Hey, Diversifying listeners. While the team is taking a much deserved break, we’re going to share some of our favorite podcasts with you. This week, we’re bringing you Brown Ambition, a podcast from Mandi Woodroof-Santos, a.k.a. Mandi Money and Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. They’re two successful women of color who both happened to be financially fearless and hysterically funny. And if that name sounds familiar, it’s because Mandi joined us a few months ago to talk about negotiating your salary. On this episode of Brown Ambition, Mandi and Tiffany offer real talk conversations about questions like how to tackle your debt, build wealth, and make more money without taking on a side hustle. Learn from their personal journeys as they share stories in a podcast that creates a space where women of color feel seen and heard. You can find brown ambition wherever you get your podcasts. Enjoy the episode.
It’s time for the B-A, Q-A. Hmm. The B-A, Q-A. Okay. The B-A, Q-A. Okay. The B-A, Q-A. You have Q-A’s, no wait, you have Q’s we have A’s ish like lower case A’s.
We’re not your cousin, we’re not your therapist. We’re not your financial advisor, your attourney or otherwise.
I think we’re smarter than their cousin probably.
Yes, yea I will say that.
I think we’re better option than their cousin, so.
But we are just two brown girls who have experienced a lot in career, business, personal finance and we’re going to do our best to answer your questions, but take it with a grain of salt and certainly lean into the professionals around you for the final say, as well as what you think is best. With that, we actually have an update, don’t we Mandra?
Yeah, I like a little part two of our discussion around pyramid schemes slash multilevel marketing companies. So we had a question on a recent BA Q&A where a woman was approached, approached in a retail store. It was her and her boyfriend, I believe, and they were invited to join what sounded to be like a pyramid scheme, but they weren’t really sure what it was. And we talked about it. And after describing her that that listener’s question on the last episode of BA Q&A, we got a note from Danielle who says, I was listening to the latest BA Q&A and I wanted to share that I was also approached in the same manner as the guest who talked about pyramid schemes. The person who approached me was on a college campus and used the same language. It was an opportunity to get mentored by wealthy people, and that couple turned out to be a successful duo at the top of Amway track. I was already too familiar with Amway’s reputation and declined to sign up. This was a year ago, but the letter you read was to the T my exact experience. Thanks Danielle for sharing that. Damn, okay. So that puts a name to what potentially could have been see now here’s the part where we say we’re not trying to like, I’m not trying to say if that’s a pyramid scheme or not, but it is definitely like an MLM type structure.
What does Amway sell? Beauty products maybe?
And what she said was really like critical in this part. She was like, so because I’d never heard of this before, she said, they’re starting to increase recruitment by selling it as a mentorship as well, which is really clever because, you know, I think people are used to the regular language like, Would you like to make some extra money? I was like, here we go. But you know, now they say, you know, we’re really trying to help and mentor folks, it’s like, oh, that sounds legitimate. Remember I said before that I’m like, I’m not sure if it’s MLM or not because certainly I have been a part of mentorship circles and it’s been legitimate and they’re not selling me anything. But wow, y’all are some slicky slicksters, MLMs. So be careful out there in the MLM streets yall.
As ever. All right, let’s move on to our first question of the week. This comes from listener Kimberly who dropped us a note on IG and is having an existential crisis. Okay, Kimberly, we are here to help. Hello, Mandra. She says, I’ve been loving all of your guests on the podcast. I know it was hard without Tiffany while she was healing and giving Tiffany lots and lots of love. My question is a bit existential, I think. I know everyone talks about getting side hustles and passive income streams. While I appreciate that, I wonder if we should think about how we get to a position that pays enough to not need side hustles. My thirties were spent getting my M.A. and Ph.D. and having to write on my weekends, so now that time is super precious. Why aren’t thinking that way if we have the ability to. You’re on to something. Absolutely. I mean, like the whole side hustle culture sometimes I think can be damaging. And I even have like a session in my group coaching program where I talk about being an entrepreneur and also being entrepreneurialism, like coming up with ideas and projects at your, like in your date, in your 9 to 5 job, and how wonderful that can be for putting you in line for promotions and raises, other opportunities and things like that. But I probably spend like 5 to 10 minutes at the top of that. They probably think I’m crazy, but I’m just like, You guys, we’re going to talk about entrepreneurship, we’re talking about businesses and stuff, but you know, you do not necessarily have to go out and have a frickin vending machine, an ATM machine, a trucking business, you know, a digital service on the side, and ride Uber and do Instacart just because you can like you don’t it sometimes social media especially will have you feeling like you’re missing out on all these opportunities to bring in extra income. But like Tiffany has said, at what cost? And what I love about your question, Kimberly, is you bring it up like your time is precious. So how do we work smarter not harder in some ways? And if you’re working at a job where you need several other sources of income to make ends meet, then maybe that’s not the best baseline foundation job for you to have. And yeah, hell yeah. Every day I’m helping people try to find a job that will pay them. Enough so that they can rest when they’re not working, you know, so that you can take a step back and only do the side hustles if you want to, but only if you want to. Not because for the sake of it, or because it seems like everyone else is doing it, because it can just become like a grind. And then you get to burnout and you’re not really enjoying anything that you’re creating.
So you know, our friend Sandy and, like literally her nickname is Side Hustles with Sandy, and you know what I love most when I interviewed her like for my book is that she was like her very first her first line of defense to making more money was not actually side hustles. It was getting more money out of your current job. She was like some people, she said so many people out there, they don’t actually need a side hustle. They either need a raise or a new job. So I love that you brought this up because it’s just like, you know, are there ways that you can increase your value or illustrate it more obviously at that job? I mean, obviously with your M.A. and Ph.D. sis you out here doing it already, but like, you know, is there additional education? You could ask that. Is there like if I’m thinking about the people that, you know, I’ve hired or kept on, there are folks on the team like, for example, Logan on my team. When Logan first started, she was an admin for like a very famous, how do I say, government agency that we all know. Very covert. So she’s super skilled in like that. But then Logan worked in customer support for us, and then she got additional she took like additional classes and certifications and things and then she became like our lead customer support. And then she did such an amazing job. I said, Well, what do you really like to do? She said, Research. And then she learned how to do that. And then she started to write copy for us. And now Logan, she took copywriting courses. She’s one of our she’s an amazing copywriter where people like vie to get Logan to write stuff for them. And just the other day, Logan was like, I’m taking the Instagram class because she does all my content now and she’s like, I’m taking a class on like she does all of our emails on like how best to use our email system. We just took on a new text message system and like Logan is getting certified in that. So as a result, you know, she’s making herself more and more valuable. And so, you know, even despite me having to let folks go and even though I had to decide that Logan’s going to stay on the Live Richer Academy, that makes more than the actual budget needs to make, I brought her over to vote in Easter, but she didn’t lower her salary. Even though technically for the budget needs decide for what we can afford it should be lower, but she’s so valuable that I was like, we will find the funds, even if it means less. For me, that’s fine because in the long run it makes more sense. I just say all that to say, which is like, Yes, if you are currently working somewhere, are you bringing and illustrating? So not just secretly covert, covertly doing a good job, are you so casing the fact of all the value you bring to the table and if you’re still not being paid what, you know, what you feel is equitable and fair and sometimes it is equitable, low and fair, and the company just can’t afford more if they’re smaller, you know. Are you taking your skills elsewhere where they do have the money in order to pay you because you write everything cost, especially money. Everything cost, especially money. So the more that you work for that outside of your regular job, I mean, you know, some people enjoy that and which, you know, that’s obviously me and Mandi do that now, but it’s not easy. So, you know, if you have a job that you enjoy, you know, find more money, that’s the one.
And obviously, it’s not to not to diminish the power of having additional streams of income. But my perspective on that is always it’s smart, I think, to diversify the sources of your income. Even now, as a business owner, I have several different streams of income and I was very intentional about that because, you know, your 9 to 5 is a stream of income, but can your side hustle one provide you a bit of financial security? Like I was just talking to a coaching client earlier who’s thinking about starting a consulting sort of business on the side. And I’m like, That’s really brilliant and I encourage I encourage professionals. If you can take what you’re doing day to day and leverage that into consulting on the side, that gives you professional resiliency so that if you’re a 9 to 5 job, let’s say you were laid off or you’re, you know, cut back or whatever, you still have a source of income and you’ve kept your network strong, like you’re working with clients or getting testimonials and all of that. I’m a big fan of that because it adds, like I said, professional resiliency, not not doing things just for the sake of having income. You know, can you do things that have layers of benefit for you? Financial gain? Yes. But do they give you some professional resiliency? Do they extend, do they expand your brand professionally so that more people will think of you for opportunities in the future? Do they do they put you in potentially a position to get jobs? You know, you may find through your consulting work or through another, you know, quote unquote, side hustle that you’re doing opportunities that do pay you more and then you can leave your job. So I’m not against side hustles at all. I’m just against the side hustle for the side hustle for the sake of it, you know, because everyone feels like you got to be grinding all the time. It’s like you said, When is that enough?
And when can you say it’s enough for now? You know.
If you don’t listen to any chapter, and there’s this book that I’m reading now called, well I just finished it, called Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. He’s just like a really well known stoic and I chatted with you guys about that earlier that after Jerrell passed away, I really started to like explore stoicism, which is really just learning to lean into where you can make a difference, do that and where you can’t, to release it because you don’t have control, you know. And so Stillness Is the Key is a really great book. But if you don’t listen to anything else in that book, I prefer to do it via audible, there is a chapter called Enough that is so powerful. I probably listen to it ten times in a row. You know, each chapter is maybe like eight or 9 minutes long, but it was just so powerful about the power of enough. Like, when do you say that? You know, like, I’m not talking about your homeless or you can’t feed your kids. We get that. But there is a moment for so many folks where there actually is enough, or you actually are enough and you just zoom right past it. And when you do so, you have now opened yourself up to never be satiated, that you’re like you’re like drowning in the in the possibilities of more. And I just am like, I don’t want to do that anymore. And I just hope that all of you listening know that you are enough and you recognize when you have an out so you don’t have to overwork yourself.
Amen to that. What was a book called? Ryan Holiday? Stillness?
Ryan Holiday, it’s called Stillness is the Key. He’s got like he’s got like these three. It’s The Obstacle is the Way, Stillness is the Key, and Ego is the Enemy. So I read the Obstacle is the Way, which is really good. It’s like an introduction to stoicism. Stillness is the Key is excellent. And, and then I’m actually I just started yesterday Ego is the Enemy, so I’ll let you know how that is but those his books thus far I have enjoyed them, obviously is not for everybody, but I’ve really enjoyed them. But especially that second book.
I’m a Leo, so ego is my frienemy. That’s how I feel. I’m not mad at it. Okay. Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back with another question from the BA Q&A. All right. We are back and we’ve got a financial question. I love this person gave themself a code name.
Code name: Manifesting wealth, babe. MWB. Okay. Roll my shoulders back. I just started listening to your podcast and I love it. I recently turned 35 and my goal for this year is to become more financially stable and literate after finally, finally making decent wages, hustling in my industry for over a decade. I currently have no savings and about 60k in student loan debt, but I’d like to start building wealth and buy a house within the next three years. My plan is to pay off 7500 dollars of credit card debt and create a six month emergency fund within the next one and a half years. I’ve got good credit, so I want to keep that high and eventually I’d like to get a home loan. I’m planning on transferring that 7500 of credit card debt to a 0% interest APR credit card, very smart and pay $600 a month on that. And then I want to open a high yield savings account with another bank so I can put away my emergency fund. Wow, she really has been listening to Brown Ambition. Then in the next one and a half years, I like to start saving for a deposit on a duplex so I can house hack and start building wealth. Here’s my question. Will opening up accounts with two new banks when I currently only use one negatively affect my credit score? Is it unwise of me to only be making minimum payments on my student loans and being more concerned about paying off credit card debt and building wealth? I don’t want to take on odd jobs to pay off my debt and save up when work life balance and self-care is so important to me at this point in my life. Please let me know if you have any additional advice for reaching my goals and if you think my plan is a wise one. Manifesting wealth, babe.
WB girl. Actually, at first I was like it oh it’s lot, but,
She is really smart. Like I, only thing I would say is this. So, okay, so the questions. No. Bank accounts have nothing to do with your credit score unless you overdraft and don’t pay the people back so you can open up as many bank accounts as you want. It’s not going to negatively or even positively affect your credit score. So just know that. And then the student loans I’m assuming you must so because me that did the did the moratorium on loans has that lifted there are people or the federal people still not paying do you know?
Girl you know they’re too afraid of the midterm elections coming up to stop that and pretty sure they extended it to October or at least through the summer. Yeah.
So I’m assuming that you must have private loans if you’re still paying them. And I’m all for paying the minimum to student loan debt because typically the the interest rate on a credit card debt is is higher. So I love the fact that you’re going to be making that balance transfer to it’s like, you know, because your credit score is good. So if you found a 15 month 0% APR credit card, that’s excellent. So, you know, continue to do that. The only thing that I will say that might be helpful for you, MWB, is look into this program called NACA, N-A-C-A. Let me see, what does start stand for? You know NACA?
I just looked it up the other day and I have to Google it every time.
It’s the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, whatever that means. But here’s what’s so great about NACA is that they help first time homebuyers, which would be you. And honestly, anybody who has not had a new mortgage in four years is considered a first time, first time homebuyer, just so you know, so first time homebuyers get homes. And what’s so great about NACA is that, now here’s the thing, I would start looking into NACA now because it’s a nonprofit organization, they tend to be slow. So I actually would start the process now. But they’re going to they’re going to want to see your budget. They’re going to want you to raise your credit score, which you’ve already done. They’re going to want to see you consistently save. So they’re going to have all of these these these parameters in place. But in exchange, NACA is going to get you an incredible interest rate that you can’t get any place else. During the great Pan-y, people were getting interest rates of like 1.5%, which is basically like free money and even now. So my brother in law, I think I mentioned that Jerrel and I had purchased like a second home that we were renovating, which we finished and we were going to rent it out. And then it was our intention to one day give it to Alyssa, you know, like as her inheritance, whatever. So obviously, you know, he passed away. So as a result, it’s like, what do we do with the house? Alyssa and I had a grown up conversation as much as you can with a 15 year old. And I told her, you know, I don’t really want to be a landlord. That was your daddy who wanted to do that. So but if you really want me to hold the house for you, I will, I’ll just figure it out. And she was like, No, that’s okay, because she does want to live there anyway. And so we decided that we agreed that we’re going to sell the house and then I’m going to put the proceeds away for her for college and beyond. So thankfully, his twin brother has actually been looking for a house for the last two years and actually because his twin brother is a master painter, painted the house for us and he was the perfect person to purchase this home. So I told him his name was Terrel, which is funny, Jerrell and Terrel. So Terrel, I know my sister Carol was like, Tell Terrel to sign up for NACA. And he did. And so in September he, because he has two so six months of positive savings growth, and so I think it’s September or October is when he’ll be done. He’s filled out every other paperwork. They asked for everything but your blood type but in six months. So right now, I think interest rates were around five or 6% because we all know interest rates have been up. But he was able to like lock in a 3.5% interest rate with NACA, which is excellent. And so that’s.
He can lock it in this early?
Mhm. They’re like, you know, with your with your credit score, with your this, with your that, we were able to do this for you. And so NACA gives like a really great, so it’s it’s a lot of I would like it put an air quotes headache because certainly it’s a slow process and if it’s in a very competitive market sometimes it’s going to be hard for maybe like a homeowner to wait for you to get your paperwork together. Thankfully, you know, I’m not selling the house anybody by him. So I told him, you know, we’ll wait for as long as it takes for you to get ready. But to be able to say, like, you know, he’s going to save tens of thousands of dollars if he stays there for the next, whatever, 30 years, you know, because of his interest rate being so low. So that’s what I would share with you, that like your plan sound amazing. I will just look into NACA. Yeah. What do you think, Mandra?
Or just like Google first time home buyer in your state. You may find programs too. Yeah, I mean, as far as her question and her concern around the bank accounts thing going back and reading, I think what she’s maybe asking is because her plan is to apply for a mortgage in a year and a half and for that having a little bit of credit card debt and having your student loans. But if you stick to your plan, you’re opening up your credit card now, which is at least a year and a half from when you plan to have your mortgage. That’s fine. I mean, I think when it comes to the whole underwriting process for mortgages, when they actually look at your finances and decide if you’re trustworthy and if they want to loan lend to you, they look at least like six months in the past. So they say like no new credit behavior. Don’t don’t go take out a new credit card. Don’t you know, I don’t know, get a new car or something like that, take on more debt in that six month period before you apply for a mortgage. And if you’re a W-2 worker, as long as you’re clean for six months before you apply for that mortgage, you should be fine. And by clean, I just mean like no new credit, no new debt. And if you if you follow your plan, you should be in really exceptional position when it comes time to be shopping for a mortgage and shopping for your home. So I commend you.
And can you write a testimonial for Brown Ambition, since you’re a new listener? Look how far you’ve come.
And I will say, if you could add ten more points to that credit score sis because 730-
But 740 is the beginning of perfect credit. Not to say you won’t get like excellent, you know, but you know but 740 is like that’s when you’re just soaring on up you know what I mean?
She’s gonna to as soon as she pays off that,
7500 dollars of debt that credit card debt, hell yeah. I mean, your student loans probably not that big of a deal. Lenders will consider it when they do your like debt to income ratio. They’ll look at your monthly payment and all of that. But yeah, when you pay off that credit card debt and you keep your credit card debt low, you should be golden. Probably walk in there with a high seven hundreds, you know, 800 score. I love to see you when manifesting, well, babe, you are manifesting it. Thank you so much for that. Thanks for listening and thank you so much for the question. That was a fun one.
Well, that was an excellent BA Q&A. If you have some Q A well some Qs for our A’s, then ask them. That just sounds really bad.
I saw it in your face. You were like, well, I’m married, but okay.
You can go to Brownambitionpodcast.com and click ask us anything. Is it ask us anything or ask anything?
It’s something like that, click around.
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Hey BA Fam. We could not do this show without your support or the support of our team behind the scenes. The Brown Ambition Podcast is produced by Cumulus Podcast Network. It’s edited by the wonderful Imani Crosby and produced by Tanya Busto. Dennis St. Plinsky is our in-house tech guru and I am Mandi Woodruff-Santos, your co-host, and I will see y’all next week.