DO 9 | Financially Resilient

What we see modeled growing up has a huge impact on our lives later on. Particularly in this episode, it affects how we deal with money and, more importantly, how we become financially resilient. Julia and Travis Gentry give us an opportunity to unlearn what we think we know about money so we can learn the truth that will serve us. They dive deep into mastering our finances by understanding the importance of doing more to provide value. They also talk about knowing what you’re investing in and utilizing your God-given talents so life becomes more fulfilling. Join Julia and Travis in this conversation and become financially resilient!

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Master Your Finances: How To Be Financially Resilient

Welcome to the show. I’m Travis Gentry.

I’m Julia Gentry, his better half. We are excited to be talking with you about your probably least favorite topic. Let’s be honest.

Sex.

Are we talking about sex?

Money is the other topic that most people don’t like to talk about.

We’re excited because we get to talk about the thing that nobody wants to talk about but I feel confident that we are going to reframe this and give you an opportunity to unlearn what you think you know about money so you can learn the truth about money that will serve you.

This can be a big topic. This takes two of this episode because there are so many directions that we could go with it. We want to give you value through our experiences. There are two different experiences that we have had that a lot of people can relate to. The first experience is that you have no money. All you want is money. If you had some money, then you would be happy. If you had money, you would be fulfilled.

This is true. This is how you know that you’re in this group. This is not about the amount of money because this could be someone $30,000 a year. This could be someone making $300,000 a year. This isn’t about the amount but generally, you would find yourself saying, “Money can buy happiness because if I had a new car, a bigger house, and more money in the bank, I promise you I would be happier.” That’s how you know you’re in that group. I put things on my vision board years ago. I would say, “Anyone who says that money can’t buy happiness has never had it.”

When you go to a restaurant, you order off the right side of the menu.

Meaning the price.

That’s all you think about. We have been there where we were scrounging for change to get a pizza or a bottle of wine back in the day. All we wanted was more money.

The interesting thing about this is every decision you is about money and not having enough, “I wish I had more.” If we unpack that example you gave, which my life is flashing before my eyes, we literally would go to the liquor store with a bag of coins.

We would have different jars in our pants pockets, coats, in the car, or whatever it was.

When we were living the dream and trying to make a buck and so focused on making more money, we would go to the liquor store. Everybody knows at the end of a hard week, you need a drink too. We would give them our bag of money. At some level, they were like, “Here comes the Gentry’s.” We would put up our exact amount of money for that exact bottle of wine. That didn’t even taste good but it was big enough. We could afford it.

It was the cheapest wine they had cheap and a $5 pizza.

I want to also speak to the emotional, spiritual, and mental depression that can also create. I grew up with parents who were divorced that were also tied to income. I remember people dropping off gifts on Christmas because we didn’t have enough money. I remember that my mom would do her best to give me everything I wanted but that also meant she sacrificed.

There was this whole upbringing that told me that enough was all you were going to have. Somehow, it would be there and enough to be there to meet most of your needs and a few of your wants. That was it. That was also looking back familiar to me in a weird way. It was normal to think, spend, and act that way. It was normal was what I saw.

That’s what you saw with one side because your parents are divorced. That’s what you saw with your mom mostly. Your dad was a little bit different. He was grinding and working and then he hit a certain point. He was 45-ish. He was able to retire.

That speaks to the other bucket. Let’s speak to the other bucket. I was more in my teens. My dad was in an industry that after years of grinding finally succeeded to the point where he made enough to retire at 45. I watched him. Many of us, ourselves included, now jump to the other bucket, which was, “Finally, I can buy the house and the car and go on the trips. I have the money in my bank account. I have all of these things on paper that make me successful yet I’m not fulfilled.” There’s that.

I want to talk about this because it’s so important. What you see modeled growing up has a huge impact on you. It can be something that you follow or it could be something that you run from. You go to the extreme, “I don’t want that.” I grew up in a nice neighborhood and a great family. I went to a good school but we didn’t have extra money. We were house poor. We had a great house in a great neighborhood but we didn’t have any extra money.

When we say the word house poor, here’s how we would define that. It would be that we have enough to cover exactly what we spend. In some months, there’s not enough.

More often than not, there are more months than money. Looking at that and seeing that my parents did a great job, that’s what I saw modeled as far as we had enough. We would get a little bit ahead, something would happen, and then they would get behind. We didn’t go on vacations. One of my first big vacations was when I was in high school. It helped me create who I am now.

That is why this kid wants to go on vacation every day.

I want to be on vacation 24/7.

I moved 27 times in 30 years. Travis is like, “Let’s go somewhere.” I’m like, “I’ve been there. I’ve done that.”

What you see and your environment are important. Still, if your parents or your friends are continually doing the same things or if you do a self-audit of looking at who you hang out with or the five closest people to you, you’re probably within a pretty close range of the net worth or the income level with the people that you hang out with on a day-to-day or weekly basis.

If you lean into this, there’s an incredible nonprofit organization that is in a conversation around sexual purity. They said something about sex and money, which is what made me think of this. We as humans are different than animals. This sounds crazy but animals have an instinct for sex. They know how to do it. Humans learn how to have sex and how to deal with money, which means I have an experience that shapes me. I have a family that talks about sex or doesn’t talk about sex. We hide sex or overboard on sex. We learn our habits for sex and money in how we are brought up. That doesn’t even mean we have sex to learn it. We learn by what we see.

It’s modeled or the words. One of the words that I heard growing up is, “We can’t afford that.” That’s what you experience. When I want something, that always pops into my head, “I can’t afford that,” even though I can afford it.

Here’s what’s so funny as we’re talking this out. The thing I always heard was, “It will work itself out,” which is why I can oftentimes spend. I’m like, “It will work itself out. It will be fine. We will have the money in the account.” Does it work some of the time? Yes, if I think about how I show up in business or how I show up with our budget or some of those things. If I am not conscious, I grew up hearing that, watching it, and oftentimes seeing it. I have lived it. It’s easy for me to go, “We will buy it because it will show up. It will work itself out.” It’s a good concept until it’s not.

This is so important within a relationship of talking and identifying how you grew up, how I grew up, and then how are we going to bridge that gap and come up with our money strategy. Typically, in most households, you have one or the other manage the finances. In our relationship, I manage the majority of them. In my sister’s relationship, she manages the money.

It’s not necessarily right or wrong but it’s identifying and understanding, “Here’s how we think about money. Here’s how we’re going to do it.” You then manage that. We do a weekly or monthly check-in, “Where are we at? What are we doing? Are we hitting the waypoints in investment strategy? Everything that we’re wanting to that we set out to, are we sticking within those guidelines?”

Here’s what I love about what you’re saying and why we’re talking about financial resiliency. Travis asked me when we were talking about that word, “What is resiliency?” Resiliency is the ability to show up boldly and strongly no matter what is going on around us, whether we’re in 2021 or 2022 where it seems like we’re catching up to keep all the money. There are a lot of industries and sectors that we saw doing well or whether we’re in 2008. Who knows where we’re going next?

[bctt tweet=”Resiliency is the ability to show up boldly and strongly no matter what is going on around us.” username=””]

In my mind, financial resiliency is the ability to know how to do well in whatever market or economy you’re in. When I think about this idea of financial resiliency, what you landed on is huge, simple, and stupidly hard because you said, “We need to sit down as a family, an individual, or whoever you’re doing your finances with and ask the question, ‘How do we think about money?’” That’s where financial resiliency starts. We hit on this in the last episode as we’re doing this series. Unfolding, unpacking, and mastering our minds and finances starts with how we think about money.

You said this in the last episode, “Money isn’t what you think it is.” Can you give us more definition around what is it then? If we’re going to sit here, the audience is going to sit there and go, “I probably need to rethink how I’m viewing money because it’s not serving me. It’s not getting me what I want.” If we’re speaking to the crowd that says, “I don’t have enough. I never have had enough. Will I have enough?” We’re speaking to the crowd that says, “I have everything I’ve ever wanted, and I’m still not happy. How do I need to be thinking about money?”

That’s exactly the point. We have been there. We’re going back real quick to our points of having no money and thinking, “Once I have a certain amount of money, then I’ll be happy or fulfilled.” You get there, and then you’re still unhappy and not fulfilled. That’s the point. If you make money, the focal point of your life tends to run away from you. I have experienced that when I don’t focus on money but I focus on value, bringing my gifts and talents to the world, and increasing my knowledge base to be able to leverage my time, I make more money than when I’m trying to control it and chase after money.

[bctt tweet=”If you make money the focal point of your life, it tends to run away from you.” username=””]

Here’s number one to write down. Focus on value, not money. Give me an example or a visual of when you say, “Focus on money. Chase money,” when I’m only pursuing that. What does that mean? How does that show up in real-time? How do we know that we’re doing that?

You’re all consumed by just making money. I’ll give you an example. We know someone currently that is working two-night jobs. He’s working 6 to 7 days a week, and they’re 10 to 12-hour shifts because he wants to make more money.

That is fair. We’re not here to say, “Your desire to have more money is not spiritual.” Here’s a quick insert. It’s okay to want more money. You have to check your motives. We’re not suggesting that the desire to have more money is wrong. The mindset, the thought process, and the focal point are where it gets dangerous. He’s doing this to make more money.

He’s doing this to make more money to go buy an investment. I don’t know 100% if it’s real estate or what he wants to do but he wants to invest his money. I get that. My thought is if you work the job that you need to survive and pay your bills and maybe a little extra, increase your knowledge and the value that you have. You can go then invest. A perfect example is real estate. Most people say, “I’m going to save up so I can invest in real estate.” You don’t have to have money to invest in real estate. You have to have the knowledge.

It’s the value. Let’s also now use the word value interchangeably with knowledge. To your point before we were talking this out, “I have to have more money to get this, be happy, and invest,” I’m chasing money as opposed to chasing value or knowledge.

You can do this at a young age too. I forget exactly what industry he was talking about but he was giving an example about a teenager.

Who?

It’s Alex Hormozi, which is awesome. If you don’t follow him, check him out. He was talking about an example of a teenager working at a job and making $14 to $15 an hour, which is awesome relative to what I made. It’s more than double. Inflation is here. He was saying, “There’s a weekend workshop where she could get a certification.” I can’t remember exactly what certification. She could double her income. It was $500. She was going to work to do this course. It’s going to take her X amount of time to save up for that course as opposed to borrowing the money to take the weekend course, paying that back twice as quickly, and then being on the path to make twice as much for longer.

Here’s what I want to break down that is incredible about this example. We could continue to do what we have always done expecting different results, and we’re not going to get them. We’re going to get insane. We all know that but we do that with money, “I’m going to keep working this job and saving for a time when I finally can have more money to do things.” We wake up when we’re 40, 50, 60, or 70 years old. That’s not happening. There’s the idea, “I’m going to do more of the same thing that I’ve always done.”

To your first example, “I’m going to work more hours and kill myself to get quicker results.” Could that be possible? Possibly. That is one strategy but generally, what we’re starting to see is people are burning out. They’re unhappy and disconnected in their marriage, “I don’t have any energy.” The shift here is that being strategic to go, “If I took a couple of ‘steps’ back to increase my knowledge and value to learn something that when I understand it and when I get it, not only do I love it and want to learn it but it could increase my value, yield per hour, and how much money I make.”

What I’m doing is taking a few steps back to take twenty steps forward. That’s the hardest part after you get through the insanity, working harder, and burning out. The next is having the courage, boldness, responsibility, and accountability to take four steps backward to learn to not look like you’re making a ton of money right out of the gate to then move forward by light years because of the knowledge base that you gained.

I’m thinking of another couple that I’ve been talking with over the years. The thought process there is that, “Once I have money, I’ll invest.” If you don’t have the knowledge to invest it, you’re potentially going to lose all that money.

It’s so good because here’s what we will typically do. We will go to the advisors, which aren’t bad but most advisors are built to not help. They’re going to make themselves money.

That could be a whole different episode depending on what kind of advisor you’re talking about.

That’s fair. Had I not met you, I would have done that. I would have said, “I need to make more money to go and invest and then give my money to someone else to let them invest for me.” I would have taken no responsibility for at least understanding how investments work. I’m not saying that advisors are bad but if I don’t know about money, how it works, and how to think about markets, market cycles, and all these things, then I don’t know how to be in control of my money. I’m dependent on somebody else to do for me what I probably should be doing for myself in the first place.

We could go off on different paths in this conversation because it’s so important to have an understanding. Do you have to know everything about everything? No, but you should have a good foundation or base knowledge of what you’re investing in. If you want to be more of a passive investor, that’s great. If you have money and you want to invest in real estate or the stock market, have an understanding of what you’re investing in. If you have the time and you don’t have money, then learn a skill because the money will follow.

Let’s say you don’t have money and you want to make more money. Volunteer, do an internship with someone that is doing what you want, and work for free. Let’s say, “I’ll work for half of what you normally do because I don’t have the knowledge base,” but once you have the knowledge base, then you get paid accordingly or say, “I want to come and mentor under you. I’ll work five hours for free a week and do whatever you want to learn under someone that has the fruit in their life financially.”

That’s what we’re talking about. This is the other side of it. You have money but you’re still unfulfilled because there is a tipping point when you have all the stuff. That’s what we experienced as well. We worked hard. We had what we called the American Dream, the cars, and the house. We were having kids at that point. We had a dog. We had all the things but we were completely unsatisfied and unfulfilled. That’s when we had our midlife awakening and headed out in the RV for the first time. This was years ago. It’s understanding that money is not going to be the fulfillment. Tony Robbins says, “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” We experience that as well.

What we overlook is that we have the safety, security, and stability needs. Money is a part of our deficiency needs. Once I have a certain amount, we all have a different range. Once I have a certain amount of safety, security, stability, and money included, I don’t need more to be fulfilled. It’s almost like vitamins. I take vitamins. Whatever my body needs, it clings onto and whatever doesn’t need, it pees out. It’s the same thing. Money is going to serve a purpose to help me meet my certain needs but it’s not going to help me actualize, meet my full potential, or do any of these things because it’s a deficiency need, not a growth need.

You hit on three things. How do we position ourselves to be more financially resilient if we don’t have money? You hit on three things that even the Bible talks about in the story of the talents when they come, and he gives them 2, 5, and 10. The idea here is, first and foremost, we’re given what we can manage and handle. God is not going to break us. Sometimes, we’re like, “Why wouldn’t you give me more money?” It might break you.

[bctt tweet=”We’re given what we can manage and handle. God’s not going to break us.” username=””]

I think about who we were when we were bringing in our quarters for more wine. Had we had more money at that point, I would have been a woman who would have bought the most expensive wine because I was not of sober mind. I was still chasing money. I would have been spending more than I was making then too. Why? God knew at that point, “Don’t give them more money yet, not because I don’t love them but because I do love them. I’m not going to give you more that’s going to break you.”

As we start to think about money as a value play, then it’s going to come back to three things. All of us, no matter who we are, have 1, if not maybe 2 or 3 of all these things. To your point, I have time when I could learn a new skill, do something, volunteer, be mentored, or something. I have resources, meaning I do have extra money here that I could invest, take a risk, and start a new business up. I could give back and do something or it’s our talent, which is the unique value proposition that God has put on the inside of us to write the book, build the business, and love that industry.

We have been given talents that are our responsibility to do something with. All of us have 1 if not 2 of those things. We overlook the power of our God-given talent that if we refine it, it would make room for itself. That’s the value thing. If we all have a certain amount of time and money, then it becomes, “What’s most important then?” That’s what I would encourage anyone. Identify which one of those you’re going to rock at in 2023, “Am I going to rock at my talent? Am I going to rock at my time? Am I going to rock with the resources that I have and then crush it or rock it?”

We have seen this huge shift over the last couple of years. There’s the uncertainty that happened at the beginning of 2020. Now, we’re going through another shift. There is a lot of uncertainty, “What is going on? What is going up and what is going down?” We have no idea.

It’s like a Dr. Seuss book.

An example is the stock market. In one week or month, it’s up. You’re feeling pretty good. In one week or month, it’s down. You’re like, “I have to sell everything.” You go into fear mode. Ultimately, you’ve got to understand where we’re at and position and prepare because what did work in 2021 won’t work in 2023. I do believe that there is a change in the tide and what has been going on with a tightening cycle. We won’t get into the weeds of that. We’re not going to see the full effect until 2023.

You’ve got more big corporations and companies laying off people. When people don’t have jobs, they spend less and potentially need to sell their homes. Interest rates are at an all-time high relative to the last few years. You’re seeing a lot of pressure on the real estate market. You’re seeing some of these corporations come out with their projections saying, “It’s not as good as what the media is saying.” It’s ultimately looking and understanding that we are going into a new season financially. Now is a great time to look and say, “What skill could I acquire or start to pursue that would position me where we’re going?”

That is it. I did a video. I’m going public with this. 2023 is the year of the Dream. What I mean by that is it is about a certain group of people. I’m going to call it thousands, hundreds, and hopefully hundreds of millions that decide, “I have to be ready and positioned to bring the most amount of value to a world that needs it more than ever before.” In my mindset, we keep checking in on this on a daily or most of the time weekly basis, which is, “Prepare for the worst. Make sure enough ducks are in a row. If things get weird, you have what you need to be okay.”

This isn’t like, “The end of the world is coming.” I have no idea. Prepare like it’s going to get bad and then take a few risks as though the potential of the impossible is waiting for you. To your point, refine your talents and acquire the skills that are going to be needed for you to go where you’ve never gone and do what you’ve never done. The compliment of both is what we need to be considering, not just work harder, put in more hours, or kill ourselves. I know that there are people out there that are doing side hustles and all these different things, which work until it doesn’t or until you’re exhausted.

I love the idea of saying, “Here’s our base. Here’s what we have to make to make sure that all of our needs are going to be met and that our ducks are in a row. Instead of going and working more hours or grinding it out, what if I took those hours and strategically started to focus on the areas that would exponentially grow my value, identify my talents, and help me to attract more resources?” That is what is going to be necessary as we move forward.

I don’t know who said it, “Opportunity comes to prepared people.” Now is the time to get prepared. You can start to see there are lagging indicators of where we’re going. Now is a great time to do a financial audit like what you were talking about and look at where are you at. If it does get a little crazy and you do lose your job, what do you have? Do you have six months in savings? Do you have an emergency fund? What are you learning now if you did lose your job, something that you want to transition to, or a side hustle that is strategic and profitable in the way that you want it to be, not just a side hustle to make a quick extra couple of bucks? It’s a side hustle that could position you in 2023.

I love that. Maybe there are two audits that we’re suggesting then. Do the self-audit of your finances to make sure your bases are covered. If they’re not, I would encourage you. If you were like me, that was always a fear zone. It struck a fear zone in my body because as a kid, I grew up being so afraid that I wouldn’t have my needs met. If you get to that point where you’re like, “I don’t want to. I’m scared. I’m afraid. I physically am nervous,” I hear you. The only way out is through.

We have to look at the areas where we’re like, “This is not good.” We have to start moving into how we can make it good, not, “This is not going to work. We don’t have enough money.” In going into scarcity, we need to ask questions that are going to go, “This is not good. How can we make it good? How can we lean in? What do we need to cut out for the time to get equilibrium and have the self-audit that positions us to do okay even if things aren’t okay?”

The second audit is the talent audit. What do I need to learn? Who do I need to become? How do I need to think about the world? What is God giving me and my unique talents? If their personality profile is great, you call friends and go, “Tell me what I’m amazing at that I seem to do so naturally and I make it look easier.” Call your parents and go, “What did I do as a kid that I was doing all the time that you didn’t have to tell me to do or not do because I did it?” That’s how we could do a little bit of our audit to take accountability for the gifts and the skills that God has put within us.

What I’m hearing you say is, “What do you think about money? What are your programs and experiences? How did you grow up in your environment? What does that look like now, whether you’re single or in a relationship? Where are you financially? Where do you want to go? Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 50s, or 60s, what is your plan?” Have a plan moving forward because it’s a lot easier to sleep at night when you have a plan.

That can be a little daunting for those of you who have never done that before. That would have, “I would have leaned that way.” I still can because I’m still a little bit of this visionary. I can see it before it’s possible. I still have a little bit of the residue of, “It will work itself out. It always does.” When I hear you say that, can you speak to the person that feels like that is so daunting to think of a financial plan? A) I’ve made them and they “don’t work,” or B) How in the world do we even create a plan when we are at least tuned in enough to go, “We don’t even know what the world is going to be doing. How do I make a plan for this?” Can you speak to any question marks in there?

We could talk about this for a while. Ultimately, it’s writing down a financial scorecard of where you’re at. Most people don’t. They just go. They check their bank accounts, and they’re like, “I’ve got $500 and $375 going out this week. I’ve got enough.” That’s their plan as opposed to saying, “Here’s where I’m at. Do I want to make more?” It goes back to, “Where do I need to increase some value to be able to make more?”

That’s where it is. It’s going to be an invitation to sit with reality, dream, and then go bigger. Don’t ask, “What is the goal?” Ask, “Who do I have to become? What do I have to learn? What do I need to know? Who do I need to know?” It’s an expression of an abundance play because God is bigger than the problem. There are people who have overcome this. There are strategies that can change it. There’s an abundance of resources to answer the question if we’re willing to ask a question that’s going to move us forward as opposed to keeping this where we are.

Ultimately, most people avoid it. Finances are in the top 1 or 2 of the reasons why people get divorced. They fight and argue about money because they don’t understand, “Here’s how I grew up. Here’s what I think about money. Here’s how you grew up. Here’s how you think about money.” We’re colliding with those two. They can be polar opposites as opposed to sitting down and saying, “Good or bad, here’s the baggage I’m coming with.”

You’re going through it and saying, “How do we think about money?” If you’re single, say, “How do I think about money? Here’s what I heard but I’ve also heard this other side. What are the new vocabulary and words that I need to learn to be able to start to go in the direction and grow?” That’s the hardest part. It’s like working out. You go to the gym. You’re lifting 5 pounds and looking around. They’re lifting 50 pounds. You’re like, “This is awful. This is no fun. I feel bad. I look bad.”

It’s the same thing with financial. It’s going to feel uncomfortable and awkward if you’ve never done it before but it’s so important because you will understand at some point when you put in the work that once you get there, hopefully, you increased your value in the right way. There is fulfillment because you can work, grind, make money, and be unfulfilled. You’re like, “Why did I do all that? What was the point?”

I think of so many thoughts around that. Number one, embrace the awkward because it is awkward. As a couple when you start talking about money or sex, it’s awkward. There are awkward conversations. You’re not going to do it well. Come back, revisit it, and do it awkwardly until you do it well. Where we will land with this is that there is this little bit of a call to arms to know how you think about money matters. The Bible even talks about this. It’s not money that is evil. It’s the love of money. It’s the motive behind money. This is calling all of us to go, “We all have time, talents, and resources.” It’s all interlinked to a value play, knowing who we are, what we have, and what’s given to us in our hands, and using money as an expression to share our value with the world.

[bctt tweet=”Embrace the awkward.” username=””]

We did vision boards. We did an episode on that or talked a little bit about that. On my vision board, I want to give a certain amount on a weekly basis. For me to be able to give that amount on a weekly basis, I have to increase my value, my knowledge base, and my skills to be able to make more so I can give more because that’s fulfilling. If I can hit that goal and give that amount on a weekly basis, then I know that I’m accomplishing something greater than more money.

That’s so good. That’s the point of the quote, “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” When you have both, it’s bingo. It’s game over. Join us for bingo. That’s what we’re asking. We encourage you to lean in, do a self-audit, and do a talent audit. Sit and do awkward conversations with yourself, your spouse, and the people that are in your world doing your financial game, and join us in rethinking money for a little bit more financial resiliency. Until next time, dream on.

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