Award-winning financial coach, author and speaker Holly Morphew joins the show to discuss her incredible journey from debt to financial freedom. Holly is the author of Simple Wealth: The Practical Guide to Transform Your Relationship with Money and Live in Abundance and today she breaks down her Financial Impact System that has helped to improve the financial situations of so many.
Jonathan and Holly discuss her work in financial literacy, the importance of believing and investing in yourself and why everyone should own a business at some point in their lives.
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01:06 – Holly Morphew discusses her unique upbringing and the mindset her family instilled in her around money
06:25 – ‘Discovering’ $67,000 in credit card debt
09:58 – A series of financial awakenings
13:30 – Common financial misconceptions and living in an abundance mindset
20:18 – Holly breaks down her Financial Impact System
22:58 – Creating residual income
26:04 – Defining financial independence and how it differs from retirement
31:00 – One thing listeners can do today to improve their financial wellbeing and one thing to avoid
34:05 – The importance of investing in yourself
37:27 – Why everyone should have a business
46:36 – The last thing Holly changed her mind about and one thing she wishes people knew about her
48:42 – The next big thing for Holly and where to follow and connect with her
“At the time, I was a member of Rotary International. And so I just went to them with this idea. I said, ‘I have an idea for a service project. What if I go to local high schools and I teach young adults about money before they graduate, and get in the real world, and start making all the mistakes that my friends and I were making.’ And they loved the idea and that’s how it began.” (03:45)
“Ultimately, what I know about myself now is I was always meant to be an entrepreneur. I was always meant to work for myself. And I always wanted to get to that kind of life, but I didn’t really know how to do it.” (10:49)
“I do think that it’s a privilege to tune out what the world is telling us. And anyone can do it; this is free. It’s your choice.” (19:21)
“Building wealth is twenty percent strategy and eighty percent mindset.” (20:51)
“The definition of financial independence is the point when the income that you receive from sources other than a job can pay for your expenses.” (27:28)
“Really, when you think about money, it is just this intangible thing that we are creating more of every day. The government is printing more of it every single day. We’ve got new cryptocurrency coins all the time. When you really start to think about money, it truly is infinite and you can call more of it into your life.” (35:17)
“That feeling of accomplishing the pillars of wealth and then getting really good at defaulting to healthier habits just takes practice. There’s no such thing as perfection when it comes to money. It’s just about doing your best. And every day is an opportunity to practice.” (46:08)
Holly’s Website – https://www.financialimpact.com/
Holly’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hollymorph/?hl=en
Holly’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FinancialImpactSystem
Holly’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyMorph
Holly’s YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyu44ljnKKXTrAYlEeBUmbg
Holly’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollymorph/
Money Date Guide – https://www.financialimpact.com/money-date-guide/
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Jonathan DeYoe: Hello. Welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Holly Morphew, who’s the author of Simple wealth and the founder of Financial Impact. Holly is an award winning financial coach, author, and speaker. She’s been in Forbes, femme founder, Business insider, and important to me. She’s received the Rotarian of the year award for her work in financial literacy. I want to thank Nicole Williams, who is a mutual colleague who introduced us. And, uh, Holly, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.
Holly Morphew: Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here.
Jonathan DeYoe: All right, good. I’m excited to have you. Well, starting off, where do you call home? Where are you connecting from?
Holly Morphew: Yes, Denver is home for me. I actually just moved to Denver on December 30. Huh. Of last year from.
Jonathan DeYoe: You weren’t far outside of Denver before then, were you?
Holly Morphew: No, I was in Boulder, but I was very much living that nomadic lifestyle for a few years. The beginning of the pandemic, I was living in Argentina. Then I was kind of house hacking for a little while on one of my rental properties and wasn’t really sure where I was going to go. And it just feels so good to have made Denver my home. So, yeah, I’m thrilled. I’m actually living in my dream home. So it’s kind of been a little bit of a long time coming, but I love it. I’m so happy to be in Denver, and my family is here. My community is here. It just feels really good.
Jonathan DeYoe: Did you grow up in Denver?
Holly Morphew: I grew up in Texas until I was 13, and then I moved to Boulder with my family. Then I went to high school and college in Boulder, and then I moved to the east coast. And every time I would come back home to visit my parents, the sun would shine and I’d feel the fresh air, and I’d ask myself, why am I living in Boston when I could be living in Colorado? So, after a few years, I came back to Colorado, and now I’m in Denver.
Jonathan DeYoe: So in your Texas time, your Colorado time, what did you learn about money when you were a.
Holly Morphew: You know, I learned a lot about money, even though I didn’t know that I was learning about money. And that’s, uh, kind of how my whole financial journey started. I realized that I grew up in a family that talked about money at the dinner table, and I just thought that was normal. I thought that’s what everyone did. And then after I graduated, uh, from college and got my first few years in the real world and just kind of started looking around, I realized that I was having a very different experience than my friends. And I always say, like, wealth building is a journey. But for me, I bought my first house when I was young. I think I was 25. And I got a roommate, and I charged her cheap rent, and she helped me pay my mortgage, and I thought it was amazing. And then after a few years, uh, I thought, why aren’t more of my friends doing this? And then as I kind of dug into it a little bit more, I realized, okay, a lot of my friends don’t have good credit or they don’t understand savings or they have a lot of debt or whatever it is. And at the time, I was a member of Rotary International. And so I just went to them with this idea. I said, hey, I have an idea for a service project. What if I go to local high schools and I teach young adults about money before they graduate and get in the real world and start making all the mistakes that my friends were making and some of the mistakes that I was also making at the time? And I loved the idea, and that’s how it all began. It was just something that I did because I felt like we needed to talk about money. We weren’t teaching money, and it was a total success. Like, when I started having parents and teachers of my students asking if they could sit in on my money workshop, I was like, oh, okay, this isn’t just something that young adults want, like, everyone is thirsty for financial education.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, for sure. Going back to just, uh, the earlier days, is there any kind of experience growing up, experience with money, parents arguing, a shopping trip, a, uh, stupid purchase that really stands out as important in your own money story?
Holly Morphew: What’s really interesting, I feel like my story is so unique because my parents are so different when it comes to money. But at the end of the day, they had kind of both of the ingredients that I feel like can really help you create wealth. And one is that my dad, who is the entrepreneur, but he owned franchises. He bought a franchise, the same franchise that his dad ran when he was very young. Uh, and so that was kind of his journey. And before that, his dad had owned a car dealership and a gas station. And my mom’s dad, coincidentally, had also owned a car dealership. So it’s interesting. I feel like entrepreneurship is in my blood. But for my dad, he was the hard worker. Like, every single six days a week, he got up, went to work, and he earned his paycheck because his business paid him. And that was kind of his steady Eddie. And my mom, on the other hand, she was the dreamer and the visionary, and she had a toy store for a little while, and then she got her real estate license and started learning about real estate. And so it’s like, together, because my dad had the steady income, they could buy the properties, and then they just kind of leveraged one property to get another property, and then pretty soon they paid one off, and then they had income. And now my parents are retired, they’re still managing their real estate portfolio. But I think it was just the combination of seeing what the two of them could create together that sort of helped me on my own journey to creating wealth and abundance, which has been very much up and down because I’ve been through a divorce, and I had chronic illness, and my medication was very expensive, so I went into debt. And so there are all these components, I feel like, to creating wealth. And that’s why I love to talk about money, because it’s this ebb and flow, and there is no straight shot to wealth because life happens.
Jonathan DeYoe: So you talk about, uh, in the book and a couple of places on the website, you reference a point where you discovered you were $67,000 in credit card debt. And I know you wear that as a, hey, I’ve been there. And also as kind of a badge of honor for getting out of it. But where did that discovery lead you?
Holly Morphew: Yes. Oh, my gosh. Well, first of all, it was very painful. It was painful leading up, uh, to the discovery, because there was just this feeling in the back of my mind that was always there, this isn’t sustainable, what I’m doing. I can’t keep doing it. And it did know, after I graduated from college, I moved to Boston with my three best girlfriends to kind of start my life. And it was wonderful. But then I got sick, and because my medication was so expensive, my insurance didn’t cover it. I just started using credit cards. And so that’s kind of where it began. After six months of $5,000 a month medication, I ended up moving back home and living with my parents, which my ego hurt. It made me feel like, oh, I failed. I couldn’t hack it in the big city, or I graduated from college, and here I am moving back home to live with my parents. And, um, I’m 25 years old. But what I realized now is that was actually one of the best financial decisions I ever made for myself. Because not only did it enable me to get better, because I’m living at home, my parents are being nurtured, I’m also not paying rent or paying very cheap rent, but it also helped me take care of my physical body so I could focus on, okay, if I’m healthy, then I can go get a job and I can start earning a paycheck again. And that’s exactly what happened. I ended up living at home. I started to get better. I got a job, I saved my money, and that’s when I bought the house. And then that’s also when I started asking the question, why aren’t my friends doing this? What’s happening? And then I realized, okay, we don’t teach this in school, but this all happened over a few years. It wasn’t until I was really in my mid to late twenty s that the debt had started to compound. I had bought another property and renovated a bathroom on a credit card. And when I would go shopping, I would just swipe and I would think, okay, well, this, however many hundreds of dollars I’m spending is only going to make my minimum payment go up 20 or $30. Of course I can afford that. I was a commission only employee. But when I got my commissions because I sold real estate, they were big. So it was always like, okay, I’ll get paid, and then I’ll pay my credit cards back. But I was doing mental accounting. I was not writing it down. I had an idea of what was coming in and an idea of what was going out, but it started to get really difficult to pay my bills. And I had a mortgage and a car payment and a lifestyle. One day, uh, we had three back to back snowstorms in Colorado, and the whole state was shut down. But my company was open. And so I called my boss, and I said, I think I drove a honda accord, and my office was 40 miles from my house. And I just said, I don’t think I should come in. I really feel like this is a risk. And she said, if you don’t come in, you’re fired. And that’s when I started to think, okay, how much debt do I really have? I think I can manage it, but it’s starting to really hurt. I have more month than money. And so, uh, I did make it to work and home that night, and that’s when I got out all of my credit card statements and added up my balances and discovered that I had $67,000 in credit card debt.
Jonathan DeYoe: So most of our listeners right now are in California, so they don’t understand those snowstorms. But I’m from South Dakota. I totally understand those snowstorms. They shut the state down. That’s right. Holly, the heart of your book, and probably your coaching is the financial impact system. But in the book, before you get to the system, you talk about a series of awakenings. Can you tell us a little bit about the awakenings?
Holly Morphew: Yes. Well, that was really my first awakening, was discovering, okay, I’ve got a massive amount of debt. I’m living paycheck to paycheck. If I don’t look at this and do something about it right now, my life isn’t going to change. And someone had asked me, if you keep doing what you’re doing, where are you going to be in five years? And I thought, gosh, I’m already working 60 to 70 hours a week. I’m successful for all intents and purposes, but am I really, like, whose definition of success makes me? And I thought, I’m not successful. This isn’t success to me. I have no freedom and choices. I have to go to work. And my job was stressful. It just was. And I didn’t love it. And ultimately, what I know about myself now is I was always meant to be an entrepreneur. I was always meant to work for myself, and I always wanted to get to that kind of life, but I didn’t really know how to do it. And so that discovery of the debt led me to that first awakening, which was to call my financial advisor the next day. And I said, hey, here’s what’s going on. This is my problem. How can you help? And he asked me how much more money I wanted to invest. And that was the awakening. That was the light bulb moment. I realized, okay, not all financial advisors are the same, and this one was not able to help me where I was, which I felt like there was a gap, like he could help me invest money that I already have, but who could help me create more money to invest? And in my case, I didn’t need to invest. I needed to eliminate my debt. And so this was in 2006, and that’s what really got the wheel spinning for me to think, okay, we need financial coaches. And there are three of us, really, in the US, who are, like, the first financial coaches. We’ve all been doing it for 15 to 20 years. I’ve been doing this for 17 years. So there are two other women, one’s in Arizona, one’s in Indiana. And we kind of pioneered the financial coaching industry. And now financial coaching is a thing. But back then, when I first started my first company, people would ask me, so are you like Dave Ramsay or Susie Orman? I’m like, yeah, I am. But who else can know? Compare myself to, how can I explain what it is that I do? So now, you know, a financial advisor and many financial advisors will help you with the personal financial piece. Not all do, but I would always say a financial advisor helps you invest money that you already have, and a financial coach helps you create more money to invest. So that was, like, the first awakening where I realized, okay, what’s the system like? What can I do to eliminate my debt and then give me the ability to either live the lifestyle that I want to live, which was to work for myself. For other people, it might look like being able to pay for their kids college or take more vacations or own a second home. It looks different for everyone. And so I started studying debt elimination, wealth management, multiple income streams, and created a system, and I applied it to my personal finances, and three years later, I was debt free. And then shortly after that, I had money in the bank, and it just kept going from there. So this is the same system that I did to eliminate the $67,000 of debt. Now, today, I have eleven income streams. I became financially independent in my thirty s, and then I became a millionaire a year later just by doing, it’s a simple system. What are you doing with a little bit of money that you have left over every month? And it doesn’t have to be a.
Jonathan DeYoe: Lot, is what I learned right now. You’ve worked, uh, individually and probably in group settings with lots of different people. In all of your experience for I guess 17 years now, right? That’s more than I know about. So in all of your experience, is there a place that you see that we universally fall down? Is there a place that we just culturally or universally. There’s a problem in this area of finance.
Holly Morphew: I would say it’s just this lack mentality that we don’t have enough and that’s just not true. I really, truly believe that abundance is our natural state. And for me, once I started to accept that there is enough, there’s even more than enough. And it’s up to me to really claim that and call that in. This was a completely different shift in my, let’s call it abundant mindset versus how I really started to eliminate my debt, uh, was really through financial capability. Mindset wasn’t really a piece of it. It was really about discipline and perseverance and consistency. And I guess that would be the next thing that I would say that’s sort of a misnomer, is that it really is important to look at your money every 30 days, or at least on a regular basis. And like I said, this is the basis of the financial impact system. Looking at where your money went and looking at where you want it to go and then just taking whatever is left over every month, or if you get paid periodically, which a lot of people do, every month. Income is different every month. Expenses are different. So if you can accept that and be willing, I always call it a money date, like once a month. If you’re willing to just look at your money and tell it where to go, you can be wealthy, everyone can create wealth. And then I’ll end with this third one and that is that. Don’t be afraid to live lean for a little while if you’ve got this goal. I always wanted to buy a house, so I was willing to stay at home, uh, during the early days because I wanted to take care of my physical health and yeah, would it have been nice to have my own apartment? Sure. But I was able to save money so that I could put it into an asset. And I’ve done that so many times in my life, like now, where I’m living. The reason I was able to buy my dream home is because I was willing to live lean for a few years to save money for a down payment, to buy the house that I wanted. So I would say, like, what’s on the other side of discomfort is everything that you want. And there’s so much that we think that we need that. We actually don’t. It’s just about tuning in and really listening to where is it that I want to go? And putting those racehorse blinders on and just focusing on where you want to go. Because society tells us, oh, there’s not enough of this, or be afraid of that, or you need that. None of it’s true. None of it’s true.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right. I think that in the last ten, maybe 15 years, with the, uh, onset and the growth of all the social media, we’re more pulled now than ever to buying the thing and the bigger thing and the faster thing. And I think it’s almost a privilege to be able to have some awareness of, hey, that’s not where happiness comes from. Have some awareness that that’s not going to fulfill you and to focus back on those things that are important to you. How do you battle that stuff back? Because you get the same message as we get, I’m sure.
Holly Morphew: Yeah. And I love how you said that it’s a privilege to be able to focus on what it is that’s important to, uh, us. And that’s a really important point, Jonathan, is that we have to be so aware of the information that we’re receiving. Because these days we were bombarded every single day with requests to spend money or think about something or put our energy into something. And the abundance principles, the personal practices of finding some time every day to get out of your head and have some stillness, drop into your heart where there are no thoughts, where I really believe that we all are born with this unique purpose and gift, with our own set of values. And it’s up to us to discover what’s inside of us and then cultivate an environment where we can experience those things that are important to us. And we are living in a world that is telling us every day that money and power and success. And when I say success, I put it in quotations. Because as it’s defined by society or mainstream media, it means, like, accumulating things. And so, like, money, power, and success is what makes us happy. But that’s also not true. If you think back to when you’ve been the happiest in your life, probably it was with someone that you care about, you were doing something that you love, or you were just in a moment where you kind of lost your mind. Because you were like, for me, I played competitive volleyball for 23 years and it wasn’t even work. I loved it. I remember I would just speed to the sand volleyball courts in the summer and I’m like, slow down. Holly, you’re going to get there. It’s not worth getting a ticket. But that’s how excited I was. And that’s really when I created the financial impact system. And there was also a point in my life after the debt was gone and after I got into a, uh, healthy financial situation where I realized, this is right around the time that I got divorced, that I, uh, wanted to live a certain kind of lifestyle. I love to learn. I think expansion is really exciting, like expanding how much we can learn, expanding how much we can grow. And I like to travel, and courses and travel are expensive. And so I thought, okay, well, how can I create the income that I need so that I can do the things that are important to me? And that’s when I really started to plug into the abundance principles and the mindset. And so it really helped me to tune out what the world like, even just with growing my business. The world tells you that this is the way to do it. But the truth is that you should do it the way that feels good for you, because that’s right for you. So I do think that it’s a privilege to tune out what the world is telling us, and anyone can do it. This is free. This is free. It’s your choice to turn off the news. It’s your choice to read a book instead of watch tv. And there’s just so much that happens between our head and our heart when we filter out all of that garbage and fear mongering and get right to the root of, like, where is it that we want to go? What is it that money will give us? Because you can kind of bypass if we want the new car. Why do you want the new car? Is it the freedom? Is it the feeling of. And then you can start to create feelings of freedom without the new car. But, uh, because of the law of attraction, we do start to get the material things that we want in life, because what’s actually happening is we’re raising our vibration, and it’s like, like attracts like. And I know that I’m getting a little deep with the woo stuff, but this is the transformation.
Jonathan DeYoe: It works, right? It works. Tell us about the impact system. The financial impact system.
Holly Morphew: Yes. So it starts with identifying what I call your impact number. So early on, I mentioned what’s the one thing that kind of people miss in society when it comes to building wealth? And it’s just like, awareness. So the very first thing in the financial impact system that you want to do is every 30 days, just calculate your money coming in and your money going out and then whatever is left over. Step number two, there’s only three steps. Step number two is to apply it to your pillars of wealth. And your pillars of wealth go in an order. This is the strategy now, like, building wealth is 20% strategy and 80% mindset. I feel like we all know this at this point and the strategy is important. It really is. It would be wonderful if we did teach. I mean, I know a lot of schools and states are starting to weave financial education into their curriculum.
Jonathan DeYoe: Starting?
Holly Morphew: Yeah, starting. I mean, it’s there. It’s not mandatory, but I think that there is an awareness that this stuff is important. But I would say the majority of my business is high earners who just never learned about money or have shame and confusion around money. And they just want to know, what do I need to do so that one day I can stop working. So, pillars of wealth, first, you maximize your cash flow. We already did that by identifying your impact number. And then the last three pillars in this order, eliminate debt strategically. Save, create residual income. And it’s as simple as that. And the last part of the impact system is following the golden rules of money, which I’ll share them with you. I would love to hear what you think of these. Number one is pay yourself first.
Jonathan DeYoe: Given. Absolutely yes.
Holly Morphew: Number two is earn more than you spend.
Jonathan DeYoe: Absolutely yes.
Holly Morphew: Ah. And the last one is give every dollar a purpose.
Jonathan DeYoe: Love it. I love this part of your book. Tell us about the.
Holly Morphew: Well, what I found is that, and this was totally me when I had all of the debt, is that money is meant to be spent. Like, we are going to find a purpose for it, whether it’s spend it, give it, invest it, save it. So if, let’s say you’re going to make $10,000 next month, if before that $10,000 comes in, you’ve got a purpose for every single dollar, then it’s going to go into the buckets that you want it to go in. And the way that I do that and the way I teach my clients to do it is just set everything up so it’s automatic. So then you don’t have to think about it. Then you go to sleep at night, and your money is going to savings, it’s going to retirement accounts, it’s going to investment accounts, maybe it’s paying down your mortgage. And all you have to do is manage your spending. I mean, it literally is as simple as that.
Jonathan DeYoe: Beautiful. So I, uh, think it’s the fourth pillar creating residual income. Now, when I read that section most of it reads like investing to me. Is there a reason you didn’t call it investing?
Holly Morphew: Yeah. Yes and yes. So when I think of residual income, I think of residual income being money that you earn after a small or upfront expenditure of either time, capital, or effort. So it could be putting money into your retirement accounts. It could be putting money into your investment accounts. It could be starting a business. It could be creating another stream of income. It could be investing in cryptocurrency or buying a rental property. There are just so many ways to create residual income. And I also feel like putting your money into different places is just another way to diversify even further than if your investment accounts are in stocks and bonds and some in index funds, et cetera. Great. But having some money in the retirement accounts protects them because they’re tax advantaged and they’re in retirement accounts. Having money in investment accounts means that maybe you’ve got a little bit of liquidity there. If you need money having money in a property, maybe that you’renting, that’s kind of a hedge against inflation. And then, of course, having a business or another stream of income, when the economy is doing one thing and you’ve got income from different sources coming in, you can kind of balance the way that your money is flowing so that when one income stream is up, another income stream is down. That’s okay, because the economy is cyclical. And so that’s why I group all of the different residual income streams into that final pillar, because not everyone has the opportunity to have an employer match their 401k because they’re self employed, for example, a lot of people that I work with are, for whatever reason, afraid to put their money in retirement accounts and lock it up. They’d rather spend their money and their time creating another stream of income. And so there’s just so many ways to create financial independence that I really like to learn about what my clients value and what’s going to make them show up every day over time to create the residual income that they need to become financially independent when they want to be financially independent.
Jonathan DeYoe: It’s like residual income is just a bigger bucket than investing. It includes start your business. It includes other things. Got it.
Holly Morphew: It’s all encompassing. Yes, I was going to say it deserves the same attention that you might give to every single month contributing to your 401, or every single month putting 40 hours into learning how to create that next stream of income. Residual income is so important, and we don’t all get to financial independence in the same way because we’re not all meant to be 40 hours a week worker bees for the big corporate company. Uh, we’re artists, we’re creatives, we’re free thinkers. And so I think just knowing that money comes in many shapes and sizes, there’s not just one way to do it, is also empowering.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. At the same time, you quote the fidelity research that talks about saving a multiple of your income at different life stages, and you talk about, uh, the 25 times your income marker that signifies the 4% safe withdrawal rate. Can you briefly explain those markers and how they apply in a nontraditional stocks and bonds kind of portfolio? How do you use those about real estate and other things like that? Yeah.
Holly Morphew: So I really think about retirement and financial independence as different things. Because if you ask most millennials today, when do you want to quit working? Which is where the conversation for retirement usually begins. Right. Like, what age do you want to quit working? At age 67, the IRS will give you full retirement benefits. Great. Love that. But my path, and I’m right on the cusp of millennial Gen X, is that I knew that the corporate route wasn’t going to be for me. It is for a lot of people. Like, a lot of people. Just all you have to do to invest and put money in your retirement accounts is push the buttons, tell your money to go into the. And it’s great. I love that. But again, that’s not the path for everyone, because they don’t have necessarily the job that gives them the retirement account benefits, et cetera. So I really like to think about financial independence, uh, as, okay, in the definition of, uh, financial independence. Let’s start there. The definition of financial independence is the point when the income that you receive from sources other than a job can pay for your expenses. So you can kind of start to draw the similarity between financial independence and retirement, being that, okay, the point when the income you receive from sources other than a job can pay for your expenses is when you’ve saved enough money that you can withdraw a certain amount, 4% being the number that we kind of go. It’s not perfect. It’s not perfect, but if you’ve saved enough money, sufficient money, then you can live the rest of your life without outliving your money if you only withdraw 4%. Now, again, this is all theoretical, but I like knowing that there has been some research to say this is the right amount based on how long we live. And the average returns in the market over the past 100 years have been about 6% to 9%. Okay, great. But that being said, what about the person who wants work to be a choice when they’re 50? Or what about the person who really loves what they do? They always want to wake up with a purpose. And whether they’re working 10 hours a week or 50 hours a week, they want to work. Like, I saw him the other day, and a, uh, successful entrepreneur say he wants to work until he’s 80. And he meant it. Like, he really does want to work until he’s 80. And I love that. So, financial independence, and you can get there in a few different ways, but it’s a function of your expenses. It’s a function of your lifestyle. And based on this 4% safe withdrawal rate, when you’ve saved 25 times your annual expenses is when you’re financially independent, because you can live off your nest eggs return. Now, that’s if you want to save your way to financial independence. The way I got to financial independence is I earned my way there. So I created enough passive income each month through various income streams, and my expenses were low. Where that passive income every month was paying for my expenses. Did I have $2 million in the bank? No, not at all. Not at all. And so that’s where financial independence is different than retirement. Now, fidelity, and I love fidelity. It’s one of my favorite financial companies. I have an investment account with fidelity, and I love the data that they give us. Data is empowering. And so they look at retirement as a function of income. And so they say, by age 30, you need to have saved one time your annual salary. By age 40, you need to have saved three times your annual salary. And then by the time you get to age 67, you want to have saved ten times your annual salary. Now, when I share that with my entrepreneurial clients or my clients who work for the company, and they’ve been through some things in life like we all have, and I tell them those numbers, they’re like, oh, my gosh, I’m never going to get there. And so that’s when we start to have the conversation, okay, money is infinite. If you’re willing to give 5 hours a week or be really disciplined with your spending or whatever it is, we can create a plan for you to get to financial independence before age 67 or be able to get to retirement or financial independence at age 67, whatever their goals are.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So there’s a couple of things I want to touch on here. The first is, there’s a purpose to this podcast, and I think you listened to the first episode or the zero episode, so you know that I lost my brother last year and my brother and I had these dreams of giving people access to information that they wouldn’t have access to without paying coaches and these kinds of things. So I want to make it really simple. Is there one thing that our listeners can walk away with and they can implement today or this week that will improve their financial well being? What is that?
Holly Morphew: One to yes, Jonathan, I’m going to give you even one better. I have a whole guide and I agree, financial education should be free. And at this point in my life, that’s what I’m working most on is like, how can I give back? How can I help? Little Holly, who back in the day was like, oh my God, I’m going to lose everything because I was doing mental accounting, is on my website, financial impact. Go to the freebies and you can get. It’s called a money date guide. And it’s literally, I think it’s like a ten or twelve page document. It’s right there. Financialimpact.com. Go to freebies. Get the money date guide. This is the one thing that everyone can do to start building wealth today. It’s how you identify your impact number, where to actually put your dollars every month, how to prioritize. Okay, where am I on the journey? Because everyone starts in a different place and I think that’s where. That’s the art of financial advising and that’s the art of financial coaching is meeting people exactly where they are because it’s just in time. Financial planning, it works that way. If you don’t have the need, you don’t care if you’re in debt. I’ve never heard about investing.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’ve never heard that phrase before, but that’s perfect. I love it. That’s a good application.
Holly Morphew: Yes, well, I made it, uh, up. I mean, I studied business in college, but there was a day where I was like, that’s what I do. Just in time financial planning. If you get an inheritance or you have debt or you need more income or you just lost your job, this is where money stuff matters.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So second part of that question is, given all the noise out there, we’re inundated with crap every day. Financial press, social media, and oftentimes there’s these concepts that pervade culture. Is there something out there in the financial world that we’re better off just ignoring that? Thinking about it doesn’t get us anywhere.
Holly Morphew: Yeah. Uh, I would just say if you’re earning money, good job. That is half the battle. Don’t forget, it’s not enough. Forget that. It is enough. If you have just taken that very first step to go to your job, maybe you work 40 hours a week or less or more. Feel good about that, because you are your money maker, you are your best asset and all the rest. Like, you need this and you need that. Uh, throw that out and go right to, okay, what is it that I value you. For me, it’s freedom. But maybe you value family. Maybe you value giving or community or nature. I mean, there’s so many different values out there. Really think about, okay, where can I put my time and my money so that I can get more of this in my life? And everything else is just noise?
Jonathan DeYoe: Yes, everything else is noise. There’s a lot of noise. So, um, I’m going to bring this whole privilege thing back into this. Because every time I read a book that’s got a financial system about how to build wealth or make more money or have an impact one way or another, I’m struck by the privilege of having access to this kind of book. Not just that. Know anyone can go to Amazon and buy the book. That’s not that, uh, access I’m talking about, but you have to have the values, the culture, the upbringing, some kind of background, experiences and beliefs that include the possibility of success to begin with. And so my question is, one of the things you talk about is invest in yourself, because your ability to earn is your greatest asset. What do you say to folks when they say, I can’t earn more? I can’t. There’s no way I’ll ever earn more. What do you say to them?
Holly Morphew: I would say, yes. Uh, you can. Yes, you can. Let’s ask a different question. Let’s go down a different path. Let’s get more information. This is why being in community, which is one of the abundance principles, is so important. Because when you surround yourself with people who want the best for you, or they’ve already accomplished what it is that you want to accomplish, you will get information that will attract the people and the circumstances and the things that you need so that you can make more money. Really, when you think about money, it is just this intangible thing that we’re creating more of it every single day. I mean, the government is printing more of it every single day. We’ve got new cryptocurrency coins all the time. It’s like when you really start to think about money, it truly is infinite, and you can call more of it into your life. And I understand we have kids, we have health issues. Time is the thing we have just taking self care, that takes some time every single day. And if you’re in a job, look into what are some skills that you can acquire so that you can get a raise or have some upward mobility in your industry or within your company or within your job and believing in yourself. I mean, a lot of this stuff does come back to the affirmations, uh, I can do it. I’m enough. It’s enough. There’s everything that I need is on its way to me and really starting to believe that. And then if you’re willing to spend some time learning a new skill and then learn how to monetize that with the Internet, with how connected we are to markets all over the world, there are lots of ways to create money that don’t require a full time job. And then on the other side of that, too, and I’ve done this at multiple times in my life, is okay. Especially when I had a lot of debt. I was looking at all the ways I could increase my income and decrease my expenses. I did both at the same time. But there are so many jobs that are needed to be filled all over the world, definitely in the US, 700,000 jobs a year go unfilled in the United States because we don’t have the skilled workforce to fill those jobs. So if you’re wanting to make more money, start looking at do the research, get on Google, and just type in jobs that are available, and then type in what it is that you want to do. Do you want to work with people? Do you want to be behind a computer? Do you want to be working in the dirt? Do you want to work with your hands and really get clear on how you would like to be paid for time that you put in at a job. And you will find something, because there is need right now. We need workers. We need jobs filled. And, um, there is a path to.
Jonathan DeYoe: Make more money at the same time. And this is the same question, but on a different part of the topic. You say this, and there’s nothing in your book that I agree more with than this thing. Everyone should have a business. I think that’s so critical, so important, so smart, and I think not enough people say it, but there is a not insubstantial percentage of the population that can’t imagine running a business. They can’t imagine creating a product or marketing or business planning. They’re completely befuddled by the concept. How do you reach those people?
Holly Morphew: Yeah. Okay, let’s just start with it doesn’t have to be, uh, a big business that has employees and you work it for. I call it a stream of income. I have clients that make money from a blog. I have clients that have written songs. I have clients that have written books. Yes, I have clients that do 40 hours a week, or sometimes in this case, running a business is 50 or 60 hours a week, because you do have to wear a lot of hats. But find out what you’re good at, find out what you want to spend your time doing, and then research ways to monetize it, because it might be, uh, much easier than you think it is to make money doing something that you enjoy. Or if you have a skill, what’s a way that you can teach this skill and get paid for it? Maybe you can do it online. Maybe you can do it in person. 5 hours a week, 10 hours a week. My first stream of income, I was working with it. This is when I first started to get into running my own business. When I had all of the debt, I was like, okay, I’m watching at least 5 hours a week of tv at a minimum. And I was like, what can I do in those 5 hours instead of watching tv? Because that’s really all I had. Because my full time job was very demanding. And at the time, I was using these great products that were sold by a direct sales company called Arbon. They were always asking me to do this MLM thing, and I’m like, what’s MLM? Multi level marketing. Like, well, what’s that? That sounds scary. And then I did some research, and I looked into, and I’m like, oh, this is very legitimate. I like this business model. So I started selling it to my friends and family. It wasn’t a big deal. It was just like, I love these products. They changed my life. Here’s a catalog. Try them. And I started making, like, $300 a month. And that was really amazing for me. I mean, for the average american family. I think at the time when I was doing Arbon, they said, like, $400 a month could really make a difference in their finances. And for me, that paid for all of my transportation expenses, my car payment, my gas and everything. And that really did make a difference for me. And then when I got laid off, I was a marketing director. In 2009, we were fully into the recession, and I got laid off, and I was doing arbon in addition to, um, that full time job. And I was like, oh, my God, what am I going to do? I had a great job at a company car and all that good salary, and I just decided, you know what I’m going to fall back on my arbon income for a little while. I’m going to plug in most. If it’s a good direct sales company, then they’ll have a plug and play system where they literally teach you how to make money. I think I paid $79 to get my consultant id. That was the barrier to entry. $79. Didn’t have to get a college degree, didn’t have to buy products. That worked for me. It’s not for everyone, but for me, I was like, this is a great way to create income. And then I replaced my full time income with this ten hour, uh, I increased my hours to 10 hours a week, and it was wonderful. But then after a few years, I wanted health benefits and I wanted a 401. So then I went and got a full time job. My salary wasn’t great, but I was willing to do that because I still had the debt. And I knew that if I put myself in an environment where I was around entrepreneurs, because that’s where my heart was, then I could slowly build the bridge to working for myself one day. So that whole journey started in 2011, is when I went back and got a full time job. Salary wasn’t great, but then in 2013, I had enough consulting clients that I was able to quit the full time job, just focus on the consulting. Then I started my first company for teaching personal finance. Not just as a service project anymore, not just to young adults anymore, but to everyone. And then I became a full time financial coach in 2016. So you can see that, uh, none of this happened overnight. I had the vision. It took many years to execute, but just being willing to do something small to create a little bit extra cash flow to eliminate the debt and then get some money in savings, that’s what ultimately got me where I wanted to.
Jonathan DeYoe: Go in this whole process. Were you surrounded by people that were saying, like, hey, uh, yeah, way to go, you’ll be totally successful. This is great. Uh, good job. Or was it, what are you doing with your time? What’s this argon thing? Are you crazy? This is never going to work. I mean, what were the messages you were getting from your peer group?
Holly Morphew: Both. I definitely got both. Half my family was supportive, half my family wasn’t. And usually when people are skeptical, they don’t have enough information or there’s fear. But, uh, one of the things that I learned early on is that it does really matter who you surround yourself with. And I do pay attention to when I leave, hanging out with friends or spending time with my family, or even just a business meeting. I pay attention to how I feel, and so I’m really blessed to have awesome people in my life who see the best in me and really support me. And the truth is that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t. Uh, for my very first mentor, he really believed in me, and he would always say, like, holly, you can do more. Like, you were meant for more. What’s in your heart? And he gave me permission to ask myself those tough questions, like, am I really happy doing this? No. If I want more, what is more? And then being willing to do what it takes to bridge that gap, because it’s scary when you don’t have the skills and you have these big dreams, and it’s like, am I worthy of that? Do I deserve that?
Jonathan DeYoe: Yes, you do. There’s a stance peppered throughout the book, and I want to point to it and just ask for a comment on it. And you basically say over and over again, the journey gets easier. Why is that so important to understand?
Holly Morphew: Uh, yes, and it does, because over time, it’s all about habits, all about our habits, right? And so as we start to cultivate habits that take us closer to wealth, it becomes the default. So the energy that goes into saving, uh, money, for example, or for me, it was all about spending, because I’m an impulsive person. I’m an impulsive spender. And so I had to create all these spending rules. I actually have a module in my program about the spending rules that I used. But now, uh, one of the spending rules was I would never bring my wallet to a shopping mall or anywhere I could spend money. I would, like, leave my wallet in the car, because then I’d have to walk all the way back, and then I’d realize, this is impulsive. It’s not in my wealth strategy, which is, like, what I used to budget. Or I had a 72 hours rule where I wasn’t allowed to buy anything that wasn’t planned unless I had waited for 72 days. I had checked my wealth strategy to make sure I had the money, all the things, and now I just do it. I don’t spend time in places where I can spend money if I have the choice. I’m reading my kindle in my car between meetings instead of going to Starbucks, where, for sure I’m going to spend six or $7 on, um, a late. So all these little things, and it does get easier. And it also gets easier because you start to build up this confidence that you can do it. Like, once you do it once, it’s easier to do it the second time. And then once you’ve done it two and three times, it gets easier to just keep on doing it. And so as you build the pillars of wealth, you will find that, that stress, like that stress that was just under the surface in my head all the time when I had all of the debt. Well, once I eliminated the debt, I kept my lifestyle completely the same. And it was like, yes, the debt’s gone. But I just stayed at my lifestyle and started putting that money into savings. And then when I had some money in the bank, I was like, okay, all right. Uh, I have money now, but I’m not there yet because I’m still behind. Based on fidelity’s calculations of how much income I need saved and the financial independence, how many expenses I need saved. And since I wanted work to be a choice for me early in life, I really wanted to get to financial independence, at least in my forty s. And I got there right before my 40th birthday. I got there. So just that feeling of accomplishing the pillars of wealth. And then getting really good at defaulting to the healthier habits, it just takes practice. That’s it. There’s no such thing as perfection when it comes to money. It’s just about doing your best. And every day is an opportunity to practice.
Jonathan DeYoe: True about so many things. You got to put in the reps, you have to put in the reps. And then the reps get easier the more reps you put in. I think it’s so important for people to understand, uh, that just a couple of closing things as we get here to the end of the hour. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?
Holly Morphew: The last thing I changed my mind about is when I’m uncomfortable or afraid of something instead of saying no, because no is my default. Saying yes, huh?
Jonathan DeYoe: Always no. Not always. You have to say no.
Holly Morphew: Some still, yeah, but usually it has to do with, okay, singing karaoke. I’m really scared to do that. But I said yes, and I’m going to be doing it here in a couple of months.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wow. It’s a big no for me.
Holly Morphew: I’ve never done it before. I have friends that like to do it. I want to participate. And so at first I was like, no, I’m not going to do this. I don’t know what song I would sing. I’m not really sure how my voice sounds on a microphone. And then I thought, you know what? Clearly I’m uncomfortable. There’s really nothing to be afraid of. Uh, because this is for fun. So I changed my mind and I’m really looking at this right now in my life overall, as like, okay, there’s information in fear. Like, what is it that I’m afraid of? There’s information in discomfort. I mean, it’s different than being discerning. Like, I’m not going to put myself in a dangerous situation, but it’s like, if it’s just something simple, like, hey, I might discover that I love to sing, and then maybe in a couple of years I’ll be, like, in a choir, in a rock band. I don’t know.
Jonathan DeYoe: That’s cool. Awesome. I love it. I love it. Is there anything that people either don’t know or maybe you need to remind them about they don’t remember about you that you really, really want them to know about you?
Holly Morphew: Oh, my goodness. Something that I really want people to know about me that they might forget. Gosh, I love to be asked questions. Uh, I have a lot that I want to say and a lot that I want to share. But one thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that I enjoy connecting a lot more when someone is interested in me. So as opposed to me, just like, oh, let me tell you about all these experiences that I’ve had and all the things that I’ve learned on my journey to health and wealth. I love it when people take the time to really ask a question that is going to let them get to know me a little bit deeper.
Jonathan DeYoe: Nice. What’s the next big thing you’re going to work on and then tell us how to connect with you?
Holly Morphew: I don’t know what the next big thing I’m going to work on is yet. It is the golden question. I actually went into 2022 knowing that I wasn’t going to set any big goals because I accomplished a lot of big goals just in my life in 2021. One thing I am working on right now is recording the audio version of Simple wealth. So I’ve got three chapters left. So that’s going to be coming out in a few months. And yeah, the best way to find me is my website, financialimpact and financialimpact.com, and then, of course, on all the socials at morph.
Jonathan DeYoe: Beautiful. Thanks, Holly. I very much enjoyed this. I think the audience is going to love it as well.
Holly Morphew: Likewise. Thanks, Jonathan. It’s been a pleasure.