352: How Side Hustling Nurse Naseema McElroy Paid Off $1M in Debt

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352: How Side Hustling Nurse Naseema McElroy Paid Off $1M in Debt

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This week in the guest chair we have Naseema McElroy, author and the founder of Financially Intentional, a platform about personal finance and living life intentionally. Starting with just under one million dollars in debt, Naseema taught herself financial literacy, paid off her debt, and started side hustling as a consultant teaching others to do the same. 

In this episode she shares:

  • How she created an intentional budget that didn’t leave her in a place of lack
  • Why she believes everyone can take control of their finances, and how to actually do it
  • The different income streams and resources she uses to stay financially free, and much more!

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Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:00

Tech is hosted by our desio swinside. Hey and Michael Berhane is brought to you by the hotspot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Now this is a podcast by two Millennials talking about all things tech pop culture and life. I recently checked out their AI special episode where they talked about if check GBT as a job killer predictions and so much more. And like all of us I'm still learning how to best leverage AI so I found this episode really enlightening, and I think you might too, so listen to tech ash wherever you get your podcast. You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews. Okome. So let's get started.

Hey, friends, welcome welcome back to today's episode. It's Nicaila here, back with another episode with an awesome guest. Today I'm delighted to bring in someone who actually know in real life, that's not always the case. But I've had the pleasure of knowing Naseema now for over four years. And she is just awesome. And today's episode took so many different turns because there's so much that we can talk about right she's a podcaster. She's actually a podcast moguls mom. She's also a nurse, and she's a full time side Hustler, she continues to be able to nurse and she's built her own platform, which we'll hear about in the episode. So let me go ahead and read her official bio, so you can learn more about her before we jump into the episode. So Naseema is a published author and the founder of financially intentional, a platform about personal finance and living life intentionally. Let's see, Emma discusses how taking control of her finances has enabled her to overcome bankruptcy, divorce, and break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. She shares her lessons along her path to help others benefit from the freedoms of financial independence, outside of encouraging people to get their financial act together. Nasima is a mother, labor and delivery nurse and so much more. Though making six figures for years, she actually struggled with money. And I'm sure so many of us can relate to that, right. Finally, she realized that she couldn't out earn her financial ignorance, she knew she had to make changes. And by shifting her mindset around money, being consistent and intentional, she has paid off nearly 1 million in debt, and grew a six figure net worth in three years without living in deprivation. So I thought this episode would be really helpful for those of us we're trying to balance so much, and want to make sure that we are setting a good financial foundation for ourselves in the midst of working in the midst of side hustling, and so much more. So pull out your notebooks, pull out your iPhone notes, whatever it is, and let's jump right into this episode. All right, all right. Well, welcome. Welcome to the guest, Tennessee man, I'm so happy to have you here at last.

Naseema McElroy 3:10

Oh my god, I'm so excited to be here. Nicaila Like for real, bro.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:15

You know, I'm excited. And we were talking about this before in the pre show. I really thought and see what was in the guest here you guys. I really was just tripping like we Where's her episode? Why? Why can I find them to see my episodes. So this is long overdue, because you are someone who I admire at follow I consume your content I learn from and I want everyone in the Sahel sopro land to know about you if they don't already. So for I've already read your bio, but in your own words, how would you describe what you currently do?

Naseema McElroy 3:48

You know what, like right now? Please say, I'm just a black woman out here, out here trying to survive and maybe like I've just day to day with this like 100 because that's the only way I know how to be if you ever, like know if you know me in real life, you know, I'm just real. I'm from West Oakland. lived a life and right now I'm just in a season of, you know, going entering into being a third time girl mom, and exactly like a just really leaning into what I need to do in the moment. And in the moment right now, it's all about preparing for baby number three. But being blessed in the fact that I've set some things in place for the last couple of years that has put me in a position where I can just do what I want to do when I want to do it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:49

Absolutely. I love that. I love that. That's what we strive for here. So tell us now, when did you get into nursing? Why did that become your initial career path?

Naseema McElroy 5:00

Actually, it was my second career. So it is hecka funny when I tell you this story Nicaila You're gonna crack up. So I'm always wanted to be in healthcare, I grew up with a single dad, which is very rare, right. But we are always on this cusp of like, having too much money to like qualify for like, welfare programs or anything but like, not having enough to like, get by really. So we were always like in struggle mode. And when I was growing up in the 80s, and 90s, I had asthma really, really bad. My dad didn't believe in western medicine. So he waited till the very last minute. So I grew up going to Chinatown and doing herbal stuff. But he was waiting to the last minute and to my asthma exacerbations were really, really bad to take me to a community clinic, where then we would have to wait for hours and hours and hours and hours to get medication, which if you can't breathe,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:57

I have asthma too. So I'm already just like, Look, I know exactly how you feel. I know exactly how that feels.

Naseema McElroy 6:04

Exactly. And so like, I just saw how broken the system was. And I wanted to be a part of that. And as a kid, you don't know all the ranges of options of health care. And so I wanted to be a pediatrician because I was like, okay, a kid's doctor can fix this, right. And so I went into USC, I went to University of Southern California, and I started taking my pre med classes. And then I actually learned what doctors did. And they'll say to doctors, but I really wanted to affect the whole healthcare system and how, you know, and enable more access to people who had limited access. And so I was like, that's not really what doctors do. And I'm really not feeling this organic chemistry course catalog and see what I could do. And I ended up landing in healthcare administration, got a Master's in Health Care Administration, and then, you know, saw the bureaucracy behind the health care system and learned all these things, and I wasn't really effecting change. But what happened was, I was working with nurses that have so much autonomy, and they they were really there with the patients and I was like, that's what I want to do. And they have so much autonomy I was like, You know what, I'm saying oh, I'm about to get my nursing degree moved to Dubai. Be a prince Okay, listen, I'm not gonna be like apprentice fourth wives because I feel like the first and second wives have lot obligation. Do I have to have like one baby, but you don't really got to do nothing. I can have a driver chauffeur and stuff. And I can still be a nurse and have all this. Audits

I had a baby working as a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area, where we make more money than most nurses in the world in so like for me to travel to even internationally. It didn't make financial sense. Then had a baby and kind of settled down and got into this life. So stayed here. You know, this is my home. My family is here kind of got comfortable. But love. So yeah, so my second career, that's how that we really loved it. And I wish I was started as a nurse. Like, I tell anybody be a nurse. Yeah,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:28

be a nurse. Listen, you need to talk to my mom because she. So I'm one of three daughters and one son fun fact. And she is a nurse and she just tried her hardest to make one of us. And she was like, it's funny. She was like guarantee work. All y'all were considering a second career first career look into nursing. Now you talk a lot about your journey of paying off $1 million in debt. And every time I listen to this, and see that headline, I'm like, Please break this down for me. Like how did that amount of debt come to me? You know, what's

Naseema McElroy 9:10

crazy Nicaila is that as I was going on this journey of paying off debt, I didn't add up in the back end like how much I paid off until I was applying to go to my leaks retreat.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:22

And that's where we met for the first time. I can't believe it's been four years.

Naseema McElroy 9:28

Oh, it's been a long time. But this is where the first retreat because I went to both of them. Oh, sit it down. And I was like, let me just talk about like my journey a little bit. Let me add up these numbers. And that's when I had finished paying off everything including my house and I'll break down what the million dollars in debt was. But I was like, Oh, this is damn near million dollars. It's about to be a hitter headline. Without like, looking like I'm really doing something out here but how Oh, it really started was, you know, I was a single mom, I knew I was gonna be a single mom. But a year like when my daughter was turning a year old, I had been making really good money. As a nurse, I had two jobs. I had like a part time benefited job and then a full time, like, and then like a per diem kind of job. So I was making, like, over $200,000 a year, and I've always been that person Nicaila That everybody thought made it because I always know how to make money. So I was Instagram poppin. You know, I had a brand new house, I have luxury car. You know, I'm out here doing it. But I know, like, I'm broke. Like, I had 36 windows in my house. And I had to ask my sister for some money. And I was blind. Yeah, I was just like, this don't make no sense. Like, I made too much money to be broke. But then I always thought, like, in order to understand finances, you really need to like study finances, like PhD level study. And because I thought, you know, learning about money was like learning how to tray. And like being on the stock market floor like Trading Places. Right, right. Right. It really wasn't about that. It's really about being intentional about what's coming in and going out. But who taught me that nobody taught me him. Everybody was always like, you know, do what you need to do, by any means necessary, go to the best school, get that job, whatever. And so, for everybody, it seemed like I had it together. But I knew in my heart, I didn't. And so I was like, Hey, let's even like you for the first time you're alive, you're not in school. So sit down and actually start learning about finances. And the way that I learned about finances was like, I changed my social media to only follow accounts, like debt, free accounts and things that would inspire me. I listen to personal finance podcast, I read a ton of personal finance books. But not only did I do that, I took action every day, to make sure I was doing something small. To change the way I looked at money. And the biggest things that I learned how to do was to learn how to actually budget in advance, like tell my money, where to go in advance, because before, I couldn't tell you what I spend my money, like, I don't know how I was so broke, you know, so I learned how to tell my money what to do in advance, and then I created the system to strategically pay off my debt. Because you know, what most of us do is we pay all our bills. And then sometimes if we have something left over at the end of the month, we'll put a little bit something towards that thing, and usually a sporadic it's like, whatever that thing that catch I learned

Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:45

never works out because like, you'll always find some your money will always find something to do with itself. So it comes out the leftover for your savings. That's not a good plan.

Naseema McElroy 12:57

Exactly. So I went from, you know, basically having no savings to being able to pay off like $49,000 a month in debt. Wow, just because I had a plan. Before you tell us that what did the debt consists of? So the debt consisted of just your normal things. So it was a loan to put a down payment on a house. So I borrowed against my 403 B to put a down payment on my house. It was a car because I live in the suburbs now and I drive an hour. So I needed a commuter car on top of my regular car. And then it was just like little small things. And in this process, I'll tell you, I got married and got divorced divorce. So it was his debts too, because I focused on a debt snowball system. So it was the smallest debts to the largest debts and most of it, and then I had $187,000 in student loans. Because when I decided to become a nurse, leave Healthcare Administration to be a nurse. Yeah, I went back to school. And that was the majority of my loans because for six years for undergrad and grad I had like $40,000. But the way that I went to nursing school, I had a lot of debt. So it was almost $200,000 in student loan debt. So I put that all in a debt snowball. He had little debts, collections, cars, those things. And then I had like my little debts plus my student loans, which made up the majority of the debt. And so just working through debt by debt, and the way that the debt snowball works is you focus intentionally on one debt. And if you're really honed in on to one goal, and then you meet that goal, it really gives you momentum to go on to the next thing and the Debt Snowball really works because it works on emotion. So the whole premise is we don't mass our way into debt. We get into debt based on emotions, and that's the way that we have to get out of debt. And so I would knock out like focused on every single dollar towards one debt while paying the minimum balances on everything else. Once that debt was knocked out. Then you go to the next step and you have now that minimum payment that you used to pay on that, to put doors this debt. So you pay it off faster and faster and faster. And it all snowballs. Well, like I said, I got married, went through a divorce. And like by the end of life, me paying off debt. Two things really big things happen. Of course, I went through a divorce. And because of the way that I had to file, I ended up owing the IRS $30,000. And because I was the breadwinner in the marriage, and I live in California, which is can property state, even though the reason why I got a divorce because I had an abusive husband that was actually in jail for him for abusing me, I still had to pay him. So at the end, I had about $20,000 left of student loan debt. I had like the IRS debt, and I had his debt that I had to pay to him. So it was about $50,000 worth of debt, I decided to sell my house because I relocated somewhere else. And so that was about $500,000 left the debt and so all of that added up to 978,000, something nearly a million dollars.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:08

Whoa, whoa, whoa, I don't mean yeah, like, quickly, if you, you know, sometimes we hype up what a million is, right? A million is an equation, you know. And if you have one loan for 200,000, you have a house loan, you know, mortgage for this amount, like multiple six figure debts, and boom, there you got it. So it's not as it's not as crazy as it sounds, but that's why I want to break it down. Because sometimes, like, oh, that will never happen to me. So how did you get the extra to pay that off was that through side hustling or just cutting back?

Naseema McElroy 16:44

It was really about being intentional. And that's why my platform is called financially intentional, because actually through this process, like I said, it was stuff going down in my life, obviously, you know, like, so I was working my two jobs, but I still had to navigate between getting married, having a husband then not having husbands. So not having the support there. And a whole bunch of things. So I actually did not work more. I did not have a side hustle. I literally, yeah, yeah, at that time, I literally just had to hone in on my goals in just zero based budgeting, I'm telling you, just zero based budgeting and intentionally setting a plan towards my debt. So when I created my budget, my debt goal was always at the top, that was the thing that I always wanted to hit first and I adjusted my budget around that. And that made all the difference for me to be able to pay off my debt really fast, and it wasn't any extra income. So a lot of times what you need to do is increase the gap between your spending and your earning the gap. All I did was was widen that gap by being intentional on how I spent my money. And so no, I did not earn more at that point. And I did not actually start documenting this journey and start on my side hustle until my journey was almost over.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:05

Okay, I think this is so inspiring too, because you you know, you guys listening, you may not have a million in debt, but there may be student loan debt or even any amount of debt that's holding you back from doing certain things. You might think once I pay this off, then I'll invest in my side hustle. Or once I do this, then I'll take this trip that I've always wanted to. And I think your story shows that yes, you can focus on this and there is light at the end of the tunnel. And you'll be able to start working on these dreams.

I'm not thankfully, in any debt, I paid off my student loans a few years ago, me and my husband both paid off our student loans. And now I'm just trying to optimize what I do with my money. What I told my money to do. I know many of us might be in that situation. So when you did start financially intentional, how did you go about it? And what was your goal then, once you quit an official side hustle.

Naseema McElroy 19:11

So this side hustle was very unintentional. So what was once I was going on this journey of like really understanding finances for the first time in my life. Like I said, Everybody thought I had it figured out, but I hadn't. I was having like a summer party. So I have a group of friends. We've been friends from like 12 years old middle school, all that stuff. So we were just kicking around my house, we are having slumber party, we have girls all of us have girls, there's like a couple of boys sprinkled in there. I was like, You guys really need to notice information. And so I was like if I put this like in a public forum like Instagram, just starting really, I was like, well you guys like listen to it because I hate repeating myself. I'm gonna just put it out there. And then you guys follow it. So it was just to be Like this form that I use to show exactly what I was learning, and share it with my friends. And then it just started getting traction. And then you know, so financially intentional was kind of born as a brand, from like, people just asking me like, can you help me on this journey? very reluctantly. At first, it was just me sharing my story on Yeah. You know, different media outlets like it got picked up by, you know, different podcasts and different things. And I was asked to speak at different places. So then I'm like, so I got receipts all the way back to like, 2016 When I first started, and it was just really about sharing and tracking my journey, and then having like, some accountability around it. Yeah. And then, in about 2018, around when I was having my second daughter, I was like, Maybe I should monetize this a little bit. And you know, always listen to your podcast.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:57

How many years in were you at this point? Well, that was two years in then. Right?

Naseema McElroy 21:00

So 2016, I paid off all my debt. And I was, like, not part of like debt free, but like discovering financial independence. So I was transitioning, and I was like, Okay, so, I mean, I have all this debt stuff, budgeting, and stuff down. Now I'm going into this world and where I want to start investing in growing my wealth, but I want to share along the way, because now I have tackled all these things successfully. So listening to your show, I was like, Okay, well, how can I turn this into a business? And then, you know, I reached out, I started, like, taking courses, like, I started with Danielle Leslie's course from you. And it's crazy. She literally across the street

I've never ran into her. Like, she literally lived across the street from me, I'm like, you don't take me literally, like right across the street, like our windows get, like, look at each other. It was like, but anyway, like, I started taking courses and started formalizing a business, had a baby started a podcast, like did all these things and like, kind of grew but knew that, you know, my passion is still in nursing, because the entrepreneur side, let me tell you some, this is hard, okay? Ever a baby have an emergency, that to the O R, do all that kind of stuff that check is regular, a nice check, because if I stay over five minutes, I'm gonna pay probably what more people get paid. It's a good check, I make a good nurse. So it's really, really hard to want to go into, like full time entrepreneurialship even though I know like, it's just like, I'm still very passionate about nursing. And so like when people are like on this full on grind, and a lot of nurses are on this thing right now, because a lot of burnout and all this kind of stuff. Right now that's going into nursing. I'm like, Hold on pump your brakes, like nursing is still early. There are so many things you can do you know how to nurse, I would definitely still be side hustling,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:14

I will leave that. Big, I will leave that nursing check. But you raised a such an important point about side hustling. Like, you have options, you have options when you sign up. So like all this money that you do make can go completely to your investments if you want and completely to all your side projects, building out the business testing, exploring, I mean, is that how you look at it like now that you got

Naseema McElroy 23:40

it like that totally. And the thing is, and to keep it real Nicaila Like a lot of my money that I'm making my business goes back into my business. And I can I can make a lot of money. But the thing is, yeah, to run a successful business, there's a lot that has to go into. I'm not an entrepreneur, so I invest a lot into making sure my systems are good. Making sure I understand how to run a business. So let me tell you something, if I didn't have a side hustle, I'll probably be able to. But But yeah, what I have done, I know has made it's making such a great impact. I continue to do it. And so you know, just the real side of side hustling sometimes is that it's not as like golden as most people think like, the entrepreneurial world is really, really hard. But I'm able to learn and grow and explore in ways and I've been open to so many opportunities just because I opened up this like area that I did not even know existed. And so I love the fact that I'm a side Hustler, you know, yeah, because I'm telling you like, the world of opportunity that has been open to me just because I share my story. And did it imperfectly is why events but not it's amazing.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 24:56

And you raise another important point. I just want to stop and highlight right here, which is, sometimes your gifts are multiple, like we are multi passionate people. And just because you have this talent in this area that you start as a side hustle, it doesn't mean you have to let go of something that is this God given talent you are you are meant to bless women in the work that you do, I see the work that you do on social media, and you talk about black maternal health, and your lens and what you have experienced and what you're able to share. Sometimes with lawsuits, as a result, you know, sometimes in consequences is going to bless so many people. So I just hope that you guys are getting what I'm trying to say, which is just basically that sometimes you are meant to be in both. Both places. I don't know for how long. I don't know what that looks like, but your path and your journey will show you that.

Naseema McElroy 25:54

Yes, yes, most definitely. And the thing is, is that listen, okay, this last like promotion I'm gonna give partners is the ultimate side hustle. I mean, like, the ultimate song to have if you side hustling? Why do you say that Chico, because you're always going to be in demand. AI could not replace you. There's so many things you can do. If you're not passionate about one area, there's so many areas you can explore. And I just feel like you can make it work for you where you can make a good amount of money so that if you want to take three months off, and then have you know, work for three months, and then do it again, or travel the world or do whatever use your job to pay you to travel the world. Yeah, you can. There's so many opportunities, if you just explore them, that it's almost like one, it's one of those jobs that you don't have to retire from. Because it can be a passion project, but you just have to be able to be willing to explore that. And a lot of times, people are always looking for quick fixes. And so they think entrepreneurship. But yeah, like and the thing is, is that what I have learned, the biggest lesson I've learned about financial independence is that it's not about reaching this number, or reaching this ultimate goal. It's like every debt that you pay off, every investment that you make, unlocks a level of freedom in your life, to where you take control that much more control over your life, in order to make whatever you're doing to produce income work for you. And it's just about that intentionality and saying that I am going to make a choice to reverse my relationship with money. So that money is working for me.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 27:50

I just saw that little hand behind you. Yeah, you guys have to check out this episode on YouTube

we have a guest star.

Naseema McElroy 28:03

My daughter won't be my little sidekick is always gonna be no matter how long we have before the episode on how she's supposed to act. She does good for a while. How old? Is she?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:17

No. I remember when she was a baby. Oh my gosh, wow, time flies.

So yes, this was the biggest plug show ever for nursing, but weak. So one of the things too, is that no matter if it's nursing, or whatever, you have to make sure that you're in a job that is going to allow you to smile. So if you decide to go on this path, you have to be realistic. One of my friends, we always joke because there was one time I was giving a talk at you know, our alma mater. And I said something like, oh, you know, of course, if you want to be a management consultant, you might not be able to so I saw she was like, Oh, I'm going into management consulting. And I was like, well, girl, we have to be real about this. All right, you can do that for a few years. But then you got to move over to like a tech job or something where you got a little more flexibility because the full time job does matter to them. And the last thing I'll say about that is I remember when I was working at my last job before this, y'all know what it is I won't mention it because of the nature of the story. But I remember someone you know sent me this role like oh, we think you'd be great for this and I'm like, Oh no, no, no, I can't take this role this role sounds like I'll be doing a lot more work. And like I'm just trying to lay low and side hustle so you gotta sacrifice sometimes and say all right, I'm not gonna you know not not that you're not given all you you can at work but you have to do a kind of job that Allah I want you to do all you can and still have some energy for your side hustle. So let's talk about how you actually worked at that, though, how you actually juggle the two, because it's tough, it's still tough, it's still long hours when you do go into the office. So how were you able to do that juggle?

Naseema McElroy 30:18

Well, the thing is, is that with being a nurse, like, it's easy to, like, once you're off, you're off, right. And so I don't have to bring that work home with me. And I don't, you know, in all honesty, you know, work life balance, you know, kind of is, is, as far as you know, I have I have kids, I'm a single mom. And so, you know, I just make it work. And I do what I can. And the thing is, is that it just has worked so far that I schedule, just certain days where I do the work and what gets done gets done, what doesn't get done doesn't get done, and so much pressure on myself to do it. You know, I have time for where I'm like learning, I'm going to conferences, I'm in masterminds, I do all those things. But I just make it work around my lifestyle. And we all have the same 24 hours in a day. And it's just again, bit about being intentional with our time, but also knowing when there's times to like pull back and rest. Like I'm totally in that mode right now. But I just I just make it work. But I think like, like you said, I have a job where I can totally separate from that when I leave. And so when I leave like in my commute, I'm like consuming content so that I can share a lot of my videos you'll notice are in my car.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:46

I didn't even notice it was

Naseema McElroy 31:48

mostly in your car. In my car.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:50

I thought he was stationary. I gotta look again. My hard drives and self driving cars, I felt like the most, you know, we got the first and the most I can't even speak correctly. But you know what I mean?

Naseema McElroy 32:12

Yeah, we're on it like working, where Tesla is great and like where the Tesla factory is course, at my job parking lot. All you see is Tesla's and so we flexing on our auto drive.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 32:33

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so your silence will start out one way I felt like from watching and observing your journey, you know you were talking about the fire movement. And it shifted to so much more than that. So tell us about your interpretation of fire movement.

Naseema McElroy 34:36

So, fire is the acronym for financially intention, financial independence. retire early and it's it's less more about the retire early part, but in making work optional, and having options right now about how you look at work, but it totally shifts your perspective because I don't know about you Nicaila. But I'm quite sure because I'm kind of know your story. But we're taught that you know, you go to school, you get a job, you work that job forever, it shifts that paradigm, to say that you can work, put away a certain amount of money. And now you can do whatever you want to do. You can work on your passion, or you know, you can work. But if somebody is, you know, messing with you, you could go to deuces anytime. Like, I'd love to do, right. I love

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:35

those are some of my favorite stories over to her Instagram, financially intentional, and she has shared our stories of quitting or having to speak out and get fired. And guess what, she still bounces right back on her feet. nursing job

Naseema McElroy 35:51

is about that option. And that was a total mindset shift me and that didn't come until after I paid off my debt. And I know you're good friends with Jamila suit. Yeah. And so throughout my journey, we were friends too. And then, you know, she started really talking about the fire content, and I really got into fire, because I hurt and I was just like, man, like, so what do you mean? Like, I don't have to work forever. Like, I'm not chasing this ladder, like, I'm just making sure I have enough, say, and invest it so that, you know, in a couple years, I don't have to work if I don't want to. Like that's a whole new paradigm shift for me. And like being able to share that. But what has actually happened is, is that that has freed up a lot of things in me to be able to talk about generational wealth. So I'll talk about, you know, how my kids are investing in how they learn about money, and how, like, I'm putting them in a financial position not to be spoiled, because let me tell you, my kids work hard now, like I work for me. But so that they can opt out of a lot of the bullshit that we had to go through. Because we weren't in a financial position, or our parents weren't in a financial position for us to do what we are just didn't

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:03

even know exactly, there's a lot of information is

Naseema McElroy 37:07

possible. Yeah, a lot of the information is gay kept and breaking it down to a level where my daughter, my nine year old daughter, will tell you all about investing, and she doesn't even understand when adults don't understand how to invest because she's like, it's really that simple. You say that? Yeah. Like she, girl, her mom got into all the time. She's like, most of them, I was like, You don't understand, like, you only noticed because of your mom. And she's just like, oh, just understand why you just don't get it. Right. That'd be my girl. Like. That's how they think. But anyway, yeah, setting him up for, you know, building wealth and being in a position to be able to opt out of a lot of stuff. I actually have been fortunate to have a platform where I can speak openly about maternal health issues, and just speak openly about the things that have happened in my job and that I've witnessed, that has affected black maternal health and like, actually given people viable, like solutions, like how do we address this situation, and being able to highlight other platforms that help, you know, black women in this situation, but it has morphed into just an opportunity for me to be able to affect change in a way that I couldn't have done it just as a staff nurse, you know, but because I can't speak about these things, and not have to worry about my money. I do. And because I'm one of those people like I say I just keep it real like oftentimes my mouth can get me into trouble that my money come back to me.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:51

It's needed, it's needed this information is needed. So when it comes to fire, so essentially, you're putting money in an investment account where the returns the percentage returns, which I believe you target 4%, right. Then, you know, once you have a certain amount, the returns that you'll get each year we'll cover isn't your minimum lifestyle or just your ideal lifestyle, like what you

Naseema McElroy 39:17

ends on what you're going for, right? Yeah, there's different kinds of fire. There's like fat fire, lean fire, coast fire. Barista, being like Google like, but it should cover a portion of your expenses right now. So right now, I'm on maternity leave. So I was very intentional before I went out and like cut my expenses down to be able to like live off of a minimum amount of money without having to worry about bringing in extra money for my business because I don't feel like shooting content for a brand and I don't feel like putting a podcast out. I don't want to have to do that. It's always about like understand anything in that moment or in the future, what your expenses are going to be at that time and having investments, be able to cover that investments are sources of income to be able to cover that. So yeah, that's what it's about. So traditionally, you want to look at it like this. So to your fire number is going to be 25 times your expenses. And so if you know it takes you like $40,000, we'd like to use that example, because it's easy to multiply by 25. But if you know your expenses, your living expenses, transportation, all that stuff, it's $40,000 a year, you want to have 25 times that, which is a million dollars in investments or savings. And then, according to the safe withdrawal rate, which is 4%, you can take $40,000 a year, off of those investments to live off of without having to generate any other income. And so that's how fire works. But there's different levels, if you know that you're getting like I live in California, so I get state disability, if you know that your state disability is going to be a couple $1,000 a month, then that's less that you need to put into that number. You know, so like, it's just different ways to factor into those things. But, and that's to say that you can reach different levels of fire or you don't have to be completely like at your fire number to be able to unlock levels of freedom in your life where you don't have to necessarily trade time for money.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:38

Now, as someone who lives in a very expensive city, I also live in I know I live in New York city you live in San Francisco, or Oakland. Which one are you in now?

Naseema McElroy 41:47

Are you I live like in a suburb like

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:49

East in a suburb? Yeah. Still the bay right? What does cutting back look like for you as like someone who's side hustling, you know, you work full time as a nurse, but you're also cutting back? What does cutting back look like when you are an expensive city? Really, it's

Naseema McElroy 42:06

just like getting your income in check. So the two biggest things that you're going to usually have in your budget is your housing expenses, and your transportation expenses. For me, I try to minimize those spaces. So before I went on maternity leave, like I paid off my Tesla, like I don't have a car. No, that was $1,100 a month. That's a lot of money. Right? Yeah. So that's done, right? I always make it. So my housing expenses are way less than 30% of my income. And a lot of people's like, that's impossible in the Bay Area. But what I always do is, even if I'm renting, I always find a place where I have an extra room where I can rent that out if I need to. And I rent it out to travel nurses, or nurses that I work with because a lot of nurses, even if they're not traveling nurses, their staff, nurses, but they live in like Georgia, Florida, Canada, even they come down here and they want a place to stay. And nurses come in there they work. They're quiet, they're background, check their screen, kids in my house, so they don't bother me actually become part of my family.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:10

Smart, like, is there a website just to rent to travel nurses? Because if I can do that, I'm like, Okay, I trust that. I trust that. Okay, you got to tell us that.

Naseema McElroy 43:21

It's furnish finders. So furnish finders, okay. And then they have like a section just for travel nurses. But also there's like, Facebook groups that are just traveling nurses looking for housing, you can post in there. But usually, it's word of mouth. Because once one travel nurse knows, or if somebody I'm a nurse, so I work. If a staff, you know they need somewhere to stay, they're gonna come stay with you. So it's really not that hard to hire really reliable people. And like I said, most people stay with me for months or years even. Wow. So that almost that's like a third or more of my housing costs. So that's cut down. And then what me what gets me and what gets most people is like those little things that you spend a hell of money on that you don't spend money on. Like when you go to Target or you go grocery shopping or you

Nicaila Matthews Okome 44:10

listen, I know you like for me like this. Talking about this.

Naseema McElroy 44:17

Like, you really have to like so I had to put that budget in check. Like, it's why needs to go to Target like, Yeah, I'd be like making up any reason to go to Target and it's like, do I really need to go to Target or really got to eat out like today like my kids don't even eat like for real for a while we go to this restaurant and be like, I want you some good and it's been like, it's like checking those expenses and like, really, like getting that number. Like how much does it really take for you to live every month? And the thing is Nicaila if you ask most people, they really cannot tell you how much they spend every month. And I

Nicaila Matthews Okome 44:57

thought true. That's so true. I had sent We had to get ourselves in check with that to like, I mean, boy, it was always asking me like, you know, he wants to fill out the spreadsheet

when you face the number, when you face the number, that's when you you know, you really have to come to terms with how much you spend on certain things. But it's good, because once you have that, you can then do all these calculations you need, right? Like the, okay, what was my five times my income look like and all our expenses and all this other stuff.

Naseema McElroy 45:38

And the thing is, it's not about deprivation, like I really didn't need those things in target. But I spend a lot of money on the things that I'm passionate about, like, my car, like I'm very powerful. So I just my budget to spend on that vacations. Like my kids have been to Disneyland and Great Wolf Lodge so much like we have towers up here,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:00

I love that's a category that I have to have in my life as well. And, you know, this conversation is definitely taking more of a financial turn than we expected. But I still love it. Because I feel that a lot of times when we start side hustling, and we have this now, this discretionary income, if we're not careful, can blow that instead of being able to do so much more with it.

Naseema McElroy 46:28

It's called Lifestyle inflation. Bell Yeah. Oh,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:32

lifestyle inflation.

Naseema McElroy 46:34

Yeah, keeping that number in check. Like if you know, you can't spend more than 5000 hours a month. Yeah, you figure out what you're passionate about to spend that money on, and then you don't feel like you're deprived. So that's how I That's how I've done it in different stages of life. And there's times where yeah, you know, ball out, but being able to rein in that money is spending is what's important.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:01

And before we get into the lightning round, I love if you could touch on disability insurance a little bit more. Because you you had a great episode on and I'll link to it, where you touched on, you might have great insurance, and you might have awesome benefits from your job, but never rely solely on what your job gives you for any of these categories. So you take out of course California has state right. But then you take out your own personal disability insurance, like how do you go about

Naseema McElroy 47:28

this? Yes. So it's always important, just like anything else, life insurance, anything to have your own policies in place. And what I like to do, and let me tell you, there's a lot of scammers in this industry. So I'm very careful. That's part of what makes it intimidating. Honestly, it's

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:45

like Who do I trust? Who do I trust with sharing what I make and you know, looking inside my books and all this other stuff? That is the thing that intimidates me. Sometimes you hear so many horror stories, and you honestly you don't know these people? Right?

Naseema McElroy 47:59

Right. When you're looking for a financial advisor or somebody who is doing insurance for you. You want to look for somebody who was independent for life. Okay, so on my podcast, I work with the corniest garnering and she's, she's in the personal finance space, too. But she is an independent licensed insurance agent, meaning that she's not tied to any one company. So her interest is always going to be to get you the best rate period. When you look for financial advisors, or somebody to help you with your finances. You want to work with somebody that is a fee only like fiduciary advisor. And fiduciary means that they are only like they are licensed to only work in your best interest. And you would think that all licensed agents are fiduciaries, but they're not. And the fee only just means that, okay, like you're sitting down for a session and you're gonna pay them like $300 for a session, and then they're going to put together a plan specifically for you. Oftentimes, you'll get financial advice for free, or somebody who said insurance policy for you for free, is not free. Their best interest is getting the highest commission for themselves. And so they'll put you in a policy for them, that pays them in the front end. So there's a lot of policies out there, but by they're incentivized to sell you because they make a lot of money, almost 50% of the premiums that you put up front. Wow. So like as far as disability insurance, you're guaranteed to get hurt at a job like life insurance, like you're gonna die, whatever, we're gearing up to die, but like most people are injured in some kind of way where they can't do their job, or they have to go out for a pregnancy or whatever. Right. And so disability insurance is something that you that you can get through your job. But you also want to have a separate policy in place just in case like, you lose that job, something happens, they change it benefits every year, you don't know how it applies. And so I have state disability insurance. I have disability insurance, Long Term Disability Insurance, do my job, and also have long term Disability insurance on my own. And I've had that in place for years. And the way that it's working right now with my maternity leave is that I'm high risk, I'm 42. I'll be 42 on Monday, and so I had to go out of work early. So with my long term disability policy, it kicks in after 90 days to supplement your income, in order to make you whole. So short, I have state disability, which starts after 10 days after you're out. So that started plus like, then you can use your sick leave and your vacation at your job. And but that eventually runs out if you're not working right? After 90 days, your long term disability policy comes in kicks in that you know, you just get paid a certain benefit to cover your expenses is only going to cover up to 60% of your expenses. But it's preached it's not taxed. So sometimes it's actually more than what you bring home. But the incentive is like you can't it's not going to replace all of your income, because then nobody will want to go back to work. Right? Right. works. But you should always have that policy in place. Because lower verbiage you'd be out of work for longer than 90 days. But in that case, you need something to cover your income, because you still got bills to pay.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 51:52

Absolutely. So and this applies to everyone all, whether you are a side, Hustler, entrepreneur, full time corporate job, what have you. I thought this was such an important conversation. It's something that I'm working on right now. Let me know if you guys want to meet to share more about my journey as I you know, finalize a plan and all of that good stuff. But I saw an entrepreneur friend who's recently going through unexpected injury. And you know, when we work for ourselves, it's something to think about with side hustling, when you work for yourself, and you are the business, right? I am, I am the podcaster I am the content creator, if I'm down and I can't make content that who's paying me,

Naseema McElroy 52:33

you know, exactly. And so that's something that we talked about in the last episode I think I did about disability insurance for entrepreneurs, is super important. So in two ways, if you've been an entrepreneur for a while, to get a disability policy, they're gonna want to see a couple of years of income so that they can cover you. But if you're side hustling, you use your work income to be able to cover that like so if you're knowing if you know that you're going to transition. Like to be a full time entrepreneur, it's a good time to get a lot of policies in place, because it's going to be based off of like, the salary that you're making at your job, and it's less things that you have to prove. So just something to think about, like if you really are transitioning into full time entrepreneurship, like get those things in place. Now

Nicaila Matthews Okome 53:22

is that so? Yeah, that's a really big tip. That's a really good tip. And, you know, something that we forgot to even touch on, is you get into podcasting. Right, so just you know, let's really touch on this. So you you had the platform you started on Instagram, why podcasting? And what makes you continue to podcasts?

Naseema McElroy 53:43

Man, like no lie like it's where I get my information from? And I really feel like they're in the personal finance space. Like if male pale and stale and voices like me

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:04

I've heard that male female it's

Naseema McElroy 54:07

okay to learn it That's That's my girl she always used Yes, and so I was like, man, we need to like hear from we need more voices like and and initially I was like, well there's no lack of like personal finance podcasts out there. So let me just niche down and to speak specifically to nurses and when of course when I went to my podcast of course I reached out to my girl Nicaila Oh yeah, we got to take oh yeah

yeah, I started like speaking specifically to nurses and about financial independence and nursing. But I'm just know that my voice is needed across the board. So recently, in December I did a rebrand where I just kind of generalized just my audience because of what's happening, the overarching brand financially intense, right, but I just opened it up for everyone because it really was like if you've been listened to my own nurses on fire podcast, like there's nothing that it was specific to nurses that nobody else can do. But I just thought I needed a niche.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:17

Yeah. Overly niche to sometimes overly niche because it's like, then you always have to find nurses. And it always has to be a nurse's story. So I understand the challenge with that. Yes, but

Naseema McElroy 55:30

you know, but I just love podcasting. Because, like, like, I really feel like people just need to hear different voices. And there is such a void of voices like ours out there that talk about this information and not digestible way. Plus, there are so many barriers in personal finance, there's so much gatekeeping, intentionally and unintentionally, in a finance space for really simple concepts, and access to things that ways to access things that we didn't even know was possible for us. But it's right in front of us. But we just didn't know was there. And so to hear from somebody who has came from the struggle who has gone through all those things, who can keep it real with you, 100%.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 56:14

Ya, Oh, absolutely. And as it relates to gatekeeping, if I was to even just oversimplify it, you know, take away some of the problematic aspects of it, you know, it comes down to people share with the people they know, and you're more likely to know people who look like you and hang out and you know, have friends. So it's being information is being circulated in circles, that might not look like you because you're not friends with that crew. So you have to find your crew and make sure that if you are that person that has the information that you're realizing that the rest of your crew doesn't have, you need to start sharing that like you you're missing out on a gift, you're missing out on sharing something that you're meant to share. Because there's a reason why you know it, there's a reason why it comes so easily to you. So I'm just thankful that you have this information. And like before this interview started, I was saying like, Can I hit you up? Because like, I truly I need some more support. And I need guidance from someone who has done it. And it's just it's too much. Sometimes people are like, Oh, I can just Google that. I don't know about you. But there's a lot of stuff on Google. I don't want to Google anymore like this. Why pay for courses? I want to go to someone and I want to follow your roadmap. I want to just tell me the steps. All right. Just tell me the steps phase of life. All right, I will follow.

Naseema McElroy 57:31

But the thing is, and there's the unfortunate thing about this industry is that there's also a lot of room for people to take advantage of you. Yeah. And so a lot of people are really leery and I got no reason to take advantage of you. I'm not a scam.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 57:49

You obviously you have to do your due diligence. Yeah. And research. You can't just throw money at anybody. But once you've done that, yeah,

Naseema McElroy 57:57

yeah, you have to be able to trust that people are really have your best interests at heart. And a lot of people, you know, unfortunately can't get past that step. But, you know, unfortunately, you know, our communities, we have been historically taken advantage of financially. And so there's a lot a lot of mistrust. So I get it. And I'm here and so a lot of the things that I teach and talk about, I give a lot of free game because I don't want you to think that these are things that you have to pay for. But it is something that you have to be intentional about and actually take action on. As long as you do what you got to do. I don't care if you pay me I just want you to yeah, get the stuff in place for yourself because it's that important for you.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 58:41

Right and that's another hint at why producing content is so helpful because the free game that you share is actually helping people to see that you're qualified and trust you and so it might not come right away. But you know after a year or two we're listening to you it's worth the wait to have that customer that client that just is really writes for you like No Nicaila knows her stuff and the SEMA knows her stuff. And that's that thank you so much. We're gonna jump into the lightning round. I could go on and on. But clearly like I said, we need a side conversation with you. So we're gonna jump into a quick lightning round you know the deal, just answer the first thing that comes to mind. Are You Ready? Ready? All right. So number one, what is a top resource that has helped you in your business that you can share with the side hustle pro audience?

Naseema McElroy 59:36

Side Hustle pro always

started from Nicaila You

Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:50

number two who is a non celebrity black woman entrepreneur who you'd want to switch places with for a day and

Naseema McElroy 59:56

why you know I love me some my league like She's not gonna say that. It's crazy. Yeah, I just I just love her. I love how she keeps her real but very smart. She's very, she's very intentional Lee knowledgeable, whatever she doesn't know, she like drills it down into it and like, gets to know that she's always chock full of resources. I can't tell you the amount of things that I bought because my league suggested it. But I love me. So my league were birthday twins. She's a couple of years older than me, but, you know, I just feel like she's like one of the few people that black women, I'm just like, Ah, I love me some Yes,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:00:37

yes, relatable content. So the same number three, what's the non negotiable part of your day these days? If I'm not don't feel like doing it. I'm not gonna do it. No, it's the solid. It's a solid. No, I love that. Number four, what's a personal habit about you that you think has significantly helped you in business?

Naseema McElroy 1:01:03

I think consistency. Just being able to just even if it's just a little bit, a little bit is still doing something. So I'm gonna consistently be doing something. And I'm gonna be consistently like working on myself. And so yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:01:23

And finally, number five, what is your parting advice for fellow Black woman entrepreneurs who want to be their own boss, or be a steady side Hustler, but are worried about losing or compromising a steady paycheck?

Naseema McElroy 1:01:37

I think the is about taking action isn't the consistency part. Again, small daily actions are bigger, then what you think they add up to like we we overestimate what we can do in a day. But we underestimate what we can do in a year by taking small intentional actions. So just take those actions. Don't stop with analysis paralysis, and just do one thing today right now.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:02:03

Yes. Just one thing you're so right. I'm I'm so big on the one thing, man, I'm so big on the one thing because whenever I get overwhelmed, I have to bring it back to that I have to say, All right, what's the one thing I want to accomplish today? And that's it. So I'm thinking about doing a one thing a day challenge or something along the lines of that you guys let me know if you're interested in that. But with that, listen, thank you so much for being in the guest chair to see my where can people connect with you and financially intentional after this episode?

Naseema McElroy 1:02:35

So I'm most places financially intentional. I'm mostly on Instagram. Just hit me up. DM me. I'm very responsive there. But yeah, financially intentional. You can check out all my resources there, financially intentional.com and the financially intentional podcast. Listen out, guys. It's

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:02:55

great. All right, you guys. And there you have it. I'll talk to you next week. Thank you again to SEMA and you guys will check next week. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again, that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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