Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Kenny Davis

Kenny Davis (he/him) is a proud Black Transgender male financial literacy activist and the CEO of “THE TRANS CAPITALIST L.L.C”, the fastest growing financial literacy resource for the Queer-Transgender community. 

He has spent the past three years teaching, coaching, and motivating hundreds of queer people around the world. His easy, straight-to-the-point lessons and relatable life strategies provide concrete results, and cultivate skills that help people survive the volatile economic climate of America. 

He is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters of Finance from Pace University Lubin’s School of Business.

When was the first time you thought about money?

The first time I thought about money was at my 5th birthday party. I was opening my presents and seeing within the cards that family and friends had given me money. My mother and grandmother told me I needed to put that money in a special hiding place to save it. I didn’t fully understand it then, but now I know how important it was. Saving money can save your life.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

My “aha” moment with money was when I was at my worst financial status. I had a six-figure job but was living paycheck to paycheck. I had run out of money and was in tons of debt, facing eviction and car repossession. I pulled myself together from all that emotional turmoil and realized that there was a book in front of me, which was Rich Dad Poor Dad. It was my biggest “aha” moment because that’s when I learned that money had rules to follow. Once you follow those rules, your money starts to grow.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

Being transgender has massively impacted my relationship with money. Just being transgender means I incur more expenses to live everyday life. It was costly to become financially independent at such a young age because my mother disowned me. But it’s even more expensive to medically and physically transition. After hearing all the negative stereotypes and statistics – how no one would hire me, or how I would not make enough money – I did not want to become a part of them. So being transgender gave me the motivation to change my relationship with money. I refused to be another statistic.

What are your top three tips for someone wanting to get their money habits in shape?

My three top tips for getting your money habits in shape are:

  1. Ask for help! Habits are difficult to change on your own. Asking for help from a trusted resource gives you a higher chance of changing money habits.
  2. Read books on financial literacy, especially on topics that you may be struggling with.
  3. Create a habit to save a little more than you usually save. With the world in economic disarray, it’s better to save more than you usually do because you do not know when you’ll end up in an emergency.

What is your approach/philosophy to financial coaching?

My philosophy to financial coaching involves making sure we discuss the importance of mental and emotional wellbeing when it comes to money. In my coaching, I dedicate whole sessions to discuss these things. Too often, financial “gurus” do not talk about money mindsets and emotions. Your mental state plays as crucial a role in handling your money well as the money habits you create. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident about money, it will reflect in your finances.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or IRL)?

My favorite LGBT+ online business is Stealth Bros & Co. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow from a small store to a huge online presence within the transgender male community. They started by selling luxury “Dopp kits,” aka toiletry bags, to help store personal hormone replacement therapy and other medical necessities. Now they have expanded to fashionable streetwear. Stealth Bros & Co also created an annual Stealth Bros support Fund by aiding in financial support to those on their transition journeys. Please check them out if you can; you won’t be disappointed.

Want to be featured in Money Stories? Email billie@joindaylight.com.

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: T Moore (Quench Finance)

T Moore is the founder of Quench Finance. An androfemme blaq bicoastal writer, social entrepreneur, and activist deeply passionate about promoting diversity, inclusion and equity. She has been published in Womanly, ContemporaryAnd, Black Art in America, RECOGNIZE Design Anthology vol. 1, and Shameless Magazine.

When was the first time you thought about money?

The first time I thought about money was when I received a piggy bank as a child. I enjoyed collecting the change I found around the house and outside while playing.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

There was no big “aha” moment with me. I’m a person of faith (fully affirming) and I’ve been walking in recovery in multiple senses for some years now. I became conscious of wanting to change my habits with money through prayer and learning discipline in other areas of my life.

I grew up with some resources and access to business and real estate environments due to my grandmother’s interests but the day-to-day basics were missing. I could handle investing and making long-term commitments but I lacked the discipline and emotional resources to sustain them in the short term.

So much of this year has been about hitting reset with reapproaching budgeting, working with a coach, and other mindset adjustments.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

I have grown more comfortable with seeing queer folx in leadership and business roles which in turn enhanced my view of myself. While I succeeded repeatedly, I also failed forward repeatedly.

Seeing and joining entrepreneurship communities that were either LGBT-founded or driven helped stabilize my internal view that as a queer person I was only authorized to succeed in certain ways (creative only). Being able to befriend queer creatives as well as business leaders has expanded my mindset significantly. This gave me more confidence with financial planning. On one hand, I’ve relearned budgeting and personal habits, and on the other hand, I’ve learned about team building and long-term vision.

What are your financial goals for the future?

My goals are to create and sustain a legacy that draws from different areas, including developing and sharing community with other queer folx who often feel (and are) left out of the conversations surrounding life events.

In so many ways, queer folx, even within the wider LGBTQIA+ communities aren’t being considered when it comes to things like insurance, estate planning, partnerships, adoption, and business plans. We’re often too busy surviving brutal forms of capitalism and living underserved experiences.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I have had great experiences working with Q26 based here in greater LA. I also really love the Androgynous Fox brand and look forward to purchasing their fantastic gear.

On the faith side, I am an avid user of the OurBibleApp both their queer centric devotionals and curated panels are well worth exploring

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Brynna Wilson

Brynna Wilson is a professional wealth creator, real estate investor, entrepreneur, and coach. She is on the board of the Denver based Queer Business Alliance as well as the Jamin Fund.

The Queer Business Alliance is a non profit dedicated to raising the queer community by providing education around business and through mentorship. Brynna leads the membership committee and loves connecting  with business owners in the community. The Jamin Fund is also a non profit started by Brynna’s family in honor of her oldest brother, Jamin Wilson, after his passing in 2006. The Jamin Fund supports education both locally (in Denver) and globally. The Jamin Fund has helped to build schools in Kenya as well as provide education funding in other parts of the world.

Brynna, a Colorado native, enjoys the outdoors, and loves dogs. Her top values are connection, creativity, authenticity, wellness, and adventure. She has a BA from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and constantly seeks out opportunities to learn.

When was the first time you thought about money?

The first time I thought about money was when I was told that I could get paid to pull dandelion flowers out of the grass. It was something small that I can’t remember, maybe 10 cents for a bucket full. I was so excited to find a way to make some money and it worked really well for me because I got to be outside which is still to this day my favorite place to be.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

I think I have had a lot of “aha” moments with money because I am constantly learning new things that work for me. A big “aha” though was realizing we all have a money story that we run over and over again without knowing it. Most money stories are something that we learned or took on as children. After doing some self work I realized that my money story was that I was being over generous so I will fit in with a group. When I was a child, I felt as though I was known as the “rich kid” simply because everyone I went to school with knew about my family’s business and it was successful. I didn’t feel like I fit in so I would get rid of my money, buy things for others in order to fit in and not be an outcast. It’s amazing what can change when you are more aware of why you do what you do. I now know that I can find other ways to have deeper connections with people and I can take control of how I spend my money.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

The biggest impact for me in regards to being LGBT+ is that I haven’t seen a lot of role models with money in the community. We all have seen the movie stars who have made it but there are not many LGBT+ business owners or successful ones who are also out. We as a community want to see people who have made it to where we want to be. It’s easier to picture yourself as successful in the world of money when you can also see someone who is like you that has achieved it.

What are your financial goals for the future?

I have a lot of financial goals and they change as I grow. As a big picture I want to be that role model that I have been looking to find when it comes to being LGBT+ and being wealthy. I want to be a multi-millionaire so that I can then use the “power” that comes with money to help my own community thrive. I want to see more LGBT+ businesses start and succeed. I want to make sure that nonprofits that help our community get the donations that they need in order to do their best work. I want to be able to have money go towards our fight as a community in the political scene. The best way for these things to happen is for all of us in the community to learn the rules of the game so that we can then use it to our advantage and make more money to support each other.

On a more specific level, one of my goals is to own multiple rental properties. Ideally, a few of these would cater to people in the community that are just starting their own businesses so the rent would fit in their budget as they start out. I was lucky to have support when starting out and I want to be sure that others have the same even if it’s just a safe space to live.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I have a lot of LGBT+ businesses I love, particularly businesses that my friends have started and grown. There should be more businesses owned by the LGBT+ community. One of my favorite organizations that supports this is the Queer Business Alliance, a non profit that specializes in mentoring people in the community into starting and sustaining their own businesses so we can have even more! I know it’s important for a lot of people to feel like they have freedom to be their authentic selves including myself. One amazing way for that to happen is to have business owners who can employ people in the LGBT+ community so that they no longer have to worry about losing their jobs just because of who they are.

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Nektarios Liolios

Nektarios is Co-Founder of the Future Farm. Over the last 10 years, Nektarios has worked closely with hundreds of entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. He co-founded Startupbootcamp FinTech to address the relationship between corporates, startups and investors in London, New York, Singapore, Mumbai, Mexico City, Dubai, Amsterdam and Melbourne. He also co-founded Rainmaking Innovation, the global cooperative of entrepreneurs and led SWIFT’s Innotribe Startup Challenge, the first global FinTech startup competition, facilitating interaction between startups and financial institutions. 

Driven by entrepreneurship, collaboration and the desire to improve the lives of the people driving change in this world. Nektarios is a global nomad, travel geek, and sneaker freaker.

When was the first time you thought about money?

As a Greek immigrant child in Germany, the earliest memories of money I have was hearing from my parents that we couldn’t afford to buy something I wanted because there wasn’t enough or because they were saving for something else.

People around me were better off and could afford more and nicer things and it made me very envious. As a young adult this led me to borrow a fair amount of cash from friends for fancy clothes and for going out – but the harsh realization that I would have to pay it back at some point was quite a wake up call.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

I had many aha moments around money:

  • Working in banking I was speechless when I first saw the sums that move around on a daily basis. And how after a while it becomes normal to talk about somebody else’s wealth in hundreds of millions whilst at home you are struggling to pay the mortgage off.
  • A lot of the wealth people I have met knew early on in their lives about money and about what to do to increase their wealth, how to plan for it, how to invest, etc. In my upbringing, having a savings account was considered an achievement…
  • When I started my own business I found out that it is ok to be paid for something that is so rewarding that it doesn’t feel like work 🙂

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

Whilst taking out my first mortgage in the late 90s I found out that as a gay man my access to mortgage products was very limited and they were more expensive. I was considered a higher risk because of my sexuality and some lifestyle assumptions. The fact that I was with my partner for 12 years by that time didn’t come into play at all. In the eyes of the bank and the insurance company I was a single man in his early 30s.

What are your financial goals for the future?

At 53, my main goals are around how to retire comfortably, making sure I don’t leave any ‘loose ends’ behind and there is a buffer to help family and/or friends in need if required.

How did you first get involved with Daylight?

I retired from my fintech life at the end of 2018. Six months later at Money 2020 I had a causal chat with Matej who was an old industry friend and we started discussing how great the world would be if banks would understand the distinct needs of a community and build their offering around those needs. Matej talking me into coming out of my retirement and join him in building a platform that, like a midwife, helps bring these new community banks to life. Both of us being LGBT we had a particular affinity for our own community of course.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I like supporting the LGBT businesses that are local to me, like Shirleys Removals. But there is also: Happy Endings. Ice cream always wins in the end!

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Brooklyn Wright (Boi Society)

Brooklyn Wright (they/them) is an entrepreneur, speaker, strategist, and advocate for underestimated communities. For over 20 years, they have used the power of community, storytelling, and event curation to help top organizations engage with diverse audiences. Forbes magazine named Brooklyn “One of 5 entrepreneurs changing our world, after they amassed a global audience with content that spoke directly to the LGBTQ community. Brooklyn is an advocate for living a more authentic life and encourages all queer and intersectional people to invest in themselves and in their financial future.

When was the first time you thought about money?

I have thought about money all throughout my life. At the age of 7, I started my first business. I created a popcorn and koolaid stand to service all of the hungry children in the neighborhood. I don’t know what made me desire money at that time or if money was the main motivation, but I guess even at a young age I understood that access to money would make a difference. I also really liked the art of business and I understood that money played a big role in entrepreneurship.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

When I was 17 or 18 I was a big fan of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Robert was the first person to teach me the concept of “paying yourself first. The book taught me to save at least 10% of every single dollar I made. The key was to save that 10% before paying anyone else. This discipline was so key to my development and it really shaped my financial future. It taught me to invest in myself before investing in anyone else. The 10% I saved repeatedly over the last 2 decades has been used to start and invest in my businesses, it saved my family financially when I was in a motorcycle accident and needed 2 years to recover, and now it is used as part of my investment fund as we plan the purchase of our first investment property and invest in queer and black women business owners.

Over the years I have learned that financial freedom is not magic. It is merely a set of principles one lives by and those principles shapes one’s future.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

My identity is so intersectional and it all affects my relationship to money. I am a black, queer, nonbinary woman, which means I live in a category of society that typically makes less money, and has fewer opportunities for financial freedom. We are hired less, paid less, and not usually invited to the investment table. All of that has a huge impact on my relationship with money as well as my financial future.

These facts have impacted me to make it part of my mission to push financial literacy with my friends, my community and my loved ones. Talking about money and investing together are just a couple steps my community and colleagues are taking to ensure positive financial outlook for all of us. Together we are attempting to lift all boats. We need banks and financial services that understand our unique perspective and are willing to partner with us to accomplish our financial goals.

What are your financial goals for the future?

Currently my family and I are planning for our early retirement. We are acquiring income generating assets (assets that provide cashflow). We are very interested in developing land spaces and investing in black and women owned businesses. We are also really looking at our philanthropy. We are extremely committed to giving away 10% of our time, talent, and treasure. We know how hard it is for intersectional people to raise money and grow a business or an idea. We want to be early investors in companies with a proven track record and ones we think have the potential to make a huge impact on underestimated communities.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I am constantly rooting for black queer businesses so shoutout to the following:
Haute Butch
Good Tree Capital
Zafa Wines
Queen Hippy Gypsy
VDOM
SoukBohemian
Magnitude and Bond
Style is Freedom
Project Q
Stuzo Clothing
Feelmore
BLK MKT Vintage
Queer In Oakland
Q26
Crazy Plant Bae
Chisel Tech Lab

Want to be featured in Money Stories? Email me at billie@joindaylight.com

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Aaron McPherson

Aaron McPherson is a money coach who focuses on providing accessible financial education to the LGBTQ+ community.  He believes that by helping folks build generational wealth, we can build power. 

Aaron brings a wide range of experience into his coaching practice, having worked in fields ranging form higher education to tech start-ups. His breadth of experience informs his coaching and allows him to connect with clients on a personal level, the most important part of financial coaching. 

Aaron currently resides in Santa Cruz, CA with his husband and dog. 

When was the first time you thought about money?

I’ve thought about money in varying capacities throughout my life, but the first time I thought of money as stressful was when I was in middle school. As the youngest of four children, money was spread pretty thinly across all of us and our activities. My chosen activity of figure skating was very costly, so I constantly felt the strain that had on my parents and their financial situation. I’m incredibly grateful that my parents and family supported me in that endeavor, but I definitely held some guilt that I have just worked through processing.

As an adult I’ve constantly oscillated between being the overspender and the saver. Money can be such a tool and isn’t meant to be hoarded. So it’s tough to find a balance between saving, investing, and reaching our goals and using it to support ourselves and our loved ones.

Now I know money doesn’t have to be stressful. Capitalism and finance is a flawed system but I think as LGBT+ folks we can empower our communities and other marginalized communities to grow their wealth and use that as power.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

My “aha” moment was when my husband and I finally got out of credit card debt. When we paid off five-figures of credit card debt and didn’t have to pay extra towards those payments, I was able to step back and see how you can actually make money work for you when it’s not being sucked into never ending credit card debt. When we were in debt, it was this nonstop of feeling that it would never go away and it was something we had to live with. After paying it off, I realized you don’t have to live with that kind of debt, or any debt for that matter. That’s when I really got serious about getting our finances together to pay off student loan debt and prepare for retirement.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

When I was a bit younger I used money as a way to make my life seem “perfect,” perhaps to overcome the feelings I had that I wasn’t enough because I was gay. This involved buying a bunch of furniture and clothes to make my life look amazing. This is in fact what got me into a great amount of credit card debt. As I have gotten older and I have become more comfortable with myself, that has fallen away. It definitely creeps in when I see people living certain lifestyles and feel the need to “buy” into that myself, but I have learned how to differentiate between what I want and what I’m being told by society to want to fit into a certain group.

As a white cisgender gay man I am lucky enough to have never felt discrimination in the workplace based on my identity, but I definitely have worked places where it didn’t feel comfortable to come out publicly. In those instances, I think the impact of my discomfort over my identity contributed to me not doing the job to the best of my ability, which has likely affected my career trajectory a bit. I’ve noticed that as I work in queer affirming spaces and with other queer folks that I am able to bring my true self to work which allows me to flourish.

What are your financial goals for the future?

Pay off student loans! The goal for that is September 2022, but aiming for earlier than that!

After that, it might be saving for a house or just investing more to retire early. I see money as a tool that we can use to help ourselves, our families, and our communities. So I am hoping that in the new year and once we are out of debt that we can focus more on setting aside money for our nephews and for giving to organizations that are important to us. I truly believe that giving (not for tax planning) should be a part of everyone’s financial plan.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I am so grateful that where I live has a thriving LGBT+ business community. Among the local businesses I love are the restaurants, Soif and La Posta.

I think it’s so important to support the LGBT+ businesses in our community, especially right now.

 

Want to be featured in Money Stories? Email me at billie@joindaylight.com

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Hadassah (Ride Free Fearless Money)

Image of Hadassah Damien from Ride Free Fearless Money

Money Stories is a new series designed to start the conversation about how being LGBT+ has affected our financial lives and hopefully help people feel inspired to talk more openly about money! Share your stories with me at billie@joindaylight.com.

– Billie

Hadassah Damien is a professional strategist, award-winning queer artist, entrepreneur, facilitator and educator. She founded Ride Free Fearless Money, an iconoclastic blog and finance consulting firm, in 2015 with the mission of stabilizing progressive communities by empowering people’s relationship to money. 

Ride Free Fearless Money helps individuals, partners, business owners, organization leaders, and cooperatives to create actionable and equitable financial strategies. Damien shares writing and online courses, collaborates in strategy sessions, and facilitates online trainings and workshops.

Ms. Damien is Brooklyn-based, with deep roots in working-class Western NY. She puts the values she inherited both into practice and under microscopes in her work. She has an MA from the CUNY Graduate Center, an Honors BA from the University of Toronto, her professional training and work is in communications, civic technology, and human centered design, and she’s an Accredited Asset Management Specialist from the College for Financial Planning.

When was the first time you thought about money?

The first time I thought about money was early on, as my parents made it clear to me we didn’t have much of it. The message was clear: be frugal, make things last, use what we have, creativity is more important than new gadgets, and you’re not getting new stuff so don’t ask. On one hand, these are (mostly) great values and I’m grateful they were instilled in me because they’ve lead me to be able to easily save money and not get stuck in cycles of consumer debt. On the other hand, the purpose of money isn’t to be freaked out by it and save all you get for a rainy day. Currency is meant to be a tool for exchange. My learnings later in life were about balancing rainy day preparation — which is important for those of us without financial safety nets — with using the other money I have.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

I always knew money meant the power to make decisions — I just thought for a long time I’d never have that power and would have to get creative with my decisions. But, in my 30’s, I started challenging myself to think about money as a tool, rather than simply a limitation or source of stress. That got me curious and wondering how it worked – and lead me to be willing to take what felt like risks at the time with various investing methods, because I understood them a lot more.

Once I understood it, I learnt what felt risky because it was so, and what felt risky because it was new, and could work around that. Investing can feel freaky because it’s not everyday you sit down and go “how can I make some money for my future?” but a nice boring reliable recurrent investing plan is one way you can go from precarious to prepared for the future. For folks who experience marginalization in everyday life, or who have historical inequality behind them, this can be a real game-changer. 

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

As a white cisgender lesbian, I haven’t experienced direct discrimination based on being queer, but for a long time I felt very alienated by status quo culture — hetero, middle-class, kahki-wearing white people. I didn’t see all the energy and passion I experienced in my creative, radical, queer life reflected by the status quo, so after trying out a day job and having a terrible boss and experience, I tapped out and worked lower-paying jobs in community. I also decided that I would never end up in a situation ever again where I had to suck it up to a cruel boss because of money — I saved an emergency fund, strategically built up all kinds of skills, freelanced on the side of other freelance, and picked jobs where the culture was intentional and cooperative. It was great; wonderful people, and excellent learning – but at some point, I realized I needed to make more money or I was going to struggle to support myself, forever. 

Queer and progressive people can build amazing businesses because we are more likely to be aware that domination culture is part of the problem, and now I work as a business and experience strategist, human-centered designer, and facilitator with organizations. I’ve made it my work to make work not suck, to center people by design, and help money not to be scary.

What are your financial goals for the future?

As a financial coach and consultant, I’m always asking others this question!! My goals include buying a home in the next year or so and paying the hell out of it so it’s paid off and I’m FI by 50 (I’m 41 now). I watched my mom grind away working low-paying jobs until she was 70 and I am highly motivated not to live that way, so another goal is to make enough money to be easily able to help her, give back, and have money to hit my goals. 

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or IRL)?

Ride Free Fearless Money is my personal brand, where I blog all about how money works from an intersectional and progressive perspective, as well as workbooks, courses, and classes. Let’s Talk About Money is the consulting I do with organizations, schools, foundations, etc:

Otherwise, my favorite queer business was the queer-owned local coffee shop that closed recently, so my 0.02 is to go support your local queer-owned brick and mortar business because they are struggling right now!

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Ali and Alison (All Options Considered)

Money Stories is a new series designed to start the conversation about how being LGBT+ has affected our financial lives and hopefully help people feel inspired to talk more openly about money! Share your stories with me at billie@joindaylight.com.

– Billie

This week, we’re chatting with Ali and Alison Walker from the blog All Options Considered. Ali and Alison met in 2004, got married in 2006, reached financial independence in 2017, and retired in 2018. Ali retired from her career in marketing and business development for A&E firms at the age of 44, and Alison worked as a Photoshop expert managing image retouching of high-end catalogs until she retired at age 54.

After reaching financial independence and retiring early, these lesbian members of the FIRE community now spend their time coaching others on financial independence and blogging about their experiences with personal finance, travel, and being good global citizens.

When was the first time you thought about money?

Ali: I learned about money as a little kid by watching my grandparents give my mom money every month to pay rent, buy food, and keep gas in the car. I didn’t understand why my parents didn’t have jobs or money, but it was clear that they were both unbanked, uninterested in earning money, and carefree/careless about accruing debt. So instead of learning about money from my parents, I focused on learning about money from my hard working grandparents.

Alison: When I was about 12 years old I had a savings account and I had several things I wanted to save for all in that one account. I kept a ledger for each item I was saving for so I could track my progress. The funny thing was that my Dad was a CPA and never really talked to me about money, because talking about money was considered taboo in my family. So I came up with my childhood accounting process on my own. If my Dad had taken the time to educate me about money instead of assuming my future husband would take care of our finances, I would have been more ready to handle my finances once I was out on my own. I made it my mission to give myself a financial education and though it took a long time, I did get there. 

What was your “aha” moment with money?

Ali: When I was 26 I got my first job that paid over minimum wage. At that point in my life I had $43k in student loan debt, a car loan, and some credit card debt. I was very excited to have a decent paycheck, to start investing in retirement accounts, and to start paying off my debt. That’s also when I started letting go of my guilt and shame about being in poverty as a kid, and decided I was ready to start working harder on my own financial education.

Alison: My moment was back in 2005 when I realized money and investing did not have to be scary or exclusive. I was determined to educate myself to a level where I wouldn’t feel stupid when I was meeting with a loan officer at a bank, or my human resources manager at work to talk about my 401k choices. Learning about personal finance was empowering for me, and opened the door for me to set my own financial goals. Realizing it was possible to take control of my future gave me confidence and helped me see past boilerplate, average ideas about personal finance. 

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

Ali: When I was 18 I was fired from a job for being a lesbian, and for not looking like my heteronormative bosses. That experience stuck in my memory as a reminder that huge numbers of people in the LGBT+ community have faced discrimination from their employers and suffered financially because of it.

Alison: When I was younger I was not as confident about being an out lesbian in the 1980s. I didn’t speak up as much when I had questions. I was nervous about the prospect of standing out or bringing attention to myself at work. I felt uninformed and excluded from the world of money, and I hate the idea that so many other people in our community still feel that way today. 

What are your financial goals for the future?

Both: Our financial goals today are focused on sticking to our budget, and planning carefully for our future. We want to maintain an emergency fund of three years of living expenses since we no longer have job related income to rely on, and we no longer have employer provided health insurance to help cover our medical costs. Our other financial goal within the next year or two is to find a new home base to purchase somewhere in the USA. We want to make a home and a safe space for ourselves and a member of our chosen family where we can spend time with the people we love.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or IRL)?

There are so many businesses out there that support the LGBT+ community in different ways. Here are some of our favorites:

Mental Health: When we lived in Seattle Ali was on the board of Seattle Counseling Service. This amazing organization is focused on the mental health and wellness of Seattle’s LGBT+ community. SCS is the oldest LGBT+ focused community mental health agency in the world, and we are very proud to support them. 

Debt Reduction: We love John and David of the Debt Free Guys. They have made it their mission to serve the LGBT+ community by creating the tools and support system people need to get out of debt and reach financial security. We are proud to support the work that they do in any way we can.

Travel to Ecuador:  In 2019 we traveled to Ecuador for a financial independence conference hosted by Cheryl Reed of Above the Clouds Retreats. We had an amazing time with the 28 person group, and Cheryl handled all of the logistics. She showed us the best of Quito, Otavalo, and took us on a bunch of fun side trips as well. It was an unforgettable experience. We also spent a week at Cheryl’s Guest House in the Choco-Andino Biosphere Reserve, and we loved being out in the wilderness while we were there. Cheryl is one of the best global citizens we know, and we look forward to future trips to Ecuador because of her.

Restaurant: When we lived in Seattle we loved Terra Plata in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. We look forward to returning on Paella night the next time we are in town!

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: John (Financial Freedom Countdown)

Money Stories is a new series designed to start the conversation about how being LGBT+ has affected our financial lives and hopefully help people feel inspired to talk more openly about money! Share your stories with me at billie@joindaylight.com.

– Billie

John is a gay immigrant from a third world country who came to the US by himself with only $1,000. In 12 years, he achieved his retirement number. He writes at Financial Freedom Countdown and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area enjoying nature trails and weight training.

When was the first time you thought about money?

I remember an incident from my childhood when my Dad handed me some money and I put in my pocket. He immediately reprimanded me: “why did you not count the money I gave you? Always count your money no matter who gives it to you and never trust anyone with your money”. It was at that point I became more serious about money and paying attention to how it impacts our lives.

Growing up in a third world country; we did not have much money. But my parents were very conservative with regards to spending. They only spent what they earned and saved the difference. Investing was never on the radar and that meant a higher percentage needed to be saved.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

My “aha” moment with money was inspired by a distinct memory in my working career. I remember my VP who was in her 70s mentioning that her sister was not keeping well. I assumed she would visit and asked about her travel plans. But she did not want to take time off, given that we had a huge product launch coming up.

Two weeks later, when we were in a meeting; she received a phone call. Her sister had passed away. The fact that although she was a VP, earning at least 3X more than me; and yet was a “wage slave” hit me like a tidal wave.

I then realized that we sacrifice so much to earn money; and yet, we are not conscious with regards to spending it.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

It is harder to find good money role models in the LGBT+ community. Since the “coming out” process delays “adulting”, I became serious about money much later in life.

What are your financial goals for the future?

Having achieved my early retirement number, my financial goals are to share my experiences and mistakes. I write at Financial Freedom Countdown helping readers live the life of their dreams.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or IRL)?

Given my passion for travel, I do realize that many places around the globe are not LGBT+ friendly. The Frugal Tourist documents not only amazing travel destinations; but also how to save money when traveling.

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Adam Haviar

Adam is part of VacuumLabs, Daylight’s technology partner. He’s previously worked with O2, one of the largest telecommunication providers, where he worked with the board of directors on customer experience projects. Prior to this, he worked at numerous tech startups and launched two mentoring programs; one to support a local student community and other to develop future leaders across various industries. He is very passionate about topics like coaching and mentoring and sports of virtually any kind!

When was the first time you thought about money?

The first time I thought of money was when I was around 2-3 years old and my mum came from an expo in Italy and brought me back this colorful children wallet from “United Colors of Benetton”. I did not understand the concept of money very much but I knew that this is a wallet and money should be inside. Therefore, my only concern was to have something to fill in my new wallet and I succeeded with some first coins from my father. 

What was your “aha” moment with money?

When I was 5 years old my brother and I admired all the combat fighters in all action movies available, so naturally one day my brother decided to build a trap in our backyard. He dug a hole and covered it by branches and leaves to catch and intruder that would step on our backyard. I was too little to operate a shovel and I could not follow my older brother to build a trap on my own.

Having some pocket money saved up from grandma and occasionally shopping cart coin that has been forgotten in my lap I bought the trap that my brother build off him. When my father came home, he was not too happy about the hole in the backyard and I (the new owner of the property) became responsible for shoveling the grave back to cover the hole. The worst purchase I ever made. So far. 

What do you do outside of work?

I run a small non-profit organization that focuses on mentoring final year university students to help them facilitate the turbulent period of finishing their studies and taking a leap into a work environment. Playing basketball was always my great passion that filled most of my time while growing up, despite not being so frequent nowadays I still like to get out there and play with a fun group of people.

I also collect LP records, which is something that has been passionate about since I was 15 years old. Lastly, I enjoy spending my time (and money, haha) traveling, getting to know new cultures, habits, and cuisines across the globe. 

Favorite LGBT+ business?

I’m a big fan of what StartOut does, who are an LGBTQ non-profit to promote LGBTQ equality and combat discrimination in the business world.