Jen Riday: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 113. And on this episode, you're going to learn how to be more financially savvy. Stay tuned.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
Jen Riday: Well, hey, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm Dr. Jen Riday, host of this show, and I am so glad you're here. Vibrant Happy Women is about taking those struggles of life and learning to find happiness despite them, because part of the human condition is struggling and we are just moving along for the ride, taking care of ourselves, healing our hearts, healing our relationships, and then shifting into that really amazing place of living our purpose. I'm glad you're here. Last week, I spoke with Erin Odom all about, “What do you do when you're feeling financially frustrated?” it happens to the best of us, “And how do you shift out of that?” Well, today, we're going to continue our finance theme and I'll be speaking with Whitney Hansen. And she shares some great tips about commitment and the habits that help us to stick with a financial plan. Studies show that women often don't have a grip on their finances and they're not prepared for retirement. Well, I want to challenge you to listen to this episode and commit to being more financially savvy, so that you can feel confident that all of your financial needs are met, now and in the future. Well, I am so glad you're here and let's go ahead and dive in to my interview with Whitney.
My guest today is Whitney Hansen and she's a money coach, content creator, host of a Plutus award-winning podcast, ‘The Money Nerds’, an adjunct professor, and Facebook small business council member. As a money coach, she teaches overwhelmed Millennials how to accelerate paying off debt and be financially independent. Some of her accomplishments include paying off 30,000 in 10 months; wow! Buying her first home at 19 and paying $472 for her master's degree. Holy cow, Whitney! I cannot wait to hear how you did all of those things. Welcome to the show.
Whitney Hansen: Thank you! Thanks, Jen, I am honored to be on the show. I'm a big fan so this is really exciting.
Jen Riday: Well, thank you, thank you, I'm glad to have you. So little known thing I was mentioning with Whitney before we started the interview, I taught a finance class in grad school and I was telling Whitney, “This kind of makes me really giddy because this is a career I almost considered.” So I can't wait to talk to you, Whitney. This will be great.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, finance; I mean, it's a big deal. So I think it's good that we have a lot of female voices coming up in the world as well.
Jen Riday: Cool, cool. Well, let's jump in and have a quote from you and then we'll hear your story, you know, how you got started in this area and what we can learn from you.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, sure! So my favorite quote, it changes every year and it's more of a life theme; it's kind of how I set my intentions for the year. And this year, my life theme is to ‘go for no’. And so what that means is that, every single day, I have to put myself out there in a way that's very uncomfortable but will force me to grow as a person and as a business. And so by ‘going for no, if you are striving to get told no every single day, eventually you're going to get some really great yeses. And so the whole concept is starting to reframe your mindset around failure and actually put yourself into situations where you will probably get told no in the exchange of getting told yes later. So that's something that I'm using to guide my life at this exact moment.
Jen Riday: That's so smart. It reminds me of that mindset of seeing the no or the failure as a success because every failure leads to success eventually; so seeing failure as a success. I love that.
Whitney Hansen: Completely, yep.
Jen Riday: Well, tell us how you got started in finance, but I want to hear really how on earth you paid that $30,000 off and $472 for a master's degree, that's pretty impressive! Was it scholarships or…? (Laughs)
Whitney Hansen: No, no, that's awesome. So I'm going to take it clear back to how I actually got started into personal finance. So we're going to get a little bit deep and then I'll make it a little bit more lighthearted, I promise.
Jen Riday: Sure.
Whitney Hansen: So how I got into personal finance was watching my mom stay in an abusive and addictive relationship for 20-some years.
Jen Riday: Ah.
Whitney Hansen: So she was married to my dad for a really, really long time, and she has 6 kids; so we have a big family. And what I learned and what I watched was that, she was stuck in this relationship because of 2 things really; she didn't have an education, so she had barely graduated high school, no college degree, nothing at all, and then she also did not have the money to leave the situation. So when you're in abusive relationships, a lot of times that's the first way that you are controlled, is via controlling money.
Jen Riday: Yes.
Whitney Hansen: So she didn't have access to them. And, honestly, it was heartbreaking to watch her stay in this relationship for so long because of money; because she didn't have the funds to leave. And so I remember, one day, we moved a couple hours away. I grew up in a little small farming city here in Idaho and we moved to the big city of Boise; so the capital. And we were living in this little apartment and there were 6 of us; 6 kids plus my mom. And for a period of time, we were so broke, Jen, that we didn't even have money for basic stuff like a mattress.
Jen Riday: Oh!
Whitney Hansen: And so my mom and I were walking one day and we saw a mattress in the garbage can. And we took that home, I was 16 at that time, and we were so stoked. And that sounds completely disgusting for a lot of people they're like, “You took a mattress, what if I had bedbugs?”
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: And, for us, we didn't even care about that. We were like hearing, “This is awesome! We found something that was a basic need.”
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: And so that's where I started to learn that money mattered and that there's a big difference between what we think we want and what we actually need. And so I've used that to kind of guide my entire life and work with my coaching clients to on asking that question, “Is it a want or is a need?” and so that has really guided everything I've done to this day. So that's where the business really started was, I started to learn about that; I started to read. I became very interested in how to manage money, how to grow it, how to invest; all of that stuff. And then I went off to college and did my bachelor's in accounting. So I was a CPA… not a CPA, but I was working with the CPA directly for a couple of years. But when I graduated from college, I learned that I took out too much student debt. (Laughs)
Jen Riday: Uh-oh, darn it! (Laughs)
Whitney Hansen: So… yes. I know! And it's so easy to do to be fair; it's check the box and you get your money, which for a 19 year old, feels like free money sometimes.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: And so I took out all of that debt and then put together a plan to pay it all off. So that's kind of where I started helping people as well.
Jen Riday: Hmm, so $30,000 in 10 months. So what was the plan? There's got to be something amazing here; I can't wait to hear.
Whitney Hansen: That's always the thing. People always think it's like this really crazy, amazing plan; and, honestly, it was very, very simple, and I think most of the things that we do in life are. And so, for me, the plan was I put together a budget, so just a really basic spending plan, “Here's my income. Here's all of my expenses.” And then through undergrad, I worked as a nail tech, so I did manicures and pedicures; that was my gig to get me through college.
Jen Riday: Ah!
Whitney Hansen: And so I worked that job for quite some time. It was a ton of fun too!
Jen Riday: Yeah, yeah.
Whitney Hansen: I had a great. Yeah, you meet a lot of really interesting people. So worked that job and had this kind of fork in the road decision moment where, I finally was graduated from college and I had to make this decision, “Do I go full-time into accounting or do I, you know, do the normal job, have a normal life, be off at 5:00 PM, maybe work a couple weekends during tax season, but have a pretty normal life? Or do I do that, plus work the nail tech job for a little bit longer?” And so, for me, that was the sacrifice was, “I'm going to keep working,” so, for me, that meant 70 to 80 hours a week. But the thing that was really cool is, one of my big sacrifices was not stepping foot in Starbucks and not spending a single dime on eating out; I was so committed to that plan. And between the sacrifice and working the two jobs, I was able to pay off the entire 30 grand in just 10 months. And this was while I was making less than $50,000 a year. So it's very, very doable, but I was willing to sacrifice a ton.
Jen Riday: Wow!
Whitney Hansen: So that's kind of where it all started.
Jen Riday: So you use the word ‘committed’, which is kind of a big word I've been thinking about lately. Commitment is hard for a lot of people, but when you're committed, you really can do anything. So what do you feel like gave you that drive to be truly committed? I mean, that's huge to not eat out at all, really at that age.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, yeah, because I was about 21 at that time. Honestly, it was… the commitment piece came from being so frustrated and feeling so trapped by the debt. And I know that sounds so silly because a lot of people have way more debt than 30 grand, and I get that; and it can feel very overwhelming. But, for me, I started to realize that it was kind of making decisions for me. So when I had my first paycheck, I had to pay all of the debt first; so I had to pay this huge student loan payment. And I just… I didn't like that. I didn't like feeling not in control of my money. And so because that bothered me so much, that really drove the commitment for me the entire time. And then of course there's little things that you do in your life where you start to remind yourself of the goal. For me, that was taping my budget to my debit card. (Laughs)
Jen Riday: Oh! Smart!
Whitney Hansen: Which is so nerdy, so nerdy; but it worked. So every time I went to swipe my debit card, I had to physically remove my budget so I don't see my plan. It was a pain in the butt, I put in the little extra barrier into place, but it was another little step to keep me on track. And so, honestly, the motivation came from just being frustrated.
Jen Riday: Well, so you use the word ‘nerdy’, and I just thought, you know, your podcast is called The Money Nerds. So what are some other nerdy things you do with money; because it might inspire us.
Whitney Hansen: Oh, I love that question. One of the things… my fiancée laughs at me about this, because he says I have an emergency fund for my emergency fund.
Jen Riday: That’s so crazy!
Whitney Hansen: What that means is, at any given point, I call it a buffer, but I guess you can call whatever you want, I have $500 sitting in my checking account; at all times. I will never drop below $500. And so, for me, that's enough money to kind of prevent from having to tap into my emergency savings; so that makes me feel pretty good. The other piece too is, I have an emergency fund for my business; so I have one for my personal life and one for my business life.
Jen Riday: Nice.
Whitney Hansen: Because we both know, business is crazy; it's very cyclical sometimes. And so having the money to swing those expenses without feeling desperate is really helpful for me too.
Jen Riday: Oh, that's great. Well, then tell us about the $472 master's degree; I've got to know.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah. Oh, it's one of these little known secrets, and they wish more people knew about it, so this is great. One of the things that I learned quickly was accounting was not for me. The cube life was not something I enjoyed, and so I was ready to make a change into what I thought would be corporate marketing. And so I decided that, for my background and my experience, I needed a little bit extra education to help me bridge that gap. So I went back to school for my master's in business. But before I did that, I was looking through all the different ways, “How do you pay for school that doesn't require a student loan or any type of debt?” Because it just paid off all that $30,000.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: And I kind of did that pinky-swear, spit shake, said, “I'll never do that again.” So one of the ways that I found was kind of by accident. I was working at the salon and one of my clients was telling me that they were hiring somebody to do grant management. And I didn't really have any interest in that, so didn't really excite me until she started mentioning some of the benefits. She said, “One of the benefits for working for a university is you get a discount on tuition.”
Jen Riday: Oh yeah!
Whitney Hansen: So 5 bucks per credit, Jen!
Jen Riday: Wow.
Whitney Hansen: So that's how I was able to do it. So I went back, worked for the university in a full-time position. So it's 40 hours a week and then, in the evenings, I did a 3-year MBA; so lots of part-time MBA work. And, yeah, the entire thing cost me $472. And I wish more people knew that that was an option for them.
Jen Riday: Of course, it's brilliant! And so you didn't love that job, or did you? You thought you wouldn't love it, but how did it turn out?
Whitney Hansen: No, no, I definitely didn't love it. It was a great opportunity, I learned a lot, but I knew that wasn't something I wanted to do long term. But I didn't quite know exactly what I wanted.
Jen Riday: Right.
Whitney Hansen: And so for me I was willing to work a job that maybe wasn't ideal in order to get my tuition super, super cheap that still paid the bills in the meantime. So I learned a lot from it, but I definitely do not love it, no.
Jen Riday: Right, right. Well, that's amazing. Cool, I'm going to talk to my kids about that; so many good tips. Well, let's talk a little bit more about what you teach people who come in with all kinds of financial problems. What do you see first from most of your clients or people you're working with? Do you work with clients?
Whitney Hansen: Oh, yes, quite a few.
Jen Riday:Oh yeah. Tell us, you know, what are you seeing when they come in typically, and then where do you go to fix it all?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah. Usually what I see for most people is so much overwhelm that they don't even know where their spending is. So when you ask them, “Where's your money going?” they're like, “I have no idea! I'm not sure!” And so, usually that's where we start. And then the other piece too is just lack of clarity of what they want their financial life to look like. And I think for business and for your personal life, if you don't have that direction, then you're going to just spend your wills and you won't be making progress. And so for people to get very clear on what's important to them, “What do you actually want out of your financial life? Is financial security a big motivator for you? If so, if you don't have an emergency fund or some type of savings or investment accounts, then you're going to feel very unfulfilled for the most part.” And so it's getting them to think through what does that life look like for them, so we start there first, and then we dive into figuring out where their money is actually going. And this is a very painful thing for people to go through.
Whitney Hansen: Have you ever done that before too?
Jen Riday: Yes, we've been pretty… my husband's a master at budgeting.
Whitney Hansen: Sweet.
Jen Riday: So when I'm on track and doing what he wants me to do, we know where everything is going to the penny. But… because sometimes I feel like it's a giant time suck, I don't know; you know what I mean?
Whitney Hansen: I'm really glad you said that because I think that's a common thing too where people are like, “I just don't have time for this.”
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: “It's going to be stressful.” So where does start is to, after you do your goal-setting, you get clear on where you're headed, then go through and do the bank statement exercise. So this is a little exercise that I do with all of my coaching clients, and what I have them do is print off 30 days of their bank statement. So just the past 30 days of spending, credit card and/or checking account, if you use both, print off both, and then look through your transactions really quickly and write down the 3 different categories that you are seeing that you either tend to overspend on or you're just not quite sure how much you spend.
Jen Riday: Okay.
Whitney Hansen: And then, line by line, you go through and you highlight each of those different categories. So maybe you're eating out budget is a green highlighter and then your call three budgets a blue highlighter; so whatever you choose. But you go through and you get a better feeling of where your money is actually going. And the reason I have people do this because there is software that will do this for you, for sure, but when you're using software, you kind of emotionally detach from that spending. But when you're actually going through with a highlighter and you're figuring out how much you're spending, it triggers something different in your brain and you start to realize and take responsibility for your spending. So that's where I like to start. And this is not saying you have to change it all, in fact, most people it's… just leave it exactly the same, but put it into your budget. So then that's the next step is to create a basic spending plan; write down your income, estimate how much you think you might be making, list out all of your expenses, and then make sure you include those items from your bank statement exercise as well. So that's usually enough for people just feel like they're a little bit more in control and then they can start to make adjustments if they feel like they need to.
Jen Riday: Ah.
Whitney Hansen: So that's kind of the beautiful thing is it's really empowering you don't have to change anything if you value it. If you really like eating out and you like your avocado toast and your expensive latte, that's okay; work that into your money plan, but just know that it could take away from paying off debt or some of your other financial goals. But if you like it, leave it in your plan. And so then from there, every single week, go through, set a money date for yourself; maybe that's your time to go to Starbucks and get your coffee and update your budget. But just do a quick 15-minute check in with yourself to see, “How much did you spend so far? How much do you have remaining? Do you need to reel it back a little bit or are you doing okay?” And that's usually really all it takes, so the entire process should take no more than one hour per month.
Jen Riday: Ah, wow! So if someone's listening and they get it they know they need to do this, but they're like, “Ugh, I don't know,” is there an app or a few apps you would recommend for people that are simple? I've heard their apps that simplify budgeting, especially for Millennials, for example. Do you have a need to recommend?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, I think a good one is Mint. Mint, I wouldn't say is necessarily the best budgeting tool, but for that spending tracking, that will do it really well. So start with mint, get a better idea of what your spending habits are; where your money is going. And then for a budgeting app, I'm actually a really big fan of Google Sheets. I think tracking it on your is always the smartest thing. But if you don't like that strategy and you're not really into that, there's an app software that's called You Need A Budget, YNAB, and that one is super popular. It does cost but it is worth the cost for sure; so that's another great one. If you're trying to negotiate bills or cancel unneeded subscriptions, there's an app called Cinch Financial that I'm really in love with, and then there's another one called Empower; so empower.me. And both of those will let you look at all of your monthly subscriptions that you may not know you have and cancel directly on that platform too, as well as negotiating some of your debts.
Jen Riday: Ah!
Whitney Hansen: It's pretty cool stuff.
Jen Riday: Oh yeah! Well, I'm going to put links for those on our show notes at jenriday.com/113. So I'm excited to try those. I've heard of YNAB but I hadn't heard of the others. But, yeah, Google Sheets, that's what we do. But I wanted to ask, if you're out and about, do you open Google Sheets right in your phone to check things?
Whitney Hansen: I do, yeah, I personally do.
Jen Riday: Oh.
Whitney Hansen: At this stage in the game too, I don't have to monitor my budget quite as closely. I'm definitely a creature of habit so I know if I have this much money for eating out, I typically will eat out this many times per month. So usually I don't have to monitor it quite as closely. But when you're first getting started, I think it's really important to.
Jen Riday: So for Google Sheets, just in case anyone doesn't know, you just download the app and then it's a spreadsheet that you can access from a computer or your phone, and everyone in your family can have access if you need to do it that way. So, yeah, it's really cool.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah. It's a good one.
(Interview resumes) [21:11]
Jen Riday: So, Whitney, we've talked about budgeting and the steps. If people are using those apps, and you mentioned the highlighters, the highlighter kind of just the first time when you're getting your mind wrapped around it and then it's okay to go into the App world with finances?
Whitney Hansen: Correct, exactly.
Jen Riday: Okay, okay. Well, what else you want to tell us about finances? You know, once we get the budget under control, a lot of women and think that… I seem to have the opinion that, a lot of women feel like they don't do investing or they don't think about retirement. Do you find that to be true or is that stereotype kind of fading slowly with time?
Whitney Hansen: No. I wish it was, Jen; that's such a good point to bring up. Most women… and again, we're totally stereotyping right now right.
Jen Riday: Right.
Whitney Hansen: Most women do tend to not pay attention to their retirement accounts specifically because they feel like it's so confusing and complicated and they don't understand it and they're not math people; and fill in the blank. But that's what we tell ourselves. So, yes, that that's something that people ignore way too often. And, honestly, I think investing is one of the easiest things in the world, and it's actually one of the most boring things in the world for the strategy that I personally use.
Jen Riday: Oh yeah!
Whitney Hansen: And so it's very much passive funds; so index funds, ETFs. It sounds complicated but if you're not sure, you can just go investopedia or something like that to learn a little bit more about this. But I am a big fan of doing the passively managed funds, which essentially means, you have like a normal… okay, so an actively managed fund would be, a person is sitting there watching every single stock account and they're making trades on your behalf. So that person has a salary and that salary is usually very expensive, so that cost gets pushed on to you as the investor. And so just like your returns compound, your fees also compound as well, and so it can be very detrimental if you're looking at a longer term over 45 years of investing. So for the passively managed funds, they're still fees associated with it, but they're much, much smaller because they don't have that person that their job is to solely watch those all day long. So instead what they do is they essentially copy whatever that fund is doing. So if you have a mutual fund that's doing these certain stocks into this portfolio, an index fund might look at that and just take those exact same stocks. So whenever one thing gets traded over in the actively fund, it'll do the exact same thing over here in the passive fund.
Jen Riday: Oh!
Whitney Hansen: So you don't have all those fees. And so that's why I'm such a big fan of that. And if you're looking for a really easy way to get started with that, betterment.com is what I personally use to do a lot of my investing.
Jen Riday: Oh!
Whitney Hansen: It uses low-cost index funds as well, and it's so, so easy to use.
Jen Riday: Okay. So if we got the betterment… is it an app; betterment.com?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, yeah, it's… it's an app or website; whichever you prefer.
Jen Riday: Okay, walk me through this. So you get the app and then what do you do?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah.
Jen Riday: You know, because immediately, my mind would go to overwhelmed because there's so many choices, right?
Whitney Hansen: (Laughs). Sure. So what it does, just like a financial adviser, if you're going to go talk to a financial adviser, they're going to ask you, “How comfortable are you personally with risk?”
Jen Riday: Mm-hmm.
Whitney Hansen: And so they ask you a series of questions to kind of gauge which investments might be best for you based on your age, your income, and your comfort level of… with risk. So betterment does the exact same thing. So it'll ask you all these questions, and then based on your age and your situation, it'll make recommendations on a certain percentage of investments. So how much stocks do should you be invested in and how much bonds. So essentially equities and then debt; how much of that should be split. So once it gets a better idea from that, you can just put $50 from your checking account directly into these recommended funds that they suggest for you, and then you’re investing; it's really truly that easy. If you have to set up a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, also sounds confusing, but it's really not; it's just the way the taxes are associated with those accounts. Rule of thumb, if you're younger, go for Roth, if you're a little bit older, go for traditional; you can do both, however. So when you're doing that, it'll start to invest on your behalf based on that… whatever designation you have. And it just starts to grow and it's so much fun to see your account go up and down; the downs are a little scary. But you get to see that it does go down, but it goes back up. And that's usually what scares most people is, when the market goes down, we feel like we lost all of our money.
Jen Riday: Right.
Whitney Hansen: But this will train you to start to change your mind. When it goes down you can start to see, “Hey, my money's going to go back up, but extra now because I'm still investing.”
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: And so it's really good for women, I think especially. But for anybody that's unsure about investing, betterment, I think, is amazing.
Jen Riday: You know, I've kind of shifted my mindset on that as well. When the stocks crash I'm like, “Sweet! I'm getting a sale! you know?
Jen Riday: I don't know why people get so afraid, but I heard Warren Buffett say, “You need to buy when everyone else is bailing and vice versa,” so it's so interesting.
Whitney Hansen: Completely the case.
Jen Riday: Well, so betterment.com, Roth or traditional IRAs, and we'll put all of this stuff in the show notes as well; jenriday.com/113. So just $50 a month, and then do you recommend that we increase overtime or we're just whatever we feel comfortable with?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah. I think $50 a month is a good place to get started to see how this works, to get yourself comfortable with investing, learning that it's actually a very easy process. And then I think as you start to pay off debt, that's a good time, especially a credit card debt, to pay that off first and then start to increase your investing into a much larger amount.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: Ideally, $5500 a year is kind of the max for IRAs that you can contribute currently. So if you can do $5500 a year, great. But if that's too much money, it's okay just do as much as you possibly can after you pay off the credit cards.
Jen Riday: So $5500 a year, that doesn't sound like enough to retire on. So are there other places where we can invest if we really want a big NESTEG by the time we retire?
Whitney Hansen: For sure. You know, you're right; $5500 a year will not get you to the point where you are comfortably living on retirement. So the other piece to look into is your 401(k) if your company offers a 401(k). Usually, it's, “If you contribute XYZ% of your salary, we’ll match you 50%, 100%, whatever it is.” So getting those matches is very critical as well.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: And so make sure that you do take advantage of that free money that your company will offer you.
Jen Riday: Cool.
Whitney Hansen: So I think that's another good way. There's also real estate investing, there’s starting your own business; there's a lot of other strategies. But those 2 will get you going pretty well.
Jen Riday: Now, sometimes people will look at their finances and they'll figure it all out and they'll just say, “Gosh, there's just not enough money!” And so what do you recommend in that situation as far as cutting spending or increasing income?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, great question. So one of the things, if you cannot give yourself an honest analysis of what needs to go from your budget, then I highly suggest taking it to a close friend, having your friend look it over, and ask your friend, “Hey, what would you cut out of my budget? What do you think is unnecessary?”
Jen Riday: Oh, that’s scary!
Whitney Hansen: It’s so scary! Yes, it is terrifying. But so much of the time, we are so biased with our own spending habits that were like, “Oh, this is necessary. My $600 a month car payment is 100% necessary.”
Jen Riday: Right.
Whitney Hansen: When really, it's not. So if you're having a hard time cutting out some things, then I’d definitely do the friend test. Have your friend look it over and make suggestions for you. It's painful, but it works.
Jen Riday: Oh man, that's crazy! And then, do you often tell people to just get that second job? I mean, where do you balance quality of life versus, you know, the need to have more income?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, that's such a personal decision for most people. For me, I don't have kids, I'm not married, so it was a very easy decision to work 80 hours a week. I say ‘easy’ loosely.
Whitney Hansen: But it still sucked.
Jen Riday: Right.
Whitney Hansen: But for most people, if that's not something you can do, you've got to get a little bit creative. So there are websites like appen.com which is essentially contract work that you would do from home and on your own terms; so that's one option. But I think everybody should have some type of a side hustle, I really do, because that's where you're going to get the best results and that's where you're going to start to make a little extra money for savings goals, for paying off debt, for growing your business; whatever it might be. But I think it's a really good thing for everybody to have. So you've just got to get creative. Maybe you do Uber Eats, where every Saturday, you're driving around delivering food. One of my coaching clients does that exact same thing. Her and her life we'll go around and do Uber Eats on Saturdays, and they bring in an extra $400 every 2 weeks.
Jen Riday: Nice, that's smart.
Whitney Hansen: It's so smart!
Jen Riday: That app you mentioned was appen.com?
Whitney Hansen: appen.com.
Jen Riday: How do you spell that?
Whitney Hansen: E p p e n.
Jen Riday: E p p; okay, got it.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, a p p e n.
Jen Riday: Oh, a p p; okay.
Whitney Hansen: So it's a call contract work. They send you a contract; an assignment. Sometimes it takes a little while to get your first contract and sometimes it's not great money; it might only be $9 an hour.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Whitney Hansen: But I did a contract project with them. It was $9 an hour, 20 hours a week for 5 weeks, and that was an extra, almost $900 over 5 weeks.
Jen Riday: Nice.
Whitney Hansen: So it does add up.
Jen Riday: That reminds me of a place I hire random people to help me out, and that's upwork.com. When I need someone to, I don't know, do some spreadsheet work or help me copyright or proofread something, you know, there's just all kinds of, kind of clerical type skills on there. So if you have any skill at all, upwork.com might be a good idea. Just passing on the…
Whitney Hansen: Upwork is a good option; that is a really good tip.
Jen Riday: Well, let's talk about some of your favorite things. Okay, so you're awesome with money; we hear it, we're jealous.
Jen Riday: You obviously have a lot of commitment there. What does your morning routine look like? Is there something that you do that helps you just feel better inside so you have more commitment, maybe, that you could pass along?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah. My morning routine is almost exactly the same and has been for about 5 years.
Jen Riday: Wow.
Whitney Hansen: So I wake up at about 6:00 to 6:30, depending on the day. I've tried the 5:30 thing, it didn't work for me.
Whitney Hansen: It was so early.
Jen Riday: Right.
Whitney Hansen: But wake up, go downstairs, make breakfast. So every morning I always make my breakfast. It's usually 2 egg whites, 2 eggs and then an English muffin with avocado right now is kind of what I'm going for.
Jen Riday: Mmm, yeah.
Whitney Hansen: Make my coffee, and then sit down. As I'm making everything and getting ready, I will listen to podcasts every single day.
Jen Riday: Uh-huh.
Whitney Hansen: I journal a little bit. My journaling is very basic; I have a little book that's called ‘Q&A of the day’. So you just write down a little sentence; it's a little tiny prompt. And so I journal in that, I practice a little bit of gratitude, and then I could get ready for my day and dive in. So that's really… it's really basic, but I enjoy it a lot.
Jen Riday: Nice, that's good! Gratitude, I've heard, is just one of the most effective ways to make sure you're happy; almost as effective as depression medication or even more effective sometimes, so that's smart. ‘Q&A of the day’ journal, is that something we could find online? Is that the name of it?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, I think so.
Jen Riday: Oh yeah.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, it's ‘Q&A of the day’. It's a 5-year journal.
Jen Riday: Whoa! Five years.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, it's so interesting, Jen. You get to see how your thoughts have changed over the years or how they haven't. And it's basic stuff like, “What did you eat for breakfast today?” or, “What are you currently grateful for?” or, “Where did you last travel?” So it's stuff like that, but it's really interesting to go back through and look and see what you answered before.
Jen Riday: Huh, yeah, I'll have to grab one; that would be fun. What is your favorite easy meal besides your amazing breakfast?
Whitney Hansen: My breakfast is pretty great. I am really boring when it comes to food.
Jen Riday: (Laughs)
Whitney Hansen: So this stems from… I used to be in bodybuilding competitions.
Jen Riday: Wow!
Whitney Hansen: And so I got… yeah, it's really cool! It was a ton of fun. So I got very used to meal prepping everything for, at that time, reaching my fitness goals. And I've been doing that for 6 years now, so every Sunday, I do my meal prep. So it's boring; I eat chicken and sweet potatoes or chicken and rice, so I kind of vary my starchy carbs. But that's really all I do. And so it's super boring, but I really enjoy it because it saves me money and it saves me time and I don't just sit there and think about, “What am I actually going to eat today?” So boring stuff, I'm a meal prepper.
Jen Riday: So let me see if I understand this right. So you precook a bunch of sweet potatoes, you throw them in a Tupperware or something in your fridge, and you precook a bunch of chicken and a bunch of rice. Do you like season them with salt and pepper, I suppose?
Whitney Hansen: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Garlic salt is kind of my jam, so I use a lot of that. But it's a… I have the little containers from Amazon. I think they're like 9 or $10; they’re the individual portions.
Jen Riday: Uh-hu, oh.
Whitney Hansen: And so I drop in my Costco chicken, so I do the Costco chicken tenderloins.
Jen Riday: Oh!
Whitney Hansen: And about 2 and a half of those is about 4 ounces of chicken, so I've got it kind of down. So I'll throw that in my Tupperware and throw in my sweet potatoes and just throw it all in my fridge. So it's all ready to go; each of my individual meals.
Jen Riday: Wow! So even dinner is chicken and rice or chicken and sweet potatoes?
Whitney Hansen: Pretty much. I mean, occasionally, I'll mix it up a little bit. But usually, my fiancé and I will sometimes cook dinner together, but it just depends on what we've got going on in our schedules.
Jen Riday: Wow, that's awesome! I think I might try that. (Laughs)
Whitney Hansen: It’s so nice.
Jen Riday: Just tell my kids, “We’re going to have 2 meals all the time; take it or leave it”
Whitney Hansen: They might (unclear) [34:24].
Whitney Hansen: They’re like, “Who told you that terrible advice?”
Jen Riday: Oh, so funny! You know, if one of them were cereal, we'd be set; but I'm not doing that.
Whitney Hansen: Lucky Charms for dinner.
Jen Riday: Right, right. Well, what's your favorite way to relax?
Whitney Hansen: Oh, I love hiking.
Jen Riday: Ooh, yeah.
Whitney Hansen: So I will go out in nature every weekend. I usually will block off Saturday on my calendar so I try not to take coaching calls on Saturdays. And I will go, usually for a 3 to 4 hour drive, which sounds weird, but I will listen to my audio books or podcasts, go hike around, and then do the same thing on my way back. So it's very relaxing for me to not have to think and let my brain go on autopilot when I'm driving.
Jen Riday: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And what's your favorite book?
Whitney Hansen: ‘The Power Of Habit’
Jen Riday: Oh, man!
Whitney Hansen: Have you ever read it?
Jen Riday: Oh, yes, and I can see the theme; you're just good at habits in commitment!
Whitney Hansen: I think it's probably cause of that book. (Laughs)
Jen Riday: Really? Oh yeah, okay.
Whitney Hansen: It’s such a good one. I think it's a quick read, very engaging, very good at storytelling, the author's incredible. And I think everybody that doesn't even like to read will love this book.
Jen Riday: ‘The Power Of Habit’, okay, got it. And what's the best advice you've ever received?
Whitney Hansen: The best advice I ever received was when I was working at the salon. And I had a client that would come in every 2 weeks and I just adored her. I admired her life; she was a very successful women in her 60s getting ready to retire, but was at the top of her game in her career. And one of the things that she told me was that, “I will always be successful if I live below my means and save my pay raises.” And that has stuck with me ever since.
Jen Riday: Wow, that's really good! Okay, so reminder, everyone listening, the… everything, all these quotes and books and links and apps will be on the show notes at jenriday.com/113. And now, Whitney, what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?
Whitney Hansen: Oh, for me, it's actually very easy. It's working on projects that are bigger than you; so if I'm working on something that's going to outlive me or help more people than just myself. It's also being in nature and exploring often, and then saving your money. To me, if you do all 3 of those things, you'll be a pretty happy camper.
Jen Riday: Nice, that's awesome. Okay, now, let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and you can then tell us where we can reach you and we'll say goodbye.
Whitney Hansen: I like it. So my challenge to everybody listening today is to go through the bank statement exercise. If you need a little guidance you can find it at whitneyhansen.com/pfexercise. There's no email opt-in required, you can just go through the video training. But go through that exercise or listen to the show again and find out the pieces, and figure out where your money is actually going. So start there; that's my challenge to everybody for this week.
Jen Riday: How long do you think it would take? If people are, you know, wondering how long this would take and they're on the fence, how long do you think it would take to go through the bank statement exercise?
Whitney Hansen: 30 minutes max.
Jen Riday: 30!
Whitney Hansen: It’s very quick. Yeah.
Jen Riday: Okay. Everyone, you've got 30; you've got this! I just want to give a little cheerleading spiel. You know, everyone listening, be that woman who is financially savvy. Make the choice to bust out of the stereotypes because it's just a part of the empowering picture of being a vibrant and happy woman; so do it! And then email us and let us know how it went.
Whitney Hansen: I love it!
Jen Riday: So, Whitney, where can everyone find you? And also, tell us about your podcast really quick as well.
Whitney Hansen: Yeah. The best place to find me is whitneyhansen.com; that's where I hang out mostly. And on Instagram, I'm @Whitney_ Hansen_Co; so I hang out there mostly. And then the podcast is a ton of fun. So it's an interview style, much like yours, Jen, where I bring on people with cool many stories or interesting careers. And I get to chat with them to learn their secrets to financial success. And, additionally, it's… we would do interview every Wednesday and then we do a 5 tip Friday, every Friday.
Jen Riday: Ooh, yeah.
Whitney Hansen: So it's 5 minutes or less that gives you a little money spiels there.
Jen Riday: And your podcast is called..?
Whitney Hansen: The Money Nerds.
Jen Riday: The Money Nerds. Do you have a co-host or is it just you?
Whitney Hansen: I don't; it's just me. My co-hosts are only the people I interview every week.
Jen Riday: Gotcha. So you and the guests are the nerds; got it.
Whitney Hansen: Yep.
Whitney Hansen: Exactly. And usually people listening in are ‘want to be nerds’, which is great.
Jen Riday: Okay, that's me! I'm going to listen.
Jen Riday: Well, Whitney, I had a blast; I love this stuff. Thank you so much for being on the show. And, everyone, go check out Whitney's podcasts, The Money Nerds, and do the bank statement exercise at whitneyhansen.com/pfexercise. Thanks for being on the show, Whitney.
Whitney Hansen: Thank you so much, Jen, and it's an honor.
Jen Riday: We learned so much from Whitney, and now, it is time to take action. If you're a member of the Vibrant Happy Women club, we will be talking about this episode in our small groups this week, and especially talking about commitment and habits; 2 of the big things Whitney talked about throughout her interview. If you're not a member of the Vibrant Happy Women club, you should be. It will be opening again in June, and it's a great place to be if you want to be other women who are trying to live vibrant and happy lives. I'll see you all next week when I talked with Tracy McCubbin all about de-cluttering. Who doesn't need a little bit of de-cluttering? I'm on a massive de-cluttering kick and I can't wait to talk more about that next week. I will talk to you soon, and until then, make it a great week. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.