In this episode, I talk to certified financial planner, freelance writer and Blonde & Balanced blogger Tahnya Kristina about how she lost her job during the 2007 financial crisis, and then turned that into an opportunity to become debt-free and never be put in that position again.
Long episode description:
I’ve known Tahnya Kristina for several years — initially from the personal finance blogging world, then when we were roommates at FinCon 2014. The one thing that always amazes me about Tahnya is how no matter what, she always has such a positive attitude.
Case in point, when she lost her job as a certified financial planner during the financial crisis and had to dig her way out of debt and find a new source of income. It wasn’t easy going from earning a good pay cheque as a commission-only CFP, to becoming unemployed and not sure where to go.
But like so many successful people, Tahnya turned those lemons into lemonade and fought her way to a better life. She could have easily thrown her hands up and given in to this major setback, but instead she wallowed for a few days then got to work.
She started by using some of her talents in a totally new way. With her deep financial knowledge, she sought out work as a freelance financial writer, which eventually led her to a job in digital marketing. Now, several years after the economic collapse, Tahnya continues to freelance write for various websites and blogs (including Blonde & Balanced), as well as works full-time so she never has to worry about depending on just one job again.
It’s a notion I absolutely live by and advocate whenever I can. Never rely on only one source of income. If it means getting a job on the weekend, at night, or freelancing in your spare time, it will seriously make all the difference in terms of you reaching your financial goals quicker and just feeling all around more secure. I haven’t lost sleep about money for years, and I know it’s because I’ve been debt-free since 2010 and have multiple streams of income.
Article I Mentioned on Vancouver Housing Prices
Learn More About Tahnya Kristina
Christopher Smith, documentary filmmaker of Tiny: A Story About Living Small, and I talk about the financial upside to living in a tiny house, and how he managed to build his own tiny house with his own money and no prior building experience.
Long episode description:
When I watched Christopher Smith and Marete Mueller’s documentary Tiny: A Story About Living Small, it kind of blew my mind. I was always aware of the tiny house movement, even fantasized about building my own one day, but it wasn’t until I watched Christopher and Marete build a tiny house from nothing that I became a bit obsessed. Like started googling plans to build my own tiny house obsessed.
Luckily, I didn’t have to just wonder how one would go about building their own tiny house because Christopher was nice enough to chat with me about how he did it himself — with his own money and no prior building experience. If he can do it, anyone can, right?
That’s one of the big takeaways from the film actually. Just because you’ve never done something before, there’s still nothing stopping you from accomplishing it. And Christopher not only built his own tiny house, he made a film at the same time. A film that went on to major success by premiering at SXSW and screening at a number of other noteworthy film festivals.
Another takeaway from the film is the idea of settling down and making a home for yourself. I must have been thinking about his film when I wrote my blog post about embracing life’s impermanence, because that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
I grew up believing that at a certain age you needed to settle down and stay in one place to raise a family, but that just doesn’t seem important or rational anymore. You don’t need to have a big house in the suburbs with a 30-year mortgage you can hardly afford to have a home. You can buy a plot of land like Christopher and build a tiny house on wheels for the same price as a downpayment and live an incredibly fulfilling (and debt-free) life.
Which brings me to another big takeaway — the financial rewards of living small. One of the women featured in the film was able to pay down her debt and quit her soul-crushing job to pursue her dream of being a writer because she lived in a tiny house.
It’s crazy what opportunities pop up when we don’t give material goods and commercialism any power in our lives. When we focus on what’s truly important in life (family, community, mental health), we realize how insignificant stuff is. And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times — no matter how much stuff you’ve got, you can’t take it with you.
Learn More About Christopher Smith’s Tiny House and What He’s Up to Now
Robb Engen from the popular blog Boomer and Echo and I discuss how he started his blog because of his passion for personal finance, and how it evolved into a money-making side hustle that would lead to an early retirement for him and his wife.
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Robb Engen from the popular personal finance blog Boomer and Echo and I chat in this episode of the Mo’ Money Podcast about how he turned his passion for personal finance into a means of reaching early retirement.
I’ve known Robb and his blog for a while, but it wasn’t until I heard him speak at this year’s Canadian Personal Finance Conference that I knew I needed to chat with him on the podcast.
Robb started his blog along with his mother Marie Engen, a certified financial planner, in 2010. He read a lot of personal finance blogs and eventually felt compelled to add his two cents with his own blog. What started out as a hobby turned into a second job where he earns thousands of dollars per month on top of his full-time salary.
Not only does his blog help provide for his family while his wife stays at home with their two young daughters, but it is also helping them both achieve they’re big goal of retiring early so they can enjoy the fruits of their labour sooner rather than later.
On top of blogging, Robb also writes a column for the Toronto Star and offers fee-only advice as a financial advisor on the side.
I remember someone asking him at the conference how he manages it all with a young family, and his answer was simple — it’s a lot of work, but he makes the best use of his time. It’s not easy balancing a full-time job with a few extra jobs on the side, but if it eventually leads to more money in the bank and the possibility of early retirement, well, I’d much rather work crazy hard in my 20s and 30s to be financially free in my 40s, 50s and beyond. Props to you Robb!
Personal Finance Blogs Mentioned
Follow Robb Engen on Social
Millennial money expert, author and personal finance blogger Stefanie O'Connell and I talk about being an actress during the recession and what inspired her to teach others to be smarter with their money.
Long episode description:
Stefanie O’Connell is one inspiring millennial. She had aspirations of becoming an actress growing up and even studied acting in New York City. She was well on her way to becoming a broadway star too — until the recession hit. The economic collapse forced her to rethink her plans of being an actress and consider other ways of making a living. She also started getting interested in personal finance, and realized from books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad that she did not want to live like a starving artist for the rest of her life.
This new passion for finance soon motivated her to start her own blog initially called The Broke and Beautiful Life. Now just going by her name (like yours truly) at StefanieOConnel.com, she’s not only a popular personal finance blogger, but also an author (she penned her first book The Broke and Beautiful Life in January 2015), and frequent money expert on media outlets like Fox & Friends, Dr. Oz and CBS News.
What I love about Stefanie, beyond being such a hustler, is how positive she is. She seriously took those lemons and made some amazing lemonade with them. If there’s one thing you can learn from Stefanie’s story, it’s that life is rarely a straight path. Heck, it might actually be a really good thing. How boring would life be if it was predictable? Just look at my life. I thought I was going to be an award-winning film editor in Vancouver, but instead I moved to Toronto, work in digital marketing during the day and host my own personal finance podcast at night! And I love it! I love that life is so unpredictable and I’ve learned over the years that it’s when you embrace the unknown and divert from your original path, some truly amazing things can happen.
Read Stefanie O’Connell’s Book
As I mentioned, besides being a personal finance blogger, Stefanie is a full-fledged author! Here’s a glimpse of what her book The Broke and Beautiful Life: Small Town Budget, Big City Dreams is all about:
After moving to New York City to become a Broadway actress, Stefanie O’Connell faced one of two inevitabilities when faced with unemployment–spiral into debt or learn how to effectively manage her money. Punctuated with humor, insight, and essential money management lessons, The Broke and Beautiful Life offers practical strategies to make smarter financial decisions today as a means to fulfill the goals and dreams of tomorrow.
You can grab your copy of her awesome book on Amazon.
Check Out Stefanie on YouTube
Not only do I predict Stefanie becoming a YouTube star, or the next Oprah, I want to help her get there! Recently she shared on Facebook that she hopes to attend YouTube’s Bootcamp to up her Youtuber game. She’s a natural already with the acting chops, but in order to get into the bootcamp she needs 500 channel subscribers. Since Stefanie is such an awesome gal, I’m asking you to subscribe to her channel (as well as mine), so she can become famous and credit me for helping her out! Seriously girl, if you ever get a talk show, I definitely expect to be a guest!