BiggerPockets Money Podcast 239: The Side Hustle Queen’s Guide to a 100% Saving & Investing Rate

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 239: The Side Hustle Queen’s Guide to a 100% Saving & Investing Rate

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If you and your sweetheart want to get married, rent a truck in a Colorado ski town, and have your dog watched while you’re doing so, Stephanie Warner is the person you should get in touch with. Even though she has a great W2 job, she still hustles hard with her side income work, making enough to pay for her lifestyle while her nine-to-five pays for her future financial freedom.

Stephanie had enough money growing up, but she wasn’t given a ton of financial literacy lessons from her parents. Thankfully, her Grandma who loved driving used cars and buying rental properties taught her the importance of being a homeowner and helping those who are in need. Once she left her hometown for college, graduated, and got a job, she moved all over the country doing all different sorts of work. This gave her a diversified education and allowed her to take on challenges that were interesting to her.

Now, she shares with BiggerPockets Money listeners how she flipped her financial position, thanks to some very lucrative side hustles!

A special thanks to our guest host, Joe Saul-Sehy from Stacking Benjamins, who got so tired of Scott’s puns, he decided to host one of the shows himself.

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 239 where we interview Stephanie Warner and talk about side hustles and creating new opportunities.

Stephanie:
I was living paycheck to paycheck because if I had another, if I had an extra $800 before the pay cycle, I would pay by, at that time I had a car payment or I would pay my mortgage in advance or all my bills or my insurance. I would just put it towards something, so I wouldn’t spend it.
(silence)

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen, and joining me today as guest host, Joe Saul-Sehy from the Stacking Benjamins podcast. From time to time, Scott is unavailable to record and rather than miss a week, I’m calling on all my smart friends to fill in for him. However, none of them were available, so I called Joe.

Joe:
I am sitting right here, Mindy. I’m right here. You see me?

Mindy:
Oh, hi, Joe. I do see you now.

Joe:
Oh, hey.

Mindy:
Welcome.

Joe:
Good seeing you. How are you?

Mindy:
I am doing good. How are you doing, Joe? I’m so excited to have you today. I love to give Joe a hard time, but Joe is one of the smartest guys I know. And he was at the top of my list of people to record when Scott couldn’t make it. So Joe, I’m so delighted that you could join me today.

Joe:
I’m entirely happy to be here and I’m going to be a horrible Scott Trench, but I’ll do my best.

Mindy:
You were horrible with the puns. Nobody is as good as Scott Trench’s with the puns, so.

Joe:
Ninja.

Mindy:
That’s what made this episode so enjoyable. None of those sneaky little weird puns that he always flips in there. Okay, today, Joe 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.

Joe:
So, whether you want to retire early and travel the world go on to make big time investments in assets like real estate or start your own business, we’ll help you build a position capable of getting money out of the way and launching yourself toward your dreams.

Mindy:
So, today we are joined by Stephanie, and Stephanie is a side hustler extraordinaire. She really has that dialed down. I don’t think there’s anything she won’t do. Ooh, that doesn’t sound right. I think that Stephanie will try anything once. Does that sound better?

Joe:
No. Still not there.

Mindy:
She does dog sitting. She does house sitting. There’s… how do I say this? Because I’m trying to be complimentary because I think it’s awesome.

Joe:
Yes.

Mindy:
There’s nothing that she’s like, “Oh, I’m too good for that.” She doesn’t have that kind of attitude.

Joe:
And I think that’s the big powerful thing that we’re about to hear here, Mindy, is the fact that I think with all of us there are opportunities all around us and the one thing I love about Stephanie’s story is she was willing to try out those opportunities to see if they work. And I know so often I see people that go, “Nah, I don’t think I’d be any good at that.” And I think you have to give yourself a chance to try it out and see if you’d be good at first. And certainly, everything from dog sitting to wedding officiant to renting her cars out, selling her parking space, maybe not completely legally. She’s doing all kinds of things and has done all kinds of things to make money.

Mindy:
Yeah, I think it’s awesome. It says to her mentality, “I’m not going to let myself be pigeonholed into just this one thing. I’m going to try it all and see what I like the best.” And now she’s a wedding officiant and she makes good money being a wedding officiant. I don’t know that I would want to do that. I’ve worked with brides and sometimes, they can get a little emotional.

Joe:
I think I was a wedding DJ in college. I would rather work with brides than mothers of the brides any flipping day.

Mindy:
I will give you that.
Stephanie Warner, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Stephanie:
You’re one of my favorites.

Mindy:
Thank you.

Stephanie:
I feel a little starstruck and I have a little bit of crush right now. Thank you very much.

Mindy:
Well, Joe is pretty cute, but he is married.

Joe:
No, I was going to say Stephanie, I’m joining you in the crush, so there it is.

Stephanie:
Yeah, Mindy is great.

Joe:
We both have a big Mindy health going.

Mindy:
Well, thank you. Thank you. So, let’s do 10 minutes of how great I am and then we’ll jump into Stephanie’s story. Okay, Stephanie, where does your money story begin?

Stephanie:
Well, I had to start off right off the bat is until very recently when I started really kind of fine tuning my current savings and aggressively saving and kind of looking at the big picture. And that was also through listening to your podcast, among others, just a handful of others, that I realized that I’m really on a good track. And by dumb luck, I got to this place and I felt like I grew up with very little, we didn’t talk about finances. We didn’t really, I didn’t have much guidance even though my father was in investing. My stepfather, who was my stepfather from age nine on, was the head of our local A G Edwards office.
I really think it comes down to the females in my life that taught me the most about finances. Most notably my grandmother. She was a really cool lady. She had four kids. We’re from Southeast Louisiana, which is going through some hard times right now. But my grandmother was married to my grandfather, an engineer and he was a super smart guy, but she always taught me the value of owning your property and driving cars that were simple. I think she drove like a souped up Toyota Camry that she taught me how to drive on.
But she told me, “Stephanie, it’s very important for you girls,” because I’m one out of three, “to always own the house of your head, live within your means.” She had three or four investment properties where she, at that time, it was at advantageous to rent to own. She chose to rent to single mothers mostly. And I always that stuck in my mind of she’s giving back, but she’s also having fun. And this is allowing them to buy a sailboat down in the islands, travel the world, et cetera, et cetera.
I grew up in a household where, again, we didn’t talk about money, but it was evident that we were comfortable. I went to a small private school in Covington, Louisiana, and we had everything we needed, including a pool and frequent travel to Colorado, which my parents were addicted to. So I grew up all right. I babysat throughout my lifetime. I realized that tax-free jobs, side hustles were a lot more fun. And it gave you access to really Gucci grocery items in the refrigerator and you could go to places with the family, so I babysat. Let’s see.
I left for college. My mom wanted and my dad wanted us to go out of state for college. So, my sister Jamie went off to Boulder, an expensive school. My sister Wendy went off to some art school in Santa Fe. And I chose to go to Charleston, to the College of Charleston, which it’s still reasonably priced, but I had to get creative with loans and grants and such. I had very little idea what I was doing and there wasn’t exactly a group at school that helped us with this. It was kind of blind luck that I came across, after I was accepted after I was set to leave and go to Charleston to start school that I found a loophole within the State of Louisiana offerings. They allowed me, they paid the difference between an in and out of state tuition for me to attend the College of Charleston if I chose Marine Biology because they didn’t offer it in LSU in state schools.
So, I could have gone to study international business, for instance, on the Gulf Coast, but I chose Charleston. I was racing sailboats at that time growing up, so I thought I liked historic towns on the water with good food, so I went off to the College of Charleston. I worked full-time throughout college. All my friends have the new BMW every two years and my boyfriend had an elevator in his house downtown. But I wouldn’t say I was a country bumpkin because I was raised with nice things, but I was definitely the one that was working until 8:00 at night and taking on side jobs, doing catering and stuff, but I was happy. Let’s see.
That was in state so I had very minimal loans. I think I graduated only owing $14,000. I went off to Boston to work, Sight Unseen. I think I saw it on Ally McBeal. And I thought, “Wow, I want to live in a big historic town on the water with good food.” So, that’s kind of my life mantra. So, I went out there and I started looking around at entry level jobs after college. I switched to corporate communications, by the way, because clearly I’m a talker, and I had no other interaction. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but after two years of-

Joe:
Welcome to the club, Stephanie.

Stephanie:
Yeah, I just I knew that I didn’t want to go feed Shamu for like $10 an hour with my Marine Biology degree, so I switched to corporate communications. Headed up there with $280 in a moving van with some soccer friend that wanted to drive me all the way. And so, I got up there and the best option for me was to get something called a Headhunter. So, my first job was working for Putnam Investments as an Administrative Assistant at the headquarters. That was fun. We used to sneak into Larry Lassiter’s bathroom and steal the good candy, the good things. I was just enjoying the city life.
I then worked for Citizens Bank as their Executive Assistant to one of the high level people. And then I ended up kind of switching over to one of the largest ad agencies in Boston, Arnold Worldwide. We were doing really exciting things with Royal Caribbean and Volkswagen. There are a lot of perks. We were all poor, but we had a lot of fun living downtown. Through that job, it made me realize that why would I want to work in the judges’ base salary, working up in the ranks. Why don’t I want to work straight for the CEO or a Director, so I can see everything that’s happening within the organization, and I absolutely loved it. I worked for this just firecracker of a female who was the head of the PR Department.
So, I wasn’t really going anywhere with my career, but I wasn’t going backwards. And I was living downtown and having a really good time. After years there, I decided to move back to Charleston. I got a house down there through a friend. I was going to go do sales for a friend’s company. I bought a $900 Saab. Mind you, I have at that point. I had never owned my own vehicle, so there was no need to. I took the trolley when I lived in Charleston. I used friends’ cars. So, I lived within my means. I took cabs. I shipped my stuff down to Charleston. This is a week before September 11th. My company in Boston said, “Stephanie, we really want you to go to our McLean, Virginia office to interview for a job there.” And I said, “Well, you were at my going away party. I am heading to Charleston,” so everything was packed.
But I kind of met a hustler, so I said, “If you really want me to interview for this job, that’s fine. I need to go through DC anyway. But you need to put me up at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s corner.” So, I’m at the Ritz Carlton, seeing some friends, eating the good pancakes. I interviewed for the job the week before September 11th. I took the job, still living in the hotel. It was awesome. September 11th happened. And it was devastating for obvious reasons, but I’m kind of stuck in this town. It’s not the North, it’s not the South. My things are down in Charleston, why didn’t I live up to that commitment.
So, after six months of awkwardly staying in DC, our company was doing mass layoffs in that DC office because we’re travel-centric. Royal Caribbean was our big client and such. So, I saw the writing on the wall and this is what I learned a second very important life lesson was the best time to negotiate perks is when you’re leaving or when you’re coming on. So, I talked them into paying my moving costs to get me to Colorado because they had gotten me in this situation for moving me from Boston to DC, sidetracked me. I was in hell. And so, I had them pay to move me to Colorado whereby that time both my sisters, their husbands, my mother and all my aunts and uncles and cousins on one whole side the family had started moving and were leaving.
So, that’s what got me out in 2002 to Colorado where I belonged. And so, how am I doing on this? Did I, enough coverage?

Mindy:
Well, wait a second. You moved to Colorado. We do not have water in Colorado. So, that’s-

Joe:
Right.

Mindy:
You’ve changed your MO. You want to live in this big beautiful city with great food by the water.

Stephanie:
That’s a good, good point.

Mindy:
And growing up, college, after college. DC still has water, right?

Stephanie:
Yeah, but it’s just it’s so hot. There’s nobody to date because they want to talk about politics. I just, it wasn’t my cup of tea. I think it’s really strange that their crabs have the crab oil on the outside, which is not how we do in Louisiana. It’s like, “Ow, ow.” It’s just, there’s nothing right about it. I chose Colorado to be close to my family because that’s what was important. I hadn’t lived near any of them since when I got out of high school. So, I only saw them once or twice a year when I traveled to Colorado or back home to Louisiana to see my dad, but Colorado. I looked at Boulder. I looked at Durango. I lived there for five weeks during the fires.
I decided to get my first passport, take a three month job in Indonesia, so I went to Indonesia. And while I was there collecting unemployment, I was checking on job, the open jobs in gorgeous Telluride, Colorado. So, I was hired over the telephone to work as an office manager for my friends, my now very close friend’s ski shop. They just expanded to five or six ski shops. Really nice people. There in my heart. So, I started, I just moved to Telluride after my little sabbatical in Bali. And I stayed in Telluride from 2002 until 2008. And that’s when I really learned the art of side hustles.
I was lucky enough to find jobs there that were year-round with shoulder season, so that I could do other things like take on jobs at Telluride Film Festival or Mountain Film. I did this thing, it was a secret shopping manager where I set up people to go into ski shops and retail establishments, and get their ski tuned and write about it. I was bringing in extra $300 or $400 a week doing that. And that was purely like a very simple job. I house and dog sat people’s homes for $80 a night. It was ridiculous. I just I got really scrappy and I had to because Telluride was very expensive to live in. But I did everything from I was a general assistant to I was an HOA manager. I did a lot of interesting things and it gave me a good, like I opened my eyes to all these different industries that you could go into.
My last job there I was a public affairs person for the town of Telluride, which meant, I was a complaint department. And through that position, I learned a lot about business owners, residents, visitors, and how it all comes together to make a utopia. I got laid off, which was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I got laid off with nine full-time employment employees when the real estate market crashed. During that time, I had just bought a year prior, I bought a deed restricted condo in town. I think I was 28. That was awesome. I owned it for two years. It was one of those deed restricted where it was subsidized by the town. I did, it was a program that I still, I’m very thankful to this day.
Through the Housing Authority there, they help you with downpayment assistance, 0% interest for 10 years. I think I had $10,000. I got a $2500 grant through the Association of Realtors. It’s purely to get people who work in that school district, locals that don’t have huge trust funds or other holdings, it allowed us to get into housing and stay locally. So I lived on Main Street. I’m still thankful I’ve had a really cute one-bedroom place. I was on the HOA board, I really learned how it all worked. I think my mortgage was $909 a month. I mean that’s a lot when I look back at it because I was 28. But I rented my…

Mindy:
But it’s nothing for Telluride.

Stephanie:
… house based out for $300 a month to some fly fisherman who wanted to put as FJ in there. So, I was kind of hustling in that aspect. I had some side projects that were under the table type of things that helped the community. Again, house sitting, dog sitting, I would do anything just to kind of supplement my income because I was working, as a town staff employee. And I think that I looked at my Social Security statement the other day, and I think I was making $38 or $41 in that job. So…

Joe:
Before we-

Stephanie:
… I decided that I was-

Joe:
Stephanie, before we move on to the next stage, I think Mindy and I both have 5 million questions about the stuff I’ve covered so far. And I really don’t want to miss this opportunity for our listeners to get some of the big ahas that you shared because, man, I heard about 50 of them, which and I also have some things that I wonder about and I’d love for you to clarify for us. But I want to go all the way back to the beginning first, if you don’t mind and ask about this. It’s just curious to me that your dad is in the business of finance, works it all day long every day. And yet, in your family, you didn’t really talk about money.
Now, my family didn’t talk about money either. But my dad worked for General Motors. My mom worked for Upjohn, it’s now Pfizer And while they made plenty of money, it just, it was impolite to talk about money. They weren’t from a money family. I remember every single time that my brother or sister I would walk in the room, they tell us to leave if they were in the middle of a money discussion like that. You just didn’t do it. So, I find it weird that the women in your family talked about money, but you and your dad never did. Why is that?

Stephanie:
It’s a good question. I mean, maybe I was just at the age. I mean, my parents divorced when I was nine. And I was the youngest of three, so everybody was busy. My dad, I don’t know. He traveled a little bit, but he was more in this family business and finance. It wasn’t until my stepdad was a part of our lives that he was the one that was very young. He got a series six and series seven, like maybe the one of the first people in his age bracket to get it very early on. He didn’t talk about finances, per se, but he showed me the value of working for things. And I kind of brushed over that.
My stepdad, Ed, he’s now passed, he showed me the good life. We had an airplane, which he reminded me was not a big thing since it was a private, it was a small airplane, a Cessna, which he equated to it’s a Mazda 626 of the sky stuff, so don’t get a big head. We would fly to the nearby town and go to Chili’s because they had good chips and salsa. So we weren’t jet setting to like Texas to go shopping at the Galleria, but he also would buy Porsches and Mercedes and have them on our property and work on them. He’d buy them at like auction.
So, he always showed me what was good and achievable. And he didn’t have to pay a lot of money and have loans and such. But at the same time, he made me armor all the wheels and wash the cars all the time. And he had for the teenage girls this heinous-looking, it was like a Le Sabre with Bondo paint on it. It was like a super embarrassing vehicles that we didn’t want to drive it.

Joe:
That’s super.

Stephanie:
And we wanted to do more with our lives. I would like to say my father now, my father-father, he and I talk twice a week. He is so proud of me, of my financial journey. And now that I’m older, he shares knowledge. He’s a good egg, but he just didn’t talk to a nine-year-old about it.

Joe:
Sure.

Stephanie:
I didn’t have to work towards things to get an allowance. We didn’t do allowance ever, but I don’t know. The women, we naturally talk more. And I was really close to my mom, which I still am. She lives now in my town. And my grandmother and they talk about finances.

Mindy:
Well, I love that they talked about finances, because that is really what I mean, if they hadn’t, where would you be? Your dad wasn’t sharing this. I don’t mean to say that, like, “Oh, you’re dad didn’t talk about money.” But somebody needs to talk to kids about money. And I think a nine-year-old is perfectly capable of learning about money. I mean, it’s got to be, age-specific conversations. But my kids are always, I mean, now they’re to the point, “Mom, we don’t care.”

Stephanie:
I bet.

Mindy:
Well, too bad. You’re going to listen to it anyway.

Stephanie:
I mean, I think that they teach, my parents taught me a lot by buying books. And we didn’t have any finance books laying around. We had a bunch of books on like puberty and our bodies and that sort of thing, so I’m an expert on menstruation. But yeah, I didn’t get anything. I didn’t get any, I had no clue how it all worked. I mean, I had a library card and a checking account, but I didn’t know about compounding interest and none of that.

Joe:
Another story, I liked, well, I liked a lot of your story.

Stephanie:
Thank you.

Joe:
But early on, the fact that, and I don’t remember which family member it was, but would rent rooms to single women and had this passion around helping single women. Was that your grandmother?

Stephanie:
My grandmother, yes. And she was not a single mother. But I think she had some free time in town.

Joe:
Yeah. What I loved about that story is that I think that when people, Mindy, think about ESG investing, right? They think about these really technical things that you do. There are these big world changing things and for a lot of us, that stuff, the helping in your hometown, the people that you care about, the people that you really want to help, that to me is every bit as much ESG investing as anything else. So, I think that if you are passionate about something like your grandmother clearly was, she was still able to make the money that she wanted to make. She still clearly made a profit. She was able to afford things and her way of living. But she did it on her terms, which I think is pretty badass.

Stephanie:
Yeah. Betty was a badass. There were homes that weren’t in the nicer neighborhoods. But I remember one was by our high school and she knew that that was a good market. And it was a nice trailer park trailer. And she rented it to like the most popular girl in our high school to her mother, who is, there weren’t a lot of divorces back then. But I remember that my grandmother would never let them think they were just renters. It was all about, “This is your home. Can we come to do this and fix this. This is your home. You’re paying into it.”
And I don’t know how she did it through the bank, but it all worked out. Because I remember when they cashed out the three or four houses that they owned, and sold them to the renters. It was a big thing in my family and I was really proud of them. And that’s why they bought a sailboat and started just traveling everywhere. It was cool.

Mindy:
I think that’s awesome. I think you absolutely can invest in real estate and better your community and also help out your tenants. I don’t think it has to be this contentious relationship between landlords and tenants. And I think you get a better… I mean, so many caveats to this like don’t go with your gut. When you’re renting to somebody, you don’t go with your gut when you’re screening your tenants. But again in a smaller town, you’re going to know who these people are, you’re going to know that Joe Saul-Sehy is going to be a really great tenant or Joe is going to be a terrible tenant. No, Joe would be a great tenant because he treats property wonderfully and has hit a bad spell. We know he’s going to be a great tenant. You don’t really have to do the background checks and all of that because you already know him as the person.

Joe:
Well, and I love this phrase, Mindy, “You can do well and do good,” right?

Mindy:
Yes.

Joe:
Do well for yourself and do good for your community. They don’t have to be separate things. And people that think that they are. I still hear people say this myth that ESG investing or socially responsible investing or whatever you’ve got that the returns aren’t there. Not true. I mean, 10 years ago, totally true. Today, not true at all. Mindy, you had some questions about college though, I know.

Mindy:
Yeah. So you, it sounds like Stephanie, you graduated college with $14,000 in student loan debt approximately. Was it all student loan debt, credit card debt?

Stephanie:
No, I had some credit cards, but they were like little stores and stuff. And I never knew how to use them properly. I’m sure that they were 18%. I used them. I ran them up to $1000 or $2,000. It was never holding me down. But I didn’t know then that it was just a stupid thing to do. I wasn’t really big on credit cards. I just also wasn’t a big spender. I remember being in Boston and having this nice apartment with my roommate and us working hard, but I remember getting down to $1.85 in my bank account and deciding whether or not I wanted to buy a T-pass or buy some eggs.
And I mean I got by. It was never like a huge thing. I didn’t need to call my parents to get bailed out. But I definitely wasn’t socking money away. I was working at Putnam Investments at times and realizing that there’s all these investment choices. I was working in the defined benefits, defined contribution area realm, doing PowerPoint demonstrations. And they would always talk about investing, but I just never did it. I didn’t think I had any money. But let’s see.

Joe:
Would you do that different?

Stephanie:
It wasn’t until-

Joe:
Would you change anything there today?

Stephanie:
Well, yeah.

Joe:
Because it sounds to me like you didn’t have any money.

Stephanie:
Can I quote from Albert Einstein real quickly?

Mindy:
Yes.

Stephanie:
From his personal finance book. Its, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.” Albert Einstein said that. I had no clue about compounding interest. But I mean, I’m here. I learned my lesson. Thirteen or 15 years ago, I started saving. And now, I’m in a good point. I save 30% of my take home in my W2 job and I live a cheap life and everything’s kosher. I’m hoping to retire sooner than later.

Joe:
This is me and we don’t spend a lot of time here, but I also worked on the other side. I was a financial planner for 16 years, Stephanie. And it’s funny because you’d see people on that side. You were at Putnam Investments. You were in working in a bank. What I often noticed, surprise all to me, and I don’t know if it was the same in Boston, some of the most irresponsible people I ever met with money were people that worked. They should have known better. I thought that working at Putnam Investments that you would have probably seen all these great examples of people and whatever. If I didn’t work on the inside myself, I bet you saw some people that were horribly sloppy with money.

Stephanie:
I don’t know where they’re at, because we never discussed it. I ended my day at 5:00 and…

Joe:
And you took off.

Stephanie:
… I was off to the clubs and the bars and the islands and jetting around, talking to people who were not in the financial realm. And then, I got into the creative realm and that’s when I was working for a great ad agency. But again, I was not saving for my retirement. I wasn’t creating long-term debt.

Joe:
When did you have that pivot? A pivot of, “You know what? Something’s got to change. I got to start putting money away for the future.”

Stephanie:
I think it was when I actually had some extra money. So, after September 11th when I moved across the country and to Telluride, I started saving. I always had jobs there that offered benefits, so I wasn’t going without health insurance. I was lucky, but I didn’t want to have to leave Telluride, perfect ski area. I lived right around the corner from the lifts, and I got to ski 47 days a year in work. I think that’s what I started realizing that my parents don’t have some huge trust fund coming my way. I need to start making it.
I don’t want to be a renter. I bought that studio apartment condo. And then I started saving actively to get out of there and to get onto the open market. And that’s when I joined forces with a boyfriend. I mean, we had hardly dated for seven months. I thought maybe we weren’t loved, but we bought an investment house in nearby Norwood. And we bought it at the height and we worked on it because it had an open building permit to be able to close to buy the house. We moved in, we started working on it. He was an electrician with a trust fund and grew up in Telluride, so he was clueless with money.
I had saved money. We had this house for 10 years. And I think I walked, we sold it three years ago, after just creating cheap rent for a bunch of electricians over the years. But I think I made maybe like $4000 or $5000 off of it. But at that time, I started working for the company I’m with now. I’ve been with my company right now, my full-time job for 13 years. And that’s when I had the extra money. I was like, “Whoa, I’m good at sales.” And my company had all of these benefits and I just started saving as much as humanly possible.

Mindy:
So, before you moved to Colorado, what was your financial position. You had been laid off from your job. You saw the writing on the wall. You were, you said, “Okay, I want you to move me to Colorado.” What was your investment total? Your debt load?

Stephanie:
I didn’t have anything other than a little bit of jewelry. My $900 Saab I had bought to move in had died on the highway, so I sold that for scrap metal. I didn’t have any debt because I’ve never been comfortable having credit cards. I really didn’t have anything then. I only had unemployment checks coming. So, I knew that that was going to run out. I kind of still wanted to take a little time off to decompress from living in that godforsaken town. So, that’s why I took the job in Indonesia, which was like a free vacation. I think I made $5 a week. I was living on the beach and working Monday through Saturday there.
I don’t know. I think that I had nothing. It was stupid. I brought some tacky furniture all the way across the country in a moving van just because I talked them into paying for my moving expenses, but I had nothing. So my mom actually when I got to Colorado because she didn’t want me driving some death box. She helped me buy a ’98 Subaru Impreza Sport Outback. To this day, my favorite car I’ve ever had and I paid her no interest for this car that I bought. But yeah, I mean, that’s really where things began. But I began from a place of not having debt.

Mindy:
That… oh, I love that. Beginning from a place of not having debt is huge. It doesn’t, I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter how old you are as long as you don’t have debt at not having debt when you start off your journey is enormous or getting rid of the debt as soon as you possibly can. So, you can start building your wealth is enormous.

Stephanie:
So you would have more options.

Mindy:
Yeah. So, you moved to Telluride. You bought this subsidized condo, and can we talk about what that means exactly. I’m assuming that it or the deed-restricted condo. That means that you can’t sell it on the open market to just anybody, right? You have to sell it.

Stephanie:
Correct.

Mindy:
It’s limited in the amount of appreciation it can realize as well.

Stephanie:
Yes. I think it was 5%. Okay, I got around that because I read the docs and I realized that if you did certain improvements that were green, like I put in certain flooring and stuff, I could get a little bit more on that. Of course, I was illegally renting the car space for $300 a month. So that was helping me kind of save for the downpayment on the next house. I sold it to a local. You have to sell it to someone who goes to the Housing Authority meets all their criteria. And so, they kind of give you a list of pretty much who you can sell to or you put it out there and they have to go through the housing authority to apply and be accepted. And so, but the price that I could sell it at was kind of set in stone.
Now, thank God, I sold that house and got something on the open market because once I lost my job with the town of Telluride, I couldn’t stay around Telluride when people are losing jobs and to live in that condo, I had to work there. So, I wanted better options. And that’s when I moved out to the house, the rental house. We’re working on the house. We were growing squash. Watching a lot of CSI from the library and that’s when I looked around for jobs and it took me three months to get hired by the company that I work for now.
The company that I work for now, honestly, I look back, they’re the direct reason why I’ve amassed close to $250,000 in savings and own two houses and two homes. And they just, they believed in me. I don’t know. I just I’m very thankful for them. They appreciate continuing education. I think I told you, but they’re paying 100% of my MBA, which I start next month to get it at home. They’re doing that for all the employees, all full-time employees to get their GED undergraduate or MBA. And they also have such great offerings, finances. I can buy our stock at 15% discount. And they-

Joe:
I think it’s nice of you to say that it was them, but I don’t think it was them. And don’t-

Stephanie:
Thanks.

Joe:
No, don’t get me wrong. I mean, I feel like they have great benefits and you work with people that believe in you. I think that’s great. But over the years, when I was counseling people with their money, Stephanie, I’d see so many people with those same great jobs and those same opportunities, and they never took advantage of them. They never made anything of them. And I feel like after just hearing your story, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth. But I feel like after the moving around that you did about this after the struggling you did, you saw that opportunity in front of you and you really took advantage of it. So, I think it was a combo. I think it was them being the right company, but you also being the person that could hear the message and respond.

Stephanie:
Thank you for saying that. Yeah, I do agree with you.

Mindy:
Well, because he’s right.

Joe:
It is. It’s so empowering, I think, for people to realize that any benefit that your company gives you if you can take advantage of that, that’s absolutely fabulous. Because even if that stock, if the stock of the company you are in, if their employee stock purchase plan does zero, meaning the stock does zero, you’re still going to get 15%. That’s absolutely fantastic.

Stephanie:
Right.

Joe:
That’s an amazing deal.

Stephanie:
I use it kind of as a savings account. If I know I’m going to need $4,000 to build a deck on one of the houses or something, I use that and I sell it every year, which is probably not, I just can’t hold on to it, but I’ve always bought 2% of that.

Joe:
You still are a hustler.

Stephanie:
I am a hustler.

Joe:
Yes. And what’s funny is you just talked about your company and how they believe in you and how you use all these benefits. I’m getting the feeling that you don’t need to hustle anymore, like you did, but you still are. Where’s the hustle come from? What’s the drive? Where is this headed? I talk a lot about beginning with the end in mind, right? So, what’s Stephanie’s dream? Where are you going?

Stephanie:
Well, prior to the worldwide pandemic, which was unfortunate, I was living paycheck to paycheck even though I’m saving a ton of money, I was living paycheck to paycheck, because if I had another, if I had an extra $800 before the pay cycle, I would pay by at that time I had a car payment or I would pay my mortgage in advance or all my bills or my insurance, I would just put it towards something, so I wouldn’t spend it. But I also I kind of have this personality where I’m kind of neurotic and I love having apps on my phone because I’m like, “Oh, I could put that in my money market account.” Or right now, I’m buying Bitcoins, so I’m like, “Oh, I have a $200 extra, I’m going to buy some Bitcoin.” Or just paying off debt like my credit cards, which I love airmiles. I pay off my credit card every three days.
But I don’t know if, Mindy told you or many towards you, or you saw my story, I wrote it all out. But I wanted to not live paycheck-to-paycheck, even though I’m making six figures in my primary job. I wanted that to be untouched in case it ever went away. So, I started six years ago, a wedding officiant business and it’s really taken off. I do about 28 jobs a year in Telluride, mostly. So, I went from working for someone else and getting paid $300, $350 per wedding to now, I command $550 to $600 to show up. There’s some Zoom calls involved. There’s a little bit of kissing butt, and phone calls and email exchanges.
But I really value my time, so I go by the whole premise of I don’t need any practice doing weddings at high altitude. If it’s not a good fit for me and for the couple, I don’t take the job. So, that was a good lesson that I use across all my jobs is I don’t need any practice doing this. So, if it’s not paying me for my time, then it’s a hobby and I really love my hobby. So anyway, I do that.
And then I started because of you guys, I started renting both of my vehicles, which are paid for on Turo. I joined at the end of July and in just August, I think my numbers, I made $6,000 to date, and I even was in Croatia for two months of August.

Joe:
Wow.

Stephanie:
I get $180 per day for my Tacoma, my Toyota Tacoma, which is a 2014. And I charge an extra $60 to drop it at the airport, which is less than two miles away from my home. So, my market don’t tell anybody, anybody out there, my market is excellent because I live by airport. I don’t need my cars. I can ride my bike to Pilates, but yeah, it is blown up. So, every week I’m getting, $900 to $1000. I’m meeting some incredible people. There’s a nicest couple on the planet that have rented my Tacoma this week, and they’re sending me pictures of being in Moab and hiking Sneffels yesterday. So I just, I took a leap of faith. Not many people can emotionally detach themselves from their vehicles, but I drive my vehicles harder than anybody else and there’s insurance for a reason.
So, Turo has been awesome. Because of Turo and because of the wedding business, I socked. I’m now up to $15,000 emergency fund, which I did not have four months ago. And I’m socking away extra, but I don’t know. I just, I like, I don’t know where the scrappiness came from. It came from a couple of different places, but I think the biggest gift my parents gave me were not to give me a bunch. They made me get creative. My sisters have different spending habits because their college was paid for, but I had to support myself.

Mindy:
Where is where are you putting your money right now? Your W2 money?

Stephanie:
Okay, so 11% to 401k and then-

Mindy:
And is that, do you get any sort of match for your 401K?

Stephanie:
6%, 100% on invested, so I do.

Mindy:
Wow.

Stephanie:
Yeah, it’s through Merrill Lynch 85% equity stock, 10% bonds fixed income, 5% stable value. And then, I do 11% Roth, 2% employee stock purchase plan. That’s a 30% contribution rate if I take into account the 6% company match. And yeah, so half my paycheck is being saved or to taxes and then my fun money because I also own a rental property here near my home-

Joe:
Before we do that, can I ask you a question about the 401K?

Stephanie:
Sure.

Joe:
Why the 5% stable value? That’s the one piece. I think I understand the rest of it. I don’t understand 5% stable value.

Stephanie:
I don’t either. I made that change about four months ago when I had just a kind of an informational with my mother’s investor. And I was on one of these targeted retirement funds and he said it was way too conservative, and that I needed to change my match, I mean, my mix, so that’s when I changed to 80% stock equity, 5% stable.

Joe:
Yeah. The rest of it, I get, 5% stable value to me feels like 5% of your money is guaranteed over long periods of time, historically, to lose out. And also people do 5%, so that it kind of buoys them, but 5% is also not enough money to buoy you. I mean, 5%, if 95% of your investments go through the floor, 5% is not going to be enough. It’s a little tiny life preserver. I would not have the… this is not investment advice. This is just for entertainment purposes only, but-

Stephanie:
I love being entertained. Tell me more.

Joe:
But I just, I don’t like the stable value fund. Well, your main goal is to beat inflation. We got to kick inflation’s butt over time. Otherwise, you’re going to say dollar for dollar even more to just keep up and nobody’s got that kind of money. So, if you’re going to beat inflation, you have to be in places that aren’t stable over the short run, but give you much more promise over the long run, which historically the two types of investments that kick inflation’s butt over long periods of time equities, which are stocks and real estate. Those are your two pillars that do, over long periods of time to about the same, by the way, when you’re looking at big numbers like the North American Reindex and the S&P 500 end up at about the same place.

Stephanie:
Thank you. Where should I take that 5, where should I put the 5%?

Joe:
I don’t know that and I’m not being oblique. I don’t know enough about if you’re behind or if you’re ahead. But what I would do and I think part of the fun of this show whenever I talk to Mindy, and Scott is more about thinking about how to think, which is figure out how much you’re going to need at the end, and then draw a line back to today, how much do I need to save today in what rate of return do I need to get there. And once you’ve got those two numbers, then look at what historically in your 401K has done that over long periods of time. And that’s where you go. You just work backwards. And it gets rid of all the guesswork.
It also makes it, so that there’s all these different investment choices. And you know this, Mindy, everybody gets all in their head, worried about there’s five million things, I get it. No, you don’t have to know everything about everything. You just got to know about these few things that fit your goal. So, when you begin with the goal and work backwards, that will tell you where to put it. But historically, I mean, just offhand anything in your 401K that is equities based and large companies are always going to be safer than small companies. But small companies over long periods of time, if you can withstand the roller coaster ride, historically have done better.
People lately have not done International, because International had its butt kicked the last 10 years by the US stock market. But the 10 years before that, International smoked the US. If you put all your money in US stocks, the first part of this century, you were hating life. But then the second, the last 10 years, people are like, “Why would I do International? There’s no reason.” Well, look at the first 10 years and you’ll see they’re having some of each, so yeah.

Stephanie:
Thank you for that. I’ll take a closer look at that.

Mindy:
We’ll call this the research opportunity. So now, you can look into what are options available through your 401k. Where is your Roth money being invested?

Stephanie:
That’s a good question. I have no clue.

Mindy:
Okay, there’s another research opportunity that I’m going to suggest that you find out where that money is going.

Stephanie:
Okay.

Mindy:
And is that where you want it to be? What I’m doing with my Roth is mainly index funds. The Vanguard total stock market is VTS AX, and that is kind of the darling of all the personal finance people in the world. I do the fidelity version of that, because I like fidelity better than Vanguard, they have really great customer service. I am not endorsing anybody. You should do your own, make another research opportunity, but-

Stephanie:
Okay.

Mindy:
Definitely look at where you want to be. I mean, I’m also really tech heavy. My husband is the main driver of our investments and he is very into tech. He was excited about Google and Facebook of 100 years ago. Tesla, he bought 100 years ago and then we just came into some more money and he threw the bulk of it into Tesla, again, because he believes in the company. He also literally reads every single thing about Tesla, listens to the Tesla podcast. Do you know they have a daily Tesla podcast? I know it because he talks about every single day.

Joe:
Of course, I do.

Stephanie:
That’s so funny.

Mindy:
So, if you I don’t want to do this level of research, if it was up to me, I would not have my money in Tesla, because I don’t have the time to do this kind of research.

Stephanie:
Okay.

Mindy:
If you don’t have the time or inclination, I don’t have the inclination, either. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this research, that doesn’t make you a bad person. That just means you shouldn’t be throwing your money into a specific stock that you don’t know a lot about. So, that’s where index-

Stephanie:
I will research that. Thank you.

Mindy:
Yeah, that’s where index funds come in for me. And I am not endorsing Facebook, Google, Tesla, or any of the other ones.

Stephanie:
Only Turo, only the Turo.

Mindy:
Turo. Are they a publicly traded company? I don’t even know.

Stephanie:
Not yet.

Mindy:
As soon as they go public, so you know about the company, you had a great experience with them.

Stephanie:
I’m having an awesome experience. I’m having so much fun with that play money and I’m meeting nice people and their cars are paid for, they’re depreciating value sitting in my driveway. There’s a little bit of double dipping because through work, I get a car allowance as well and it’s not illegal for me to take that money, blah, blah, blah. I did think about I have a new tax lady and she told me the wedding business, it’s not a hobby. I can’t claim that I’ve lost money the last four years. We’re going to get straight this year. So, I thought about opening a SEP and then getting it doing an LLC and then starting investing into a SEP.

Mindy:
Another research opportunity is the difference between, what is the SEP IRA? I can’t remember, I know I chose the self-directed solo 401K because I am self-employed and have no other full-time employees other than my spouse. So, that was an option and there’s more opportunity to put money in tax deferred. And I did the research like five years ago. Joe, you’re making a face like you don’t believe me.

Joe:
No, I’m making a face because I’m just making sure I have my facts right before I weigh in on this because I thought I had it right. And I do that with a SEP IRA, you can, as an employer, you put money in as with a simple IRA. As an employee, you can you put money in. Now, if you are the only person working in your company, really the one to look at between the simple the SEP and the Simple is the one that you can put in more money with a Simple your contribution limit in 2020 or 2021 is $13,500, unless you are over 50 and then you can put in another $3000, which brings that up to $16,500. With a SEP, you can put in 25% of an employee’s salary or up to $57,000, whichever is less.
So frankly, the SEP, you could put up to $57,000 but man you’d be rocking it as an officiant if $57,000 is only one-quarter of what you’re making. I mean, you’re an officiant doing things in Vegas, because you’re so good. Well, I don’t know. And now, it feels like a little wedding chapels. You’re like the Penn and Teller of wedding officiants doing weddings at the Rio on the main stage.

Stephanie:
Oh, you’re funny.

Joe:
So-

Stephanie:
Yeah, it’s about $14,000 cash per year that I’m turning tax free, because I’m not doing it right. And that’s about five hours a week per week, on average. Some months, I have seven weddings, and it’s very time consuming.

Joe:
The third one to look into-

Mindy:
Oh, seven weddings.

Joe:
Yeah, yeah. That’s a bunch. The third one to look into is a solo 401K.

Mindy:
Okay. That the option that I have and it’s because there are no full-time employees other than me, so anybody that works for you can only work up to 1000 hours a year and then you can still have this. Otherwise, you have to offer it to everybody that works for you and it doesn’t work out as well if that’s the case, so but I don’t have any other employees.
I’m a real estate agent. My husband has his own income through his blog, so he has an opportunity to contribute up to $19,500 for this year. And once I turn 50 next year, I get an extra $1,000 or no $6,000, extra $6,000 I’m super excited for that. And then there’s also the opportunity for my company to match my contributions up to 25% of my salary. So, what I take that to mean is that my $19,500 is my salary, 25% of that is another like $4000, so I am putting… I’m sorry, another $,000 so I can put up to $24,500 into my Roth IRA, I’m sorry, into my self-directed solo 401K.

Joe:
There you go.

Mindy:
Before I run into any sort of, I don’t have to pay any taxes on my income up to that contribution and then it starts into more, which is actually something that I’m going to have to consider this year so that’s a good problem to have. I am going to put on my legal cap and say, you should always work with a CPA or tax professional to make sure that you’re paying your fair share of the taxes.

Stephanie:
I will. I promise.

Mindy:
But it sounds like you’re getting ready to do that this year.

Stephanie:
I am now that I’m like not in the, yeah. I’m making money on it.

Mindy:
Now that it’s not a hobby, now that it’s an official rate income generation.

Stephanie:
And then the Turo stuff, I don’t plan on, I want to cut it off and not do it over the winter and deal with people smashing my car in the snow. So, I believe that they don’t 1099 you unless you’ve done 200 trips or turned over $20,000. And right now, I’m in the $6000 or $7000 range. So, I’m just going to cut things off for the year once I hit closer to 20.

Joe:
But remember, you got to stay legal. Just make sure, just make sure you stay legal.

Stephanie:
Oh, I’m staying legal all right.

Joe:
If they-

Stephanie:
Yeah, I don’t want to go over that.

Joe:
I’ll tell-

Stephanie:
I don’t know.

Joe:
I’ll tell you, Stephanie, a great strategy because you have the W2 income. The more money you make from your side hustles, the bigger potentially these quarterly payments to the IRS can be. And Mindy, you know quarterly payments to the IRS, they can be a pain in the butt. Just an absolute pain, trying to figure out where this monster amount of money is going to come from all at once. What’s neat is working with your tax professional, what I might look at is over withhold from your W2 job, withhold way more there, so that you don’t have to worry about it with your side hustles. You’re already…

Stephanie:
That’s smart.

Joe:
… taking extra out. And then the quarterly payment problem goes right out the window, so much easier.

Stephanie:
Thank you.

Mindy:
Yeah, I really like over withholding with my W2, so I don’t have to deal with all of that, because that’s-

Joe:
Yeah, it just.

Mindy:
You have to make the payment if you don’t make it right or you don’t make enough then they get mad at you. And oh, the first time I did that, I was 17 working for a woman and she didn’t W2 me, she 1099’d to me, and the first year everything worked out. The second year, I got hit with a huge tax bill. I’m like, “I’m 18 years old. I don’t know anything about this.” Why would I hire [crosstalk 00:55:42].

Joe:
I had the same thing. Early in my career, Mindy, I had the same problem. I owed the IRS a bunch of money that I did not really owe them because of the fact that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Very frustrating, so.

Mindy:
Yeah. No, I owed them, so I owed them fines. I didn’t even owe them money. I just owed them fines, which made me very angry.

Stephanie:
That’s dirty.

Joe:
Having money and fines, it was ugly. Well, because I didn’t know how to do the accounting or to look up what I could really write off, right? All the things that I was eligible for, all the perks of being a business owner. I didn’t write off so many of the things that I could have written off. It’s so frustrating.

Mindy:
And this is where a tax professional can save you oodles of money. Yes, they charge a fee, but the money that they can save you can be really huge, so.

Joe:
Yeah, and just on that note, Mindy, it’s got to be the right one. Because I had a tax professional, but my tax professional just kind of prepared the stuff and said, “Oh, Joe, you owed” I even remembered the number, “$17,000.” And I remember looking at this guy, Bill and going, “Bill, these are due tomorrow, where the hell am I going to find a bank to rob to come up with 17,000 bucks? Like seriously.” And then I had to hire, but I learned my lesson. And then I started working with this woman Sue, who is much more of a teacher, and she sat me down and she taught me what I could do and how the business. It’s so much, but it’s got to be somebody that will teach you how it works.

Stephanie:
I found a Sue.

Joe:
Yeah, that’s so-

Mindy:
Good.

Joe:
It doesn’t have to pay for itself, Stephanie. It’s so good.

Stephanie:
Yeah, I found a Sue and my sister is married to a tax accountant. And so, I can ask him the non-Sue questions, hypotheticals, and then I go to her, so we can keep things clean.

Joe:
That’s what he wants at Thanksgiving is just Stephanie, just getting all the free advice.

Stephanie:
He likes talking. He’s awesome.

Joe:
I remember when I was a financial planner, I get cornered by a family member and I was always like, “Oh, crap.”

Stephanie:
Yeah, I’ll do that. If you were a dermatologist. I wouldn’t be like, “Hey, can you check out this?”

Joe:
That’s right.

Mindy:
Check out this mole.

Stephanie:
Yeah.

Mindy:
I would.

Joe:
All right, Stephanie. I’m super excited about this because I’ve been waiting to take over for Scott for a while. Because it’s time for the famous four.

Stephanie:
Great.

Mindy:
Okay. I’m going to highlight the ones that you have to ask Joe and I am going to ask the ones that I always ask because you’re playing the part of Scott.

Joe:
Oh, boy.

Stephanie:
This is going to be a day.

Joe:
I don’t know enough. I don’t know enough. I’m not quick enough with the puns to be Scott. I tried to get ready for that and I’ll apologize to everybody because I don’t have the bad puns ready. See? There would have been a pun there, but I can’t think of it fast enough.

Mindy:
Yeah, I wasted all of my good puns when Joe first jumped on the call today. If you look over his right shoulder, you can see a giant $100 bill. And I said, “I’m going to turn you into the Secret Service, you can’t make fake money.” And he said, “Yeah, I’m going to take it down to the 7/11.” And I’m like, “Oh, do you think they’ll have changed for such a large bill?” Wow, that was the fakest laugh ever, Joe. Come on. That was funny when I said it for the first time.

Joe:
It was great. That was like the golf clap.

Mindy:
Well, you’re never to me joining me again. Okay.

Joe:
You’re right. I’m sorry.

Mindy:
Stephanie. Let’s talk about your famous four questions. What is your favorite finance book?

Stephanie:
Well, it used to be Rich Dad, Poor Dad. But I met within the last month, two Wealth Management Professionals out of New York City and I’m marrying them in December as a wedding officiant and there are such a hoot. And the groom is from Louisiana, which is where I’m from, and he just has his dynamic personality and he totally told me about his book that sold on Amazon and it’s called Get Your Money Right: An Insider’s Guide to Simplified Wealth by Michael Hanna. And I started reading it over the weekend when I got it and it’s hysterical. He quotes everything from Jay-Z to Bob Marley and Einstein from earlier.
But the book is all about the real financial benefit of a job is to earn enough money to save and invest and have those investments create passive income. And I just, I love it. It’s simplified, and he peppers the boring tax talk and things like that with quotes from Bob Marley, such as, “Live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others and you will live again.” So, I don’t know he’s just really straightforward and funny and I’m geeking out on it. But that’s my favorite finance book right now.
And I did, I got to tell you I read a book in 2014 called Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. And it was the story of low-wage workers working three different jobs and living in hotels and cleaning hotels.

Joe:
I remember this book.

Stephanie:
It was excellent and it scared the-

Joe:
How was it?

Stephanie:
It scared me and I not only leave great tips in hotels and preclean the room before they come, but I am so thankful that I’ve never had to work low-paying jobs like that. I’ve had the confidence to go after the other jobs. And so, I’ve always kept that one in mind. It’s giving me the chill bumps right now. It’s a good book, Nickeled and Dimed.

Mindy:
Awesome.

Joe:
Stephanie, what is your biggest money mistake?

Stephanie:
All right. I touched on this when I bought the house in Norwood with [inaudible 01:01:03]. I thought it was a good idea because he was an electrician and I was creative. But owning a house was someone who had different financial vision and different money at different times, it just never worked out. I couldn’t do the improvement. So anyway, it was a tax write off, I think, for 10 years that we created affordable housing for his stoner electrician friends.
But I’ll never buy a house was someone that I’m not married with and even if I was married right now, I probably wouldn’t buy a house with him anyway, even though I loved him. I think you got to keep something separated. But that was a good lesson and I learned a ton about that. That’s my biggest money mistake.

Mindy:
Okay, I love that. “I’ll never buy a house with someone I’m not married to.” I see a lot of people asking this question in the BiggerPockets forums and the Facebook groups and every answer is always the same. Don’t do it, because…

Joe:
Nope.

Mindy:
… you need an exit strategy. And it gets real messy, real quick.

Stephanie:
And don’t even get a dog with them.

Mindy:
No, don’t do any.

Stephanie:
You got to keep it separated.

Mindy:
The offspring. Okay.

Joe:
I just want to go [inaudible 01:02:18] every time you say that.

Stephanie:
You got to keep it separated.

Joe:
Yes.

Mindy:
Okay.

Stephanie:
This is fun.

Mindy:
Stephanie, what is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Stephanie:
Avoid paying full retail, treat savings like a game, get creative, make connections and make people’s lives easier, be grateful. I just think we’re all in it. And I don’t want to be working forever, so I’ve never like, felt like I needed the best of the best or I just, I don’t know. I guess it really all comes down to pick your friends wisely and I have friends that have their head screwed on correctly. And they value camping and going on creative trips instead of these dumb, all-inclusive, boring vacations and anyway.

Joe:
I think it’s also when you talked about-

Stephanie:
We’re happy having cocktails on the deck, instead of.

Joe:
Well, even when you talked about in your career, surrounding yourself with the right people about working for the people that were moving and some of the things you learned from those bosses, I find that working with the right… you could be at a desk working for a person A and this whole company stinks because you work for that person. But then you move over to a different department. You work with somebody who’s empowering and helpful and the whole culture seems to change. So, love that.

Stephanie:
Thank you. Yeah.

Joe:
But the most important question of all, Stephanie, ready? So, you’re at a BiggerPockets Money party with Mindy and I, and we’re hanging out with us and all the other BiggerPockets peeps. What’s your favorite joke that you’d spring on us?

Stephanie:
Well, I already told you those jokes and they’re not very politically correct.

Joe:
You can’t.

Stephanie:
So, I’ll give you my clean joke.

Joe:
I think that…

Stephanie:
And it’s a shout out to my Bernese mountain dog.

Joe:
… not only were they not politically correct. Wait a minute. Not only were they not politically correct, they were horrible.

Stephanie:
They were horrible. They were bad on so many levels, so this is a nice clean joke that I got from the internet. It’s a shout out to my Bernese Mountain dog, Zoti. What’s the best thing about Switzerland?

Joe:
Oh, boy.

Mindy:
Talk about it.

Stephanie:
I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.

Joe:
See, there it is. Mindy lost it. Nice job.

Mindy:
That’s good. That’s funny.

Stephanie:
I know.

Joe:
That was way better than the other two.

Stephanie:
I had so much fun with y’all. I just want this call to go on forever, but I know you have a lot of editing since I’m such a talker.

Mindy:
No, we don’t have very much editing at all. There’s a couple of things where we had to take a break to look things up and everything else is going to be in here because this is a lot of fun. Stephanie, where can people find out more about you?

Stephanie:
Well, after this call, I hope I don’t go to a federal prison for tax evasion, but I’m Stephanie Randolph Warner on Facebook, I don’t do Instagram or any of that stuff. And if you want to get married or divorced, you can contact me and I can perform your wedding in Telluride or surrounding ski areas. But yeah, that’s how you can get in touch with me if you want to stalk me or hear my dirty jokes.

Joe:
Yeah. Find out what those other jokes are.

Stephanie:
Don’t stalk me now.

Mindy:
Yeah, find out those jokes that we wouldn’t publish.

Joe:
Right.

Mindy:
Stephanie-

Stephanie:
Thank you so much.

Mindy:
Stephanie, this is a lot of fun. Thank you so much for your time today, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Stephanie:
Awesome. Thanks, guys.

Mindy:
Okay, that was Stephanie Warner, side hustle, queen.

Joe:
So many.

Mindy:
Joe, What did you think of Stephanie’s story?

Joe:
I thought there’s so many lessons there. And I think the biggest lesson and I know we covered a little bit at the top, but thinking very critically about other ways that you can hustle, ways that you can make money and not having. I didn’t want to let her off the hook when she said that it was the company’s fault that she had money. It’s not the company’s fault. It’s your fault. And don’t get me wrong. Finding the right company to work with and getting that opportunity and if working for a company that provided the right stuff is part of the equation, but you’ve got to meet them partway, Mindy. It’s always about you taking advantage of it.

Mindy:
Absolutely. You have to do the work. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you’re going to do anything with it, unless you do something with it. You can’t reap the benefits if you don’t go out and snatch the opportunity.

Joe:
Yeah. And how about you your big takeaway?

Mindy:
I just love that she has such an open mind. She hates that, which is awesome. Her whole job, her whole career has not been focused on, “How much money can I make? How much can I grow my wealth?” But she has been conscious of not collecting consumer debt and that’s a huge leg up. Once she discovered that she could start growing her wealth, she did it. She took advantage of every opportunity. She went out and created opportunities.
How many people do you know who have been presented with an idea, oh, I could never do that. I don’t think she’s ever said, “I could never do that” in her whole life. And that is the difference between being able to retire early and working for the man for the rest of your life. Is taking the opportunities and looking for them.

Joe:
I’m 100% with you there on hating debt. And I felt that the whole time she was talking that the reason for her to do all these side hustles was less about, actually less about getting ahead or being super wealthy as it was “I don’t want to be in this place where I have to ever go into debt.” And I found that so, so inspirational, especially since we’re surrounded by people all the time that I don’t feel like have any fear of debt. Like, “It’s only a 25% interest rate, that’s fine.” No, it’s not fine.
And also, I find it very telling that she said, “I live paycheck to paycheck.” And then she explained to you and I Mindy how she doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck and she hasn’t in a long time, but in her head, she’s living on a shoestring while she’s paying her bill to her credit card every third day. Are you kidding me? It’s fantastic. It was great.

Mindy:
I love that mentality. “Oh, I live paycheck to paycheck.” No, not even close.

Joe:
No.

Mindy:
But that mentality keeps her from, and the whole “I don’t want debt thing” keeps her from just blowing through all this money. She’s going to be so rich. She’s going to never have to work a real job again when all of these side hustles generate all the money that she needs to live. And then she sucks away all of her actual income into her investments and her paycheck-to-paycheck life.

Joe:
Yeah, right.

Mindy:
I love it.

Joe:
I get the feeling though that she really likes her W2 job and how great is that, right? That she would be in a position where she’s not there for those awesome benefits that they give her. She’s not there because she has to be there because she’s got plenty of side hustle money coming in. She’s only there because it feeds her somehow. And by feeds her, I don’t mean monetarily. I mean it just feeds her existence that she loves being there, so. And I did get that feeling from her though. I think she’ll stay at her W2 for a long time because she feels needed. I think we all have this need to feel needed.

Mindy:
You know what? That’s a really great point, Joe. I think she will stay at her W2 for a long time. And that’s great. Having a job where you get up in the morning and you’re like, “Yay, I get to go to work,” is such a better experience than having a job where you get up in the morning, you’re like, “Ugh. What can I do? How late can I be there and still not get fired? I hate my life.”

Joe:
You know what’s interesting? You know what’s interesting?

Mindy:
So, she’s got-

Joe:
Yeah. You know what’s interesting about that, and obviously, we don’t want to belabor this point, but I have talked to lots of parents that go, “I never want my kids to have bad jobs.” And I sometimes think that the thing that really feeds me now is the fact I have had really crappy jobs and I know what a crappy job is. And I think there’s some value in building, I had to build radiation walls. I worked at McDonald’s. I worked in cornfields. I don’t want to do any of those again. I loaded a chicken truck like that was absolutely horrible. But having those bad jobs, and Stephanie certainly had a bunch of bad jobs. And I think that’s partly what helped her realize that she has these awesome benefits available to her.

Mindy:
I agree. Joe, I think that’s a good point. I do think you should spend your teenage years having bad jobs, so that you can make decision, “Oh, you know what? We’re interviewing and you’re saying this.” I know that I don’t want to do that anymore. Or “Hey, that sounds like a challenge that I don’t want.” There’s a lot of things you can learn from having these bad jobs. So, I think when you are a teenager, when you’re living at home with your parents, when you’re not responsible for other human beings, go and get those life experiences so you know what you’re not looking for in the future.
But yeah, once you find the job that you love stay there. There’s nothing wrong with having a job you love. The whole RE part of FIRE, Retire Early, shouldn’t be the focus. It should be the financially independent part. And then when you can have this amazing job, if you enjoy, you can stay. That’s okay.

Joe:
Yeah, more FIO like FI Opportunity, right? Yeah.

Mindy:
Oh, I love how these new acronyms that have been keep coming up.

Joe:
It’s FIRE or FIOREO.

Mindy:
FIO, there we go, financially independent, lots of opportunities.

Joe:
FIO yo, yo.

Mindy:
FILO Okay, Joe, we’re going to go crazy. I need you, Joe, to tell me what’s going on in your little world.

Joe:
I have a book coming out at the end of December called Stacked, which is your super serious guide to modern money management. And I think it is two things. It’s a very smart book, but it’s put together in a way that is very, very, very fun. It’s kind of the cub scout wolf guide meets the Hardy Boys detective manual for adults and about money. So, preorders are super important to anybody who’s a publisher, an author, I mean, not publisher. For anybody who’s an author rather. Stackingbenjamins.com/stacked. And hopefully I don’t know if people know how this works but if enough people preorder it, we make the Amazon list or maybe the Wall Street Journal list or God forbid, we make the big list in New York Times bestsellers. But please, if you know somebody that really needs a guide to money, coming out December 28th, please preorder.

Mindy:
Yes, Joe is an incredibly intelligent person. He wrote this book all by himself, Joe, or did you have an even…

Joe:
I did not.

Mindy:
… smarter co-host or co-author?

Joe:
Wait, wait, wait ways. Look at me? Do you think I could write that by myself? I actually did write half of it and I’m very proud of the half that I wrote. But I wrote it with Emily Guy Birken, who’s a mutual friend of ours. And Emily has written five books that you’ll find on store shelves and her biggest is The Five Years Before You Retire, which a lot of people may have read or have seen, at least seen. So, Emily Guy Birken and I wrote this one. It was a ton of fun.

Mindy:
I can’t wait to read this book. And where can I get it again? Stackingbenjamins.com/stacked?

Joe:
Stacked, S-T-A-C-K-E-D and that will give you all the different place. If you want to go to an Indie bookstore, we’ve got the bookshop link. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, all the different places.

Mindy:
Awesome. Joe, thank you so much for being Scott today. I appreciate you stepping in and filling his shoes. You did an excellent job. And I hope-

Joe:
I don’t feel like I at all can do Scott any, yeah, not at all. But thank you for having me and it was a ton of fun.

Mindy:
You did need to work on your pun game because he’s definitely better than that at you.

Joe:
He’s totally better.

Mindy:
Better than you at that. I am good at flobbing my tongue, so there we go. Okay, Joe, should we get out of here?

Joe:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
From Episode 239 of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, he is Joe Saul-Sehy and I am Mindy Jensen, saying “I do, cockatoo.”

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • The importance of owning your own home and rental properties
  • Graduating with little-to-no college debt, allowing you to save and invest more
  • Taking on jobs that interest you, instead of ones that solely pay the bill
  • The art of side hustles and making thousands after your nine-to-five
  • Living “paycheck to paycheck” by paying yourself first for investing and saving
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned from the Show

Connect with Stephanie: