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Handle Your Money Trauma and Build Wealth like a Grownup with Veronica Grant

Erin: [00:00:00] Welcome to Hotter Than Ever, where we uncovered the unconscious rules we've been following. We break those rules and we find a new path to being freer, happier, sexier, richer. And more self expressed. I'm your host, Erin Keating.


Today's guest is financial expert, Veronica Grant, and we get into it about one of the most important and most sensitive issues in our lives, money. We talk about how your family's values around money impact, how you handle earning and spending and saving. We talk about. How to handle money conversations in a relationship. Oof. I don't know about you, but money was a big source of conflict in my marriage. And it was really hard to get on the same page.


Veronica has ideas about how to start to understand how someone you're newly dating thinks [00:01:00] about money, even from the first date without making it weird. This is such a big topic and I enjoyed this conversation. I think you will too. Here it is.


Veronica Grant is a financial expert and the host of the Run Your Money podcast. As a certified financial wellness consultant, she coaches women on how to meet their financial goals. She blends knowledge about personal finance with coaching and awareness of the social and economic systems that keep many women from the wealth they deserve.

Don't we all deserve wealth? Welcome to Hotter Than Ever, Veronica.

Veronica: Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Erin: I'm excited to be here to talk about everybody's favorite subject and least favorite subject, money.


Veronica: Well, it is only my favorite subject.


Erin: It's not your least, well, that is why you do what you do. I think the rest of us have all sorts of complicated... Yeah. Feelings about [00:02:00] money, relationship with money, relationship with relationships, and money. But I'd love to start with your personal story and how you came to be good with money because this is something that's always been in your life as a, as a positive force, right?


Veronica: Yeah. So I think a lot of people in this space were like, I was 50,000 in debt and I was making no money and I did this and I did that and then I got good at money. So now I'm going to teach you. And I'm like, no, I've actually always been pretty good with money. And one of my first money memories is I started babysitting probably around the age of gosh, like, maybe 11. I was pretty young. It was the 90s.


So I think it was a little bit more normal then for 11 year olds to be babysitting, but regardless, I was the go to babysitter and my neighborhood and I was beginning to accumulate quite a bit of cash. And what I did is 11 years old. No one told me to, I was just Thinking to [00:03:00] myself, okay, I'm, I'm getting money.


I'm going to take half of it and I'm going to spend that at the mall with my friends at Claire's limited to, you know, all the places the kids in the nineties for going to.


Erin: They're still doing it. Same place. My daughter's still obsessed with Claire's.


Veronica: I mean, I still kind of am too, mostly because of nostalgia. And then I'll take the other half and I'm going to save it. And I didn't tell my parents this, I was just doing it. And then after a while, the cash that I was using to save, like literally wouldn't fit in the box that I was using. And I didn't have a bigger box. And so I brought this cash into my parents room.


I think it was just my mom. And I was like, Mom, this is all my babysitting money. Should I like open up a bank account or something? And she was like, holy shit, how much is it? I counted my money probably almost every week. So I knew exactly how much money I had to the dollar. I don't remember what that amount was, but it was definitely a few thousand dollars for sure.


And she was like, we got to go to the bank. Put that in a bank account. [00:04:00] You can't keep that amount of money in your room. And also this is like the 90s. So I don't know what 3,000 is equivalent to today, but it's more than 3,000. And it's just been like that ever since. And then obviously that system got way more complex after just having more than babysitting money and having actual bills to pay, et cetera.


But it's always been something that's been very intuitive, very easy for me to understand. Even if there's like a concept that I'm like, Oh, I don't know what that is. I can look it up in an, It immediately computes. Whereas I know for what I'm learning, many people, it's like, what does that even mean? It's like the reading French.


That being said, my relationship to money has been more up and down. And that's certainly been, we'll just call it a journey that I still find myself sometimes more on, sometimes more off, just depending where I am. But to be honest, I think what I have found is that while affirmations and mantras and meditations can be super [00:05:00] helpful for working on your relationship to money, I have found that the best thing to do is to actually just do the action, whether it's looking at your budget, making a plan for your debt, making a plan for investing or whatever it is. Because when you actually sit down and get into the numbers, even though if it can be a little scary, then you have a plan. And I think for most people's brains, just knowing where you're going can help to demystify the scary monster in the closet. Do you know what I mean?


Erin: Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of us want to bury our heads in the sand around money.

Veronica: Yeah. So I'll leave it there because I'm sure there's some questions there, but that's generally the gist of what money has been like in my life.


Erin: That's awesome. That's awesome. I think I was a saver, like as a little girl, I was a saver.

But as life got expensive, I have had a range of different relationships with it. I always claimed to not care about it, which I am suspicious of now. I think I always cared about it. I just sort of made a conscious [00:06:00] decision that it wasn't going to be the thing that drove my decision making in life until I had kids.


And then my expenses just got insane and I was like, I guess I have to double down on this corporate path that I'm on and really try to maximize it as much as possible. But yeah, the kid thing is just a financial head fuck because it's just never ending, especially trying to stay at work and have kids and not stay at home.


For me, the calculus that I made was like, okay. I'm only going to take home X number of dollars more than my nanny costs for this period of time. But if I stay in this, then I'll be able to earn more over time.


Veronica: It's definitely, definitely a better financial decision to stay working, even if your entire paycheck goes to daycare, nanny, whatever. Obviously, people can make a different choice that's not reflective of the numbers, but in terms of the numbers that is the more optimal [00:07:00] thought.


We're paying for daycare. I just had a second kid. We're going to be paying for two daycares very soon. It's daunting. Yeah. And the thing is, is that like, we do well. If you were to look at us on the bell curve or spectrum of where we are in terms of our age group, like we're doing quite well, but at the same time, it's like, dang, this is a lot of frigging money.


Erin: Yeah. Yeah. It's really intense. What a big part of our lives money is. And it's so layered, right? It's so emotional for so many people. I don't know anyone who doesn't have lots of feelings around money, right? So how much do you think our family stories, our origin stories, the mythology we grew up with around money, how much do you think that that impacts the way that we consider money when we become adults?


Veronica: Yeah, listen, I'm not a therapist, but from my own experience and just working with clients, I've noticed two big patterns. [00:08:00] Either it's a direct replication, right? So if you always if you've heard money doesn't grow on trees or I'm not made of money that can compute a message in your brain that money is scarce. There's not enough money or it's wrong or bad or immoral to spend money or too much money on things like massages or vacations or other quote unquote frivolous things.


The other thing that I think can happen is you do the direct opposite. So if your parents were really bad with money and you saw the problems that they got themselves into, you might think, well, never doing that again. And then you can just totally do a 180, do what you need to do to learn whatever you didn't learn from your parents and have a different kind of financial situation.


And then, you know, I think sometimes people can have a mix of both. It's not necessarily one or the other, but I do think it's very common for money stories to get passed down. And I think a big reason for that is money can be a [00:09:00] source of trauma, both early on and later on in life. And money trauma doesn't necessarily even mean that you're housing insecure, food insecure, it can just be simply you were told that it's wrong or bad or selfish or greedy or spoiled or whatever to ask for XYZ thing you might have asked for it that can create a trauma or a message in your head of, Oh my gosh, what's wrong with me or who am I or I'm not worthy of that, etc.


And that can very easily go into adulthood as like, I need to just spend money on my mortgage and have a sensible mortgage and not be in the fancy neighborhood or not get the massage, even though my back really hurts or whatever, and you can be really cheap with yourself, even though you can afford it. It's just a old, old programming.

Erin: Yeah, there's so much programming around money and there's so much unpack in our families. And I mean, I have [00:10:00] totally different stories from my mom's side versus my dad's side around what money means and what it's for and how you handle it. I just think it's so interesting how we need to chart our own path around this stuff and without analyzing it and digging into like, what are these myths? What are these stories? What are the lessons? Um, you're sort of being run by this unconscious script around it.


Veronica: Yeah. And my unconscious script was scarcity. I always felt like I was going to be 0 sooner or later. And even when I was in college and I didn't really have a lot of money, it still really wasn't ever the case because I still had privilege in that ff the worst happened, I could always just go back home and live with mom or dad. I would be fine. And yet, I just had this fear that I was going to run out of money and have no money.


Um, and this is something that my mom absolutely has. My dad has some scarcity, but in a very different kind of way. [00:11:00] And it's just something that comes up from time to time that I constantly have to, not silence, because I don't think that's the way to work with some of the uncomfortable voices and emotions in your head, but I just have to work with, okay, so what's the fear? Is the fear real?


Meaning like, are there actually bills coming up and I'm not sure how I'm going to pay them? Or are there bills coming up and I can pay them and the fear the money's going to run out, where is that coming from? And so what can I do to soothe? And I think that's really important because sometimes your parents or grandparents, whoever you inherited this money story from might've had those money stories for very good and legitimate reasons, right?


Like if your parents were poor, if you were poor growing up, or if they're immigrants or low income, low wage, whatever. There might've been a lot of scarcity, but it's not like some Tony Robbins, like mindset limiting belief thing. It's like, no, there really wasn't a lot of money in the bank account. So it's kind of normal to feel [00:12:00] a little, uh---


Erin: There was scarcity, right? It wasn't just a scarcity mindset.


Veronica: Exactly. Exactly. And then, but that the issue is that that can get passed down, even if the bank account looks quite different from what your parents or grandparents, bank accounts were.


Erin: Yeah, I think that's true. I think it's the numbers are all relative, right? And and how we think about the numbers and what they mean is something to really try to analyze in yourself.


Veronica: This is something that I think about a lot, because I have felt this myself. I can see other friends grappling. I'm going to be talking about this internally about how they're not rich somebody else's right. And that's because there's always somebody richer than you. I don't know who the richest person on planet now is, but if you're not that person, there's always going to be someone richer than you.


And there's something psychological about seeing this other person, whether it's your parents or your neighbor or your [00:13:00] coworker or your boss or whoever having more money. And then you think, well, they can afford first class, but when I travel, I have to travel business class, therefore I'm not rich. And it's like, well, no, if you're going on a vacation, flying business class, you're probably rich.


But there's something psychological about where we compare to other people. And then we create a story and that can be wrapped up in other things because if also part of your old story was rich people are greedy, rich people are bad, rich people just want money and they don't care about humans or the earth or whatever, then that could also just be part of justifying like, well, you're not rich with somebody else's literally there's 10 million ways you could go with this.


Erin: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I have felt like around wealthy people. I don't have what you have. I don't have the life you have. I can't make the decisions you make. I can't live the life you live. And therefore somehow I'm less. But I have also felt the opposite. I have felt [00:14:00] immensely privileged because I am immensely privileged and I grew up with privilege. I grew up with no scarcity. I grew up with a private education and all those things that, that come with privilege. But it's hard to keep it in perspective. It's really hard to keep it in perspective. And it's hard to be sensible and practical all the time.


Veronica: Yeah, it's hard to keep in perspective. And I just want to say, I think it's because it's a little bit by design. Because we live in a capitalist society and what capitalism says is more, more, more. Like a totally unchecked capitalist system has no checks on like, yeah, we want to be profitable, but not at the expense of the environment or human labor, etc. Right.


And The United States has some regulations, not enough in my opinion, but I would say the mindset, the American mindset, like the American dream kind of mindset is more and more and more. It's totally unregulated in my opinion. And so that means [00:15:00] the idea that we can be more, have more, be more successful, be more self actualized. You can even like tying a lot of personal development concepts into this. It's never enough. And you're constantly. Just told that through advertising.


Like every time you see a skinny white woman selling soap on like a commercial, it's just soap, but really, they're selling you like you can be like this. And if you're not looking like this, or if your home doesn't look like this, or your body doesn't look like this, then something is amiss. Something's--you don't have enough of something. And ultimately, I think a lot of that always goes back down to money. Because if you have money, it's easier to have a beautiful house. It's easier to be thinner. It's easier to be a lot of things.

Erin: Yeah. Yeah. And we glorify the wealth of people who make a dubious contribution to society. But we are obsessed with the Kardashians. We are obsessed with the Elon Musks of the world and the billionaire class. Someone once [00:16:00] said Americans always think they're temporarily impoverished millionaires. It might've been Mark Twain. Like that, that is the problem. Why people vote against their best interests is because they actually think of themselves as like, well, I'm going to need that grace in the tax code because I'm just two seconds away from being just like the haves, even though I'm a have not.


Veronica: Interesting. I haven't heard of that, but that makes a lot of sense. I can totally see that.


Erin: Yeah. Um, I mean, and politics does, this is not a politics podcast and politics makes me want to cry most of the time, but politics impact who can build wealth and how wealth can be built. And, you know, women couldn't have mortgages or credit cards until the late sixties, early seventies. So we are not that far away from. being entirely financially dependent on others. How do you think politics affect women and our pocketbooks today?


Veronica: It's funny. I talk on TikTok a lot, and I talk a lot about politics. I'll say, this is going on with Speaker of the House, or this is going on with U. S. debt.[00:17:00] And every once in a while, I'll get a message or a DM. I know what they're called on TikTok, private message, whatever. Yeah. Who knows? I get a message and someone will say, I just want to learn about money with you. Keep the politics out of it. And I'm like, literally, there are politicians in Congress that write things called tax codes and those tax codes affect your bottom line.

Like quite literally.


Like, I personally think politics affects everything. I think politics affects love, sex, dating, motherhood, parenthood. I think it affects all aspects of life. But I would guess in most of those cases, maybe the connection isn't as direct. It's more of like a secondary kind of connection, but like money, it's like direct.


And so it has a huge impact. And as far as women have advanced over the last few generations, it's still overwhelmingly a white man's party in [00:18:00] Congress. And I think that the tax codes and the policies there very much show that, right. It's tough to be a parent of young children because of childcare and because you have to take time off.


And sometimes people take multiple years off and then getting back into the workforce, you're almost certainly going to take a pay cut than what you would have had, had you just been able to keep working through and through. There's no widespread subsidies for just the cost of taking care of kids. There's no real maternity leave in this country.


I firmly believe that if the system was exactly the same, except that men had babies. But everything else was exactly the same in terms of like the gender dynamics and everything. I firmly believe that tampons would be free, birth control would be free, abortions would be readily available for those who needed it. Parental leave would be abundant. Childcare, because it's just [00:19:00] the people that aren't in power that need those services. And so it gets sidelined.


Erin: Yeah, I agree with you.


You talk a lot about money and relationships, and I'm really interested in this conversation because as someone who is recently divorced and took a really big financial hit as a result of that, like I am struggling with A) the unfairness of it and B) how am I going to come back from this? But let's start with dating. Money and dating, money in marriage, money in divorce. Like, these are things I want to talk about.


Veronica: Well, I have a lot of knowledge around money and dating and in marriage. Divorce might be a little outside of my realm.


Erin: Maybe just tell you my problems and you help me solve them.


Veronica: I will say this. I think this is an interesting idea in that. And I don't do this kind of work with clients, but if you think about like divorce laws per state, that's basically like a pre written prenup for you unless [00:20:00] you already, unless you create your own prenup. And so I know a lot of people like, Oh, prenups, but we're in love and I don't want to think about divorce and dah, dah, dah, dah. And it's like, okay, fine.


Erin: That's the best time to do a prenup.


Veronica: Exactly. There's already a prenup there for you. There's still like some sort of outline out there. So does that work for you? You know, and it might be worth writing up a prenup if that doesn't work for you.


But here's what I think could set this stage to have a prenup because you would have a relationship with more comfort around talking about money. I think you can talk about money as early as date one. I think people think that money is like this weird taboo topic that really isn't appropriate to talk about until you're further down the road with someone. And look, I'm not suggesting that you bring your W 2s and your last year's tax returns to your first date and like, let's go over the numbers. That's probably a little too much.


But the first date you can easily say [00:21:00] something along the lines of, how do you want to pay for this? Do you want to split it? That's money. That's a money conversation. And it's very appropriate for the first date. And other two other questions that I absolutely love are, what would you do with an extra 5,000? And then what would you do if you won the lottery?


And those seem like the same questions, but they're different because the lottery is like dream. Like what would that would be life changing, right? 5,000. You might be happy to get 5,000, but it's not going to change your life. No one's going to retire off of 5,000 or by the dream house. And so that kind of question, rather than getting into like the dream world can get more into like, how do they think about money? How do they strategize their money? Would they just take that 5,000 and go on a fun vacation or would they put it all in there in their Roth account? Would they? Pay off debt with it. Would they do a little bit of everything with it?


There's not necessarily wrong answer unless what they did with it didn't align with your values, but it can certainly give you a sense as to [00:22:00] how do they tend to manage their money? And I think that kind of question can give a lot of insight. And you can ask this question again super early on, and it can just frame it as like a, we're just getting to know each other, having fun.


And then as you start to have these kinds of conversations about money, that is just a stepping stone to, okay, we've been dating for a while. We've been going out a lot. How do you feel about the level of spending? Are you okay with it? Because typically early on in a relationship, at least in my experience, you tend to go out more than you would normally.

Right. And so that's a really great place to check in and say, Hey, so we've been dating for a little bit. We've been going out a lot. Is this a normal level of spending for you or would you like to cut back? How are you feeling? And I'm just having a conversation about that. And then slowly you can start building on those layers as you maybe take a vacation together. How are you going to pay for that or split those expenses moving in together?


[00:23:00] But if the first time you're talking about money is when you're moving in together or going on a really expensive vacation, you might luck out and it'd be fine because the person's fine with money and you guys jive on the same wavelength around that. Or it might be like a huge freaking disaster because you're just totally on different pages.


Erin: Yeah, and then money inside of marriage is a whole other thing, right? Like this is reportedly one of the biggest reasons why people get divorced and the reason people argue and have conflict inside of marriages. I certainly had a huge amount of conflict around money in my relationship with my ex husband. It was a huge source of stress and it went back to childhood issues for both of us. Childhood stories, family stories, and also how we think about the future and how we think about what you use money for.


Is it for solving a feeling of like existential dread ? [00:24:00] No. Is it for expressing privilege or experiencing privilege? Is it for planning for big goals and dreams? We had just epic blowout fights about this stuff because at the end of the day, the way you use money is about trust and trusting each other with your shared resources. And your shared future.


Veronica: Yeah, and, you know, I think, again, like a lot of these kinds of and congruencies can get discovered if you're comfortable with talking about money again from day one. But just in general, the way I really like to think about money is if you think about your marriage like a business, because in a lot of ways it's pretty similar. You have a property, either you rent or own. You have, not technically employees, but you have your kids, maybe if you have kids. But you have expenses and then you have revenue coming in, that sounds like a business to me. And so I really love the idea of having very specific times where [00:25:00] you just have a meeting with your partner as if that person was your business partner.


And you're like, here's the money coming in. Here's the money going out. Is this okay? Do we want to increase spending here? Do we want to decrease spending here? What do we use this extra money for? Cause it's really not just a conversation about numbers, even though yes, numbers are involved. It really ends up being a conversation of what do you want to do with this money? Like what kind of life do you want? Right?


So it can really be this source of connection. But the key here is that you have this business part of your marriage and then you have the relationship part of your marriage. And this is the reason why you got together, why you actually liked the other person to begin with. And the idea is that they don't intermix, they don't intermingle. So you have like your money dates and then that's that you're very clear on how you do your expenses, how you divvy up things, if that's what you do, or if you've combined things, how things operate. And then the rest of the time, you have your relationship.


If my husband and I need to have a quick [00:26:00] money conversation, it's even like, okay, taking ourselves out of relationship mode, going into business mode. Here's the money question I have. And then we like bring it back to relationships. So things stay very clean and smooth that way. And the reason that I like that so much is that when the business of your relationship is operating, then that gives space for your romantic part of a relationship to bloom.


But if your partner or you are pissed because they're spending all the money on this place, you didn't want them to, or they're not doing their share fare of the dishes or whatever, then no one's having sex. It's like as simple as that.


Erin: Absolutely. Yeah, I can definitely track some of the worst issues in our, in my marriage to financial problems and behaviors that made me feel totally [00:27:00] unsupported, totally undermined. Um, and you don't want to fuck someone who doesn't support it and you and who undermines you. I just was like, am I not giving enough?


Veronica: Right. I will say I get pushed back from people about this whole business thing because they think it like takes the romance out or it's like, I just want us to be adults about it or whatever. And I'm like, you know what?


Erin: That is being adults.


Veronica: Exactly. I guess my point is, is that I like things to be spelled out, so it's super clear, not just like with the money, but also like how your house, AKA the business is operating. Like who's doing pickup, who's making lunches, who's cleaning the stairs, who's sweeping the floors, who's whatever?


And in addition to all the money tasks. And I always say like, listen, if your marriage is working and you're not really fighting about who's doing water on the house or how money is. in your relationship, then keep doing what you're doing. But if [00:28:00] it's not working, or you're feeling resentful, or there's always fights about money, then try it.

Because in my opinion, at least, it's pretty life changing.


Erin: Yeah. And also, I think who you choose to marry We'll determine whether or not you can have those conversations effectively, right?

Veronica: That might be a bigger problem.


Erin: Yeah. That sounds like a red flag.


I often think that the answer to my questions and problems in life Is just earn more money.

I often come back to that, but it's so much easier said than done. And I wonder if you have advice for people who just simply need to increase their income. I know so many talented and incredible people, especially women who are underemployed. And who are underpaid.


And you can say, Oh, there's self esteem issues there, you're undervaluing yourself. You're not billing high enough at whatever it is you do. You don't expect more money, but it's not just a mindset thing. [00:29:00] I'm eager for some practical advice on like, if you're a person who really needs to increase their income. How do you set about doing that?


Veronica: Well, there's three main ways to increase your income. One is to get a raise with the job you already have. And that's the easiest, but I don't mean easy, but it's just the easiest.


Erin: Because there's a pot of money there to draw from.


Veronica: Right, right, right. So that's certainly the first way. The second way is to find a new job. Again, second easiest doesn't mean it's easy.


And then the third way is either side income or some sort of business kind of venture. Technically there are other ways to optimize your money around investing, but if you're in your thirties, forties, fifties, that's not really money you're living off of right now. That's money for later. So in my head, at least I put that in a different category, even though investing does make you money.


But starting with where you are right now is always going to be the easiest because you already have the job. [00:30:00] And especially in the, look, this is a moving target because obviously the economy changes. So if someone's listening to this in a year or two years down the road, who knows what the economy will be, but right.


I don't know when this is going live, but right now we're at the end of 2023 towards the end of 2023, I guess. And it's still an employee's market. Now the tide I think is beginning to shift, but the fed certainly thinks it's still an employee's market because they keep raising interest rates, which means that your company most likely does not want to lose you because it would be more costly and more time consuming for them to replace you than it would be to give you anywhere between a three to 10 percent bump in your salary.


And so that is where I would absolutely start with assuming this person that needs more money actually has a job. And I'm not [00:31:00] an expert in negotiating salaries. I'm, I think there's probably more better experts out there than I am, but here's what I will say. One, the worst they can say is no, right? Like they'll just say no. The second thing is that I think it's really helpful to share the value and what you've done concretely for the company you're at, as opposed to inflation's really high, daycare is really expensive.

Erin: Oh, yeah. That's not why you deserve a raise. No, you get a cost of living increase when you're salaried, and it's probably infinitesimal, doesn't quite match the pace of the economy. But no, you don't get a raise just because you say you need one. You get a raise because you did something that added value to the company and you want to be rewarded for that.

Veronica: Right. The other thing you can do is you can also negotiate for. Benefits that might not have a direct increase for your paycheck, but could still help. So [00:32:00] for example, reimbursements for gyms and other kind of healthcare spending, parental leave, flex leave, work from home benefits, all of these things can actually cost you less money because you'll drive your car less, less gas, less wear and tear, less eating out for lunch.


If you get lunch when you go to the office, things like having more money in your paycheck is queen compared to all of those options, but these things can be a place to start. And again, it's still an employee's market and employers are beginning to have to compete for employees. And that's, and benefits is a big place where that competition happens.


A place that allows a hundred percent work from home or flex work versus two days, you have to be in the office. Someone is almost. Always going to go for the a hundred percent remote or flex work versus have to be in the office for two days a week. And that would be more of a question for HR as opposed to your boss when you're talking about benefits.

So that's the direction you wouldn't want to go, but obviously for [00:33:00] a salary negotiation, you're really looking at talking with your boss.


Erin: Yeah. What about people who are self employed and this whole sort of gig economy universe that so many people live in today, where the infrastructure of support and retirement savings and insurance and all these things, unless you have a corporate job, that stuff is really hard to do on your own.


And my own experience, and I think probably yours too, is like, okay, you start your own thing. And then you go, Oh, I actually have to solve for all of these things in addition to matching the income or making as much as I can. And I think it's even harder for women who are not partnered because you don't have the support system or you don't have the net of someone else's income. I think a lot of women are in this position these days, especially as we age, but obviously you're not going to have a silver bullet for [00:34:00] everybody, but I'm curious about your thoughts.


Veronica: The first I would say is to make sure you have a really good CPA who can find you every possible tax write off. Because that is really, in my opinion, the benefit of working for yourself. Or one of the benefits. You can write off part of your rent or mortgage where you work in your home. You can run off your cell phone, maybe your car. Sometimes you can run off clothes. You can run off, write off all sorts of things.


And so you just want to make sure you have a CPA that is specialized in whatever kind of business structure or niche business that you have so that you are just, and it's fine if on paper it looks like you're making like 50,000 a year or whatever. That's really what you're going for when you have your own business. Because again, taxes are so much higher. You have to pay double social security because when you work for somebody, you pay, what is it? Six and a half or seven and a half [00:35:00] percent for social security, then your employer pays the other half. You're going to get stuck with both of those halves when you work for yourself, not to mention healthcare funding.


Erin: And that's not negotiable. Right. Oh, you have to pay that. Social security payments. Yeah. Not negotiable.


Veronica: Yeah. Yeah. So first is minimizing your tax burden is by far number one. And then you also have to make sure that you're saving for retirement and for self employed people, that's going to look like certainly a Roth, which anyone employed or self employed can open, but then you're going to want to look at either a SEP, which stands for, is it self employed pension plan or a solo 401k.


And I'm not gonna tell you which one to do because you want to talk to a CPA about that because you can give more to a 401k or solo 401k, but the SEP has some rules that if you give yourself a SEP, you have to give employees a SEP if they work a certain amount of hours.

So ask the CPA. But basically those two kinds of accounts operate like a 401k, where they end up being a tax write off. So if you put 10,000 into your SEP, then you get a 10,000 write off. So that just continues to add to your write offs as a self employed person.


But I think those are two of the most important things because your work gives you a tool, your 401k to save for retirement. Unfortunately, the days of pensions are mostly not today. Um, but I have to take retirement into your own hands. And then, I mean, a lot of the other advice would be for both employed and self employed, like start early and often when it comes to saving for retirement.


And then the other thing is if you are self employed, you got to reduce your costs. What I find, at least in my business is. You know, I'll be steady and then money will start coming in. I'm like, Oh, money's coming in. I can increase my costs. I can get this service and I can get this service and have this person work for me, whatever. And all of a sudden my costs are really high.


And also, I just want to say this, [00:37:00] it's not a failure to go get a job, even if the job is part time, just to give yourself a little bit of a cushion, because at least in my experience, if I'm stressed about the money coming in, then I can't be at my. Most creative, productive self, like I just really just can't function.

Erin: Yeah, I appreciate you saying that because I'm very black and white about a lot of things and I like to make a proclamation that like, you know, I'm done with corporate life. But really I might just be taking a break from corporate life or I might be renegotiating my relationship with employers and employment. Whereas I really want to to be a mogul and have my own empire and do everything on my own and not have to share in the fruits of my labor at the same time, there's practical reality.


Veronica: And here's something that I've been thinking about a lot and I'll just say, and I've been saying it pretty publicly on my podcast, like this is a very low income [00:38:00] year for me. I took maternity leave. I have a--gosh, she's four months today. And I wound down my business probably about two or three months before she came because I couldn't go full speed until the moment she came. And she won't be in daycare until January. So I'm mostly taking this year off.


But I think it's important to talk about that, ike it's not black and white. I think the online business world teaches you that the golden handcuffs and 9 to 5 life are just like shackles or whatever. But the thing is that they don't tell you is that if you're not careful, your business can become just a new form of golden handcuffs.


And I found myself checking in because like, I will log in, like how many email subscribers did I get today? How many new TikTok followers did I get? How many downloads? How much money did I make today? Da da da da. And it can really be consuming. And sometimes I think about what would my life be like if I wasn't constantly checking all this shit and I just knew I was getting a paycheck every two weeks.


Like sometimes I go through moments where I'm [00:39:00] like, that actually sounds so more freeing than just having to do the business. So I'm not saying that I'm not doing my business, but I'm just saying that it's just something I've thought about because now when I hear like someone on TikToK or some sort of like online business guru, whatever, talking about ditch the corporate shackles or whatever, I'm just like, that's total bullshit. That's not how it is because.


Yeah, maybe your job really is shitty. And my old job before I started this business really was shitty. And the way I got through it was that this job is funding my new business. And I think I did buy into like the corporate handcuffs bullshit, but anything can be handcuffs. You can have an unhealthy relationship to anything, even if it's something that you ultimately want.

Erin: That is very deep. That's a good segue into the question that I ask everyone on this podcast, which is, are there any deal terms in your own life that you'd like to [00:40:00] renegotiate? Any sort of agreements that you've made that it's time to revisit?


Veronica: Yeah. Oof. That's a good question. You know, I would say, I don't know if you're into astrology, but I love astrology. I have


Erin: complicated feelings about astrology. I love it. I also think it's nonsense, but I also believe it.


Veronica: A hundred percent. I'm like This stuff isn't real, but what if it is, right?


Erin: Totally. Wouldn't it be nice if it was when it's good?


Veronica: Exactly. One of my good friends is an astrologer. So she occasionally will say like, Oh, by the way, I just checked your chart today. And like, yada. I'm like, oh, that makes a lot of sense around how I'm feeling. Anyway, so it's eclipse season and so I'm just like feeling it all. And so I'm renegotiating how much time I spend working versus being a mom because it turns out being a mom of two is different than being a mom of one.


And on the one hand, I want to make a [00:41:00] shit ton of money so that we can send our kids to private school and they can go to whatever college they want and we can have a nice house and I have something left over to leave them after I'm no longer on this earth. On the other hand, I also know I can play that game.


I'm a Capricorn. I'm really good at that game. I can crush if I need to crush. But the question is, is the crushing good for me and my mental health and the kind of relationship that I want to have with my children as they grow up? And the answer is no, it's not, it's not good for me. But I am renegotiating where that balance is.


I never thought of myself as like a mom that would be quasi stay at home or not have like a quote unquote nine to five, or work whatever full time is these days. But I'm not sure that's what I want right now. Now I do want to [00:42:00] work one because I genuinely enjoy it. I just got off the phone with a client I freaking love. I love to look at my client's money and their budget and their spreadsheet and like, all right, here's what we're going to do. I just love it. At the same time, I don't want to be the mom where I'm constantly checking TikTok to see how many followers I got, or checking downloads, or checking whatever.


And we also need the money because if I wasn't working at all and making zero income, we would be fine, we would just have to rebalance our budget and maybe re dream and re imagine how our life would look like. My husband can support us, but it's not going to be the life that I would really like to have, you know, financially. That was a really long answer, but I'm literally processing it right now because this is what I'm constantly thinking about.


Erin: Exactly. It's a complicated question. It seems simple on the surface, but it's complicated.


Thanks so much for searching your soul on that one. I really appreciate it.


Veronica: Yeah. My pleasure.


Erin: It's so nice to talk to you. Thank you for coming on hotter than ever. [00:43:00] Veronica is great to connect.


Veronica: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.


Erin: Thanks for listening to Hotter Than Ever. I want to say thank you to Gizmo Fish who left this awesome five star review on Apple podcasts. She wrote


"So much I relate to. Erin's story is so moving. And what she's creating from the ashes of her former life is gold."


Oh God, I hope so.


"I am absolutely convinced that women are going to lead us out of the cluster we find ourselves in nationally and globally. And the topics Erin covers will create the roots for inspired change. I'm so grateful for all the wisdom shared here and the vulnerability. and compassion. I love this pod."


Thank you so much. Gizmo Fish. Your feedback means the world to me. And I'm so grateful.


If you want to support hotter than ever, and maybe even have your review read on the show, please head over to Apple podcasts and leave [00:44:00] us some glorious five star feedback.


Hotter Than Ever is produced by Erica Gerard and PodKit productions. Our associate producer is Melody Carey. Music is by Chris Keating. with vocals by Isa Fernandez.


Thanks for listening hotties. I hope you're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the warp speed work heavy fall season and that you're making plans to rest and relax and take care of you over the holidays. I know it's hard, but you deserve a break. You worked so hard. I see you. Take it easy and I'll be right back here with you next week for a new episode.


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