With her background as a Registered Nurse and now as a Financial Coach, once financially flush yet living paycheck to paycheck with mounting debt, my guest Amanda Jacob, helps women with their financial health who are tired of living paycheck to paycheck and are ready for financial freedom.
With a major twist to her story, unexpectedly going from a family of 3 to a family of 6, Amanda shares how this wouldn’t have been possible with the same peace of mind if she hadn’t already created financial freedom in her life to comfortably meet the challenges of this life change.
Amanda shares how this dramatic life event helped her create a new life plan with the old dreams lost but with the joy knowing she wouldn’t change a thing for the world. Tune in to hear her story and how she can help you uncover your dreams and pursue your passions with the financial skills you need to find your financial freedom!
Grief, finances, and debt management with Amanda Jacob. (0:21)
Financial preparedness and debt management. (1:09)
Money mindset, emotional spending, and financial literacy. (10:40)
Financial upbringing and its impact on adulthood. (18:00)
Money beliefs and their impact on financial decisions. (25:01)
Financial freedom, debt, and personal growth. (30:07)
Adapting financial dreams for a growing family. (36:05)
Taking in 3 new kiddos and financial planning. (41:10)
Managing finances and finding peace in money management. (47:03)
Connect with Amanda
Connect with Vonne
Amanda Jacob 0:00
Welcome to another episode of Grief Talk. Everything you want to know about grief and more. I'm your host, Vonne Solis. As an author, mentor, and bereaved mom since 2005, through guest interviews and coaching, here's where you'll always get great content that is inspiring and practical to help you heal after loss.
Vonne Solis 0:21
Today's guest is Amanda Jacob. With her background as a registered nurse, Amanda transitioned to coaching women with their financial health through her company, Life Changes By You. Once financially flush yet living paycheck to paycheck with mounting debt, Amanda will teach you how to stop overspending and become debt-free with the money management skills, you need to enjoy a solid financial foundation that will give you peace of mind and allow you to pursue all of your passions.
Vonne Solis 0:52
So welcome to the show, Amanda. I have been so so excited to have you come on the show, and so for, you know, like really grateful that we met. So we're going to be talking about so much stuff today. And I just really welcome you to the Grief Talk podcast community. So thank you.
Amanda Jacob 1:09
Thank you for having me.
Vonne Solis 1:10
So for the audience, if you listened to the intro, you'll know that Amanda is a mentor, a coach, for women largely between 20s to 40s. But I suspect Amanda, you can help other women if they need the help. We'll be talking about that today. But this is to find financial freedom, basically to pursue your passions. Offer you peace. Offer you a stress-free life in thinking about your money. And I had a wonderful talk with you, Amanda, prior to this interview, and you have a very interesting story. A little twist in your story that we're going to be talking about today. It isn't only about debt, it's also about life change. We're going to be talking about preparedness. So financial preparedness, and even to some degree emergency preparedness. The two go hand in hand. Finances really ranks at the top when you have a problem. You are struck with catastrophe. You have a big life change, Amanda, I'm sure you're going to agree, money is basically at the top. How am I going to afford to deal with this. Because many of the things that challenge us require us to compensate financially in some way. We're gonna be getting into all of that.
Vonne Solis 2:21
First of all, I want to just also point out that you were a registered nurse. That sets you up beautifully. I imagine you're caring for other people's money the same way you'd be caring for their physical pains and problems as a nurse. And that is what is very, very special about you. But let's get right into it Amanda, and let's start with you sharing a little bit about your story. The debt you had. The life you were living and what abruptly brought you to your knees and said yeah, wait, what? Let's go.
Amanda Jacob 2:54
Okay. So I was never taught about money. And I'm sure many people can relate to that. So I went through a few life changes at the beginning of my life. I went into the military. Met my husband. We got out. We went to school and we still accumulated debt. Even though we had a little bit of help with the military services to pay for schooling. I went to nursing school, he became an engineer. And we were married ooh, I'd have to do some math here. We were married for about between like five and seven years, like, before we ever started looking at our money. We kind of ignored it. It was something that we never really wanted to pay attention. And when I say we I mean me. Like I was head buried in the sand. Happy to ignore it and just pretend like it was, you know, going well.
Amanda Jacob 3:52
But about a year into my nursing career, I was becoming more aware of the fact that we were in these cycles of debt. I would you know, we'd get debt. We'd pay it off quickly. And then we'd go right back in. So like, I can't even count the number of times that we were debt-free before we were intentionally debt-free. Because, so two different things. When you're not mindful and intentional about it, well, it just comes and goes. So like you might have said already, you know, we were in debt. We had school debt. We had car debt. We had, those are kind of the last two debts that I can remember. And we had $80,000 of debt in about a span of six months that we had taken on including, you know, leaving school and loans coming due. And then my husband upgraded his car to one that he loved. And that was about $20,000. And then I of course, you know I needed a new car. And so we bought a brand new car. And in that span of about six months, we got a windfall from the government because they mismanaged their money. And my husband got extra work his military service, which actually paid off our, our student loans. We were hammering down on them already but then he, like they called him and he, of course, thought it was a scam.
Vonne Solis 5:25
Amanda Jacob 5:26
But it ended up paying for our student loans. And so we were debt-free. And this was, I want to say about five months before we started becoming intentional. And then we bought the cars. So we went back into the $50,000 debt into cars, after we were debt-free. And a month into owning my, my brand new car, I finally got the courage to ask somebody I was seeing who was paying off their debt and just, like she was slaying. And I was, she was putting it out there publicly and I was just impressed. And I finally built up the courage to ask her, what are you doing? Because now I've got this $500 payment that I have to make and it doesn't sit well with me, but I don't know any better.
Vonne Solis 6:16
Amanda Jacob 6:17
And she gave me a book. I read it. And that was kind of what changed everything for me.
Vonne Solis 6:23
Amanda Jacob 6:23
We had recently done taxes, and knew how much money we were making, as, you know, an engineer and a nurse. And kind of discussed how much that meant we were spending without paying attention.
Vonne Solis 6:34
So at this point, do you think that you're now just really stuck, even subconsciously and unconsciously in a cycle of just spending? Oh, I've cleared the debt. We need this, let's go out and charge it. Is that kind of what you were stuck in?
Amanda Jacob 6:51
Yeah. And I like to sum it up is essentially this status quo of our money these days, we're taught that we need these instant gratifications of a car or, you know, whatever. Clothes or fun things. And in our disposal is credit card. It's loans. It's all of these things. So we no longer are taught how to delay gratification instantly. Like we are taught how to work around that.
Vonne Solis 7:21
Do you think the current economic situation and high inflation and increased mortgages that we've been feeling all around the world have impacted us in being able to kind of go, Yeah, maybe not. Or do you think the cycle of spend, spend, spend, and let's not forget about all the options there are to delay payment? How are we taught to get around it? The gratification?
Amanda Jacob 7:48
Yeah. So that is the way that we're taught to get around delayed gratification. Is to have those credit cards and those loans that are disposable. And if we worked with those things for, you know, 10, 20 years. 30 years of our lives? The increased interest rate might not be the thing that's going to deter you from that because you don't know how to do it differently. And we are taught that.
Vonne Solis 7:48
Amanda Jacob 7:49
So I absolutely think that there are people that it does affect. And they're like, Oh, I'm not gonna get it at that interest rate. I'm gonna wait. But that's not the majority.
Vonne Solis 8:27
Wow. Wow. Do you think this is a North American problem? I don't know if they're having the same kind of problems in Europe, for example.
Amanda Jacob 8:39
There are definitely cultural differences. So we were just in France in March, and I have from high school an exchange student that I love going and seeing from there. Honestly, I talked with her father, who had just retired last time I went there. And we talked about salary differences and what that looks like and quality of life. And they are so different. There might be less consumerism when it comes to there. But I think what's closer to the root cause of it is that they have contentment. They know what enough is for them. And they have services that are provided that are different than ours. And so that changes the entire trajectory for them. But they do have issues. Like when we were there, there were protests about increasing their retirement age, and there were lots of things going on. So they have their own issues when it comes to that, but I think that when we compare our cultures they are vastly different.
Vonne Solis 9:36
I think so too. And I'm in Canada. So you know, America. The biggest, the greatest. Whatever. But I am going to say I think we share the problems of not knowing when enough is enough and filling some kind of need within us that we've been trained to identify as material.
Amanda Jacob 9:58
And I think that's just a social norm that we've been taught.
Vonne Solis 10:02
Amanda Jacob 10:02
Because were not thoroughly taught how to deal with our emotions or how to cope. Someone else were taught those at a young age but others were finding it in exterior things. And a lot of times that comes with emotional, you know, shopping and figuring out, you know, like, I, I'm upset. I know going and getting this thing will make me happy whether it's you know, a coffee or a, you know, an item or something. But we exterior look exteriorly look for things that will satisfy us instead of finding it within.
Vonne Solis 10:40
I totally agree. Can you give an example in your life before or at the time that you had your awakening, where you were spending, were you spending emotionally? What were the things that you were buying? You know, just a quick example. And what need, what need do you think it was filling within you if in fact, that's, if you were an emotional shopper?
Amanda Jacob 11:05
Yeah. So I was an oblivious emotional shopper. And so when we first, yeah, that's a dangerous thing. So when I actually did our inventory for our first budget, I went back and I looked at, I think it was just the first month of our money, and where it went. And as a family of, I like to say two and a half, because our daughter was still really young, we were spending $1,500 on food between groceries and eating out and it was a waste. Like, we would have groceries that then we'd eat out. And so the groceries would go bad.
Vonne Solis 11:41
That's a month, I'm assuming. $1500 a month?
Amanda Jacob 11:43
Yeah. And we were transitioning from, you know, being busy college students having two kids at the time, and not having time to make food to like, Oh, now we have space. We're not studying all the time. But we hadn't found that. And we weren't aware of it at all. The other thing that I spent mindlessly on was, I would always look at our house and like, I was okay. But I always wanted it to look prettier. And so I would go to a discount store or like, we have TJ Maxx or something like that. And I would just spend. I'd feel better because I was spending less money, right? But I was still mindlessly trying to make myself feel better in my home. And it wasn't until I kind of got slapped in the face with how much money I was spending or wasting and obliviously that, that I finally realized those things.
Vonne Solis 12:41
Yeah. I'm with you on that sister in terms of wanting to create the prettiest home within the budget. Stretched budget. But the other thing I'll just point out for me in case any of the audience is watching this that relates is I came from there is not enough mentality. Born in the 50s. My mother actually was a nourisher of abundance, right? She baked, she cooked, she canned. She, there was always, we never went. Listen, we never went without anything. Had a huge backyard. Had a three bedroom home, etc. So I'm talking late 50s into the 60s. And yet my dad, bless you dad. He's gone, both my parents are gone. But he raised us with fear that there was not going to be enough. Now this could be because they themselves were products of pre World War One. And then you know, and then starting in the 40s were products of World War Two. And and so the war will have left an impact on them and their parents and so on.
Vonne Solis 13:44
But as a result, fast forward to the 90s, okay? There I am stocking my pantry. And I'm I'm canning and I can make you know stuff out of nothing. Not as not as great as my mom at it. But I could still do it. And that pantry had to be full. Because I thought there would never be enough and I could never run out you see? And we'd never even run out as a kid. A lot of it is how we're raised. And then of course being totally emotionally. I mean, financially illiterate about investing. Who isn't going to kick themselves, go and do a little calculator on if you invested $100 a month from the time you're 20, even 25, how much you would be worth today. 30 years later, right? And today, people are still financially totally illiterate. Would you not say Amanda?
Amanda Jacob 14:41
Yeah. I think there's there's more ability to be aware. So I'm sure the percentage is higher than it used to be. But it's, it's not widespread. It's not at all.
Vonne Solis 14:54
And the thing is that's another question, Amanda. Do people care or it's when you said earlier about having your head in the sand, well, I, I did too for many years. And it's really scary. It's really scary to go, Okay, I'm going to see like where we're really at. And so moving into that part of it. How do you teach, coach people to not be afraid. To, Okay, I'm going to look at the truth of this.
Amanda Jacob 15:25
This is the hardest part, right? Because, like getting people to listen and believe that there's a different way. I'm cutting through however old they are decades of beliefs.
Vonne Solis 15:42
Amanda Jacob 15:42
And I can't, part of what I know, as a nurse, is that I can't change somebody. I can, I can put information out there. I can make you feel like, you know, I was you. I was ignorant to how to manage my money and I didn't want to pay attention because it did hurt. I knew I could be doing better. But ignorance was a lot nicer and easier than feeling the pain of well, what have you done for the last 27 years of your life and then feeling that shame and that guilt. And I like to let people know that every experience that we've had up until now when we are asking the question, because I'm getting curious about our money, is, it's a learning experience. I literally wasted tens of thousands of dollars for an idea. And I held so much shame and guilt for that for over a decade. And it's still even after becoming a coach, took me like another two years to tell that story. Because we constantly have to work on those feelings. And we're not taught how to.
Vonne Solis 17:01
How did you grow up with your views around money? What were you taught? What did you see your family doing? My husband was raised dirt poor. But he grew up with a way more abundant consciousness than me. And we had way more way more than his family.
Amanda Jacob 17:19
Yeah. So you know, it's really funny to say that because my husband and I, we looked, you know, so successful. Wildly successful. And my husband just had somebody asked him like, oh, well, you know, you must have come from money. And he goes, my parents were crackheads.
Vonne Solis 17:37
Amanda Jacob 17:38
And so he, we didn't know any of this. I didn't come from money. We were lower middle class. We, I grew up knowing how much my money or how much money my parents didn't have, because it was a constant conversation. They didn't know how to save until I taught them after I learned. Now they're more money savvy but they ask me questions. They, you know, they've got plans for their future. But when I was growing up, there wasn't enough. And it was I heard fights. I saw, you know, a zero or negative balance more often in the checkbook because I was a very snoopy curious kid. So the things that I wanted when I was able to work, like at a working age, I wanted a lot. Like, I wanted to go snowboarding with my friends. I wanted to go on trips. And so I got a job. And I helped with that, because I knew that would be a burden on my parents. I didn't have a great upbringing.
Vonne Solis 18:32
Yeah, yeah. It's so interesting. Like, I remember, I have a vivid memory, oh, my God, of my mom. And at the time, okay. So I would have been six ish, okay?. And early 60s. And she'd go in the grocery store, and she had $35. She could still feed a family of six on $35 a week. And every Saturday, you know, off, we went to the grocery store. And I could still see her ticking everything off, you know. And by the way, I had to do that a few times in my life, too. But when you grow up that way, it's normal. Oh, you only have this much money. And you you know, and this is how you do it. So she taught me how to budget oh my goodness without even realizing it. But then she would save maybe I don't know how much money it would have been at the time, but a few dollars to take me and maybe my sister if she was there to the little donut shop. And I can still remember eating the egg salad sandwich and having enough for whatever drink it was, you know, root beer or whatever it was. And man, and so these are the memories. The memories we have. Right? This is what shapes our beliefs about you either have enough even when you don't even know what's in the bank, or you're fighting. The parents are fighting and you know, you're desperate and all kinds of things. Do you think, here's a question for you for the people out there, and I think there's a good majority out there struggling, okay, financially. Always will be. Was before the pandemic. Was before all this inflation stuff. There will be again. Because there's a segment of society that is just simply taking on too much, and I think money, debt is offered too freely. Do you agree that that your strongest memories from childhood, watching our parents. How they treated us. What they gave us. How much they let us know about money. How much they fought or didn't fight. How much they kept from us. Do you think that really largely shapes our beliefs as we grow up?
Amanda Jacob 20:41
The information that I've had growing up about money because I only saw my parents' money, you know. It wasn't, nobody talked about it anywhere else.
Vonne Solis 20:49
Amanda Jacob 20:50
But when I took that into adulthood, I took it as all negative. I didn't have an egg salad sandwich. And if I did, so the trips that I got to take snowboarding, like I felt like that was, I had to work for it. I had to do the hard work because I was trying to take care of or shelter my parents from those things, so that I didn't cause more fights. And so there was a lot of emotional baggage there when it came to it. And I wanted to be the opposite. I didn't want to be like my parents with my money. But I didn't know any better. So I made more money. I always paid off my credit card. And I always paid off my debts. Like I would pay off my debt as fast as I could. But that's all I did. And I lived paycheck to paycheck. I still wasn't aware.
Vonne Solis 21:45
Yeah, so you've mentioned a really key point. But fun fact here for anyone that's interested. I still remember as does my sister, the very first ad on TV for Chargex. What later became Visa. So that would have been in the 60s sometime. And before that there were no credit cards. So I still remember Chargex. And I can't quite remember the slogan. But you know, there was one about you know, for many years about, you know, chaching! This cost much. Chaching. this item cost this much. But then they'd show an experience that you could charge, priceless. So it emotionally built in that oh! A And I still remember the first time I ever charged groceries, which was probably in the early 90s. And I felt so weird about charging food. Ahh. You never did that. No. It was a basic necessity and you paid your cash for your food. Your shelter. And you paid for that. You never ever, ever would charge that. So there was a huge emotional thing. Because I right away thought people could get in trouble. What if you don't, I was an adult. But you know, what if, what if you can't pay for those groceries? And then you get into a habit of still charging for groceries but there's no money coming in to pay for them. And I'll bet you today we do see a problem with that. And and you know, and of course we charge everything.
Vonne Solis 23:21
I did just want to acknowledge here that you speaking as a mature adult child. But I so appreciate what you're saying. Because I think that it's I think that as you said, there's a lot of emotional baggage and the responsibility emotionally you had to take on because of what you wanting your parents to help you with financially would ultimately end in conflict and fighting of some kind. That's huge, Amanda. It's it, but at the same time, it's very admirable. you've recognized what that did to you, and what you what you saw in that. And I hope that you have worked on yourself, I'm assuming the answer is yes to clear yourself of any of that trauma-inducing stuff. Emotions, because that's awful. And I have met so many adult children who feel so responsible for their parents, for one reason or more. And kids, it's not your responsibility. Having said that, I'll also tell you that our son taught us how to invest. And so he is like you. The trauma of losing my daughter caused us a whole bunch of financial problems. That's all I'm gonna say here. And he saw and witnessed what we were going through. And we kind of shut down. There wasn't really yelling. We kind of shut down. And yeah, it was tough. And so I know today he, I understand he taught himself about investing at a very young age. Why? Because he didn't want to go through what we went through. So I said to him, well, at least we taught you something.
Amanda Jacob 25:01
Well, you make a good point. And I've thought about it now, twice about what we're talking about is, we can all go through the same experience, you know. He lost a sister, you guys lost a daughter. But our perceptions and what we take from that are two very different things because we're, we're different humans. And so he, he bound forward with it and was like, How do I fix it? And you in the time, at least, you were like, I need to grieve, and I can't do anything else.
Vonne Solis 25:29
You're exactly right, Amanda.
Amanda Jacob 25:31
And it's, it's so powerful, because we go through life experiencing the same things, essentially. We go, you know, we have, you know, new career. We have, you know, family. We've got, where do I live? We ask the same questions to ourselves, but we all answer it differently, right? I need to buy a house. I'm going to rent. That makes more sense. I'm gonna live with my parents for longer, because I think that makes sense. And we all have to figure out what works best for us in that situation, but also giving ourself grace if what we first chose wasn't the best option for ourselves. It was the best that we could do in that situation.
Vonne Solis 26:14
Amanda Jacob 26:14
And we continue to learn. And so that's all we're, that's all we're ever doing.
Vonne Solis 26:19
I like what you said, it's never too late is it? And there are solutions to everything, even if it requires letting go. So let's move into that. Because we've talked about some of the reasons we're afraid to look at our money. Really, and the other thing is not even just sometimes being afraid. It's like you pointed out in my grief, listen, I didn't want to look at budget books, okay? I just want to make sure I could survive every day. And all due credit, my husband was just doing the best he could to make sure we could do that. So but it leaves an emotional mark. There may be other things, you know, long held beliefs that people don't even know how to unpack. Do you think helping people unpack their beliefs, that helps them to ditch the fear about looking at the truth of their financial situation?
Amanda Jacob 27:09
Absolutely. And people can do that on their own, or they can do it with me. People come to coaching for their personal finances for different reasons. So some people they've started that work of unpacking their past and realizing how much it affects them and realizing that it's holding them back.
Vonne Solis 27:30
Amanda Jacob 27:32
But others, we get to dive in that into that together. And so yes, absolutely. One of the things that I work with my clients on is the stories. The money stories that they have created for themselves. We absolutely go over money beliefs, because we all have them. Whether you are coming from scarcity, mindset, abundance mindset, we are all held back by our beliefs in some way. And it's a constant journey, even when you are working on your mind. Because we have defaults, or you know, comfort zones that we fall back into. And so it's active, actively working on your mind, in those areas. And for people who don't know, we all have some sort of money trauma because money touches every aspect of life. And so we've experienced something.
Vonne Solis 28:24
Amanda Jacob 28:24
And when it comes to that, it's you've got to dig deep to find the root cause of it to actually get through it. Some people they just, you know, avoid and move on. And I would say that like that for a while, but you're really not going to make the strides in in your life and feel better about your money if you don't work on those things too.
Vonne Solis 28:49
And I'm just going to offer here. I 100% agree with everything you're saying. I do want to just say that I agree with you for people that are willing to look at their beliefs and Oh, what happened to me and all those sorts of things. You know, it's a little different understanding your life emotionally and mentally and the dysfunction and all that. But we're still so financially illiterate a lot of people I don't think relate it to their money spending habits and bad habits and their fear of it. I think a lot of people are afraid of money.
Vonne Solis 29:26
You can work on any amount of abundance and manifested manifestation training in your life and it still won't address the money trauma. The money stress, the money beliefs, the money stories. I love how you say money stories, and it'll keep you in that same habit of fear, or bad spending. I was not a bad spender. I was not a oblivious spender. I was a filling a need of wanting to feel safe. You know, I was very cautious about you know, so I was never, I'm a very good budgeter, as it turns out, so I never just wildly went and charged up. But I had someone else do that. And I had to deal with the stress of finding out about that multiple times over and over and over again. And I've written all about that in my first book, Divine Healing, because it really impacted the grief process when the trauma actually hit, and really being afraid of losing everything. And then developing PTSD and thinking it was my job to fix it all, which I couldn't. So that was, that's my story in brief.
Vonne Solis 30:33
When I first became financially free, in my mind. So we're talking two different things here Amanda and, and help me out here. Financially free in your mind first, and then financially free physically. Because you have to free yourself in your mind, to look at what you've done, what you're doing, how you're spending, but also to take responsibility for a budget, and the money. And maybe you hate it, hate it. We live on a budget religiously, and I manage the money. And guess what? I didn't want to take that job on. But I knew I had to face what's coming in, what's going out and make the decisions in order to make me feel safe. The thing I wanted. Do you want to speak to that a little bit about those people who are afraid right now. Oh, head under the stand. It's too big. It's too big a problem for me.
Amanda Jacob 31:33
Honestly, I think the best thing you can do is get involved with a community of like-minded people. But just get curious. That's the best thing that you can do. Because you don't have to find other people. I got a boo., I was isolated. I had a book. And I learned. And then I got curious from there even further. And I got more books. And I didn't want to spend money because I was realizing that was a problem that I had. So I went to the library. And I just kept getting curious. Ask questions.
Vonne Solis 32:07
So I think framing it and I'm only sharing this because of me having such a block and such a fear for decades. So I'm like you, Amanda. I don't have it all together but I'm comfortable. I can live life the way I want to. And I have a plan for the future if something like a crisis hits. And we're going to be talking about that next. You made a really poignant point. You can't change people, they have to want it. You can have financial freedom and pursue your passions, but you just have to want it and take that first step. Right?
Amanda Jacob 32:44
And a lot of people if you think about, if you say, you can be a millionaire. You can make a million dollars, save a million dollars for retirement. What kind of thought would come up for somebody who's not thinking about, I could have financial freedom. Back then I would have said that's not possible for me. That seems impossible. And those thoughts are going to pull you into that cycle of not believing that something like that is possible for you. Whereas the majority of people, you know, especially the way that things have increased in rates, and everything, the majority of people are gonna make a million dollars in their lifetime. If you calculate, working for 30 to 40 years, before you retire, you will make absolutely more than a million dollars. What you do with that money is key. And I was a, I was the type of person who I could like crunch the numbers and be like, that makes sense. I need to follow the numbers.
Vonne Solis 33:43
Amanda Jacob 33:43
But that isn't how many people's brains work. Because they think of if I give up this cocktail, I'm giving up so much more because my social life is around surrounded by going out and you know, having this experience. And I deserve to have these cocktails. I work so hard. And it's funny, because my coach has reframed those things into, well, you can still go out. Why do you need the cocktail? Go and be with your friends or what we like to do is bring our friends to our house now because we had a big family shift. And we have friends over for potlucks instead of going out because we don't want to wrangle all of our kids in a restaurant.
Vonne Solis 34:25
No kidding. The other thing I want to point out and have you briefly speak to and then I do want to talk about your your change. But don't you think a big preventer of wanting to look at someone's actual numbers to make to start the change is the amount that they owe? No number is too big to bring down is it?
Amanda Jacob 34:45
No. There's no better time than today. You're never late. And the longer that you wait, you're gonna feel you know, shame or guilt but in reality, that was the path you had to take. That was the process that you needed to be able to get on this path of financial freedom. But I've had clients that have $10,000 in debt, and I've got clients now with, you know, $2-300,000 in debt, not including their mortgage. All it takes is to start. If you don't start getting curious now, those habits are going to accumulate more debt. And if that's where you're like, I don't want that, get curious. You can do simple things to make those changes, but it out in the city, and everything that I teach is like, one, it's gotta be right for you. You've got to find that works for you, though. And then to that, you've got to do it on your time. And because I, you know, something I can do is like flip a switch and be like, Oh, that makes sense. I need to do that. But if your emotional lead, I think it's going to take a little bit more time and give yourself grace, because that's all that matters is that you do the work to make the change.
Vonne Solis 36:05
Yeah, so we're just reiterating here. I'm reiterating. There are solutions and options, no matter what the debt load, and in accordance with where you are in life, what you've accumulated, how you've accumulated it, what you're willing to adapt and change, and sometimes let go of, but there are solutions to get it right, financially. That's what you're saying. Right, Amanda?
Amanda Jacob 36:28
Vonne Solis 36:30
Okay, let's move into your I said earlier, you have had real life experience. And we're not going to dig too deep, but but share what you will. You're not just sitting there talking the numbers. You've really had a life change. And I'd like you to share what you would like to with the audience about how that drastically changed your personal life, what you did. And also speak a little bit about how you had to adapt your mindset and let you know and deal with some of the dreams that you had to let go of to make it all work financially and in every other way for you.
Amanda Jacob 37:07
Yeah. So just to paint the picture a little bit. So five years ago, we started our financial journey. We got debt-free. We started saving and investing. We started dreaming. And that was huge. So we started making things happen. We got super intentional. We, we got rental properties. We started dreaming about retirement. We were going to retire early at 40. And I'm 33. Yeah. And so we have all these dreams planned. And we are financially free. I didn't have to work. My husband was, he loved his job. And he's like what would I want to do otherwise. The rentals were helping us and we just we had dreams to do more and grow. And two years ago now, we took in our nieces, there were three of them. So our family of three became a family of six. And we had downsized our lives to fit our dreams. So we were living in a two bedroom, one bath in one of our rentals. And it fit a family of three. It did not fit a family of six, so well.
Vonne Solis 38:21
Amanda Jacob 38:22
So everything that we did, at that point, we didn't know how long they would be in our lives. We didn't know you know, what the future honestly, we still don't know what the future holds. But we shifted. And we, I don't know if I said it, but they are our nieces. And so their family. We'll always be there for them. They are a part of our lives. And so instantly, we were like, Okay, we don't fit in this house. We need a new house. So our dreams of you know, getting more rentals. And all of that was like, oh, no, we need an actual like, single family home and we need to be able to fit and make these kids comfortable. And so within about a month of having them we were looking to buy a new house. We were moving within two months. We were dealing with, you know, the trauma and drama that came with taking in all of these other kiddos.
Vonne Solis 39:26
Amanda Jacob 39:27
And so we, and I didn't even think about it until you and I were talking, but during the first year of having these kiddos we were grieving the loss of our dreams because everything got put on hold. I went part-time as a nurse so that I could take care of the things at home. My husband was trying to get jobs closer to home because his commute was so long it was just being, it was kind of a burden on the family. But we just, we instantly made It was changes to accommodate for the kiddos. But in turn, we were letting go of things that we had planned for ourselves and our family.
Vonne Solis 40:09
Amanda Jacob 40:10
So we let go of buying a home. Buying a home in another country. We have let go of retiring at 40 because now we have a kindergartener.
Vonne Solis 40:24
Amanda Jacob 40:24
And so our timelines have shifted. And it's not that the dreams are gone. It's that we, like you said, we're adapting. And we're doing it, not for ourselves. We're doing it for them. And like, I don't know what our future holds, or what their's hold. But we've got Plan A, we've got plan B, plan C. And so we're adapting with our current life situation. We were grieving the loss of in seven years, I should be travelling the world half of the year. And, you know, I'm okay with that. I've made peace with the fact that okay, it might be 10 years from now.
Vonne Solis 41:08
Amanda Jacob 41:09
Vonne Solis 41:09
Yeah, yeah. You're and so the episode today is not about that, specifically. But this is why I think you wanted to share it, Amanda, and, and, you know, when you told me that when we first met, I was just blown away. And I went, wow. And I told you, I said, I have never met. I mean, I know it happens, but I had never met someone that took in someone else's children permanently like that. I mean, I know it happens all the time. But this is why you and I had this conversation around getting your finances in order and planning for life changes that may or may not happen. Because if you hadn't had your finances in order. If you were a chaotic, you know your original, you know, in your original habits of purchasing. An oblivious spender, would you have been able to take the girls in?
Amanda Jacob 42:08
Yeah. And my answer would have been Yes. Because one of the things is, we had taken in the oldest kiddo before. So my knee jerk reaction is we would take them, but would I feel peace? Would I feel calm?
Vonne Solis 42:22
Amanda Jacob 42:23
Would I have space to deal with everything else. No, because I would be worried about money.
Vonne Solis 42:28
There you go. So let's, so it is commendable. And it's just commendable. And, you know, I just, I've just so I don't know, I just have so much respect for you and your husband. And, you know, and it's easy. It's easy for people to go, oh, I would do that. But when you're really faced with something that's going to uproot you in every way emotionally, mentally, physically, right. And then you have to adapt and and then but, you know, look at it as permanent until and if it isn't permanent, huge changes. Huge changes. And it's very selfless. But not everybody, even though we might say Oh I'd do it? Yeah, you don't know what you do until you're actually faced with a situation. And that's it. And the only one that you can't really necessarily control is if you lose someone to death. And then you're going to do it whether you want to or not.
Amanda Jacob 43:28
One of the things that I like to think about now I can do it in hindsight, it's so much easier, right?
Vonne Solis 43:33
Amanda Jacob 43:34
Is because we got this space in our in our budget. Because we have had the (indecipherable), because we had all of those systems in place, I am able to stress about other things, because money is not my stressor. So I have space of brain to worry about other things or, you know, excel or learn about other things. Whereas if I was bogged down with money, stress and thinking about it all the time, like I wouldn't have time for other things. Including thinking, you know, instantly thinking, okay, I can take in these kids like, Duh. But I had the space. I had, and we had built that over about three years. So we weren't stressing about money. We were just, I like to say like, we just get excited about money. We get curious about money, and it was a no-brainer for us. But that's because we did the work three years before.
Vonne Solis 44:29
Yeah, I love what you said get excited about money. Not sure how many people get excited about money, but I have not heard anyone say that. And I love that. So I just want to also say really quickly as we come to the top of the hour here. So it's a no-brainer that you teach, coach about planning in the event of blank. Do you think people naturally adopt, I'm going to plan now. Because the minute that they want to face the truth about their finances do you need a budget?
Amanda Jacob 44:45
So that's part of what I do is, you absolutely need to create awareness of your spending. And that's going to turn into a budget. But what you need to do is create new habits for yourself. Because the old ones are ingrained. Those are your default. Those are easy to go back to, but they aren't getting you where you want to be. Whether it's feeling at peace. Whether it's feeling confident, or empowered, or excited about your money. You need awareness. You need to set a budget and that looks like so many different things for so many different people. So I like to say there is no cookie cutter budget, right? There is no one size fits all, when it comes to it. What you have to do is find what's best for you. Those are two of the first things I definitely think right?
Vonne Solis 45:53
Yeah. And so if anyone's out there thinking, Well, my life is just so much of a mess, I wouldn't even be able to do a budget. Not true. Getting past those beliefs, you do need someone to help you hold your hand and say it's okay. Because a mountain of debt just looks like a mountain. That's it. It's just this great big mountain of anything. Whatever we're struggling with that's our mountain. And it can be very difficult to climb it alone. We're not islands unto ourselves. We need help. And I love, love, love what you're doing and offering, because you've got that sensitivity piece. You've got the life experience of having to let go of dreams. Having to like do an immediate, quick change. Life's not going this way. It's going this way. And that can derail a lot of people financially, even if you've got a budget going. It can derail you, if you don't have a very solid, I'm talking from experience, appreciation and respect for and excitement even about money. When our trauma hit in 2005 it was years. Years. It was another 11 years before we really were able to change the habits. Because when you're in a relationship, you're also living with the other person's habits. Let's just quickly just acknowledge that right, Amanda? And couples don't necessarily communicate well about money do they?
Amanda Jacob 47:31
No. And I will say even, you know, half of the couples that I work with, usually it's one of them showing up.
Vonne Solis 47:38
Wow. So I just want to acknowledge that piece. If you are in a relationship and someone else is controlling the money. What would you say to them Amanda?
Amanda Jacob 47:48
I would say get curious. But honestly, imagine if you were on the same page as your significant other. Imagine if you both had peace when it came to money. What other things could you guys do with your time? Your energy? Your faith when it came to fostering your guys's relationship?
Vonne Solis 48:13
Yeah, it's amazing. And and the other thing I just going to throw this in really quickly. Even when you get your, all of that and you're right, you can create what do you want to do? Want to do a reno? Do you want to do a travel? And it depends where you are in life too. The other big thing that the whole thing about communicating and actively talking about money, the communication is key. You can be hit, something catastrophic, something beautiful, like an addition to your family. Something where you just want to help your kids. Something at any stage in any decade of your life. Health could do you in.
Amanda Jacob 48:51
Older generations, there's a need to feel like you have to help out. And what I've learned in my last two years is my first year of having four kiddos, I poured from an empty cup for an entire year. And I burned myself out. I was a burnt out mom. And it didn't take much because I wasn't refilling myself and I wasn't taking care of myself. And the same goes for your money. If you don't take care of yourself right now, if you don't get yourself managed and feeling secure and in control of your money? Later on when you want to be able to help people when you dream of that, you know in retirement, you're not going to be able to or you're going to deplete yourself and your resources way too fast. So if you can take that time to secure yourself and to give yourself a solid financial future, you're going to be able to be more generous. You're going to be able to give back. You're going to be able to help people in ways that you didn't know you were capable of.
Vonne Solis 50:00
And I'm just going to say here lastly, on that point is that I would rather live in lesser circumstances, like physically, materially, and sleep with peace at night about money, than curled up in a ball wondering if I was going to lose it all anyway. So I have learned, in my 18 years as a bereaved mom, hit and lost everything. I don't think there's anything. Well, there's one thing I could lose that would, you know, would be my other child. But I have learned and I wish I'd known this in my earliest struggles in grief, and same thing, early struggles in money, there is a solution for everything. I can never say that too many times. Because I struggled in survival mode. And I believe that when we're in debt, and when you're, we were talking earlier about just you know, you're putting out fires. You're trying to pay this, you're trying to, and when I was talking a little bit earlier about the mountain and people just, the the amount of debt is just too big. You're in survival mode, don't you think, Amanda, when you're just trying to pay the bills and make ends meet? So what you're coaching people through. What I'm coaching people through. Mentoring people, the both of us, is to have that peace of mind. To learn how to be able to respond in life, rather than react. Knee jerk reactions, or just, you know, other types of gut reaction. I gotta do this because the brain is focused on surviving. Huge.
Vonne Solis 51:27
And you spoke a little bit about intentionally spending. That's a topic I guess, for another day, because we've reached the top of the hour. But being very intentional about what do I want to spend on? Why do I want to spend it? Right? And do I need it right now? My mom left me with one really, really, really wonderful gift. She left with several but in terms of wisdom, and whenever I was going through a really rough time, she would ask, do you have enough for today? And when there were too many things mounting on my shoulders, and she would say do you have enough for today? And I would say yes, I do. Okay, then we don't need to worry today in this moment about tomorrow. Let's look at it tomorrow. And it was the best advice she ever really, a wisdom I should say that she ever left me with. So I would say and Amanda, you can just confirm this, that when you're going to start and go yes, I can do it. We've both been through it. Amanda and I have both been through been through the financial mess and chaos and head in the sand. And the other thing about having someone else budget the money and you don't know what's going on, they're responsible for your life, folks. You want that? Yeah, maybe not.
Vonne Solis 52:36
But at any rate, I'm just saying, to be able to reach this point of being very intentional. Right? Just stop yourself for a few moments. Calm yourself, just say I'm going to do this. I would I would agree with you, Amanda. It's really great if you could just reach out to somebody and say, Okay, I want to start this. I need a deep breath. I need someone to hold my hand. And look, contact Amanda. She'll help you, you know, get in touch with with what she offers. Just hold your hand and get you started. Because I think the goal is a lot of my work I do. Service work is just giving people ideas, and have them understand there are options for them to change their mind about being willing to make a difference in their own life. And I think you're doing exactly the same thing. So let's talk quickly about your resources. Amanda, before we close this out. How can people find you?
Amanda Jacob 53:28
Yeah. So I'm on Facebook. My, I'm mostly on my personal page, so you can find me on as Amanda Jacob on there. And then I'm on Instagram. My company's name is Life Changes By You. And so that's the handle on Instagram. If you're on Alignable, I am on Alignable. And then I have my website, which is lifechangesbyyou.com.
Vonne Solis 53:53
I'm gonna have links to all of that to make it really easy for anybody that does want to connect with you, Amanda. I really have valued this conversation. This podcast is all about just having people think about you know, the fact that they have the power within them to make a difference of change in their own life and live abundantly and peacefully step by step. So thank you for being here, Amanda.
Amanda Jacob 54:17
Thank you for having me.