possible. Don’t get me wrong. Making a lot of money, it’s great. It is, because it allows me to look after my family and friends. I’m not stressed and worried like I was before, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough to keep me going.
Because if it was, I would have stopped by now. I’d be like, honestly, Tiffany, you have enough. I mean, you’re not even going to use $300,000 a year. As it is right now, you could do 150 and be fine and never have to work a day in your life. It’s not the money that keeps me going. In the beginning, it was definitely like, eh, what am I going to eat? Where am I going to sleep? Once you get past that point, something else has to fuel you. For me, I’m fortunate, and that early on, as a little girl, I knew I wanted to teach. I was afraid to say it.
In college, I went to school for business because I didn’t want to admit that I wanted to teach because I thought teaching meant brokenness. Once I realized that you can teach in a variety of ways and it was a skillset that I could take with me to different areas of life, but if you can find that thing … I mean, I know it sounds super cliché, it doesn’t have to be your overall purpose. If you can find the thing that gives you the energy, so for some people, it’s making money. They love to see the dough rolling in. For some people, it’s innovation.
They love coming up with brand new ideas or whatever. What is that thing that keeps you going and then you can tack on other things to it and take it to the top? I’ve tacked on business to my passion for teaching. I’ve tacked on philanthropy to my passion for teaching. I’ve tacked on growth and growing wealth for my passion for teaching. Because teaching is the driver for all that I do. I’m going to be like 90 years old on the front porch asking everybody to come and listen to me run my mouth.
My father used to always say, meanwhile, he’s a chatterbox himself, but he’s always saying that I talk too much. It wasn’t that. I cannot possibly know a thing without sharing the thing. If I know something good, I’m like, I got to share it. That’s why this, literally, Get Good with Money, my book is my love letter to the reader. Because I pour in all the purpose, all the passion, everything that I know, that has helped to set me up for the life that I’m living now into this book. Because I don’t hold anything back. There is no … In this book number two, this is it.
This is everything I know and feel. If there is a book number two, it’ll be new things that I’ve learned and felt and grown into. Definitely, the vision comes first. Then the goals come later, because sometimes I fly past the goal so fast. I’m like, I can’t even take note of it. Some goals have taken me 10 years to achieve. That’s not enough to keep me going. 10 years to wait to achieve a goal is a long time. The teaching keeps me going. You guys have woken me up today. I, definitely, was a little dead this morning, but I’m like, I’m ready.

Scott:
I don’t think anyone could describe you as that. This is awesome.

Mindy:
Your next book should be how to start a business, how to discover …

Tiffany:
I was making that.

Mindy:
… your latent skills, how to make an attainable vision board, I want to make $10 million a month. Well, that’s great. You can’t just say that. You have to figure out how you’re going to do that. How to come up with a plan, how to come up with a vision board, how to discover your latent skills, how to create a business that lives on past you, that’s your next book. I don’t know if you know this.

Tiffany:
I was thinking about calling it … No, because I thought, I told myself, once I raise $10 million a year in business, I will consider writing a book on it. I just felt like that was a serious number. In my mind, I had my book named called Do Good, how to do good work, help good people make good money, that was like the … I don’t know if that’s what it’s going to be called, but that’s what I told myself. If I ever do write a business book, I want to write one where it’s based in how you do so with integrity, maintaining kindness. I don’t believe in the got you, got you or the switcheroo. I think that you can have a very successful business where, literally, everybody wins.

Mindy:
Yes.

Scott:
I’m flipping back to a second here with this. Couple of things you mentioned, one, you said you’ve been obsessed with your goal, you used the word obsessed for many years, and that you’re extremely consistent. Do you use any tools to track that consistency? For example, do you write down goals and track them every day? Or what is your methodology there, if any?

Tiffany:
Yes. If you could see, I am a huge notebook person. I have literally probably like four or five notebooks going, this is like one of my notebooks that I’m using now or stickies. Literally, I am notebook … If I don’t have a notebook, then I will text it to myself or Slack it to myself. What I do is I have a list of everything that I need to do, like high end things that I need to do, and then broken down into the … Like goals we need to accomplish, then the task that needs to be done to do those goals, and then what tasks I really need to complete today. Usually, I try to put my tasks that need to be completed today onto like a sticky. You have your notebook too or you have a …

Scott:
Every day, I print it off. I say, here’s what I’m going to do to reach my goals forward …

Tiffany:
It’s really important to like …

Scott:
… here’s what I’m going to do for chores that I just have to …

Tiffany:
Exactly.

Scott:
… get done to knock them out.

Tiffany:
Because it’s important. I tried to do the night before. If not the night before, then I do it as soon as I wake up. After I eat, I make myself a smoothie. If I’m going to exercise, I do that. Before I actually start to do work, because on the rare occasion that I just jump into it, my day is a mess. I find myself down rabbit holes, I’m like, Tiffany, this is not due for two weeks, you have something that’s due today, you didn’t even get to it. It’s really important that I whittle it down big, big vision, goals to hit that vision, tasks to hit those goals, what does today look like?
Then like I said, usually, I put it on a sticky and I’ll put it on my computer. Because I’ll look at it and I’m like, oh, I’m supposed to … Okay, I got to do that today. I have to do that today. By the end of the day, I look to see is there anything that I like left outstanding. I’ll give you an example. This, we can’t do this now, but when I first was starting my business, there was no Facebook business, there was no … You couldn’t do ads. Facebook was literally just out of the phase where you had to have an edu in order to sign up for Facebook. I was using Facebook to market.
No one was doing that, but I changed my name to Tiffany, my middle name to the Budgetnista, and then Aliche on Face book. I just got my first contract with the United Way. They were paying me, I think, $300 to $500 a class, once a week to teach the six-week course I’d written for them. I was worried because the first turnout, they did the marketing, five people showed up. I was like, they’re not going to continue to pay me for five people. The next time I said, “Can I market for you? I have my undergrad degrees business with a concentration of marketing.” They said, “Sure.”
I used my new Tiffany, the Budgetnista, Aliche Facebook page, which was just my personal page. I would push out marketing to get more people to come to the United Way classes so they could continue to pay me. One of the things I used to do is I had one of my homeworks every day to myself, was I had to send out 20 friend requests. Scott, I might be like, hmm, hmm, hmm. I would literally go on Face book, and just like I would friend requests Scott. I’m like, Scott has like a headshot. He looks like he works at a company.
Because in my mind, I thought if you work at a company, maybe you’d be like, hey, company, I see this girl Tiffany posting about financial classes, we should have her here. Then I would go through your friend list Scott and look at anyone that looked like they had a professional picture and be like friend, friend, friend. Honestly, one of my best friends now, Mark, that’s how we became best friends, because I sent him a friend request, because one of his friends accepted mine. He said, at one point, they all sat around and was like, who’s Tiffany?
Because they were all friends with me, but they didn’t know me. I was like this little worm. You can’t do this now on Facebook, but I was like this little worm. I did that because my thought process was you’re going to be my friend, and this is before Facebook had algorithms. It was just a true timeline. I was going to post about what I was doing as the Budgetnista. There was a potential that your church or your business or your corporation, wherever you worked, your school might want to hire me. I wanted to get in front of people who would say we should have her come here.
That was my homework for a year. Every single day, I had to friend 5, I had to friend 10, to 20 different people or at least send out friend requests. That’s the kind of thing that I was doing. It sounds so minute and nuanced, but it worked. It worked.

Scott:
I just want to chime in that if you are listening and you are inspired by what Tiffany is saying, my advice to you would be to begin with writing the vision down and then doing some form of daily organized tracking of your goals. It don’t have to be a crazy thing. You don’t have to spend 30 minutes on it. Five minutes last night, I wrote down like here’s the things I need to do today, the next day, to move my goals forward and I just check them off. If it’s 7:00 at night and I haven’t got to them yet, I spend until 8:00 doing them. It’s just like every day, I make that progress. If you compound that for three years, you will see results, for sure.

Tiffany:
I promise, yes.

Scott:
First. Do you have any resources for someone looking to do that where they can get an example of how to begin doing it?

Tiffany:
I’m thinking of any resources that I really used. Like I said, I don’t really like planners per se, because they’re a little constricting for me. For me, I like a good looking notebook, because it really motivates me to open it up. You might want to use an online tool where you can … Because also, too, I have really terrible handwriting. Sometimes I’m like, what does this say, Tiffany? Especially if something’s very important, before there was Slack, because I use Slack as an internal messaging tool that our team uses, I used to email myself the things.
That way, it was written clearly, so because my handwriting is not the greatest. I don’t think you have to go crazy with tools, unless you’re a super techy person that you love a good tool. I would also use the notebook feature on my cell phone at times where I’d be like, okay, let me pull up my notepad in my cell phone and send myself messages. One trick that I’ll use, because I have so much flying through my head, that as soon as the thing hits, I will write it or text it or whatever to capture it. Because it might be gone in the next 5 to 10 minutes.
That’s critically important, especially as you get a little older. That is critically important that I was like, oh, wait, did I said Penguin Random House that thing? I will write it, even if we’re in the middle of talking. Because I know it might not resurface for another week and then now I’ve forgotten and it’s too late. Capturing those things, putting them somewhere. Another tip I will use is try not to have, because I’m the worst at having too many places. Like I said, I have five notebooks going, my Slack, my email. I’m trying to consolidate to have one written component.
I try to get notebooks that are small enough to fit in a bag, so I can carry it with me no matter where I am, and then one text component. Now I’ve started to use … I created a Slack channel just for myself, where I literally just call Tiffany’s notes, where I can just text myself notes like, don’t forget to print out the thing, don’t forget to print that poster, don’t forget to … That way, it’s there. Then at the end of the evening, when I’m resetting for the next day, I look at all the things like the things prior, the task prior, and the task that just came up as a result of the day.
Then I reorganize my task for the next day to say, these are your priorities. This is what three or four things that must be done, three or four things that will be nice to get done, three or four things that if you get them done, great. If not, you have time on them. That’s how it looks.

Scott:
Great. Just so if you’re listening, a spiral bound notebook is perfect. If you want, I have a Microsoft Word template that I uploaded to BiggerPockets. You can download those there that starts the a vision one year, quarterly, weekly, daily goal setting stuff. You can customize it from there. We’ll link to that in the show notes. I highly encourage you to start some version of this if you’re listening because that’s, I think, the easiest step. Then the second thing that you said is every single day, you mentioned I’m working on my business, even if it’s listening to a podcast. How much self-education are you consuming per week would you say in terms of our hours?

Tiffany:
I’m like hours. The other day, I was like, Tiffany, do you listen to music? I had to literally turn on Drake just to prove I was a human being. I listened too. I mean, literally, if I’m taking a shower, I’m like, huh, how I built this? Yes, Guy Raz, I agree. Or literally, I’m doing dishes, BiggerPockets, oh, I never thought about it that way. Or while I’m going for a walk, I have to be mindful because I’m someone who likes to take notes. I try to listen to books that … Because it’s hard for me to listen to books that require notes when I’m taking a walk, because I’m like, ah, where do I write these notes.
I really try to listen to books that notes are not necessarily required. Maybe it’s more so I am elevating myself emotionally and socially through this book. I would say soft education, unless it’s a super packed day full of work, I dedicate an hour, maybe even four hours of just soft education. Because sometimes, it’s just playing in the background. It’s just like my niece and my nephew might be over, they’re three and five. They’re playing and I’m watching them and babysitting, but I’m listening to a podcast while they’re playing, so at least an hour.
I don’t know that a day doesn’t go by and sometimes it’s even just daydreaming. I think people underestimate the power of just laying in your bed or sitting on the front porch or laying in a hammock and imagining that amazing life that you say that you want. I used to live in one part of Jersey to drive to Newark to go teach preschool. Newark has a huge airport. I would be driving, because I had to be at work at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. At 6:30, 6:00, the sky would still be pink and purple and all these pretty colors.
I would daydream and pretend, one day, I’m going to be driving it to Newark because I’m getting on a plane to go speak somewhere. Even then, preschool teacher Tiffany would be like, no, Tiffany, you’re not driving to preschool, you’re driving to Newark because such and such said you have to speak. Or I love practicing my speaking engagement for on awards I have not yet won or been nominated for while I’m taking a shower. I’m like, I just want to thank Oprah. I just went like, this is me. I didn’t even realize saying it out loud.
Scott, this is such a great question because I didn’t even recognize. To me, this is just normal Tiffany, but saying it out loud, I’m like, wait, do people do that? I’m always practicing for the next big thing, even if it sounds wild and crazy. I will live in it in my head and say, even as a kid, I would live in those things in my head like, when I get my bike, I’m going to do this wheelie. When I get that Barbie, Barbie is going to do this. Then when I get that … I think living in your dreams helps to bring them to fruition because you’ve already staked the claim in it. You’re just walking toward the place that you stake the claim.

Scott:
Awesome.

Mindy:
Okay, you’re talking about how you continue to learn and you continue to soft educate. All I can hear is she sounds like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, because those guys at their annual meeting, they say, we spend four hours a day reading newspapers. They’re looking for more information. Can Charlie and Warren rest on their laurels? They sure can. Can Tiffany rest on her laurels? Wanda’s taken care of, Tiffany. If you did nothing ever again, Wanda would be taken care of. Wanda might not be able to live on 300,000, she might be only at 250.
She’s going to have to come back on nothing. The fact that you continue to do that just speaks to who you are as a person. You’re never … I don’t know how to say this in a nice way. I mean it in a nice way. You’re never going to be satisfied. You’re never going to stop. You’re going to continue. It’s not for you, it’s for everyone else. When you give so freely, it comes back in just bushels.

Tiffany:
I just find joy and delight in learning. I think a good teacher is a better student. I love being reading random books that seem not like … What does that book? It’s a Ryan Serhant, Sell It Like Serhant. I read that book and I got so much value. I mean, he’s talking about selling real estate. It was like, oh. There’s always a nugget somewhere. One of my favorite books, I’m sure everybody loves this book, but it’s The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. It’s a fiction book.
The other day, I was watching this Netflix, I guess a docu series of toys you grew up with and how they’re made. I remember, I’m just watching that, I was getting my hair retightened and the guy who was doing my hair, he was watching it. I’m like, oh, that’s how Barbie was made, oh, that’s how … They were talking about Hello Kitty. I got an inspiration, because they said Hello Kitty something called kawaii and I’d never heard that term before. It’s a term in Japanese that means cute, but not cute on a surface level, but cute on a genetic level.
Cute the way babies are cute to protect them because parents look after their kids, because you’ve got this genetic guttural reaction to seeing the way a baby’s face looks and the way babies feel and smell. It’s their defense mechanism. Because you, as a parent are like, oh, my kid is so cute. It makes you take care of your kid. This is why puppies are cuter than dogs and cats are cute than kittens. This is what evolution has created to protect the babies, so they’re looked after. I’ve never heard of kawaii. That’s what kawaii means. It doesn’t mean cute.
It means like cute at the deepest level possible. I got an inspiration. I was on my phone, I messaged to Slack. Because as you know, I wrote a children’s book called Happy Birthday Mali More. I messaged Jazz, my illustrator, I was like, we have to do kawaii. I need you to watch this. I did some research and this is why I’m getting my hair done. I was like, we need to make Mali kawaii. Do you understand me? There’s inspiration. I was watching Netflix, this inspiration everywhere if you will see it. I’m someone to practice marketing, I will look at billboards and judge them.
I’m like, yeah, see, the font is too small here. Why would they use grit? I’m in my car, I can’t read script that quickly. The perfect sign of all signs is the stop sign. Because, one, that red, you know instantly, it’s branded itself. It’s not just that, that shape, it’s a universal shape. I’m thinking about, how do I do that with my brand? Then the stop sign is bull … Like if you look at the font on Get Good with Money, look at that font and tell me it doesn’t remind you of the stop sign. It’s not coincidental. Because it’s big, it’s thick, it’s bold. You can see it from miles away. That was intentional. I stole it from the stop sign.

Scott:
Is it intentional that it’s placed right behind your camera?

Tiffany:
Exactly. That’s …

Scott:
Well …

Tiffany:
Do you see what I mean? That there’s so many lessons all over, no matter where you live, what you do for a living. If you work with kids all day and you’re an eighth grade teacher, what are the kids talking about? That might be an amazing stock tip. I was watching my stepdaughter’s Supergirl dance musically for years. I should have got her to get me on. Because I was like, what is this musically? She was obsessed with it. Now it’s called TikTok. I could have been a TikTok superstar if I would have jumped on early when she started.
No matter where you are, there are amazing lessons to tap into if you will just lean and look and listen and observe. I’m not saying don’t listen to music, because like I said, Drake is my fave. I’m saying, set aside time to learn and to grow and to expand. I think was it Steve Jobs? That he spent time … I think it was in Japan, where he learned how to do calligraphy. Is that where he … Right?

Scott:
Yup.

Tiffany:
He took that aesthetic of beauty and curved lines and he poured that into Apple. Calligraphy into like the most … I mean, arguably one of the most transformative businesses in the entire world. It seems so odd, but it’s not odd. What is your calligraphy? What are you overlooking and thinking? It’s nothing, but it’s literally everything.

Scott:
I love it. We’re running up on time here. This has been fantastic. I’ve just tried to condense all of your energy into the simplest takeaways I can for our listeners. I think that boils down to creative vision, evolve it. I’m sure your vision is not the same now as it was when you first started.

Tiffany:
[inaudible 01:12:30]

Scott:
It probably moved quite a bit for several years as you refined it and got going and figured out what’s working and what’s not, is that right?

Tiffany:
Correct.

Scott:
I would say start with a vision, spend five minutes on it, figure out what you want, and don’t be afraid to move it every week for a year. Just keep editing it, revising it, and completely different in a year. Once it stops moving, you’re going to be in a really good spot and make daily progress towards it with some mechanism of tracking that. Then pick up a book, read it, pick up another one, read it, listen to a podcast, listen, go and do it again and again and again. Never stop. You will accumulate mental models across wildly different areas of life and business.
You do not know how they will come together to serve you. The only way you can do that is get started. That’s why we ask what’s your favorite book, finance book every week. I don’t care which book you start with. If you’re listening, pick one, then do that one, start with another. If you don’t like it, put it down and switch and get to another book, but just absorb, absorb, absorb for one to four hours per day while you’re doing your driving or doing your chores or whatever. After several years, you’ll have 10,000 hours of education across a broad variety of subjects.
College does not do that. High school does not do that. It’s just a completely different education. It’s insurmountable. There’s just no way if you don’t do that, that you can make decisions on a day to day basis of the same quality level as Tiffany. You can’t do it without that, I don’t think. That all stacks into compounding. That’s why you’re going to do more business this year than you’ve done in the last nine years of your existence combined. It’s because all that is compounding and the mental models come together in ways that allow for that decision making that’s exponentially better, not just a little bit better at each stage.

Tiffany:
Yes. Scott, are you a teacher? Did you go to … Because that was such a great wrap up.

Scott:
No. I’m a podcaster. No, just kidding.

Tiffany:
You have a teacher spirit. It’s the reason why you have such a successful podcast, you and Mindy. Because this is an extension of just education, and that was such a great, concise, random. I have to say, honestly, I have not had an interview like this ever. You guys pulled out things that I don’t even realize I’m doing those things, because I’ve known myself my whole life, so it doesn’t seem odd to me. I’m like, I do do that. That is a really good question. Because sometimes you don’t even realize what’s adding to your success. These are really good question. I’m going to actually … Literally, my hand is itching for my notebooks so I can write these things down.

Scott:
I am not going to hold my breath in anticipation of you rounding out the 10 million mark. I’m going to look out for 100 million in the next 10 years here. Before we get to the famous four, anything you want to say in wrap up here?

Tiffany:
What I would say, I know we’ve talked a lot of high level things here, I hope it got you excited and inspired because it’s meant to. Know that the real work is done, boots to the ground, daily, daily exercising of your ability to learn, and to put what you learn out there by doing the work. I tell my mentees and stuff all the time. They’re always like, “Tiffany, what do I have to do?” I’m like, do the work. Every single day, the work is going to look different. I don’t love every aspect of the work, but consistent work leads to consistent results.
I’ll share this one thing that my mentor shared with me, she reminded me because I was telling her like, “Woof, sometimes I get so overwhelmed now. It seemed like just a lot.” She’s like, “The real work is in the reaping, not the sowing.” It sounds opposite like, well, no, when you’re sowing, you’re putting all the plant and you’re planting. That’s a lot of work. She’s like, “No, no, no. Planting seeds … ” Let’s just say you’re planting corn seeds. Yes, that’s a lot of work. Imagine how much more work when you actually have the corn.
You’ve got to cut it down, shuck it, clean it, sell it. Just know this that what you’re doing now, the seed planting that you’re doing, it’s even more work when you start to reap the harvest of all your hard work. It’s important that you take the time for the sowing, because it’s going to fortify you with the skillset, the knowledge, the capability to make it through the reaping. If I can stop now, because I’ve done so much sowing and forever pick, and forever pick. I want that for you. It starts with day-to-day selling.

Scott:
Love it. Well, let’s move on to the famous four here. These are the same four questions we ask all of our guests each week. Well, Mindy, I’ll let you kick it off.

Mindy:
Well, we start off with, what is your favorite finance book?

Tiffany:
My favorite finance book Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach.

Mindy:
David Bach.

Tiffany:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott:
Love it. What was your biggest money mistake? We probably heard this one.

Tiffany:
Ugh, Jake the Thief. Giving a random $20,000 from a cash advance on a brand new credit card.

Scott:
Oopsies.

Mindy:
If you had not made that mistake, would you be the Budgetnista? Would you be Tiffany Aliche making a little bit more than you did when you were a preschool teacher? That …

Tiffany:
100,000% no. That mistake was necessary and pivotal.

Mindy:
I wouldn’t say thank you to Jake the Thief, but that is definitely a good thing that I can’t say that.

Tiffany:
I’m happy for it, honestly. Because one, better me than someone else, me who had the foundation to pivot, and then also, too, it taught me so many lessons that you just cannot learn from reading a book. You have to live through. I’m grateful for it.

Mindy:
Yeah. What is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Tiffany:
My best piece of advice for people who are just starting out is to start. Most people never start. They think about it, they read about it, they dream about it, but they don’t put pen to pad and to get started. My best piece of advice, no matter what starting looks like for you, a Google search, a list made is to start.

Scott:
Love it. I would recommend as a starting point, just that one paragraph, what I want my life to be like in a few years, and just evolve it from there. It’s not an hour or five-hour exercise. People overthink this. What is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Tiffany:
I’m less of a joke teller and more like I love to just tell stories about … I’m more of a storyteller. I like to share the story of how my first financial lesson, how I was for and loved to run water. I wrote about this in the book. My dad pretended, in order to get me to stop, that the money used to run the water was actually the money he had to use to pay for the ice cream that I used to ask for every week. Once I realized that running water meant that I could not get ice cream, I stopped running water. Those are the types of stories I like to tell at parties.

Scott:
I love it. Alright, where can people find out more about you?

Tiffany:
I am the Budgetnista on every social media platform, Instagram, TikTok that I don’t use, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, thebudgetnista.com. I’m just the Budgetnista everywhere, thebudgetnista.com in all your favorite social platforms.

Scott:
Awesome. You just came out with this new book. Can you tell us about where to buy that and when it is released?

Tiffany:
Yeah. Book comes out March 30th, 2021. It might be out when you’re listening to this already. Wohoo!

Scott:
Yup. The book is already out.

Tiffany:
Yeah. You can purchase it at getgoodwithmoney.com. I created a toolkit that’s free that comes along with the book with all of the downloadables from the book. Even if you don’t get the book, you could still go get that toolkit, although it might not make sense without the book, Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole. I can’t wait to see you on the other side of your financial journey after you build this amazing financial foundation. You can create the rest of your financial house.

Scott:
Awesome. Love it. Well, we will link to all of that in the show notes, all of the places you can find, or as many as we can think of to find Tiffany. I’ll buy. Your website, your book, all those good things, social media. Those will be at biggerpockets.com/moneyshow187. If you can’t remember all of those links, they’ll all be there for you.

Mindy:
Tiffany, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. I’m so excited for your book. I’m so excited just to have an hour to listen to you because your excitement is infectious. Now, I’m excited to go do all the things as well.

Tiffany:
Thank you. I appreciate that. My agent having said the other day that I was her cup of coffee. She’s like, whenever I have to, Tiffany.

Scott:
Yeah, try having a cup of coffee and listening to Tiffany. That was my morning, that was great.

Tiffany:
You’re super buzz, Scott. No, honestly, thank you, guys. You guys have always been awesome inviting me back over and over. It’s a privilege and a pleasure. Thank you.

Scott:
Well, we’re grateful to have you back. It’s always a wonderful time interviewing you and lot of energy, a lot of passion, a lot of insight. Thank you very much.

Tiffany:
You’re welcome.

Mindy:
Yup. We will talk to you soon. Thanks, Tiffany. I’m super excited for your book. Good luck with the sales that I know will just crush it.

Tiffany:
Thank you.

Mindy:
Okay, Scott, whoo! I got to take a breath. What did you think of the show?

Scott:
I think that my I look like Robert De Niro. In my future self, I’m going to name Robert, according to her thing. That way, I can say I’m talking to me. That’s not the last time I’m going to use that joke. Okay, I’m thrilled with that. I think it was a great episode. I think Tiffany was fantastic. I think she brought the energy. I think she loves everything about what she does. I think she has some big visions. I think that the great thing about this world we live in, this capitalism, I guess, is that by her going big and going after her goal, the only way she can get there is by helping hundreds of thousands of women be successful along the way with her group there.

Mindy:
Check. She’s already done that, and she’s just continuing on. One of my biggest takeaways from this is that she has not stopped learning, even after reaching the level of success that she has attained. She’s still learning and pursuing more. She called it soft education. She said she does one to four hours a day. That’s insane. That’s amazing. I really need to step up my soft education, because I’m not getting in one to four hours right now. I also love her marketing ideas. They’re super outside the box, but not obnoxious and over the top. She just looks at things differently.
If you want to be like Tiffany, who is an overnight success in just 10 short years, you will have to continue to learn and grow and think outside the box. That’s so cliché, but it’s also super true. You can’t do the things that everybody else does and expect to have different results. She doesn’t do anything that anybody else is doing. She has crushed it, absolutely crushed it in her professional career, her entrepreneurship, just by thinking slightly outside the box.

Scott:
Yeah, so you want an actionable step here that I guarantee will lead you to success. Write down a vision, go to biggerpockets.com/moneyshow 187, and you’ll see a template there. You don’t have to use mine, you can Google it. There’s probably way better goal setting templates. It’s just a Word documents that outline what I do every day for my goal setting. You can just download them there and check them out, and then write a vision and work towards it every single day. On top of that, invest a one to four hours every single day in learning.
I guarantee you, within 5 to 10 years, something good will happen on that. There you go. That’s a simple advice for today for the actionable takeaway that you could do. Okay, yeah. Like I said, that tongue in cheek, but that’s what I’ve been doing for the last seven years of my life. I believe it’s really worked for me. You can see what it’s doing for Tiffany, and it does for a lot of people with that, that simple philosophy about constant learning and just taking a few actions concretely every day towards your goals. I miss a day here and there. It’s not like every day, but it’s almost every day that I’m doing this.

Mindy:
That’s where it comes from. You don’t make a million dollars a minute by sitting on the couch watching TV. I would like that job.

Scott:
You can do that as long as you spent five minutes doing something that moves you towards your goal, like that email that needed to go out today that advances your timeline on that next deal by five weeks, because you just never got around to sending the five. Just do that and then watch TV for a few hours.

Mindy:
Okay, Scott, should we get out of here?

Scott:
Yes. Okay, I’ll get going. Thank you for listening, everybody. We appreciate you. We hope you like this episode and made it this far. Best of luck to you.

Mindy:
From episode 187 of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, he is Scott Trench and I am Mindy Jensen saying, peace out, rainbow trout.

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • Going from financial disaster to ‘Budgetnista in a few years
  • Embracing your humble beginnings and thinking of them as preparation for bigger things
  • Farming your profitable skill sets where obvious and latent skills are found
  • Prioritizing your daily tasks and your life as a whole
  • Investing your wealth AND retirement
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Book Mentioned in the Show

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