Episode 20: How to Become Financially Successful with Barbara Stanny

Episode 20: How to Become Financially Successful with Barbara Stanny

This week I sat down with bestselling author, speaker and money coach, Barbara Stanny.

Barbara Stanny is a leading authority on women and money. Her mission is to revolutionize women’s relationship with money. As a bestselling author, sought-after speaker, workshop facilitator, and money/wealth coach, Barbara has helped millions take charge of their finances and their lives.

Barbara’s background in business, her years as a journalist, her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, her extensive research, and her own dramatic experience with money give her a unique and powerful perspective on women’s financial issues. She has been featured on Good Morning America, The View, Extra, The O’Reilly Report, and many times on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, PBS, and NPR, as well as the New York Times, and USA Today. She is the author of Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About MoneySecrets of Six-Figure WomenOvercoming Underearning, and Finding a Financial Advisor You Can Trust.


  • What financial success can look like
  • The three levels of financial development
  • The realizations or beliefs that need to be changed in order to make progress with your money
  • Why your difficulties with money have very little to do with money
  • What power from a feminine perspective looks like
  • Why you need to be willing to rock the boat
  • Why a financial achievement is always preceded by a financial challenge
  • What happens if you’re really committed to making a change
  • How to overcome under earning
  • What a powerful support network looks like




6 Retirement Moves to Make in your 30s

6 Retirement Moves to Make in your 30s

By the time you’re in your 30s, you should be on the road to building a solid financial future for yourself. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t fret. Start by taking action on one of these 6 steps below to get yourself on track for a financially sound retirement.

1. Set aside at least 15% of your income.

If you’re late to the savings game and haven’t been able to stash away, you’ll want to aim to put aside 15% of your income in savings. Preferably this is off the gross number, but if that feels too strained, aim for the 15% of your net (after tax) income. If you’re just starting out, focus on building up your retirement accounts with about 10% of the money and put the other 5% towards an emergency fund. Set money aside on a systematic basis each month.

2. Guard against lifestyle inflation.

Since you’re still early in your career, chances are there are (hopefully) plenty of raises and income bumps on the horizon. Just because your income grows doesn’t mean you can automatically rely on the small increase to your savings as well. Each time you get a raise, aim to increase your savings rate by a percentage or two right away. This will ensure you don’t get used to the extra money in your budget and end up relying on it for everyday spending.

3. Start envisioning your retirement.

It may seem a long ways off, but envisioning the type of retirement lifestyle you want for yourself will better prepare you for how much money you need set aside for your future years. Do you picture a life with month long trips abroad and second homes in the mountains or will you spend time close to home with family and do some volunteer work? These are two very different lifestyles that will likely command very different amounts of money to sustain.

4. Pay attention to taxes.

Taxes account for a significant chunk of your income that you don’t get to touch. Ensure you’re maximizing employer benefits in terms of Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, and 401(k) contributions. Do the math on if a Roth IRA (or Roth 401(k)) contribution makes sense lieu of going the Traditional route. Sometimes paying taxes today instead of in the future makes the most sense. Keep track of your donation receipts and if you own a business, learn what counts as a write-off and what doesn’t.

5. Rebalance your investments every six months.

Now is not the time to gamble with picking hot stocks (at least not with the bulk of your portfolio). Select a well-diversified portfolio allocation based upon your time horizon and risk tolerance and then mark a date to rebalance back in line with the intended allocation every six months. If you can’t stomach the swings that will come with your portfolio over the years until retirement, it might be best to consult with a professional or select a more conservative allocation that could be less volatile.

6. Learn to negotiate.

Your ability to earn an income is one of your greatest assets, which is why it’s important to continuously invest in your skillset and get comfortable with negotiation. An average raise of $5,000 per year invested and earning a 6% annual return over 30 years will add $395,290 to your portfolio – all because you felt comfortable going in for the ask! Take time to list out your skills, do research on what comparable companies and positions pay and work with your boss to set a strategy to get your income to where you’d like it to be.

Whether you start with one or all of the above, just get started! The earlier you start on building a solid financial future, the better off you’ll be.

This post originally appeared on U.S. New & World Report.

What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

Getting a new job, especially after a period of unemployment, can be exciting, validating and emotional. But before you say yes, consider the following aspects. Starting a new gig is a huge decision, one that you are stuck with for a long time. Before making your final decision, you should find out the answers to the questions below.

What Are You Actually Going to Be Earning?

Finding out what your income will be can often be murkier than it appears. Even if you’re a salaried employee, there may be other opportunities to earn money, such as revenue-sharing, bonuses, commissions and more. If you’re going to be an hourly employee, there may be opportunities for overtime or even some of the options listed above. Hourly employees should find out if they are guaranteed to work a certain number of hours per week or if that will depend on external factors.

What’s the Atmosphere Like?

Beyond how much you’ll earn and what work you’ll be responsible for, the most important aspect to a new job is figuring out what the culture is like. Is this a company where the CEO is addressed only by his last name? Or is this a firm where the HR department plans practical jokes for April Fool’s? Finding a company whose culture matches your personality can make the difference between dreading going to work and a lively morning commute.

Do They Pay for Certifications, Degrees, etc.?

Many companies pay for college credit for their employees. This is how a lot of people are able to earn advanced degrees without going into debt. Ask if the company has a policy and how you can be eligible for it. Even if they don’t offer to pay for your degree, see if they will cover the cost of continuing education, conferences and special seminars.

What Are the Options for Health Insurance?

The cost for health insurance can differ greatly based on deductibles, copays, coinsurance, premiums, and coverage for spouses and dependents. Seeing the hard numbers for all the available plans can make it easier to compare it to your current coverage. Don’t be afraid to contact the insurance company to see if your current providers will be accepted.

How Do They Review Employees?

One of the biggest ways a good job can turn sour is if you aren’t sure how you can succeed. Some companies have set guidelines for performance reviews, while others offer feedback on a regular basis. Find out how you will be evaluated, if pay is tied to performance and how often reviews will occur.

What’s the Vacation Policy?

Comparing salaries can be easy – just take the higher number of the two. But vacation days is another story. Vacation days, personal days, sick days and holidays vary from employer to employer. Find out the policies for each type of leave – how much notice do you have to give, what happens if you’ve run out of paid time off and have an emergency, are you ever required to work on holidays, etc. Some employers allow you to roll vacation days over into the next year; others have a “use it or lose it” policy. There are even companies that allow you buy vacation days for a set price, which can be one more benefit for those who love to travel or have family far away.

Do They Offer a Retirement Program?

Many companies nowadays offer 401(k) or equivalent options to their employees. But not all retirement programs are created equal. Ask about the matching program, vesting schedule and types of funds offered. The vesting schedule explains when you’re eligible to take advantage of the employer contributions (some companies make you wait a few years before you can withdraw those, while others ensure you’re vested immediately). Related Post: How to Leverage Your Employer Incentive Plans

4 Steps for Negotiating Your Next Pay Raise

4 Steps for Negotiating Your Next Pay Raise

Do you feel uncomfortable when it’s time to ask for more? Many people – especially women – don’t enjoy negotiating. Others simply don’t know how. It’s time to learn. Asking for a raise when you’ve earned one is a serious investment in yourself, and managing your salary is a key part of achieving financial success. An average raise of $5,000 invested over 30 years with a 6% return can add a whopping $395,290 to your nest egg. Additionally, since future salary increases are often based on a percentage of your current salary, your salary will grow at a faster rate for the remainder of your career. If you know that securing a raise is a smart financial move but still feel apprehensive about salary negotiation, use these four steps to overcome your apprehension and effectively negotiate your salary.

1. Be The Best

When you’re essential to the organization’s success, the salary negotiation process is much easier. As a key player, you can feel confident about your value to the company instead of worrying about job security. Here are some ways to become an indispensable team member or to be better prepared at the negotiating table:

  • Define your current job. Work with your boss to establish baseline expectations for your current role. Make sure to bring your own ideas to the table, but solicit your boss’ input.
  • Create a performance plan. Work with your boss to define what success is for your role. What would provide so much value to your boss that a raise seems like a mere triviality?
  • Meet and exceed the expectations of the performance plan. With a clearly defined path for success, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to secure the raise you want. Make sure to capture moments of praise or achievement so you have great examples to share with your boss.

2. Prepare Yourself First!

In order to negotiate properly, there are a few things you’ll want to bring with you to the negotiation. For one, you’ll want to have a target number for the raise. You can prepare this number by looking at salary sites (like Payscale, Glassdoor, or Salary) or by talking with other people in the industry. And there’s more to compensation than salary, so also consider perks like extra vacation, additional training, or increased responsibility. Don’t forget about preparing that list of praise and achievements mentioned above. It’s not enough to state that you deserve more money. Remember: show, don’t just tell. You can also prepare by enlisting a friend to help you role-play the negotiation conversation. If you feel apprehensive about walking in to your boss’ office and asking for more, knowing what words you’d like to say and how you’d like to say them will make a world of difference in feeling more comfortable during the negotiation. It might seem like a lot of effort to go to this level of preparation. But again, this raise could be worth close to half a million dollars to you over your working career. It’s worth it to prepare adequately.

3. Prepare Your Boss

Salary negotiations can be as uncomfortable for your boss as they are to you – and that’s not personal. There are a lot of factors they have to consider in granting pay raises, and the decision may not be 100% in their hands. If you have a regularly scheduled performance review, go to the meeting and knock it out of the park with your ample preparation. However, if your company is one of the 27% that doesn’t evaluate performance regularly, then ask for a meeting to evaluate your performance. Preparing your boss just means don’t spring this conversation on them unexpectedly. Schedule a time to meet and talk. If you can, avoid scheduling this time around extremely busy periods in the office (when you manager may feel frazzled and stressed because of the increased workload) or slow periods (when, after watching smaller profits come in, it may be harder to justify paying an employee more).

4.  Know What to Do If They Say No

It’s always possible that your boss will say no to a pay increase. However, since you’re prepared from step two, you can pull an appropriate response to any objections. Some options include:

  • Asking for another performance and compensation review in three to six months.
  • Negotiating other parts of your compensation – could you ask for more paid time off? Additional benefits? Workspace or schedule flexibility?
  • Requesting feedback and accepting constructive criticism so you know what you need to work on, improve, or change so you’ll get that “yes” answer you want next time.

If you’re really serious about increasing your compensation and your company is repeatedly resistant – or for whatever reason, you feel you won’t be able to get ahead in your current position – consider moving to a different company. This shouldn’t be your first choice of action, but it’s something to consider if you’re doing a great job but feel your opportunities for growth are limited. Increasing your salary is an important part of securing your financial future. You need to negotiate and ask for more when you’ve earned.

Back to Basics with the “B” Word

Back to Basics with the “B” Word

It’s happening. I’m actually addressing the “B” word. I’m completely aware that this word makes some people cringe or shut down automatically, but the fact of the matter is that the first part of putting any financial plan into action is to have control over your flow of money. Having a budget in place is the first step to getting control because it allows you to track your income and expenses, and direct your dollars to where you want them to go. budgetsbacl

You can call it your Spending Plan, your Cash Flow, or whatever else gets you motivated to address it, but what really matters when it comes down to it is if you:

  1. Have one?
  2. Are following it?

Why Create One

Having a budget will allow you to see how your actual spending compares to what you thought you were spending and will show you things you weren’t aware of in your habits. Chances are, once you begin to analyze your outflows, you may find that you’re spending a lot more in some areas than you thought. Having a spending plan will enable you to make room in your expenses for the things that matter most, such as having an adequate emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses, planning for retirement, or saving for big purchases such as a new home, car or vacation. By adding a line item into your monthly budget for these things, you’ll be able to automate your savings and make the accumulation process a lot less painful.

How to Build it

Spending Plans are easy to create and it should only take an hour max to build your own. It’s best to create a budget based on your monthly expensesso that you can obtain a comprehensive view of all of your bills. In addition, this will allow you to closely track your miscellaneous spending on items like eating out and shopping. To build your spending plan, you can link up your accounts using an online software such as Mint or You Need a Budget to get an up-to-date snapshot of different categories of your spending. First, you’ll want to address your Income. Your income will include: your salary, business income, interest on any savings or investments, government benefits, etc. The second item you’ll want to address is Expenses.  Your expenses will be divided into two categories: fixed and discretionary. Fixed expenses are those expenses that are steady, ongoing and practically mandatory to pay for. These include items such as your rent or mortgage payment, car payments, insurance, student loans, and utilities. Discretionary expenses are items that fluctuate in costs and in some cases are more optional than mandatory to pay for. These include items such as groceries, eating out, retail therapy, movies, salon outings, entertainment, gifts, and vacations. Keep in mind that not all expenses are created equal. This means that while some expenses may occur on a weekly or monthly basis, others are seasonal, like holiday gift expenses or an annual summer vacation and some are occasional, like car repairs or a trip to the dentist. It may take some time with tracking your expenses to get a good idea of what you spend on an average monthly or yearly basis. When looking at your fixed expenses, savings goals, and discretionary expenses subtracted from your average income for the same period, check to see if there is a positive number left over. If there is, you’re running a surplus. A surplus can be converted into future savings or investment. (Note: this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for adjustment and further savings). If you get a negative number, you’re “in the red” or running a deficit. This means you’re spending more than you’re making. The only way to put yourself back in the positive position will be to either increase your income or decrease your expenses.

Going Forward

Budgeting can be a lot like going on a diet. It’s hard to get going at first, but by making small changes and taking small steps along the way, you eventually fall into an everyday lifestyle of working out and eating healthy. Controlling your spending will be the same. By taking the above steps and beginning to document and become aware of your spending patterns, you’ll automatically feel more confident about your situation and any plan you put in place to move yourself forward. From there, each adjustment that you make will put you even closer to financial freedom. Remember, a budget isn’t meant to be a list of strict rules to abide by, but rather should be seen as a set of guidelines. It takes time, commitment, and a conscious effort to stick to it, so remember to set weekly or monthly check-ins for yourself and review your progress often. By holding yourself accountable and keeping on track, you’ll likely find yourself less stressed, more organized and well on your way to meeting your goals in no time.