Financial Fluency Episode #15 Starting an Army with Bushra Azhar

Today, my guest shares why she prefers starting an army instead of a tribe, and how her approach is more about treating people with respect than the hard sale.

This episode I am bringing you one of my favorite people on the ENTIRE PLANET, Bushra Azhar!

I first met Bushra in Ramit Sethi’s Zero to Launch, which she followed much more closely than I did!

She also says some preeetttyyyy nice things about me!

We had such a fun chat about the very different approaches we have to business, outsourcing and learning – and Bushra shocked me with her views on other human beings!!!

You can listen in below and Tweet it out here

If you enjoyed this episode you can subscribe to Financial Fluency here at iTunes.

Meet Bushra

Bushra AzharBushra Azhar is a Persuasion Strategist and Founder of The Persuasion Revolution: The only place on the Internet that makes persuasion sexy, classy & fun!

Want to learn more about Bushra or possibly work with her? She’s filling her power Mass Persuasion Method now!

And find the Facebook Group here.


Financial Fluency Episode #11: Saving For Life

Hello, and thank you for joining me today on Financial Fluency. Today I want to talk about saving for life.

You can listen in below and Tweet it out here

Savings is a really important part of anyone’s financial plan, and it is what I consider to be the paying ourselves part of our financial plan overall. I know that people who get a salary either from a regular employment pay check kind of job or if you’re working for yourself and paying yourself a salary, it seems like the salary is what you get paid, but a lot of that gets used in the operating expenses of our daily life.

If you own a business you think of operating expenses for your business, yes, but when you look at your personal finances you also have a certain level of expenses just to operate your daily life at the level of income and at the standard of living that you’re used to living. All of that gets consumed.

What I think of as actually paying ourselves is what goes forward into the future for us to build the life that we want to live. Tweet That!

Post Recession Retirement

Since the recession, a lot of us have changed how we think about the idea of retirement. Few people anymore think about going on a golf course or just going on cruises because we can see how difficult it is to get to a point in life where we have no earned income. There are a lot of ways to mitigate this; a lot of people that I work with end up adding additional income streams that can go forward into the future, things like:

  • Royalties on books
  • Royalties on music
  • Rental properties that continue to have income, especially once the principal mortgage is paid off

There are a lot of ways to look at setting up your life to continue to have some income coming in – even after you are hopefully no longer needing to hustle – but for all of us, both because of our health and different circumstances in our life, we need to look at the possibility that there may come a point when we aren’t working in the same way that we are now.

I hope that a lot of us end up having some kind of retirement!

So if you at this moment do not have anything planned for retirement, I am planning on doing my next solo episode on investing for beginners, which really goes over IRAs, tax advantaged accounts and things like that. Right now I’m just going to talk about a regular savings account, because if you haven’t saved anything and if you don’t have an emergency savings, if you don’t have savings for curveballs, for things that occur a couple of times a year, it’s hard to jump straight to the IRA.

You really need some savings cushion in there because you don’t want to be pulling money out of an IRA once you put it in there. There are tax penalties and also trading fees, so once you invest something, you really want to leave it there for at least a year. If you trade something, if you buy and sell it within a single year, you end up with a different tax consequence than if you leave it for more than a year. You also need time to let that grow, you don’t want to be jumping in and out of retirement accounts or investment accounts, just pulling money in and out willy nilly.

Regular Old Savings

Looking at statistics, at least here in the United States, the people who tend to save most for the future traditionally have been those who had access to employer sponsored 401k type plans and retirement accounts, where the money was taken out of their pay check before the pay check ever arrived. They never really saw that money week by week and month by month as something that could be spent.

A lot of us don’t have access to those kind of accounts anymore, either because employers aren’t offering them, or because we’re now self-employed. What I would like to do is to set up the type of system that most closely mimics that for us.

Here’s How You Can Do It

If you have a pay check that arrives twice a month, say on the 1st and the 15th, on the 2nd and the 16th you set up an auto transfer into a savings account. That means that there is very little time to spend it before you’ve made that savings transfer.

If you are a sole proprietor, a small business owner who puts their income in their Schedule C, hopefully you’re already taking out the percentage you need for your quarterly estimated taxes before you transfer money into your personal money. If at the moment you don’t have separate accounts for business and personal, the start of 2016 is the perfect time to separate out those accounts, because you really do want to make sure that you’re getting those taxes covered for your small business before you’re paying yourself, and then from what you pay yourself, you can take your personal savings out of that.

That is something I want to stress for sure. If you haven’t been separating those accounts yet, do it now, go into the bank, get a separate account for your business so that you pay yourself a salary of some sort, or at least regular draws which you can take a percentage out of for personal savings.

A Cool Tool to Help You Save

If you find it difficult to figure out how much you should be taking each month in savings, you can either do a percentage of pay check or a percentage of fees, if you’re a freelance. If you find that difficult to anticipate so you can set up an auto transfer, another way to do it is to try out a new company called Digit.

I found out about Digit last summer and I signed up in June 2015.

What Digit does is they have some sort of algorithm that studies your spending habits. You hook it up to a single checking account, and after looking at your spending habits, it figures out the best times to remove small amounts of money here and there throughout the month so that you will notice it the least, and it will add up.

You always have the option to tell it to save more and you can add a five dollar recurring weekly or monthly transfer on top of it taking little bits out. If you do a few months, you like seeing the money accumulate and you aren’t feeling any pain from taking the money out of your account, you can tell it to increase. In the course of the seven or eight months I’ve been doing this, I think I’ve accumulated about $2800 in my Digit savings account.

This was a great surprise because I saw the little bits coming out here and there and they send you text messages to tell you your balance. They make sure they never overdraw you with their small recurring withdrawals and they actually promise they won’t make you overdrawn, but it also allows this money to accumulate bit by bit, and that’s really nice to see.

If you feel like you can’t set up a recurring transfer of a certain amount, go and try Digit. (This is my ‘refer a friend’ link where if you use my link, we each get something like a five dollar credit. Win)

I would love to hear what you think, so once you’ve given it a try, email me at I read all of my emails and respond as much as I can. If I get several people asking me about the same thing I will totally do a show about that.

Coming Up Next

My next solo show will be about investing for beginners and looking at some of these new robo advisers as well as a company that uses the round up process of investing your money, where it rounds up the change on different purchase you make over time from a checking account. I’m doing some research on those right now and I’ve been testing them out myself. I’m excited to share them with you!

So once you’ve got an account set up for savings, either like I said with your bank’s auto transfer system or using something like Digit, let it build up for a while. Once you have enough for an emergency fund, we can start looking at taking some of that money as it saves over time and putting it into some kind of tax advantaged retirement account. That’s where big wins really happen for your future. You get the magic of compounding interest as well as making money off your pre-tax dollars, depending on which kind of tax advantage you choose, whether a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA, which means you are saving money from Uncle Sam.

You do have to pay it off later on, but that money stays whole without the taxes being taken out. It can build over time and you only pay taxes on the other end when you withdraw if you do a traditional IRA, or it’s the other way round if you do a Roth IRA and you pay the taxes now, but then all of the growth in the future is tax free.

So we’ll be going over that in two weeks after we get this and my next interview show out, and I would love to hear from all of you. Thank you for joining me again, and if you want to join my mailing list, please go to and sign up on the pop-up, where you’ll get a lot more tips and tricks and articles from me. Thank you for joining me, I’ll talk to you soon.

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Financial Fluency Episode #7: Breaking The Silence

Today I want to talk about breaking the silence; Why I felt it was important to start this podcast, why I feel it’s important for women to talk about money and why I want to facilitate the kinds of conversations that I’ve been having with my guests on the interview episodes.

Money is different for women than for men. It has always been!

You can listen in below & Tweet it out here

Why is it Different?

I personally believe that part of the reason for this is that it’s only been in very recent history that women have had any kind of personal control over money at all. It wasn’t until 1975 that a woman could hold a credit card in her own name without a male co-signer or guarantor, and usually that was either her husband or father.

That’s really recent history, that’s going back to our moms. Go back a bit further and women couldn’t inherit property. Anyone who is into Downton Abbey could see that in that show, but it was over here in America as well, and if you go back a bit further in history, women were property. We were traded for cattle and other goods in the form of dowry, and straight up slavery too.

In some parts of the world, women still are property, and in all parts of the world, sex slavery and domestic servitude still exist, so we have a different relationship with money in terms of history than men do. Men have always had more control over it and more control over us.

And We Talk About E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G But

I see nowadays that women talk about all kinds of things, we talk about marriages and boyfriends, we talk about sex lives and gynecology appointments, but money has been a taboo subject for women forever. TWEET THAT!

SATCIn thinking about this and talking to some friends about it, we remembered an episode of Sex in the City, the TV show from the early 2000s that explored all kinds of things, especially women talking to each other about their sex lives.

I remember a particular episode where the main character found out her rent controlled apartment building was going co-op, and she either had to buy the apartment or she had to move, and she needed a $40,000 down payment in order to buy it, which she didn’t have.

One of the reasons I found this episode so telling was that they did end up having some conversations about money, and it was really hard. These women who shared so many deep, personal details, intimate details about their lives, struggled to talk about the real financial situations that each of them were in.

When Carrie brought up this problem about not having a down payment, not having any savings to her friends, one of them, the pregnant lawyer who was about to become a single mom and had savings, she had things planned out, she had her rainy day fund and her emergency fund, she offered to help Carrie, which of course she refused because her friend was about to have a baby.

I forget what happened with Samantha, but the one who was really uncomfortable with it was the wealthiest one, Charlotte, the WASP-y character. At first she absolutely refused to have a conversation about money, she got up and left, and she didn’t offer to help her friend, which is what Carrie was upset about.

Eventually by the end of the episode, she gives her friend her super huge diamond engagement ring from her recently ended marriage, which was kind of a weird way to handle it. (I would rather have seen them go to a lawyer and write up a promissory note and figure out interest rates and everything, but that’s okay, this isn’t reality.)

The point of it was, they could share all of these deep things about their friendship, but talking about money was really hard, and I think that’s true for a lot of women, and I think that there are a lot of reasons for that.

So, Why Aren’t We Talking About it?

Some of those reasons are the same reasons that I think we need these forums for women to talk about money.

One of them that I see is that women tend to have a sort of financial shame that I don’t see much evidence of in men in the same way. I’ve seen the same woman feel shame about not being as financially successful as someone she considers a peer or someone she admires in one moment, and then turn around later and feel shame about having more than someone and wanting to hide the fact that they have more.

So it’s like it comes at us from both sides. We struggle with being successful and having a lot of money, feeling good about that without feeling we’re making someone else feel less than because we have more. We then also feel bad about letting other people know when we need help when things aren’t going well, when something’s gone wrong and we don’t know what to do.

It’s hard for women to reach out and get help about financial situations.

This kind of shame that we’re talking about and the silence that it creates is a real problem for women in a way that I think is different than for men.

For one thing, it’s easier for employers to pay women less than men if women don’t find out how much other employees are getting paid for doing the same work, and then they don’t negotiate up to that same rate that men would feel more comfortable doing.

It’s also a problem for us in things like divorce negotiations, not wanting to seem greedy. We seem to have all these hang ups around money;

  • We don’t want to seem greedy
  • We don’t want to seem snobby
  • We don’t want to be poor
  • We want to keep up with our peers
  • But we also don’t want to make anyone else feel bad about money!

In a lot of ways, women as a group, we’re still learning how to think about, talk about and wield the power that money gives us, to accomplish the things that we want to do in life.

And we also struggle with not falling prey to the super unequal pressure that’s placed on women by the marketing world, by the media, by advertising as a whole, to get us to spend and consume and go into debt. Women are marketed to in a very different way than men are.

So all of those things combine to make money different for us!

Let’s Not Forget that Gap, too

On top of that, we also have things like the pay gap, the fact that we get paid less.

Nowadays women more and more are completing college and getting tons of student loan debt, but then when we go into our careers, we’re the ones taking time out of our careers to have children.
We not only forego salary during that time:

    • We also miss opportunities for advancement
    • We miss cost of living increases
    • We miss promotions and pay rises
    • We miss contributions to our 401ks – if we even have the kind of job that has a 401k –

and missing that early on in our career can make a huge difference towards retirement savings.

If you look at a man’s career trajectory during those exact same years when women are taking time off to have kids, they don’t have any of those things going on. Even if women decide not to have children during that time, the idea that they may take time off to do those things could mean that they get passed over for positions in projects or for promotions, just because they’re that age and they “might” want to.

So there are a lot of reasons that earning is different for us, spending is different for us and saving is different for us, so that’s why I wanted to start this podcast, to focus specifically on the issues that women have with money.

It’s Happening, We’re Making History

Right now we’re at a unique time in history. Right now women have control over a larger portion of the world’s wealth than we ever have at any other time in history, and women in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, we’re the ones who have the most opportunities to take advantage of this.

But what we do with our money, how we handle it, how we teach our daughters about money, that affects women worldwide.

Jen and girls
What we are doing now, it’s a sea change. There is so much going on and I’m so excited about it. I feel like all of us should be excited to be a part of this, because while we are tackling our own personal finances on one hand, we’re also figuring out ways to make the working world a better place for women, to try to even up the pay gap and figure out how not to have the mommy penalty where all of us suffer, because some of us have to take time off for kids.

Let’s be honest, does the world want children in it? Children are important, children contribute and children are what keeps our species going. Should we really be punishing women for having children and taking time to take care of them? TWEET THAT!

Now is the Time

I feel like this generation right now, we’re figuring this out. More and more women are becoming self-employed, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and finding ways to really balance out their care giving role with their bread winning role, without either one completely falling down.

I feel like working for ourselves, although we miss out on a lot of the safety nets of benefits and job security that used to be associated with traditional employment, now we’re figuring out some of those things for ourselves, and I think our generation and the next couple after us are really going to make huge strides in that.

So that’s another part of the conversation that I want to bring into this is that, while, yes, we’re focusing on our own personal finances and our own businesses, but there’s also something much bigger going on that I want us all to be aware of and feel like we’re a part of because it’s really exciting and it’s going to be great.

And That is My Why

So that’s why I started this podcast, I wanted to share that with you. I think it’s time for us to break the silence of women not feeling like they can talk about money. It’s time to stop harboring the shame, because let’s be honest, when you’re ashamed of something, you hide it, you’re quiet about it. TWEET THAT!

When you actually bring it into the sunlight and talk about it, usually the shame evaporates. That’s true for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, all kinds of things, so women who get into debt and don’t know what to do about it and have crazy amounts of student loans, don’t want to share it because they’re ashamed.

This is what we should be talking about, we should be talking about how we get into this, how the world is kind of slanted a bit unfairly towards making us consume and spend and feeling like that’s what we’re supposed to do, and the more we talk about it, the more we can help each other, and find new ways to go about things.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode, I really appreciate you being here. If you like it, please subscribe and join me every week. Thank you.

If anyone wants to write me, my email is I read all my emails personally, I would love to hear what you would like to have addressed in this podcast, and any feedback that you have. Thanks so much.

Available here on iTunes