Budgeting is a scary word for a lot of people. We’re so used to instant gratification now that putting off the lifestyle we want feels like an impossible task. But this kind of spending leads many into debt. So what steps can set us up for true financial freedom?
Today’s guest, Jamila Souffrant of Journey To Launch, is one of the top personal finance thought leaders out there. Through her incredible podcast, she provides listeners with tools and resources to skyrocket their savings and unlock the path to independence. (Be sure to check out my appearance on episode 292 of her show as well!)
So what are the best strategies for sustainable budgeting? How can we achieve our dream lifestyle and retire early? What are the safest investments we can make at any level?
Don’t miss this chat because Jamila and I cover all that and much more. Beginner and experienced entrepreneurs alike often neglect these vital aspects of their financial journey. This fantastic conversation provides tips and tactics for you no matter where you’re at. Listen in, enjoy, and take action!
Jamila Souffrant is an author and the host of the Journey To Launch podcast. She is considered a go-to thought leader in the personal finance field and her work has been featured in BuzzFeed, ESSENCE, Refinery 29, Money Magazine, CNBC, CBS, Business Insider, and more. The Journey To Launch podcast has over 3+ million total downloads and was listed by the New York Times as a podcast to help you get better with your money.
Jamila and her husband saved $169,000 in two years and are debt free besides their mortgage. She is also a mother of three young children and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
- Find out more about Journey To Launch
- Discovering the FIRE movement and the first steps to financial freedom
- How Jamila and her partner saved $169,000 in just two years
- Budgeting strategies for parents and families
- Leveraging sustained gratification to supercharge your savings
- Understanding the safest investments you can make at any level
- Living off of your investments and retiring early
- Listen in on episode 292 of Journey To Launch to hear me and SPI CEO Matt Gartland chat about entrepreneurship and community businesses
- Subscribe to Unstuck — my weekly newsletter on what’s working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox
- Connect with Pat on Twitter and Instagram
SPI 647: Budgeting & Investing for Business Owners with Jamila Souffrant
Jamila Souffrant: I think for a lot of people, they want to have everything right away, right?
Like the nice house, the nice car, the lifestyle. And if you do it in the incorrect order you’ll forever be chasing that and be in debt to have that lifestyle. But if you can sustain your gratification, meaning you don’t necessarily have nothing that you’re excited about, but you include those pockets of happiness throughout your life and day while on the journey, then you can get to a place where, all right, maybe I won’t have the nice car that I want in the next three or five years, but I can have it in 10 years and be financially secure.
Pat Flynn: You know, one thing we don’t talk much about here on the show are our finances. Yes, we do talk about income generation and everything from selling your own products to affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsorships, those kinds of things, which can help you generate more revenue. But how do we budget not just for your business, but for your life?
How do you get outta debt? How do you manage your home finances? How do you manage your business finances? And then how do you invest that money that you end up making as an entrepreneur so that you can be financially free? Well, we don’t talk much about that because it is about starting and generating an income through businesses.
However, I do think we need to have a starting point to talk about this. It’s not a personal finance brand, but personal finance is definitely a part of the equation, which is why I’m excited today to talk to Jamila Souffrant, who has a podcast and a blog over at Journey to Launch. She helps make thinking about these things that you know, on the surface aren’t really that sexy to talk about.
Much easier to understand and we’re gonna go from, you know, level one, how to get out of debt, that kind of stuff. And of course we aren’t financial advisors, the, these are just our opinions and together we have this amazing conversation just to kind of start that conversation. Something that you could start with a partner or a spouse of yours or anybody who you live with, who you might wanna build a future with.
And this is really what it’s about, building our future together. Entrepreneurship is a tool, money is a tool. And Jamila’s gonna talk about her experiences with money and sacrifices that she’s had to make and how to think about those sacrifices for the longevity of your money. So let’s talk about the today with Jamila from Journey to Launch. And also Happy 2023.
I think this is a perfect topic to start off the year, in case you haven’t thought about your budget and your finances and investment. Here she is, Jamila Souffrant.
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he once used the phone to subscribe to Nintendo Power when he was six years old. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: Jamila, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for joining me here.
Jamila Souffrant: Thank you so much, Pat. This is an honor.
Pat Flynn: Oh, I’m so, so honored to have you on the show. I know you have an incredible expertise with business and finance, and you also have a podcast that everybody should go check out Journey to Launch. And you’ve had some amazing guests on your show. And I’m not just saying that cuz me and Matt were on recently, but because I got into some of your episodes and I really do have to say you’re an amazing interviewer and everybody should go check it out.
But before we get to helping the entrepreneurs in the audience, especially those at the start who are wondering about. You know, how much money do I need to have saved up? How much money might it take to start a business? I’d love to ask you about your origin story. How did you get into online business and, and what it is that you do today?
Jamila Souffrant: Well, Pat, if we take it all the way back until I was a, a, a little girl, you know, I’d say I’ve always had this spark in me, you know, my mom would say the older people cuz we’re Jamaican. So I was actually born on the island of Jamaica. I immigrated here when I was two. My mom had me at a pretty young age.
She was only 20. Growing up in a traditional kind of Jamaican family, like all the older women would look at me and say, wow, Jamila is so much, you know, she’s so boisterous. She does, she speaks her mind. And I feel like that has carried through throughout childhood in my teens and adulthood. So all that to say, I always felt like I did not wanna be confined with people telling me what to do or rules.
But then with most things, you know, you get into the real world and people who mean well tell you there’s these things that you need to do and follow. And so I basically did that. I immigrated here with my mom. We really worked our way up, especially my mom, you know, to get into the position where education was really key.
And so I went to college, got an internship. I was doing all the right things, checking the boxes, but in my head I said to myself, and I always thought, I wanna be a millionaire. I don’t wanna have a boss. I wanna live the life that I want. And I graduated. I did get a full-time position with my company and started to make money and started to have bills.
And I bought my first condo very early at 22. So this dream that I wanted of just like being free, not being confined to a cubicle, I didn’t know how to make that happen because I started to work in corporate America. Everyone around me, I didn’t really know any in life entrepreneurs that had their own business.
You know, I saw it online or, but barely. And so I didn’t know that that could really be a pathway. So I thought the only way that I could become wealthy is marry rich, which by then I met the person who’s my husband and he was not wealthy. So cross that out. Play the lottery, which I’m not a lottery player, or build a business, and not necessarily an online business, but I thought, okay, maybe I need to get into real estate or build an actual business.
So I tried all those things, tried a vending machine business, started numerous side hustles, had an online magazine, and then even got my real estate license cuz I thought I wanted to sell real estate. All those things did not pan out. And you know, by then I was actually in my 30s. So I tried all that in my twenties, early thirties, and it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child in a very long commute.
So I live in Brooklyn. I was commuting to New Jersey and on a typical day it would take a hour, maybe an hour and a half one way, which was okay without kids. And you know, newly married. I, I could deal with that, but I was heavily pregnant and I realized this could not be my life. You know, I had a breakdown in the car because it was a really long day.
Like all the traffic gods I say were not pleased. So every place where there could be congestion, there was congestion. And I just had this kind of come to Jesus moment, a realization that I couldn’t do this anymore. Went home, cried to my husband, told him I had to figure something out, then went to work, started to Google the next day, how to quit my job.
How to retire early, not with the, the, you know, the thought process of starting my own business, but I just figured there has to be something else. And I came across podcasts and blogs, which helped me discover the financial independence, retire early movement. So the acronym is FIRE.
And I started to listen to the podcast, read the blogs, like that’s all I did. I almost brainwashed myself and started to learn about people building wealth the old-fashioned way, saving and investing their traditional incomes. You know, I would hear stories about teachers who were earning a modest salary, able to retire as millionaires because they did this consistent investing and saving, you know, across a 10 year span.
And I knew that could be a pathway for me. Came home to my husband. I said, have you heard about this? Of course, he said, no. And I started to talk to him more about it and realized I wanted to follow that path, like if all else fails, which at that point it did, it felt like that I would at least save and invest my way to freedom and give myself about, at the time, seven years to retire early or quit my corporate job. And I started on the path and got my husband on board too. So luckily he was willing to join this with me. And you know, over time I started to share my journey to financial independence and I started to make headway with my finances. In two years, we were able to save and invest $169,000. And as I started to share my journey with people, right? So I started a Instagram. I started a blog. So I did not have the podcast at first, and then eventually started the podcast because honestly, I was listening to so many podcasts, reading so many blogs. I thought to myself, well, I know I’m learning something.
Let me share something else with the world. And it almost feels like the rest is history because once I started to follow that pathway and my gut and what was helpful to people and helpful to me, things just started to fall into place and eventually started the podcast, was able to actually quit my job way earlier than I expected, and now have built a brand where I’m helping and teaching other people about how to reach financial independence, but also enjoy the journey.
Pat Flynn: I love that you added that on the end there. Enjoy the journey cuz it could be very, very difficult. It could feel very like a lot of weight on you to try to either get outta debt or get to that point where you have some comfortable finances to move forward with. And I’m curious, in that kind of two, two and a half years you had saved and invested over, you know, 169 k.
How did you do that? Like, what was your secret? And I love that you also did that first before like talking about it. I see a lot of people online who will just kind of share other things that they’ve learned, you know, and that’s very easy to do as consumers, right? We consume blogs and podcasts and then we’re like, oh, I learned this.
I wanna share it without actually having done it, but you did it. What did you do? How did you get to that point? And where, where you were saving and, and starting to get comfortable with your finances.
Jamila Souffrant: So it’s also important to note that we had a good income for being, you know, two people living in New York City.
By the time I did quit my job, we had three kids. So I decided to quit my job when I was pregnant with my third. So I do wanna say that because it’s relative to our income that we were able to save that much. My husband is a New York City school teacher. You know, I worked in corporate America, and that’s the thing, that’s the beauty about the financial independence in general and making a change to your finances is that you’ll be able to make big gains depending on your starting point, and everyone has a different starting point. And so for us, we were lucky enough to where we were, we were okay financially. We had already had bought our home that we consider like for nothing else happens we’d be good in this home forever. So our forever home. We were working.
And what it took for us to do that was awareness. So awareness of what was possible because we were not optimizing our finances. We didn’t have a budget, we were not investing, we were doing the bare minimum. And I realized through listening to the episodes of the podcast and reading the blogs, that we were leaving so much money on the table or wasting so much money.
And the proposition, when I came home and told my husband about this, cuz he’s a regular guy, you know, in his world it’s like you work until you, you’re 65, you do what people do. And when I told him I was like, I’m not saying you can’t work cuz he enjoys his job. You can’t envision not working. But I said to him, but wouldn’t you want to be financially better off?
The time is gonna pass anyway and how could we enjoy it? So in order for us to do that, to save and invest the money. It took coming to a common vision for our future. We had the three kids then. So it was also saying, all right, when our kids are going to college, how old will we be and what are the lives that we wanna live?
And maybe you don’t ever see yourself not wanting to work, but what if your mind changes? You know, when you’re in your fifties, don’t you want the option? And so it was having those conversations. I love numbers in terms of running numbers, so showing him if we do nothing and do what we’re doing now, we’ll live a good life.
You know, we’ll be okay, but we’ll have X amount in 15, 20 years. But if we make small changes like get a budget, we had expensive car leases at that time, or expensive cars, then if we put some limits around how much we went out to eat, and we just primarily focused on saving and investing in the beginning we can have millions by the time we get to our fifties and sixties versus not even a quarter of that, but still live a good life. Giving and working those numbers out allowed us to feel like that was the priority, is having that freedom. I knew I couldn’t commute in that job, you know, for the rest of my life.
And so it was like getting really clear on that, assessing where we were and making, saving and investing a priority based on our goals.
Pat Flynn: Okay, so step one would be to cast a vision of the future that you want, and if you have o other partners or loved ones around you who you’re gonna be doing this with, making sure you’re on the same page.
I also notice that there’s a lot of people who have a spouse and they’re not necessarily on the same page, and it’s hard to create money goals if you’re not on the same page. Right? And there might be some negotiation that’s required. Some, you know, really good conversation about that to get to a point where you can work together.
So you did that. That’s great. And then you said that you made some cuts to things and kind of made some smarter decisions with certain financial things and you know, I’m curious, did that change your lifestyle at all to, you know, not eat out for example as much as you did or to change the vehicles. Like, tell me about that, cuz that’s very hard for people to do if you’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time in order to, you know, get that investment money you might need to make a lifestyle change.
Did you, and, and was that difficult?
Jamila Souffrant: Yes. So we did make lifestyle changes and what I like to say, delayed our gratification, which I call sustained gratification. So it was this process of you are not delaying it completely. Where we never take a vacation or we never go out to eat, but we will put a limit on what that looks like or we’re not taking the most expensive vacations, we’re still gonna budget like we did when we were in our college years, cuz we, we met, and it’s a great thing about meeting my husband so early on, is that we met when we literally had no money and like no assets.
So to go back kind of living bare bones was not too bad, but I want to go back to like having a partner or anyone else having kids, so we live in New York City with three kids and I have a partner. And for us it was important to still be able to give them opportunities and to give them a lifestyle with that we wanted our kids to have.
So not being limited about what sports we put them in, or if we needed tutoring or something for them, that could be possible. So I think it was also knowing that, that Al wouldn’t be continuous forever. So some of the changes you’ll make to your budget or your lifestyle will be momentary or just until.
And knowing our future and our vision. I knew one day we’d wanna take nicer vacations. I know one day my husband wants a nicer car. And so those are all things we kind of planned out, but said, in order to get there, let’s, let’s take care of business first. You know? And I think for a lot of people, they want to have everything right away, right?
Like the nice house, the nice car, the lifestyle. And if you do it in the incorrect order you’ll forever be chasing that and be in debt to have that lifestyle. But if you can sustain your gratification, meaning you don’t necessarily have nothing that you’re excited about but you include those pockets of happiness throughout your life and day while on the journey. Then you can get to a place where, all right, maybe I won’t have the nice car that I want in the next three or five years, but I can have it in 10 years and be financially secure.
So that’s the way we thought about things and changed. Changed how we budgeted and looked at the future.
Pat Flynn: I like that reset for sure. And that, you know, sustained or “delayed gratification”. I mean, it’s putting in the work and the time and the effort now so that you can live a longer and better and happier future. As opposed to just kind of staying status quo the whole time.
You gotta make some sacrifices to make some gains, right? And so you had mentioned budgeting a couple times. I know that’s a word that scares a lot of people. What are your recommendations for somebody who kind of just, you know, they’re, they’re kind of flying by the sea of their pants. They’re not necessarily thinking about every dollar.
They don’t want to think about every penny. But what’s your position on that? I know there’s a lot of resources on budgeting and everybody has a different way, sort of like a diet. I mean, there’s many diets out there, but what’s your method of budgeting and how does one kind of make it simple for themselves?
Jamila Souffrant: So here’s the thing. A budget, I call it a freedom plan. It’s really important depending on the stage of financial independence or the journey that you’re on. And I’ll be honest right now. So I have, when I started learning about this financial independence movement and realized like how long it could potentially take someone, if they’re in a lot of debt or they don’t have great income, like it’s not a sprint to get to your ultimate goal. When I learned how long it would take, I realize I have to break this down into stages. And that’s what I do with my content is we’re gonna break this down into stages to make it more appealing and we’re accessible to more people.
And when you’re in a position where you maybe cannot pay your bills, or you’re in a lot of debt, or you don’t like your job, and so the goal for you to get out of that, It’s pressing, then a budget is necessary. And it doesn’t have to be necessarily a budget where you’re sitting and every single day ticking off to the penny, right?
There’s different ways you can budget, but it’s important to understand where your money’s going in and out. As you go further along into the financial independence stages, I have five of them, you can actually relax in the way that you budget. So currently I’m at stage four or five in the financial independence journey of the stages.
I do not budget and check off every, you know, penny, the way that someone, maybe if they’re trying to quit a job or pay off debt needs to do in order to be focused. And I really tell people that it may take a while to find a way, a budgeting system, a method that works, but it’s really important to understand what is going out of your household and what is coming in. And most people don’t even know that.
And if you have a goal you wanna reach, you have to know that how else do you know where to tell your money to go so that it works for you. And so it’s really important just to understand that if you don’t get it right away, so there’s something called zero base budgeting where every single dollar that comes in, you give it a job. And at first, if you’re not used to budgeting, that just seems overwhelming, but it’s actually freeing and liberating because you’re telling your money before the month starts, or as the month is starting where you want it to go.
And that way as you’re spending throughout the month, you know, okay, I, this is what happens for a lot of people that maybe they’re going out to eat and they don’t know that they can really afford it, but they’re like, you know what? I’m living my life. I wanna go enjoy something with my friends. And there may be a sense of guilt or I don’t know that that actually is something I could afford to do cuz then at the end of the month maybe there’s a credit card bill goes up.
Versus with a budget, you are ahead of time saying, I’m spending, let’s just say $300 on going out to eat or hanging out with friends. The budget then allows you as you go on through the month to almost reconcile, right? So if you went out already and spent a hundred and it’s mid-month, you have 200 left.
Or let’s just say you, you balled out in the first week, you spent all the money you have to make a decision now. Well, if I get invited out again, am I saying yes to that and for going somewhere else in my budget, taking money elsewhere? Or am I saying no because I don’t have anywhere else to take it. And like that is the place of the position of power that a budget gives you versus for a lot of people, they don’t even wanna know because it feels so restrictive when in fact the budget will give you the power and the control to make informed decisions about your money.
Pat Flynn: Right. Like the difference between knowing that you can spend this money and that you’re totally cool and everything else is taken care of, versus kind of just doing whatever and at the end of the month, just kind of crossing your fingers and hoping you didn’t spend more than you made, and kind of just like hoping that you make more the next month.
So that that can be very difficult to live a life like that where you’re just kind of not in control. And from what I’m hearing, you don’t have to make it super complicated and you don’t have to go into every penny, but just kind of like calories in, calories out, how much money’s coming, how much is going out? Where is it going out?
For somebody who is maybe at the stage beyond getting outta debt and they can start thinking about investing a little bit, how much do you recommend allocating for investing and where might a person think about investing that additional money?
Jamila Souffrant: Yeah, so I would like to say that even if you are in debt, I’m an advocate of investing.
I think, you know, the system is created and made to feel more complicated than it is, and that was one of the things I never really understood. Even before I under got into the financial independence thought process is, it just seems so foreign. Even when I first signed up in my twenties and they say, oh, do you wanna contribute the maximum or more to your 401k?
I was like, no. Like why? I want all my money today. I didn’t understand the benefit of investing in the pre-tax dollars where you save on taxes by actually investing in the future. So with that, I think in general, just, just a rule of thumb, if you happen to work for a company that you have a 401k and a 401K match, I don’t care if you’re in debt still, you should be working to at least contribute up to that company match.
So usually that looks like they’re, say if you put in 3% or up to a certain percentage, we will match you and put that same amount into your 401k. They call it free money, but it’s part of your compensation package. So if you don’t use it, you should it. It is free money that you should be taking, but if you don’t have that in general, you should be investing.
And it depends, you know, if you wanna get really like technical, which I don’t like doing right in the beginning for people cuz it just trips them up. You know, like it’s either you’re investing in a pre-tax retirement account, like a 401k if you have it through your job or a traditional IRA, which you could do separately on your own or you’re doing after tax retirement investing, which is a Roth IRA.
So those are the, like the most common retirement types of account and they have tax benefits to investing in it cuz the government actually would like to encourage you to put away for the future so that they don’t necessarily have to take the burden of taking care of you in when you’re older.
And then there is totally different taxable investing where there is no tax advantage benefits to investing that way, but the money is more accessible. You can take it right away, and it’s nothing related to retirement. Now, for a lot of people, like just thinking of that or hearing that, if they’ve not been in this world, it just feels like that’s just too much already.
Like, I’m logging off goodbye Jamila. And I’m like, no. And you know what’s fascinating is it’s, you know, now with, there’s so, there’s so many different types of ways to invest, but there really is a simple, and by the way, I’m not an investment advisor. This is purely my opinion, but in general, like there’s a simple path to wealth that I learned when I first started this journey and it’s low cost index investing. That’s one of the pathways that people overlook. It’s very boring, very simple, but literally you’re buying an index fund, which is literally just a percentage or portions of different stocks on the exchange. So instead of buying, let’s say, Apple, right? That’s on the stock exchange. You’re buying all the stocks that are traded on that stock exchange, a percentage of each of them.
They’re not actively managed, so the costs are very low. You can go directly to a fund or investment manager that buy it. So you don’t have to actually go through anyone and have to pay a fee, and they’re low cost. And the idea though is that you, you buy and you hold. In any one of the cases that, what I’m talking about investing, I’m talking about long-term investing, 10 plus years.
So you’re not investing in, oh, I’m gonna like, you know, take it out next year. You’re investing for the long-term and you’re letting your money work for you while you’re also doing other things that help your life. So in general, investing, it doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s, so I know there’s a lot of noise out there and people don’t know what they can trust, but just index investing, you know, I have a couple episodes of it on my podcast where there is no middleman, you can go directly to a, you know, and open up an account and do that, is the, the, most simple, boring path to wealth that people overlook because they’re, you know, they’re trying to get into all the cool, expensive and or flashy things.
Pat Flynn: Right. I mean, all the way up to things like NFTs or, you know, getting on the Gamestop. Be because everybody else is pushing that and then like, they lose a bunch of money. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of noise. I agree. And I think, you know, as far as investing, I’ve had so many conversations, Jamila, with successful entrepreneurs who haven’t even started a, a retirement fund. And it’s just like you’re wasting your time right now. I mean, you can put aside some, even just a little bit every month and kind of forget about it. And then when the time comes, you’ll notice that you’ll have a lot more money in there than than you ever thought.
And the thing is, time is really what’s important here. The earlier you start, the better because those things exponentially grow in the compound interest over time. And again, I’m not a tax advisor as well, and I recommend you talk to a professional on your end who knows your situation more than we do.
This is all just to start a conversation with you and your spouse and your loved ones about what the future is gonna be like. And you know, I’m grateful that in the circles that I’m in, a lot of times these conversations of investments do come up. And I’ve started investing since I was 19, so over 20 years now.
And those numbers are, are much bigger now because I’ve had that time. And I continue to put in there because I am wanting, you know, a comfortable, you know, financial, independent future. But the best time to start is right now. Right? I made the mistake when I first start, so I, I worked at an architecture firm as, as many people know, and we were all out invited for lunch one day.
It was a free lunch. We’re like, Ooh, free lunch. Okay, cool. And then there was this presentation and this person from this big financial firm came by and they were talking about investing and stuff. And so of course they handed out a clipboard and put my email in there. And I got a call personal from this person.
It made me feel very excited about the future and investing with this person, and I ended up working with them for like four years, putting a lot of my money into what he was doing, and again, me being sort of young and naive and not really even understanding what was going on. I thought I was doing the right thing and I kind of was cuz I was investing in the future, but I was also giving this person a lot of my money because of the fees and other things that were like hidden and obviously not talked about.
And you know, I wish I had been a little bit smarter and had more just information available at the start and could talk to more people about this cuz there wasn’t really anybody talking about it because it is kind of a boring topic when you think about long-term investing. But it’s definitely important.
This is why I appreciate you and your work and, and, and kind of just to be able to have a place to start and have these conversations with you and your guests on your show. Again, Journey to Launch is what you wanna listen to, but you know, we’ll put links to those episodes that you talked about in the show notes as well.
But how do you. Help a person navigate this world. Like once maybe we get to an even higher level and there’s more money to potentially invest, you know, the businesses that people are running are starting to work and you’re starting to make more than your living expenses, so you have this additional cash.
How does one navigate the world of investing when there’s so many snake oil salesmen out there. There’s so many, like big name companies that you know have commercials that tell you they have you in their best interest, but they don’t tell you except in the fine print down below that you’re gonna actually spend a lot of money with them that you didn’t have to.
Can you give us some, at least some just advisory with regards to that?
Jamila Souffrant: I mean, it’s a legit issue for a lot of people. And I do wanna go back to just the idea of retirement investing. I think we need to almost try to rebrand the name because again, when I was in my twenties or when I wa didn’t feel the pressure that I felt when I was in that car and I knew I had to quit my job, there was no push, there was no time of the essence for me to wanna invest for the 30 year old or the 30 years later or 60 years later, I didn’t understand how that could help me today. And I think that’s the thing with people they, there’s but so much that they feel like they have already and then you’re telling them to forego their life and what they enjoy for something off in the future when they feel like I could figure that out.
So they’re 65 and yeah, right? And you know, but if it were not for me getting on this path to financial independence, I would not have been able to, so I’m not financially independent. I think we should just, I could, if I can quickly say what that, the technical term of that is. But financial independence, the technical term for that is where you have enough invested or cash flow from your investments to pay for your living expenses where you don’t have to actively work ever again.
It is like the gold, like you literally can wake up and say Pat and say, you know what? I don’t wanna do this anymore. I wanna do something totally different. And I don’t need money from anywhere else, but my investments, my investments pay for my lifestyle. So that is the dream. That’s the ultimate like goal people are trying to strive for.
And I think when you think of it like that, you realize that there are of course all the like levels you need to go through. In order for me to have been able to quit my job, I had to make sure that I was investing and my future self was secured. But then our lifestyle and the way we live was also secure.
So when it comes to investing in someone now thinking, okay, well I have money. I’m, you know, I feel like I even have more to invest, what do I do? You know, I’m actually not, you know, opposed to getting professional help. You know, in the beginning I DIYed everything because I wanted to figure things out on my own.
I did all the, I researched all the articles, read all the blogs, but as I actually started earning more money in my business and had more assets, I hired someone that I feel like I can trust. So they’re a fiduciary, which means their primary responsibility is to me and not to sell me a product to make me money.
So I have I work with a team that helps with my taxes, my business in general, finances, and then also as a financial planner, they don’t actively manage my money, so I don’t pay them a percentage of my portfolio. They’re able to guide me on some of the decisions that I’m making and how much to invest for the year.
That puts me on track to our financial independence goals. I willingly pay for that because, I have confidence in what I know and also, you know, I’ve vetted them to the point where they’re not selling me anything, right? This is actually a, a relationship that we are working together. So I would say in the beginning, a lot of people don’t necessarily need to go to, you know, the banks to get that kind of advice right away.
A lot of it is self-learning because you want to be able to, when you hire someone or talk to someone that you know what they’re talking about. Because what happens often is we go into these conversations and maybe they’re using big words or things we don’t understand and they can, you know, almost trick us or bamboozle us because we don’t know what we’re listening to.
And so that’s why I feel like self-education is key. There’s a lot of books. Again, I know there’s a lot of noise, but there’s a lot of information out there where, this is why I say investing in yourself as your best asset ultimately is key because you become, to get the discernment to understand and you’re not always gonna make the right decision.
I still don’t make all the right financial decisions, but I know that I’ll never make a mistake big enough that wipes out my wealth. It will be okay because of who I’ve become along the way in learning the lesson. So, all that to say, it’s, I think, you know, at certain levels, you, you can definitely look for help, right?
You, you get referrals from people, you interview multiple people. You just don’t go with the first person. But also a lot of it can be done really by looking over what you currently have and really sitting down and taking time to learn.
Pat Flynn: What was the type of person that you are working with or like you had given it a name.
Like what, what are they known as in case people are interested in finding people like that?
Jamila Souffrant: Right, so I, it’s, I work with a firm that does business, finances and the personal side, the personal finances and that was, and also taxes. So I’m almost find like usually, and that’s what’s complicated even for me at first, because usually you won’t find a firm that has all those components.
It’s, you either have a tax person, then a business finances person and like a personal, so I would say that that firm not, there’s different people who do those things. So that one person is not skilled enough to do all three of those things. So that’s important to note. So within there, you know, there’s a CPA that’s working on the taxes.
There is a financial advisor or planner who’s helping on the finance side, and then there’s someone who helps on the business finances side. And it was an investment for me, but I figured that, you know, you get to a point where what gets me here won’t get me there feeling. And for me it’s just been an investment that has been worth it.
Pat Flynn: Cool. Thank you for. Now there might be a lot of people here who are working the nine to five who do want to, you know, start their own business. Having a business is a great way to build wealth and build an asset for yourself. Obviously. But there’s a lot of disbelief that this is possible for them.
There’s a lot of limiting beliefs and you know, especially when it comes to the finance part of it. Do you have any recommendation for a person who maybe is still working nine to five, wants to be, become an entrepreneur and knows they kind of need to make that leap? You know, quit your job, you did the same thing.
Is there a good number of dollars that need to be saved up before that? Or like, I know different people have different answers. I’m just curious about yours As far. A safety net, if you will, for when to make that leap and any words of encouragement or things to think about around that kind of moment in life.
Jamila Souffrant: It’s all gonna depend on your, your level and ability to take risk. You know, there are some people who, they’re risk takers. They can, you know, leave something and just, and just go, you know, figure it out as they go. I am definitely a calculated risk taker as someone also who made this decision while pregnant with my third child.
Again, with responsibilities, I had to make sure that we would be okay financially for me to take the leap, especially because I was the breadwinner. I had the potential to earn more in my career. I was earning more. So for me to walk away, that was a big change for our family. So it took planning for us that instead of actually, so here’s the one change, a big change we made to our finances.
Once we decided that I was gonna leave my job, it was that we were no longer gonna save and invest. So the $169,000 that we saved and invested that money, a lot of that was going into my 401k, my husband’s retirement accounts and taxable investing. When, and I decided that I wanted to quit my job, we changed our strategy.
And that’s the beauty of having to done all that work in those two years is because now we, we had like a nest egg. We had some money set aside. So now let’s worry about today and, and how we’re gonna create a life style and potential for myself to be happy and do more. And so we diverted all that money that was going into the retirement accounts and investing accounts and put that in a high yield savings account.
So we started to save that money in cash to act as a supplement to my husband’s income. So that’s the other thing. It also depends on your situation. I had a husband who was still going to work, so at least I would have health insurance, which is, I know a big deal for entrepreneurs when they’re thinking about making that leap.
We had his income, but it would not cover everything. And so it was really important to save up that money to help supplement what my husband’s income could not pay for. And then the other key was the Journey to Launch was not making money at the time that I left my job. There was the potential, and I saw that and, and I was setting things up to where I knew I would be making money, like within a year, but I wanted to be okay with not selling anything, with not changing my strategy or being desperate for income.
And so saving up was a function of, and how much we saved up was a function of our household expenses. How much my husband’s income could cover and not cover. And then were you gonna make any changes, right? So if we did have a budget, were the things we’re gonna cut out in the meantime until Journey to Launch started to make money.
And so th those were like a lot of conversations, a lot of numbers, and looking at them and making sure we hit those numbers before I decided to quit.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, it just seems like the overall theme here is just be conscious about what money’s there and what money is going out, and just be aware of that. I think that alone is gonna be a big game changer for a lot of people.
And then, you know, if you’re gonna make decisions like start a business, moving things around to a point where you now have, you know, this lifestyle that you still wanna upkeep available for a certain period of time, and you know, I love it because you’re making it sound simple and it, it can be simple. I think we tend to overcomplicate a lot of things, and like you said, there’s a lot of noise out there, which is again, why I appreciate you coming on and allowing us to just have a conversation about budget.
And a lot of times people don’t want to talk about this. It’s not the sexiest topic in the world, but you know what I think is sexy is having financial freedom, having options, having the ability to be proud of the decisions you’re making now, and even sacrifices you’re making now for the things that you want in, in the future.
So I appreciate you. I know you’re also working on a book, like that’s coming out far into the future, but where are you at with it and, and what’s it gonna be about? I’m curious.
Jamila Souffrant: Yeah, so I got my book deal, you know, late last year. And so I’m writing my book this year. It’s, you know, potentially gonna be out in 2024.
I’m going to the traditional route, you know how traditional publishing works. And you know, for me, again, it was one of those things where I could not have imagined that I would be doing the things that I’m doing now. When I first started listening to podcasts or started my own podcast, you know, I’ve always thought I would write, but I didn’t know.
I, as a first time author, I’d be able to get a significant book deal based on, you know, the content in my podcast. And so the book is going to be about reaching financial independence but achieving freedom along the way. And I think there’s like, you know, there’s two camps and that’s how I saw it when I came in.
There’s like the general personal finance who talk about budgeting and investing in credit scores, which are important. And then there’s like this world of people who are more aggressive. They’re talking about financial independence, retiring early and opting out of the workforce, and you know, I think there’s a bridge to that where, you know, for a lot of people saving half their income or investing half of it may not feel appealing.
But also if they do just the standard personal finance stuff, they don’t wanna be stuck working forever. And you know, my content and what I like to talk about is how do we reach our life goals, not just our financial goals. Money is just a tool, like how do we use the money that we’re earning today to build wealth that we can actually use today and secure us in the future. And I’m really excited about bringing, like, everything that I talk about and think about, you know, onto the pages of this book that I’m writing, which by the way is so one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, isn’t it? Ugh, it’s so hard.
But it’s, I just know it’s worth it though. I promise you. Oh, I, yeah, I, because I just wanna be able to give someone like a book and say all. Just read this like this is gonna answer all your questions and help you get to the life that you want.
Pat Flynn: Good for you. Where can people go to follow your journey and to get notice of the book when it comes out?
Where do you wanna point people toward?
Jamila Souffrant: So, wherever you’re listening to this amazing podcast, Pat, I think I told you this when you came on my show, that you were actually one of the podcasts that I eventually started listening to where you talked about starting a business and businesses, is that you can find Journey to Launch the podcast wherever you listen to the Pat’s podcast.
I’m also journeytolaunch.com, and then on all social media @JourneyToLaunch. I mostly hang out on Instagram, but you could find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. But I really want people to check the podcast out and become Journeyers. So I call anyone on this journey to financial independence and freedom who wants to enjoy the journey, who doesn’t wanna be talked down to, who wants to, you know, feel included and just like a part of a community, Journeyers. And I’m still on the journey myself, but I learned a lot and we can learn together and get further together. So come join me and become a Journeyer.
Pat Flynn: I love it. Amazing. Thank you so much, Jamila. I appreciate you.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jamila Souffrant. Again, you can find her at Journey to Launch. Just go listen to her podcast right now. She’s got a lot of great conversations with a lot of other people who have done everything from get outta debt to James Clear’s on there as well, and so many other amazing people, entrepreneurs and and non entrepreneurs and just people like us.
So go ahead and give a listen again journey to launch and best of luck to you, Jamila. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to read and talk about your book in the future. For right now. All you have to do is go to the show notes page to go get the resources and links and things mentioned in this episode at smartpassiveincome.com/session647.
Again, smartpassiveincome.com/session647. And Jamila, thank you again for seeing what you said there at the end and having SPI be one of the podcasts that you listen to to help you grow your business, and I hope that you’re all taking action here in early 2023. We got a long year ahead of us, but it’s gonna be a great one, especially when we work together.
Speaking of working together, if you wanna check out some amazing things that we have available at SPI to help you, we have everything from our SPI Pro community for our established business owners. We also have our All Access Pass, which we just launched last month. An amazing way to bring people together and go through our courses, get access to all of them, but not because, I mean, not just the courses, cuz that would be overwhelming, but the pathways through those courses along with other people and support from team SPI. If you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/allaccess, you can check out the All Access Pass and see how we can share with you what we believe is the new wave of teaching entrepreneurship.
And that is through community powered courses. We didn’t coin that term, but we are building that for sure. Community powered courses at SmartPassiveIncome.com/allaccess. Go ahead and check it out. There’s a pathway there for you.
Thank you so much for listening in today. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Till then, peace out and as always, Team Flynn for the win. Cheers.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.