Banter catch up
- If you hate banter, skip to 9:30 minute mark.
- Money Questions we can answer better.
- Block out time on your calendar for “thinking” and “creating”
Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Yomassage. Yomassage combines restorative stretching, massage, and mindfulness in a small group session. Limited in-person trainings are happening in 2020, and virtual trainings begin the first Monday of each month. You can get a special $50 off on trainings January through March in 2020 using the code BLUEPRINT — that’s all caps, one word, BLUEPRINT. You can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/yomassage to find out more about Yomassage trainings and use that special code BLUEPRINT for $50 off.
Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint Podcast where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines I’m Allissa Haines.
MR We’re your hosts. Welcome to our podcast today. We’re glad to have you with us.
AH Yeah, and we’re mixing it up a little bit. We’ll still follow our three-section format, but we’re doing a different kind of episode. And we decided to bring a little banter back. So if you don’t like the banter, now is a good time to forward 15 or 30 seconds at a time. If you love the banter, then you’re going to love this. That’s what I have to say. And also, for our topic —
MR [Laughing] Should we banter, then?
AH I guess we should banter.
MR I feel like I’m pressured to banter now. [Laughing]
AH [Laughing] I know. I felt like — it’s been — we haven’t done a lot of catching up lately, and I want to know what’s going on with you, Michael. How’s your — how are you?
MR Let’s do it. Let’s catch up.
AH Yeah. I want to know, how is Eli? And how is your new schedule with your life because your wife had a job change, and I want to know how it’s going, you know, you can pick one of these topics, how it’s going in all your other businesses.
MR Okay. Wow, that is a lot. So it’s going pretty well overall. All businesses are doing well, thriving and growing, which is fun. I like the new schedule. The new schedule’s great. I’m really happy that Ariana’s able to spend more time not working, which is fun because Eli’s turning kindergarten here in a few months, later this year actually. And so we’re kind of doing all the registration stuff. And there’s a whole bunch of hoops to jump through, apparently. And yeah, it’s been kind of fun. It’s kind of weird to think he’s going to be going to kindergarten. So yeah, all is well. I can’t think of anything really exciting or unusual to report. So yeah, that’s basically it. Pretty boring, sorry.
AH I don’t think it’s boring at all. I think that it’s pretty good. I want to know, how’s your financial advisor stuff going? And are you taking on more business consulting clients, and how’s that happening?
MR Yeah, it’s going well. I’m growing slowly but surely. I’m probably getting new clients every week or so, which is kind of fun. I just moved into a new office space, which is great. It’s kind of a quirky —
AH You did?
MR Yeah. It’s a quirky, little — I shouldn’t say quirky. It’s a quirky, larger office building, but it’s not one of those corporate buildings. It’s more like a — it’s got a lot of massage therapists in it, actually, and hair stylists and some attorneys and CPAs and some retail shops. It’s like a fun personality-driven kind of building. It’s really well-decorated. It’s kind of modern and trendy. And I’ve got my own private office there as well as multiple conference rooms I can use. And I’m actually using my new office to run my next Financial Peace University class that I’m leading in March. So yeah, new office, I didn’t tell you that, did I?
AH No, you never tell me anything anymore. This is why I have to ask.
MR [Laughing] Well, we cut out the banter, and so you didn’t know.
AH Good grief.
MR So yes, new office, it’s very, very cool. I’m very excited about it.
AH Wow, all right.
MR How about you? What’s new in your life?
AH Things are jamming. They’re just jamming. There’s a — I have — and this is, I think, part of the three words where I’m aware that I have underearned in the past 20 years of my life. [Laughing]
MR Only 20 years.
AH Only 20 years or so. No, I have not met my earning potential. And the next, very much — I’ll be 45 in May. And I have really dedicated the next five years to really earning a lot of money and saving the bulk of that towards retirement so that when I hit 50, I have options. I can go down to part time or whatever. And I’m digging it. I had a lot of clients in January and a little less in February, but it’s a shorter month and whatever. And I’m feeling really good about how I’ve kind of adjusted my work schedule. And I am just so — and knock wood, nothing changes. I am so delighted with our childcare schedule at home. And I feel — I felt really lucky and great. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this. I think some people know, but I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the podcast. I’m just going to share it because I think it’s interesting and we’re bantering. Also, it’s something I’m very proud of.
I have a stepdaughter from — who’s like 28, 29 from my first marriage years ago when I was young, and I raised her from age 10 to 18. And then her dad and I split. She had a kid a year ago, so I have this grandson. And I’m so delighted because my oldest, she babysits at Walt’s house for my other two sort of stepchildren, except Walt and I will never get married because we don’t the government sanctioning our relationship. [Laughing] But anyhow, my other two stepchildren at my current home, so I have this stepdaughter from my first marriage that provides childcare, like brings my grandson over and hangs out with my other two kids three afternoons a week. And if you have grown children or even like grown nieces and nephews, you kind of grasp what a delight it is to have an adult relationship with a child that you raised partially. And it’s different because I’m not her mom, but I was her custodial stepmom for eight years. And it is such a delight. One, she’s actually a stepmom too. So to have this go full circle and have her be like, oh, I understand so much more about you now, Allissa, and also to be able to verbalize like, oh, here are all the ways that I screwed up when I was stepmoming you and here are the ways I’ve tried to adjust this for this next family that I have, I learned — [Laughing] it’s terrible that she was my practice child, but she was my practice child.
Anyhow, it has been such a point in the last two years of spending a lot more time with her and reconnecting with her and then having this grandson and having these two children that — who I live with, you know, Walt’s kids, and parenting them in a very different way and trying to do so in a way with different boundaries so that I can not do what I did the first time, which was sacrifice my earning potential to raise a family, and a family that wasn’t mine, that essentially — once you love them, they’re yours, but they’re not my children. It’s been such an interesting couple of months because we started with the new childcare schedule and with me working more in the fall. And I feel like we finally all settled into it.
And we had this great — a couple weeks ago, I was really busy on a weekend, and I work every other Saturday anyway. And the little guy at my house, the 11-year-old, on Saturday night said, are you around tomorrow? And I was like, no, I’m actually having breakfast with a friend. And then I was going to do some stuff at the office all day. And then I have a home visit client that I see like every — one Sunday night a month. And he was like, oh. I was like, why? What’s up? He’s like, well, I thought you would be home and we could hang out. And this kid was articulating so clearly that I had not spent enough time with him, and I was so happy that he was able to articulate it. And we adjusted the schedule, and we made a plan to hang out for two hours on Sunday afternoon. I came home instead of staying at the office all day, which I didn’t need to do, so it was fine. And we hung out for two hours and did some stuff.
I was just — I’m so pleased at how it’s all smoothed out. And I’m sure that means that, like, 25 things will happen in the next month that will disrupt the schedule, but I’m feeling so good about working the number of hours that I’m working and earning what I’m able to earn — and hopefully, that will maintain over the next couple of years — and also about the situation that we’ve been able to build all — essentially, these three families — me and my first family and the second family — have all been able to build to make all of that happen and how we’ve been able to articulate to each other what we need more and less of. It’s been really, really nice. And that’s been on my mind for the past week or two. And I’m so curious — at heart, I’m a sociology major. And I’m so curious about how other people handle their lives and —
MR Sounds like a podcast waiting to happen.
AH It is, but it’s like — it was too random for one. So that was a lot of banter. I’m sorry if people had to keep hitting fast-forward to get to the end of this, but that’s what’s going on with me. I’m working a bunch. I just turned in a big — we turned in column three for ABMP’s 2020 Mind Your Money series. And it was just a — it was a big column on how to pay yourself. It’ll be out in the May/June issue. And if you haven’t been listening — if you haven’t been reading and following along with that, you can go to ABMP.com/money and see the first two columns are up. And I handed that in last week, which was a huge relief to get the next column in. Deadlines looming stress me out a little bit, but in a good way. So that’s what’s been going on. And I’m done now, and you can tell us who our sponsor is, if you want.
MR [Laughing] All right. Yeah, your How to Pay Yourself column with the video is brilliant. So everyone needs to go read that if you read nothing else. Yeah, with that, let’s hit our sponsor. Show some love to Jojoba.
Sponsor message Thanks for sponsoring us, Jojoba Company. Jojoba, one of my favorite things about it is that it does not go rancid. It doesn’t contain triglycerides like other products do, so it won’t go bad, which means you can put your essential oils into it and not worry about a cheap carrier oil wrecking your expensive essential oils. It is also noncomedogenic, so it doesn’t clog pores. If you have clients that are prone to acne breakouts, jojoba is a really good choice for them. You, my friends, can get 10% off the price of the product on orders of $35 or more when you shop through our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. And they have a fancy new label and branding and stuff that has just come out.
AH So it’s really cool. Check it out, yo.
MR All right. So you had a fun topic for today. You had an idea for us. What are we doing?
AH Yeah, and that’s part of why this episode is just kind of off the wall. I have been listening to a lot of money podcasts and reading a lot of money columns and Q&A stuff because I’ve been doing so much research for this ABMP’s 2020 Mind Your Money series. And I have found so many interesting questions and not-at-all interesting questions where other people are answering them wrong. [Laughing]
MR [Laughing] According to us.
AH And I say that with sarcasm and irony. There’s no — that’s not true. There are right and wrong answers in a lot of these things. But I’ve been listening to these podcasts. And the host or expert will answer the question, and I’m like, oh, that’s a terrible answer. Michael and I could totally answer that better. So I have accumulated a handful of these questions from other podcasts. And in some situations, like similar questions, I’ve kind of merged them together. And I want to throw them at Michael and see what he says since he is our financial advisor and he is the king of debt-free living. And I — that’s — I’m sure, of course, we’ll have a little bit to add after Michael answers as well.
MR Love it.
AH You ready?
MR I’m ready. Hit me.
AH I only gathered these questions last night, so Michael has not had a lot of time to study them. I don’t even know if he’s glanced at them at all.
MR I’ve only glanced. So I’m kind of fresh at this, so we’ll just see what happens.
AH Okay. So the first one, for realz, how much do I need in an emergency fund? And for some context, how much do I need if I still have some debt that I’m paying off? And how much do I need if I’m out of debt, if I’m done paying off debt?
MR All right, love it. So the general rule of thumb that I generally agree with is three to six months of expenses. Most people say that. Some people say more. Some people say a little bit less. Well, most people don’t say less. But I think that makes a lot of sense. I think that some of the caveats are if you are in a really stable situation, maybe you’re in a partner — you and your partner both have really stable jobs with very little volatility, maybe three months makes sense. If you’re maybe a single business owner or single-income household with a more volatile career, more volatile job situation, then I think six months or more can make more sense.
The debt versus no debt, so this is not a one-size-fits-all, in my opinion. So I like what Dave Ramsey says a lot of times, which is if you have a — if you’re working through the debt snowball, get $1,000 in the bank, and then work your debt snowball. That is, in theory, pretty good. And the theory is that you don’t want a huge emergency fund because you want that pressure on you to attack the debt with a vengeance and get rid of it as quickly as possible. So it’s meant to be motivating because your emergency fund is not big enough. The problem is, not everyone attacks the debt with that kind of vengeance. And if you’re not going to do that, I really like the idea of getting your emergency fund built up first before you tackle debt.
So if you’re the kind of person that is going to tackle debt and really budget well and just really focus on it and get it done in like a year or two, then yeah, get a little emergency fund started, attack the debt, and move on to a bigger emergency fund. However, maybe it’s going to take you longer to pay off the debt. Maybe your life situation is different for some reason. Maybe you just know yourself and you’re not going to be that focused on paying off the debt. Then go ahead and get that three to six months of expenses first and then move on to the debt. That’s my take on it. What do you think?
AH Rock on. I mostly agree. And I found that I — I found the $1,000 of an emergency fund to be insubstantial. And I feel like if you are aggressively paying off debt, the first thing you need to do is put an entire full month of living expenses in the bank, not $1,000, but whatever number you need to pay every bill you have for a month. And then go crazy with the debt once you have that month in the bank. And not $1,000 because I feel like $1,000 was appropriate advice ten years ago. But it doesn’t go as far now as it used to, and it wouldn’t get you out of just a major car debacle.
MR Yeah, it’s really not enough.
AH Yeah, or if your washer and dryer died out at once and you don’t have family you can depend on to do your laundry at. $1,000 just isn’t enough anymore. So I like the full one month, go back to aggressively paying off your debt, and then three to six.
MR Yeah, I would agree with that.
AH Rock on. Okay, next question. This one’s a hint longer, but it’s worth it for the context. And I’m excited to hear your answer.
AH I am currently looking to buy a new car. I bought my current car, a 2016 Chevy Cruze, two years ago when I was right out of college. My boyfriend is tall, and we got a new puppy that will grow into a large dog, and we’ve just outgrown it since it’s our only car. My problem is that I owe $9,000 on it, and what I’m seeing is the value is between $7,000 and $8,000. Unfortunately, right out of college I had a poor credit score and ended up with a pretty high interest rate. I’m looking at a 2019 Chevy Equinox. It’s 20k. What’s my best course of action here? Should I wait on purchasing the new car or just try for the best trade-in value I can and pay off the rest?
MR So there’s a lot of stuff missing here, so it’s hard for me to really answer because I don’t know this person’s situation. I don’t know how much debt they have. I don’t know what they make. I don’t know — there’s a ton of stuff I don’t know. So I’ll just answer the best I can based on generalizations in this kind of conceptual situation, and that is I would not take out a loan to buy the new car. The new car sounds expensive. It sounds like it might be overkill. I would rather see you save up money and either mostly or all pay cash for the car. So what I like to tell people in general is instead of getting a car loan, wait a little bit longer and start paying yourself the car payment you would normally pay in a car loan.
AH Right, but they’re upside down on a loan.
MR Yeah, I realize that.
MR I would still do it anyway. I would still — if you’re going to get a new car, go ahead and start saving up for that new car. And then, yeah, trade it in if you want to. That’s fine. I don’t really see a big deal with that, but it’s just so hard for me to answer because there’s so much missing here. I don’t know how much debt you have. I don’t know all the other stuff.
So in general, I like to not be in debt and not pay — get the car loan. So I would say save up for the car or the difference in what you’re going to pay for the new car. Then maybe trade it in if you want it. And I would say wait, honestly. I just — I don’t — I’m not seeing that it’s super necessary to buy a new car. You have one. You’ve already got the loan for it. Yeah, your boyfriend’s tall and you’ve got a dog, but can you make it work? Yeah, probably.
AH Okay — sorry.
MR I mean, I don’t see a big deal with keeping the car.
AH Okay. And this is hilarious to me because I thought you were going to be a lot more assertive, so I’m going to play the assertive. I’m going to be the bad cop right now.
MR Oh, okay. Go for it.
AH Okay. First of all, you bought a car, a 2016 whatever. And you’re upside down on it, which means you owe more in your loan than the car is worth because you have a high interest rate. Okay, so that’s — number one, problem here is that you’re showing really poor decisions in the past. You’re showing a record of bad decisions, which is you bought a car you couldn’t afford at a high interest rate because you had bad credit, so first problem.
Second of all, your boyfriend — let me back up. Second of all, you got a new puppy. You brought another life into your household that you have to pay for and care for when you’re already deeply in debt. That is a bad decision. Second of all, you bought a dog that’s going to be huge and isn’t going to fit in your car. No, we got to back up. And also, your boyfriend being tall is not a reason to get a new vehicle. My dad is like 6’4″, and he traveled — he commuted like 40 miles each way in a compact car every day because that’s what we could afford. Suck it up. Okay, so I would — your advice is so gentle. And mine is, your problems are bigger than this car.
MR [Laughing] This is like opposite day. What’s happening here?
AH You can’t even pay off the loan. You can’t even keep ahead of depreciation on the car loan you have. So you’ll need to back up. Get some side gigs, double-down on the car you have until it’s paid off, and then save up to buy a new car at least with mostly cash, when you actually are financially ready for it. Because you are not financially ready for a new car. You can’t keep up on the loan you currently have on a cheaper car.
So wow, Michael, I really thought you would smack down on that.
MR Well, I feel like sometimes I’m too harsh, then you yell at me.
AH I know. I know.
MR So I was trying to be nicer. [Laughing]
AH No, you know, it’s a thing that enrages me, when people who are not financially stable do ridiculous things like buy a pet. Come on. You already owe money to other people because you cannot sustain your own lifestyle. And now you’ve brought an animal into your life that you have to — oh, my gosh, now you have to feed it. And now it’s going to take time away from you because — I love animals. I think they’re awesome, but they’re also a great tool to be financially irresponsible and emotionally irresponsible. And I have a huge problem with that. Anyhow, surrender the dog to a family who can afford it, first of all, because you cannot. And second of all, if you keep the dog, you best find a way to get a side gig and pay for that and pay off your debt. I’m so angry.
MR [Laughing] So we agree that I was way too nice?
AH Yes, yes. All right, let’s move on to an easier question because I’m (indiscernible) about this one, and people don’t need to hear me rant that much. Okay, how/where do you keep your important documents and valuables? In a home safe? In a safe deposit box? Other options? Which way do I go?
MR Well, I’m all digital, so I say no paper at all. I say keep it all in LastPass, secure online digital formats. That’s just me.
AH But there are still some paper documents that you need to have.
AH You should also scan and have digital files, but where do you keep the title to your car? And you don’t have to answer this specifically for Michael so we don’t break into your house and find it, but where — or like the heirloom ring that your grandmother gave you. Where do you keep the few valuables that you absolutely have to have the paper for, if at all possible?
MR I think it depends on the value. I think if it’s simple stuff, I think a very strong, heavy, fireproof home safe is fine. I think if you have more valuable stuff, like as the value gets up there in value, maybe a bank safe deposit box makes more sense.
AH Okay. I’m a big fan of a fireproof home safe. Those are pretty cool. And interesting footnote, a family that I know, that I might be related to, kept all of their valuables in a small size — it was like — I don’t — it was — I’m trying to think, smaller than the average old-style briefcase, but they didn’t bolt it down to anything. So they had a couple pieces of jewelry and a couple pieces of paper of things that they wanted to be in a fireproof safe. But then when they got robbed, all the robber had to do was pick up the whole safe and remove it from the room. [Laughing]
MR Yeah. That’s why I said heavy. [Laughing]
AH So yeah, if you’re going to have some kind of a fireproof box, make sure that it is secured to a fixture in your home so it can’t just be removed quickly in a burglary, or it’s heavy enough so that it’s not the kind of thing that can be removed in a simple home burglary. So there you go.
Okay, this is the last one, and it has to do with credit score stuff, which I see so many questions about. So okay, here’s the question. My husband and I run a small business, and we recently opened a second business credit card because it has better reward options. My credit score dropped from 815 to 807 after that. My question is we have a second business credit card that we would like to close since it has an annual fee and we don’t use it any longer. So they’re switching credit cards. Do we need to worry about our credit scores dropping when we close it? Do business cards affect your credit score the same way that personal cards do? We don’t plan to make any major purchases or see any reason that a small drop in our credit would be detrimental over the next few months. I’m assuming that after a few months any drop in our credit score would go back up as we continue to manage our credit responsibly.
And you can feel free to answer this as generally as you want in relation to why credit scores matter because that’s why I asked the question.
MR [Laughing] Okay, so now that I know I have permission to be rage-y. I’m going to be rage-y. So to answer the specific question, yes, business credit cards do affect your credit score in the same way that personal cards do because the bank still wants a person attached to it. So yes, that does affect your personal score.
So okay, you talked about the other question making you rage-y. So this makes me a little rage-y because people get so obsessed with credit scores. Stop focusing on your freaking credit score. People are so obsessed with it. That credit score is a measure of how much you can go into debt. That is a measure of how much debt you are managing and how much you can go into debt. Everyone that knows me for more than five minutes knows how much I hate debt, and I think we’re way too reliant on debt.
So my answer to you would be cancel everything. Maybe not right away. If you do need a credit score for something, like if you’re buying a house in the future –, even though you don’t really need a credit score for that. But let’s say you’re buying a house in the future. Okay, fine, do it gradually, but get rid of the credit cards. People chase these rewards. They chase these points. They chase all this stuff that gamifies the system and makes you spend more money. I would like to see you cancel all your credit cards, stop using them, stop relying on debt, stop thinking debt is real money, and actually save up money in your business emergency fund and your personal emergency fund so you don’t need to have credit. That’s my rant on credit.
AH That is a good rant. We differ in the credit card idea in which I think that if people travel a lot, they should have one credit card that they use just for traveling. But outside of that, I agree with 100% of what you said. And I see so many of these credit score questions in every discussion group I’m in and on all these podcasts. And it’s people obsessing over 5 or 10 or even 100 points in their credit, even if they’re not planning on making any major purchases in the next year. I understand if you are someone who expects to apply for a traditional mortgage, you want to keep an eye on your credit score. I understand in certain situations, if you want to get a better interest rate on a car loan or whatever, your credit score’s going to play into that. But people are obsessing and making all of these micromanaging moves to keep their credit score up like by five points when the reality is if you’re just spending your money wisely and paying your bills and managing your debt remotely wisely, you’re going to be fine long term.
AH I just — your credit score — the thing that stuck with me most about, I think, the Dave Ramsey education stuff when I did it — which again, I’m not that big a Dave Ramsey fan. I like the ideas of it, but I don’t love him. Whatever. But the notion that your credit score is actually a debt score, your credit score is a measure of how well you pay off debt. So it really doesn’t apply and it’s not necessary for people who do not wish to carry debt. So that definitely has stuck in my brain and guided my thinking. Mind you, my credit score is phenomenal, but it’s going to go away soon because I’m not — I’m going to pay off all my debt in the next couple of months, and it’s not going to be relevant anymore, which is fine because I’m not looking to buy a house in the next couple years. But I’m glad that you addressed the credit score thing.
MR [Laughing] Sorry not sorry.
AH Thanks for being rage-y. And who’s our next sponsor?
MR Oh, our sponsor is our favorite online scheduling software, Acuity.
Sponsor message Yay, Acuity! It’s your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule. My favorite thing about Acuity is I do not have to play phone tag with people. They can just look at what’s available and book their own appointments. And it holds my boundaries without my having to do any emotional work. I love that. I don’t have to say, oh, I’m so sorry, I can’t stay late that day because I have to go to my kid’s violin concert. I can just say, here’s the link; book an appointment that works for you. And if none of them work for them, they won’t book an appointment, and I don’t even have to think about it. And that my friends, is my favorite thing about online scheduling and Acuity in particular.
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MR Yay! All right, quick tip time.
AH All right, you — yeah, you have a quick tip. I do not.
MR I do have a quick tip. So I’m a big fan of blocking out your calendar for time for thinking and creating. I started doing this, I shouldn’t say many years ago, maybe a few years ago. And it kind of changed my life. And I think it applies to both a massage business or any other business in general. But often we feel like we have to set our schedules up to serve our clients at the detriment of our schedules and our own productivity because we’re so focused on making money and serving clients and being accessible and all this stuff. And so we naturally do this, and we end up with five, six, or seven days a week of schedules that is kind of scattered around all over the place, and it’s always go, go, go, and we never have time to ourselves. And we have this big spread-out schedule that serves all of our clients well, but gives us no time for things like managing our business and doing marketing and doing financial stuff and all the stuff that we need for our business or writing or whatever.
And so I have started to block out at least one day a week on a consistent basis that has no meetings, no appointments, nothing for clients, and it is my thinking and creating day or days. And there’s something really empowering and exciting about having a full day set aside to do nothing but think and create. I find it life-changing. And I’d encourage you to consider that as well. And I’d love to hear feedback if anyone tries this, but I have personally found it life changing. It helps you get a lot more done. It helps you work on your business more.
AH Excellent. I love it. And I do something similar. I don’t — I haven’t been able to book a full day, but I do big blocks of time similarly. So thanks for that, Michael.
MR Yeah, yeah.
AH Take it home.
MR All right, let’s take it home. Thanks for listening, everybody. We appreciate you being a listener. You can find us online at massagebuisnessblueprint.com. Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a comment or feedback for us. Have a great day. Appreciate you being here. We’ll see you next time.