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April 10, 2023

Episode 94: It Seems Like Money Money Money All the Time with Debra Essling

In this episode, DJ invited financial professional Debra Essling on the show to help educate you, our listeners, on family money matters. Listen in as DJ and Debra discuss the importance of creating an emergency fund, break down how compound interest works and why the credit card companies make it hard for you to pay off balances, why creating a budget and envelope system will help you stay on task and ultimately how to help you grow and protect your money.

Debra Essling lives in the Chicago area with her husband. They have two grown children and are very active with their church and in the community. Debra’s passion is helping people de-stress when it comes to their money, and to educate them on tips and tricks that the financial industry does not want them to learn about!

• [4:44] Debra shares the best tool and resource to help you grow your emergency fund is education!
• [11:06] DJ and Debra discuss the importance of having an emergency fund.
• [17:01] “It is easy to use a credit card, but they are very dangerous… the banks scheme against our max to get the most money out of us that they can and the one thing they want you to do is use their credit card and not pay off the balance.”
• [34:54] “When you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else.”

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DJ Stutz  0:00  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. 

You're listening to Episode 94 of Imperfect Heroes - Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host DJ Stutz. 

Debra Essling is a specialist at understanding how to alleviate the stress and the arguments that happen in families with young children around money and finances. Deborah has years of experience in educating people around finances. And today she's sharing many tips and tricks that the financial industry just doesn't want you to know. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, and they have two grown children. And they love being around people and are very active at their church and in their community. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

If you liked what you hear in today's podcast, be sure to rate and review and then tell a friend. And if you do this, I actually have a special gift for you. I'm going to send you a digital copy of my living and kindness workbook and journal for free. This guides you through five areas of kindness, and helps you understand how to make that a part of your life and part of your family traditions. So on the webpage of the podcast, which is At the top, just click on reviews. And then you're going to see leave a review, click there. And it's just that easy. 

I know when I was raising my young children, I was at home full time and my husband Ross was working and he was the only income and finances were just such an issue. And a problem with four little kids. We constantly seem to have a doctor's appointment because someone was sick, or there was gymnastics or there was soccer or there was hockey, the boys loved hockey. And then there would be birthdays and birthday parties. And the beginning of school in August, we had to buy school clothes. And then there's the supply list that you've got to go out and buy everything for Christmas was coming up not long after that. And I will tell you that there was a time I do When finances became a source of stress. And we did have some arguments surrounding how we should approach it and what we should do. Well, Debra Essling is a financial advisor. And like I said she's got years of experience in helping families manage their finances and plan for the future. So today, Debra, and I have a great conversation about how finances become such a source of stress and arguments within the family. And then what steps can we take to alleviate that stress. So we talk about some important topics like preparing for the unexpected. Boy, that was a thing for us, creating an emergency fund that seemed just like a dream sometimes, and then planning for retirement at a young age. And now that I'm retired, I can tell you that I mean things aren't bad, but I wish to way into a better job for sure. So with Debra's expertise, she's going to provide you with valuable insights and practical tips for managing your finances, and then achieving some semblance of financial security. So let's listen in. 

Welcome, everybody. And thank you for choosing to spend the next little bit of time with Imperfect Heroes podcast. And today we are talking about a topic that a lot of families, especially young families don't spend a lot of time with, but it is super crazy important that you do. And that is on the topic of finances, how do we make sure that we're financially stable? And I have Debra Essling with me today. She's amazing. Debra, why don't you give us a little background on you and what you've got going on?

Debra Essling  4:44  
Sure. Thank you, DJ. So I work with families and also small business owners and I educate is a strong component of what I do. Education of how money works and what are the best tools and resources. I'm in the financial side. services industry, I'm securities licensed, and producers licensed, I hold all the licenses to recommend so many different products. But I specialize in focus on education, and sitting down with people and really giving them an experience that's really going to help them grow and protect their money. Unlike what you would normally get in a typical financial services industry. I'm from the Chicago area. for over 30 years, I have two grown children myself. So that's just a little bit about me.

DJ Stutz  5:31  
That is fantastic. Thanks for sharing that. And so I know that when you have the little guys, there are always those unexpected things that come up. And so it could be a doctor visit or someone gets sick, or you know, a broken arm and all of those things that happen. It could also be just the fact that it's August, August is sometimes as expensive as December, with all of buying new clothes and all the fees, and you have the supply lists. And it does get worse as they get older. I'll just tell you that right now. But even as they're young, you've got those kinds of expenses, and you want to do things with them with maybe going on a vacation with them and having some of those bonding. And what if they want to be in a sport? And that's more money too? What are some of the key things I guess, as you're just starting? And you've got these little kids? What are some main things that you need to be thinking about? And considering as you're trying to raise them? Carefully?

Debra Essling  6:41  
Okay, so there's a couple of things. And hopefully this isn't too long of an answer. But there's two things that come to mind right away, first of all, to really have a good emergency fund in place. And if you don't have an emergency fund in place, to start growing an emergency fund, that emergency fund is usually three to six months of your income just in case something happens to your income, or something happened, like you need a new roof on the house or something along that line gets more on the heavy side of six months. If you own a home, if you have children, we usually use six months of income as a gauge of that's what you should have in your emergency fund. And you'll be amazed, like, let's say you only have $1,000, right now that you could dedicate to an emergency fund, you're supposed to have 35,000, okay, if I was like, oh, that's gonna be hard, I'm never gonna get there, you will be amazed. Once you put your mind to it, how it will grow. The main thing is to get started and have a plan to do it. Now meeting with a financial planner like myself, will help you in where to put it. So the rows the best, because you're trying to grow an emergency fund, there's places and options. And planner will also let you know, hey, how much should you have in a dedicated emergency fund? But yeah, that's number one is to really have a good emergency fund in place. And just a couple of rules about emergency funds, because we hear about them. But the number one rule for our emergency fund is it's really for emergencies. So it's those unexpected expenses, okay, that come up that over the course of the month, you cannot dedicate to your regular paycheck. So it's those unexpected things, are you going to also plan ahead for those August and December expenses is to come out of the emergency fund if you put those extra savings in there. And that's, that's rule number one. Rule number two is, is that when you need to use it, that you use it. I've met several people that have a good emergency fund in place, and they refuse to use it. And instead, they put the charges on a credit card. And so there Yeah, and I think it's because the money is there, and you don't want to see it go down. So it's like, okay, I want to keep it at that. But when you put it on a credit card, you're incurring those interest charges. And so you're paying the bank interest fees, which are sometimes very substantial. I mean, the average interest rate on a credit card is 21%. Right now, that's the average. So you know the rule of how to use it when you need to use it. The other advice that I would give for young families when it comes to finances and things along that line that you really should be focused on is the parents need to focus on retirement planning. Even when the kids are little. Yeah, I hear so many parents make the mistake of funneling all their extra money into the kid. Okay, they want these lessons. They want to do this athletic or they want to take up the violin and travel and go to school for in music school and yeah, if you can do that, Craig I you know, I truly support parents that do that. But at the same same time you need to dedicate financial resources to your retirement, because the kids are going to be with you for 18 to 22 years. And then it's you and your spouse, and your retirement that's looming. And I've seen so many couples make the mistake of not saving for retirement as they should. And then they hit 50. And they're like, Okay, now I need to see what I can do for retirement. And that's too late. That is often too late. And another mistake people make when it comes to retirement, is they feel that they can just depend on Social Security, and the 401 K, and those two together are not going to be enough. The 401k most often is not all that and a bag of chips. It's made to be thought that it's going to save your life when you retire. And so many people hit retirement and they're like, Oh, my 401k isn't enough. It's not designed to be the sole support. It's not how it was developed. So yeah, save for retirement, develop that emergency

DJ Stutz  11:06  
Ray. And I know that even to have $1,000 to start out with can be too much for some families as well. I know that when we were Prakash, I look back and I think we must have been out of our minds. Just what would did, what did we think we were doing, but I was 22 when I had my daughter and my husband was 23 and are almost 23, we were both 22 at the time. And you know, we were just these young kids and love excited for this baby, you know, and not really thinking things through. What I found was that if I just put aside, I started out with just 20 bucks, and put it aside. And then the next month, just 20 bucks. And back then that was like going to a movie, which I love to do. And I had to gauge you know, and having that emergency supply. Because there's things that you really just slap in the face when they happen, the car breaks down. Something happens with the plumbing that happen, like, Oh, what do you do, and then even God forbid, a relative dies, and you need to go to a funeral. And we found out that needed to be part of our fund as well. And so as we got more comfortable, because when you're really young and you're having these babies, it's when you're at your lowest income level Correct? Generally,

Debra Essling  12:39  
generally, usually, yes, we right.

DJ Stutz  12:43  
And so as time goes on, and you get more experience, you get raises all of that, then you can add a little more to that every month as well. If you get a raise, what percentage of that raise? Are you going to put into your emergency fund? And then also something that you set up for a retirement as well? Correct.

Debra Essling  13:05  
Right. So it's amazing how the mind works. And I'm gonna give you an example of somebody I just talked to yesterday that I I've worked with and helped her manage her money and get out of debt. So it's amazing how the mind works, though. Because when you start you make you make a commitment to just let's say, put $20 away a month or a week or whatever it may be, you start focusing on growing that, yeah, and you set it as a goal and you focus more on it. And you will start maybe not in the first month, maybe not in the second, but you'll start putting more towards it. Because that's your desire, and you want to see it grow. But you need to commit to that first and make that a commitment. And then down the road, you'll grow it and grow it. And as you get extra money funneling in maybe a bonus, here are something tax return check, which is coming up soon. So you can then funnel extra money to and you'll see it grow. For you. As an example. I met this young woman about a year ago. And she has quite a bit of debt. And I worked out a method for her to get out of debt. And so she's working that right. And I also talked to her about saving on our emergency fund that she had zero on emergency fund. So she has this little three year old at all. So we talked about those two areas. And she called me yesterday. And she asked me advice about what's the best way to do what she wants to do. She just wanted to give advice on it. She received her tax return check yesterday or maybe the day before, I don't know. And she's like, I want to put $500 on this credit card. And then all I'll have left is $300 to pay and I can pay $25 A month towards it. Now is that a smart thing for me to do? And the advice I gave her isn't important. What's important is that now she got this extra money, and instead of going to target or Kohl's and spending it and having a spending spree, she's like, I want to eliminate this debt. Because that's the mindset that she's developing. And I told her great job for you, that you're you're now developing this is called an abundance mindset. And she's, she's being geared towards saving and eliminating that. So yeah, just start, make a commitment, do what you can do, just do it. Don't worry about the number that you need to have, at the end, it'll come just make that commitment. And stick to that commitment, commit to something that you can do. First of all, okay, oh, like, kill yourself. If you have Starbucks every morning and you spend seven bucks, well, maybe you can cut that out on the weekends, or maybe do it three times a week, commit, if you can commit to that, and putting that into an emergency fund. And that's what you can do, you will be amazed, your mind will shift, and it will grow and grow and

DJ Stutz  15:59  
grow. Right? Because the truth is kids, you know, they're expensive when they're little guys, but they just get more expensive as they get older.

Debra Essling  16:11  
That's the amazing thing about parenthood, it's like, aren't you supposed to become cheaper at some point,

DJ Stutz  16:16  
move out, when you're done you through college, you move out, and then you can breathe. But so I think sometimes new parents are just living in the moment, you know, they're in that survival mode, at least financially, and sometimes emotionally. But it's really something to get out of that and to really think about throwing something on a credit card so easily that you wind up, but you don't even realize it and all of a sudden, you know, the bill comes and it's like, how did this get to $10,000? What are what do I have to show for it? If you're going to spend that kind of money? You definitely want to have something to show for at least.

Debra Essling  17:01  
Right? Right? Exactly. Yeah, and it is easy to use a credit card, but they are very dangerous. And they just it's talk a little bit about credit cards if we can, yeah, you know, there's something called the Theory of compound interest. Einstein developed this where you take an interest rate, and you divide it into the number 72. And it tells you how many years it takes for that money to double at that interest rate. And it's usually used as a tool as to see how to get a better investment, right, get that better interest rate on your investment, but it works for credit cards as well. So average interest rate on a credit card is 21. Right? You divide that into the number 72. And you get about three and a half. Okay? So let's say you have $1,000, you're gonna buy a TV, nice TV, for $1,000, you're gonna put it on a credit, you only pay the minimum do every month, okay? Because that's what a lot of people do. And they made that minimum do small on purpose. Okay, banks know what they're doing, they make it small to make you think I can buy a TV for $1,000 and only pay $30 a month, okay. But at that 21% interest rate, which is average is going to double in three and a half years, because you're not knocking down that amount on there, right in three and a half years, it's going to turn to $2,000. And if you're doing this with three, or four, or five or more cards, this is how you start getting into trouble. This is where you're like I can't afford this anymore. And if you missed one payment, they jack up the interest rate to like 30%. And there's all these leaks. And so now you're really in trouble, because you have five cards with an interest rate of 30%. So it's doubling every two and a half years, I think maybe less than that. And it's growing and growing and growing, you just can't get out from under it. So that's the warning that I give about credit cards, okay, the banks scheme against our max to get the most money out of us that they can and the one thing they want you to do is use their credit card and not pay off the balance. They actually have and I forget what the name for it is. But for example, my credit cards, I pay them off every month. I don't mind using your credit card, because some of them have awesome rewards, right? But you've got to pay it off every month. There's a name for people like me, and it's not a nice thing, but I forget what it is. But they don't encourage that behavior because they're not getting any money. Right. So watch out for the credit cards.

DJ Stutz  19:36  
Yeah. And I really, man and it's hard to kind of get into especially a kid's mind, teenagers mind and whatever. I remember, well, gosh, when my kids were really little we had checks. The idea of paying for your groceries with a card was just unfathomable. You know, right. But I remember going to the store with my oldest and she wanted something I'm like, Baby, we don't have the money for that. Yes, you do, oh my sweetheart, we do not have the money for that. You got checks, just write a check. She'd made that connection. And then we see the same thing with kids today, it's you got your card, just use your card, you know, you can, you can buy me this expensive, great toy, you can buy me this. And I think very often too, we use things as rewards, we use food, we use things, oh, if you get all these A's, I'm going to buy you this, this and this, you know, if you're a good boy, I'm going to buy you this, this and this. And when really what would be most beneficial to them and to us financially, is we get to go to the park for an hour or we get to do something together that's going to enhance the relationship, rather than just some toy, they're going to go off and play with for a few hours and then throw it you know, they'll be done with it. And so those relationship things are going to be better for us, within our family. But it's also good for us financially.

Debra Essling  21:19  
Yeah, I think, you know, children can be taught at a very young age, about money and how it works and how our debit card works or our credit card. And the best advice I've been told, you know, is to really teach them how to put a portion a way of saving. So, you know, I think four years old is a little bit young for an allowance, possibly, but some parents do it, that's great. But you know, they do maybe get $10 and a birthday card. So teach them to put a portion of that away towards something that they want to save for. But to teach them that concept of how a credit card works. Using Monopoly money, you know, have a talk with them sit at a table, put the card on a table, and then get like $100 worth of Monopoly money, okay? And tell them this card is representing what I have in the bank right now. And show them the money and say this is the amount of money I have in the bank, this card. As I use it, I'm pulling the money away from what I have, and take charge for something for clothes at Target, take $30 out and have them show them, I use the card, this money goes away, I use the card again, this money goes away. And then as it depletes then say now we need to go to the grocery store. And you know, it costs us $150 at the grocery store this week, where am I going to have the money for that? I just spent it. And now I don't have it. So this card is no longer going to work. And Kay busy visually show them money leaving as they use the card because it is very easy to not envision, oh, there's a consequence to using a card. So show them the consequences, the money leaving the table. And maybe they'll make a little bit of a connection next time when they're at the target and they want one of their particular toys. Say okay, that's going to lead my account, remember the money? It's going to leave my account? So, you know, is this really something that we can do? So you know, it'll help them at least think twice about it? Yeah, because I know, parents, we want to use these rewards for our kids. And we want to, you know, give them rewards when they do well. And but there's a cut off point. And this is your expertise. So there's a cut off point of when it's no longer a benefit for the kid, it's actually a negative.

DJ Stutz  23:52  
Right? Because then they start going into entitlement. Why would I do this? Why would I do my chores? What's in it for me right now. And so we always had chores that you do just because you're part of the family that's expanded. And then we had some things above and beyond that if they wanted to be able to go to the movie with their friend or whatever, that they could earn some more money. Or just put it in the bank. One of my kids just loved getting the money in the bank and she had some money when she got to high school. I even have a friend that her oldest. He wasn't into sports. He wasn't into all of this stuff. But he was into money. He came to his parents and in junior high and he had been tracking some stocks and said I want to invest this much money I had this much. He loved it. You know he had money in his bank from his allowance. He didn't spend much on anything. And he said I wanted to take I forget how much money it was but I wanted to take out that much of his savings and invest in this stock. Like friend was just like, you are such a goof it good like so she said, Yeah, okay, you know, you could lose it and you said all Yeah. And he showed her he'd been tracking it for a while and, and he's, I think it's gonna be okay. Okay. And so that was his instead of sports love doing that. And when he graduated from high school my friend, we were talking and art we had kids the same age, you know. And so it was a fun thing. But she said doc on it. Brian has more money in savings than we do. Like he's got. He's got a better portfolio than we do. He's just coming out of college. And so guess what? He's big in finance, and with big companies now and stuff. That was just his thing. But I think it would even be fun. And you're right, you know, four years old might be a little young, but I'll bet you someone that like in sixth grade, could you could pick one that they love, like, what's a game company that they enjoy, or Disney or Nickelodeon, and they learn about investment and stuff and you don't want it need to put the money in. But it'd be fun to track it and see, oh, man, aren't you glad you didn't put money there? They lost debt. And you can start talking to them and having some fun with it or have a competition with each family member takes a company that they like they think they're going to make. And then you can check it once a week and see who's who's had the most and who's had the least and depends on the personality of your kids. But I have found that most things if you make it a competition within the family, they will take great pride in winning that competition no matter what it is.

Debra Essling  26:55  
Sure, sure. Yeah, that's a great idea. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  26:59  
So as we've been talking about credit cards a little bit, I know that there are I think, is it for enemies to money?

Debra Essling  27:09  
Yeah, so there's four enemies to money, and we're talking more or less about growth of your money, right? Like, we're looking to grow your money, you know, what is really impacting that, and getting in your way, and there's four of them. The first one is inflation, okay, and we're all very familiar with this. But it's more of a perspective of when you're growing your money, you need to take into account the effects of inflation. So, you know, 30 years ago, having $500,000 in a retirement fund, was really pretty darn awesome. But if you're 35 years old right now, 30 years from now, $500,000 isn't going to cut it? because inflation is growing every little malicious a 3%. I know. I know. It was like what? Oh, close to 8% last year,

DJ Stutz  28:00  
but it's usually depends on which index you use.

Debra Essling  28:03  
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it really does. And yeah, exactly. So let's just say it's two and a half to 3%. Let's just say 3%. Let's do the rule of 72. Let me do my quick math that goes every 24 years, you know, the cost of everything is going to double every 24 years. And so you've got to take that into account when you're saving for retirement. So inflation is a big one, just don't think that what you're saving now is going to be adequate, you've got to adjust for inflation as well. Another enemy to our money is market losses. Okay, now, when you're younger, you can absorb these market stock market losses. As we get older, not so much. It takes about on average, the what in the industry, about 1015 years, you give yourself time after a big market loss. Okay? So when you're 30, you have 15 years, when you're 55, you really don't. So you've got to take into account how the stock market is going to affect your long term savings. Because you may be very sensitive to losses in the market. Now there are ways to get very good upside growth without directly being impacted by stock market loss is in fact not even indirectly impacted, just not impacted. There's a way to get good growth without having the negative side of the market affecting your your your money. And, and so that's something that people need to know about. And that's one thing I educate on, is how to do that. Okay. The third enemy to money is taxes. Because taxes, take a big chunk And this is one thing about 401k. We'll talk a little bit about 401, k's and retirement planning, okay. 401k, you're putting the money into it right now tax deferred. So your money isn't being taken out of your out of that for taxes, it's going straight to an account, which is nice. Okay. But when you retire, all of its going to get taxed. Everything you put in everything the employer put in all of the growth, it's all getting taxed. And so that's one of the things about 401 K's that people don't understand is that, oh, sure you have $500,000 in your 401k, do you realize that if you're in a 22% tax bracket, right away that cut at least $120,000 Out of that, okay. So it's less that you have for retirement? There's ways as well, to have a tax free retirement, you don't have to go the 401k route, or at least don't depend on slowly the 401k. Most employers aren't putting very much in there as matching. So it's not like you're getting a great deal on it. Most employers now we're matching like three or 4%. And that's it, if they're matching at all. So it sounds like the 401k is your only recourse for retirement planning. So taxes are another those are the three big ones. And then the fourth one, I've educated you now a little bit on this, right. Of course, one is indecision like now, you know, these four enemies. The fourth one is procrastination, indecision, knowing that taxes, inflation, and what was the taxes inflation? Oh, and market losses, you know, about these are still doing nothing about it. That's the fourth enemy. Just, you know, just not doing anything.

DJ Stutz  31:55  
Right. And so again, with young families and young kids, it's okay to start slow. But I think it's really important. You know, that August, you're gonna have some added things. Or maybe it's a month with a lot of birthdays.

Debra Essling  32:14  
Oh, sure. Right. I know a family. The mom was born on January 15, the daughter and then the the first daughter first born, and then the second born daughter born all on January. Well, I think the second your daughter was born on January 16. And so there were three birthdays right to em, right. Two weeks after Christmas. Yeah. How did you do it? Now they're groans we don't have to worry about it. Yeah, just I think. So. She's a cousin of my mom is a cousin of my husband. And we used to do gifts for all the cousins, all the cousins kid getting too expensive. So we all mutually decided, Oh, we're not doing this anymore. And part of it was because we couldn't afford her kids. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  33:01  
Yeah, for sure. So I'm the oldest of seven, my husband's the youngest of nine. And so when you put our families together, we have seven D nieces and nephews. Oh, wow. And you know, it's just not going to happen. It's a card, if that. But one thing that I always admired my mother in law for was he had 45 grandkids. And she never forgot a birthday or even with the kids with the in laws, but you know, we got for our birthday socks. Because socks for their birthday. And it sounds like kind of lame or whatever. But it's funny how my kids would really look forward to Grandma's socks, you know, their birthday would be coming around, if my socks come and then they were they would call them grandma's socks. And it just became part of the fun of it. But I always admired her for not feeling like I forgot to go all out. She was retired. She was widowed at 64. She lived to be 90. And but she was a way that was within her means that she could remember every one it was the same thing every time as you get older, that helps as well. And she would watch for sales and just buy socks when they were on sale and keep them because there was always somebody who needed a birthday sock. So

Debra Essling  34:31  
you know, when I think back to my own childhood, I can't remember a single gift that I received, or something extra that I got on the App Store. Okay, and I know my parents did it. It's not like I never got anything right. I wasn't neglected or, you know, anything along that line. They had means and I'm sure I received lots of gifts and everything like that. But you know what I do remember, is gathering with the family together in the living room. I'm, and we have a living room and a family room and a living room we weren't allowed in. Because that was an easy living room for guests only, but not Christmas Day, we got together in the living room. And I remember being able to spend time with my family. And just, I remember that I remember where the Christmas tree was, I just remember the joy of being able to do, I remember the cookies my mom made and a wonderful food. And as I got older, I remember, you know, my, because I was the youngest. And all my brothers and sisters much older than me. I remember all my brother in law's and my sister in law and everybody coming over with their kids, and just all the fun. So I guess my point is, all that stuff that we buy our kids, they're not gonna remember, they're going to remember the times and the lessons. And those are the memories. Those really are.

DJ Stutz  35:53  
Yeah, you are exactly right is having those special times, and the kindnesses that were shown between siblings and all of that we really have overdone the toy thing with our kids. I'll go to people's houses or even with my own kids and my grandkids, and they have so many toys that the toys won't even go in their bedroom. They have a special room just for toys. And it's packed, you know?

Debra Essling  36:22  
Yeah, yeah, I remember when I was when my kids were little, you know, it's like, I can't wait until I get my living room back. Because all the toys would be around in the living room. It's like, I can't wait until you get my living room back. And then I got my living room back. And then what we got a dog and we get all the dog toys. And now. But yeah, so yeah.

DJ Stutz  36:44  
So I think really, when we are getting toys, we could institute a rule. First off, I could buy this for you. But for every toy that comes in, you have to give a toy away to charity or whatever. So it's not just piling up, piling up, piling up. And so now when kids get there, they have to think about, okay, if I get this, what toy am I going to get rid of. And now they're and really that's a financial thing to, for them to start learning that, oh, if I spend my money on this, then that means I'm not going to have money to spend on that and that you have to weigh it and decide. And so I you know, I do this with family events, and what are we doing with sports and extracurricular, but it works for money as well. Is the saying that every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else? Well, it's true. Yeah. Yeah. And so when you really start weighing it that way, and bringing it to the kids and saying, Hey, we really wanted to go on this great vacation. And the kids are all excited. And but we need to save this amount of money. So do we go and go to the movies? Or do we take that money and put it in that vacation fund, so that we can go on the vacation. And maybe it's a really cool movie, they really want to see, okay, that's fine. But we just that's going to take us longer to go out on our vacation. And sometimes that's a good balance, teaching kids that and working them through that. I remember my aunt and this was, I mean, I was just a kid. And but I remember my aunt, my mom's sister would have all these envelopes. And so when they got paid, she got almost everything in cash. And she had an envelope for clothing. And then she had an envelope for groceries. And then she had an envelope for, you know, utilities and whatever. And so that it was very visual for her. And that's kind of what she needed to be able to see that this money is going out, you know, so Okay, now the clothing fund is down or the desert fun. I don't know, she had, I can't even remember all the envelopes she had. She had a ton of them. But it was very visual for her. That's something that's kind of harder for us to do these days. Because everything is so digital. And now we're finding places that won't even take cash.

Debra Essling  39:19  
Yeah, exactly. But I will tell you there is a budget app. I think it's Waianae by and a B stands for you need a budget. And it uses that same principle of the envelopes, the money envelopes, but it's all you can do it on your phone. And also, you know, on a computer, there is a charge for there's a budget app that I like to recommend that I don't think you need to pay for I'm not sure if it's changed, then that's meant, but this other one, why an A B? I think it costs like 15 or $20 a month, but yeah, puts it on an envelope. So if you kind of like that idea of hey, I think that would work well for me. Look into using the Waianae B budget. Yeah,

DJ Stutz  39:57  
I really love that. And I love with teaching our kids about money, you know, maybe having a piggy bank for savings, and then a piggy bank for, I don't know, fun. And so they see that money going and adding up.

Debra Essling  40:18  
And, and growing and adding. And I will tell you, that's not something just for the kids, parents, you need to be doing the same thing. I have five different savings accounts. One, for example, is a vacation savings. Okay, so money goes into that vacation savings. And so, and there's way it's like, there's actually accounts where you can split it up five ways, you know, the, it's not like, yes, we're five different banks. But But anyway, so you should have separate accounts. Don't just save everything into one account. That's no fun. I mean, I suppose it does grow, you see, you know, it gets to a higher number. But honestly, you should have an emergency fund account, you should have a vacation account, and whatever else goals that you and your family have, have those accounts set up. Don't just do it for the kids do it for yourself as well.

DJ Stutz  41:10  
Yeah, I think that's such a good idea. And even having a separate account where you're saving up for Christmas, remember the Christmas funds of the bank? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so but you know, you're having a Christmas fund or a beginning of school fund, any of those things that they're able to put in every month. And so that's always on your mind. And another great thing is, you know that you're going to have that supply list, let's say for school, and there are certain things so even though it may be May, or June, and you see a sale on stuff that you know, are typically on supply lists for school, go ahead and pick it up, then, because you know that right? What school starts, those prices aren't coming down. They may say it's a sale, but they can say the words and not do the action. And so when you see things that you know that you're going to be needing bonus, get that then and then maybe have a place that you can keep it so that when the kids start school.

Debra Essling  42:21  
Exactly. And think about the stress reducer, okay, oh, my birthdays, and Christmas time or a stressor for you causes anxiety, because of the extra money that you're spending. Think about how much stress relief there is, if you save for Christmas starting in January, and you put a little bit of sight into that account every month. And maybe by December, there's not enough in there to pay for everything for Christmas. But what a huge stress relief that you have some in there. And then what fun it is, if you see something that's a great Christmas idea, in April, you can go ahead, I get out of the Christmas fun. You don't have to say, oh, yeah, I'll just have to wait on that. You can go ahead and by it. So it's a huge relief of stress, saving money, if people are stressed out about their money. One way to relieve that stress is to start saving. All right.

DJ Stutz  43:11  
Well, we know I mean, one of the biggest factors in divorce is money, arguments over money. And we sure don't want that. Not only is it just unfair to the kids, it's unfair to you as adults, you've got, you know, the guy of your dreams or the gal your dreams and, and somehow that gets flitted away, because you're always at each other over money. And that's something that they could come to, I think to you for help is, you know, money started to become a real issue in our marriage, help us figure out how to make it work.

Debra Essling  43:43  
And people do and people do when I sit down with a family and do their financial plan. And I and I do these at no cost? By the way, I don't charge them no time, or are they paying me anything? The companies that I represent, they pay me so don't worry about that. Okay. I sit down with them. The first thing we do, and we spend about a third of our time on what are the family's goals? What are some dreams that you have when it comes to your money and what you want to do with it. And sometimes I can always tell the couples that have already talked about this, because they have it and they're like, Oh, my wife wants to do this. And I'm on board. Like I met with somebody and they were talking about RV buying an RV for their retirement and selling the house and, and they were both on board. And you know, and she was like, Well, at first he thought it was a crazy idea. But you know, somebody discussed it, but then there's other couples just haven't discussed this. And so when I asked them, what are some of the goals that you have, when it comes to your money? Where do you want? What do you want your retirement to look like? What do you want? 20 years from now it'll look like and they're like, I don't know and sometimes, you know, it's a real surprise to them. When their spouse says something, I didn't know that they will say, I didn't know you wanted to do that. So that's one thing that I do really love when I meet with families is that, you know, bringing them together and having them discuss that really important topic about their money. Because sometimes it just doesn't happen.

DJ Stutz  45:17  
Yeah, yeah, what a what a great service that you provide and helping. So you know, it helps not only with you financially, but it can help your self esteem, it can help your mental health, all of those issues come into play, and being more confident, and having a plan that really softens the blow, so to speak, with financial issues. So that's really cool. So, So Deb, if our families wanted to maybe get in touch with you and find out more about becoming financially stable, or where to start, I've got 23, and I've got a one year old, and where do I go? I have no idea, how would they get ahold of you?

Debra Essling  46:00  
Um, well, I don't know, if you're making my contact information available. But they can reach me by phone, or I have an email that they can reach me at, I have a, you know, a couple of different websites as well. So it's actually, you know, you can find me through LinkedIn and contact me through LinkedIn, if that's something you'd like to do. If you search, Deborah, Efteling, DB, Ara, and then ESS, Li, Ng, and just look for me under LinkedIn that way, and I have my contact info on LinkedIn, you just have to, on my profile, there's a little thing called the contact info. And you can also check out other things that I've posted on LinkedIn. And you can just, you know, get out get to know me completely through LinkedIn. That's the beauty of social media. Yeah,

DJ Stutz  46:51  
it is, well, and too, we're gonna have some of that contact information in the show notes. And so if they want to, they can scroll down. And I think we have your phone number and your website, and your email and all of that. So that will be easy for them to be able to get a hold of you and get some answers.

Debra Essling  47:10  
Yeah, I work across the country. So don't worry about oh, but I'm in Arkansas, and you're in Illinois, that doesn't really matter. So, you know, it's, it's quick and easy to get licensed in a state if not already licensed in it. So that's not a problem working across the country on Zoom, I could do 100% of my business on Zoom. It's beautiful. You know, and COVID started, not so much. And we were working with B, we Lashonda, this whole zoom thing right away, my business associate tonight. But some of the companies they're like, Oh, you need to do a paper app. And I'm like, they're in Florida, you want me to do a paper app. So now all the company most of the companies are on board as well. But even if you just want to like a 20 minute get to know me learn more about what I do. I'm, I'm open to that as well.

DJ Stutz  48:03  
That sounds great. So before we go, I always ask my guests the same question. It's fun to see the different answers I get. But, Deb, how would you describe a successful parent?

Debra Essling  48:19  
Okay, so I heard this one. And it made me feel so much better. And I don't know if everybody out there is are people of faith or not. But this is what I believe in what I've been taught is that we are given the children that we are best suited to raise. Sometimes you look at your child, and you say, you know, if that family over there had my child, they'd be doing such a better job. It just like, it's just that lack of confidence that we're doing the right thing for our children, right. But that's not the case. Parents, sometimes parents are gifted with awesome children don't, don't ever get to trouble, get in trouble. And sometimes parents are gifted with kids that are just a riot and getting in trouble. So the thing to know with confidence is that you are perfect for your child, you and your spouse, you are designed to perfectly raise that child, you are designed for that child, that child is rather I think more or less that child is designed for you. So whatever you're going through whatever the challenges are, you can do it because that is your child. And it wasn't it's just not coincidence that you have that child. It was done by design and so you are capable of being successful parent with that child.

DJ Stutz  49:50  
Wow. You know, that is a unique answer. I have not gotten that answer before but I love it. So good. That is Awesome. Well, Debra Eskalene, I so appreciate you taking this time with us on the podcast. And I know that we will connect again. And we'll have more discussions down the road. Thank you so much.

Debra Essling  50:14  
Thank you for having me. This is so much fun. Thank you,

DJ Stutz  50:17  
you bet. And be sure to check the show notes to find Debra's information. And there's also a link to connect with her. And hit the Follow button while you're there to make sure that you're getting in on the amazing episodes we have each week. And speaking of amazing episodes, next week's guest is Jerry Dugan. And we are talking about the lessons that he and I have learned while raising our kids. Some things worked really well and some things just did not. And then we're also talking about the 40 developmental assets that help kids grow up to be successful adults. So check it out and see and until next time, let's find joy in parenting!

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Debra Essling

Debra Essling lives in the Chicago area with her husband. They have two grown children and are very active with their church and in the community. Debra’s passion is helping people de-stress when it comes to their money, and to educate them on tips and tricks that the financial industry does not want them to learn about!