A hearty welcome to “Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom” with your neighborly hosts, Brandon and Amanda Neely. This is the only podcast that helps you take charge of your cash flow and leverage your assets, simply and sustainably, the way Grandma used to.
Amanda: Hi, it’s Amanda Neely and welcome to Grandma's Wealth Wisdom, where we help you break through to a smart, stable financial feature with the tried and true wisdom Grandma used.
Today is episode number 63, where Brandon interviews Megan about her story over the last couple of years and the different financial changes she made. I love how she shares that you actually have a lot of options and you just need someone to help walk through those options with you.
Please join me in welcoming Brandon and Megan to share that story. [01:01.2]
Brandon: Hey, Megan. Welcome to the channel. Welcome to our podcast, and I'm really excited to have you on. We've been knowing each other, I think it's been about a year, maybe a year and a half, and so I'm really excited to really dive into your story, the amazing stuff that you're doing. First off, how are you? How are things right now?
Megan: First, let me say thank you for having me, Brandon. It's an honor to be here, so thank you. Things are really good. Things are great and I know you've walked with me through a lot of that. I will get into this, but I was in a job and I needed to leave, and it was hard to stay and just I needed to leave the nine to five and you helped me get out of it.
We're kind of living on the other side of that now. Our family is doing really well. We're thriving and I'm so grateful. Unfortunately, as a result of COVID, a fortunate blessing in all that is we've been able to spend a lot more time together, so it's been really [sound dropped], so things are really good. Thanks for asking. [02:02.8]
Brandon: You mean you were at a job that you didn't like, wanting to step into something and COVID happened. I remember whenever you were…it was about a year or so that your job was just not a life-giving thing. How were those feelings? What were you feeling? Why did you say, I need to do something else? What was the driving force for you?
Megan: I had been there 16 years with the same company, great company, great people. In fact, a lot of those people are lifelong friends of mine that are still in touch, so nothing bad to say there. It was just working for someone else and with different… That company's goals and belief systems didn't necessarily align with mine. I was looking for more meaning and more purpose and more passion in what I do. But besides that, too, the dynamic on the team had shifted a little and kind of the environment had become a little toxic. [03:01.7]
You’ve got this one life and you have this family, and I just was so drained of energy when I got home, just trying to solve for all the things and the emotions and the energy stock that it had become, and I just knew that that's not what… Faith is a big part of my life. I knew it wasn't my calling. When you're not working in your calling, I think it can be tremendously draining and that's where it got. It was getting to where I didn't want to leave there hating everybody and everything there, because they didn’t deserve that. They were great. These are people I love.
So, I knew I needed to step away from that and really follow what I'm truly passionate about, what I knew in my heart the Lord was calling me to and to create more space for my family. I had worked all through my children's…both. I have two bio kids and one foster daughter, and so with both pregnancies, I only took six weeks off and went right back to work, partially because financially we needed to make that happen that way, but also because the work was there and I needed to get back to it. After all that, my son is eight. That's my oldest child. I've missed a lot. [04:09.1]
I don't regret and I can't say I regret things. They played out the way that they needed to, but now, in this season, I'm so grateful that God had aligned opportunities for me to be able to kind of take that time for my family.
Brandon: Yeah. Has it been easy where you’ve left that job and then you started your entrepreneur endeavor? Has it been a bed of roses?
Megan: Absolutely not. I started selling on Amazon in Q4 of 2018 while I was still employed. I left my job in March 2020, and as you know, Brandon, but, of course, our audience doesn't know this, I left when I had not yet made my goal of supplementing my income by at least half of what I used to make. I was making six figures at this job. I was nowhere close to that and part of that was that I didn't have the time to build the business while I was working this job that was draining all my time, and I really didn't know that there were any other options. [05:10.9]
I have a 401(k). I had a 401(k) and I thought you can't access that money. There's no way they'll penalize you and there'll be nothing left. In the course of…I'm involved with the Cockrum community, the Proven Amazon Course, the PAC team, so in those circles, I started hearing about other options that there are ways to access your 401(k) and really bank on yourself in that method, and I was intrigued and I thought, Could this be [s scam]? Is this a scam? All those things go through your mind.
But, anyway, in getting to know the team and then finding you and getting to know my options, I was thankfully able to make the switch, the transition into being self-employed. Of course, it was not a bed of roses, as you mentioned, but you know what? I was so happy for all of those growing pains. [06:01.8]
I was so ready and I know there's a lot of people today that are so ready to step away from something that is not their own or they work for someone else their whole lives and you have got this nine to five, just the proverbial rat race. I wanted to get out of it. So, it wasn't a bed of roses, but I welcomed all of those issues and things I had to solve for because they were mine and I was grateful, really, really happy for that.
Brandon: Through that whole thing, I mean, we met when you were like, Hey, I need to, I want to leave my job. I want to do this. What attracted you to working with us as opposed to other people? What was it that you said, Wow, those guys are great, or what was not so great about it?
Megan: Brandon, you're going to laugh because when I found the group, like I said, PAC, the Proven Amazon Course, Jim Cockrum’s group, I got to know them and a lot of them are believers and they do this for the same reasons I do, to create more time and space for your family. [07:01.3]
So, when I discovered that there were options with your 401(k), you didn't have to stay in a job, day job, to make this thing work, your name was mentioned a couple of times, along with other names. I'm not certain why I called you first because there were other names, one other name, and maybe something attracted me to your name. Okay, let me call Brandon Neely. I think Amanda's name was in there with it. Maybe that's what it was. I was like, Oh, good., it’s husband and wife.
Still, when I called you, it was surreal because you had time for me, and then you kept calling me back and following up, and you would take the time to talk and conversate and ask me about, How’s life? How's your family? and it was not how I'm used to doing business, if you will. I'm not [saying that] people in the corporate world are rude, but no one really cares about my home life. I was waiting for the catch. Why does this guy need to know all of this? Does he care really about how I'm doing? I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. [08:09.7]
I don't know what I was waiting for, but, anyway, in getting to know you, I started to discover that truly your passion is to help people and that shows in the way you do business, but I was just a little skeptical because that's not how most people do business. So, I was for while they're waiting for like, Okay, they're going to ask me for money or, I don't know, he's going to have some really expensive commission that I’ve got to pay, no offense, but this should be a testament to how grateful I am that that's not what it was.
So, what attracted me to working with you guys, your personality alone, the fact that you do truly want to just help people and you see how many people are misinformed about what their options are financially, and when I got to know that about you, I realized, There's not a catch. He's literally spending the time with me because he cares. That's mind-blowing. I'm not saying there aren't people out there. That's not common. Most of it is tied to a check and “I'm billing you for these hours, just so you know,” that kind of thing. [09:07.1]
Anyway, I love that, and I got to know you and Amanda a little better and I really started to understand that I could trust you guys with my finances.
Brandon: That's really good to hear, so I'm encouraged.
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Brandon: And you mentioned why you decided to work with us over the competitors is I guess, I mean, hopefully, we’re good listeners.
Megan: You are. [10:01.0]
Brandon: How did we meet your expectations in this?
Megan: I think you exceeded [them]. I know you exceeded my expectations. One, like I said, you spent so much time with me, just really investing in educating me and helping walk me through what the multiple options were. When we were assessing my financial situation so we could understand truly what all my options were, you were even in areas that don't necessarily relate to how you are able to monetize your business, you were also able to advise me, you were willing to, on what you would do in these scenarios.
So, just it was a whole well-rounded perspective. I appreciated your financial advice, even in the areas that you weren't going to manage for me, so that was, for one, for sure, appealing to me, but that's what I mean by exceeding my expectations.
If I ever need a question answered, literally I've been able to text you or call you and you get right back to me. Either you're answering the phone right away or you're otherwise engaged and you get right back to me, so having someone who is able to financially advise you at the willingness that you're able to reply to me, that's invaluable. It's insane that you have that capacity and I'm grateful. [11:11.8]
So, that's how the expectation would be this and then you guys have exceeded it by being just so responsive and so willing to just kind of take the time to help me understand finances are very... A lot of people are put off by it because it can be intimidating to understand that, and you and Amanda, Amanda specifically has this ability to really clarify and put in very simple terms very complex financial concepts, so that, for sure, was very beneficial in that whole process as I was learning what all my options are, but, again, the time you’ve invested in me was for me the most valuable.
Brandon: And you went through this masterclass that she has worked really hard at. Could you tell us what that masterclass has done for you or what you've gotten from it? Again, I'm just sharing out, Amanda is really good at bringing it down because I guess I'm not that smart—she is—and making it easy for me to understand, so if you can do that. [12:11.3]
But what have you gotten out of that master class and why do you think other people should even consider going through that program?
Megan: It was profound. Like I said, she has the ability to take really complex financial concepts, break them down into steps, literal steps and not even steps that are complicated to accomplish within 10 to 15 minutes you were done with your assignment for the day, so that's the power there.
It’s that it takes this really daunting task and makes it these simple, super simple steps, and with your sheets that you've created already, all you have to do is fill it in and it wasn't that difficult to achieve this end product where you have this balance sheet of your life at the end of the day, how you're doing financially month to month, and the concept of saving and moving from 2 to 3%, inching your way up to maybe 10% at some time, at some point. [13:05.1]
The power in that course, and I know she invested so much time in it, you can tell because of the material and just the content is so rich. I love, though, that, although it's rich content, it is not intimidating by any means and it was seamless to get through it. I'm not a finance person and math was not my strong suit. I'm very, at most, if you can't tell, I like to talk. English was more my thing, and she for someone like me was so easy to follow.
So, I love that I have this end product that this worksheet, multiple worksheets that she put together for the course that I'm able to kind of plug in the numbers for the month and literally see how I'm doing. And I'm not a finance expert, clearly, not even close, but the tools that she provides in the course, that's something everyone should be doing regularly, and she taught me that.
You guys taught me that in that course, and now, as a result of the course, also I have a savings plan for my business, as well as my personal finances, so now I have an automatic. Every time a deposit hits my account in either one, business and personal, a portion of it or a percentage goes to savings, so I'm going to keep inching that up like the course teaches and it's been great. I love it. [14:15.4]
And not to belabor the point, that touches on exactly why I was easily able to trust you guys with my financial situation. You guys care about that, the personal side of your finances, which really, like you said, account for, if you're stressed in your personal life, your business is going to suffer as well. That's my point that you guys do this well-rounded whole balanced experience. Working with you guys has been touching on all facets of my life, which clearly they all are connected, so you can't just address one side.
But then, the other thing I wanted to say, I went to business school. I have an MBA and I didn't learn from that. What that course teaches you, just isolate the important, super simplify it, not to the point of not being able to cover all of what we have to manage, but anyway, I was grateful because the tools I learned from school, I would not compare them to what this course offers. The course makes it super tangible to get there and, unfortunately, business school didn't do that for me, but anyway. [15:14.5]
Brandon: I forgot that you went to business school—and you probably paid how much for business school?
Megan: It's painful to say this, Brandon. I owe 33,000 still on my MBA loan, but it looks great on paper for employers, but, again, if you're not interested in looking good on paper for employers, go do this course. It's way more affordable and it literally benefits you way more. You'll walk away with a lot more.
Brandon: Let’s say, if you hadn't worked with us, what do you think life would be like?
Megan: Oh man, so honestly, I don't know that I'd still be at that job. It was getting pretty toxic there at the end. Unfortunately, though, I think that I would either still be there because I still wouldn't know what my options are—I think the 401(k) is just tucked away and not accessible to me—or I would have left there for something similar, just jumping from one situation just to another, back in that rat race and back in that track again. [16:15.1]
And without any options because I wouldn't have known that I had financially other options, so I would have just been looking for the next paycheck. Again, I don't want to speak ill. The place was not a bad place. It's working for someone else and, at the end of the day, if you wanted to get away from that, I didn't know that was an option, and so if I hadn't found you guys, I would still be in that track, in that rat race.
Brandon: Would you like to leave people with? If you were to say anything, partying words, what would you leave people with and say, This is where I want to do the mic drop?
Megan: Because it was my own journey and my own story, part of my story was not knowing there were options. Part of my financial history includes a bankruptcy, a foreclosure on a home. I was married before and it was a rough situation. He was in deep IRS debt and I was not aware of it, did the married filing jointly thing and didn't know what that meant that I was liable for his debt. I didn't understand that. [17:17.0]
It was painful, but dug myself out of that, took years, but I'm on this other side of it and I'm in a great marriage now and with my kids and we just have a really good life, I've been so blessed, and I think that had I been able to talk to my younger self, I would at least say to myself that you have options. We just get in this. If you work in corporate, in a corporate structure, you think that the 401(k) is…and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but there are other things you can do with your money to invest in it that you can access before you have to retire. Not knowing that, I would have still been in this rat race, pretty depressed. I don't want to speak lightly of depression either. [18:00.0]
I was not clinically depressed, but I was pulling my hair out, coming home tired and thinking, There’s got to be a different way. My family suffered for it. I was never home early enough to get everything done in a day, and then weekends were so short and I'd be so sad on Sunday nights. It just was awful.
I think really more than anything, if I could have spoken to my younger self or anyone out there that is in that cycle, there are so many options outside of what they tell you is available to you like a 401(k), not that that's a bad thing. There are so many other things you could do with your money that will work for you today and that will give you more freedom, and more time in your day and more access to your family than what the corporate structure has taught you to believe.
Brandon: One thing I remember, and we can go there and not, but I remember I think you were on the Dave Ramsey Show, if I remember.
Megan: Yeah. I had done the Dave Ramsey process all the way through and he was a personal connection. A cousin of mine and his wife worked as his personal assistant. [19:02.7]
When I got debt-free and this is sadly I was in that first marriage and I found out he had IRS debt because I had a certified letter delivered to me. It's a long story. Anyway, we climbed out of that debt that first time and I got to shout, “I'm debt free. I did all that.” Then, unfortunately, after that, we were back in debt because my husband was holding out on me, not saying everything, not telling me everything. He’s a recording artist and you're supposed to quarterly pay your taxes as a self-employed person and he wasn't doing it, racking it up really quickly. I walked away with more than 100,000 in IRS debt.
I was a huge fan, still am, a huge respecter, and I respect a lot of what Dave Ramsey educates people on, but I also think he has a very specific… The very average American, or consumer, I should say, could really benefit from all of the really sound foundational practices that he teaches. I'm not an opponent of anything he says. I'm a huge advocate, still a huge fan. [20:10.1]
But for the more advanced, if you will—I don't want to offend anyone, I'm sorry—if you're ready for that next step, there is a way to get your money to work for you also. I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, but I also know that now there are other options besides just paying off your debt and then not ever using credit again. I think you can use credit to your advantage. You have to be smart about it and you have to be educated. And I wasn't saying I'm smarter than everyone. I got my education. I went and found you and Amanda, good financial advisors that will help you walk through those kinds of things.
Brandon: Cool. Thanks for jumping on here. This was a lot of fun and I'm really excited for your journey, not just in your business, but what's happening personally and your family and where you're going to go from here. I mean, this is just the beginning and I'm really, really excited to see where this is going to lead you. [21:08.3]
Yeah, thanks for joining Grandma's Wealth Wisdom and the new financially Independent Female Entrepreneur Podcast that is coming out eventually.
Megan: I'm really excited for that. That is fierce and I know Amanda's just the person to do it, so I'm so excited. Thank you for having me because you guys have been amazing and I'm just honored to be here. This was fun.
Brandon: Cool. I'm going to talk to you next time and I'm looking forward to the journey.
Megan: Me too. Thanks.
Amanda: And thank you for listening to the Grandma's Wealth Wisdom podcast. Hope you got a lot out of today's interview. We’ve got a great final interview to wrap up our season of interviews coming up next, so be sure you hit “Subscribe” so you don't miss that episode, as well as the awesome content we have coming after that as we get into the fall. [22:05.0]
Until next time, keep building your wealth, simply and sustainably, so you can break through to a smart, stable, financial future.
The topics presented in this podcast are for general information only and not for the purposes of providing legal, accounting or investment advice. On such matters, please consult a professional who knows your specific situation.
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