215: Breaking Financial Stress to Create Wealth and Wellth for Life With Krisstina Wise 215: Breaking Financial Stress to Create Wealth and Wellth for Life With Krisstina Wise

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Katie: Hello. And welcome to “The Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie, from wellnessmama.com. And today’s guest is a new friend of mine and I cannot wait to share her with you. Krisstina Wise, is a real estate mogul, a millionaire coach, and the creator of several multi-million dollar businesses, including Goodlife Luxury, the Paperless Agent, and most recently, Wealthy Wellthy. I’m gonna link to that in the show notes, she has an amazing podcast. She’s an internationally known speaker and award-winning author. She wrote an amazing book called “Falling For Money” which is a romance novel for your bank account. She was named one of the 100 most influential real estate leaders in the country, and she has been featured in “USA Today” by Apple, Evernote, everyone wants to hear her speak. And I don’t wanna give away too much of her story but she also has a really amazing personal health story. And like I said, I can’t wait to share her with you. This is a little bit of a diversion from straight health topics but I do think this is equally important. So Krisstina, welcome, and thanks for being here.

Krisstina: Thank you so much. It’s such an honor.

Katie: Likewise. I love to talk to you and I cannot wait to share you with the audience. And I had mentioned that you had a personal health story I would love if you could start by telling us a little bit about your story and how you came into this world of finances and also of health.

Krisstina: Well, the funny thing is about my story is let’s say 2012 if I would have had a crystal ball or a fortune teller that said, “You know, Krisstina, about two years from now you’re gonna be a financial author, you’re gonna be a money coach, you’re gonna be in a money business, and you’re gonna be changing millions of lives and on this big topic called money,” I would have said, “What a load of crap. No way, and, you know, my life is real estate, it’s business, it’s entrepreneurship. It’s this whole other realm of business and life, nothing to do with money.” So my health crisis that I had in 2013, is I nearly lost my life. And when it comes to money and business that’s been my background but money, business, real estate as a career not as something I taught or something I did as a separate business on its own.

But what happened in 2013, where I was really good at the money and business game, I traded my health for wealth. And I lived a lifestyle that was unsustainable, lots of stress, you know, lots of just not taking care of myself. Eating on the road was…yeah, actually I exercised too much. And I just really had this lifestyle of high adrenaline. And we’ve all been there especially as women. I was a mom, you know, I was a wife, I was a business owner, I was traveling, I was speaking on stages all across the country, I was running marathons. And it seems crazy now but we all do that. We just get in this trap of doing more or being more. And this idea is I’m never good enough and more is never enough. And so there’s always that next there to get to, that next more to get to. And I was trapped in that type of mindset and lifestyle until my body finally said, “You know, what I’ve been doing working really hard to sustain you but I’m breaking now because I can’t do anymore. You’re just beating me up.” So with, you know, my near death crisis, my health crisis in 2013, I had this big wake up call.

And the wake-up call was really this polarity, this realization I had because I was in this spot where I was on my deathbed with all this regret. And that holy cow like everything I was working for, the money, the status, the net worth, to be the icon, to be the person on the stage, to be the person everybody looked up to, that type of thing, I got it all wrong. None of it mattered because, on my deathbed, all I wanted to do is be with my family and feel love and enjoy my life actually. I realized I hadn’t even enjoyed it because I was always after that next achievement. And I was never present, I was always in the future somehow. So it’s this big awakening of, “Oh, my gosh, life isn’t all about the money and success. It’s about living, it’s about experiencing, it’s about loving, it’s about being and becoming.” But it just…it can be so much simpler. I complicated my life with so many things.

So there was that thing but at the same time what saved my life and, you know, speaking your language is I was only… I only knew about sort of the Western more let’s say traditional medicine world when I first got started in trying to find out what was wrong with me. So I went down that route. I’d never been on a medication before in my life, I barely took Tylenol. And now I’m on lots of pharmaceuticals, nobody could figure out what was wrong. And finally, I was introduced to more of the integrated wellness side of things. And as we know on the financial side, when you go down this route those things aren’t covered by insurance. Prescriptions are, those doctor visits are, those surgeries are. But to get functional medicine, integrative medicine, and get the help that I needed it wasn’t covered. So here I was, thank goodness I had the financial means because it cost me a quarter million dollars to save my life. But on the other hand, I didn’t care about the money at all, I didn’t care about the cars, I didn’t care about the house, I didn’t care about my status. All I wanted was my life back and my family and friends around me.

So that was that polarity of okay, money is important to me and it’s more important than anything. In this case, it saved my life. But on the other hand, it’s not about the money, so what is it about? And so it was a very philosophical question, like how much money is enough? How much status is enough? How much achievement is enough? How much is just being good enough and feeling good enough because we all have a purpose? And if I’m good enough, I don’t have to play in that game anymore. So that was really that spot where I came out of that. Luckily I’m still here, and I was just…had this calling to share that yeah, health and wellness is important. In fact, from a financial standpoint, I talk assets and liabilities. So number one asset, so this is where the investment needs to be. And in financial speak, an investment means you invest to produce a return but invest takes time, energy, and money.

And so our bodies take time. We need to take time to exercise, we need to take time to cook our dinners, we need to take time if we’re gonna live this healthy lifestyle. We need to invest in self-care and in good food and in nurturing and things that, you know, help us even balance out some of the stressful lifestyle. And it takes love. We have to love ourselves and we have to love others and feel loved. So there is all these other ingredients on the investment side, kinda that time, energy, and money investment into our bodies. So we need to do that and in order to do that well, financial stress is one of the biggest stressors actually in many families, that that stress alone can catapult into a life that is so stressful in ways that it’s hard to be well even though we’re eating the right foods and we’re taking care in so many ways. That financial stress can be so great that that enough can keep us trapped.

And so anyway, that was my story that took me out of that business world and entrepreneurship world and real estate world to actually wanna teach this thing that I called Wealthy Wellthy. Meaning wealthy let’s work on getting really good at money and passive income and quick really changing time for money but build a lifestyle, a sustainable lifestyle. And financial wellness is as important as the health wellness and that our bodies are number one also, so that health wellness is as important as the financial wellness. And that’s what I do now is teach both these components that are our body and our finances, our health and our wealth, are really both the same thing. And if we can organize our lives in a way that allows us to take care of both and grow both and feel good at both and have a plan and have a strategy and turn this into lifestyles, life can be so much easier.

Katie: Absolutely. I love that and that’s the reason I was so excited to have you on because you hit the nail on the head. I think financial stress is a huge source of stress for a lot of people I know, including a lot of people listening. I know that it was for many years for me as well and I’ve been in that same pattern as you have of trading health for wealth. In fact, there’s kind of this running joke in the health world that we all of us like get sicker or unhealthy writing a book about health because it just takes such a toll on your health to have to work all the extra hours and sit down so much.

But I feel like that is perhaps one of the hardest patterns to break breaking through that financial stress. And I know from my own life looking back when we were first married, my husband and I, we were living on I think $26,000 a year even when we had our first two kids living in a one bedroom apartment. And it seemed impossible in that moment to foresee a way that we could break out of that pattern of financial stress. Not just even having more money but just letting go of that stress. And so I’d love if you could then start delving into some of your strategies for that, how you start to break free of that and how to create a family financial plan that breaks through.

Krisstina: Yeah, when it comes to money there are really…there’s a handful of components that are really important to break out of the money trap. And the first thing that, I mean, almost everybody has heard about and I think is almost overemphasized but it’s a key ingredient and that’s the money mindset. And it’s everything starts with mindset, as we know in the health category. If we feel unhealthy and we want to lose weight or if we wanna get control of our health in a way that makes us better, that our mindset about it is a key ingredient, meaning there’s one mindset that it’s just a diet and I want to lose a few pounds. There’s another mindset of no, I want to be healthy and I want to learn about health and I wanna grow in my health. Which means at the end of the day, I’m going to have to change my narrative about it, the way I feel about it, the way I feel about certain foods. So the first thing is just this mindset is I’m gonna take control of my health, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna change my lifestyle if that’s what’s required. And I’m gonna grow into that and learn and feel good.

So when our mindset changes then our life can change because everything begins with how we think and what we think and why we think it. So the same with money, it’s this money mindset when…because money has a charge attached to it. Now, money itself is just this…it’s just an object that has no meaning, it has no emotion, it has no charge. It’s just a tool. It’s a currency, meaning I pay you a dollar. In return, I get a piece of bubblegum. And there’s no emotion attached to that. You get a dollar, I get a piece of bubblegum. It should be as simple as that. But in real life, money is charged because of the way we are raised, the way its impacted our lives in one way another. Historically, the way we grew up about it and the way it was approached or not approached or talked about or thought about in our families. And just the narratives we picked up on like money is a bad thing or those greedy people, all those things get stuck in our heads if they’re never really put on the table and looked at.

So when money has…and then typically we bring those, it’s a dysfunction in a way. It’s like if we haven’t really dealt with some of our maybe childhood dysfunctional issues psychologically, we’ll bring those into our relationship. And if they’re unresolved they can take a good relationship or what could be a good relationship and wreak all sorts of havoc. Well, the same thing with our money that if we have any negative charge attached to money, any kind of thoughts or feelings that are on the negative side of the equation, it’s really hard to make money a positive thing in our lives. And so that mindset is so powerful. And then we get married and I have a different money mindset and you have a different mindset, now we’re trying to blend those together but we’ve never talked about them. And then it creates all sorts of friction and blowouts and that type of thing.

And we don’t mean for that to happen but again, it’s just if there’s a negative charge with money then that’s going to have a ripple effect. It’s going to go towards maybe more negative and more negative. So the first place we always wanna get is how do we do some work to get to this place where our mindset is positive? That even if we’re in an undesirable money situation, how can we reframe money as a good? As something I can learn, that I can get good at, that become a positive thing, that can actually be a pillar of my marriage versus something that actually pulls us apart? And it’s just starting the work there. So it’s always mindset, mindset is always there for everything. Typically it’s our biggest issue in any crisis or big challenge we have in our life.

The next thing with money is that money has rules, meaning there is financial doctrine. It has rules that have to be obeyed if you will. That if you don’t follow those rules then it’s going to turn out in a way that is going…if it goes against the rules, like breaking any rules. If you’re playing a basketball game and that’s the sport and that’s the game, you have to follow the rules. And if not, you’re kicked out of the game. And you have to follow the rules. You have to play according to the rules. But once you know the rules, you can play within the rules and you can win.

So money has rules and that’s usually just a lack of knowledge in anything. Like on the health side, what you do so great at Katie, and I love your work, is because you simplify things. You’re just like here’s kind of the truth of food and this is the truth of chemicals and this is the truth that you may or may not know. But once you know these truths and you know these rules about wellness then you can change your lifestyle. But if you don’t know the rules, if you don’t know that sugar is terrible for you and for your children, then you’ll just keep doing it and there are gonna be maybe negative consequences out of that and you’re like, “Why do I have diabetes or why do I have all this illness?” Because it’s just a lack of knowledge. And so same with money. If you don’t have the knowledge of the rules, if you don’t have the knowledge of the way that money works, then most of the behaviors with money are counter-effective. So that’s the second piece.

The third piece is that money requires systems like recipes and knowing that when you put money into a system you need these systems. You have to have a way to manage your money. Money, if you don’t manage it, it will manage you. I kind of look at it like a pet meaning if you have a dog and you want to have a great dog that’s well behaved, you train the dog. And you have a leash and you have commands and you have these systems. And you have this different way of working with your dogs so that they’re well-behaved dogs. But dogs that are untrained and are not well behaved, they’re peeing on the carpet, they’re chasing after dogs, they’re biting other humans. Whatever the case is, but that’s an untrained dog.

But a trained dog, I mean, they’re beautiful. And they’re just so well behaved and they will listen to the commands. And that’s what we don’t understand with money is that when we put the money in these systems and let the systems do the work, let the commands do the work, have the right tools or the software and the systems and that type of thing, then money just behaves. It behaves beautifully and it’s so easy once we know the rules and have the systems to turn our money in a way that it starts working for us. And it goes the other direction.

So if it’s going more in a downward spiral direction into more debt, or more stress, or more fights, and that type of thing, we can completely reverse that when we change our mindset, when we understand the rules and start working according to the rules versus defying them and then when we put our money in a system. And then the next piece is, it requires goals and planning and then our behaviors are organized around having financial goals. And it’s in a system and now our goals, what are our goals, where do we wanna reach into, especially when we’re married. Having common financial goals and working in tandem to achieve those can actually then turn marriage conflict on the finance side into this just very empowered in bringing their relationship together towards these common goals. So versus pulling it apart, pulling us apart, it pulls us together.

And then it’s very easy for us to change our behaviors and turn money into a lifestyle, just like what you’re teaching to turn health into a lifestyle. Where it’s not something you feel bad about or you’re pissed off when you’re cooking at home, you actually feel great about cooking at home. And now you get to, you know, be cooking at home and doing things with your children or doing things with your spouse because we’ve changed it. And now it’s not an inconvenience so much, its something we look forward to.

Katie: I love that and everything you just said, I resonate so deeply with that. And I know that one thing we share in common and I had actually never thought about it from the financial perspective and when you said it made so much sense to me, was the idea of running your finances like you would a business, your personal finances like you would a business. This is something you talked about when we first met and it was so amazing to me that concept because that’s how I’ve run my life with my kids. In that, I hadn’t thought to do it with the financial side but just our daily systems and having measurable goals and checklists and everybody having their roles that they know what they’re responsible for.

And there’s expectations and we all work together as a team, all of those things that you would do in business I also do in our family life. And that helps keep my stress level down and helps…it’s easy to stay on track with eating healthy and moving as a family and making sure we spend time together. But when you explained this in the financial model it literally blew my mind. So can you just talk us through the overview of that and basically how we can shift our focus toward basically managing our household finances like we would manage a business?

Krisstina: Yes, and that’s…it’s so funny because you spoke at the event before I did and you were basically saying the same thing like, “Yes, I’ve never heard anybody else say that the before.” The way you do your family and I think you said, “Run your family like you would run a business in a way.” And I’m like, “Absolutely,” and a way that sounds so cold or I didn’t know like really systems and we set up things on our calendar and we do this, that? That just seems like there’s no spontaneity there. It’s like no, the systems actually allow the spontaneity in this very creative organic way, especially when all that stress and uncertainty is removed. It makes it so easy to dance inside of the systems that keep things really on the rails. When things are off the rails, that’s when life is really stressful. And the systems like you said allow that or, you know, one of the things that allowed that.

But so part of my background and world has been business. I’ve started many businesses you know, kind of that quintessential, let’s say, entrepreneur. And so when I look at the books for example or I talk to entrepreneurs or I coach entrepreneurs on the business side, they really get it. They understand that the game of business is profit, this thing called profit. And so, so many of these entrepreneurs and business owners that I’ve coached over time just in the business world, that’s never…I mean, that’s very obvious. You know that you do not sustain as a business if you do not figure out how to create this thing called profit. And so in order to do that, you have this thing called revenue. You take out your cost of sales, what’s left over is gross profit. You manage your expenses and what’s left over is profit. And that’s what we get paid on in the business side is this thing called profit. Pretty easy. I mean, it’s just like I said, it’s just so obvious in the business game.

But then that same, let’s say that same individual, now if I look at their household books, their household books are a mess. Their household finances and kind of that lifestyle is disorganized and money is going all over the place. And they have no real idea of where the money’s going and they’re probably overspending and so on and so forth. But with the way it is, is that money is money. In the business side and the household side, we have different names to it but it works exactly the same. And at the end of the day, with our household how we get rich is that…so the myth out there is the answer to all my money problems is to make more money. And then that means I just have to go work harder at the end of the day for most people. Which for most of us, that’s not the desire and it’s usually not even possible because there are so many hours in a day.

But on the household side, the same thing is that when we look at our household as a financial business, especially as it…like the money piece is the business of the household. Even if you have two salaries or one salary for that matter that’s coming in, when you operate your household, the finance part of the household as a business, then again, the money will work a certain way. You’re looking at the revenue, you’re looking at the expenses, and you’re looking at what’s left over as profit. And the profits, so the second money myth is that the way we get rich, the way we build net worth, the way we can get that financial freedom ultimately where everybody is trying to get to, it’s not in the business side of things. We don’t get rich through our business, we get rich, we create rich through our household. Through how we manage, look at the money, manage the money, set those goals, abide, you know, follow a plan that will allow us to reach those goals. Because the profit in our household is what we use and invest.

On the other side in the investment game on the balance sheet side, most households don’t have a business. Every… I mean, all businesses have balance sheets but very few households have balance sheets. How much money we have, like the true state of our net worth, is always exist on this thing called a balance sheet. The P&L in our household is kind of that budget but if we’re not organizing it and moving our money according to a profitable household financial plan, we’ll never have the money to invest. We will never have the money to grow in our balance sheet which is the net worth. Which is the only escape from trading time for money is on the balance sheet. Meaning we grow the value of our asset pool to a place that will throw off income, enough income that we can replace our working income.

And that’s the game. The whole money game is to work, we all work hard, one way or another, no matter what our roles in the household are. But we work really hard when we create profit in our household, that we move to invest. And then the whole game is that like I said when that money thrown off from our assets can replace our working income, that’s what financial freedom is. That means I don’t have to work so hard because all my bills are being paid and then some by my balance sheet, all those assets, the asset income.

And that’s what financial freedom is. It’s when our passive income replaces our working income or some portion of it. Which takes off that’s the only way to get off that proverbial financial hamster wheel, meaning…and that takes time. Which means, what that means at the end of the day, money is a lifestyle just like health is a lifestyle. Its a longer term game and you’re playing it over the course of your life. And there’s no there with money, there’s no there with life. But it’s not like you get there and life gets easier. We design this into our lives in a way that we know what the game is, we know where the win is, we have a scoreboard that we’re keeping kinda track, and then we’re just in the journey of that on a day to day. And when we turn that into a lifestyle and a journey, it takes almost all the money stress out and just knowing it’s gonna take some time

Katie: I love that and I’m 100% with you on it does seem a little cold at first when you think of managing your family like a business. But I’m with you. I would actually present that it’s the other way entirely which is that we use systems in our business and we use metrics because we care about our business and we want it to grow. So obviously we care about our families even more so why would we not use all the same systems and advantages that we could use in a business in our own family life, to create more, like you said, more free time and more spontaneity and just more like ability to take time off or to have less stress? That’s huge in a family and I know that probably people listening are loving what you’re saying but also wondering like on a practical level what does this look like? How can I actually start moving toward creating wealth in the long term? So are there any strategies for saving or spending or investing that you find are good places to start?

Krisstina: Yes, so obviously once we’ve really worked on our mindset and once we’ve learned about money…that’s another thing about money. And even parenting for that matter. I mean, anything in life, it’s like we have it backwards. I mean, it’s again, let’s say if we, whatever we do we work for a living, part of the way we increase our income is we get better at that job. So we learn, we’re always learning. We’re growing and we’re learning the latest technology and we’re learning the best…new best practice. You know, we’re growing over time. And as we grow into our craft, as we grow into our expertise, and we feel more confident, and we generate more value, what the kind of the usually the byproduct of that is more money, for example. Well, the same thing with…so I mean, that’s just again, it’s kind of very obvious. Of course, I need to constantly be honing my skills and getting better and that’s a lifelong journey if I’m gonna stay and that’s kind of my passion to do that kind of work.

And when it comes to life though, its as though that the same obvious principles break down because when it comes to life, money is know how. Health in many categories is know how. Being good parents, let’s say, is know how. Yet, and a marriage is know how if you’re gonna have a good marriage. But we really come into all these big life categories, like marriage and health and money thinking, “Ah, we’ll just figure it out as we go along.” Like we don’t have to put any study there, we don’t have to put, you know, take any time to invest in the knowledge. We’ll just figure it out as we go along.

But those that I’ve talked to that have actually maybe taken a course on great parenting or have done some education or workshops or therapy or whatever the case is on our marriage, it can actually having new tools and learning these things can change a marriage, for example, a marriage that’s been…that’s basically rocky and about ready to fall apart by incorporating some knowledge and some new tools and incorporating some systems and some better way to communicate, can radically change a marriage that’s struggling to a very positive, healthy, vibrant marriage. Same two people, its just learning something.

So that’s the thing with money. It really is understanding that, in my opinion, all key areas of life, like money, marriage, and parenting, and health, that to understand that we need to learn something. And it’s a knowledge-based game, just like we need to learn something to get really good at our craft and our work. So, but beyond that, the biggest thing once we, like I said, have the mindset, have some know-how, incorporate some systems and tools and learn how to use those tools, and kind of turn this money thing into a lifestyle versus something that’s just this stressful thing that we haven’t figured out yet. So those things.

So once that here’s the most important piece of advice I can give everyone. And it’s silly because it’s so simple and here it is, spend less money than you make. So when I use the word profit in your household, the first thing that we have to do is look at all of our money, meaning all of our income and all the sources of those income, look at all of our expenses and calculate what’s the difference between the two. And that will ultimately be called profit. It’s a little bit more complicated than that. But just to simplify and understanding the only way to get to profit in our household, which is where we actually build the financial freedom, is through the profit is that we have to spend less than we make.

And that’s hard in today’s day and times. What we’re doing is there’s something called Parkinson’s Law. And Parkinson’s Law says, “That expenses will always rise to match income.” And that’s one of those money rules, one of those many laws is Parkinson’s Law. So we’re all going to fall victim to that unless we have the knowledge and the systems and tools that keep that law from happening. So that’s the first tip basically, look at your money coming in, your money coming out, and calculate how much profit you have. The second thing that before even you know, people say, “Give me the best investment strategy or give me the best, you know, advice on this side.” And like I said the first piece of advice is to just spend less than you make.

The second piece of advice is to understand that before we even get into the investment game and start moving that direction is to look at how much money is enough. And that’s a number that you can calculate. But when I ask people how much money is enough, inevitably the answer is like I don’t know but it’s more than I have. So the answer is more but more is not an answer. So there’s some simple math and I call it millionaire math. And millionaire math is math that actually we can all use in middle school. But it’s looking at okay, how much does it cost to run my life, according to, you know, a good life? And a good life is far less expensive than most of us think.

We just make our life expensive by having mortgage payments that are a little too high, and by having car payments and by having credit card payments and student loan payments. And our whole life, all of our expenses are eaten up by payments. Now, what payments mean is that, that’s what I like people to calculate. How much money is going out in what’s called payments? Mortgage payment to the mortgage bank, car payments to the car banks, credit card payments to credit card banks, those are all banks. So if we’re gonna reverse it, we have to become our own bankers, meaning we become the bank. And look at and this, I kind of call it reorganizing your expenses in a way where let’s spend less to the banks and spend more…you know, spend less paying the banks. And let’s instead redirect that to we’re paying us instead within our household.

So how we want to do that is that it’s this exercise that I ask people to do is when they first start working with me is calculate how much money is enough? How much money is enough to live a good life? And maybe in a lot of that is simplifying. And that’s what you and your husband have done such a good job at. I mean, it’s just kind of this you guys you know how much money is enough to live a really good life. And so when we know how much money that is, let’s say it’s $100,000 a year, just to make up a random number, then on the investment side a very good rule of thumb–again, it’s more complicated than this but as simple way to start the process–is to multiply that 100,000 per year times 20.

And that’s the net worth number, that’s the asset number that you need to start building towards and that that asset number, the, you know, 20 times a million, which is a 100,000 that number then is what…is the goal, the financial goal that can be that you’re working towards that you’re gonna move the profit towards hitting that net worth number. Because that number is now gonna spend the cash flow amount that’s going to pay for your lifestyle. So that’s pretty simple but we have to know how much money is enough to live that life so that we can set a financial goal and move towards that. And then a lot of that is rearranging our expenses so that less is going to the banks out there and more to our bank and we use our bank to make those investments to hit that number.

So before we get into investing and because that type of thing, this is the work that precedes that. And once you know those numbers and you set up your systems, what I call the bucketing method, and you start sweeping money out and you pay yourself first. Which means off your household, whatever income comes off the household, the first thing…what’s the first thing that comes off when you put money in your kind of household bank account? Do you get to keep all that money?

Katie: No, way, unfortunately, the government gets some.

Krisstina: The government gets some. So that is if we make $100,000 a year, do we get to keep 100,000? No, because Uncle Sam gets a portion of that. So right at the top that’s not our money, it’s hard working money means we earned it but we don’t get to keep it because that’s Uncle Sam’s money.

The second sweep that comes off the top is our investments, which is our future self money. And right off the top that amount goes and you know how much you’ll need to eventually get to just sweep off the top is right off the top. Like this is gonna come off the top because according to our good life number, our freedom number, we know we need to set aside this amount and start investing that to get to that on our balance sheet. To get to that net worth number, that asset value number, that’s gonna spin off that future income, that future passive income.

So those two things then out of…after that, we have our household expenses. So we’ve designed the cost of our expenses after taxes have been taken out and our future self-investment freedom money has been taken out, that’s what we have left to spend. And within that category of spending, there’s two chunks. There’s basically our lifestyle expenses and our savings expenses. And we need to part of our spending is to have some savings which is different than investments and that’s what I call below the line. But it’s very simple math but once you break up your money in these different categories, there’s really like five categories of money, you work the numbers. You know, like I said, you know how much money is enough, you know what you’re going towards. You make kind of an agreement, a household agreement that we’re gonna become the bank versus keeping the banks all those banks in business.

And then with those now we’re gonna make some adjustments to how we live and how we spend our money so that we get paid first and so that we become our own banker over time. Then it makes it very easy to start looking to places or different strategies or methods for example of what’s the best way, based on risk tolerance, and how much time we have in our financial goals, the best place to invest so that there’s that investment pool of assets then can spin off that passive income, if that makes sense.

Katie: That makes total sense. And one of the things I love so much about this idea is if you’re running your house like a business, in a sense, like for me the mom, I can step into being like the CEO of my family. Which is a very empowering role versus just being stuck in that financial stress. And it is, you’re right. It’s fun when you shift that focus to think of it as a game and actually being able to position that in a long-term way that’s gonna give you freedom. Because I think it seems like, at least from my perspective, that this has been a pretty big change that we have to kind of adapt our mindset just even in the last 50 years the financial landscape has changed so much.

It used to be, and my grandparents for sure and maybe somewhat even from my parents’ generation that they could kind of save their way to wealth and they could create this retirement plan and that would work. And I definitely have seen a lot of sources that say for our generation that’s not going to work the same way. I’m curious of your take on that. Is that even possible to like earn our way to wealth or save our way toward retirement anymore? Or do we have to kind of adapt like you’re talking about and get these new strategies?

Krisstina: Yeah, great question. And there’s two parts to answer that question. The first part is that what’s different than let’s say our grandparents’ generation, one difference. There’s kind of two fundamental key categorical differences. But one is that there’s always been that idea of keep up with the Joneses. But right now it’s so prevalent because in this day and age of technology and social media and easy access to debt, it’s so easy to fall into this trap of living a life we can’t afford in order to keep up with what everybody else is doing. What are we doing? We’re constantly being marketed to. I mean, where can you go right now? Where can you go where you don’t get an ad for you’re not good enough and spend money on this product or service so that you can be good enough like everybody else that looks like they’re good enough?

So we’re constantly being inundated with these messaging, you’re not good enough and in order to be so, you need to spend money to do so. So we’re ads constantly and that’s hard. I mean, Amazon is one click and a box shows up at your door. You get that little dopamine hit. And shopping, for example, and these dopamine hits, you know, as we know or you know on your side of what you’re doing is that research has now shown that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine. Why? Because of that little dopamine thing and it’s that trigger, it’s that very quick feel good.

Well, on the financial side, shopping, it does the exact same thing. It’s that little dopamine hit that when we get something new and novel, we feel really good. And we can buy things to get that hit. We can consume it with sugar and get a little hit, we can buy things. Every time that Amazon box shows up, it feels really good, right? They ring your doorbell and you get a little package in the mail. And you open it very quickly and it feels very good for a very short period of time. And it’s easier than ever to spend money and to be in that trap and every time we click that “buy” button, we’re probably defeating our future self bucket of that investment income. So different than our grandparents, they weren’t inundated with this amount of advertising and marketing and this constant message if you’re not good enough.

So again, we need to protect ourselves from that mindset, knowing how money works and that that’s not sustainable and it’s actually gonna have future consequences. And that we need to have kind of systems and tools and kind of things in place that make that harder and then that’s for us to figure out how to do that. So that’s one thing and it’s just really trying to get out of that game as much as we can, which is very difficult.

The second thing, like with our grandparents and even our parents, for the most part, they’re kind of in the middle, but based on our grandparents they worked one job, they more or less got a pension, they would live to 62. I mean, they would work until 62 on one or two jobs. There’s this thing called a pension which means that their company was pulling out this “retirement”, they would retire at 62, they would live to 65, that money from the pension with their pensions would be about 70%, 80% of their working income. They already knew that so that already knew their lifestyle, you know, expect their cost of lifestyle would probably go down a little bit and be a little bit simplified. Because you know, they’re not taking the family on vacations and doing some things that they were doing when they were…their kids were younger. And they already knew that and they knew they were gonna live five years to seven years and so they have this thing called retirement.

Today, even the financial doctrine and what people are still being taught out there is this thing called retirement. There is no such thing as retirement anymore. And we don’t have all these…we don’t have one job. We have different gigs and we’re in and out of different things, so it’s more difficult to manage. We have to be more aware and more intentional and have to actually, like you said, be the CEO and manage this finance thing. So yeah, today it’s different that there’s no set age retirement, there’s no pension, you know, we’re living much longer. So that means where they had to have enough money or pension to last 5 to 7 years, ours might need to last 10, 20, 30 years.

Which means it changes everything. So it’s a completely different financial world. It’s just radically different. There’s very…other than just money that’s the common factor, everything else is different. So all that old doctrine, all the old methodologies, all the old ways of doing things are not applicable at all. Which what that means is that we need to learn the way to do this in today’s day and age.

Katie: Yeah, and I think that’s really empowering to understand that because I think it can seem a little disconcerting to read about how much things have changed. And to understand, like you said, we live longer than our grandparents did. And the same things that worked for them won’t work for us. But for many of us, that’s what we were raised with. I remember even being I think five or six years old and my dad sitting me down and explaining with an Excel spreadsheet how if you start saving when you’re young, the compounding nature of that and how much money you can save over your lifetime. And that’s true, that math is true. It just doesn’t work anymore when you talk about, like you said, inflation and retirement and just how those factors have all changed.

But that’s what I love so much about what your method and what you’re teaching is that there is still a way to break free and to have long-term financial security. And especially I love that you anchor that in keeping the focus on health and experiences and not things. I think that’s a huge thing and I know that we share that kind of a philosophy in this of just prioritizing things like health and experiences over stuff. And I’d love to hear your take on that, just on I’m curious if you’re a minimalist at all or what your own philosophy is when it comes to buying stuff and what things you would consider a good purchase, versus what you wouldn’t?

Krisstina: Yeah, thank you, I love that question too. And these are such great questions and different questions that I usually get. So in the mindset sector that I talked about, a place to start with that is to look at philosophy. And philosophy is really these belief systems that we can adopt. And behavior always follows belief. And so depending on what our belief is, obviously that the behaviors are going to follow. So when it comes to philosophy most of us are in what’s called a consumption of consumerism. We’re in a consumption culture. And we consume, we discard, we consume, we discard, and we consume more and we kind of live that the way to happiness is to buy more happiness and so it’s consumption.

Now, we can replace that philosophy maybe with a different philosophy or philosophies. So I’m very much a minimalist. If you came to my house, it’s very minimal. If you look at what I spend money on, it’s very minimal in the grand scheme of things, especially relative to the income that I make. People are like, “Wow, your expenses are that low based on income you make?” Well, yeah, because I don’t need to buy much to be happy. My life is pretty simple because I really have adopted this minimalist type philosophy. Which means the stuff that we have, we only buy stuff that actually has meaning or that creates those experiences or that gives some depth and some real, I don’t know, just fulfillment in a way. But that keeps me because that’s the only thing I’d buy, then I don’t need to buy the latest pair of shoes, the latest pair of jeans, or the latest this, the latest that, because I don’t want it.

So that philosophy. There’s also a philosophy called Essentialism. Meaning really what’s essential in life, and buy those things and…but stay out of the game of buying all that other frivolous BS. And so yes, these different philosophies can really help us ground in the sense that all of a sudden, you just don’t want to spend so much money. And you don’t want the big house and a big house payment. And there’s a saying that I have so many that our possessions possess us. So the more possessions we have, the more time and attention and money it takes to keep them up or to replace them or whatever that is. So again, some of the simplification process makes it really easy. And when our financial monthly outflow is lower, it gives not only the space that we can invest the difference like that profit we talked about.

But also it just takes off so much of that stress and it allows us the time. And that’s really what money does. Money can buy stuff or money can buy us time. And I’d rather buy me time so that I don’t have to be out there grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding, every single day and hoping I’ll have some time in the future if I keep grinding. I’d rather buy my time now but that means there’s only so much money if we all do have a finite amount of money, whatever that money is at that time. So I’d rather go towards investing to buy my time back as opposed to buying more stuff. But again, it’s just the philosophy that we’re grounded in. And then there’s the idea that with that simplification, you just don’t need as much. You really don’t need as much. And again, that’s where some of these you’re just shedding these layers of financial stress as you get rid of all that heaviness out there that we’ve kind of bonded ourselves to.

Katie: Absolutely, and I think that’s so important. And I know I’ve seen the statistics and the studies on just, especially for women, how much stuff equates to stress. And the more things we have because we feel a responsibility to take care of those things and to organize them and to clean them and to manage them, that for women especially, the more stuff we have, the more stressed we are. And there is that correlation there. And I know that in my own life when I went through that process several years ago and got rid of literally more than half of what we owned, it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and life just got so much simpler and easier.

And so our philosophy, which it sounds like it lines up with yours perfectly is that we will spend money and prioritize health and experiences. So we spend money on quality food and on the occasional supplements or health things that can support that. But mainly on experiences. So even though we probably could buy brand new clothes, I typically shop secondhand for my kids just because they’re gonna destroy their clothes anyway playing outside. And as a side benefit, secondhand clothes have less residual pesticides. So if you’re not buying organic clothes, second hand is an awesome option. And we don’t spend money on expensive vacations to Disney. And instead, we saved all that money and we bought a second hand used RV, which has become like our family vacation every year, and last year we spent almost two months in the summer on the road with our kids. And those are memories that we’re gonna have for our entire life.

And it didn’t in the long-term cost us any more than our normal…the normal amount we would spend per month because we had planned and we had saved and we had a system for our house when we were gone and we were gonna let people stay there. And so I feel like you can get creative that if you, like you said, if you get your philosophy figured out and you get your priorities in order, that you truly can really have so much more margin and so much more fun by prioritizing the things that truly matter instead of getting stuck in that cycle.

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Katie: I also know that there’s probably people listening who have…are on really tight budgets. And like I said, I was in that place for many years and it seems so impossible to even think about investing when it’s tough to make ends meet. So I’m curious if you have any additional tips just for people who kind of feel that sort of hopelessness in that moment if there are just even baby steps they can start taking?

Krisstina: Yeah, and you know, some of my wealthiest people have the lowest incomes when they have their priorities in order and they treat their household as a business. And so it’s really no matter how much money we make, it’s you have to…I call it reverse engineering, like what I talked about before. Comparing our expenses to income and modifying our expenses to match our income where there’s some left over. And granted, but the thing that gets in our way is we’re so financially strapped that there’s no end in sight. So we don’t have a lot of options other than to keep grinding and just keep…that’s where that stuckness, that people feel stuck.

So it’s the reverse engineering is maybe we have…even though it is a very tight budget, we still do have to even look for places where we can spend a little bit less just to get out of the financial hell and get off out of that trap. And then to realize like kind of our nature is to think, oh this is going to last forever. I’m gonna have to really reduce more, are you kidding? As though it’s a forever thing. No, it’s just for a short period of time to reduce that stress, to get things in order, to get out of that just day in and day out of that pressure and that stress.

And then once we have some of that space and that freedom and all of that stress off our shoulders, then it opens up this opportunity in the space to get creative and say, “Okay, are there other places? Where can we make more income here or there?” Versus you don’t have the time to even think that when you’re in that financial stress. All you can do, you’re trying to keep the ends meet. So you just have to go do more of the same hoping it’ll be better in the future. And sadly, we have to press the pause button, look at things and do that reverse math, that reverse engineering. And then we can set some new goals and look at different options and have some space to do that. And so then, you know, 6 months from now, 12 months from now, not even that much in the future, we won’t be maybe in such a tight place because we’ve re-engineered it. And then like I said and then say, “Hey, what if we just did this little side gig over here and that can bring up some income?” “Or what if I go back to school for this so that I can maybe increase it?”

And just, you just are able to look at new options. And there’s really two things that are keeping us bolted down and we’re digging these graves. One like you said, it’s this attachment to buying stuff, like more stuff buys happiness in a way. And it’s understanding that that stuff is keeping us what we care about most is time with our family and love and experiences. Yet we can’t have that because we’re in the game of spending too much money on stuff that maybe at the end of the day isn’t the meaning that we talked about. The other side of that is stuff the danger, and I keep going back to this, is debt. The danger is debt.

And so the other thing that our grandparents didn’t have is access to such easy debt. And I don’t know about you but number one, both of my kids are young adults now. They’re just out of college but my house is still there where all their mail comes. And they’re the age where when I go to the mailbox, both their names, they’re getting one credit card invitation after another after another. And now in the mailbox since I make more money I actually get debt invitations all the time also, “Here, AMEX says you can now get a business loan through AMEX,” or a business loan through Pay Pal. Or a different loan for a more expensive vacation or a loan for, was it CB2 this last weekend actually. Because I, as a different revenue stream, I Airbnb my houses.

And so I was there at CB2, just to pick up a few things for my Airbnb. And on the CB2, of course, they have a credit card. Everybody has a credit card. Everybody is in the banking business right now because they make a lot more money on the CB2 credit card than they do selling their furniture or their decorative items. So that’s the thing, car companies. Car companies make a lot more money being a car bank than they do at selling you the car. They really didn’t care about the margins on the car, they want your financing. That’s what they’re after. So this debt thing is the danger thing but on CB2, if you read the fine print it says, “Free interest for 12 months,” for example.

So you’re thinking, “Oh, well, I’ll just get the CB2 credit card and I’ll decorate my new house.” And so but the little fine print says, “Okay, it’s free interest or no interest,” I guess not free interest, but it’s no interest for 12 months. You’re thinking, “Man, 12 months, no interest, I’m gonna do this.” But then what you don’t know is that in day 366 after you’ve bought that if you haven’t paid off every last dollar of whatever amount that you put on that credit card during that 12 months, it goes to 28.8% interest. And that interest started the day you bought the furniture, not the day 366, the day you bought the furniture. So you just paid 30% more for furniture and we’re getting inundated with these debt invitations all the time. And debts become so normalized, I mean, we can’t imagine having a house without a house payment, though I don’t have a house payment. We can’t imagine having a car without a car payment. I don’t have car payments. We can’t imagine having a credit card without a balance. I don’t have a credit card balance. And we can’t imagine even going to school and educating without debt, without a student loan.

So debt is just so pervasive and prevalent and normalized and that’s what’s killing us. So the best place to look is where is all that debt? And that’s usually the place we have to clean up most is to simplify and maybe organize our lives where the debt is less and we get rid of as much debt as possible. But that’s the trap, the debt payments, those payments, those monthly payments towards any kind of debt, that’s what keeps us hamstrung. And so when we can work backwards again and look at this with these financial goals of just simplifying and how do we get rid of this debt and that debt, there’s the differential.

Because if you look at how much money, and this is another exercise that I have my clients or students do, is okay, now part of the work…and we’ve come up with your good luck number, we’ve done these other things I’ve already mentioned. But now I want, not including your mortgage payment, now that’s one I’m okay with within, you know, with some caveats to that, but not including your mortgage payment, how much money per month goes towards any other form of debt? A debt payment meaning you’re paying some payment to pay off the debt. Which is different than living expenses like, you know, your groceries and your electricity and your water and a minimal amount of clothing and, you know, that type of thing. These things that we actually need to survive, that’s different.

But calculate how much money goes toward your debt payment. Now, this is millionaire math, it’s very simple calculation. If you look at okay, let’s say $2000 per month goes towards debt pay off, debt payments not including your mortgage. Now what I want you to do is put that number into a compounding calculator. Very easy. I used…and back in my day, I had to have these very sophisticated compounding calculators that I would use to do these numbers. But now you can go to Google, just Google compounding calculator and you put in how much money does that $2,000 a month, just let’s use this number, I call it your $5 million BMW. So a lot of my high-income customers, for example, they have that BMW payment. And it’s not even a payment, it’s a lease payment. So they don’t even own the car, they’re renting the car to have that nice BMW emblem so they can look good to their friends. Because you probably wouldn’t be driving the BMW lease if we lived on an island, you know, just with our family. It’s all to fit in.

But that $750 lease payment, for example, if you put that 750 into a compounding calculator…and what you do, that 750, a number of years, let’s say you used 20 years, and if instead of spending that 750 on the BMW, you spent that…it’s the BMW bank, you put that into your bank, that 750 over 20 years would be about $600,000. That BMW payment over 40 years, which most families have at least one payment between one or two of the spouses and or their kids that over the span of kind of their working life, that over 40 years that’s $5 million. That’s $250,000 a year which is more money than they made when they were working. And so you can actually make more money when you’re not working if you put that 750 in your bank over the course of your working life and have $5 million versus the BMW payment.

So those payments are what are destroying us and that’s the tip is just put in the compounding calculator and saying instead of paying the banks that amount, what if we paid our family that amount? And let that grow over time because we’re making these banks billions of dollars and we’re staying broke over the course of our lives. Broke meaning, what I mean by broke means every dollar we make every month is going to basically some form of payment. So again, it’s just….it’s very simple in the grand scheme of things. And once we just start just shedding some layers of those expenses, shedding the layers of the debt, make that the first financial goal is to get out of much, you know, to live a life debt free outside of our mortgage, and reverse engineer it and simplify, once we get to those places, then you get all this freedom back. Then you get this stress, you know, you’re alleviating the stress and that financial just heaviness and like you said, the weight. I mean, we use these words like weight because it feels like weight. When you get it off your shoulders, you feel like a new person. And we can all do that no matter what income.

And then I’ll just conclude by saying what I started off saying is that no matter where we are, it’s just temporary. It’s just a temporary discomfort until…and you almost get used to it. It’s like when you quit eating, you know, you’re used to maybe eating certain food that is high in sugar and you’re used to that. And then over time you quit eating some much sugar and then you realize you don’t want as much sugar. In fact, things taste, they used to taste normal taste as sweet. You can’t even eat them because you’ve adjusted to this new lifestyle that’s less sugar and you feel healthier and better. So there’s all these positive ripple effects of that and you realize you don’t even miss the sugar anymore because you’ve gotten used to it. And the same with money. You get used to the new lifestyle, you get used to this place feeling so good, you get used to feeling better, you get used to, “Wow, I feel so much better without the stress.” And again, it’s just kind of shedding these things that are in our way.

Katie: That’s so profound. I could talk to you all day. I cannot believe an hour has flown by already. And a couple questions I love to ask toward the end, is there a favorite book that’s really had an impact on your life besides your own that you would recommend to others?

Krisstina: There are so many good many books. And the many books I like to recommend are those that really work on the philosophy side. And one of my financial bibles, if you will, is “Think and Grow Rich” and so it’s just a really nice book about the kind of philosophy of life and money. And just a mindset about how to move it through your life and what…and it even talks about currencies. And there so many types of currencies. So we think money is a currency but there are other types of currencies as well and health is a currency for example. So I think that’s always my favorite place to start is “Think and Grow Rich” and then I can send you a list of some of my other favorites if you want that you can put in your show notes that are just very simple reads. But again, I think they just simplify some of these things to make sense that makes it easy to make some small changes in our life.

Katie: Absolutely, and I’m sure that a lot of people listening are gonna wanna stay in touch and find out more about you and your systems. So, of course, the links will be in the show notes but let people know where they can find you online.

Krisstina: Well, what I would love to offer your listeners is just a free copy of my book and it’s called “Falling for Money” and you can go to fallingformoney.com and there get a digital copy of my book. And really what I did with my book is I really extrapolated some of the key principles I’ve learned over my two decades of really studying money and simplified them in a way that makes them very actionable.

Katie: Awesome, that’s perfect. I will make sure that link is in the show notes as well. But Krisstina, I know that unlike actually probably most CEO’s, you do have margin and you’re not super, super busy. But I also know how valuable your time is and I really appreciate that you took an hour to be here with us today and to share this. I love like I said that you’re taking this approach and that you’re teaching this. I think there so much hope and practical wisdom in your message. And I think it’s going to change hundreds and thousands of lives and I really appreciate you being here.

Krisstina: My pleasure. And one final concluding thought is that I’d like to share with everyone is money tends to be that thing that so many of us are afraid of, especially women. And I like to say money is actually really easy, that once you learn just a few of the principles and start putting some of these principles in place, it’s so easy to reverse and change your life. And so I just really offer everyone don’t be afraid of it anymore. It’s so simple. Once you learn it, you can turn it into a life and feel good about it and it becomes a very positive versus negative thing.

Katie: Absolutely, I love that. And again, you guys check out Krisstina’s website, her book for more information. She also has an amazing podcast. That will be linked in the show notes as well. But Krisstina, thank you so much for your time and thanks to all of you for listening. And I hope to see you again next time on “The Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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