Shannon McLay truly recognizes the importance of financial literacy as well as the need to make it accessible to everyone. In our discussion with Shannon, she explains the need to understand your spending habits in order to save and offers tips for creating a budget.
Q: What is your current position/role and when did you first develop an interest in finance?
A: I am currently the Founder & CEO of The Financial Gym which is a company dedicated to promoting financial literacy and financial wellness for the masses. I developed my love of personal finance while working as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. At this point, I had a 10 year career in finance and a degree in business, yet I realized I didn’t feel confident with my personal finances.
Q: What challenges have you faced with personal finance?
A: The biggest challenge I faced, and most Americans face with personal finance, was a lack of financial literacy.
We’re all expected to make, spend, save and manage our money, yet most of us never receive an education on it.
It’s like telling someone they have to live in Greece, and never teaching them Greek. I made financial decisions, but not from a point of being fully educated on the choices I was making; and I realized in my 30’s that if I had that education in my 20’s, my financial picture would have looked dramatically better.
Q: If you could give advice to your 18 year old self about managing your money, what would you tell yourself and why?
A: The key to long term financial health is developing a saving mindset from an early age. Constantly saving throughout your adult years is like constantly working out, the short and long term benefits are life changing.
Q: What is your top tip for budgeting?
A: Remember that budgets are like diets, most people don’t want to be on one, but just like there are a number of ways to diet, there are a number of ways to budget, you just need to find the right one for you.
Before you start the budgeting process, determine what your one or two non-negotiable spending areas are (i.e. travel, health and wellness, fur baby, etc) and prioritize spending on these and know that everything else should be negotiable.
When you spend on the areas you love, you don’t feel like you’re missing out so much on the other areas.
Interested in learning more about budgeting? Click here to book a free workshop with us!
Q: What do you think is the most critical step to ensuring financial independence?
A: Understanding how much you spend and how much you need to live a life of meaning. The lower your monthly spending requirement, the quicker you can declare financial independence.
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