Frugal Living Podcast: Financial Freedom Part 2
In part 2 of Financial Freedom, host Jim Markus continues his chat with Jamila Souffrant, the creator and host of Journey to Launch, a podcast about financial freedom and independence. You can listen to Frugal Living with Jim Markus here, on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, on Amazon, on Anchor.fm, or anywhere you go to find podcasts.
In This Post
The Focus Is on the Journey
It’s not called countdown to launch, but Journey to Launch. When thinking about financial independence the focus should be on the journey, not the destination. Part of that includes finding the lesson or stepping stone in everything you do because you’re not going to love every part of work. Souffrant explains that when she was younger and had a long commute, she used that time to listen to podcasts. That was what initially inspired her to start her own podcast.
The Importance of Intentionality
Souffrant explains that energy, like time, is a finite resource. You can have all the time in the world, Souffrant says, but if you don’t have the energy to do something with it doesn’t do you a lot of good. Part of Souffrant’s own journey into financial independence has been learning how to say no to things. In other words, practicing frugality with her time and energy.
Being more frugal with your energy allows you more opportunities to spend your energy on the things that are important to you now. That might be a side project, or it might just be taking time to ride your bike or read a book. Not everything needs to be done in pursuit of achieving a future goal. Part of financial independence is enjoying your life now as well as preparing for your future.
Read a Transcript from This Episode
You’re listening to part two of a two-part interview. If you haven’t yet heard part one, you can go back and find it wherever you found this podcast. This is Frugal Living.
My name is Jamila Souffrant. I’m the creator and host of the Journey to Launch podcast and the Journey to Launch platform, where I share and help people reach financial freedom and independence. And I’m all about living an intentional life and enjoying the journey to time freedom, energy freedom, and financial freedom. I dream big, I think big, and part of that is because if I fail, or if you fail listening to this, at trying to attempt to reach financial independence early. So let’s just say, you start, and by the way, you can start at any point. To me, there is no late starts, like literally the time is going to the past anyway. So even if you’re in your forties and behind or not on track. Like, so you set this goal and OK, you want to reach a million dollars after you pay off your debt, saved and invested in, let’s say 15 to 20 years. Right? And life happens. There are things going on, you know, the pandemic, all these things that we can’t account for. So, you know, there may be some hiccups, you’re not earning as much. Maybe you are. And in the 15, 20 years, instead of the million, you have 400,000. Right? I don’t think that’s a failure. I think that like, if you didn’t start, you wouldn’t have it because you weren’t intentional about anything for those next 15, 20 years. So to me, it’s like financial independence is that moon goal. You shoot for it. But even if you fail, you’ll be OK. If you end up at level four, level three, even level two, that you paid off debt and you’re conscious of it, like that is better than like not moving or staying still, because time is going to pass anyway. Right? So might as well do it.
Yeah. Like the first best time to start financial independence is anytime in the past. The next best time is right now.
And you know, I don’t care what people want to call it either. I know some people have an issue because I think Financial Independence Retire Early can have a bad rep depending on who you’re talking to and who’s saying it. You know, if you don’t want to call it that, don’t. Like call it free. Like, you know, I sometimes interchange it with just freedom, financial freedom. Call it just having more time freedom, energy freedom. Because as you travel on, and most people who I said have reached financial independence or stages that are significant, meaning they’ve saved money. They’ve been able to quit their job or start something else. The person you have to become to make it through those stages, like your skill sets will improve so much. Your confidence will improve so much that there are paths that you don’t even know right now that will unfold for you. Like for you, Jim, like, as you started, right? Like you didn’t know, like you could end up here, but you just followed, you know, what you wanted to do, and you leaned into it. And now you’re in a place that you didn’t understand or realize you could be in. And I feel like that for a lot of people is the case, but they just have to start. So I didn’t know I would not be… When I first started this whole journey, I thought I would work my butt off for the next seven years, save as much money as possible, and like then hit my goal. And then I was like, wait a second. As I started to do this work, I realized I can have freedom or more flexibility today, without even having all the money in the bank. Right? And so that I think the beauty of the journey is that so many things can unfold for you as you travel on it.
One thing that I think is really important. When I encountered Journey to Launch, it’s not called Countdown to Launch, you know? The focus isn’t on that moment of this is what golden success looks like. It’s the focus on the journey. What you’re talking about is really inspiring. The idea that the changes you make now can lead to measurable improvements in areas of your life you didn’t realize were super important to you.
So when I was working and had my commute… Because I know there are, right now, even there’s things about what I do now that I don’t typically all enjoy, right? And love doing. But I have to find the joy in every day. So even with my commute, my commute is the reason why I think I was able to start my podcast or know how to launch a podcast, because I was listening to so many podcasts. Because I was listening to things on one-and-a-half speed. Like I literally sometimes would be excited to wake up so I can listen to these personal finance podcasts or business podcasts. And it literally set the stage for me knowing the type of podcast I wanted to launch and how to market a podcast. And so there are things right now that you may be doing if you’re listening. And you’re just like, “I don’t see a point in this, I hate this thing” or whatever. And it is for a reason. Like, I don’t think I would be here without that commute. I wouldn’t be here without that commute. And so, there are things I’m doing now where it’s like, I have to find the lesson and the stepping stone in it. Even if it’s not something I typically enjoy, I have to find a way to enjoy it. And so I think, even when you have all the money in the world, you know, if you want to look at these celebrities and people who have a lot of money, they’re still not happy. Right? So I think the best thing we can do is learn to enjoy the journey and the process, because that’s the most important part. That’s the longest part.
What’s the most exciting thing that you’re encountering or experiencing right now in this lifestyle?
I’m really excited about the personal growth and the inner work that it takes to be intentional on this journey. Like I heard this phrase: tools not rules. Like basically, like I know that we kind of like having rules. And so a lot of times in the finance space or just in life, like people will be like, “Here are the rules for this. Rules for success. Rules for finance.” And that’s great, right? But I think it’s more about having tools. And so everyone has options and tools that they can pick from, but then they can create their own work of art, which is their life. And I think for me, my definition of work and money has changed and shifted since starting this journey. It’s not about the money. Like I want money. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want money and to want stability for my family and my three kids and all these things that I want to do in life. But I’ve really been more conscious of how I’m spending the days and how I feel and my emotions about what I’m doing, because, you know, I realize that quitting my job didn’t solve all the problems. You know, having X amount of financial security is not solving all the problems. It solves at a certain point, don’t get me wrong, but there’s so much deeper work to be done. And so I’m excited about the people who start this journey thinking one thing, like going just after the money and the goal, but then they realize it’s like a total different thing. Like it’s such an internal journey first while you’re doing this work.
I mean, that’s an incredible answer. Can you speak more about the intentionality that you’re talking about? Philosophies from Buddhism to, you know, the positive thinking movement, embrace intentionality. Can you talk a little bit about how that influences the financial freedom part of your life?
So, you know, they say like, money is a finite resource kind of, depending on who you’re talking to. Like I think like, literally they can print money, you know? So it’s out there. Then people will say, but you know, time is a valuable resource, which it is. Like, you can’t get time back. But I think more important than time is energy. You can have all the time in the world, but you don’t have the energy to enjoy the time anymore. Right? So whether that is because you’re older and you just don’t have the life energy as much as you had, or you’re younger and it’s just like, you work so hard that you can’t even enjoy like time with family and friends. And so being intentional for me means, even like in my day-to-day, is still working, but not making working as hard the goal. So finding, doing things that I enjoy. So even though I have to still do the things I don’t necessarily love doing, it’s finding things outside of work that I like doing. So, you know, starting to run. So I started to run and bike now and getting sunlight or reading more. Going back to actually like what gave me joy as a child that mostly were free things like that weren’t a lot of money and leaning more into that. So that way I’m actually enjoying, like it’s not so much about a goal and a number and these external factors that are important in some areas. But like learning how to like go back deep within to find out what makes me happy on a day-to-day basis. And understanding when I’m feeling a little off and giving myself grace to make changes. And again, so that internal work being intentional about that. Saying “no” to opportunities and to things that could earn me money, but it just doesn’t feel right. Like that’s the kind of internal work and intentionality, because I don’t want all the money in the world. Like I think there’s a point where there’s enough. And so therefore, understanding what that enough point is and how much time and energy I want to trade for that is important to me.
Sometimes when we think of frugality, we think of, by necessity, this is about money. But to your point, sometimes frugality is also a way to approach different tasks and opportunities. Being a little bit more frugal with your time allows you to take more time to go running, to read, to do the things you want to do, rather than spreading yourself too thin. Because everyone will continue to ask you for things forever.
Yeah. I mean, again, I think frugality is great. It’s like one of those superpowers that if you have it and you enjoy it, like you’ll get to your goals a bit faster than people who don’t have any care about being intentional with their spending. But I also think it’s OK to also be frugal in certain areas and not others. But like you said, with your time and energy… Like for me, Shonda Rhimes, like her book Year of Yes, I have to read it again. It’s been a while since I’ve read it. And I’m like, I actually want to like do a year of no. Like I don’t know if there was already a book or an article about this, so don’t steal this idea from me if you’re listening and you’re a writer. But I kind of want to explore this a bit more, because I want to say no to more things so that I can say yes to myself more. And so being more like stingy, frugal with my energy and time, especially as a mom. So the thing, one of the things we haven’t really spoke about is like, I have three small children. Motherhood is a different journey. Parenthood is a different journey, but motherhood and the pandemic on top of that entrepreneurship life. And so it’s really caused me to think differently about how I spend or invest my time.
Is there anything, I know we’re running a little bit short on time here, any bit of advice that you have for other parents on this journey?
Yeah. I think it’s so individual based on your circumstances. You know, I was born to a single mom who is from Jamaica. I was actually born in Jamaica and she had me at 20 years old. So she had me pretty young. I don’t know how she did it, because I started way later with a lot more resources, and it’s hard. And I have, you know, three kids, but I have, you know, a husband who’s an equal partner in the household and relationship and all that, but it’s still hard. And so my mom, one of the things that she did and why I think I’m the way I am, I think despite just my natural personality, is she exposed me to things that I, otherwise, if I wasn’t exposed to, I don’t think I’d have the confidence I have now. Like, we didn’t have a lot of money, but when she had it, like, you know, I was in gymnastics, I did swimming. You know, we went to the library every Sunday. There were all these things that I was poured into a lot as a child. And so for me, with my children, one of my biggest things for them is like, I want them to have experiences. So like, I don’t necessarily care about like clothes and all that. You know, my mom is the type of mom, she’s like, “You have to buy them new sneakers!” And like, she’ll buy them for them, cause I’m like, “Mom, they have sneakers.” Anyway, so for me saying all that to say, like I’ve had to evaluate how I want to spend my money on them as like a parent. And while I’m not into like the clothes and stuff, like I want them to have experiences because I feel like experiences shaped me. And sometimes, you think like, well, they’re not going to remember it or who cares. And it’s like, I don’t remember everything, but I know it’s a big part of why I am who I am today. So as a parent, you have to decide what matters to you. What do you think is going to be the best thing you can do for your children? You may not be able to do everything. You know, having three kids living in New York, like there’s so many things I want them to do. The world hopefully is opening back up so they can get back more into the activities. But also choosing like, you know what, I’m going to send them to this camp that’s more expensive because of these activities. Or I want to do these things for them. But also realizing that if you’re in a position where you can’t do that, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent because the best thing my mom did for me was to give me space to be me and to speak words of encouragement. So it’s not always experiences and things, but I think it’s just as a parent, realizing what you can do first without any money is just to speak confidence into your children. One of the things they talk about a lot, and we talk about is passing on generational wealth, which is important. But I think you can have the wealth, and if your kids don’t know what to do with it, don’t have the confidence, you’ve done them a disservice. So I always say, if I can give them nothing, if I had nothing to pass down to them, I want to instill in them, you know, being a good person and being confident and all these things that are soft skills. So I think as a parent, like you need to focus on what you can do first without the money. And then on top of that, layer it up and say, “OK, what matters to me?” Is it, you know, which experiences mattered the most? Is it the vacations or the extracurricular activities or the tutor? And sometimes you do have to make a choice because you don’t have all the money in the world, but understanding where it ranks for you and your life and what your kids need is a way to start navigating. Because some people will say to you, “You don’t have to spend money. Kids are not that expensive.” Yeah, I mean, for me though, they can be depending on what I want them to do or what they want to do.
And I think that goes back to what we were talking about earlier, evaluate your personal situation with that consideration in mind. Your experience is going to be unique because of the family you have.
Yeah. And the other thing I would say about this, and I get people asking too about like, how can they save for their children and invest on behalf of their children so that they have a start. They don’t have any student loan debt, which I think is great. But I think first you need to focus on yourself actually. The greatest gift that I believe a parent can give their kid is like that they don’t have to worry about them or take care of them when they are now starting their life and in the workforce. And so my mom, like even though she came to this country with nothing, like she worked her way up to where, like now she’s getting to the stage where she could retire. But she is financially secure. So now me as a mom of three and like, I don’t have to necessarily worry about her financially, which is such a gift. And so I think for most parents, it’s great if you want to open the 529 accounts, you can do that. But make sure you’re on track for your own retirement or that you’re saving and paying off debt so that when your kids are going out into the world, they don’t have to worry about mom or dad. I think that’s the best gift you can actually give them is to focus on your own finances first.
That’s fantastic. Talking to you has been a joy and I’ve learned a lot. Thank you for making time to be on the podcast. BradsDeals.com has the best deals sourced from around the internet. It’s online shopping made safe, it’s online shopping made easy. And more importantly, it’s made especially for you, the frugal-minded person. That’s BradsDeals.com. Special thanks to Jamila Souffrant, Sydney Smith, and H. Borkowski. I’m Jim Markus. Thanks for listening.
More about Frugal Living with Jim Markus
This episode was sponsored by Charlotte’s Web, and we scored a discount for our listeners. Use our code FRUGALPODCAST at Charlotte’s Web for 15% off sitewide. Some exclusions apply.
To hear more from Jamila Souffrant about her blog and financial independence, check out the latest episode of Frugal Living. Frugal Living is a podcast for smart consumers. How do you spend less and get more? The show, sponsored by Brad’s Deals, features interviews, stories, tips, and tricks. Jim Markus hosts season three, out now.
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