The financial expert of choice for Oprah, The Huffington Post, Fortune, and the Wall Street Journal shares about the emotional relationship most people have with money and more.
On February 10th of 2016, today’s guest was nice enough to be a guest on her super successful podcast, So Money with Farnoosh Torabi. Farnoosh is a best-selling and is considered by many to be the voice of financial planning and financial peace for the modern woman. Throughout her career Farnoosh has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Live with Kelly and many other leading media publications.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Farnoosh Torabi!
On February 10th of 2016 today’s guest was nice enough to feature me as a guest on her super successful podcast, so money with Farnoosh Torabi. Farnoosh is a bestselling author and it’s considered by many to be the voice of financial planning and financial independence for the modern woman throughout her career for new. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, live with Kelly and Ryan and many other leading media publications throughout her career. She’s interviewed the likes of Seth Godin, Robert Kiyosaki, Tim Ferris, Arianna Huffington, Gretchen Rubin, and other industry and thought leaders. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you by frame Farnoosh Torabi.
Sam shows don’t need a celebrity in a writer to introduce the show. This show dot two men, eight kids co-created by two different women, 13 mode time million dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen welcome
to the thrive time show. Yes, yes, yes and yes. Thrive nation. On today’s show, we have an incredible guest by the name of it,
Farnoosh Torabi, welcome onto the show. How are you, ma’am? I’m doing really well. Thank you for having me. What an honor. Hey, you have had massive success. Ah, when I first kicked it with you years ago, you’ve gone on to have even more massive success. So before you overwhelm everybody with, with the success, can you share with the listeners out there, uh, your beginning and your, your kind of, your, your childhood and where it all started? Worcester, Massachusetts. Whoa.
Yeah. Anyone out there familiar with sta? Uh, we dropped the ares where I’m from. Um, my parents flew here in 1979 from Iran and my dad came to the states with a, uh, a university scholarship, uh, to study physics. So get a phd in physics of which I have zero genes. I did not get that DNA unfortunately. Um, but he, my mom moved here, classic immigrant story of coming here to achieve the American dream. I was born in 1980 and uh, really I think that experience of seeing my parents build their lives up from the ground up, um, was huge for me in terms of understanding the power of money and what it can do for you and what it can’t do for you. The importance of family, the importance of working hard. And so I’m a byproduct of, uh, of, of the, uh, sort of American dream story and you know, fast forward to today, you know, as you know, financial advice is my forte and uh, but at the end of the day, I think I just like to consider myself as somebody who likes being in service to in service of other people. I’d like to help. And money is my medium.
You are like so many people found yourself at the age of 22. If I’m correct with about a $30,000 debt there and you’re making $18 an hour with a master’s degree, um, how did you get there and how did you get out of that dynamic where so many people are stuck a burdened with that student debt with very little income?
Well, how I got there is a, that I really, really wanted to get this degree as a someone who was transitioning from college to the real world. I wanted to then go immediately into graduate school to learn the ropes and to get my journalism degree. And I had this big dream of becoming a big journalist one day and I felt like a graduate degree would really help me transition. And it did and it was going to cost me a lot. It was about $30,000 in total, like you know, well actually part of that was also credit card debt. So it was a lot of student loans, Park car credit card debt. And I really at the time believed that it was an investment in myself and I, you know, it was, I rolled the dice a little bit with that large amount of money, but I was also very committed as soon as I got out of graduate school to make the money to be out of that debt sooner than later.
And I, you know, unfortunately all that was available at the time was an $18 an hour job working for a magazine as sort of a glorified intern. But I supplemented that income with side hustles, babysitting, copywriting. I bird sat over a July 4th weekend birds and I, I wouldn’t do that again, but I did it and I made a quick, you know, $75 and every little bit of money that I could squirrel together from these side hustles, went to pay off this student loan debt. And actually years later I got a book deal and I got a nice advance and rather than go and blow that on, who knows what, I took a large chunk of that and pay down all of my student loans, which honestly, it didn’t have a huge interest rate at the time. I could have probably put that in the market, made a little bit of more money over time. But for me it was really important to be debt free and it helped me from not just a financial standpoint but like an emotional standpoint. I could sleep better at night. And so for me that was important to do.
When did you first have the vision to become a financial expert and, and when did you start to gain some traction?
Hmm. I think it all started to come together for me in my early twenties. I was, you know, as I said, I graduated from journalism school and my first job was working at money magazine as an editorial assistant and that was a real, um, those were a learning experience for me, getting to know how to actually write to help people with their money, what are the elements of a good financial advice piece. And then there I was able to meet so many different editors and people who were doing the good work of, of giving advice to their audience about money. And I guess I was gravitating more and more towards that. I didn’t initially think this was going to be my path. I thought I’m going to just kind of work here, learn how to be a good reporter, and then transfer those skills may be to a different type of reporting.
Maybe it would be political reporting or international news reporting. But I really still felt that money was for a lot of reasons, a place that I should hang out with a little bit more in. So one, I felt like I had a fluency around money that most of my peers did not. I grew up again in that Middle Eastern family where money was something that we talked about a lot. And I grew up with a comfort level around money discussions that I think was unique to me and was in some ways, um, uh, sort of a leg up. And then the other thing is I thought money is where it’s at. You know, people need to know how to manage their money before they can really learn how to, I’ll run their lives in a way that is meaningful, um, that if you have died, if you’re mismanaging your money, that can really hinder you from being able to achieve your goals, achieve your dreams. And so foundationally I found money to be really important and if I could be the person to help people in that way, I, I, it was very gratifying to me. And it still is.
And I know there’s a lot of ground to cover here, but from the time of your first book or what I believed for your first book, you’re so money live rich, even when you’re not from there to now your newest projects, uh, the deep she stacks project. Can you walk us through what inspired you to write that first book and how did you get into your newest project?
So what inspired the first book, um, was really me feeling like there wasn’t enough advice out there for the younger generation how to manage their money in a way that made sense to them. So a lot of the advice at the time, and this was mid two thousand, was catered to our parents’ generation. And the advice that was given was often given by, um, you know, white men to be very frank. And I felt that there needed to be more diversity and not just who was giving me advice, but also who we were talking to and who are we were helping. There was a huge service gap for the millennials and for the young adults. And I fell as somebody who was working in the trenches as a financial writer and as also a member of this, of this community that I want it to be a leading voice for, for my generation.
And, and so that was really the impetus for your so money, this book that was really in service of young people as they were grappling with things like student loan debt and stagnant wages and, uh, wanting to have a lifestyle and a life, but on a, on a budget obviously. And how to kind of, um, you know, tread there their financial life in a way that I addressed all of these sort of immediate concerns, but also allowed them to plan for their future and from the, from the voice of somebody who is in it with them. I think it was also a key thing. And then of course, fast forward to today. Thank you for bringing it up. I’m, I’m starting a new company called, she stacks with two female founders in addition to myself, um, where we really want to build this sisterhood for women to come and feel like they’re supported around their financial goals and their financial questions and it’s called she stacks.
But our first offering is this year in the spring, um, uh, a venture that we have called stax house. It’s a pop up that maybe you’re familiar with, Museum of ice cream or Museum of pizza or collar factory. These experiential popups are very popular right now. People love going to them, taking photographs, putting them on Instagram, they’re creating a cultural wave. And we thought, what if we took that format? And instead of pizza and ice cream, um, catered this popup to financial literacy for women and financial empowerment for women. So stacks house is a pop up with a purpose to drive financial independence and literacy within the female population. And we’re launching in Los Angeles this spring with for a month you can visit us there for a month. I can go to stacks house.com and then the goal is to travel throughout the country with this activation all the time. Learning what women need, what they want, how they’re reacting to things, and also building community because that’s what’s really missing from this bigger conversation about you know, women and wealth. I think that I have done a lot of work in this space and I’ve done content. I’ve done videos, I’ve done, I have a podcast, but what’s really missing clay is sort of this experiential community
layer. You know we have a pop up here, my partner in crime, Dr Robert Zellner pop up experience. Doctor Z , you popped up, you’re on the show. What question do you have for the financial expert, Ms Farnoosh Torabi? Well to be and to be accurate, since she dropped her ours we’d have to go dot. Got. Okay. I’ll, this is true Zell, so we couldn’t do the officer. We have to respect that. That’s how you’ve got to communicate with, so how are we going to monetize stacks house or are you, is it just a Freebie?
So that’s one revenue stream. We also are working with brand partners who are helping to support the build. And that’s going to help to make this experience an incredible, we have partners including Zell, which is the person to person payment service. They are our presenting sponsor and they are dedicating a large portion of, of, of the space to um, helping women, um, really, uh, ask for what they want, which we believe should be money and to learn how to empower themselves with their money. And then we also have Charles as a partner who’s going to be presenting our retirement rodeo. So you get to come to the event and um, learn about compound interest and the importance of writing the volatility of the market over time on our mechanical savings pig head. So, so this is what I mean about, you know, um, making this such a dynamic experience.
We couldn’t do this alone. We have brand partners. We’re going to have the women who attend, who are going to give us feedback and it’s a ticketed event. And of course we’ll have some merchandise. Uh, but we are hoping that more than anything, this is going to be our way of learning what the market needs because she stacks the, the parent company has a lot of ambition to build a lot of different products and services and events for women. But we didn’t just want to throw ideas against the wall and we didn’t want to just build another app. Right? We wanted to do first do this listening tour through the form of this pop up to then give us a more informed direction as to what would be the next kind of, um, the next iteration.
Well, this kind of a sidebar, a little known fact about Clay Clark. Oh, well, he’s always wanted to perform as a clown is a rodeo clown. So really this, just the idea
saying, you know, we’ll be in la for a month
play, come on, talk about with you. We could, you know, face paint and oversize, you know, Britain was an oversized head. Like I already have. I can just be a human bobblehead no, no producer. I want to ask you this because you have said this either on a podcast or a book I’ve read or I mean I just hear you say this theme, so I’m paraphrasing and getting it incorrect. Please correct me here, but I believe you’ve said that money isn’t just about dollars and cents, it’s more of a deeply layered issue if I’m paraphrasing that correctly, what does, what does that mean?
Well, money is emotional, right? And I think we’re at a place in our world and where we are in our, in our timeline of events and historically speaking, like we’re in the communications world where in the world of the Internet you can just Google a definition of a Roth Ira or compound interest and index funds and I don’t think the issue is like understanding the definitions or the technicals of money. Of course there is a bit of a learning curve still, but I think like that stuff is out there. But what makes money really hard for people in, in my experience, in my personal life and in other people’s lives that I’ve encountered is the emotional, the emotional gap. You know, money brings about a lot of, for some people, anxiety, fear, confusion, insecurities, and so that needs to get addressed. I think that’s foundational. I think that money managing your money is like 10% math, 90% mindset and that’s kind of my second book really is where my second book comes in is Psych Yourself.
Rich is it’s more about the behavioral tendencies that we have around money and how to address them and how to kind of develop the disciplines and the right healthy mindset to be able to manage your money well. If you think for example, that you’re not worth it, guess what? Not going to make the money. If you think that you’re bad with money, guess what? You’re not going to be good with money. What we tell ourselves and the emotions that we harbor around money are often what keeps us from achieving financial independence, from making the right and kind of money moves.
You’ve been, you know, interviewed on the Today Show Oprah magazine, so many different media publications and outlets and that nobody ever receives universal praise. You know, I’m a big fan of yours. We like what you do. Um, but I’m sure there’s somebody who’s left yet a bad iTunes review or Google review or hates on you on social media or, uh, there’s, there’s gotta have, it’s, you’re, you’re, I know you’re dealing with that, that criticism as a female entrepreneur who is a female, all, you’re, you’re a financial management expert, but you, your, your niche to help the women out there. How do you personally handle with handle that kind of adversity and criticism?
Well, I think it helps to have been doing this for as long as I have. I think in the beginning I was much more sensitive to criticism. Yeah. But I think as I’ve gotten older and I’ve also experienced Chris’s, I mean it’s sort of like, you know, I become a little immune to it, but I also think that criticism is great. I, when I, when I meet people who are often afraid to share their ideas with the world because they’re worried what people are gonna think. I often think you know what’s, what’s, what would be worse is that you share something with the world and no one reacts. What’s better is if you share something with the world and then what happens is there’s discourse, there’s a conversation, there’s debate because then you know that you are moving the needle. Then you know that you’re saying something that is striking a chord for every person who disagrees with you.
There are probably a hundred that agree with you, but it’s more in our human nature to be outspoken over things that we don’t like. Things that you like, you like, you know, think about it when you have experienced a bad, let’s say, I dunno, restaurant or hotel experience. Yeah, you’re more likely to go on that website and complain. If it was pleasant. If it was great, you’re not going to say anything. So I actually had a mentor of mine years ago say for our news, for every negative criticism you get, whether that’s in a comment section of a blog or wherever and your email inbox, there are probably a hundred people that loved it, but just didn’t think that it would matter for them to say anything.
So let’s talk about financial feminism. I’m sure that’s something that’s going to divide the room quickly here. Somebody has a hot take on this. When we talk about financial feminism, what do you, what do you mean by that?
Well, I mean that to some extent, um, you know, money has no gender. I want to just say that, but I think that when it comes to women and money, there are certain things that we have to care more about. You know, we are living longer than men and unfortunately there is this thing called the pink tax, which is that some of the everyday common goods that we all have to purchase, whether that’s dry cleaning, a haircut, um, deodorant, there’s often a higher price. Women pay for those things. And
you women pay through the nose for automotive repair. I know this to be a fact.
Well, yeah, because we’re taking advantage of the person who is charging us assumes that we don’t know anything and therefore takes advantage of us. And, and, and so we live longer. We pay more for things. We also make less on average than men over our lifetimes. And so we need to identify with these gaps and we need to combat them head on and we need to understand that there is, um, we need to rally as, as a, as a, as a gender. But also I think men are important to come into this conversation too and into this movement to, we need everybody to get behind the importance of helping women advance in their financial lives. And, and that, that to me is sort of where we’re financial feminism comes into place, like really believing that there are some special steps that needs to be taken to make sure that women can achieve financial equality.
That we’re very much behind in some ways. Um, and taking the, the sort of, the, the viewpoint and the stance of being a financial feminist for that reason. It’s very important. I think we have to be really loud and really, really, um, conscious and deliberate about how we are working with women to help them get ahead. Um, I just had a guest on my podcast recently who talked about how you can actually be a feminist if you’re broke because guess what, when you’re broke, you don’t have money to make choices. You don’t have the ability, the agency to walk away from something that is harmful to you sometimes or that is threatening to you and, and, and so for, that’s again, we’re financial feminism comes into play. And I agree with that too. I think that that’s a bold statement and it’s probably going to have some critics coming at her at her, but I think that that is something that needs to be said. And, um, and that’s, that’s financial feminism.
No, for a new show. I know you have a hard out to have a lot of things going on today. So I have two final questions for you. I know DoctorZ has one. So my lightning round question for you. Number one, you’re a very intentional person. What do the first four hours of your typical day look like? What do the first four hours of your typical day look like and what time do you typically wake up?
I’ll answer the second one first. I typically wake up when my kids wake up, they are my alarm clock. I have a five almost five year old and a two year old and they typically wake up between six 30 and seven okay. I prefer seven and the next four hours from there is, it is first with getting them ready for the day. So my son goes to school, my daughter is at home, but they have needs and so I’m really just here for them in those first two hours is just getting them ready for breakfast, getting them dressed, all the things that parents do with their children in the morning, taking them to the bus stop. Following that, I like to have a little bit of downtime. I just don’t try to schedule anything really before 10:00 AM. I’m just so that I can have that couple of hours between my son going off to school and my nanny arriving for my to sort of get into work mode or even just exercise mode or just stare at a wall mode because I don’t have a lot of time to myself day to day and I try to carve out a little bit of time in the morning to just have freedom and flexibility to do whatever I want and kind of make a game day decision.
No. My final question I have and abductors owner has one more question for Ya. Stacks House. If somebody is somebody out there is listening right now and they hear about stacks house and they want to find out more about it, how do they do that?
Well thanks for the opportunity to share this with everybody. So stacks house, you can go to stacks, house.com tickets will be available soon. Again, we’re launching in the spring in Los Angeles and you can also follow us on Instagram at Stax House and bonus if you follow us every Monday I go into our story and answer people’s questions. So free money advice on Mondays at stax house on Instagram. Oh, it’s like Christmas, like Christmas, Hanukkah. It was never,
does it give us another gift of a great question. Now, if you could go back in time 20 years and sit down with yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
I would definitely, oh, I can answer this. I would definitely tell myself to have more fun and not get too caught up in, in what other people think, you know, that I was really almost to a fault, super focused growing up and I just was a list master and I just got to, had to, had to get the A and I, you know, I was a very rule follower and it’s incredible that now I’m like an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is typically, aren’t there rule breakers? Absolutely. I’m breaking rules now, but I, and I wish I broken a few more roles when I was younger. I wish I had tested myself a little bit more. Um, and maybe even tested my parents a little bit more. I gave them too easy of a ride I think. And uh, yeah, I think looking back, I wish I had just been a little bit more whimsical, um, because life is too short and I think I could have done a lot.
I could have had a lot of learning even through that experience. I all I almost to a fault associated having fun with like maybe there was something wrong with that. Like it’s have you having too much fun? Like that can’t be a good thing. You know, you needed to study hard, work hard, do the right thing, follow the rules. And part of that is in my DNA. I come from a family of rule followers. But I also think that, um, you know, I, I, I just somehow assumed like you, if you do the good work in you, in your goody two shoes at good things will happen. No, you can also break some rules in. Good things will happen,
you know, for new, I regret not having you on the show earlier cause I was on your show February 10th of 2016 and z. It’s taken us this long to have a reunion here.
I know what’s going on.
Oh Man, I know. Unbelievable. Never, never too late to join the play. Well, thank you for agreeing to be on our show. We’re so excited, uh, for you. We encourage all of our listeners to check out your new website and we’ll put a link on the show notes. They can check it out. And again, thank you for your time. I know you have so many great things to do today, but thank you once again. Thank you so much. You Bet. Great job. Thrive nation. I would ask you this question here on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the most proactive you could possibly be with your finances, you know, you know where every dollar is going and one is, frankly, you have no idea where your money’s going. You have no real discernible plan. I would encourage you to rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 in terms of your contentment and your confidence that you are headed the right way financially.
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