Working out your money issues with the Financial Gym's Shannon McLay

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Shannon McLay, founder of the Financial Gym and host of the Martini’s and Your Money podcast dishes on her first- only partly legal- employment experience. Plus her recipe for cutting down the liqueur bill and more tips for having a fun night out without breaking the bank. 

 

In Shannon’s money story you will learn:

-The bold move a 14-year old Shannon made that more than doubled her income

-How she overcame obstacles like transportation and not being old enough to work legally!

-The impact of having her own income at such a young age, and how it influenced her future as an entrepreneur

-The one thing she knows she can do, to never be scared about having enough money

In Shannon’s lesson you will learn

-Effective ways to approach work even when you have doubts

-How Shannon leveraged comparisons to working out your body, to working out your finances in former her company The Financial Gym

-The value of top line income in creating a financially solid foundation

-The limitations of budgeting and cutting back on spending

-Why Shannon believes  your passion is not always the path to financial success

In Shannon’s money tip you will learn:

-How to cut your entertainment and nightlife spending

-The value of planning ahead and controlling costs with alcohol

-Ways to cut your spending on drinks at bars, especially when traveling

-How to cut calories and spending on drinking when you are home

In My Take you will learn

-Why smaller is often better for both food and drink

-Tips to get smaller sizes in restaurants and coffee shops like Starbucks even when they are not clearly on the menu. 

-The importance of multiple income streams

Episode Links

The Financial Gym

Martini’s and your Money podcast or on itunes

My episode of the Martini’s and your money podcast

Follow Shannon!

Instagram: @theshannonmclay @thefinancialgym

Twitter @TheShannonMclay @TheFinancialGym

Facebook: The Financial Gym

 

Transcription

Shannon M.:
I've also had clients bring the minis in their purses and they'll order like a coke when they're out at the bar, and they'll put the rum that they've put in their purse in that drink. So, instead of paying 10 dollars or 15 dollars for the rum and coke, they've only spent three dollars for the coke.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner, Bobbi Rebell, author of How to Be a Financial Grownup. But you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money. But it's okay. We're gonna get there together. I'm gonna bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We've got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, friends, that was Martinis and Your Money podcast host and my friend, Shannon McLay giving us a sneak peek into her money tip. It's not just lattes that add up, people. It is martinis and all so rum and cokes. You'll know what I mean later. Shannon is also the owner of the Financial Gym, which is rapidly expanding in New York and beyond. They run fantastic events that Shannon will tell us about. But first, to her money story, in which we learn about a very ambitious 14 year old Shannon, who wanted to go beyond babysitting. Here is Shannon McLay.

Bobbi Rebell:
Shannon McLay, you're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Shannon M.:
Thanks for having me on, Bobbi. I'm so excited about your podcast.

Bobbi Rebell:
I know, well, we have turned the tables now. It was about a year ago that I was on your podcast, Martinis and Your Money, which is awesome. We kicked back with some drinks. This is a PG rated podcast, though, so just warning you.

Shannon M.:
I can behave myself. I can do a podcast without drinking.

Bobbi Rebell:
Congratulations. I was just at the opening of your latest Financial Gym, which looks phenomenal. It's kind of like something out of a magazine. It looks so beautiful, I just want to go there just to hang, even if I don't talk about my money. But congratulations on all of that.

Shannon M.:
Thank you so much. Thanks for being there, Bobbi. Feel free to come out and hang whenever you want. Free wifi and we have the money bar. Just come hang out and-

Bobbi Rebell:
And the door is always open. Listeners, if you're in New York, the door is always open to the Financial Gym. We'll talk more about that in a few minutes. But you brought with you a money story from when you were a teenager only 14 years old. Shannon, tell us what happened.

Shannon M.:
Yeah, absolutely. So, I don't know if I was a typical teenage girl, but I used to babysit a lot to make money. I was kind of tired of the babysitting thing, and I went to a bagel store with my mom. We walked in, there was a help wanted sign. I think about this a lot. I have no idea why I mentioned the job to the person behind the counter, because I was a very shy and insecure 14 year old. I had really big glasses and was definitely a big nerd and soft spoken.

Bobbi Rebell:
You?

Shannon M.:
Yeah, I know, right? The power of being a theater geek, really I started doing theater not long after that in high school, and I really started to come out of my shell. But yeah, I was very shy and insecure. But for some reason I said, "Are you hiring?" I didn't even have working papers yet.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yeah, 'cause you're 14. Are you allowed to work when you're 14, officially, beyond babysitting?

Shannon M.:
No.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yeah.

Shannon M.:
No, it was totally not street legal, Bobbi. I mean, it was not totally legal, but the guy behind the counter was like this big, gruff, Italian guy, was very like totally into me. He said, "Do you want a job?" I was like, "Sure." And he said, "Well, the job is from 6:00am to 2:00pm. It's the morning shift", 'cause it was a 24 hour bagel store.

Bobbi Rebell:
Are you in school?

Shannon M.:
Yes, I was in high school, but I was like gonna work the weekend. He's like, "It's on the weekend."

Bobbi Rebell:
Okay.

Shannon M.:
I looked at my mom. She's like, "Well, I'm not driving you at 6:00am in the morning to go work." He said, the big gruff guy behind the counter said, "Well, where do you live?" I lived in the town next door. He said, "I live there, too. I'll pick you up." Oh, okay. [crosstalk 00:04:10] Like different time, right Bobbi? I can't believe my mother let me get picked up. So anyway, I started working at the bagel store. I went to school during the week, and I would get up at 5:30 on the weekends and work. It was my first real job. I was paid in cash. Again, it wasn't totally street legal.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, off the books, okay.

Shannon M.:
Off the books. It was the beginning of my real work schedule. I think about it now, like, it just changed my life. First of all, it changed my life about making real money. Not that babysitting's not real money but, you know, going out and doing that and earning that.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, what was the difference in the pay? Can we be specific? What was the difference in the pay?

Shannon M.:
Oh, significant, yeah. I was making four dollars an hour babysitting, and the job paid me eight.

Bobbi Rebell:
So double and off the books. Both were off the books, I guess.

Shannon M.:
Yeah, and more hours because I worked at the bagel store more than I babysat. You know, you babysit a few hours a night for somebody. So yeah, it's significantly increased my wealth at that point. Then I started paying for my own things. You know, my mom was like, "Well, you make money now", so I started buying my own clothes. I paid for my prom, I paid for a down payment on my car, you know, my own gas. It just created this independence that ... it started from 14.

Shannon M.:
Beyond the independence, what I always say, the greatest and biggest financial grownup lesson it taught me is just the value of hard work. It's something that carried me through to college. I worked full-time while I was in college, got a job on a trading floor right out of college, and now obviously starting the business. You know, I always tell people I'm never scared about my finances 'cause I'm not afraid to work. I'm not afraid to work because I started this like ethos or this ... It's just in my veins, and it started from when I was 14, just always working.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, what is your advice to our listeners? What is the lesson here?

Shannon M.:
The lesson is the value of hard work. Really and truly, if you want anything in life it's going to take work, but to not be afraid of it. The great thing about hard work, just like 'cause we use a lot of gym analogies at the Financial Gym and with money, it's just like working out your body. If you commit to working out your finances, you're gonna get results. You know, I worked extra at that job, I made more money. If people work more on their finances or take more shifts or more hours at whatever they're doing, they can jumpstart whatever their goals are.

Shannon M.:
We have clients in the Gym who are ... we tell them, "You have to make more money", because there's only so much you can save and budget and when you've got student debt and expenses there's only so much way you can wiggle and work the numbers around, you're just gonna have to make more money. The clients look at us and just like be like, "Oh. Really?" Where are they gonna find the time. I always say, "If you've got a weekend, if you've got a night free, you have all the time in the world."

Shannon M.:
You can pick up a side hustle. I have clients who babysit. I have 30 year old clients in Manhattan who are babysitting to make extra money, because they want to jumpstart their financial lives instead of living paycheck to paycheck or not going anywhere. The clients I see who have really significant success at the Gym are the ones who are working hard, and they're not afraid to work harder in their own job and a side hustle, or leave their current job for a new one to make more money. So, hard work.

Bobbi Rebell:
It's hard because we're told to follow our passion, but if our passion doesn't pay or only pays okay but not enough to increase the topline to reach our financial goals, it's tough to leave a job that seems like a great job that pays well but not enough. It's tough.

Shannon M.:
It's hard, and especially when you're looking for passion. I said, I'm fortunate that my passion and my finances have merged together, but we've got plenty of clients whose passion is definitely not the job that's paying the bills. But I always say you just have to be practical about it. Eventually there will be a time where your passion can consume more of your time, but until then, until you're financially healthy, you just have to work the job. I said I was 33 years old before I had the idea for the Financial Gym. Until then, I was just working. You know, just doing my thing and making money. That's sometimes what you have to do, but at least at that point when it revealed itself I was able to make that change.

Bobbi Rebell:
Alright. I am excited to hear your money tip. What can people learn from you that they can use right now?

Shannon M.:
Okay, this is my money tip. I am a big fan of-

Bobbi Rebell:
I'm afraid of what you're gonna say.

Shannon M.:
I am a big fan of-

Bobbi Rebell:
I'm a little scared, Shannon.

Shannon M.:
Here we go: The mini bottles of alcohol in a lot of different ways to save your life. They are a great way to control costs, if you like a drink. They also are a great way to control your liver, because you don't over serve yourself.

Bobbi Rebell:
But wait, wait, wait. I think of those as so overpriced, though, the mini bottles. Aren't we told like don't go in the mini bar. Don't take them.

Shannon M.:
Yeah, the mini bar at the hotel. No, no, I'm not talking about the mini bar at the hotel. Of course, those are overpriced. I'm talking about the mini bar like at your local liquor store, where the bottles are about a dollar each, and you buy a handful of them. I advise if you're going out with friends to bring a few in your purse or your briefcase or something like that to pregame before you go out, 'cause that'll save you on drinking when you go out places. I've also had clients bring the minis in their purses and they'll order like a coke when they're out at the bar-

Bobbi Rebell:
Oh, no.

Shannon M.:
They'll put the rum in that they've put in their purse in that drink. So, instead of paying 10 dollars or 15 dollars for the rum and coke, they've only spent three dollars for the coke. But also at home there's so many practical uses for-

Bobbi Rebell:
Wait, pause for one minute. So, they're spiking their own drinks, just to be clear.

Shannon M.:
Yeah.

Bobbi Rebell:
Okay. Go on. Yeah, so at home ... I want to hear more.

Shannon M.:
Yeah, and then at home it prevents you from over drinking. You come home from work, you just want one of those. It's obviously better to drink at home than out at bars, 'cause it's cheaper, and one of those little mini bottles is a dollar's worth of fun.

Bobbi Rebell:
It's portion controlled, as you say.

Shannon M.:
Exactly. You can also pack them with you when you travel. I haven't actually tried to get them through the airport, 'cause I usually check bags, but I'll sometimes put them in my check bag, too, because like if I'm traveling, again, I don't want to go into the hotel mini bar. But if I've had a long day, and I want to have something to drink, I will grab a club soda from the bar downstairs at the hotel and put my vodka in when I get back to the room.

Bobbi Rebell:
Good stuff, Shannon.

Shannon M.:
So many [inaudible 00:10:50]

Bobbi Rebell:
So many great ideas, all about saving money. Tell us more about what's going on this spring at the Financial Gym.

Shannon M.:
I am so excited about this spring at Financial Gym. April, Financial Literacy Month, we are doing every day, we have something going on. We're kicking off the Road to Financial Wellness at the Financial Gym. This month, we have Lola, the women's money retreat, happening at the Financial Gym.

Bobbi Rebell:
Oh, wow.

Shannon M.:
In April, we have on 4/20 Weedanomics at the Gym. I mean we are talking about everything money related in April. It's all free, too. We usually charge for events at the gym unless you're a member, but because we want it to be financially frugal and fit for everyone for Financial Literacy Month, every event at the Gym in April is free.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, everyone should stop by if they're in New York, and of course listen to Martinis and Your Money for more money tips, especially related to alcohol. Shannon, where can people find you on the web, on social medial, all that good stuff when they're sober?

Shannon M.:
Yeah, so they can find me on Instagram @theshannonmclay or @thefinancialgym or financialgym.com to learn more about Financial Gym.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you, Shannon.

Shannon M.:
Thanks, Bobbi.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, I'm still recovering a bit from Shannon's tip, but she actually makes a really good point. I think the guests are really bringing it. I feel like every episode we get even more creative with our money tips.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, Financial Grownup Tip Number One: I'm just gonna agree with Shannon and extend her advice: Smaller is often better when it comes to things that we both eat and drink. If you want to save money and don't want to give something up, just order it in a smaller size. Some places like, for example, even an ice cream store will fool you by calling something a small, so you think you're getting the small, and you feel good about it, but really the small is labeled "kids size". Try it. They'll usually give it to you, even if you're not a kid.

Bobbi Rebell:
In fact, Starbucks, the advertised smallest size is a "tall", but in fact they also have something called a "short". So, it's eight ounces versus the tall is twelve ounces. Eight ounces, think about it. When we're told to drink a glass of water, eight ounces is a normal glass of water. So, eight ounces is a pretty normal size of coffee. They've also experimented with, by the way, at Starbucks with things like minis, they have mini frappachinos seasonally. So you can ask for it. Let me know how it goes.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup Tip Number Two: All kidding aside, most people that want to improve their finances, like the ones that go to the Financial Gym, are not blowing all their cash on big nights out on the town. They just have basic expenses that aren't being met by the right amount of topline income. So, while you can look for ways to cut back, ultimately Shannon points out, considering new incomes streams in increasing the income streams that you have is a good thing. I myself have multiple income streams. It is so cliché to say, but don't put all your eggs in one basket. If you can, have more than one basket - all the better.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thanks for sharing this time with us. I hope you feel the time was well spent. If so, please consider taking a few minutes and writing a review on Apple podcasts aka iTunes, and subscribe so you don't miss any episodes. Be in touch. I am on twitter @bobbirebell, Instagram @bobbirebell1. Until next time, I hope you enjoyed Shannon's story and that we all got one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart and is a BRK Media production.