How to Make Smart Financial Decisions and Investments (Episode 81)

Melyssa Griffin

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I wish I had come across today’s guest 3 or 4 years ago when I had no idea how to manage my finances and how to get involved in investing. In this episode, Tiffany Aliche also known as “The Budgetnista” joins me on Limitless Life™ for an amazing conversation on building wealth and understanding your finances. She’s an absolute wiz when it comes to helping others make sense of money, and how to use your finances to create a limitless life for yourself, your business, and your loved ones.

In this episode we also cover a lot of topics and not just finances, including the impact of community, mentors and peers seeing you beyond where you are right now, and how to start thinking in abundance rather than scarcity and lack.

Since starting her business, Tiffany has helped over 1 million women save and manage their money, as well as pay off millions of dollars in debt. She now runs an 8-figure company, and this amazing entrepreneur even helped pass a law in New Jersey that brings financial education to kids in school. Tiffany is a natural teacher and it really comes through in this interview, so I hope this episode inspires you as much as it has inspired me! 

Listen to the episode below:

This episode discusses topics like…

  • Why money is such a taboo subject for so many people
  • What you should know if you’re looking to start investing
  • How much you should try to put away for savings and investments, and why knowing your “noodle budget” is so important
  • The 3 levels of people that should be in your life as a business owner
  • What changes on a systemic level when women have more money
  • The way that Tiffany helped get an incredible new law passed in New Jersey to increase financial literacy in children

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Did this episode help you expand what’s possible for your life or business? Do you think your social media followers may learn something, too? I’d be forever grateful if you shared it on social media. 🙂 If you do, tag @melyssa_griffin and @limitlesslifepodcast so I can repost you! Woohoo!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. “How can you start investing in the future you, today? Did you give him / her a name?”

Thank you SO much for being here, sweet friend. I’m honored to walk this journey with you. See you in the next episode!

xoxo
Melyssa

Read the Episode Transcript Here

Melyssa Griffin
Hey Tiffany, welcome to the show.

Melyssa Griffin
Oh, excited to have you to chat all things finance money, the taboo topics that people try to avoid talking about. Why do you think that is? Why do you think money even though it’s this thing that like, governs so much of society? Andy, why do you feel like it’s this taboo topic for a lot of people to talk about?

Tiffany Aliche
I think honestly, it’s cultural, right? I have a niece and nephew, they’re three and four. If I talk to them about money, they don’t shy away from it because they don’t know. So it’s not naturally taboo. It’s just taught that it’s taboo. So I don’t shy away from it. Because I grew up in a household where my dad and my mom talked to us about money very plainly and on a regular basis without the fear intermingled, so I didn’t grow up with those hang ups. So I think the reason why people have weird feelings about money, it’s because someone taught them that and someone taught the person then taught them that and so I’m hoping to disrupt all of that.

Melyssa Griffin
I love that. And I love that you’re talking about how it’s like a lineage thing like our parents and their parents. And really, it’s just the mindset that was passed down with. Exactly. It sounds like you were surrounded by this very abundant mindset when it came to money. Yeah,

Tiffany Aliche
It just wasn’t. My parents didn’t, they never would say things like, we don’t have it. We’re going to be on the verge of destruction because you want this toy. You know, my father was always really matter of fact, like, if you want this thing, here’s some changes we can make. You know, so it always felt very empowering. Like, wow, so if I turn off the lights, there’s a chance for Disney, you know, even if there wasn’t like, you know, especially when you’re little, he would make the connection really easy. You know, like, hey, if you don’t want the water for so long, that means that we can have ice cream today. Now whether or not there was a real correlation financially, but what it did for me was like okay, that the things that I do have a positive or negative effect on the things that I want. And so he made those bet you know, those connections in a way that didn’t make me feel afraid. And one of his things was money is a tool like a hammer. And a hammer can be used to build your house. But that same hammer can be used to destroy your house. It’s the person using it that gets to decide. So at any moment in time, you can decide what that hammer is going to do.

Melyssa Griffin
Ooh, that just gave me chills. I love that just visual of the hammer and how it can be used almost for good or evil.

Tiffany Aliche
Yes, basically. Think about Thor and his hammer. Right? Exactly.

Melyssa Griffin
I love the way that your dad frames it, it feels like it’s looking for solutions instead of problems, which I think is such a core part of the abundance versus scarcity thinking. Yes. Are we looking for possibility? Are we looking for where things are going wrong? Exactly. And

Tiffany Aliche
It’s funny you say that because my mom was because my dad is actually more like the foster parent. You know, you always have one parent that you spilled milk and they’re like, Oh my goodness, cuz I’m one of five girls. We don’t have milk money. You know, like suddenly being wasting it and my mom would just go and get a paper towel. And I remember when I was a kid, I’m more of a busser. I’m overly honest. But I remember being a kid thinking that when I get big, I want to be a paper towel person, someone who when something spills that I just go to get a paper towel. And what I didn’t realize is what I was saying is I want to be solution focused. Because after my dad finishes fussing, you know about us being wasteful, he would go get a paper towel anyway. So it’s like, well, why not just cut to what you’re gonna do anyway? Just cut to the solution. And so, yes, paper towel people we should all strive to be like my mom.

Melyssa Griffin
I love the distinction between you’re gonna have to do it anyway. So why not just do it with a positive attitude and like, do it instead of worrying or complaining about it? I love that. Yeah. So were your parents. I know that you’re an entrepreneur. You have a couple businesses. Were your parents, also entrepreneurs.

Tiffany Aliche
So my mom was not, she was a nurse. But my dad, he was an accountant. But he always had like side businesses. I remember that, like, what my parents were born and raised in Nigeria. And so I remember when the Super Eagles that’s our football soccer team went to like, I guess the Olympics or something I don’t remember when I was a kid. But I remember he bought super Eagle t shirts. And we’re like, you know, because everybody wanted one. It was like Nigeria’s team against the United States. And so he sold him to those. I remember those types of things happening. Like, hey, me and your uncle’s are doing this. So we’re doing that. But his main source of income, he was a CFO of a nonprofit in New Jersey. And so that was our main source of income, but he was always trying his hand at different things.

Melyssa Griffin
Mm hmm. That’s so interesting. It’s almost like you combined both of those things into what you do finance and entrepreneurship.

Tiffany Aliche
Mm hmm. Absolutely.

Melyssa Griffin
That’s really cool. So in terms of finances, can we talk about investing because I feel like this is a topic that a lot of people are afraid to look into. It’s very complicated or at least it feels that way. So for somebody who hasn’t started investing at all, what are the options? Can you kind of walk us through that?

Tiffany Aliche
Sure. So you can be their arm. First I would identify Am I somebody who wants to be more passive or someone who wants to be more active when it comes to investing? So some people if you are super super active you love all the research you love all the flip the switch and buy and sell then you might be someone who is interested in investing in individual stocks, right? But I suspect most of us are really not trying to do that. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur. I’m busy enough. So for example, for me, that’s not me, my sister Carol, she loves that she’s an engineer. She invested in Tesla when it was like $100 a share. Okay, yeah. She sold it years ago though to pay for her wedding was now she’s like, What what?

Tiffany Aliche
But most of us are passive or passive. And so what I tell people to look into, especially when you’re first starting, if you don’t have the time or the documents to do the research is to look into ETFs. Or to look into mutual funds. And so what that is, so a stock is a piece of a company, and if a stock in a mutual fund, which is a basket of investments, so it can be like stocks and bonds and all these other investment vehicles, right. So not just one piece of a company, multiple companies. So if and if a mutual fund and a stock had a baby, then it would be an ETF. Because stocks can be traded on the market. So day in day out throughout the day, and we’re talking like 4pm, Eastern Standard Time. I think it’s 4pm. You could trade by itself, right? So with a mutual fund, you can’t do that. You’d have to wait until the end of the day until prices are set if you want to buy or add to your mutual fund, but with an ETF. It’s a basket of these investments that you can buy and sell like stocks. So if you’re someone who is like, Well, I don’t want to be super passive. You know, we’re with a mutual fund, you could just put your money in every single month and don’t have to think about it, right? But I’m someone who I kind of like, you know, every Wednesday or once a month buying, you know, but I don’t want to do the research of looking for individual stocks and ETFs, luckily for you into what I would suggest is to do something called dollar cost averaging. And so what that is, is you don’t follow like the trends because you know, things are up, things are down. I mean, it’s crazy, especially right now, that instead with dollar cost averaging is that you say, I’m going to put a certain amount of money every single month into the market. So I suggest an index fund, an index fund, is that collection, like I said, of investment vehicle, stocks and bonds, and it’s an index fund that follows a particular index. So like, for example, the s&p 500 that we all hear about, which is the top 500 companies in the United States trading on the market. So you might find an ETF index fund that follows the s&p 500 or even a new To a fund that mirrors the s&p 500. And so what that means is that over time, the market goes up over time, even if it dips. So most people want to try to figure out when they can get in or get out. That’s called timing the market, but it’s US dollar cost averaging, you’re going to put money in on a regular basis. And sometimes you’re going to catch it when the markets go up. Sometimes you’re going to catch up when the markets down, but on average, because over time the market goes up, on average, you’re going to see growth. And so that’s what I suggest for people who are just starting to look for an ETF or a mutual fund. That’s an index fund, whether typically index funds anyway, but that I like the s&p 500 and to put your money in, you know, either every week, every pay period once a month, and to start there, you know, so like I said, if you’re someone who is like passive-ish, and wants to do a little something like buying and selling, you could certainly do ETFs and you’re someone who is like, I just want to put my money every single month then you can do a mutual fund. Now, the more actively managed your portfolio, so that your collection of investments are, the higher the fees, there are mutual funds that are actively managed. So you have to be mindful, because that’s going to be a higher fee. That fee is called an expense ratio. Now, the reason why those fees are higher is because supposedly there’s a super smart person that is looking to beat the market, right? So if they beat the market, you’re going to get more money back. So they’re like, we’re going to charge you more money because I had to do work. But I personally like index funds because I don’t mind mirroring the market. Because there’s been research that shows that over time, human beings don’t really beat the market over time. So I’d much rather know at least I’m going to mirror the market, if the person I’m paying is not actually going to beat the market. Why pay more for someone who’s not likely to beat the market, especially once I take away the fees I had to pay. I like funds that are not actively managed. But that’s where I would start mutual funds ETFs and if you’ve got a foreign In case see if they have a mutual fund or an index fund in your 401k, or whatever your retirement vehicle, I also like something called a target date fund. For people who really don’t want to do anything, they just want to put their money in and just set it and forget it. And what that is, is that you pick your target retirement date, let’s just say 2030. Typically, it’ll say like, your, it’ll say inside the vehicle that this is a retirement fund 2030. So you’ll know like, Okay, this is when this fund is going to be fully mature. So what that looks like is that you put your money every single month and every year, this target date fund will rebalance for you. Because the closer you get to retirement, the more conservative your investment should be. And so lots of people will do that rebalancing themselves like when you’re 70 years old, you should not be like 80% in stocks, because you know stocks are very volatile. You should be largely in cash investments and typically bonds right but your target date fund rebalanced for you and so about thing is because it’s doing a little extra work target date funds tend to have a higher expense ratio, those fees that I was talking about, but if you’re really wanting to set it and forget it a target date fund is is a mutual fund like I talked about before, but with that added component is that will rebalance for you.

Melyssa Griffin
Okay, wow. brilliantly explained.

Tiffany Aliche
I know a lot like if I really had to crystallize ETF stocks, you’re really jazzy with it. ETFs not so much. You know, you don’t want to pick individual stocks, but you do want to trade mutual funds if you don’t want to trade and you just want to put your money and set it and forget it mutual funds in picking the s&p 500 index fund. And then target date funds. If you don’t really want to do anything, you just want to put your money in and let it do what it does.

Melyssa Griffin
Hmm. Okay, that’s a really helpful distinction between all four of those. So for each of those different ones that you just explained is the amount of growth that’s possible. Different like wood stocks have a higher potential for growth than something like good ETF.

Tiffany Aliche
Absolutely So because here’s why. Whenever you’re bundling things together, think about this. It’s a group project versus you doing a project on your own right. Remember those group projects we all hated in college in high school. Now, if I’m single, on my own doing a project, I am a stock. That means if I get an A, I get a, I get a B, I get a B. So the potential for getting the highest grade is just on me. You know, but the potential for getting the lowest grade is also greater because just on me, now if I’m part of a group project, a basket of people, this is a mutual fund or ETF, right? If I’m part of a group project, and each of us submit our work and each of it is graded individually, but then averaged together, that means I can get an A and still not get an A for that project because other people’s grades are factored in. But if I bring an F in and everybody else gets to a my F is not really going to be asked maybe my average out to be like us See minus b minus. So it’s like you can’t go as high, but you can’t go as low. So that’s the safety in ETFs. And mutual funds. Now stocks are like, you know, it’s a one and done area like I can, I can go as high as possible, but just as quickly as I can go high as quickly as I can go low. So it’s like the greater risk, the greater reward. And so for me, I’m more moderate, that’s fine, like mutual funds and ETFs. You know, where some people they’re like, I want to go for it, like, you know, cuz I’m 20 years old. And you know, I don’t mind putting all my money in stocks because I have greater potential to bring home income and money.

Melyssa Griffin
Right. Okay, that really makes a lot of sense. So just thinking here, you talked about having somebody manage your account, and you don’t really like that approach, but that’d be something like a financial advisor.

Tiffany Aliche
You could so here’s the thing about a financial advisor or a financial planner, I prefer a financial planner. The distinction is really this that a financial planner doesn’t typically sell you any money. They don’t, they don’t sell you other vehicles. So they don’t sell you insurance or they may suggest it. They don’t sell you other things. So when you typically when you meet with a financial advisor, are they going to also manage your portfolio? Yes, but then they’re also likely going to sell you other things like I said, especially insurance, so like life insurance in particular, I did not want that, you know, that I wanted instead, with financial planners, you’re typically paying a flat fee for their advice. That’s all you’re paying for many times with a financial advisor, not always, but many times you are paying a percentage of your portfolio. So there’s no flat fee, but they might be taking 1% of the money that they’ve invested for you, you know, until you also pay for a financial plan for them. And to me, those fees rack up to a point where it’s like, Am I really making any money? Because let’s say that, I mean, I remember that I think inflation last year was like 3%, right? So let’s say your portfolio went up, you know, 6% Right, but not really, because of the fees that they’ve taken, you know that they’re taking 1% so you’re like, Okay, so my portfolio went up 6% but I’m losing 1% to my financial advisor. Okay, so um, so 5% not bad. Well, not really, because inflation, which is the devaluing of money over time, was 3%. So it’s like, Okay, my 5% is not really 5% because inflation has robbed me of 3%. And what that means when I say inflation, I want you to think of what your grandparents would be like. Well, back in my day, I bought a house known 25 Yes, because houses were $25,000. That same house right now is 200 $300,000 it means your money could do less over time, a million dollars 10 years ago, can do more than a million dollars today. You know, so your money has less value over time. And so that’s what inflation is. So now your 5% suffers from this 3% inflation and now it’s 2% earnings. Do you know you can get 2% I mean, not currently, but just last year, I could put my money in a savings account and get a 2% return. Do you see? So you want to be mindful of those fees, because after you start doing the fee, and then you’re like, wait a minute, I might want to save. And so that’s why it’s just it just behooves you to do a little bit more work. The rule of thumb is that not necessarily get a financial advisor planner unless you have $250,000 of investable assets, because the fees are going to gobble up so much. If you can’t really invest a significant amount of money, it’s probably not worth it. It’s worth it for you to do something as simple as a target date fund. ETFs mutual fund.

Melyssa Griffin
Okay, that’s really helpful. And in terms of the percent increase over a year is there like a certain number that people should be trying to hit?

Tiffany Aliche
So this is what historically the stock market has brought back 10% a year, but it’s never actually brought back 10 some years 30 some years negative 20. So most people will tell you, you’re looking at seven to 8% return right now. Be on the super safe side. Mm hmm. But you know, like I said it year after year, there’s no one knows for sure. We’re all kind of gambling out there, but you’re looking typically on average seven to 8% a year of growth. So if you have more than that, that’s awesome. You know, if you have less, you typically want to write it out, because you know that it will balance itself out over time. That’s why it’s so important. That’s why I like target date funds for certain people. Because if you are 70, what if it’s the year that the stock market or the market returns negative 30% back and you’re like you had a million dollars set aside and now you have 700,000 and you’re 70 you should not be heavily in the market. You know, that if most of your money was pulled out in a cash equivalents, meaning like savings and some bonds and some other things like that, right, then like these more conservative investments, then you wouldn’t have to worry about the volatility of the stock market because maybe someone says, Don’t worry. In five years, it’ll be back but you’re 70 you might not have five years to wait for your money. You might need it So, just be mindful of things like that.

Melyssa Griffin
Mm hmm. Okay, that makes sense, too. So you mentioned putting in a certain amount of income per month or considering putting a percentage, or maybe I wrote that down, is there a percentage that you recommend setting aside every month for what you should invest?

Tiffany Aliche
So there’s two types of investments. So yes, and no, there’s two types of investments, there’s retirement investing. And so for that there is a percentage, you want to invest 10 to 15% of your gross income, ideally. So you might say to yourself, okay, I am, I make $100,000 a year, I want to put at least $10,000. The good thing is if you work for a company that doesn’t match, let’s just say your company matches up to 5000. You know, and you know, 10% of 100,000 is 10,000. So, you know, we’ll only have to put in five, because they’re doing five, so I’ve got my 10,000 you know, so 10 to 15% ideal is what you want to set aside for retirement. Then after you set aside that 10 to 15. And present if you can, because I know people have kids at homes and things like that, but you’re working toward that, ideally, then you’re going to pay your bills, then you’re going to save, it’s important that you have, especially in these days and times, ideally, at least three months, ideally six months worth of your essential savings. So essential, expensive savings I call your noodle budget. Sometimes you gotta drop down and get to noodle on and what that is is your noodle budget is if you have to eat ramen noodles budget, where it’s like, I lost my job, you know, my partner lost their job. We have to get rid of the cable, I’m going to cut my own hair. The kids I’m sorry, there’s no soccer this year. So whatever you don’t live with an extra noodle budget, you know what it is? So if financial trouble happens, you drop down temporarily. How much does that life cost you to multiply that times six and have that in savings. Because that will help you if a pandemic comes, then you’re like, ah, I lost my job during the pandemic but I know I’m gonna drop down and get my noodle on And I have six months to figure out what to do. So you want to have that savings first. And then if there’s money left over, then you want to start investing for wealth. No. So remember retirement first, you don’t have to max out your retirement before you start investing for wealth, but you will just want to be doing something there. pay your bills, pay your debt, all that kind of stuff, work, you know, have that money set aside in place, save until you get to your six months. And once you do that, if there’s extra money left over, you can use that money to invest in wealth, because the money that you’re using to invest in wealth, really, anytime you invest any money, it should be money that if you were to lose it, you would still be able to support yourself and your family. So I don’t want you to jump into investing in wealth first, and then something happens and it’s a mess. So you leave that last but investing for retirement comes first because it is your younger self job to look after your older self. You want to put your older self first because I was thinking like I want you to imagine that like Melissa that like you’re growing A Mom, you know, lives with you. And you’re like, Hmm, I could work a little extra harder. Or I could tell Grandma Hello. There’s no free rides, Grandma, you got to go work. Right? You would never do that. You’d be like, no, I would never make my old lady self work. But so many of us are doing that now. Because we’re taking from our retirement accounts. We’re not setting aside so what you’re telling your grandma myself is, I know, even though I’m younger, and I could put in the work now, I prefer to just take your money and then you just have to figure it out when you get older. Like, no, no, no, no, I actually named my old lady self. Her name is Wanda. Looks like a fun activity, right? Because Wanda is like, really Tiffany, another vacation. Have you set aside for my future? What am I going to eat? You know, so like, water will be in my ear. So I’m like, I enjoy Tiffany’s life now, but I’m mindful of looking after Wanda as well.

Melyssa Griffin
Hmm. I also like that idea of like, making your older self an actual human because I agree. I feel like a lot of us go into retirement thinking. It’s just this distant thing going on. And in 40 years or something, so why bother thinking about it now? But yeah, when you can humanize it and then start to really feel into what that would feel like.

Tiffany Aliche
Exactly. Yes, I think it’s important. There’s a study that was done that said, people are disconnected from their older sense of self. You know, it’s like a different person. And so the more you can humanize that, the more you will look after your older self because God willing, it’s happening and your older self is coming eventually.

Melyssa
Hey, limitless listener. We’ll get back to the show in just a moment. But I wanted to take 20 seconds to invite you to the free at home digital retreat that I created just for you. It’s called limitless entrepreneur and it’s all about helping you to create an abundant, fearless mindset, all while growing your online business. You want to join just visit limitless entrepreneur retreat.com to register. It’s totally free. That’s limitless entrepreneur. retreat.com. All right, friend, back to the show.

Melyssa Griffin
Mm hmm. I like that idea for just all the things like, could we humanize the part of us that is insecure? Could we humanize the part of us that is older one day. I love that. Yeah. So you talked about the noodle budget. And I actually thought that this was really empowering, too, because a lot of people, especially as entrepreneurs, will go into entrepreneurship, not wanting to really go in full force, because they’re afraid of losing the money from their full time job or from their savings. They think they need to immediately start earning the same amount that they were earning at maybe their salary job. But the noodle budget kind of takes away the pressure. It’s like, yeah, you could survive for a few months. If you had to make ends meet while you’re starting this business or something like that. And it’s probably a lot cheaper than you think it would be.

Tiffany Aliche
Yes, because let’s just say your regular life costs you $6,000 a month, and you really start to look around and ask yourself, what are the necessities here not to pay the mortgage insurance but Do I really have to pay off subscriptions? I was literally looking at my subscriptions the other day. I have two gym memberships. I’ve not been to the gym in years. I was like, one is like 10 bucks a month. So I probably was like, oh, and then what is like 30 I’m like, that’s 40 bucks a month. That’s money that you know, that’s that would be something on my noodle budget. Like I’m crossing off. I was like, once I was asking my husband, Can we really watch cable? We really don’t, we’re a streaming family. Right? So it’s not less of a life I’m like, we literally don’t watch TV. We only stream someone’s to why are we paying an extra hundred and $20 a month? So now I found 120 plus 40. Right? So those are just that would even be a noodle budget. That’s just like budget trimming. But all together like I would ask myself and look and say if the worst happened and I lost my job, what would I cut out and don’t cut it out. Now if you have a job but knowing that like okay, it would take my $6,000 a month life to 4500 trade, knowing that you’re like, Okay, good to know because you know, as soon as something happens instantly, hi no longer needs a subscription. Hi, no luckily the service, no, I won’t be doing that. Because like I said, it’s temporary. But too many people wait to pivot, they wait too long to drop down and get their noodle on. And what happens is, they have maybe like, you know, two months worth of savings that really could have been stretched to three and a half months had they been living on their noodle budget. So same thing for entrepreneurs, right? Especially as an entrepreneur, you might be living at that noodle budget for a long time, right, you got to make the most you have to put, you have to put hotdogs and your noodle something to jazz about. It can be hard living in the beginning. But if you’re willing to spend less and reinvest in your knowledge and your business and your growth, then it’s like your life can be completely transformed. I was just thinking about it the other day, like just eight years ago, I was sitting on my sister’s couch and I had written down all the things that I want to accomplish and how I wanted my life to go And I remember writing like, oh man, you’d have to make $300,000 a year. At the time I was a preschool teacher, or I just lost my job because of the 2008 recession. And I maxed out at $50,000 a year. So to make 300,000 I was like, What are you even saying to me? That’s impossible. Well, my business now makes eight figures a year, eight figures. So it’s not impossible. There’s nothing super special about me other than the fact that I’m really good at teaching, and I’m passionate about it, and I’ve monetized it and I’ve maximized it. But I lived really simply, I lived. I rented a room with a bunch of my friends who were sorority and like sorority girls, we were like 31 years old, and we found this brownstone and they were all entrepreneurs to win, like what each of these rooms for cost us 500 bucks apiece. So we lived together for two years and helped each other with our businesses. I drove the oldest ugliest car for years until finally I remember literally going to speaking engagements and Waiting until everyone left because I didn’t want them to see my car like his, the speaker from the stage to switch where there was valet parking. I’d be like No, I’m good. I will park around the corner and just walk up right now but now because of that that you know, I would say it took about three to four years of like that early investment that now My life is different. I live in a house now that’s paid off. I bought it in cash and renovated it in cash. I have investment properties, the same thing, bought cash renovated, cash paid off my parents house paid off my student loan debt, the car that I have now. I didn’t buy a brand new I it was a certified Pre Owned was two years old but I bought a cache my husband the same and so we are debt free like four year olds. That’s what I say. Right like literally you know people are going debt free but I’ve got a mortgage I’m like no, no, I am debt free. Like my nephew Roman. He’s for advice. So I have no debt whatsoever, all assets, but that took years. I’m 10 years into this you know becoming an in being a business owner. owner and founder. But it’s been so worth it. I wouldn’t have gotten here without initially taking what I call the short term L. So the short term loss for the long term w the long term win.

Melyssa Griffin
Mm hmm. I like that a lot. And what also spoke to me is what you’re saying about living with your friends who are also entrepreneurs in the beginning stages. I feel like community is so important to growing businesses and just kind of whatever you want in life, do you feel like that situation helped your business start on are really good, but…

Tiffany Aliche
…absolutely, I think that I remember I used to have like a squat. I forget the name we used to give ourselves but I remember I was like, I needed people who had a sickening work ethic. I wanted people who were optimistic. And I wanted people who, you know, not they could do something for me, but there, they have to bring something to the table like other entrepreneurs and so many of my businesses are results. have like a friend giving me a hand or advice. I think there should be three levels of people in your life, especially as a business owner, that you should have mentors or sponsors. So these are people who have gone there ahead of you. And they can either pull you along or give you advice from a place of I’ve been there, done that, right. So level two, which is actually the most important are your peers. So people who are at similar levels to your peers might be really good at one thing, but they’re not as good as you are this thing. So you know, but still at a similar level because when they normalize the process, I can’t tell you how many times I would call my friends and be like, I’m just gonna quit. I’m gonna go back to teaching preschool. They’re like, no, no quit. One more week. You need someone who’s gonna normalize the process. Talk, I call it talk you off the ledge, talk you off the ledge, right? And then because then you’re like, Oh, well, I remember distinctly talking to my friend Mark who does very well now. But we were both broke at the same time. And I remember being like Mark, I gotta tell you something like honestly, I don’t have any money, my bank account and Verizon is going to take them Money. It’s got to be negative. He’s like you too. And I remember being like, Wait, are you broke? And he was like, Yes, I’m like, my. And we both started laughing because I was so ashamed. And I was like, well, who else is broke, and I reached out to my other peers. And almost everyone was because we had just started. And so I was like, Okay, and then the third level is your mentee. So having people that you help, because one giving activates abundance, and your mentees open you up to new ways of thinking about things, because many times, you know, we’re in a game for a long time that you become jaded, and you’re not yet and so you see things through new eyes. So sponsor mentor, tier one, peer tier two and mentee tier three. Hmm, I love that distinction. And I love what you said that giving activates abundance. I completely agree just the spirit of generosity. It seems almost counter intuitive that the spirit of generosity actually creates more abundance and wealth. Yes, no, I absolutely believe I’m proof positive we give so much of what we do away for free at the Budgetnista. And yet we are hyper successful. And we’re, we’ve been doubling every year for the last few years. Yeah, this year, we’ll close that 10 million next year. We’re, we’re if all things go right, it’ll be 20, if not more, so yeah. Despite all that, we give so much away for free because our ultimate goal is to provide access, especially to women to financial education, women who are typically left out of that financial education circle like no, no, no, no. Here you have access to change and make your life better.

Melyssa Griffin
Hmm. Well, first of all, congratulations. That’s freaking amazing. Thank you. Not surprising, because I was looking at I mean, all of the things that you put out there and you are this Maven of educational generosity, you are. I love that educational generosity very much And I want to talk about that to what you’re saying about helping women because I know that you’ve helped close to a million women empowered, making empowered financial decisions. So what do you feel like changes on a systemic level when women have more money are more financially educated.

Tiffany Aliche
So statistics show that when you help a woman, you help her family, and not just a family, but the community, the neighborhood, helping women helps everyone and no need for their men listening. But statistics have shown that when you help men, you help men. And so, you know, that’s why you see so many programs geared toward women. And it’s also sometimes culturally how women are raised right to be part of a collective part of a whole. Women really see themselves as singular. They know they’re part of a plural, you know, whether it’s sister, brother, cousin, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, women tend to look after multiple people outside of themselves. So I think that that’s what Why I focus on women one because I’m a woman. But ultimately what I really want is for everyone to do better financially. But I know that the best way for everyone to do better financially is through women. Women are typically the first teachers in a household. If a woman has a child, she’s usually the first educator. So it’s through her that she wants to be able to reach her daughter or her son or her niece or nephew is to her, I’m going to be able to reach her husband or her partner is to her I’m going to be able to help her mom or her dad or her uncle. Yeah, that’s women are special people. And if you can empower a woman and give her the tools that she needs for financial success, you would just see such a transformation and wouldn’t take generation after generation, you would see transformations, you know, just rapid transformations. I’ll give you an example. There was a woman who wrote to me a few years back, she was recently homeless, and she’s like I’m living in a shelter I do. I do have a job. I just don’t have enough money to have a place to live for myself. In my family, and I was just like, okay, she said, Well, I know you have the free liver challenges, but I do. They’re still free at Liberty Challenge calm. And she said, I know you have those challenges. Do you think that I should take it now that I’m like, you know, here? And I said, Yes, if you have a phone and access to the internet certainly can help, because the challenges are just, it’s just a free course that I created to walk you through achieving your financial goals, but actually like, I’m a teacher. So lesson plans. Here’s the script. Here’s the worksheet. So it’s not like, Oh, you know, this is how you should feel. It’s like, No, no, no, here’s your homework. Come back tomorrow. Right? So I have Liberty challenges at work. And so she’s like, okay, I’ll do that. And then I gave her a friend of mine. Linda is a social worker. So I called him and asked her if there were resources. So Linda gave me a bunch of resources to help her with the most pressing issue, which was homelessness, you know, and getting her to a safe space. A year and a half, maybe two years later, she messaged me again on Facebook and said, Hey, Tiffany, I don’t know if you remember me, but I messaged you a couple years ago, I did remember her because Facebook shows the messages from before. And she said, I just want to thank you and say, I’m closing on my house today. And I just want to thank you. Well, I tell you, I was weeping Melissa, I was like, What?

Tiffany Aliche
What she was like, the challenge helped me. You know, the resources you gave me helped me and I’m just a different person. Now. She’s not just her. It’s her, her children. I don’t know, she had a partner at the time. But how transformative is that? You know, and so, you know, that’s why that component of service is so important to me. Because we are here to really make people’s lives better. When you help women. You just help everyone.

Melyssa Griffin
Mm hmm. Wow, that’s a powerful story. And yeah, I think of money as like this expression of our values. And if we’re leaving women off the table, where we’re not seeing their values expressed monetarily in the financial system and in companies that women typically support how women use money, then we’re leaving so much out of the equation of just yeah, honoring how women show up in the world. So I think it’s so, so important. I love that you do that work. Thank you. Yeah, I would love to talk to you, I know that you had a hand in passing a law in New Jersey, which is when I read that I was like, Alright, amazing.

Tiffany Aliche
Meanwhile, over here, inspiring a million women, and then over in New Jersey passing a law. I won’t explain it. I’ll let you explain it because I think it’s really inspiring. But I’d love to talk about what that is.

Tiffany Aliche
Yeah, no, thank you. This is why I say giving activates abundance. Sometimes the abundance is not for you. It just might be for the world at large. And so I used to teach at the United Way in Newark, New Jersey, and there was a woman Her name was Angela. She was super awesome, super kind and I forget what she worked at the time but she did a lot of volunteer work. She had a nonprofit called Angela cares. And she did so much volunteer work in her City, New Jersey City of New Jersey, that they asked her to run for office to never run or anything before. And she said, Okay, so she became the assembly woman. So the first thing she did was hit me up one of the first things and said, I’m the new assemblywoman for the state of New Jersey. I took your class, Tiffany, we were still friends. And she was like, it was so transformative. I think financial education should play a bigger role in our schools. I was like, Yes, Angela, I think so true. And I told her there’s already for New Jersey, there was already a law in place for high school in New Jersey was like ahead of the curve. Right. And I said, but honestly, Angela, I used to teach preschool. Little kids can get this too in a way that’s age appropriate. And she said, Really? I said, Yes, I think there should be a lot for younger kids. So we work together. It took three years. We have to get like teachers and principals and superintendents and, and the state, the House and the Senate and committees on board. And the law after three years was passed and what was so special is There are hundreds of laws sometimes passed a week. But this law was special in that they had a signing ceremony at a middle school because it was for middle school, this law to make financial education mandatory to have it integrated into the middle school education system and all New Jersey. So they signed it at a middle school, which is super awesome. And then myself Angeline what was really awesome was that the governor at the time he couldn’t make it. So he said, our very first woman, Lieutenant Governor, African American woman, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Oliver. And so here I am a black woman, Angela, who is a black woman and the lieutenant governor was a black woman in front of these brown and black children. And I just thought it was so important for them to see what is possible in a world that often tells you what’s not possible. Here we are passing law, the three of us well, I didn’t have to pass a law but you know, I can’t find anything but still, maybe this law is possible. So I just thought it was such a powerful moment. My mom was there and my friends were there. So it was just amazing. And it is For me, Well, I’d already thought about writing a children’s book before then, but inspired me to really, like, lean into it. And so I wrote my very first children’s book called Happy birthday, Molly Moore, to teach age appropriate financial education to kids three to seven. And I did a Kickstarter because I wanted to, like, create free resources for kids to have access to and their parents have access to the Kickstarter went well, we’ve already sold like 10,000 books in the last few months. And the book is just rocking and rolling. And parents with the teacher in me wanted to make sure that other educators at the back of the book had extended the lesson questions and activities. So you could really read the book and kids would get the lesson, but then you as a parent or an educator might say, How do I really make sure the lesson is driven home so I have these activities you can do with them? 

Tiffany Aliche
Yes, I wanted to because there’s not too many books where the girl is the lead, you know, and I really want to impress too when I was little there weren’t too many books where the cover looked like me. This is literally like, well, this is really my stepdaughter. I used her picture when she was little, but we looked very similar. When we were little, I was a little chunky. I was teased, actually, they say, Tiffany has a big belly, whatever. So I made my little chunky, my Afro look like little Michael Jackson Afro, just like this. And I wanted little Tiffany internally, like if I would see this book, I would have been like, it looks like me. But inside, she knows she should her family and friends look like it’s just a wide range of colors because I wanted to teach kids to, you know that. Yes, you can see yourself but then there are other people that you know, might not look like you but they’re part of your inner circle as well. So I’m really proud of that book because it teaches counting and giving and less versus more. Yeah, and it was all really From this law, that I didn’t realize what a difference the law would make us if I do stuff and I don’t, I don’t let it soak in. It wasn’t until my actual art director Rianna who lives around the corner, her daughter Olivia is in middle school and I was visiting. And she was like, Miss Tiffany, or shall we it? Tiffany, I see. Tiffany, can you help me with my homework? And I said, Sure. And it was like there was like, a worksheet with like money and I was like, Olivia, you guys are learning about money in school. Ah, you’re learning about money in school. So it was yes, I couldn’t believe it. Like it’s my law and actually around the corner and like my favorite people’s house, because that was like, you know, such an aha moment for me as well. But like, yes, but Olivia is getting financial education in school. She will never be the same. And neither will other children like her. So yeah. So it’s for those of you who want to look it up. It’s I called the budget these two long it’s not combat but but it’s really law. 1414 in New Jersey, because People sometimes ask how do we get a law passed like this in my state, and you could take that same wording and reach out to your assembly local assembly woman and say, Hey, I’d like to talk about making this a law.

Melyssa Griffin
Huh? I love that. And I mean, I think I’ve had chills the whole time I’ve been talking to you consider your story and everything you create is so inspirational. But something that really struck me about what you’re saying is when you were saying at the the ceremony to make this a law, and then also the book that you created is really about representation and show Yes, kids, that people who look like them have so much success and financial success and success in creating this law and creating a book where they feel seen, what role do you feel like representation has in terms of financial abundance and why it’s so important?

Tiffany Aliche
It’s hard to be or do something that you have not seen or experienced? Right, right. So I remember when I was a preschool teacher, they would teach us if you want to teach a kid about an apple, you can say there’s something called an apple. You bite it, it’s red. It’s delicious. That’s like, okay, that’s first here. Or you can show up kid a picture of an apple and say this is an apple. It’s red. It’s delicious. So that’s like the next tier of like, okay, there’s some understanding there. Or you could show a kid a video of an apple, someone’s biting the apple, they’re eating it, you’re like, Okay, now I get a better understanding. Or you can give a kid an apple and have them experience an apple for themselves. And that is when the lesson is fully solidified. And so that’s what representation does. It takes it from Yes. Could somebody read a book about people who groan? Well, yeah, you know, that’s okay. Could they watch TV shows about people who have Well, yeah, that’s okay. But if you can actually meet and greet with someone, connect with someone that has done the thing that you’re wanting to do, it makes it real and actual. That’s why representation is so important, especially localized representation with people that you can touch and feel, you know, so that’s why I said you wanting to have like a mentor peers and mentees and definitely making sure that some of those people around you are a producer. Her name is Isa. So Ray she she has a show called insecure right? And so Isa always sees super hilarious and she said you know who’s busy beyond say stop trying to um network or be on saying she’s busy you know who’s not busy your friend Sarah. She’s like network horizontally. Everyone’s always trying to be like, Oh, if I could just, if I could just talk to Oprah, if I could just talk to you know, whoever right it’s like, okay, but your friends are dope, and you can actually rise together. She was like almost everyone on her team; she went to college and high school with her network horizontally. So I encourage people to network horizontally where you will find representation that is actual and tangible. There you will find people who are doing well, who can give you the blueprint in real time of what they’re doing. And so yeah, representation is critically important and working to But it’s possible to do without it. It’s just so much harder. But yeah, you might have people in your circle that you might not even realize are killing it in their own round.

Tiffany Aliche
Mm hmm. Right. And it feels like it’s harder because you’re creating something that you don’t even have the vision or concept for how it would look or exist.

Melyssa Griffin
Exactly.

Melyssa Griffin
One of my friends, Allyson Bird has this quote, I want to lift as I climb, like, I want to lift the people around me up as I climb to my own next destination and yeah, I just love those mentalities that you have. And she has around, like you said, networking horizontally with people instead of always just like looking beyond Yes,

Tiffany Aliche
No one’s coming to save you. You are literally the superhero in your own story. Right. Right. So let’s take off your glasses Clark head and put on your cape. It’s you.

Melyssa Griffin
Yes. Ooh. That’s so much. I just have one more question for you. Because this podcast is called limitless life and we’re all about removing The limits that we put on ourselves so that we can have the life that we really want. And so what is one piece of advice that you would give our listeners in terms of how they can live a life with no limits?

Tiffany Aliche
And the best way I have found to live a life with no limits is to allow yourself to dream, like the way that you did when you were in first and second grade. I remember I just say, Wow, things like, one day I’m gonna invent gum. The one day I’m gonna, you know, like these, like wild dreams that seem so when you’re an adult, you’re like, that’s just crazy. That’s not going to happen, but that’s not true. Literally, everything around you was someone’s wild, crazy dream. We are sitting in front of each other on a laptop, like what does that even mean? Your grandmother never had this. Someone had a wild and crazy dream. Here we are. This is literally the Jetsons. Remember the Jetsons? There’ll be video calls like oh Jetsons.

Tiffany Aliche
Meanwhile, here we are, are we not on hoverboards? Right?

Tiffany Aliche
We have like all these things all we need is like Judy does some I’m aging myself some of your like what Millennials are like, I don’t know what she means is Generation Z is definitely not. But do you know what I mean? Right. And so I just think that basically you have to unlearn, unlearn that thinking of I can’t, it’s not possible. Like I said, I told myself $300,000 a year was crazy talk, but I wrote it down in my journal anyway. And now I would be upset if my business brought in $300,000 a month, because I’d be like, what’s going on what’s happening? You know, and now I’m like, Well, if we can do a million dollars a month, well, why can’t we do a million dollars a week? Because we could do a million dollars a week? Why can’t we do a million dollars a day, so surrounding yourself with people, because that mindset didn’t come from me, one of my business partners Jabril he thinks in that way because he had a mentor that helped him to think in that way. So when I first met Bro, I thought he’s crazy. He’s just big talk, but that doesn’t happen. And then, you know, we were able to accomplish one accomplishment. I was like, Huh, maybe he’s got all the way crazy. And then another huh? Maybe he’s not crazy at all. And now I’m on board. Now I’m the crazy person speaking life into my mentees. Like, why can’t you do a million dollars in a month? Tiffany, come on. Now, that’s not realistic. I’m like, I’m sorry. I used to be a preschool teacher 10 years ago, right about now, I’d be waking the kids up from nap time. I mean, it’s possibly, you know, yeah. So like taking those blinders off and asking for help. If there’s something that I have that for this year that has been mine. I guess the biggest lesson that I have learned personally, is I finally am learning to ask for help. Entrepreneurs are typically solo dolo we do everything ourselves, carrying the whole burden. But learning to ask for help is going to get you to the finish line faster, with less stress. And so I just wasn’t good at asking for help. But learning to do so has just transformed my life. I have such a life. are lifted out. And I’m actually able to do more. And I’m more creative. And I have such, like now that I’m not so bogged down by things I didn’t want to ask for help for. I have bigger plans and bigger ideas. And I’m like, Oh, well, we can be 50 million and that’s fine. We can be 100 million in the next 10 years. I didn’t have the time and the space for that kind of thinking, because I was doing too much myself. So take off the blinders, think big and learn to ask for help. Hmm.

Melyssa Griffin
I love that. And I feel like people want to help you, like people want to be of service to you. So there’s this fear of asking for help, but it’s actually something that so many people want to give to you. Exactly. Thank you so much. Where can people go to learn more about you and your business, your book…

Tiffany Aliche
All the things so I am the Budgetnista on all the social platforms on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and Budgetnista.com and if you’re looking for that free literature challenge, there’s a bunch of them, but if you go to livericherchallenge.com you can take one of the challenges If you have a little one or you know a little one that you’d love to give them Happy Birthday Mali More, more my children’s book, you can go to M-A-L-I that’s how I spell Mali – malimore – M-O-R-E – .com. Thank you for having me, Melyssa. This has been awesome.

Melyssa Griffin
Awesome. Thank you so much Tiffany. I appreciate you.

Tiffany Aliche
You’re welcome.

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