BOLA SOKUNBI: “The steps are the steps. The skill set is the skill set. You can pick up an Investing 101 book and learn everything you need to know about investing. The key, the biggest block here is you. It is self, it's in your head, and it is you adjusting your mindset to think about what you are capable of doing instead of what you cannot do, thinking about how you can seek out opportunities and find ways to learn instead of focusing on what you don't have and what you have not accomplished. You know, ourselves, us, we are the biggest stumbling block when it comes to the pathway to our success. And so I always tell people, yes, investing might seem daunting, might seem confusing, might seem difficult, but you are more than capable of learning how to do this.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: If you know me, then you know that the Goal Digger Podcast, hosted by my friend Jenna Kutcher, who is also part of the HubSpot Network, is one of my favorite podcasts. What I love about Jenna's podcast is that she shares life and business tips, from productivity hacks and business strategies and mindset shifts to daily inspiration, and so much more. Episode 528. It's called “Surprise! I Wrote a Book!” It gave me all the feels because she shared the real raw story of what inspired her to write her very first book, and she shared her process. So good. Listen to the Goal Digger Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And now, back to the show.
Well, hey, there. Welcome to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. Today you are in for a very special treat.
But before we get there, how's your year going? We survived the first month of 2022 at the time of this recording, so if you're listening to it right when it went live, we made it, my friend. January, for me, was fantastic. I was determined to stick with my goals that I set at the beginning of the year and not be a statistic. I know that usually by the middle of January, most people are forgetting about their goals. They've thrown them out the window. I've done it for countless years. I hate to admit it. And I thought, I'm not being another statistic. I have to do this different this year because I want to feel different in 2022. I want to show up differently. I want to be a better person for myself, for my marriage, for my business, for my friends, and so that means I can't throw those goals out the window. So all of the goals that I set, I am still 100 percent on track, which I feel good about that. So anyway, I guess I'm just patting myself on the back. You don’t need to hear me brag about myself. I’m just very, very happy that I’m sticking with it.
Also, Mel Robbins has a text group that she brought some of her girlfriends together, and we're doing this really cool thing where she's helping us stay accountable. And that has been mind blowing to me, just the fact that I have somewhere to go every single day. There are certain things that we do every single day. I don't want to give it away until she talks about it, but she's testing out these really cool ideas of accountability, and it has been a game changer.
So if you're struggling right now and if you feel like you're not sticking to the goals you set or you're not starting out the year as you want, or heck, if you're listening to this six months into the year, it doesn't matter, get an accountability group. Find a few friends. Get together in a group chat, text messaging, and just make some commitments to each other and check in daily. I know that doesn't sound like a huge leap, but little small steps move mountains if you're consistent, and it's really made a difference for me. So anyway, something to think about.
Okay. So, my team and I noticed that there are a lot of top podcasts out there about investing, especially women and investing. And we thought, “You know what? I bet our audience would eat up this topic.” Now, I know I've got some gentlemen on the show, and even though we're going to talk about investing for women, 90 percent of this episode can apply to you as well, so do not skip it. Do not move on to the next. Hopefully, you're listening as well. But we are talking about investing.
And when we started brainstorming who we wanted to bring on to talk about investing, investing especially as women and as entrepreneurs, we immediately thought of Bola Sokunbi. She's the founder of the largest financial-empowerment platform for women, Clever Girl Finance; the go-to expert for investing, whether you're an experienced investor or you're just starting out; and she's a mom of twins. So Bola is a certified financial-education instructor; a finance expert; bestselling author; speaker; writer; podcaster; social-media influencer; and growth strategist. She's been featured by Time, Money magazine, Fortune, and Good Morning America, just to name a few.
So today we're diving into all things investing. She's going to break it down for those that are new to all of it. And she's sharing how to be a smarter investor personally and professionally, and what to invest in as an entrepreneur and if we really have to wait until we're sixty-five to retire, and we're getting into so much more, I love this conversation so very much because we really talked about not only the basics, but then some really tried-and-true battle-tested strategies for saving and investing. I think it's a really great place to start.
So, you're going to gain a ton of insight from this interview, I just know it. So turn off all distractions; get ready to take some notes, at least some mental notes; let's get started.
Bola, thanks so much for joining me on this episode. I have been looking forward to this all week.
BOLA: Thank you for having me. I am so excited to be here and to chat with you, Amy.
AMY: Well, this is a hot topic, for sure. And I have so many questions for you, so I'll dive right in. And I kind of want to start at the beginning. Can you share with us a little bit about who you are and how you got interested in investing and specifically Clever Girl Finance as well?
BOLA: Yeah. So, my name is Bola Sokunbi. I'm the founder and CEO of Clever Girl Finance. We are a completely free empowerment and course platform for women, where we help women achieve their financial goals so that they can live life on their own terms. And I'm also the author of the investing book called Grow Your Money.
And I got started with investing—coming out of college and wanting to save money, as a child of immigrants, I just really wanted to save money and make my parents proud. I had never earned that much money before. I was earning fifty-four thousand dollars before taxes. And I managed to save a substantial amount of money. And I remember going to a financial advisor’s office because I was like, “Okay. If I want to invest, I need to speak with a professional,” and sitting in his office and just feeling so annoyed because all he was focused on was where’d I get the money? Do I have a rich boyfriend? Are you married?
BOLA: He was asking me all these inappropriate questions. And it took me a while to catch on because initially I was like, “Okay. Maybe he's asking so that he can determine my income, my spouse income. And I’m like, “No, I'm single. I saved this money.” But it was so patronizing. And so I left the office, and I was like, I'm going to teach myself how to invest. And so that's pretty much how I got started.
The story behind Clever Girl Finance ties into my investing story, and it’s just really inspired by my mom. My mom got married at nineteen years old, had four kids, did not have a college degree, had a high school diploma, and she married an older guy in his thirties, my dad. And she got to a point in her own thirties where she started to see things with her friends that she didn't like. She was seeing friends trying to leave abusive relationships, and they couldn't. She was seeing friends wanting to start businesses, but they didn't have any funding because they were not aware of the family finances. And she was, unfortunately, seeing a few friends who lost their spouses and the families would just come in and take over everything. And my mom decided that she didn't ever want that to be her, so she took it upon herself to go back to college, with four kids. I went to all of her college classes with her. And she eventually became the breadwinner of our family when my dad went through a financial downturn. And so my mom's story and her journey very much inspired me to want to achieve financial wellness as soon as I started earning money and wanting to invest my money and also build real wealth.
AMY: Oh, I love that the story stemmed from watching your mom do really amazing things like that, and it inspired you as well.
AMY: So can you give us a brief overview of investing, for our audience? I just want to make sure we're all on the same page. Like, almost like an investing 101 quick chat.
BOLA: Yeah. So, in simple terms, investing is how you grow your money. It is essentially you putting your money to work for you to make you more money. And what's key about investing is that it helps you beat inflation rate. So a lot of people put their money in savings accounts, but the problem with savings accounts is that as time progresses, as years go by, the value of your dollar is actually less because of inflation. So inflation in the U.S. is about around 2.5 percent, but your average bank account, even your high-interest savings account, is giving you, like, 1.1 percent, 1.8 percent, very low interest rates. And so you actually lose money when you have it sitting in a savings account with no purpose. And so investing helps you beat inflation.
And the way it does this is through the power of compounding. This is when your money is making money from your money making money through dividends, which is earnings that companies pay you when the value of their stock goes up, and through appreciation from the value of your investments.
And so when it comes to investing, there are different ways to invest. We all know about the stock market. That's one way to invest. And even within the stock market, there are different ways to invest. You can invest in bonds, in funds, in individual stock. You can invest in real estate, in rental real estate, in residential real estate, in hotels and tourist destinations. You can invest in farmland. And you can also invest in small business. You can invest in your own business as an entrepreneur or the businesses of other people. So, there are many different ways to invest. But at the baseline, investing is essentially how you grow your money for yourself and how you put your money to work.
AMY: Okay. So, now that we've got our baseline, tell me this: how can you get started investing, and how can you make sure that you are a smart investor? And I want to be clear. You're talking to a lot of people that are either just getting started with their business, so they might not have a lot of money to invest yet. However, I still want to encourage them to invest. Or there’s a lot of people that have really substantial businesses right now that are listening and they've got money to invest. So again, how do you get started investing, and how do you become a smart investor?
BOLA: That's a great question. I think it's really important to really get clear on what you feel comfortable doing. Do you want to invest in the stock market? Do you feel comfortable there? Is real estate your jam? Is small business your jam? You have to determine what works best for you. The lowest barrier to entry of all of these three when it comes to investment is investing in the stock market, and we can talk about that later. But when you think about getting started with investing, you want to, first of all, understand the basics of how that investment works. And it’s as simple as picking up an Investing 101 book, listening to an amazing podcast episode like this one. Understanding how it works. And this does not mean that you have to be this incredible financial expert. It does not mean you have to know everything Jim Cramer knows. It just means you have to understand the basics, right? What is the investment? What is it going to cost you? How is it performed?
You also want to make sure that you have goals and objectives around your investments, including a timeline. So basically, what do you need the money for? What are you investing for? What is the purpose, right? And when do you need this money by, in five years, in ten years, in twenty years? Are you investing for early retirement? Are you investing for a kid's college? What is your goal?
And then you also want to understand your risk tolerance. So essentially, what is going to cause you to lose sleep at night? There's all kinds of investments out there, but once you understand your risk tolerance, you can determine how you approach investing. Are you a conservative investor? Are you a mildly aggressive investor? Are you a fully blown, aggressive investor? That will really help you determine your risk tolerance. What's going to cause you not to sleep at night? That's a question you want to ask yourself.
And then, finally, going back to what I said earlier, you want to do your research. Understand how the investment has performed. Understand what the associated fees and costs are. Understand how the investment is managed. So, the key is really information, informing yourself so that you can make informed decisions and, in turn, be a smart investor.
AMY: Okay. So, a lot of people listening, if they’ve just started their business, they might be thinking they don't have enough money to invest. So how much money do you need to start to invest?
BOLA: Yeah. So that is the biggest misconception. I think a lot of that stems from the fact that on social media, on the news, when we hear people talk about investing, we're hearing them talk about big numbers, like thousands and millions of dollars. But you really do not need a lot of money to start. There are many brokerages that you can open an account with zero dollars, with a single dollar, right? The key to investing is thinking long term and investing consistently over time.
And so once you open that account, then look at your budget and say, “Okay. How much can I afford to invest every week, every two weeks, every month?” and build that into your budget and start to make those deposits. And because investing’s a long-term play and because your money will grow from compounding dividends and appreciation over time, you will start to see your accounts bulk up.
AMY: Now, you being in this space and you having Clever Girl Finance, I'm sure you've heard all of the different advice about investing and how people should spend their money. And I'm curious: what is some advice that you've heard along the way, especially as a woman, what’s some advice you've heard along the way from other experts that you're like, “No, I don't agree with that. I don't think that's the best way to go.” Like, I know there's some stuff that probably rubs you the wrong way. What is that?
BOLA: I don't know if I've heard this from experts, but I've heard people say that, going back to the question you just asked me, that there is no point to invest if you don't have a lot of money. That is not true. You can start investing small. I started investing small, right? It's about being consistent and doing it consistently over time. I hear people say that investing is like gambling. Investing is like gambling if you don't know what you're doing and you haven't educated yourself—what we just talked about how to get started with investing. And so the more information you have, the better position you are in to make informed decisions, and so you are now an educated investor. You are not gambling.
And then another misconception I hear is that investing is confusing. And it is confusing, again, if you don't know what you're looking for, if you haven't determined the path that works best for you, if you haven't done your research, if you haven't learned the basics. So there's a lot of these misconceptions out there, but it's really important to understand that in most instances, having knowledge, having information helps to cure all of these.
AMY: It's so true. With everything, knowledge and information, and just being willing to do your homework, which can be very daunting. Investing is—Hobie, my husband, and I have invested for many, many years. But it is something that I don’t feel very confident about, and I need a lot of help with. But I can imagine if I really did my homework and I got in there, I'd probably be even more enthusiastic about it because I feel more confident. And I'm assuming that's what you're teaching at Clever Girl Finance. You're actually giving the information that people need to feel more confident about investing?
BOLA: Exactly. So, we are not telling people what to invest in, right? We're giving people information so that they can be able to decipher all of the jargon out there and make smart decisions for themselves based on their goals, based on their objectives, based on their risk tolerance, based on their timeline. That is what is incredibly important. Personal finance is called personal finance for a reason. It is personal to you, and as you approach investing, which is really how you grow your money, it can feel daunting and overwhelming. But when you think about your life and every difficult thing you've had to accomplish or every overwhelming thing you've had to accomplish, having information has allowed you to be more confident to do it, and the same applies to investing.
AMY: Okay. So, tell me this: because we're talking about women in investing specifically, what have you seen as some of the really big mindset money blocks that a lot of women come to the table with that kind of stop them from investing?
BOLA: I think the biggest one I see is women telling themselves that this is not for me. This is for other people. This is not for me. I don't make enough money. I don't have enough money. I don't have enough information. This is not for me. That's a big mindset block I see, especially with women who are new to the Clever Girl Finance community. And also that this is going to be really difficult for me, and I see people losing money all the time, and this is just really difficult. And so, again, it goes back to that information, it goes back to that knowledge, and it also goes back to being clear on what you are capable of.
I always start out financial conversations with women in our community by telling them, listen. The steps are the steps. The skill set is the skill set. You can pick up an Investing 101 book and learn everything you need to know about investing. The key, the biggest block here is you. It is self, it's in your head, and it is you adjusting your mindset to think about what you are capable of doing instead of what you cannot do, thinking about how you can seek out opportunities and find ways to learn instead of focusing on what you don't have and what you have not accomplished. You know, ourselves, us, we are the biggest stumbling block when it comes to the pathway to our success. And so I always tell people, yes, investing might seem daunting, might seem confusing, might seem difficult, but you are more than capable of learning how to do this. You went to high school. You went to college. You have all this experience. You have all this life experience. You can learn how to invest.
AMY: I bet you've seen a lot of transformation on your platform of women coming on knowing nothing, and now they're investing, feeling confident, growing their funds. I'm assuming this is something you see a lot?
BOLA: Yes. I see this all the time. And what's really exciting is just seeing them realize that, wow, I didn't need to know everything to become a successful investor. I just needed to know enough, and I just needed to be consistent.
AMY: Ooh. That is good. That's, like, a good lesson in life. You just need to know just enough, and you need to be consistent. And I could use that in so many different areas of my life, but for investing, it makes perfect sense. And I'm curious: you've built this platform for women. Why do you think it's so important that women specifically are investing?
BOLA: Yes. So this is a question that's so close to my heart. So the one statistic that we all hear about fairly often is that women live longer than men on average, right? And in today's world, women are choosing not to get married. Women are single mothers. They’re breadwinners. They’re the sole household earners. And as a result, women need more money to sustain themselves over the course of their lives.
However, there is also this big, looming gender wage gap, where we all know that on average women earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts. And if we break that down by demographic, the statistics are much worse. And as a result of this gender wage gap, there is now this investment gap, because when you don't earn enough, then you don't have enough money to, then, invest. And so as a result, women are also investing less than men despite the fact that they're living longer, and they have all these other financial burdens based on dependence, based on all these other factors.
And we also have to think about the fact that when we go back generationally, for a lot of women, for a lot of us, the money conversation was not something that was just organically had. A lot of moms, grandmothers, depending on the age of your mom and your grandmother, they passed down amazing recipes to their daughters, and the fathers would pull their kids, their sons, aside after dinner and talk to them about business and the office. And so money was never made to be a woman’s place in previous societies.
However, we’re in this space where the tables have shifted. We are, despite the gender wage gap, we're making more money than our mothers and our grandmothers, right? We are making these big decisions. We're earning these big incomes. The demographic of women is the fastest-growing small-business group in the U.S. And so we are in this space where we have to be able to make decisions about our finances, for our current selves and for our future selves, and investing very much ties into those decisions that we make.
And so I'm really passionate about speaking to them about investing because of all these factors working against us, and because I just want to change that mindset that we are not good with money, because a lot of women tell themselves that, and also empower ourselves to invest and earn more and build real wealth, because when you look at the studies, we actually are better investors—
BOLA: —than men. And I love all the guys listening to this podcast, but that is the statistic.
AMY: That women are better investors than men. I didn’t know that.
BOLA: We make more focused, calculated decisions. We are less likely to invest on high emotion.
BOLA: We’re less competitive with our voice.
AMY: Less competitive, you said?
BOLA: Yes, when it comes to investing. We will pick objective decision making over “I'm going to compete with my friend—”
BOLA: “— to invest.”
AMY: Gotcha. Well, there you go, ladies.
BOLA: We are competitive, though.
AMY: That’s something to be proud of, right there.
AMY: Okay. So, if you want to invest, you got to save some money to invest. And I'm wondering what tips do you have for saving money, both professionally and personally?
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BOLA: I think it's really important when it comes to saving to set goals. What do you want to accomplish? What are you saving for? What do you ultimately want to achieve, and how can finances help you achieve those goals? That's the first thing.
The second thing is once you know what those amounts are, once you know what you want to use that money for, then build it into your budget, and automate if you can. Studies show that when you automate your savings and your investments, you’re much likely to save more and invest more on average. And then, stay focused and be patient. When it comes to investing, it is long term. So if you think about the history of the stock market, over the long term, it has averaged about 10 percent before inflation; after inflation, about eight percent. And this is the average. There are people who have made far higher gains than that average over the long term, historically. And so it’s about thinking long term and staying focused on your goals that you want to achieve based on the money you’re investing.
AMY: Okay. Now, I want to ask you about crypto. Before I do, before we even get to that topic, I know you don't tell people what to invest in. However, I'm sure it comes up in your community around, “Well, do you think real estate's better than the stock market or investing in small business?” Like, what do you say to people when they're like, “Oh, my gosh. There's so many different things I could do, and I don't really have a huge preference. Where do I even start?”
BOLA: So, I would say that broad diversification is key, right? And once you get comfortable with your first investment, it's easier to, then, build up your ladder. And so I always tell people start with the lowest barrier to entry, which is the stock market. It requires the least amount of money to get started with investing. If you don't know what to invest in, you're learning about investing, you can invest in an index fund—basically, a bunch of funds aggregated together that basically track. For example, the S&P 500, which are five hundred of the major companies in the U.S. And you can invest in a fund like that and have broad diversification in the stock market. And then, if real estate is something that you're interested in—you may think about rental real estate. You may think about investing in farmland. You may think about investing in commercial property—start to do your research there. And then, I'm a huge fan of a side hustle, or starting your own business, and that in itself is another way to invest.
So it’s really about understanding your preferences, doing your research, taking your time, and, again, thinking about broad diversification.
AMY: I love that. And my dad has always invested since I was really young, and he invested in a commercial property. And it's interesting to watch our parents or loved ones when they're investing before we're ready to, because when that commercial property was rented out, it was all wonderful. And when that commercial property was not rented out, I saw him sweat for months and months and months. So there's pros and cons in all of this. And I think you're so right about what kind of risk are you willing to take, and what are you drawn to? And I love the advice of just let's start simple. I teach that kind of advice when I'm teaching digital courses. We're going to start simple. And you're saying, stock market, you can get in pretty simple, and then you can start to diversify from there. So I think that’s such great advice.
BOLA: And I would definitely say that, as I've said throughout this podcast, investing is for the long term. And as you use your dad's example, sometimes there's going to be dips and slow periods and times when you cannot rent your property, for example. So it's really important that you have a backup fund, you have emergency savings in place so that you can weather unexpected situations. This way, you don't have to cash out your investments in a panic, especially when there is a downturn or a not-so-great market happening in the short term. And so I always tell people, especially entrepreneurs, you want to have your personal emergency savings to cover your life situations, and you also want to have emergency savings for your business, for your side hustle, for your full-time business, set aside to cover any unexpected situations in business as well.
AMY: Ah, great advice. That's something that I have. I haven't always had, especially in the early years. It was pretty slim there. But as my business grew, I definitely started to put those in place, and it does make me feel more secure, for sure.
AMY: Okay. So, let's talk about the big question: cryptocurrency over traditional investing. What is your take on this?
BOLA: So, cryptocurrency is here to stay. It's not going anywhere. I have my own cryptocurrency investments. I think it's very interesting. However, it's such early stage. You know, when I think about cryptocurrency and I look at the headlines, I equate it to what I have learned about the gold rush.
BOLA: And so I would say, prioritize your traditional investing over cryptocurrency, and don't invest what you know you are not willing to lose. Again, understand your risk tolerance. What's going to cause you not to sleep at night? And crypto is highly volatile, and it goes through all kinds of swings. But I do think that it's not going anywhere. It's here to stay. It's very interesting. And, you know, just the idea of investing in blockchain has several opportunities that are just worth learning more about and doing research. And so it's worth considering. But you want to make sure that you have emergency savings in place, you have traditional investments in place, and then step into crypto.
AMY: Great advice. Fantastic. I, too, have invested in crypto, but I did it exactly how you said it, so I feel like I get a gold star. So…
BOLA: You do.
AMY: So, tell me this: we were grown up—okay, I—was raised to think that at sixty-five, you get to retire. Do you really think, knowing what you know about investing and saving and managing money, that you have to wait until sixty-five years old to retire?
BOLA: No, you do not—
BOLA: —have to wait. You absolutely do not have to wait. But it also depends on what kind of lifestyle do you want to have now? For example, my husband in the career that he does, he says he's never retiring. He's going to work until he's eighty-five freakin’ years old.
AMY: Oh, I love that. What does he do? I love that.
BOLA: He's a physician. He just loves caring for people. And there’s other people who are like, “You know what? I need to get the hell out of this job as quickly as possible.”
BOLA: So it depends on your lifestyle. But, no, there is no rule that says you have to wait until sixty-five. It just really depends on, what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your retirement goal sooner rather than later? And that could mean cutting back on your current lifestyle temporarily so that you can save more money. It could mean working extra hours, starting a business on top of your full-time job so that you can save much more money. But early retirement comes with a sacrifice, and so if you're willing to take that, I will say go full steam ahead so that you can achieve that goal of early retirement that you want for yourself.
AMY: This is such a great conversation. Hobie and I have worked with a financial advisor for many, many years. And one of the things that we did just recently is I said, “Okay. If we want to spend x amount of money each year when we're retired, how much more money do we need to save to get to that point?” because I have no intention of retiring, but I was very curious what it would feel like to work and not have to make money. Like, that's an interesting concept to me. I’m not there yet. But I was thinking, how old do I need to be, and how much do I need to save, I guess is the first question. Well, how much do I need to save, and when can I get there, to actually be financially free in the respect of “I don’t need to make any more money, and I could live off that money” into when I die in my eighties or whatever. And so that was super interesting, the numbers that they were sharing with us and what it looked like and how much we could save a year, because then we had some aggressive goals that if we want to take them, we can. But you're absolutely right: that comes with some sacrifices. And if we wanted to retire early, our lifestyle would have to change. But if we want to save that amount of money by, let's say, the time I'm fifty, then we've got to tighten things up as well. So, I think it’s interesting to kind of look at what needs to happen, and then we have to ask ourselves, are we willing to do it?
BOLA: Yes. And I will also say, you know, one thing that people need to keep in mind is that your retirement age is not—retirement is not a day, right? You don't get to age forty-five, fifty-five, sixty-five and then retire, and then drop dead.
BOLA: Life goes on. So if you retire, for example, at sixty-five, the average retirement lasts about twenty-five years. That's twenty-five years of living, but also twenty-five years of opportunity for your investments to continue to grow. You just need to plan out, like you said, how much will you need to live on without working while the rest of your assets continue to grow? So how much do you need to take out every year to maintain the lifestyle you want for yourself as your assets continue to grow?
And one thing to think about is that when you look at the pool of retirees, most people don't retire 100 percent and just sit on their couch and watch TV all day. A lot of people pursue second careers, part-time jobs, passions, hobbies, things like that, and they end up bringing in income anyway.
BOLA: So you can also look at it that way.
AMY: I think that's a fantastic way to look at it. I feel like if I were to retire, I'd absolutely have to be dabbling in something else, which would likely bring us income. So that's a great way to look at it.
And I was going to ask you, you said something that I thought—oh, I forgot one of my extra questions I was going to ask you. Maybe it will come back to me.
But let's do something fun, which is a rapid-fire question section that I have now in all my podcasts. So are you cool with a little rapid fire?
AMY: Okay. Here we go. There's five questions. First question: who is someone that's inspiring you at the moment, and why?
BOLA: So right now, my twins—I have eight-year-old twins. They inspire me a lot. They are at an inquisitive age, and it's really great to look at the world through their eyes.
AMY: Twins, that's so fun. I love that.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
BOLA: From my dad, “penny wise, pound foolish.” And that just basically means that if you cannot manage your money when you have a little, it doesn't matter how much you earn, you're not going to figure it out. So learn how to manage small so that you can manage big.
AMY: Oh, great advice. I actually never understood what that term meant, so now I'm glad you explained it to us.
What is the earliest memory you have of investing?
BOLA: Watching my mom run her side hustles, which were essentially investments for her. And then, for me personally, when I started dabbling in investing, losing money in my first investment, which was Gap. I loved the Gap, but I had no idea what I was doing, and every time the investment dipped, I would sell. And it would dip, and I would sell. It would dip, and I would sell. I lost so much money.
AMY: Oh, my goodness. The early years of anything, right?
BOLA: Yes. Panic investing, don’t do that.
What are your top favorite budget tools and apps?
BOLA: I am old school, so I love a spreadsheet. I'm an Excel junkie, and I love my—
AMY: Oh, my gosh. We couldn’t be more opposite. I hate Excel spreadsheets.
BOLA: I love them, I think, because I'm technical. Also, I have a computer-science background, so I like to [giggle]. And I also love my pen and paper.
AMY: Really? I love the old-school girl. That makes me happy. I'm super-old school.
Okay. So, what are a few of your favorite resources, like podcasts or books or blogs, beyond your own Clever Girl Finance, of course? But what are some podcasts and books and blogs that you love so people can get educated and get the knowledge they're looking for?
BOLA: Well, I will share two books that I constantly go back to that I just absolutely love. The first book is called No Excuses! by Brian Tracy. He covers mindset, finances, just overall personal well-being. And this is a book I find myself rereading every few years. It's a fantastic book.
And for entrepreneurs, especially in the content space and just social media and so much going on, one of my favorite books is Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi. And he just really talks about starting a side hustle in the digital age and how to create content, how to be effective with keeping up with recreating and recreating every week, every month. And it's just such an excellent book.
AMY: I love that you talk a lot about a side hustle, because, as you know, I teach people how to create digital courses, whether that be as a side hustle for them or a full-time gig. But it absolutely is a way to make money that you could invest. And so it's interesting that you have a big focus on that.
BOLA: Yes. I am a huge fan of a side hustle because a lot of people find themselves in this state of mind where they're limited by the income that they're earning, and they're limited about their career potential. “I can never make this amount of money because that's not possible in my career.” But if you're able to start a side hustle, there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you can execute it and if you can put your heart into it. And I know so many people who their side hustles have far exceeded their full-time income and then have become their primary source of income, and they've just broken the glass ceiling of that income limitation. And if you are smart with the money you earn from your side hustle, you could not only use it to invest, but it gives the opportunity to help your family give back to your community and achieve your dreams and have impact in the way that you want to have impact. It gives you options, right? So I'm a huge fan of the side hustle.
AMY: I'm all about breaking through that glass ceiling, for sure.
I remember the last question I was going to ask you. It was killing me, I couldn't think of it. And that is, do you believe that everybody should have a financial advisor, or do you believe you can go without?
BOLA: It depends. I wouldn't say everybody should go without one, because some people don't have time; some people need someone to bounce their ideas off of; and some people just want to have that guidance, that hand-holding, and that is perfectly fine. So it depends on how you feel, what your needs are.
But I will say that, don't go into a meeting with a financial adviser, assuming that they're just going to manage all your finances and you just have to get the statements, right? You have to be able to share your goals with them, share your objectives with them. They cannot read your mind. You have to able to share with them your risk tolerance and also understand how they are investing your money if they do that for you. So it is essentially a relationship between you and your financial advisor, and you want to be comfortable knowing that the money you worked so hard for is in good hands and that person is aligned with your goals, your objectives, your risk tolerance as they make decisions to invest your money for you.
AMY: Yes. Fantastic. I totally agree.
One of the first things when I started working with the financial advisor we have now is he put us through a quiz to find out how risky or risk adverse we were. And that was very eye-opening, especially because I invest with my husband, and I was riskier than he was, and so we had to have these big conversations about that because it was our money. So I think you're totally right. Now that I think about my relationship with our financial advisor, we share lots of our goals and our dreams and what we want and where we want to contribute to the world, and we make sure they really understand us versus just, like, here's all our money; go invest it. So—
AMY: —yeah. I think that's such a great, important point.
Okay. This has been fantastic. We've covered all the major questions I wanted to cover. So tell my listeners more about where they can find you and Clever Girl Finance. Give us some details.
BOLA: Yeah. So, you can find me at clevergirlfinance.com. As I mentioned earlier, we are an online empowerment and free-course platform. We have over thirty-plus completely free courses to help you improve your finances. And you can also check out the Clever Girl Finance book series. There are three books in the series on personal finances, investing, and side hustles, and they are available everywhere that you purchase your books, including Audible.
AMY: Fantastic. Thank you so much for being here. It was such a pleasure.
BOLA: Thank you, Amy. I appreciate it.
AMY: Talk about a smart woman. I think my biggest takeaway from this episode was really getting clear on your goals, your financial goals, your lifestyle goals, what you want.
And then, also—and I think I could take away this lesson from probably every one of my guests that my talented, successful guests that share all of their gems on my show, I feel like each of them use one word. Every single one of them uses this one word, and it's the same word for everyone, and it's consistency. So another thing I'm taking away from this episode is that, Bola was talking about you've got to be consistent. Know what you want. Get clear on your goals, but be consistent with investing. And I think that's one of the biggest takeaways.
Hobie and I started investing later than I would like to admit. It's been a while since we've been investing, but you know I've been in business for almost thirteen years now, or actually thirteen years this month. And so we probably, I don't know, probably started investing eight years ago? But that's a lot of years that I didn't invest when my business was growing. So one of my biggest regrets is not getting started sooner. So now with Cade, we have him investing. He’s eighteen years old, and slowly but surely, he’s using his own money to start investing and dabble in different areas. And we ask him to pay attention to different things he wants to invest in, and then we talk about it. This is something that my parents never did. We never talked about investing. We only talked about saving. Super-old school, right? My mom and dad, blue collar to the bone. We just talked about saving money all the time, but we never talked about investing, so it's something that I really want to change so that Cade starts doing it really early.
Anyway, those are just some thoughts I had from the interview. But be sure to check out Clever Girl Finance and look into investing today. If you've never invested, I hope you make it your goal this year to at least get started. Like she said, you don't need a lot of money to do so. But I think once you get started, once you set up the investing account, once you get the ball rolling, once you start learning a little bit more, you'll be more likely to want to dive in even more.
I hope you loved this episode as much as I did. Thanks so much for joining me today. As always, share with a friend, follow along on the podcast, leave a little love through a review. I am so grateful for all of it.
See you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.