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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 66 – Not Quite Strangers: Master Your Money - Education, Money Rules, And Building Wealth

Not Quite Strangers | Wealth Building

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Not Quite Strangers: Master Your Money - Education, Money Rules, And Building Wealth

This show was inspired by a conversation I had a couple of years ago to get people, strangers specifically, to have more meaningful conversations. Hopefully, this episode will help you to inspire your own curiosity about the people around you and will shift your perspective. Sometimes, our minds change when we talk to new people and then establish connections. In this episode, we have some very special guests. This is what I'm going to call my money episode. This is money.

I'm going to start off by introducing Marcia. Marcia, you and I met in July or so of 2022. Both of us were part of a course through Heroic Public Speaking. It so happened that we were both doing our speaker recordings, so we connected through there. I remember your message about getting people to do angel investing, especially women and how empowering the message was. You and I ended up connecting again because we're both taking a writing course with the same editor from Heroic Public Speaking. We've been accountability partners ever since. I'm so grateful that you said yes to being on a show.

I thought, “Who would I introduce Marcia to? What would make this a great conversation?” I already had in mind Romone because you and I met in October of 2022. You're working with some of my coaching clients on their own financial moves. I remember we were sitting next to each other on the bus.

I can't remember exactly all the details of how we got to this point in the conversation, but you shared about your passion for also getting young people more educated about making financial decisions. From that, it led to you doing coaching sessions for my niece who is going to be a mogul. I'm setting her up so she doesn’t forget me in her will. You were so wonderful with her and she's learned so much. She's now on Fundrise and Robinhood. She's doing some stuff.

Good for her. That's great.

Romone, your commitment to young people, and Marcia, your commitment to empowering women about financial issues, challenges, and goals, I thought this would be a great matchup, so welcome to the show.

Thank you for having us.

Thank you.

What made you say yes to doing something like this? Besides the fact that I was the one to ask you. 

For me, number one is because you asked me to do it and we have the MLT relationship. Also, as you mentioned, I assisted with your niece. Two, it's fun to do this and connect with new people and different people. Throughout my career, my working career, and even just growing up, I always learned to say yes to things and give it a shot, so here we are.

I love talking to people and finding out what they're doing, especially if they have something to do with helping young people. I'm hot on helping women and people of color get access to capital. That's what I've been working on for the last couple of years. I was excited when you asked me to come on.

I was thinking back. I don't think I've had a conversation around money in the show, at least not in a meaningful way. We've talked about a lot of other things, but money has not come up at least not this way. I'm excited because it is an area that I've had to do a lot of personal work on. I was on a panel and we had to talk about entrepreneurship. One of the things I said is that I had never heard this when I started my entrepreneurial journey years ago. The first thing that I needed to do was heal any money wounds.

I like the way you say that.

Healing money wound and what that looked like for me was that I was indifferent. Money was always a point of tension in my family when I was growing up. I was like, “Don't even worry about money. Don't talk about it. Don't look at it. Let it go. Let it do this thing.” That's also very irresponsible as a business owner.

Among other things, so I realized that I needed to heal that relationship I had about it. Now, I'm friends with money. I have great resources that helped me do that, but I love the way the two of you connect to how to support and help people with money in a lot of different ways. I'm curious about what your start was. Did you have a money wound? Is this what this came out of? How did you guys start this journey?

I will say that people's relationship with money is very interesting to me. A lot of it has to do with how you're brought up. It could also be the way that you are. For example, I know that I am like a saver, so I'm more careful where other people might not. They may be more spendy, like my husband, for example.

You and me are the opposite, don't we?

It's important that people keep talking about it and I don't think we talk about money enough. We need to talk to our children about how they use money, what it means to make money, save money, and pay things forward. Paying forward is not necessarily always just with money, but it does add to our generosity. Even the smallest thing, like paying for somebody's Starbucks coffee, can be huge at making somebody's day or making somebody feel better. There are a lot of things that we can do there that we aren't talking about because money is sometimes taboo. You're right. People do have wounds. They feel like, “I shouldn't say that or I shouldn't talk about that.”

There's a sense of shame around it or a sense of entitlement around it. All of those things are some ego trip about money.

If you don't have enough money, then you're judged. If you have too much money, you're also judged. It's like, where's the happy medium? The people who have money are looked at like, “You shouldn't have all that money. You should give it away.” It goes on and on. You can go in a downward spiral thinking about it.

If you don’t have enough money, you will be judged. If you have too much money, you will be judged as well.

Romone, what about you?’

I'll chime in and say growing up, I didn't have much money at all. I grew up in a single-family household. A single-parent household, I should say, with four other siblings. I had wounds before I even had money. We didn't have much at all. I didn't know anything. I didn't know the basics of money. I didn't know about savings accounts and checking accounts. I didn't know much at all.

When I did get money, I wanted to spend it on materialistic things and no one taught me if that was the right thing to do or not the right thing to do, so I just did it. That stuck with me. I would say, even up to graduation from college, I was a spender. I wasn't a big saver until about 3 or 4 years after college when I started to transition.

I attracted a spender and a saver, all reformed. You guys are reformed now. I'd love to hear each of you. Maybe you have a story that was maybe in a high or some revelation about your own journey. Let's start with your own first, and then we'll talk about what you like to do with other people. I remember going to a party years ago and I met this guy. He and I were dancing. It was a great conversation, and then he's flexing.

He's like, “I got this house. I have this boat. I'm going to work in a boat. I got this new car.” He's telling me all this stuff and in my head, I was rolling my eyes. Not in front of him. He was sharing all these financial moves that he'd made. He was an entrepreneur with multiple income streams, and I was judging him hard.

I was not impressed. At the time, I was working at a corporation, and so he came after, saying, “You should work for the corporation because you're working for the man. They're going to take your money. They have control over you. You should be your own boss.” I was so angry, as angry as you could be at a party with a stranger. I didn't show it. I didn't say anything to him, but we never danced again. He left me thinking and the next day, I was still steaming about it.

In fact, I talked to my older brother and I said, “I don't know why, but this guy got under my skin.” My brother started asking me some questions and I was like, “What I got to eventually was that he was so clear about his values and what he thought was important around money, his financial philosophy and I wasn't.”

I felt okay about what I was doing, but I didn't have a way to articulate it. That's what made me uncomfortable. I thank him to this day because that moment, that interaction set me off on a path that I would not have imagined. I've been dragging along all my student debt for years at this point. I found Dave Ramsey or Dave Ramsey found me, you want to say, when I was ready. I got onto that whole snowball thing. I paid off my debt. I worked with a financial coach. It was a whole process after that experience.

I started doing investing. It’s been several years or so since that and experience. That taught me so much about myself, especially in such a challenging, uncomfortable moment. I'm curious, what's the story that you could tell us or tell each other of a moment where you had an insight in a hob about yourself, money or any of those things?

As I mentioned, after I graduated from college, I want to go work at Ernst & Young global accounting firm. Those type of firms, the big four firms, do a great job of educating their staff, especially their young associates. I was at a workshop, I believe, in Chicago. It was somewhere in the Midwest. At one of their workshops, they're talking about personal finances and talks about individual tax accounting. At that moment, I was thinking, “Throughout college, I learned a lot about accounting, but I never learned so much about wealth accumulation.”

At that moment, I realized I should start educating myself about accumulating wealth and not only saving. Saving is good to have for emergencies or large extenders later on in life or if you need it for an emergency, but I believe that we should be building our wealth and proactively doing that. I start taking classes, looking online, and reading books about that. Years ago, one of my mentors named Rex Holland gave me a book by Benjamin Graham called The Intelligent Investor.

Not Quite Strangers | Wealth Building
The Intelligent Investor Rev Ed.: The Definitive Book on Value Investing

I took that book out of my closet and started reading it. I started educating myself probably 2 or 3 years after college. One more thing about that, when I was working at Ernst & Young, I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and do something in the sports world, so I connected both of those passions, which led me to my company now. While I was doing that, I built a relationship with the FDIC. The chairman at the time was Martin Gruenberg and he talked to me about their money-smart financial education program. Once I learned about that program, I jumped in and learned as much as possible about financial education.

What are your thoughts on what's happening with Silicon Valley banks and then in the FDIC if you had a history there?

I'm not too familiar with everything going on there. In the years, I believe the FDIC have good leadership. I feel like they're going to do the right thing because I personally know Martin Gruenberg. I'm not sure who came right after him, but I know he spoke highly of the individual as well. I feel like the FDIC will do what's right in that situation. At the end of the day, their job is to protect the consumer. I feel like they will come to that conclusion and figure out how they can protect the consumer in that situation as well.

What's your business now, Romone?

We do well in strategy consulting for professional and collegiate student-athletes. I want to bounce that back off of you about the Silicon Valley Bank. What are your thoughts on that?

I'm on the board of the Angel Capital Association. We’re the Professional Society of Angel Investors in the US and I chair the board now. All weekend, the emails were flying about what was going on and what to do. There's a lot of stress over the weekend, especially with the CEOs of the portfolio companies and the startups that were affected by having money at Silicon Valley Bank. We didn't know that was going to be okay. We thought that at least up to the $250,000 FDIC-insured level, they are okay.

I did read somewhere. I read so much over. I don't know exactly which source I came from, so forgive me. I did read that 93% of the assets were not FDIC insured over Valley Bank. I talked to several founders who are very nervous and people who thought maybe they could make payroll. It seems like if the market is still open. It's not closed yet. It’s not the end of the day. We don't know exactly what's going to happen, but it does seem like things are moving in the right direction. A lot of other regional banks are being affected. Signature Bank was taken over. First Republic is struggling. People are having confidence and that makes it challenging.

The thing is, as you mentioned, the FDIC regulates or they insure up to $250,000, depending on the type of account. They're doing that for your savings and checkings, not investment accounts. Hopefully, investors are aware of that.

By the way, for those who are not familiar with it, there are two things. Could one of you share what the FDIC is, maybe, Romone, since you have a personal relationship with their former leader? Marcia, if you could share what happened with SVB, people should know just the high level.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the headquarters are in Washington, DC, right across from the White House. Basically, what they do is they ensure your money in a bank up to $250,000 depending on what type of account you have, but that's typically what they do. They are basically saying if something were to happen to your money and when you're checking or savings accounts, they would make sure you get that back. We were talking about if it's not in a savings or checking account. It’s a different type of account, like an investment account. That is not guaranteed because you're making an investment. There's risk involved there. The FDIC is not going to guarantee that money.

The Silicon Valley Bank, Marcia?

Without getting into a ton of detail, there was a reason that Silicon Valley Bank needed to raise more capital. When word started to get out on the street that this was going to happen, a couple of people started to pull their money out because they got nervous. That created a mass exodus of people wanting to pull their money out at the same time. I'm not an economist and I don't know that I have a crystal wall, but if people hadn't maybe been so hasty, this might not have come to quite the massive mass that it is.

Thank you for that. I wonder if you guys can speak to especially the work that you do. You’re helping students, student-athletes and women become more involved and engaged in angel investing. What you all basically pointed to is that sometimes money, in this case, the investment that people are making, can be rooted and shaken by fear very quickly. I'm curious about what drew you, first of all, to work with such a maybe volatile area of humanity. It’s a topic that has such deep emotional connections for people. What led you guys to do the work that you're doing?

I'll start by saying, one, growing up not knowing about this area. Not knowing about finances and wealth accumulation or even about savings. I have the curiosity and want to do the right thing to build my own personal financial foundation. Lastly, the last time I checked, financial education is only mandatory in eleven states in America. You take one class and that's it. That's not enough to know about a 401(k) or Roth, the difference between the two, how to build wealth, or the seven income streams as we discussed before.

Assisting others and making sure that they can build their financial foundation because where else are you going to get it? It’s not like each college student is going to have a financial education class and not every company is teaching their employees about financial education or the difference between a 401(k) or Roth. Wanting to assist other people because I know it's not out there.

I would agree with that. The amount of personal finance education that is given to kids nowadays is so little, even in schools. To answer your question, I was very lucky that my dad would teach me whenever he was paying bills. This is way before online banking. He would sit down and every month, he would have to pay the bills. He had a little box. Whenever he did it, he would ask me to come, sit next to him and watch him.

I was pretty young, so I don't know that I knew exactly what was going on, but he would show me how he would manage his checkbook and how he would budget to show that we had X number of dollars that we could spend, but we had to pay for all these things. We had maybe a little bit left over-dependent on the month and how we would manage that or if we wanted to say like a family vacation or if we wanted something like that. That taught me not to spend outside of my means because that was his philosophy.

That's all I was exposed to at that point. I thought everybody did that, but then I started to realize very quickly that wasn't the case. It's hard when people aren't given that type of education and hormones point. If you don't know about things that can help you manage long-term savings, like the difference between these types of IRAs and things that you can do so that you can start to pay yourself first,

I find that if you're a family that makes an average amount of money, then your income goes up a little bit and your income goes up a little bit. Somehow, your expenses seem to always go up, too. You grow into the amount of money that you're making with the amount of expenses. If we could figure out if you get a raise or a bonus, could we start to take that money and do what Romone is talking about? Put it into an IRA or start to save so that you can start to generate wealth. That would be a little bit. It could be a huge shift in how people are thinking.

It's interesting these two different thoughts. Not even in preparation for our conversation because I didn't do any preparation, but it so happened I joined the mentoring group around money with Ken Honda, a Japanese multi-millionaire who talks about Happy Money. He's the one who did a course that helped me get like he's all about money EQ. Not just money IQ.

In the mentoring session that I was listening to, one of the questions that participants had was about whether they wanted to start a new business and whether they could manage a budget. They're having a hard time staying within their budget, but they did have a business on the side. We're not generating that income. One of the things he said is, “Even when we start getting a lot of the money IQ, information, so much of it is focus on how to save or how not to spend.” He says, “Very few talk about how to make it.” How to make money. He was telling her, “You have a business. How creative can you get so that you make more money?” It was like, “Yeah.”

A lot of it is changing your mindset. As we were talking about, most people think about saving. That's just one component. On top of that, you can even make money while they put their money in a regular savings account. What if you could put it in a high-heeled savings account so you're yielding even more interest? Even when you save, you can earn. Shifting that mindset of saving but also actively investing so you can increase your wealth. That's where a lot of people are misled.

What's your reaction, Marcia?

I completely agree. An IRA is a good example since we were talking about that. You can put money into an account and it can grow tax-free. That's more money making more money for you, and then once you retire, you're usually in a lower tax bracket. It depends, but you can be. Overall, it’s a strategy, and that's what people need to think about. We talk about planning for all kinds of things. We need to be planning for how we can have a strategy to improve our wealth.

A quick question on that. You're talking about the IRA. Once you pull the money out later on in life, you’re taxed on that. What are your thoughts on converting instead of having an IRA to a Roth IRA? Once you take that money out, you're not taxing on it all. What are your thoughts on that?

It's fantastic, especially if you can do it a little bit along the way. If somebody has an IRA, for example, usually, the typical thing that happens is people will have a 401(k) at their job and then that accumulates money. If they leave that job, they convert it to an IRA. If you then want to convert that to a Roth, that's a hefty tax bill, especially if you're in your prime working years. Your tax rates are going to be a little bit higher. By the way, I'm not an accountant and I do not plan to be one.

I'll put in a disclaimer.

My background is in accounting. I was just curious what your thought was.

We’ll blame everything on Romone, but it is great because if you can do it, you end up in a Roth. For those who aren't totally familiar with the difference between the two, in a Roth, you're paying the taxes as it's being put in there. It's after-tax money and that just grows.

By the way, the tax bill that you're talking about is where a lot of people do not convert. I believe mainly people do not do that because they believe that they need to pay all of that upfront. When you convert it, you don't have to pay it all upfront. As you said, you can do it in installments. You don't have to convert everything at once. Do it when the time is right, or do it when the market is down because when the market is down, your gain is probably lower.

That's a very good point. When you convert it does matter.

Talk a little bit about the projects you guys are most interested and passionate about. Where are you putting this wonderful wealth, literal and figurative, of knowledge that you have?

I did a TED Talk, a TEDx Charlotte. I was a speaker there in October of 2022. In writing the speech, rehearsing it, and talking to people, it was about how anyone can invest and change. There were some rules that were changed by the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, back in 2016 that allowed anyone to invest in a startup company for as little as $50. A lot of people don't know about this because it's so new. It's only been around for a couple of years.

Even though the rules changed, it wasn't like everybody was talking about and everybody decided to go run and do it. There were platforms that had to be built, and lawyers had to figure out what could happen and what could not happen. It's starting to get a little bit of traction now. It’s a little more mainstream. Part of what I believe is that if we're going to start getting funding to diversity. I'm talking about all different kinds of diversity, gender, race, background, education, and where you live. All of those things matter in building a company. You need to have diversity in order to make a great company.

The only way we're going to get more capital into the hands of diverse founders is to have more diversity at the investment level. I'm passionate about helping people to know it. We can always talk about how to do it, but the why behind it. You can buy books out there on how to be an angel investor or how to invest in startups.

The only way to get more capital into the hands of diverse founders is to have more diversity at the investment level.

There are lots of articles that get posted, but there aren't a whole lot of people talking about why they do it. Why would somebody go out and read an angel investing book on term sheets or wanting to learn about term sheets? They have no idea. They would have no interest in picking it up until they thought about why they would ever be an angel investor.

Your why has to do with this idea of having more diversity and also because it creates a community and helps serve the types of companies that could serve an even more diverse group of people. Is that the why?

What a lot of people don't realize is that the US amount of annual charitable giving that happened in 2020, for example, was $471 billion. That's a lot of money, but that's only equivalent to 1% of the value of the US stock market. If we want to affect real change, we can't expect that the burden be placed all on nonprofits. Nonprofits are wonderful. We should keep donating and doing all the things that we've been doing.

We can't just think that all of the change that we want to see in the world is going to happen because of nonprofits. We need to help for-profit companies who are also making change. Those are the ones who are working on pharmaceutical drugs that we don't even know about, and they're coming up with different cool, innovative technology and things that can make our lives and our kids' lives easier.

Not Quite Strangers | Wealth Building
Wealth Building:Although we should keep donating to nonprofits, we cannot expect all of the change we want to see in the world to happen just because of them.

Are you saying for $50, I could be investing in Astrazeneca right now?

Yes, you can because, with the investing platforms, you can invest in investable shares.

Interesting, but you're talking specifically about startups.

I'm talking about equity crowdfunding.

Any questions or comments around that, Romone, before we move to you? Any questions or comments?

No, I agree with her point. It's great and in terms of investing and also who's investing. Having a diverse set of shareholders and partners, it's incredible.

Romone, tell us what you're up to. What are you passionate about these days?

I’m passionate about many things. In terms of financial education, I've been on a tour. Not a TED Talk yet, but I've been speaking to different colleges and student-athletes at the Division 1 level and a few at the Division 2 level. I love it because these college student-athletes, especially now that they can make money from NIL, name, image and likeness. I love going to speak to them in their team locker rooms or media room.

We're dealing with big-time players and big-time clients, so that's a lot of fun. We're educating them and answering questions. More importantly, we're helping them start their financial foundations or build wealth. We're changing lives doing that one. Also, continue to work with young professional athletes who need some guidance from a financial standpoint as well. In terms of financial education, those are things that we're doing and having fun with.

Why student-athletes? What is it about that particular population out of all? We're all missing the financial education you're talking about. Why did you hone in on that group?

There are many reasons why. A few are I was a student-athlete. I played basketball in a collegiate league at Florida State and then at American University. I can relate to student-athletes. I love sports. I know for a fact that it's not easy being a student-athlete and going to college. On top of that, they're making money now. We have college players who are making close to $1 million.

We finalized a deal with Buick under $500,000 with a few players. They need to understand that they're making this money, but they need to pay taxes right on this money. They need to keep track of where that money's coming from and where it's going. I like to help them build wealth. Getting and saving it isn't enough. Let's make sure that you're making that money grow.

Marcia, you mentioned women. Is that your key demographic that you're hoping to diversify this investment world with?

For sure. Right now, women get less than 3% of the venture capital dollars that are out there being given to startups, but people of color get less than 1%. If you're a woman of color, you're low on the list, so it's bad. Let's use these women, for example. Women are roughly 50% of the population. I doubt that they only have 3% of the good ideas. They probably have more than 3% of the good ideas out there. It's important that we keep talking about this and get more women and people of color involved on the investment side because it's the people who are writing the checks and who are the ones who get to decide where the money goes.

Not Quite Strangers | Wealth Building
Wealth Building:Men get less than 3% of the venture capital dollars being given to startups, but people of color get less than 1%.

What is it that you're noticing or learning about why there's still such a small percentage of women involved in this?

There are more women who are fundraising. It's a matter of they are able to get the capital. It's because the capital is being controlled by people who are giving it mostly to White men.

If there's a woman that's reading and this is saying, “I didn't know that. What does that mean for me?” What is it that's preventing me from moving in the direction that you're hoping or women move into? What are you discovering about the everyday woman who could invest in a startup that maybe doesn't know that they could like me weeks ago?

That’s probably the biggest hurdle. They don't even know that they can. Even wealthy people who donate lots of money to charity have never heard of angel investing. When I see something like that, I think, “If they are that generous, maybe they could take a little bit of money and put it into a startup.” Especially a startup that was working on something that was very similar to what charities work on but in a for-profit space of it that the company can grow.

I'm picking up from the two of you as you're sharing your insights and your take is that even though you have this education now, you have the money IQ, it sounds like you both also handle the money EQ piece. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're still making decisions about where you invest your time, energy, and capital in places you're passionate about or with populations you're passionate about. It's not like this, “This is a good money move.” That's what I'm hearing. Is that right? Am I picking up the right thing here?

I would say so. If it was all about just financial return is a 100%, then you might want to be in a less risky asset class than startups. Startups can be pretty risky, but that's why you diversify your portfolio. You know that there's going to be risk. There are lots of ways that you can couch that risk. Being able to help and feel like you're doing something for good and you're getting a financial return. To me, that's like a double win. That's why I'm super passionate about being in the space.

Romone, you, too, are working with student-athletes. You are one yourself. Helping them with money IQ. Money, at least in my ears, not having the financial education the two of you had. There's a lot of advice about the right thing to do. It seems to be very binary, like this is good, this is bad, this is a good move and this is a bad move. I love that the two of you are finding ways to do so. Not just empowering but in a way that makes you come alive.

You bring life to some of the places and the populations or the areas that you care about, which is sometimes missing when we're talking about money. It's like, this is a good thing to do, so do it. This is a good investment to make, so make it. Rather than like, find something you care about. Invest in something you care about. Romone, what would you say to that?

About the part of investing and investing about something you care about?

Being passionate about it. When you are talking to Lucy, my niece, that was something you stressed with her. What other things do you care about?

I feel like if you do that, you may have more interest in doing it and make it more interesting following along and learning as you go. Also, not relying on someone else to do it for you. I'm not saying you shouldn't have a financial advisor, but maybe they can give you some guidance and some structure. You should be involved in that process and talk to them about things you want to invest in and do not want to invest in.

You want to invest in tobacco companies or other types of companies, but you are not. Thinking about things like that is important. I love the comment about diversifying, so investing in some startups, in some private companies and public companies, rental real estate companies and investing in yourself. Maybe there are some things that you can do that you can create some money from as well. Diversification, I believe, is key because almost every investment is a risk. Nothing is a guarantee. You shouldn't put too much into one thing.

Every investment is a risk. There is nothing you can guarantee, so you shouldn’t put too much into one thing.

I have started to listen to this guy, Ramit Sethi. Do you guys know him? Have you met him? I don't know your thoughts on it, but I've swallowed the blue pill or the red pill. I don't know which one is a good one. He brings a different approach and I bought his book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He also has a great show. In his show, he's always talking to these people who want to have this great life, but somehow, when he breaks down their psychology behind what they want to do with money. It seems to be never aligned with what they truly want.

He has these money rules specifically, and I'm curious as we're coming to the end of our time together. I want to explore this idea of money rules. For example, one of the money rules he talks about was if he has to be on the flight that’s longer than four hours. He'll upgrade to business class. That's his money rule for his income.

He says, “All of us should have money rules.” Specifically because, he said, “You shouldn't wait to experience the fulfillment of having money until you have a certain number. You should always find ways to help you feel fulfilled with the money that you have,” which I thought was cool. I'm like, “I need to come up with my money rules now.” I need some inspiration. What money rules do you guys have if you thought of that?

I have one that we also mentioned earlier. It’s the simple concept of paying yourself first, and this is what we call our financial workshop or experience. It’s paying yourself first. Every time you make money, you take 30% then you put it into your different savings and investment accounts. That's what I do personally. That's what I like to do. If you have $1,000, you take $300 and invest that and you're saving the best. Every time you get money. Every time you get paid, take 30%, so you still have $700 left to do whatever you want to do. Imagine if high school students could start doing that when they don't have bills.

Every time you make money, put 30% into different savings and investment accounts.

Imagine them taking that same concept when you go to college. When you start making money when you're a professional and you live by that, you probably won't have to borrow. You can travel wherever you want. You can sit first class in all the flights. I know it's harder as an adult, but if you can get to a point where you can automatically take a piece of the pie and invest that right away. One other thing. I read that the majority of high-net-worth individuals, they are investing 70% of their money then only spending 30%. If we can again shift that mindset of like, “Let's invest more,” and maybe spend less.

Only because you can doesn't mean you should. Only because the buffet is pretty or all-you-can-eat. Don't go eat all you can.

I'm going to be vulnerable here, and I'm going to say I'm not perfect about that, right? Sometimes I want something more expensive. I want to fly in first class, but I do try to at least save or invest at 30%, then 70%, like I'm having fun with it. I’m splurging a little bit.

That is smart. I started using the Profit First system by Mike Michalowicz a few years ago, which made a huge difference in his philosophy, which is also pay yourself first and profit first. Anytime I have any income, that's going to be the first thing that I move into an account. I'm still trying to figure out my own money rules, but I found one of them that's specifically related to making money because that's the thing. I realized that, again, a lot of the mentality is about how to spend or save. I thought, “I want a money rule around how I make money.” One of the things I wrote is I say no to work or activities that don't bring me joy or don't utilize my gifts and talents.

I’m only a few years in as an entrepreneur, but that has been so important for me because I noticed I work harder, more creatively, and inspired. I go above and beyond when I have those types of projects, whereas if I take projects just because of the financial or the compensation, it would be like, “I don't even want to do this, but they're paying good.” Money rule, I'll say no to those and say yes to the stuff that I love. There you go. I offer that to the general public if you want to take it. Did you share your money rule, Marcia?

My money rule has to do with time if it can save me time. It depends, but I would use it.

Like what?

If somebody comes every once in a while and cleans your house, that takes a lot of time. I can pay somebody else and help them with their business. This became a big thing for me during COVID. I had somebody who would come every month. It wasn't that often, but they would clean. It was a husband and wife and it was their own business. As soon as COVID happened, everybody was home. They canceled on them. They almost went out of business because nobody was doing it anymore. I said, “You can come more.” It was helping them and it was saving me time. If I could save time, that would help with money.

I like that. I agree with that. I do that sometimes, too, but however with the driver. I'll get like an Uber driver instead of driving somewhere because I can work while they're driving. In traffic, I could probably send 2 or 3 emails and make some money deals when they're driving. I like the concept. I practice that often.

I like that, too. You just inspired me to add another money rule I didn't realize I had and that is to spend my money on businesses and business people who are passionate about what they do. Not only good at it or popular but passionate too. That's the other thing. I'm like, if I'm going to do work that I'm passionate about and I do it above and beyond. I want to invest in people who do that, too. I’m curious, what has this conversation been like for you? What was surprising? What was interesting?

I love learning about what Romone’s working on. It's awesome. It reminds me there's a company I know of that does. It's called Scout. It's mainly for younger people so that they learn to maybe not get the extra latte and take the $5 or $4, put it into their investment savings. Over a period of several days or months, they accumulate some money, and then they can go invest. The whole hook of the app is that they align with sports figures who already have a portfolio built.

You can invest and then you fill in the name of the sports figure because their portfolio is made up of. I thought it was such a cool concept because it encouraged people to invest. They are already seeing people who are investing and seeing like a role model. At the same time, they're figuring out these little tiny tricks they can do to help get their money to work for them. Romone, that's what you're doing like in real life.

An easy way to think about what we're doing is educating and helping them apply.

That's great. Romone, what about you? Any interesting surprises during our conversation?

I agree. I enjoy doing this, learning about a new person and diving in. Also, having her ask me que challenging questions or questions that I haven't thought of. It's fun. It's good to sharpen your craft and stay sharp. It's wonderful and on top of that, I hope that we can connect in some capacity.

That'd be great.

I talk about money or funding or helping entrepreneurs get money, but we don't talk about money EQ like we have been, which is a cool topic. People need to talk about that more.

Most of us are not even aware of it. The whole idea is that we are a slave to money or we are feeling that we're a master of money. Master not like we're good at it, but master as in there's entitlement like if I have money, then I need to spend it or I need to earn a certain type of money. All of those types of emotions are generally pretty disempowering in the background. The slave to money, like, “I don't think I'll have enough.” Any negative talk we have about it.

This guy, Ken Honda, brings a Zen Buddhist approach to it. We should be friends with money. We should be grateful for the things that money provides for us. Are you paying your bills with some resentment about having to pay them or could you be grateful that, “I'm so glad I have lights and I have heat or air conditioning.” I'm able to put gas in my car with this money that I have.

That whole perspective shifted a lot of things for me, so embracing more brings more gratitude to what money does because it's an exchange of energy. The more we charge and the money that we give we send with energy, the easier it will come back. I love it. I love the message and I'm so grateful that the two of you wanted to come on and say yes to this. I do have one last question. Can we ask one more question?


This one might be a little bit controversial because I know that I have these conversations about money, but there are very few people in my life, including my family with whom I can have these conversations. I’m curious about your family, either family of origin or your adopted family or the people that you consider your family and friends. How do you talk about money with people who may not share your philosophies or values?

I believe it's case-by-case, depending on who you're talking to. It's funny. I was just talking to my mom about money. It's a little different than talking to my nephew about money. Seeing where they are, especially for someone with my background. First of all, I'm passionate about it. I have a deep understanding. I believe so. Trying to educate a little bit and slowly but surely. Also, talk about some of the things that I'm doing personally because if you can say, “This is what I'm doing and this is how I've benefited from that and show that, then maybe they may want to mimic that answering questions.”

It's not easy because sometimes you feel like you know it all and you want to say, “Change and do this.” That's not easy to have someone change because they don't know and don't understand or probably haven't done the research or seen the results. You have to be careful, but you have to talk about it and be comfortable talking about it, be patient, open, and vulnerable. I believe that we have to talk about it though the household.

I agree. That's so important. As I said, my dad was very good about talking to me about it and very open. I feel like I got that sense that it's okay to talk about it with your family and to be able to see where everybody is. It's hard sometimes because if there is a lack of money or some emergency comes up and it's a bill you weren't expecting or something that one person values more than another in a household that needs to be paid. That can cause a lot of animosities. Talking through it and being able to have an open conversation, a lot of the time, to your point, Valerie, about being grateful and you can pay your rent. It's not like you have to. It's that you get to.

Where can people find the books and what's your link? Are there resources you all either have or recommend for anyone wanting to follow up on the conversation we've had so far?

For us, we created a financial education platform. It's separate from our main website. That's We have general financial education information there. Some of it's free. Some of it costs. There are activities and family activities. Basic things and guidance that people can do. Another thing is there's so much information on YouTube or social media that you can find about building your finances, growing wealth, and investing. If you search, you'll find something.

I have a website. It's just You can find out about me. I will say a friend of mine wrote a book called Activate Your Money. It is about how to align your money and your values. It has different chapters about all kinds of things, from the banking you do to the spending and investments you make. I know Romone said a couple of times about things like do you want to invest and things that are good? You don't want to invest maybe in things like tobacco or false fuels. That's all in the book, which is cool.

Two things I learned. One is that I have a money rule about where I spend my money as well, which I was implied, but I don't think I was ever conscious about it. The other one is what you were saying is having almost like show versus tell when it comes to stuff like this. I've been doing more telling about like, “Do this or try this or here's what I've read. Here's what I talked to.” More about the show, “Here's what I'm doing and this is why. Here's an impact that I've had,” as you said, Romone. I also didn't know that I could go to my financial advisor and say, “Who is my money being invested in? I'd like to change up some things. I want to make sure that these are the companies that I'm supporting.” I had no clue I could do that.

It's your money.

When you outsource to a professional like that, I didn't know. They better watch out. I'm coming. Thank the two of you so much for taking the time. I know, Romone, you’re hiding there in your LA life. Did they kick you out yet?

No, they haven’t yet.

That's pretty good that you're talking about starting in the library. Whoever's on the other side of those stacks is probably getting a lot of education.

They’re going to be rich. Marcia, you're in North Carolina. Thank you, too, for saying yes and sharing your thoughts and ideas so openly. If you have other resources that come to mind, let me know and I'll make sure that I’ll add it in for all of our readers. Anything that you'd like to say to one another or to anybody who's been reading before we close?

Start now.

Agreed. The younger, the better.

There you have it. Straight up.

Thanks so much.

Thank you all so much for joining us for this episode. You read where you can connect with us so make sure that you don't miss a single episode but make sure that you favorite, like or rate us in your favorite app. That way, you also know what's coming up. You get notified of any new episodes that we have coming out.

Show Valerie some love, all.

Thanks for that.

Important Links

Strangers: Meet Marcia Dawood & Romone Penny

From: Pennsylvania/North Carolina, USA & Illinois, USA


Connect With:

Marcia Dawood

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·         Podcast: The Angel Next Door


Romone Penny

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·         Instagram: @PursuitSportsGroup and @Romonefpenny

·         Pursuit Stream Website

·         Spotlight Article




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