Relationships with money and tenets of financial intimacy with Hannah Koenig
This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I am joined by Hannah Koenig. This episode discusses relationships with money and tenets of financial literacy.
- The tenets of financial literacy - emotional, intellectual, experiential intimacy
- Cultivating financial intimacy & vision for wealth
- Reasons behind the gender wealth gap
GUEST SHARED HELPFUL TIPS ON:
- Tangible and practical systems for financial literacy
- Different budget systems
- Different debt pay-down options
- Getting started with investing
This multiple six-figure entrepreneur and Forbes Coaches Council member grew up on food stamps, below the poverty line. As a kid the only thing she understood about money was that her family didn't have it. Her fear of finances carried on into her twenties, where she faced eviction, mountains of debt, and the consequences of every financial mistake a person can make. After becoming an entrepreneur, she realized that earning more was only a fraction of the equation. It was then that she committed to fully transforming her relationship with money. In a few short years, Hannah went from a negative net worth to becoming an investor, owning multiple properties, and building tangible wealth. Her own journey of financial liberation catalyzed the work she does today.
Hannah helps entrepreneurial leaders build wealth and become well-resourced by cultivating financial stability, sovereignty, and sustainability. Her commitment to closing the wealth gap inspired her to found The LeadWell Summit in 2021, an annual global wealth event. It's free to all participants and will be hosted again on October 17th - 21st.
The LeadWell Summit is a self-funded, grassroots platform for real, practical, and transformative discussions about building tangible wealth with world-renowned authors, speakers, and educators. The summit will touch upon necessary and often inaccessible topics that are essential to building wealth including Financial Feminism, First Generation Wealth, Trauma & Shame Around Money, Emotional Spending, Debt, Investing, Financial Intimacy, Credit, Budgeting, Wealth Embodiment, Crypto, and NF
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So just like a personal audit of like, here's all the debt, here's my credit score, here are all my fixed expenses, here are all my variable expenses. Here's how I'm spending money. Here is how much money is coming in.
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They help them get set up with a lab draw, navigate testing questions, and they provide the requisition forms. It's literally a dream. Go sign it for free to help streamline your practice and simplify ordering labs for your [email protected]. That's RPA health.com and let them know I sent you when you sign up. You can also check out the show notes for this episode for a short video walkthrough of how I use Ruba Health in my own practice. All right. Today on the last stress left, I have Hannah Kig, who is a multiple six figure entrepreneur in the Forbes Council coaches council member that grew on food stamps and below the poverty line. As a kid, the only thing she understood about money was that her family didn't have it. Her fear of finances carried into her twenties where she found herself facing eviction mountains of debt and the consequences of just about every financial mistake a person can make after becoming an entrepreneur. She realized that earning more was only a fraction of the equation. It was then that she committed to fully transforming her relationship with money. In a few short years, Hannah went from a negative net worth to becoming an investor owning multiple properties and building tangible wealth. Her own journey of financial liberation catalyzed the work she does today. Welcome Hannah.
Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here. Yeah.
All right. So it took me a second to pour Hannah. I was jumping around from appointment to appointment today and she is just a lovely soul and was like, All right, no problem. We're just gonna ground into talking about finances, which is what we're doing. And I can imagine as you're listening to this as a listener, we're usually jumping from thing to thing. So we're getting into finances and as, as everyone knows, money is something that affects everyone, but sometimes we don't wanna talk about it. And so what you grew up with was you knew your family didn't have it. You know, I grew up with a family that was, I didn't really know. They were like, You don't need to know about it. And all of that gives us kind of our money story. Tell me a little bit about your money story and some of the things that went wrong in your twenties. Cuz it seems like, like once you have that mountain of debt or that stuff facing you down the barrel, some people do not climb out of that hole, right? Yeah. And so I'd love to hear about that fall in that climb.
Yeah. And I love that you mentioned, you know, one of the things I often ask people is like, what was your earliest experience of money? Because when you study financial trauma, often our subconscious relationship with money is formed like before we're like seven years old. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So a lot happens there that then drastically impacts our behavior when we begin to start adulting. And in my late teens, early twenties, I was just a financial mess. It was chaos. I knew I was making mistakes, I was constantly overdrafting. I wrote bad checks. I mean, when I say every financial mistake a person can make, it's almost that I've never filed for bankruptcy. I've never sent money to a Nigerian prince, but that's about it. <Laugh>, like credit card debt. I had retail credit cards that I maxed out really early with tiny balances that went straight to collections.
I've been evicted, I've had a car repossessed. And it was just this constant source of fear and shame and struggle and money felt like this thing that I was supposed to know how to do that everybody else seemed to know how to do. And I was failing at it dismally. And so much so that I reached a point where I like wouldn't have a bank account and I just, it was like cash only. Like I would go to one of those payday loan places and cash my checks because I was like, I can't spend money that's not in my hand. And for a couple years I operated without even a bank account. And really I think the come up from that was eventually I decided that what I was doing wasn't working for me at all. And I slowly started to make incremental shifts like, okay, you know, I'm gonna keep my bills and my expenses super low and I'm just gonna pay what I can on time.
And then eventually that led to tackling debt. Eventually that led to looking at my credit and starting to slowly rebuild trust and literacy with myself and, and eventually also entrepreneurship. I saw that as a huge way out because I don't have a college degree. So I was like, no one's gonna pay me the kind of money I want to have, right? For the kind of life I want to live. So eventually that also became an avenue for me to learn my own ability to generate money. And that also was another level of learning because I thought, I just thought when I didn't have it, I just thought, more money, If I have more money, everything will be good. Mean money will be great. And then I had more money and I was like, Oh, I'm still acting in ways that do not make sense. I have some work to do here. And that's when I really dove into literacy. Yeah.
Yeah. I wanna talk about both entrepreneurship and literacy for a moment. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you just gave us a little preview of how you kind of decided on entrepreneurship. And I'm guessing you didn't start with financial education as you jumped. Yeah. So I'd love to hear about like your first RA into entrepreneurship. It's usually like kind of some stumble into something and then it's mm-hmm <affirmative> needs to grow into a lot of things. So you can briefly maybe touch on that cuz it's funny to kind of see where we start and then kind of where we end up later and like what makes the most sense to us. Yeah. So a little bit about the entrepreneurial story and then I wanna talk about how did you grow in financial literacy.
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So yeah, we never, ever end up where we start with entrepreneurship. It is literally a journey. I have a background in yoga, in mindfulness, in transformational processes and leadership development. So I spent time like as a nomad teaching, traveling, studying in India and Indonesia on the east coast, on the west coast. And again, in many communities that were wellness based that were also, you know, operating under give a lot of scarcity that was never talked about. And so my first business was just like freelancing and working for myself. And then I moved into life coaching and then when I got traction there I had a lot of clients who wanted support starting their own side hustles and things like that. And then I moved into business mentorship, which I still do, but only with a small handful of clients every year because it's a ton of work if you do it well, if you do it right, it's a ton of work, it's a ton of emotional labor and it's not very scalable.
So that's where I started. And through entrepreneurship I saw, I saw a lot of mirrored challenges with my clients that I had when they would start making a lot of money being just like terrified and being like, I don't know what to do with this. And as I answered those questions for myself, it showed me just how much I needed financial literacy. And I threw myself into, there was a point where it was my first multiple six figure year, I had made a ton of money. I had no idea how much I spent because I was doing like money mindset work and stuff. That was like talking about overflow and using these mm-hmm <affirmative>, expansive, esoteric words but not with not a lot of meaning. So I was just on this hamster wheel of like make more, spend more. This is what overflow is. If I want something more, I just have to work harder, I'll earn more money.
And then it was like money and money out. And I remember at the end of that year just being so incredibly anxious and terrified that I wouldn't have enough to pay my taxes, which I did. But I didn't know, I didn't know how much I spent, I had spent over a hundred thousand dollars that year on my business alone without any idea. Like if you would've asked me, I would've been like, I don't know, maybe 40 like, and I just remember feeling like this is clearly, this is not working for me and I'm terrified even though I have money and I don't want to be terrified and stressed out all the time. And if I want this to shift then I'm the one who's gonna have to shift it. And I, from there, I really committed and it was incredibly humbling to learning the fundamentals and learning how to not only manage my money and my cash flow as an individual, as an entrepreneur, but also start to put my money to work because we spend a lot of time working for money and when money can be working for us. And I had realized that. I was like, what am I working this hard for? If
It's I'm, I'm only, Cause I had that feeling <laugh>, I had that feeling probably over a year ago. I was like, Oh my gosh, think I'm dying <laugh>. Yeah. But I don't even know what's going on. So I understand it's like you're in the, you're kind of like underwater and I understand a lot of what you're saying and as I go through an interview, I'm like, oh, what could the interview of this be? What could the title of this B because mm-hmm <affirmative> a lot of, as we were talking offline, a lot of times when you're kind of paying attention to the feminine realm of money and money mindset, there is a bit of an energetics around that where it's like money flows in and out and all these things and that can be fine. But there money also needs to be quite tangible and you have to be literate because otherwise it's like, oh, it flowed in and out and I have no idea how much was left at the end.
And that may be like, we may not be even hitting it on the head with some people and then other people they're like, oh, I understand. I actually recently had a, an experience I, I actually interviewed someone else about finances somewhat recently but on totally different topics. But I remember saying I had a, a recent financial meeting where in epiphany where I'm like, everyone who helps me with finances is a man. And it's not right or wrong, but I just felt very mansplained and I'd never really used that word before until I had this epiphany. I was like, oh my gosh, I feel like I still don't, you know, this is not like how I understand that. And so there's just such a room for tactical pieces of like tangibly trying to understand financial literacy and the fundamentals. And one more thing before I turn it back to you about pieces of financial literacy and how you grew that and what are the pieces of financial literacy or what are some things that we, we need to know.
I think that money and health relates so much to each other. Cuz we talk about how our behaviors or how we go about something, it's kind of like imprinted on us before we're seven. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> for sure. And we talk about that a bit on this podcast. But the same kind of things like you said, I saw in my clients mirroring to you the things that you were dealing with in your money. And similar things happen with our health. Like it's some, it's some kind of like thing where we're trying to figure out how to control it. It's out of, yeah, we're not even sure what we're putting in and getting out of it sometimes. And it's not right or wrong sometimes it's just like a focus area. And I remember also one time like the five, have you ever heard of the five Fs? Like gotta be aligned on the five F assets, faith, family, friends, finances and fun. Shoot. Health wasn't in there. Dang. But anyway, if health would've been in there, finances is just a piece that we're supposed to be litter about, but who teaches you about it, right? So anyway, financial literacy, let's talk about growing financial literacy, what are some of the tenants of what that looks like? And then I wanna talk about putting money to work after them.
Yeah. And I just wanna acknowledge a few things that you said because there is that like, oh, energetic, flowy. And then there is the tangible, practical. It's an and both conversation, just like being in relationship with a partner. You might have amazing chemistry, but if they cannot physically show up for you, if they are like, you know, constantly, like if they're a train wreck in their practical life, it might be like, yeah, we have amazing chemistry and I still have tangible needs that need to be met. And that's real. And also the mansplaining piece, I just wanna acknowledge like anyone who's ever felt that or ever felt like the world of finance or building wealth wasn't for you. That is by design. So it's not your fault, right? Like banks spend 13 times more money advertising to men. There are real structural and institutional like impacts and inequality.
Those things are real if you feel them, if you felt them, it's not your fault. And we all have the power, we all have an immense amount of financial power and the ability to rewrite the narratives that have been written for us. So I wanna say that first. And then to dive into financial literacy, I actually like to call it financial intimacy because money is a relationship just like your relationship with your body. Just like maybe your relationship with source, just like your relationship with your partner. And there are three stages to the development of really our holistic relationship with money that create that like profound trust and ease and decompress our nervous system and make money the thing that's not stressing us the fuck out. But actually the reason that we get to say yes to the things that matter to us most. So as follows it first we start with cultivating emotional intimacy with money.
And this is important because if we just jump to literacy without acknowledging maybe the narratives that are running for us or our financial trauma experiences that we have had that impact the way we show up, then something like a budget just becomes a bandaid, right? Or it just becomes like a diet. It becomes this thing where you do instead of this way that you be because you think you should or you're trying to restrict or you have a goal. And that's not sustainable. So if you think about like cultivating emotional intimacy with a partner, you're gonna think about like if you and I are in a relationship, for us to be able to have deep nourishing conversations, there needs to be safety, there needs to be transparency. And I need to know that, you know, you're not gonna punch me in the face if I tell you the truth or if I tell you about how I'm feeling.
So when you're first working on your relationship with money, emotional intimacy is the space where we can acknowledge and look at what's actually going on, what we're afraid of, what stories are running the show, and just have that moment to be like, this is what's present. You know? And and in line with that, that's also maybe we're looking at the actual debt, maybe I'm coming clean to myself and being like this is where things actually are. And in that we're stopping a pattern of avoidance or, or whatever pattern is kind of disrupting harmony. And we're just, it's a transparent acknowledgement where it's safe to be like, we're here and this is what happens. This is what's happening. It's kind of a phase of reckoning. And that creates an opportunity for desire and shift. And this is where I recommend cultivating a vision with money or a vision for wealth, right?
Just like if you are in a committed partnership or if you're starting a business, right? Like your business has a vision, right? There's this idea of this is what we wanna build and this is how we wanna impact people, you know? Or this is how we wanna grow together in our relationship. Maybe we wanna have kids. It's the same with money, right? You like, this is the wealthy life I wanna lead, or this is the type of relationship I wanna have with you money. So that's emotional intimacy. Then we move into intellectual intimacy, which is that financial literacy piece where now we're starting to build that tangible language and conversation of what systems do I need to put in place? What steps do I need to take to pay down the debt or improve my credit score or create an emergency fund so that I'm not constantly panicking every time something small comes up, right?
Where I'm, that's where we implement very tangible, practical systems. And I can get into, after this, I can get into like what those are and what my recommendations are based on where you're starting. And in intellectual intimacy, it's that commitment to learning. And that takes courage, right? It's a genuine act of bravery to be like, I don't get this and maybe I think I should, but I don't stop the presses. What do I need to learn? And then what do I need to implement? And then after that we move into experiential intimacy. And this is where we get the experience of, So if I think about experiential intimacy with a partner, this is where we've built trust, right? And now we get the joy of experience of being in relationship with one another because I know that you're gonna show up, right? I know that I can come to you and I know that, that I can communicate, I know I can rely on you.
So now I get the reward of that experience. So it's like I've acknowledged what's really here and I've done some work around that. I've put systems in place to shift and support my relationship with money. Now I get the experience of money showing up for me, or now I get the experience of me telling money how it gets to show up for me and the reward and the benefit of that. So in line with that, that's where we move into like building wealth and seeing your money work for you and watching your net worth grow.
So I wanna just reiterate those three pieces. First of all, love using relationships as a mm-hmm. <Affirmative> an analogy for a relationship with money, How interesting and how useful and how. It's just, it's relationship with your body, relationship with money, relationship with other people all boils down to our relationships and communication, right? So you gave us three tenants of financial intimacy, which was emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, which was more the tangible piece. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> emotional was the emotional piece and and feeling safe and transparent and trust and the things that you would, you know, kind of the core values maybe around money. Yeah. And then experiential intimacy. So maybe lightly we can touch on if there's anything to touch on about emotional intimacy with money. And then let's get into some of those tangible tools that you talked about in an intellectual. And then we can talk about experiential, like what fits under experiential that makes like more of the nitty gritty.
Yeah. And if you let it, right, like money can be the best partner ever. Money can be the person who's like, You want that? Yes, let's go, let's do it. You know, more reliable than any other relationship in your life. So in emotional intimacy, the first thing I want you to do is to acknowledge whatever narratives are kind of running the show, right? Whatever patterns or narratives. You know, often for me in my own experience historically that was like, there's not gonna be enough. Right? Or something's gonna happen and I'm gonna run out of money and I'm never gonna make money again and it's never gonna be enough for me, one of those big narratives was like, I don't know what I'm doing. I can't trust myself with money. Right? But whatever those stories are, like looking at your own money story and some of those narratives and just staying curious around them, this is super important, right?
We're not looking at them with judgment. We're not like, God you're an asshole cuz you have this money story. We're like, this is here and I'm really curious about why this is here, here, where it came from and I'm, And also stay curious if that's a narrative that's supporting you or if it's holding you back. And then if that narrative could be different, if it could be supportive, what would it be? Or, or even looking at, is it yours? Because a lot of our, the narratives that we carry around money are internalized from societal and cultural norms are internalized from, you know, our parents and guardians are, are internalized from formative relationships or whatev what have you. And so it's like even challenging and being like, is that mine? Like am I claiming that? So that's first and foremost from there I want you to cultivate a vision with money, right?
If you and money are partners, what does that look like? What does that feel like? How do you want that relationship to unfold? What is your experience in being in relationship with money? Do you feel safe? Do you feel like you can trust it? Do you feel clear about the amount that's in the bank and what you are able to do with that? What do you want that to look like now? How do you want it to grow? And then I recommend, and this is often the hardest part for people and this is a very practical exercise, looking at your current financial situation. So just like a personal audit of like, here's all the debt, here's my credit score, here are all my fixed expenses, here are all my variable expenses, here's how I'm spending money. Here is how much money is coming in. So this is just putting that all on paper and that's kind of a rip off the bandaid moment where a lot of people that's, it's the scariest thing you're like doing that makes me feel sick.
It feels like there's a monster in the room. But when you take the time to do that, it's like turning on the light switch and realizing that that monster that you saw when the lights were off is actually just a pile of your clothes on that chair in the corner of your bedroom. And that is can be really grounding or even confronting, but it's just this like I'm check in, right? Without clarity, we can't grow without awareness of what's really going on, right? We can pretend that we have a great relationship but if both of us are not being honest about what's actually going on, then we're just pretending together. And I want you to have a real relationship with money. So that financial audit where you're like, this is the debt, these are the expenses, this is how I'm spending. And when we do that, it can also be just really illuminating and being like, I'm spending money on things that don't even really matter to me.
I think that's such a good point. I'm spending things on things that don't matter to me. I'm just underlining that I've taken lots of notes. And so for emotional intimacy, here's what I really bolded, what's my money story? Staying curious and being without judgment. And there are so many pieces there that we could go in and take notes from. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. But there was a lot more there <laugh> than I even thought we could unpack. But am I spending things money on things that don't matter to me? I think that's such a cool mm-hmm <affirmative> question and a great, a great reflection.
So yeah. And money is a value system, right? So if you think about it as a value system, it should be reflective of the things that you value and that brings us into right that tangible, practical. So you've done a money audit and you're like wow, this is not really reflective of what I want moving forward or what I value from here. I recommend creating a money plan. Some people use the word budget. A lot of people hate the word budget. I know I did cuz it made me feel like, oh I'm gonna have to eat ramen noodles and I can't have fun anymore. And I thought it meant that my budget was gonna dictate my life and tell me how I had to show up. My experience of budget was completely the opposite. It was like, oh, every month I sit down and I tell money how it gets to show up in my life and what my priorities are and what we get to do together.
So if you have debt, for example, and I just wanna normalize that like everyone has debt. Debt is not necessarily bad at all. There's just some debt that's more expensive than other debt. So if you have debt, so when you're making your money plan initially, actually before we get into debt, when you're making your money plan initially I want you to think about what your fixed expenses are In finance, usually we focus on kind of the big three. That's transportation, food and housing, right? Those are the big three fixed expenses. And then from there also usually your minimum debt payments if you have it, that's step one. So what are the fixed expenses and then what are the variable expenses? What are the things that are a priority for me or that I've committed to that are not in line with that but that are important.
And then from there I really recommend creating an emergency fund. And this is before we move into paying off debt. So that can look like anywhere from three to six months of those fixed expenses and minimum debt payments. And the reason I recommend doing that before you pay off the debt is because emergencies happen. Like your dog may eat a beach towel and you may end up at the vet $3,000 later being like, what the heck? And our relationship to money can be really, it's psychological and it's emotional even though there are those tangible and practical components. And when you are paying off debt, those are like positive dopamine hits of like, oh I'm making traction, right? Like the student loans are decreasing, my net worth is increasing or the credit card debt is going down and an emergency can set you back and it can feel like you've failed and you're just never gonna get ahead.
So if you plan for that emergency, then you can continue to show up for those goals after that. So I recommend right money plan with fixed expenses first and then variable priorities and then an emergency fund three to six months from there we can look at tackling debt. And there are several different ways to do this. I used when I was paying off debt, what is called the snowball method, where you basically write all your debts down and then you pay the lowest one first and you just start crossing them off one at a time. That for me made it feel really easy. But this is psychological so it's whatever you can get behind and there is not a right way to do this. Some people use what's called the avalanche method where, and this makes sense on paper mathematically, right? Where you start with the highest interest debt and then, and then you move down to the next highest interest debt.
That's called the avalanche method. Some people like to lump all the debt together into like one low interest loan and then make payments on that over time. There's not a right or wrong way. And I also wanna say like having zero debt doesn't have to be the goal. It's just like inbox zero doesn't have to be the goal. If that's not realistic for you and that's not your life, that's okay, right? It's like is the debt bothering you? Is it impacting your ability to do the things that you wanna do and how you show up, right? Like is it narrowing your options? If it feels like a problem, it might be a problem, right? But that it's personal. So if you're like, Hey, I've got student loans but they've got a low interest rate and I'm just gonna pay them off and it's gonna take 30 years and I'm cool with that. Great.
Yeah. So it actually didn't even know that those were the terms for different pay debt, paid down options. So yeah, in the realm of tangible tools you had included like systems, you know, so some of those tools for debt or systems, you know, and what other systems would apply, let's say I like using the analogy of budget to diet too. I think that's kinda funny, funny cuz it's all like y'all have it in some capacity whether we like acknowledge it or not, whether we like the word or not. What are some other tools that you would use in this piece of intellectual intimacy or tangible, let's say like not debt wise, but let's say for planning purposes, what are some things you use for that plan?
For like a money plan or a budget or, Sure, yeah, yeah. So there are, again, there are several different systems for budgeting as well. I like what's called a zero based or a $0 budget. That's what I use in my personal life. And that's essentially an envelope system. So at the end of every month I decide how I'm going to spend the money that's coming in for the next month, right? The things that are my fixed expenses. But also, you know, I go to this Russian manicurist and she's amazing and I love her and it's like $200 to get my nails done. I go once every four weeks and that's something that I'm committed to doing for myself. So I sit down and I'm like, this is how much money I have coming in. Cuz as an entrepreneur I pay myself a salary that creates a lot of stability and balance in my personal life.
And so I decide where every dollar is going essentially. And some people think that that means that at the end of the month there is $0 in my account know because there is an emergency fund and like a buffer balance in there. And so it doesn't go below that number. And often what I find is this system for me, you know, in the areas where I'm likely to overspend that money plan or budget tells me, hey, it's time to cool it off on the, you know, hot Cheetos or whatever it is that I'm spending a lot of money on that month. And then for the areas where I'm more likely to restrict, it also gives me that nudge and reminds me, hey, you set aside this much money for new running shoes and a sports bra, like go spend it, right? Like you don't have to keep wearing the same smelly sports bra, like you created money for that go buy. There are also some people use like a percentage based budget where you know your income is divided in percentages. There's like the 50, 30 20 rule where 50% goes to your living expenses and then 30% goes to fun enjoyment, right? Just those lifestyle things. Wellness, the things that feel good, that nourish you, the whole reason that we work anyway. And then 20% goes to savings and investing. Yeah.
So we have covered some different versions of debt payoff and maybe always leave some their student loans was an example. We talked about a couple budget type systems. So inte intimacy, tangible language under this section. Would this also be investment or does that go into experiential?
Well, and experiential is really the experience of it. So there, I'm not gonna give you a tangible step. I can give you some actionable items in terms of like the way to be in relationship and experiential, but it's not as focused on the doing so with investing. And that can be something you build into your budget as well. You also, depending on the interest rate of your debt, you can start investing while you're paying off debt, right? So for example, I have a single family rental property and I have a home that I live in now I'm hanging out joining you from my living room. Both of the interest rates on both of those mortgages are really low, right? One is like, I think 2.3%, the other is 3.5% and they're both on 15 year notes, right? The length of the loan. I have no intention on paying those off early because the average investment I make in a mutual fund, right?
Which is just a group of multiple businesses that you can buy into in the stock market will outperform that by like five times. So my money is better suited, not paying off my mortgage early, but actually growing in the market. So what I recommend if you've never invested before, is starting with a simple retirement account that's gonna be like an IRA or a 401k or a a brokerage account. And if you are an employee, right? If you're working for somebody else, often your benefits package may include a 401K match or something like that. If you have that, take advantage of it and contribute the max that you can get matched on because that's like free money and it's kind of like checks that you're not cashing from your employer. So be sure to make that contribution. But I recommend starting there and I recommend that you automate that process.
If it's something that can fit within your money plan, then automate that process so that the money automatically goes out of your check and into that account and you don't even really have to think about it. Now I do wanna clarify just so no one makes this mistake. When you do that, you do wanna make sure that the money is then invested because it goes into basically like a savings account. If you're, you know, Vanguard, fidelity, whatever, then you have to choose what you want it to be invested in. And when it comes to investments, less than 30% of women are investing right now, which is wild. That means we are missing out on life changing amounts of money over the span of our lifetime. However, we statistically outperform men as investors by half a percent to 1%, which doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're talking about compound interest, like a whole percentage point on a mortgage is and tens of thousands of dollars.
So that's a lot of money. And what I recommend starting with in, in terms of early investments is mutual funds and mutual funds are like, it's kind of like if you go to Sephora for example, and you have a hundred dollars and at Sephora you could get maybe like one face cream for a hundred dollars or you could go to that mini section right by the checkout and you could get like 12 things for that. A hundred dollars. A mutual fund is the s and p 500 is an example of this. Maybe you heard about it on some like jargony news when they're talking about the recession and scaring people is basically you get to own a tiny piece of the 500 top companies that are traded publicly, right? So instead of putting your $100 in one basket, right? And a lot of people think about investing and they think it's single stocks and they think they have to pick stocks and they think it's wolf of Wall Street and it becomes overwhelming and confusing and hard.
When you are selecting mutual funds, you're getting a little bit of everything and that diversification tends to outperform. And then what I recommend as an investor when you're starting to contribute is what they call buy and hold. Which means you're just gonna buy it and you're gonna leave it alone, right? You're gonna let it do its thing and it's gonna continue to do its thing and it's gonna continue to grow. And compound interest is like popcorn. Like once it starts popping, it starts popping more and more and more, right? So your money is building interest and then that interest is also earning money. And then that interest is also earning money, right? So over time it becomes very rewarding and you don't need a lot of money to start, right? Like you can start with $25 a month, $50 a month is a great place to begin. I actually just had a friend share recently just broke down the math and shared that for example, if you are investing $50 a month from the time your child is one until they are 18, when they grow to retire at 65, that $50 a month that you consistently committed for 18 years will be over 3 million.
I've seen projections like that and I'm like, oh, that's really cool. And I mean, I get it, but like it's like hard to wrap your brain around a little bit. Yeah.
It's kind of like, I don't know if you've ever seen like a curve on a graph. Oh yeah. That curve gets steeper as time goes on. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So starting somewhere, we have to start somewhere. And I think that one of the most common misconceptions is that you have to have a lot of money to begin investing. I know that was for me as well. I was like, oh, that's something I'll do when I'm rich. However, it's kind of backwards because you don't get rich, right? It's like, oh, I'm gonna start prioritizing my health when I feel good. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you have to prioritize your health to feel good and the same, right? Like you have to prioritize your wealth to get to that place where you have that experience of wealth.
So we just covered mutual funds, the fact that 30% of women are investing, and that was really going to be my question was like, well how do we shift that? And you did say like you were very practical, Hey, start with mutual funds, start with a buy and hold. But on a bigger scale, I would like to say, what are some opportunities for, I mean I think there's like you, you brought this up in the before, there's just a gap there, right? So there's a gap, we know it. How do we close, how do we increase education around that and make it work for women? So we're jumping in there. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and maybe like you feel like, you know, it's like start somewhere, but maybe it's, I just feel like there's gotta be more <laugh>.
There has to be, You're right. Right? Yeah. Yeah. There has to be. And and there are some amazing women in the financial space there. I don't believe there are enough of us, but who are very committed to changing that. So there are a few things, right? The answer to your question is multi-layered because it's a layered issue, right? You know, it's historic, it's systemic, it's cultural. One of the most important things that we see is community. You know, women were really communal. And when we're able to talk about share, about exchange, about money with each other, have conversations about finance, find communities where we can resource ourselves, that changes the narrative on a community level. Now, before we even get there on an individual level, right? Like one of my missions is to help close the wealth gap. And when we're talking about the gender wealth gap, for every $1 of wealth that your male counterpart has, women statistically only have 35 cents.
So that's a very ambitious goal, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And what I know is when we, you know, it's kind of like the old trope of the oxygen mask, but it's real. So when we start to close the gaps in our own financial awareness, financial literacy, financial wellbeing, when we start to build our own wealth, we increase the likelihood that also other people in our lives will build wealth. And that's really common. So regardless of statistically, even if say, you know, two siblings grew up poor, they both grew up poor. When one of them starts to create success, like the other sibling is exceedingly more likely to then begin to create their own success. So when a rising tide raise raises all boats. So closing those gaps in your own awareness before you jump to how do we save the world, right? Very important. And then community where we can resource ourselves, resource source each other, support each other.
You know, one of the reasons I think that the wealth gap is so big, the gender wealth gap is because often we feel very siloed in our experiences. You know, our shame, our lack of literacy, our struggles with finances. And when we just begin to talk about them, we realize, oh, they're not that bad. Or oh, I'm not alone. And, and then we also begin to ask questions. We begin to support each other. That's something that I do every year in our annual wealth event. It's called leadwell, it's in October, it's totally free. And it's five days of high level conversations with best selling authors and the best female financial educators of our time. Having different niche conversations around debt, around credit, around managing finance as an entrepreneur, around investing. And then we have a whole community component where we're able to engage with each other and share, you know, this is what's triggering me right now, or this is what I'm up against. And we're able to rally support because going it alone is hard, right? It's hard enough as it is going it alone is so much harder. And also like building wealth with other people who are building wealth can be really fun. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, I don't wanna try and then just be hanging out by the pool on my own <laugh>, Right? I want my awesome badass, you know, friends and sisters to be there with me.
Yeah. We covered so much and I maybe on another podcast we can talk about first generational wealth. Cause I know we ran out of time here. Yeah. But in financial intimacy we covered, you know, emotional intimacy, the money story, intellectual intimacy, the money plan, and then experiential intimacy, the reward of the experience essentially. Yeah. So lots of little tangible things with a mixture of Ted Talk inspiration. Hannah. And then you brought up Leadwell, which is your summit that's happening next week.
October 17th. Yeah. October. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Next week. So leave Wealth Summit do com. Yeah. Yeah. Register for free. Do it right now,
<Laugh>. Yeah, right. Exactly. And I was gonna ask you where people can find you online, but it sounds like Lead Will Summit, Is there anywhere else people can
Find you? Yeah, you can find me. I'm, I hang out most on Instagram at I am Hann, K O E N I G. And I am one of those kind of people like, I like new friends. So you're welcome to jump in my dms, tell me what you thought about the episode, tell me your bunny story, like I would love to hear it.
Cool. Thank you so much for coming on
Today. Thank you for having me.
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