Episode 138 – Tiffany Aliche, Financial Literacy for Kids (and Adults!)

Covid has touched every part of our financial lives. From loss of income to spending differently than we ever have, our budgets have been upended. Which is why this is a perfect time to check in with Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. Tiffany is a financial educator and author. Most recently, she published a children’s book, Happy Birthday Mali, teaching kids about appreciation and finances. And as if that wasn’t enough, she created a financial movement that has helped over one million women worldwide collectively save more than $250 million, and pay off over $200 million in debt. Today, Tiffany and Jessica catch up on how the last year has been, what we are learning about finances post-pandemic, and how we can give our kids some good financial wisdom.


Jessica: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host Jessica Honegger, founder of the social impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Join me here every week for conversations on living lives of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared.

Alright, we are having Tiffany Aliche from “The Budgetnista”  back. We had Tiffany first on the show episode 48 . You will want to go and listen to that first episode. She shares her entire amazing, truly phenomenal story. But since then, she has been busy.

She’s become a New York Times Bestselling author with, “Get Good with Money,”  she’s worked to pass legislation in New Jersey mandating financial education that is already now being integrated into middle schools, and she really makes talking about money easy, which says a lot because it’s not easy to talk about money.

And I don’t know about you, but during the pandemic, my spending habits radically changed, and, I mean, we saw how much money we spent on going out and clothes and travel. And I am now thinking, “Okay, what do we want to decide on so we don’t just slide back into these spending habits?”

So, that’s why I wanted to have Tiffany on today. The pandemic and then our semi-post pandemic life in the U.S. has exposed the fragility and vulnerability caused by disruption in money.

So, if you have kids and you want them to learn the money ropes, this episode is for you, her book is for you. I just love talking with Tiffany.

Let’s give it a listen.


Tiffany Aliche: Financial Literacy for Kids (and Adults!) 

Jessica: Okay, but this is what’s crazy. So the last time I had you on, your body looked very different. It’s like looking at your bio. You were just on the podcast in February of 2019. Seriously, one of my all-time favorite conversations , by the way.

Tiffany: Thank you.

Jessica: I mean, I regularly talk to my kids about that episode, and I’m like, "My friend, Tiffany, her dad laid out the utility bills on the table. This is not much discussion…" I mean, it so good. Okay, but let’s just go over. I mean, I just said your bio before you came on, but, I mean, let’s just dive in, okay? This is since February of 2019, author of New York Time best-selling "Get Good with Money,"  “The One-Week Budget,"  “Live Richer Challenge" series,  and most recently, children’s book, "Happy Birthday Mali More."  You’ve created a financial movement that’s helped over 1 million women worldwide collectively save more than $250 million and pay off over $200 million in debt. You wrote a law, or whatever, however that works.

Tiffany: Yes, I guess.

Jessica: You got a law passed. I mean, it’s just, that’s just a little bit — featured New York Times U.S. news and world report. I mean, wow, you’ve been busy since the last time we chatted.

Tiffany: Yes, I have.

Jessica: Okay, so catch us up. What’s been going on, and what’s been the most effective, what’s been the most fun, what’s been the hardest? Just spill, spill the tea.

Tiffany: So honestly, it has been really crazy. The law certainly was, it was three years in the making. So. it was one of those things that was quite the marathon. And so now all middle school students in that state of New Jersey must get financial education, which is exciting. Because we already had a law in place in New Jersey for high school students, so that’s awesome.

Jessica: Okay, okay.

Tiffany: I was the first Black woman on the cover of "Money" magazine, by herself. Because they’ve had like families and stuff but like just me, which was awesome. And I don’t even know. Honestly, probably the thing that most… is probably this book, "Get Good with Money," because, I mean, I talk to you about writing this book, and being nervous, and what to expect, and I don’t think it still has sunk in that it’s doing well because I’m still afraid. I’m still like, "Oh, that’s nice. Yeah, so we’ll see." And I’m like, "We’re here now, Tiffany."

Jessica: I don’t think you need to see anymore.

Tiffany: I know, it’s just because, you know, you work so hard and you just… I mean, it could be amazing and it still not do what you hope that it’s going to do.

Jessica: Yeah, it’s true.

Tiffany: And so, I mean, because if hard work guaranteed success, then there would be a lot more successful people. I mean…

Jessica: Yes.

Tiffany: …you know?

Jessica: Yes.

Tiffany: I hate when people act like, "Well, it’s just because you don’t work hard." I’m like, "Yeah, actually, I know a ton of people that work hard." I do believe that, just like I built "The Budgetnista"  during the last recession in 2009 that this was perfect timing. So, that helped significantly because if there is a subject that people want to know more about, post-pandemic, or I don’t even know if you can say post-pandemic, really, just like during pandemic, it’s personal finance. So there was a lift there that I could not create myself, you know? Certainly the last 10 years in building my audience, obviously helped. But yeah, there’s just…

I had “New York Times Best Seller” on my vision board, but it was kind of like later, later, later in life. I wasn’t expecting it for this book, honestly. I just did said… You know, it just didn’t even seem like… It was like, "Well, Tiffany, you know, Book 2, 3, we’ll see, girl. Like, you’re reaching. But we’ll put it on your vision board," you know? So for that to happen… Because if "The New York Times Best Sellers" list is not just books sold, there are people who literally have sold a million copies and their book has not made their list.

Jessica: Oh, I know, because it’s like a weird… It’s not just about sales.

Tiffany: Yes, it’s a weird…

Jessica: No one knows. Nobody knows.

Tiffany: No one knows, exactly. So you don’t know. So how do you work toward something that you don’t really know?

Jessica: There is really no map to get there.

Tiffany: You know, you just do your best and you ask your folks to buy and, you know, you hope that you wrote something good. And I think that, like, aside from hitting that milestone, I just feel really good that what I wrote is like it’s one of the things I wanted to leave behind as a legacy, like a step-by-step guide. You know, it’s a map.

Jessica: Well, it is. It’s like money for… Yes, it’s like, I’m like, "Oh my gosh, this is what I’m going to give my daughter in high school." You know? I mean, it is. It’s very pragmatic and useful.

Tiffany: Yes. And that’s what I wanted. I envisioned that when your kid is graduating high school, or college, or your sister’s like, "I want to buy a house," or, you know, I wanted a book that was a go-to tool that you pull off the shelf when someone is going through some sort of financial transition. But I wanted that it wasn’t just for 21-year-olds. That someone was 41 was also like, "Oh, the second half of the book is super useful because it’s insurance, and estate planning, and net worth, and…" You know, so I just…
“I wanted [to write] a book that was a go-to tool that you pull off the shelf when someone is going through some sort of financial transition.” Tiffany Aliche 

Jessica: Oh, it is comprehensive.

Tiffany: Yes, I really… Because, you know, I used to be a schoolteacher, so I was like, "How do I get all this in here?" Because even my publicist…

Jessica: Yes, you did. I was like, "Wow, this is a Bible for finances." This is no joke.

Tiffany: My publisher was like, "You know you can do this in more than one book." And I was just like, "Yeah, but, you know me. And like you too. It’s like I feel like if I’m going to give I’m giving."

Jessica: You’re just going to give. Let’s just give. Yeah.

Tiffany: Yes. And so that’s what I wanted. I wanted what Tiffany needed when I was struggling. Like I didn’t, you know, need a, "Oh, this is Part 1. No, so it’s just give everything to me now. I need help." You know, so.


Building a Financial Legacy  

Jessica: Absolutely. What have your parents said? Because, I mean, you guys need to go back and listen to the episode I did with Tiff before because it was very autobiographical and just shared a lot about her family history, her parents. But really, this is your parents’ legacy, you know? Like, you being able to write this because they really instilled wisdom in you as a child. I mean, are they just so thrilled?

Tiffany: They are and a little bit shocked because I don’t know if you remember, but I wasn’t the…

Jessica: You weren’t wise for a long time.

Tiffany: And I kind of was like… I’m one of five girls. And I certainly was the, "Oh, Tiffany, again?" Like, literally my mother used to say… So, my Igbo name… my parents are… I’m Nigerian. It’s Adoche. So whenever we were collectively acting up as kids, as you’re apt to do, it was literally Adoche and co., meaning like you are the ringleader. So literally, my mom would like… Every house we lived in always had like a playroom in the basement. So she would hear all the tussle and the fussing. And she would say, "Adoche and co, calm down," you know, like, "What? Why is my name first?" So, they’re, kind of, looking at me like, "Wow." So, I just encourage any parent, if you have yourself an Adoche, you never know.

Jessica: You never know. You know, that’s very encouraging. I’m raising teenagers right now and yes, I mean, that is very… Do you think that it’s taking them a while? Do you think they still see through that Adoche and co lens, or are they seeing you as this successful, you know, guru around finances now?

Tiffany: I mean, I think that they see me as I am now. And quite honestly, if you ask my parents… Because, you know, you as a parent, even though, you know, obviously I was like a little bit of a wild child. But they also saw what I was capable of, which is one of the reasons why they used… my dad especially was really strict like, "No, my expectation is you’re going to get an A," because he was like, "I know you can." Like, maybe I didn’t see myself as capable, but they always saw me as more than capable. And I used to get mad because I’m like, "Well, maybe a B is my best." And he’s like, "No, it’s not your best." I thought they were just being strict, but what they saw was, "You’re capable of excellence if needed." You know, if that was your best… Look, because my dad was really big on whatever is your best.

“Maybe I didn’t see myself as capable, but my parents always saw me as more than capable.” Tiffany Aliche 

And I remember distinctly, like, I studied… it was geometry. I just could not figure it out. And I used to stay after. I would do extra credit. And the teacher gifted me with, like, a C+ because I did not earn a C+ because she was just like, "I don’t know if I’ve seen a student work this hard." And I was so afraid to tell, especially my dad because I knew his expectation, like, were As. And he’d, of course, been in contact with the teacher and he said, "Okay." And I was just like, "Wait, what? I thought you said we had to get As." He said, "No, I said you had to do your best." And so, I think that that’s what they’re seeing now is Tiffany is finally stepping into our expectation of excellence. And what I love best is, like, growing up, my father’s friends used to tease him about having all girls as men are apt to do because you want yourself a boy, you know? And so, after five girls, my mom was like, "I don’t think God’s going to bless us with a boy. I think this is it."

Jessica: This is it, honey.

Tiffany: And so, he said… you know, so one of the things I wanted… because my maiden name is Aliche. And I really wanted that that was the name that was going to be like on my book because I was like, you know, even though my name is different now, I wanted that to be like a legacy, Aliche to be a legacy that lives on. It’s almost like, you know, I’m not your boy, but I can certainly leave a legacy with your name. And so, you know, I just… Because my dad’s almost 80. It’s just, you know, at a certain age you just know every year is a blessing. I recognize that, that, like, he gets to see, "Look, Adoche and co. worked it out. She’s good now. She’s good now."

Jessica: Okay. So a lot of people are passionate about things. But to actually pursue a law, tell me about that.

Tiffany: So, what happened was I used to teach financial education for the United Way. I wrote their curriculum and I used to teach a class once a week. And a woman started taking the class. Her name was Angela. At the time, I forget what she did for a living, but she just was a super volunteer, so much so that the city she lived in in Jersey City, they said, "You should run for office." And so she did. She ran for assemblywoman and she won. And by then, she and I had become friends after her taking my class. And she said, "Tiffany, you know, first thing I want to do is I want to write a law about education. I want to bring, you know, something to the school system that’s missing. What do you think?" She knew I’d been a teacher for 10 years and I had my master’s in education. And I was like, "Honestly, financial education," but I told her, you know, "there’s a law in place for high school, but it really should start earlier." Initially, what we wanted was it was going to start in elementary school. So it was going to be kindergarten through eighth grade. So that’s elementary and middle school. And so she and I sat down together at, like, a local Starbucks and started to, like, map out some of the languaging for what would be a bill, and submitted the bill.

So it always has to… Well, one, you have to try to get, like, external folks on board, like, we have to get other teachers, and superintendents, and “what did you think,” and tweak some of the language based upon what they thought would make sense. And then you submit it to what’s called a committee. And so, because this is an education bill, it goes to the education committee. And they said, "We like it." And then it gets voted on by the house, then the senate of your state. And then it goes to the governor if it passes. So ours went to the governor, that was like a two-year process, but it was his last year in office and he just basically left it on his desk. He didn’t sign it. Which is like a veto by not signing. So it was very frustrating.

So, when we had a new governor, we were like, "Let’s… we have to do the process again," literally submit the bill to committee, the house, and the senate. But this time there was this weird pushback like, "Oh, we think elementary is too young." I’m like, "What? This is the same bill as last year." And so after the pushback, we were like, "You know what? We want it to pass so we took the elementary school part off and just said middle school." And same thing happened, it went through committee, house, senate, everyone voted yes, so both sides of the aisle. Got to the governor and this wasn’t a coincidence because this governor was, like, not only absolutely, "I believe that this bill deserves like a law signing day." And, you know, most bills are signed into law without consequence. You know, you wouldn’t even know. But we got to pick a middle school in the state of New Jersey. And myself, Angela, and then the governor, Governor Murphy, who is currently our governor now, he couldn’t attend. So, he sent our very first ever woman lieutenant governor. And so, it was so awesome to see these three women on stage, right? And like, it was just so awesome. My mom came, my friends came, and the kids got to see you like, "Oh, these three women are making history happen…"

Jessica: Oh my gosh.

Tiffany: "…are turning…" I know. It was honestly just as good…


Five Financial Nuggets of Wisdom 

Jessica: It blows my mind. I mean, you’re just like, you didn’t have to do this, you know, on top of everything else that you’re doing.

Tiffany: You know, what it is? I really wanted… I thought to myself like how different would everyone’s life be if you had… Like my father’s name is Irondi Aliche. Like, meaning that kind of… I grew up learning financial education at home. So as a result, even with the mistakes that I’ve made, I had a foundation to rely back on to say, "Okay, but Tiffany, you do know how to fix it." So, I thought, like I wish, what if every kid could have that experience? And so, it just was awesome. And it didn’t even really hit me that it happened. I mean, of course, I was there, it was great, until one of my neighbors, she’s a friend of mine, Rihanna , she’s got a daughter named Olivia who is in middle school. And Olivia knows I used to be a teacher. So sometimes when I visit her mom, she would ask me to help her with her homework, and she calls me aunt Tiffany. "Aunt Tiffany, can you help me with my homework?" And I said, "Sure." And I was like, "Wait, you’re learning about money in school," because it was finance homework. And I was like, "Wait, you’re learning about money in school!" I couldn’t…

And it, like, clicked, like, wow. You know, what? Olivia is learning about money. Like I did that. I just couldn’t… It was the first time that it hit me like, wow. That it’s not just some thing that’s out there. Like, you know, this child who you care about, her life is going to be different because of this law that you help to get passed. And so, yeah. I’m just really blessed. Honestly, Jessica, like, I’ve learned that when you’re in alignment with what you’ve been created to do, the doors open and you get to be a messenger of the mission that was already in place. Like, I did not create this mission. I’m just here to be a good steward of it. And as long as I stay in alignment, then I get to benefit as a result. But the moment I’m like, "Ooh, I think I’m going to veer off." God is like, "Okay, girl. I’ll see you when you get back."

“I’ve learned that when you’re in alignment with what you’ve been created to do, the doors open and you get to be a messenger of the mission that was already in place.” Tiffany Aliche 

Jessica: See you on the other side of that detour.

Tiffany: Exactly, because someone asked me the other day. They’re like, "Tiffany, I feel like everything you touch turns to gold." I’m like, "Oh, no, girl. I just learn to touch gold." Like, that’s my alignment then. Teaching is my life. As long as I teach and I live a life of service, then yes, I get to benefit as well. But yeah, then I don’t have to worry as much.

Jessica: Wow, that’s a lot of clarity. Okay, what do middle school kids… I mean, what’s sort of your, you know, five things middle school kids need to know?

Tiffany: So one of the things that middle school kids need to know is the flow of money. You know, because kids still… I mean, they know that your wallet or purse doesn’t generate money. But they don’t know really, like, okay, you go to work, but then what happens? So like how is working related to money? So that’s one that I think middle school kids need to learn. Two, I truly believe that, like, giving activates abundance. And so they should start to learn what it looks like to use money as a tool to be of service to others. You know, that, like, it’s not… Money is a tool that, yes, you use it to help make your life better, but also, that not everybody has. So if you’re fortunate enough to have, I really do believe it’s our responsibility to also help those who don’t. So giving.

The third thing that middle school kids should learn about money is how to start to earn it themselves. So, whether that’s chores, or they dogsit, or whatever that looks like, that you have some autonomy. Like, "Wow, I don’t have to wait until I’m an adult to earn money. I can do so in a way that’s age-appropriate." So how to earn.

Jessica: We’re in down in Texas, so, I mean, our kids start babysitting when they’re sixth grade.

Tiffany: Yes, remember, I used to. My mom’s a nurse, so my next-door neighbors had little kids and when I was in sixth and seventh grade, as long as my mom was home, they were like, "Yeah, we’d love for you to babysit. Just call your mom if anything happens."

Jessica: That’s right. That’s right.

Tiffany: Four, what I would say that kids need to learn about money is, honestly, I wouldn’t have thought this before but now with the way the world is going now, to start to understand investing, you know, like the basics. Like, what is it to invest? What is a stock? Especially girls because investing is kind of touted as this thing that’s really hard. And that even if you do figure it out, you’re likely a boy or a man and that it’s going to be too much for you. And so I think investing is a critical component. And then I would say something else is the fifth thing is the foundational component like budgeting, meaning like living below your means.

Even now, my stepdaughter is 14 and she had posted this meme of it was like two stick figures holding hands and one stick figure said me and the other stick figure said Amazon orders. And there was like a little heart between them. And I was like, "Alyssa , this is unfortunately true." This girl is addicted. She does work, like, you know, I give her stuff to do for "The Budgetnista." My sister is a publicist and she works with her. Her uncle is a master painter, so on the weekend, sometimes she helps in. So she makes, like, you know, money on the side like after school and on the weekends. And so, as a result, she just thinks that, like, all the money she makes is meant to be spent. And so we’re getting her to this place where I’m like, "Alyssa, all of this money, you have to start to set some aside." And I could tell she’s like, "Why?"

Jessica: Right.

Tiffany: Yes. So learning how to budget.


Teaching Kids about Money  

Jessica: Well, then there’s that compulsion. My son just turned 12 and he got $75 from his grandparents. And he turned right around, he went and bought some Lululemon shorts. I was like, "Since when did you become all bougie where you needed your own little brand name athleisurewear, son?" But like there that went, boom, you know, out the door. You know, adults are like this too, right? We want that instant satisfaction. But there has to be that time period between when you earn money or when you receive money and then when you make your purchase.

Tiffany: So I’m trying to teach her that. With all money that comes in, there is some for spending, some for giving, and some for saving/investing. Because I know the savings part is, like, boring. Like, the giving part, she can understand that. Because she’s like, "Oh, okay. I do believe that we should help. But saving for what? Like you guys are just going to get the things that I need." You know, so instead now, I’m switching it to investing. I told her, "What if I told you there was a way that you can turn a dollar into two dollars or $10 called investing." And she was just like… I told her like, "If I found an investment class, would you want to take it with me?" She like, "Yes." Because she’s all into making money now. So, I’m going to use that as the tool to get her to save, because saving for saving’s sake doesn’t make sense to a 14-year-old because unless she’s saving for a sneaker and then it’s not really saving, that’s just delayed spending.

“With all money that comes in, there is some for spending, some for giving, and some for saving/investing.” Tiffany Aliche 

Jessica: Right. Thank you for clarifying that.

Tiffany: But saving to invest, I could tell, like, her eyes lit up. Like, I was telling her, for example, we went to go get Crocs the other day and there was a line. Like the mall was fairly empty, but there was a line outside the Crocs store. And I told her, I was like, you know, "Why do you think that is?" She was like, "I don’t know. Everybody…" I mean, all her friends wear Crocs now. And I said, "Well, likely because people are home and they wanted to be more comfortable." And I was like, "When things like that happen, sometimes you can look to see does that brand have a stock." And sure enough, they do have a stock. And she’s like, "And it’s up." So that was already like a lightbulb. And I was like now, I think Crocs right now is like 100 bucks or whatever. And I was like, "That’s the cost of like two and a half Crocks or, you know, around two and some change Crocs. So I’m like, "So, if we purchase some of that stock, now every time one of your friends buys a pair of Crocs, they’re helping to make your company richer because now you own a portion of that company." So I’m trying to change the language in a way that’s not like, "Because I said so."

Jessica: Right, right.

Tiffany: That it’s like, "Ooh, I could…"

Jessica: That’s very empowering language. It’s like, "Oh, I can own a piece of Crocs, sure."

Tiffany: And then that way whenever her friends buy Crocs, it’s like, "Oh, yeah, you know, I own a little bit of that company, like yeah."

Jessica: No, I love that. I’ll tell Jack to do that for Lululemon. I don’t know how their stocks are doing. It’s got to be good because, I mean, we’ve all been wearing athleisurewear.
Okay. "Happy Birthday Mali More." Just one of your other gold touches. So tell us about this book, "Happy Birthday Mali More." 

Tiffany: So, it’s my first children’s book. I used to tell stories to the kids when I was teaching preschool when I couldn’t find the right age-appropriate way to teach a lesson. Because one of the best ways to teach a lesson to a preschooler, or a kindergartner, and even a first grader is through story.

Jessica: Yes.

Tiffany: And so, because, you know, sometimes they have a very… well, adults too, but especially little ones have a very hard time seeing themselves. So you’re like, "Well, if I can teach you a story about a mouse that’s not sharing and that’s why he doesn’t have friends," and they’re like, "Well, that mouse is pretty selfish." I’m like, "Oh, really? Is the mouse selfish? Is the mouse not sharing and that’s why his friends left?" You’re like, "Huh? I wonder what that looks like in real life?" Like, "Oh, is that why Jonathan doesn’t want to play with me?" You know? And so I thought, "Okay, what are some age-appropriate financial education lessons? And how could I put that in story?" And so I wrote "Mali More," because I had already told the story to the children, but I’d never put it down. And it’s just about a little girl who, she’s turning six and at first, she’s excited about the birthday party and people coming over. But as more guests start coming to the door and more start gifts coming, all of a sudden her excitement shifts from the guests to the gifts.

And you see her, like, you see literally her house filling and filling and filling with presents, so much so that people have to go outside. She doesn’t even notice at first until it’s time to blow out her candle. And she realizes, "Wow, there’s not enough space in here. I’m here by myself. What does more truly mean?" And she decides to donate a lot of her gifts to kids in need. Because she doesn’t need all of them. And she realizes that although it’s nice to have stuff, more truly means like family, and friends, and sunshine, and love. And so it’s just a really great fun story. It rhymes because kids love rhyme at that age. And you get a chance to count. It’s very colorful, very multicultural. I wanted kids, no matter, like, what background they were from to be able to see themselves. And so yeah, it’s just a really fun book that I’m really proud of.


Understanding Market Highs and Lows 

Jessica: Okay, so we’re in a series right now called "Decide, Don’t Slide: Living Intentionally as Life Begins to Normalize." And even as we’re tiptoeing out of lockdown, I’m just curious, with your vantage point as a financial guru, what are the financial peaks and valleys that you see approaching as this whole, what I call it’s been like an ice age, begins to sort of thaw and life approaches "normal" again?

Tiffany: So one, I see that the housing market might cool off or even dip. This happened during the last recession. I purchased my house at the peak of the market, not knowing. And as a result, you know, when the recession hit, it self-corrected and my house was not worth what I paid for it. And I’m seeing that now. Like in New Jersey where I live, homes are going for 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 over asking.

Jessica: That’s what’s happening in Austin. It’s crazy.

Tiffany: Yes, you have to ask yourself, honestly, does that actually make sense? Is this house worth $200,000 more than it was two weeks ago?

Jessica: Seriously.

Tiffany: Yeah. And so it’s not guaranteed. Obviously, no one can predict the future, but there is a potential for a course correction. So that home that you purchased actually not really being worth as much as that.

Jessica: Especially when it’s this bloated.

Tiffany: Yes. And so, we shall see, you know, but that’s the thing to worry about.

Jessica: But what would even cause that? I mean, I don’t know much about macro markets and how all of this works. I just know it’s crazy right now. I mean, Austin, companies are moving here. Taxes were very friendly to businesses. So we’ve got Tesla here now, we’ve got Apple, I mean, Amazon is setting up an office here. So that’s a lot of what is driving our prices, but I didn’t know that this was happening in places like New Jersey too.

Tiffany: Well, one, there is a flight of people leaving big, big, big cities. So, in New Jersey…

Jessica: Okay, because of the pandemic.

Tiffany: Yes. Because think, you know, if you lived in New York, supercool, hip place to live until you have to stay inside. And then you’re like…

Jessica: So true.

Tiffany: …"Wait, my apartment is the size of a closet. This is miserable. Like, I don’t want to ever feel like this again. I need more space." And what’s happening especially in New Jersey is Jersey prices are relatively cheap in comparison to New York prices. So we’re even seeing with rent, like, where I live in Newark, normally like high rent was like, "What, you pay $1800, that’s a lot." Now, someone in New York is like, "1800, that’s nothing." You know, but like over here, maybe I’m paying $4000, $5000, which you pay 1800 for. So they’re willing to pay more as a result, that demand is pushing up prices. So that’s what we’re seeing that like if you are living in maybe a state that’s close to a big city.

“Obviously, no one can predict the future, but there is a potential for a course correction.” Tiffany Aliche 

Like people are really fleeing California because it got to be so expensive. So that’s why people are moving to Texas, to Midwest, because they’re just like, "It doesn’t make sense, it’s just too expensive." L.A. is just too expensive. So that’s what you’re seeing is that people who, you know… one, there are people who were wanting to buy during 2020 who couldn’t because of quarantine entering back into the market. And then people who weren’t even thinking about buying, who are like, "I don’t want to go back to small living in whatever city I’m from. I want more space." So now they are looking to buy. So you just see a flood of people coming in and not enough homes on the market.

Jessica: Yeah. We’ve got, Ohio has billboards all over Austin promoting, move to Ohio. So one of my kids the other day was like, "Mom, did you know you could get four times the house in Ohio?" And I was like, "Yeah, and also like 30 times the amount of snow. So there’s that."

Tiffany: Because even my husband and I were thinking, we were like, "Oh, maybe we’ll get like a…" not to move from Jersey but, "maybe we’ll get a house in North Carolina as like a second property," because that’s where his family is from. But yeah, because people are now like, "I want space and…"

Jessica: Space, yeah.

Tiffany: "…yes, clean air and blue skies and…"

Jessica: By the way, if you’re from Ohio, I love you. But I cannot tolerate that weather.

Tiffany: Yeah, no shades, Ohio.


Invest Wisely and Do Your Research 

Jessica: No shade, I’m not throwing shade to you guys. Okay, what’s surprised you or been unexpected in the area of money and people’s relationship to money and wealth during this pandemic era?

Tiffany: What surprised me more than anything is like, the huge uptick in the desire to learn how to invest, which has been awesome. When I say huge uptick, huge, huge uptick.

Jessica: Well, also, the stock market’s going crazy.

Tiffany: Yes, so people don’t wanna miss out.

Jessica: Yeah, people are like, "Well, what is this stock market anyway? Tell me about that."

Tiffany: Which is so crazy because so many people are wanting to invest. Like, "Oh, I want to buy Dogecoin." I’m like, "Oh, so how’s your retirement account doing?" "What retirement account?" I’m like, "Well, you know, like you have to take a shower before you put on perfume."

Jessica: I like that. That’s right.

Tiffany: And so I’m excited that people are wanting to learn how to invest. But also, it makes me a little nervous because people are skipping steps, you know, because it’s almost like they see investing as like this get-rich-quick.

Jessica: Get-rich-quick.

Tiffany: And don’t get me wrong, if you know what you’re doing, you have the potential, yes, to grow some wealth. But typically, what happens is that there’s a transfer of wealth. So everyone’s jumping in to, say, a particular type of investment. And those who are savvy and have done their homework, they will be collecting the money from those who have lost their money. And so, they don’t understand that like you’ll come in, purchase Bitcoin or whatever it is you’re buying, let’s say, but as you lose, someone who is more savvy is actually gaining. And so, that’s what we’re seeing. And so I’d much rather people, you know, instead of jumping in, now is a great time to say, "I’m going to jump into a course. I’m going to jump into a book so I can learn and I…" Because investing doesn’t have to be gambling if you’re taking measured risk. And that’s possible, but most people are just not willing to do the work.

“Investing doesn’t have to be gambling if you’re taking measured risk. And that’s possible, but most people are just not willing to do the work.” Tiffany Aliche 

Jessica: Or taking that long view, you know? Just okay, put money in, but don’t even… it doesn’t exist for the next 20 years.

Tiffany: Or at least five years, at least.

Jessica: Most people are thinking about day trading.

Tiffany: Exactly, and that’s what they’re thinking. Like, which, I know people who make a lot of money in day trading, but, you know, those people literally have studied for 10 years. Like, I know a friend of mine, she’s got 10 million, she’s in her 30s, she’s got $10 million in her bank account because of trading. But, she literally spent all of her 20s, she was 18 or something like that when Apple stock came out. She heard about it and told her grandmother, "I want to buy Apple stock," and neither one of them could figure out how to buy it. And so, she’s like… from then on, she started to study, and take classes, and read books. And so from 18 to, you know, 29, 30, she studied. And so that’s why in her 30s now, she has grown great wealth. But most people are not willing to do that. And I remind people, "Well, that 5, 10, 15 years is going to pass anyway. What if it could pass with you learning a skill set that really could grow you great wealth?"

That’s why I want Alyssa, my stepdaughter to start learning at 14. Because imagine, if she starts to learn at 14, by the time she’s 20, she might be really ready to say, "Okay, you know, with the money I’ve saved up, I can really invest in a way that can set me up that I could be retired at 30."

Jessica: Wow, that’s an amazing gift that you’re giving her, to even start thinking like that.

Tiffany: Yeah. So I wish like, you know, more of us thought like that. Like, just because… And I get it because, I mean, I didn’t… Even when I think of, like, my dad, I’m like, "Oh, man, I wish that he would’ve spent…" He really spent a lot of time with us with the basics, but I wish that like… Because my dad invested, but he didn’t really show us, and I wish he would have, you know, sat us down and said, "Okay, now here’s the next level." You know?


Navigating the Waters of Financial Freedom 

Jessica: Here’s how to multiply. That’s good. Gosh, I mean, I’m thinking, shoot, I need a lesson so I can teach. So this podcast series, "Decide, Don’t Slide," what can you offer our listeners from sliding in an area of financial well-being as we return to life as normal? Because I know for me, like, my spending has just gone down. I mean, eating out, clothes, travel — those were the three things that always drove our budget up. And now we haven’t spent a whole lot of money in those three areas. So what do you feel like are the pitfalls as we come out of pandemic that people might just kind of slide?

Tiffany: So definitely spending is going to go up because, I don’t know, I’m sure everyone’s heard of like the Spanish flu that happened in, like, the 1900s and 1910s and it was very similar to what was happening then, quarantine, pandemic, like, it was very similar to what’s happening now. And then after that happened the Roaring Twenties when everybody was just basically, it was party time. And the reason is because after a time of great restriction, sometimes comes great, like, explosion, meaning like…

Jessica: That’s why diets don’t work.

Tiffany: Exactly, because you’re like, "Restrictions, I’m free."

Jessica: I’m free.

Tiffany: You know, you ever see, like, when… I love the videos on, like, Instagram when a baby is swaddled, and the mom takes off, like, the swaddle, and then their arms pop open like, "I’m free." And so that’s what I’m anticipating happening is that because you’re like, "I can’t wait to get out, I can’t wait to travel, I can’t wait to…" all the things that were denied you, people just cannot wait to jump. So, I do really believe that spending is going to be up almost more so than where it was before because people can’t wait to flex that spending muscle. So to be mindful of that. And not to say, “ Don’t spend and don’t enjoy,” but to set a budget aside for what that’s going to look like. I do think too that, you know, like I said, normally, if someone said, "This house is worth, you know, 200,000," sike , it’s actually now worth 400,000 a week later you would say, "No." But do you see that mindset, like, "No, I’m going to get it, I’m going to get it, because you just never know. I’m going to enjoy now."

“Be mindful. Not to say, ‘Don’t spend and don’t enjoy,’ but to set a budget aside for what that’s going to look like.” Tiffany Aliche 

And so, to be careful of that creep too, that as you’re purchasing things, does this make sense to purchase at a much greater amount than what it was originally worth just a few months ago? So we’re going to see an uptick, I believe, in even spending even more before the market corrects itself. So being mindful there. And we’re going to see, I think, too an uptick in irresponsible investing. I saw something the other day, that someone’s like, "Well, how do I tell my wife that I took 90% of our savings and put in in Dogecoin and now it’s gone?" And I’m just like, my goodness. So, you’re going to see a lot more of that because people are wanting… they don’t want to miss out because they’re hearing that, you know, folks are making millions. And that’s true. There are people who are like, "Oh, you know, I put 100,000 in and I got back 2 million." But do you know when they put it in, how they put it in?

Jessica: Right.

Tiffany: Yes. And also…

Jessica: And, like, the people I know that have invested in bitcoin, they’ve been obsessed with it for about five years now. And, I mean, they know it, they know it, the inwards, outwards, backwards, forwards.

Tiffany: And this is what I would say because years before this financial time that we’re having now, really, especially before 2020, I want you to imagine that, like, 2018, ’19, 2017 that you were literally building your financial boat. You picked the tree that you wanted, you chopped the tree down, you hollowed out the middle of the tree, you put waterproofing on it, choose your color. And then in 2020, you were asked to put this boat, your financial boat that you built in the middle of the ocean. And it was like, "Let’s see," you’re like, "Wait, what? I don’t…" And so very quickly you got to see like, "Oh my gosh, my boat leans too far to the left. There is too much in my boat. You know, I didn’t put enough waterproofing in my boat." You got to really see, where did you stand financially. And if you were fortunate, you somehow got to shore with your little boat. And now you’re clear on where your boat needs work. And so that’s what I’m wanting, that, like, 2020 caught us all a little bit off guard that we were forced to like… like, my dad would call baptismal fire. You know? So now you’re here. You’re in 2021 and you’re just like, "Okay."

Like, for me, the boat in 2008, ’09, ’10, that was another time when we had to put our boat in the water and I sunk like a stone. I was like, "Oh, I am not prepared at all." Somehow I got to shore, but I built my boat based upon what I knew what was wrong then. I’m like, "You didn’t have enough savings. The way you purchased your house was wrong." You know, like all of these things. So when this time came around, my boat was in the water. I’m like, "Oh, not only did it float, it moved, it was great." But I realized it didn’t move fast enough, something that I wish I would have spent more time in the last 10 years really… Like, I know how to do basic investing, but I had not really taken myself to the next level with my investing knowledge. So guess what? Now that my boat’s out of the water, guess what I’m doing now? I’m taking investing classes with Alyssa. Because I understand now where my boat could’ve done better.

So, that’s really what you’re called to do now. Take your boat out of the water, and ask yourself, "Where did I find fault in this boat? What did I need to do? Am I not budgeting well enough? Am I overspending? Am I not saving enough? Do I not have enough knowledge about investing? Am I in the wrong industry for work?" A lot of people found that out. And so, you know, it’s the reason, honestly, why I wrote "Get Good with Money" because I wanted to give you this step-by-step guide that no matter where your areas of fault were, that that book, you know, it’s these 10 steps to something I call financial wholeness, which is really the fundamentals of the rest of your financial life, that you would have the tools that you needed to fix your boat so you could be ready for the next time this comes around.

Because money, like weather, is cyclical. We will be back here in some way, shape, or form, just like we were in 2009, I promise you. It might be 2 years, 10 years, 15, but we’ll be back here. But will your boat be ready?

Jessica: I love how clear Tiffany is about her purpose. That her purpose is to serve others, and when she’s in alignment with that, she has energy, she has opportunity. That actually really spoke to me just as much as her wisdom on money — I don’t know about you, but I am wanting to learn about the stock market a little bit more, now.

But what I’m left with as we wrap up this conversation is lean into financial education and use a budget to Decide and Not Slide on yourself as we get back into life as we know it.
For more on Tiffany, you can visit thebudgetnista.com . I’ve hopped over to her Facebook group and talked to them. It is a great group of people if you want to join that group.

Alright, I will see you back here next week!

Our wonderful music for today’s show is by my good friend Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz. And I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.