Busting Millennial Money Myths

This week, Maggie is chatting with Fiona, who is the blogger behind The Millennial Money Woman. They talk about several different money myths that millennials, in particular, might have, and explain how you can start dispelling money myths and misunderstandings in your own life so that you feel more confident about your own money decisions.

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I’m The Millennial Money Woman. Also known as Fiona. Entrepreneur. Polyglot. Pundit. World Traveler. Dog Lover.

I want young professionals to have what I didn’t growing up: A guiding hand to help make the right financial decisions NOW so that their FUTURE will be a seamless ride.

The first time I discovered my passion for finance was when I saw my grandparents lose every cent to their name, after some poor financial planning. They worked all their lives, every day, and when they neared their retirement – their hard work fell to pieces because they didn’t practice healthy financial habits.

That’s when knew I wanted to jump ahead of the game when it comes to finances, so I gathered my resources, stuck my nose into books and learned as much as I could.

I would not allow anyone to make the same mistake.

My educational background has allowed me to help young professionals navigate the sometimes-murky waters of finance:

  • Earned a Certified Financial Planner (CFP – which is the equivalent of a financial ninja)

  • Earned a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)

  • Earned a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree

Because I gained knowledge and practiced healthy finance habits, I purchased my first house at 23, have no debt (minus my mortgage), co-founded a financial non-profit program in my community, and am on my way to millionaire status in just a few more years. Most importantly? I met the love of my life in my best friend and partner in crime, my husband.

I’ve been through a lot although I’m only a Millennial, and I’m here to pass down the tens of thousands of hours of reading, brainstorming and real life experience I’ve had so far in finance to YOU.

Here’s to you and starting your financial journey!

To join the Money Circle Community, visit www.maggiegermano.com/moneycircle.

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there, and thanks for listening. I am your host, Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with Fiona, who is the blogger behind the millennial money woman. In this episode, we talk about several different money myths that millennials in particular might believe in. We also dug into how you can start dispelling money myths and misunderstandings in your own life so that you feel more confident about your own money decisions. I really enjoyed this episode, I love breaking down the different misunderstandings that we might have about money and talking about different solutions for ways that we can move forward. So I hope you enjoy this episode as well. Okay, welcome. Thanks so much for being here today.

Fiona 1:52
Thank you so much for having me, Maggie. I really appreciate it,

Maggie Germano 1:55
of course. So why don’t we just start off by having you introduce yourself and tell us you know who you are and what you do?

Fiona 2:02
I’d love to. Well, first of all, I want to say thank you for having me. And obviously also thank you to your audience. My name is Fiona. And as you guys may know, I’m the millennial money woman. So I love anything that has to do with finance, really anything at all, I run my own personal website, it is a blog. And essentially, my goal is to first of all make money fun, because it’s not always fun. And I know it can sound really boring. And the second thing that my aim is with my website is to actually break down fairly complex financial topics into pretty simple and easily understood. thoughts, essentially. And my goal is to provide a lot of graphics as well, because I know, oh my gosh, like finance talk can be so boring and theoretical at times. But I hope that my website is at least to bring a little bit of spark and zest into your life. So that was my ultimate goal.

Maggie Germano 2:59
That’s great. And I love that I’m a big fan of not only making it more approachable and understandable, but also Yeah, making it less boring, less scary, less anxiety inducing. So I’m glad that and you’re doing the same kind of thing.

Fiona 3:15
Thank you so much. Yeah, I hope it works. And I hope others find value in it.

Maggie Germano 3:19
Yeah. And so how did you kind of find yourself doing this work and like launching the website

Fiona 3:27
you know, it actually starts really, really far back. So when I was young, when I was roughly I want to say six or seven years old. I was a young girl growing up and I was super close with my grandparents. And my grandparents. They are extremely hard workers, immigrants, actually. And they worked probably every day for their entire lives built up a business, nothing really fancy, just a business. And as I grew older, I think they turned around 7075 they actually ended up losing their business because of some poor financial planning. I I’m not positive exactly what happened. But essentially they mortgage their house they made a few bad choices. And ultimately, they literally lost everything to their name, not a single cent. So moving into their 80 year old selves. You know, health care costs are extremely expensive nursing home, etc. I mean, they had nothing and yet they work their entire lives. And it couldn’t show any sense for it. So as I kind of realized what happened during that time, like this was actually a fault to poor financial planning. I mean, plain and simple. I wanted to figure out how can I not have that happen to myself, my family and anyone else? Like how can I help others prevent making that mistake? And that was really the Genesis to me wanting to explore financial topics in depth and that’s when I went to school and got my master’s degree in personal financial planning and my Certified Financial Planner degree which is kind of like a Financial Ninja, if you will, but it you know, it’s my passion. I really like helping people and just hearing those success stories of the people that I’m able to positively impact it’s so rewarding.

Maggie Germano 5:12
That’s great. Yeah, no, I relate to that too of like, being able to see that impact, being able to see how you’re able to, like actually help real people, instead of it being kind of this abstract idea. I know, when I used to work in the nonprofit field, it was like, in theory, I’m helping and I’m like adding goodness to the world. But I don’t actually see how that’s happening. And so being able to work one on one with people, or even you know, doing the podcasts and things like that, it’s like, you hear from people who are benefiting it either, you know, from the direct impact of coaching or just learning a little bit more, it really it makes, it feels good.

Fiona 5:51
It’s amazing. It literally is the best feeling I had someone call me a few months ago, and just like it was a guy like 29 year old guy or whatever. And he was like, in tears. And he was like, I’m sorry, I can’t believe that I’m so thankful for what you did. And just like hearing that, I mean, that’s something I’m never going to forget. It’s just an amazing experience to help. That’s great.

Maggie Germano 6:15
So when we first got connected about doing this interview and having this conversation, we talked about talking about, you know, breaking up some of the the myths related to money when it comes to millennials in particular, we’re both in that generation and are targeting mostly that generation. So what are some of the money myths that you hear most perpetuated in the personal finance conversation? Generally?

Fiona 6:44
Yeah, I hear I hear quite a few. I’m not going to lie, but I’m going to share four of them right now. And the first one is that you have to be successful by buying a house. Like if you don’t buy a house, you’re not financially successful no matter what you do. And I hear that so often, because I think like for young millennials, especially right, like the ones that are just graduating college, they’re trying to juggle paying off student debt, as well as trying to juggle finding a career a good career, too. They feel like they’re under a lot of pressure and stress, even the ones that are in promising career paths. And you know, if I see and notice this pressure, move forward with them as they go into their late 20s, early 30s, right, starting to build families, and they’re like, they keep telling me they’re like, Fiona, Do I really have to buy a house? Like, I don’t know, if I have enough money? I don’t know, if I’m ready to settle down. Like, it’s such a huge commitment. And it’s not only financially huge, it’s also an emotional commitment. And so I think that, to answer your question, that’s one of the largest myths I am exposed to by far. And the thing is, you don’t have to have a house to be financially successful. You know, it’s, it’s, first of all, you need to be able to understand when you buy a house, chances are you can’t move all the time, like you’re gonna have to stay where you are, it’s a long term commitment. And so what I try to say, is, buying a house is kind of like a long term relationship, right? Like you got to really know it is, it’s your fit, you love the area, you want to stay settled, you’re going to pour money into it, because there are maintenance costs, there are a lot of maintenance costs. So it’s, it’s like a long term relationship. But if you take care of it, and you give it attention, it’s worth it. Definitely. So that’s the first one. The second one is buying life insurance. So a lot of people and myself actually included, I’m not gonna lie as I graduated college, I was under the impression that life insurance is such a scam. And the fact of the matter is, some life insurance is actually a scam, at least for young millennials, because not all life insurance is equal. And I’ve learned that through my studies, some life insurance is actually made for people that have higher incomes, they have a lot more discretionary income, meaning they’re able to spend extra income on things like life insurance, while most millennials probably are not able to do worse, struggling with student debt, and just trying to you know, figure out how to progress our career success.

And in that sense, might not always be the right fit. However, if you do have a family, and if you are, you know, you have good prospects in terms of your career, and you want to be able to provide in case something happens to you, some life insurance might actually be a good fit, and that’s called term life insurance. It’s simple. It’s extremely simple. It’s very, very cheap, especially if you get it at a young age and you’re a healthy person. And it’s a fixed cost, which means if you get it at, let’s say, age 30 for a half a million dollars, that’s probably going to cost you like $15 or $30 a month like nothing more. And that’s is going to be the same price until you’re 60. Like, that’s it, it’s so it’s so nice. And then when you’re 60, though, because it’s term it runs out, so that means poof, it’s gone. But at that time, chances are you’re already retired, you’ve built up a nice retirement fund, you don’t really need it. So that’s the second myth. The third one is that saving can wait for tomorrow, I hear this all the time, like, I, this is the best one like, Oh, well, I just started earning more money, and I worked my butt off, you know, in college and paying off my student debt, or whatever it is. So I’m actually going to use all my money for this vacation or all my money for some type of luxury good. And that’s where it’s time to kind of like tone down the expenses, right? You don’t want to go crazy and spend everything and I see that actually happen quite a bit, especially with the professions where they take a really long time in college, understandably, so I mean, doctors, lawyers, engineers, they, they live, I mean destitute during college, and then the second they start earning, they go all out on spending instead of saving just a little bit. So you know, long story short here, saving should not wait for tomorrow, when you’re young, you have time on your side. And that’s something that millionaires age 6070, they do not have that time on their side. So the younger you are, the less you actually have to invest, as long as you’re consistent. And as long as you show up every month or two weeks, or whatever it is that your investment schedule is set for. Keep doing that. And chances are you will actually become a millionaire. It’s that simple. Like investing is a lot of people think investing is like super sexy, and like, you know, you got to know the latest calls and the puts, and you gotta like call up Tesla or what? No sexy, it’s not that sexy. It’s actually pretty boring. But it works. It’s a working strategy. And then my last tip, or myth, rather, it’s an interesting one, and one that I wasn’t expecting, but I’ve heard it quite a few times with millennials, who don’t seem to be that educated in retirement plans specifically for for employers. So like 401, K’s, for example. And that’s fine, because again, who educates us like we don’t get the education in high school or middle school, so I don’t blame them. And that myth is that your employer can take your 401k money once you invest it in your 401k. So essentially, they think that when you contribute your money to your 401k, if you leave the company, for another job, the employer has access to all of that money that you contributed. And the fact of the matter is, that is not correct. That’s 100% false. So any money that you contribute to your 401k plan is 100%. Yours. That means if you decide you know, tomorrow, you get a fantastic offer, it offers you 33% more than what your current paycheck is, go for it, all you got to do is literally let your employer know and roll over your 401k. That’s when you take the 401k money that you saved in your current employer. And then you literally move it over into an IRA likely. So that’s a rollover. So in other words, that money always follows you and travels where you go. The The one thing where maybe this could have kind of curve balled into or snowballed into a myth is that employers they also sometimes provide contributions to 401k plans. And depending on the 401 K plan itself, each plan is different. There are plans that have vesting schedules. And what a vesting schedule is in plain English is, the employer essentially wants to keep the employee as long as possible because it takes a lot of money to hire a new employee, train them, etc. So what they try to do is an incentive program, the employer contributes to your 401k. But under the condition that, you know, that employer will be able to keep all or a portion of their contributions for certain period of years. So for example, a typical vesting schedule is a five year cliff. What that means is the employer contributes, let’s say, $10,000 into your 401k over those five years that you’re at the employer. But if you leave any time before those five years, that’s gone, the employer gets to call back their contributions, you keep yours, but the employer keeps what they did. The second you pass that five year mark, at least in this example, you’ll be if you want to walk away, you can walk away and you’ll get the employer contribution. So that’s kind of the only thing where I think that originated into this huge myth, but the fact of the matter is, if you contribute, it’s your money.

Maggie Germano 14:52
Yeah, I think those are those are all really great points. But with the with the retirement piece in particular, I think because people get so confused. With retirement in general with retirement investing and saving, and what vesting means and all of that, yeah, it’s like, so easy to get confused. But yeah, any money you’re contributing is yours, if that’s important to remember.

Fiona 15:12
Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Maggie Germano 15:15
So why do you think millennials and again, we both are really focusing on millennials in our work and the way that that we’re talking about money and the types of things that we’re talking about? But why do you think millennials tend to kind of buy into some of these myths, the ones you listed, but other myths that are out there as related to money? Why do you think in particular, our generation kind of falls into some of that?

Fiona 15:40
Yeah, that’s a really good question. You know, the fact is, I honestly don’t have a specific answer, like one fits all answer. A couple of reasons, though, that I can think of is one, we’re just not taught that information. You know, growing up, unless we’re extremely lucky. And we have parents or mentors, who can teach us that chances are the regular school system. So middle school, high school, they don’t actually teach that. And there’s actually a statistic out there, I think it’s 21%, or I’m sorry, 21 states currently have it mandatory that you take a financial literacy class before you graduate. But that’s only 21 states that’s less than 50% of the country that make it mandatory. So that, you know, I don’t blame millennials, because they don’t, you know, how are you supposed to know and when you’re 16 years old, you have a lot of other stuff going on, you don’t you probably don’t want to talk about finance, and I get it. But I think that’s one of the main reasons why a lot of millennials don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of finance and allow these myths to really take a hold of them and kind of guide them through their lives thinking that these myths are accurate. And the other thing I also think contributes to millennials, sometimes growing or taking a hold of these myths is just the fact that they don’t, we have so much stuff going on in our lives. But it is important to take some time, like even 30 minutes a week, even if it’s just 30 minutes a week for some self development, meaning educational, financial development. And I think that unfortunately, in our busy, noisy world, right, we’re bombarded with news. Sometimes it’s really hard to figure out which source is accurate. Like, there’s so much out there, you just don’t know what’s accurate. And I think a lot of us have difficulty figuring out okay, is this is this accurate? Can I rely on this source. And typically, in this situation, I would really suggest go to your, you know, larger sources. So there’s obviously Forbes, Business Insider, etc. But a lot of times there are contributors on these larger magazines and those magazines, they vet these contributors, these contributors are often personal finance bloggers. And if they’re on those larger magazines, like Forbes, Business Insider, chances are they have their own blog, and that blog is accurate. So maybe that blog kind of adds a cool, unique twist that helps you better relate to finance. And that’s kind of how I would start, I would start really high level if you’re looking for some type of good information, and then kind of look at the contributors and see what they have to offer. If you want that personal spin on finance.

Maggie Germano 18:21
Yeah, I like that. And it gives you the opportunity to really seek out people who are talking about money in a way that you like, and that’s not going to alienate you because there are plenty. It’s such a crowded industry. Now, in terms of financial literacy, which is not a bad thing. It’s great that more and more people want to get involved in this. But that also means that there’s lots of different kinds of people and different approaches to talking about money. And I know for me, I’m a big fan of like having no shame, no judgment as a big part of the conversation because like you were saying, we all have a lot going on. We’re also not being taught about financial literacy generally as we grow up, when you said 21 states haven’t mandated, I was surprised it was even that many. So it’s, it can be really tough. And so yeah, just like doing your own due diligence and research to find the people that are resonating with you so that you’re not continuing to feel alienated or bored or whatever it might be with that kind of research and education. Absolutely.

Fiona 19:27
I think you said it, literally. I mean, it’s there really shouldn’t be any judgment. And you know, I didn’t know anything about finance either. And quite frankly, when I entered into the industry, it was like learning a second language. I feel when I’m talking to clients or my mentees, I find myself talking in lingo like literally like all abbreviations. So I say something like Oh, are you pulling the RMD from the to D to the IRA to 401k? Oh, yeah, a bunch of little terms that I know and I understand, but a lot of the average The average people out there, they don’t understand it. But again, how should they? or How could they if they’re not in finance, so to kind of get used to the financial jargon, it’s, it can be quite intimidating. And it was for me when I first started, because I didn’t know, I had to know what a stock or a bond was. And then when you learn what a soccer bond is, then it just goes into sub levels and sub levels. And it’s just so complicated. But I guess my biggest advice in this case is, you know, if you’re considering trying to finance or educate yourself financially, by yourself, would really be you know, don’t don’t psych yourself out, don’t try to like go into learning the nitty gritty details, it’s not necessary, I probably don’t know, like, the tiny little details that investment traders do, because I’m not focused in investment trading. And, you know, in order to be good in order to be financially literate, it’s just important to know some of those basics. That’s really don’t psych yourself out.

Maggie Germano 20:56
Yeah, I like that. Because that that’s much more approachable to have like, starting with the basics, the things that apply to you Don’t worry as much about Yeah, like you said, investment trading, and those sorts of things. Because I think that is what ends up scaring people a lot. And something I always joke with, with my clients is like, all the money stuff is made up like we’ve all invented this system that it’s been created, we’re not born innately understanding any of it. Some of us It might come a little bit more naturally, to just absorb some of the information. Or maybe we have the type of personality that’s going to be more focused on managing our money on a day to day basis. But we’re not born with the instinct to manage money or to understand the stock market. So yeah, I think just not assuming that you should know. And immediately diving into the deep end, but starting with the basics, I think that’s really good advice.

Fiona 21:53
Thank you. I’m glad and I hope it works out for for your audience.

Maggie Germano 21:57
Yeah. And so how do you think some of the so these myths, the four that you mentioned, but then a lot of Sure, there are so many other kind of misunderstandings out there to related to money, but how have you seen those kinds of myths or misunderstandings negatively influence not only your clients, but the folks that are reading your blog, or people just that, you know, how do you see that kind of having a negative impact on them?

Fiona 22:22
Yeah, um, you know, that’s again, another really good question. And as I’m answering this, there’s one specific person that just pops to my mind right away, that literally embodies these myths. And she really, unfortunately, didn’t start out her life, the best way financially speaking, but she’s turning it around, which is what matters. So she, we met, gosh, probably like five years ago. And she’s a mentee of mine. So I have a quote, I co founded a nonprofit that really educates young professionals and financial literacy. And she is she that’s where we met her. She went through that code, that nonprofit. And so she started her life out of college kind of thinking that you only live once, which is another pretty common myth. Yeah. I mean, yeah, you might tomorrow, you never know what happens tomorrow. However, that doesn’t mean that you should spend and splurge every single dollar that you get. And that’s kind of what she was embodying, right. Like, every paycheck in goes out, plus more to so that plus more, equals a lot of credit card debt. So she was, you know, also fear of missing out FOMO YOLO, those two very common millennial terms. She basically thought, you know, I’m invited to a wedding, let’s go, Well, a wedding costs, air like air tickets, which her weddings that she went to were quite far away. They cost bachelorette parties, which is a lot of money, if you consider you know, the alcohol, the hotel, the hotel stay, etc. It can add up the presence, obviously, she was a lavish giver. And I think she went to Gosh, I don’t know, five to 10 weddings in one year. I mean, it adds up by quite a bit. So point being the fact that she embodied this YOLO FOMO mentality that the fact that you only live once, and you should really enjoy your life, I understand it, but she just went overboard and racked up I want to say like, north of 95,000 of credit card debt by age 28, which is really rough. And she was lucky because she didn’t have any student loan debt. Right. She graduated on scholarship. So she had a fantastic start, however, fell into that fallacy. And the fact that now she’s she was working her way out of the student debt, which is fantastic, but I’m sorry, the credit card debt, which is great, but the fact that that took her, you know, five, six years to realize you shouldn’t have credit card debt. It’s set her back quite a bit. First of all, now she’s just starting to finish paying off her debt and starting to save and invest for retirement. So that’s that Her back probably five, eight years in all, which is a lot of time when it comes to retirement savings. Second, it also set her back with buying a house because she wants to buy a house. She could have done that earlier if she hadn’t had moved that money toward paying off that credit card debt. And third, it also kind of stopped her from forming a family, right? So a lot of times credit card debt, if you’re trying to prioritize, what do you want to do with your life at like age 3132, she had a partner, you know, they wanted to form a family didn’t yet though, because her goal was to pay off credit card debt. Kudos to her for being able to do that. I mean, I think it takes a lot of willpower. But again, that is one prime example that just shows that, you know, credit card debt for, for instance, just trying to live that idea that tomorrow doesn’t exist, it’s not always beneficial. And in this case, it really pushed back her financial life by by a bit. And hopefully, you know, I’m sure she learned from it, but hopefully others are able to take from this story and start their lives, right, you know, credit card debt can be so devastating, like the interest rate is typically 24% on the balance, it’s so so astronomical. And you know, paying the minimum payments on credit cards, they typically don’t dip into what you actually owe, it’s just paying the credit card company, the interest balance. So just make sure you really pay attention to what you spend and put on your credit cards.

Maggie Germano 26:25
Yeah, that’s a really good example. And I know that one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was a teacher in high school. And I think he was like saying it in passing to wasn’t even he was he wasn’t even really trying to teach us about financial literacy. But he said in passing, you know, make sure you never just pay the minimum balance on a credit card. Like you always want to pay either more than that, or pay the full balance off. And I was like, oh, okay, and like, I didn’t have a credit card in high school. I didn’t get one, I think till I graduated college. And but I knew that I remember that from like, my junior senior year of high school. And I carried that through with me. And I always knew that, but most people are not going to automatically get that lesson. And if they do, they might forget it. And you see, like minimum payment, and you’re like, Okay, that’s what to do. And like, that’s fine. But it makes it kind of snowball over and over again, that you’re really just owing more and more and more every single month and, and the more debt you have on the credit card, the more that minimum balance is going to be anyway or minimum payment is going to be. And that’s that’s one of the issues with credit card debt is it can get to a point where it’s impossible to actually pay, and you get in a really, really tight situation. I’ve seen that a lot.

Fiona 27:43
I have to and I mean, it’s when I want to hear like her for example talk. I mean, it’s literally to the point where she can’t sleep at night like it is so suffocating, knowing that you have this hundred thousand dollar balance or whatever it is looming over you. And it’s not just student debt in quotation marks, because student debt, you know, typically it’s 8% interest rate or whatever. credit card debt, it’s pretty significant. I mean, it’s like three times more than student debt in terms of interest rates. So it can be really, really scary. And yeah, like you said, Maggie, at that point, I know a lot of people resort to bankruptcy. I’ve heard a lot of stories. I mean, it’s not always the best option it bankruptcy can stay on your record for seven to 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file. But it’s sometimes it’s the way out but not recommended. So don’t even go there. Don’t even try to give yourself bankruptcy as an option. Like just pay off that credit card debt. Definitely.

Maggie Germano 28:42
Yeah, and I think something that’s really important to take away from that example. And that topic in general of like, finding the balance between being somewhat disciplined with your money, but also being able to enjoy your life. That’s something that I know a lot of people struggle with. And a lot of people think that it has to be either suffer completely and only be really good with your money. Or like you said, YOLO spend it all and get in debt and don’t have any savings and then hope that things work out when you retire. I I’m of the mind of like finding somewhere far in between those two things where you don’t have to suffer. It’s not about sacrificing everything and never having joy. Because I don’t think that that’s sustainable either. And it’s not about just just being completely not think not thinking about the future, right and not being a little bit thoughtful and mindful about you know, what your budget is and where your money should be going. There has to be an in between and that can be tough for people because again, it seems like a lot of people in the finance field are are on one camp or the other. I mean, there’s probably no financial assets. expert that says just spend everything you have. There’s a lot of experts out there who are like, No Get rid of debt at the cost of all else. And I just really don’t think that that’s sustainable. So I think it’s important that folks try to figure out what that balance in the middle is for themselves.

Fiona 30:16
100% agreed. what some of the sometimes I try to recommend to set yourself a splurging bucket, like basically give yourself a budget that you can splurge on anything that you want. So like, you know, you have your typical monthly budget, you save a portion of your income, you use the remainder of your income towards rent, groceries, etc, whatever it is necessary items, and then you have a small splurging bucket. And this is where you can literally go wild to do whatever you want. Save it, you know, save three months of your splurging bucket for a nice vacation. But the point is, once that splurging bucket is empty, there is no more overspending. And that’s actually helped for a lot of millennials who have that difficulty finding the balance and myself included, by the way, I’m like, I’m terrible at finding a balance. But that kind of psychological trick has helped me understand, okay, certain amount is going toward my savings, and my retirement accounts. And then I actually can spend something on myself, it’s like, it’s like, I have to give myself permission to spend, and on anything I want. And I think knowing that you’re giving yourself that permission, it’s so liberating. And you can literally do what you want with that money.

Maggie Germano 31:28
Exactly. There’s no rules, it’s there for whatever, you don’t have to feel guilty. That’s, I call that my fun fund for myself. And I always tell my clients do like you need to have a fund fund, whether that’s $50 a month that’s going into the fund fund, or, more or less, whatever you can afford, you need to make sure that you’re allotting a certain amount of money just to have guilt free spending, that doesn’t hurt your budget. And that you can, like you said, rack up over time, if you want to like splurge on something big, or it can be something small every month, like if you’d like to go to Target once in a while to just like buy something that you like that you see that wasn’t planned for in the budget, like look at how much is in your fun fund. And you can do that as much or as little as you can actually afford. And I think that makes a difference. Because again, just like you’re giving yourself that permission, you’re making this space for it in the budget, and it’s not going to hurt you in the long run.

Fiona 32:25
That’s exactly right. Yeah.

Maggie Germano 32:28
So how can folks start to break through some of the myths maybe they are holding for themselves in their own lives? Or things that they’ve learned from other people that maybe are, you know, not suiting them anymore? How can they start to kind of break through that and move forward and try to you know, teach themselves financial beliefs that actually work better for them?

Fiona 32:52
Yeah, great point. So there are typically three ways. First way is for the very motivated individual, the person that can sit down, do their work doesn’t have to be reminded a bunch of times, and that is just self education. So that’s bibliotherapy, right. So you go through books, you look at financial planning books, you go online, you set aside 10 minutes a day, 30 minutes a week, whatever it is, and you actually go out there you you physically read through the stuff, take notes, etc. And when I first started, before I even went to school for finance, I actually went to a Goodwill store, over Christmas break, and just got like five different finance books, they’re really cheap. But I sat down and I read those books during my Christmas during my winter break. And I was able to physically take notes, I learned better by taking notes and by highlighting the text, and that’s how I learned the information. And I that’s something I would suggest for those really highly motivated individuals who like learning for themselves. The second option is finding a mentor. There’s so many mentors out there to really help you break through those myths. And to find a mentor, you know, obviously want to find someone who you trust and who trusts you who provides you with candid and honest feedback. That’s really the point of a mentor. But once you find that person, they can be your parent, they can be a relative friend, professor. But the point is, they will help guide you through the ups and downs of your financial life. And a lot of times, you know, you can bounce ideas off of them, or even so they can be your accountability partner. So let’s say you tell them, okay, My plan is to spend $2,000 this month no more. Well guess what? Your as your accountability partner or your mentor, they can call you up in the middle of the month. They can call you up at the end of the month and say Hey, are you actually staying underneath your $2,000 spending limit Or did you go overboard? In a way, it’s kind of like social peer pressure, but use to your benefit. And that’s another way to break through those myths, right? Are those poor financial learning choices that you had maybe due to lack of education in the beginning. And the third breakthrough strategy is hiring a professional. And hiring a professional, it’s obviously costly, it can be costly, depending on you know, hourly rates, financial planners, it depends on you know, the company that you’re with, etc. But financial planners, they span from, you know, I don’t know, $50 $100 an hour to $500,000 an hour, there’s a huge breath. However, chances are, if you work one on one with a professional who knows, like, in depth information about virtually everything as it relates to financial planning, chances are, you’re going to be on your way, like that money that you spend up front, you had a few thousand dollars, likely, it’s gonna save you thousands 10s of thousands of dollars down the road. So if you are in that fortunate position, that you can spend some money on a financial planner today, the younger you are, the better and it will pay dividends, no pun intended.

Maggie Germano 36:14
I love that I love that you gave the three different options based on kind of your personality, but also your financial circumstances. Because I think that that’s a place where people kind of get stuck to have like, well, but I don’t like reading books about money, I’m not going to do that. Or I can’t afford to hire a professional because I’m just basically trying to figure out how to get by every single day. So I think having different options, kind of like figure out what kind of person you are, figure out what you’re capable of managing right now and take that route is really helpful.

Fiona 36:49
Good. Yeah, I, you know, a lot of it is it just comes down to your personal to your personal preference, because in the end, personal finance is just that is personal. So it’s very difficult to say like this specific strategy fits everyone, because chances are everyone’s different, right? So yeah, hopefully those are kind of three broad, but hopefully, you know, people can kind of fall in those categories and figure out what works best for them.

Maggie Germano 37:16
Yeah, absolutely. And so is there anything else that we haven’t talked about related to money myths, or educating yourself and getting motivated? Anything that you haven’t touched on yet that you want to make sure listeners take away today?

Fiona 37:30
Yeah, I mean, I think we really had a great conversation about all of these financial topics. What I would want everyone to take away from this conversation is just reinforcing that you want to start now, start investing now start today, don’t wait for tomorrow, it’s, you know, if you say tomorrow, you’re not practicing healthy financial habits start investing today. And even if it’s just $5, you go ahead and you make that commitment, keep investing and show up every single day. There’s, there’s this strategy, right, you, you want to continue investing every day is called dollar cost averaging. So it’s kind of like if you have a 401k, and a portion of your paycheck is invested into your 401k every two weeks, every month, whatever it is, that’s dollar cost averaging. So you consistently invest into the stock market, and you do it every single paycheck period. If you’re continue, if you continually do that, you know, either through your retirement account or through your individual investing account, chances are, you’re actually going to make it to millionaire status, if that is your goal. And there’s a calculation that I did. And if you’re 20 years old, and you invest just under $10 a day, into the stock market for 45 years straight. And that brings you to age 65 at a 7% rate of return, which is the historical rate of return for the stock market over the last 50 years, you will be a millionaire. And again, that’s less than $10 a day. I think it’s like $9 and 49 cents or something like that, like it is so doable. You can totally do it. It’s like what 15 less than 50 bucks a week essentially like, yeah, or whatever, 6070 bucks a week you can do it. It’s just a matter of actually committing to it. Anyone can do it. It’s just you have to physically push yourself and really practice this healthy financial habits. So that was the only other thing I you know, I anyone can do it. It’s just a matter of one. Yeah,

Maggie Germano 39:32
I love that. Thank you for that. And is there anything you’d like to promote that you have going on with any of the work that you’re doing?

Fiona 39:40
Yeah, sure. I mean, I guess I just want to make sure that your audience knows. You know, I’m always available to interact and chat. So definitely check out my website, the millennial money woman at site, my blog, I release about two to three posts a week. And, you know, if you want to email me, email me at the millennial Money [email protected] I love to respond. I’d love to hear from you guys. So definitely, you know, check it out, come to the website and yeah, reach out to me.

Maggie Germano 40:10
Great. And is there anywhere else online that they can find you aside from your website and email?

Fiona 40:15
Sure, of course. So for anyone who loves Twitter, you can always follow me @the_mmw. And if you’re a Pinterest user, then you can always find me at the millennial money woman, again, reach out to me, contact me direct messaged me, I’m always happy to engage.

Maggie Germano 40:33
Great, and I will share links to all of that in the show notes as well. So people have easy access to you. Well, thank you so much for being here today. I think this was a really fun conversation. And hopefully, you’ve been able to bust up some myths that some of the listeners have had as well and given them some advice on how to move forward and start making some changes in their own lives. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Fiona 40:56
Thank you so much for having me. This was a blast.

Maggie Germano 40:59
Great. Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more and to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me subscribe to my weekly newsletter at MaggieGermano.com/subscribe. to learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit Maggiegermano.com. You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye.