W+M 017: An Interview with Stefanie O'Connell
Stefanie O’Connell is a financial expert, Gen Y advocate, speaker and author of the book, “The Broke and Beautiful Life.” She is dedicated to helping young adults achieve financial greatness. In this episode, I got Stefanie to sit down with me and talk about how to get started with a budget, the broke and beautiful budget. Stefanie walks us through the first steps of setting up a budget and how to plan for emergencies, be proactive about debt, and gear up for retirement. We talk about the other option when budgeting just isn’t an option anymore, which is making more money. She shares what she believes could be hampering our success as money savvy women and how we can overcome it and we get a little sassy about how a man is not a financial plan.
Listen to the show:
What we talk about:
The story behind The Broke and Beautiful Life
The biggest mistake millennials are making with their money
Stefanie’s Guide to Setting Up a Budget
Take financial inventory
Track everything you spend and everything you earn
Then start to save for your goals
Emergency Savings: 3, 6 or 9 months worth of expenses in a savings account (depending how quickly you believe you can get a job/earn more money)
Start with at least $1,000 before dolling out and saving for the next goals.
Be proactive about any debt you have
Consider your alternative options to make payments more manageable and get balances down: consolidate, refinance, take advantage of income-based repayment, transfer to 0% interest rate cards, call your lender to get a better deal.
Think about Medium and Long-Term Goals
Set goals and create savings buckets for those goals, including major life milestones and retirement
Prioritizing the Debt-to-Savings ratio
Getting the debt down - First pay what you owe on your debt
Max out your match if you have a 401(k) plan through an employer
Build up the $1,000 in emergency savings
Then tackle the debt principal balance as much as possible
Make more money: on the side, ask for a raise, become entrepreneurial-like in your job and show the results to your employer.
Women are less likely than men to be contributing to their retirement, yet their lifespans are longer, and they earn less. - A Man is not a Financial Plan.
Quick and Dirty Q&A
“Live life on your own terms and know that money plays a role in that.”
“Don’t wait for some magic moment. Don’t fall victim to the narrative. This is it, this is your story, take the opportunity to craft it today.”
“We often talk about goal-setting, our dreams, and where we want to go, but you can’t start carving that pathway until you know where you stand.”
“People always ask me, ‘what’s the one thing I can do to improve my finances?’ and I tell them to write down everything they spend and everything they earn.”
“Set goals and make little savings buckets for each of those goals.”
“The fact that the median earnings for everybody are still around fifty-thousand dollars and for young people even less. That’s not going to cut it.”
“Take full ownership of your fiscal future, whatever you want it to look like, and not deferring your dreams for some other dependent financial source to come help support you.”
“As long as you can provide value, you can make money.”
“Don’t settle. The life you want, no matter what it looks like, has a price tag. Money matters. Don’t settle for some life that you wouldn’t want, engage with your finances so you can have the freedom to build the life you do want.”