Simple Financial Advice for Women who want to Build Wealth

In the landmark 50th episode of “The Fire Inside Her,” host Diane Schroeder invites financial educator Tess Waresmith to share her empowering journey to financial independence. As they delve into the world of investing, they challenge societal norms around women and money and emphasize the power of self-care as the ultimate form of financial success. With candid discussions about overcoming financial challenges and imposter syndrome, they provide invaluable insights that break the stereotypes around money management. Tess’s simple investment strategies, combined with Diane’s personal anecdotes, create a compelling narrative that highlights the impact of financial education on one’s authenticity and the ability to design the life you desire. Join them in this enlightening episode as they redefine the relationship between women, money, and self-care.

Tess Waresmith is a financial coach and the founder of Wealth with Tess, a financial education community that helps women in their 30’s, 40’s, and beyond, learn how to grow their money using simple investing strategies so that they can retire comfortably, chase their dreams, and live life on their terms.

After losing 80k in bad investments in her twenties, Tess learned everything she could about wealth building and built her net worth to 1 million as a single 35 year old woman.

Now she’s helped thousands of women learn how to grow their money using simple investing strategies anyone can do (even if you’re short-on-time or a total newbie investor). Thousands of women have attended her free investing workshops, hundreds of women have joined her small group coaching programs, and she regularly shares simple money tips for free on Instagram at @wealthwithtess.

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Diane Schroeder [00:00:00]:

Welcome to The Fire Inside Her, the podcast where we explore the incredible stories of individuals who have discovered their inner fire on their journey to authenticity. I'm your host, Diane Schroeder, and I am so grateful that you are here.

Diane Schroeder [00:00:23]:

I'm pretty open about all the work I've done to release the shame I've carried throughout my life. One area that has been one of the most challenging is my financial situation. Spending money, and buying things was my addiction for many years. I was trying to fill a bottomless void. I'm proud to say that I've been living debt free for a few years now, and it's one of my greatest accomplishments. But wait. There is more. Living credit card debt free is liberating. But can you imagine building wealth to experience a completely different type of freedom? It's possible.

Diane Schroeder [00:01:07]:

Tess Waresmith, a financial educator who advocates for women with simple investing strategies, shares her journey of overcoming fear and uncertainty to achieve financial independence. This week, we talk about the power of financial education and the importance of self-care, the need to challenge societal norms around women and money. Tess is a financial coach and the founder of Wealth with Tess. Her financial education community helps women in their thirties, forties and beyond to learn how to grow their money using simple investing strategies to retire comfortably, chase their dreams, and live on their own terms. Sounds great. Right? After Tess lost $80,000 in bad investments in her twenties, she learned everything she could about wealth building and built her net worth to $1,000,000 as a single 35-year-old woman. Now, she's helped thousands of women learn how to grow their money using simple investing strategies that anyone can do, even if you're short on time or a complete newbie. Sit back and relax, and check out this latest episode.

Diane Schroeder [00:02:28]:

I am so excited that we get to talk money and finances and probably a few other things with Tess Waresmith, who I just found out is in Boston, and I will be going there, for our mini moon. And, Tess, thank you for being here.

Tess Waresmith [00:02:46]:

Thank you so much for having me. Any podcast that's talking about authenticity, sign me up. So, I'm pumped to be here.

Diane Schroeder [00:02:53]:

Perfect. My icebreaker question for you is, when was your first tattoo and what was it?

Tess Waresmith [00:03:01]:

My first tattoo was when I was 18 years old, like, right after I turned 18. And my uncle had just passed away, and I wanted to get something to remember him by. And he used to be a gardener, so I actually saw this, like, small floral arrangement tattoo, walking past like, didn't have an appointment, just was, like, walking past a tattoo shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and just saw it and decided that I needed it, and I walked in and I got it. And that was the first of now I have a lot more tattoos. And all of those, I spent a year or so planning them, but that one, I just did off the cuff. It's pretty small. It was an inch by an inch. But still, yeah, I love that tattoo. It was very spontaneous. No planning.

Diane Schroeder [00:03:46]:

I love it. That was my first one. I waited till I was a little bit older, and I had just gotten hired on the fire department. It was the same thing. I'm like, you know, I'm ready to get a tattoo, so I walked by and just got some flash art that the tattoo artist did. And it was a fire with a Japanese kanji symbol. I've covered it up since then because I was like, what if this doesn't really say fire?

Tess Waresmith [00:04:08]:

I've heard that happened to people before where they thought it said one thing. Like, I heard this woman, she thought she got, like, peace and love, and it said lunchtime. I don't know if that's a real story, but that's terrifying.

Diane Schroeder [00:04:19]:

Yeah. That's why I was like, I don't want to, like, offend anyone or you know? And I did the same thing. I also have a Cherokee on because I'm Cherokee. And so, after my grandma passed away, we all, my nieces and I got Cherokee tattoos. And we used a book, and I think we did it right, but I have no idea what it really says. Anyway, well, thank you again for giving us your time and talking with us. And I guess let's start with, why did you choose the path of finance and investing and, you know, a little bit about what put you on this journey?

Tess Waresmith [00:04:58]:

Yeah. I grew up really afraid of money. That's truly the beginning of my story because I remember even as a little kid finding dollar bills or coins and hiding them. And I remember my mother always being very concerned if we had enough money for things, and we were solid middle class. We weren't hurting, but I just remember being really afraid. So much so that I remember never wanting to be in debt at a very early age, and that made me focus on my sports more, and so I ended up going to college with a full scholarship for springboard diving. And that was intentional just so I could not pay for college. I didn't really love the sport.

Tess Waresmith [00:05:36]:

I just knew that it was a way for me to get in and not have debt. And so, that theme really followed me for most of my life. And quite frankly, to be totally transparent, it's still money narrative that I have to work on all the time even though now I'm financially very secure and doing very well, I still have to work on that. I'll always be a work in progress, I think, when it comes to scarcity mindset and money, so that is still very much part of my journey. So, after I graduated from college, I graduated into a recession, and I wanted to find a good stable job. I got rejected from everything, started panicking, and then ended up with the weirdest job of all time as a circus performer on cruise ships, like an actual, like, aerial acrobat. That was my first job.

Diane Schroeder [00:06:16]:

How cool.

Tess Waresmith [00:06:18]:

Yeah. It was very cool. And why it's actually directly related to my money story is because one of the reasons I ended up deciding to do that as I said, okay. This is not at all what I thought I'd be doing. I thought I'd be working on Wall Street or as a brand manager at a big marketing company or something, but I realized that they would pay for food and accommodations. So, all the money I make, I could save. And as somebody that had been saving coins since I was a young, young child, I thought, perfect.

Tess Waresmith [00:06:45]:

I can continue to do that. And so, after that, I ended up having some money to invest. I knew that I needed to invest because that's what I'd heard out there, but I thought at the time that I was definitely not smart enough to do it on my own. So, I hired a financial adviser, somebody I knew for a long time, a friend. And, unfortunately, after a few years, I started to realize that the returns weren't so great. I started to just pay more attention to what was happening in the stock market, what was happening with my money. She had sold me at that point a financial product that I didn't really feel good about, and I had agreed to it because I trusted this person. And, unfortunately, the long story short is I lost tens of thousands of dollars working with that person, and I could've easily invested on my own using a much simpler strategy and saved myself tens of thousands of dollars.

Tess Waresmith [00:07:36]:

And at the same time, I invested in a small real estate property, made all the mistakes there, and lost $30,000 there too, probably. So probably all in, in trying to be smart with my money, I probably lost about $80,000 in fees, bad financial products, and this real estate investment in my twenties. And by the time I figured all this out, I was devastated because, of course, my whole goal had been to make sure I'm safe and secure, and I was devastated. And once I got off the floor and, you know, got out of my shame spiral, I learned everything I could, and I learned this one insane truth that investing in the stock market is actually really simple, and the simplest strategies are the best ways to grow your wealth. And anyone can do it. You don't need to be a special snowflake. You don't need to have an economics degree.

Tess Waresmith [00:08:23]:

You don't have to have tons of time. You don't have to pick stocks. You don't have to do any of that. There are very simple strategies that work really, really well. And so, once I learned this, I was very confused as to why most people didn't have this information. So, at that point, I sort of felt morally obligated to do something about it. I started posting content on it, and eventually it turned into a business, and now I help mostly women in their thirties and forties implement super simple investing strategies so they can make their money work for them without adding more time and effort to their plate and do it in such a way that takes very little time. So, that's how I got to where I am now.

Diane Schroeder [00:08:56]:

Thank you for sharing, and what a badass. Like, I think back to my twenties, and I was not in that space of life or thinking or anything like that. And then when I got hired on the fire department, you know, we had a pension, and they invested for us. So, I just listened and did what they told me to do. Like, put your money away. Don't think about it. And I've not thought about it until I retired in May, and I was like, alright. Well, let's see how I did.

Diane Schroeder [00:09:24]:

And it wasn't bad, but I think just, like, good for you. I think of that number that you said of what you've lost in bad investments, I probably spent that in, like, credit card debt and, you know, well beyond that, and student loan debt. And, like, you know, it's just money can be really intimidating. And I didn't make peace with my money and my money situation until I was in my forties, for sure. And I just think that, wow. I'm so impressed. So, good job.

Tess Waresmith [00:09:53]:

Well, thank you. I mean, a lot of it is fear driven. Right? And I will say I had some privilege. Right? Like, I had a parent that took me to practice so I could learn what I needed to learn to get a full athletic scholarship. And so, there is a lot of privilege there. Right? Not having that student loan debt is huge, and I try to be really transparent about that. But I will say a lot of it, people were asked me all the time, like, how are you interested? I was terrified.

Tess Waresmith [00:10:14]:

You know? My mother got divorced twice. And when my brother and I were babies, she was looking for a partner to help pay for stuff, and she told me that. She was looking for a man to help her pay. Unfortunately, she found a great guy that ended up being my stepdad, but I never wanted to be in that position. And I heard that story early on, and I was like, that's not for me. And my father's been married 6 times, lost a lot of money. And so, between, you know, the 9 marriages of my biological parents, it made me very afraid of money, and in a weird way, that fear forced me to take action. So, as much as I'm, you know, bummed that I lost that money, I would never be as wealthy as I am today, if I hadn't made those mistakes and if I hadn't had that fear. So, you know, I'm in a lot of ways, I'm grateful for that.

Diane Schroeder [00:10:59]:

Well, there's so many life lessons in that. So, let's go back really quick to what you said about the simple strategies. I think that is true with just about anything in life that keep it simple stupid. Right? Like, KISS. And sometimes we try to overcomplicate things, and I think it's really easy to do that with financing and investing. So, what did you, like, learn right off the bat that maybe this isn't so scary. What were some of the first things that you discovered to alleviate some of that fear?

Tess Waresmith [00:11:31]:

Yeah. So, you know, I had been working with a financial adviser, and in my account were dozens of funds. And so, I had, like most people, made the assumption that the only way that you can successfully invest is if you have someone really smart managing your money very actively and picking very specific investments at a specific time. And what I learned through a lot of research and straight up going up to rich people and asking them, how do you invest your money? What I learned, which by the way is a great strategy. If you ask people, they want to tell you. So, if you ever want to know how someone got to where they are, just ask. Most people are going to want to let you know. And what I learned was that most people that invest well for a long period of time, they invest in very simple investments and they hold them.

Tess Waresmith [00:12:20]:

They don't try to trade them. They don't try to time the stock market. They invest in a couple different funds, usually what's called an index fund and making no assumptions. An index fund is basically just a fund that you can buy that holds a bunch of different stocks. It's the variety pack of investing. Right? So, instead of trying to pick, you know, is Apple going to do well? What's Microsoft doing? You're just buying the bundle. So, what these people do is they buy the bundle. They buy a couple, not 30.

Tess Waresmith [00:12:48]:

They buy a couple different funds that hold hundreds and thousands of stocks. And they're very diversified because these funds often have stocks in the US, international stocks, they have different sizes, different industries, all this stuff. They hold on to these baskets of stocks or these index funds for a long time and continue to contribute. And that's pretty much it. They don't listen to the noise of the stock market. You know, we hear all this all the time that all this doom and gloom economic news that makes us scared to invest, but the best strategies are just to ignore it and to continue to invest because nobody knows what the stock market is going to do. So, once I learned that, 1, nobody can time the stock market well, 2, it goes up over time. And 3, there's investments that hold a bunch of different stocks, and you don't have to learn how to pick stocks, all of a sudden, investing becomes very simple. So, I just oversimplified it, and there's a little bit more to it. But the gist is and the important takeaway here is if you're listening to this, you can do it. Because if you're listening to this, you're somebody that cares about personal development, you want to learn, you can learn how to do this in a matter of weeks. It doesn't take months or years or economics or finance degrees, it's just a different language. You got to learn a little bit about the language, and you can set up very simple automated stuff that works great.

Diane Schroeder [00:14:01]:

So, it's the long game. You're playing the long game. It's not short. It's not like this, you're going to get rich overnight. It's the long game. So, my next question would be because the first thing that popped into my head is, I can't afford to get into that game. Is that a myth or truth?

Tess Waresmith [00:14:20]:

Total myth, and I'll tell you why. So, one thing I will say is you really do need to do 2 things before you start investing. The first is to make sure you have an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months expenses. And if you're a business owner, probably on the higher end of that, or if you have kids or whatever it is, and you want to hold those somewhere safe in a savings account, ideally a high yield savings account, which, by the way, if you're listening to this and I just said high yield savings account and you don't know what that means, a high yield savings account is an online bank that's going to give you, like, 10x plus the interest rate in your regular bank account, and you can sign up for one in 5 minutes. And if you have a couple thousand or more dollars in a bank account, moving it over to a high yield savings account can help you make hundreds or thousands without actually have to doing any work. Because right now, at the time of this recording, October 2023, the interest rates in these accounts are really high. So, if you don't have a high yield savings account, that's your next step. I'm so sorry. I have to put that out there.

Diane Schroeder [00:15:13]:

No. That's okay. Because you're right. I did that, and it's been a game changer. I love the interest that I get in my savings account for my emergency fund.

Tess Waresmith [00:15:20]:

Yeah. And it's easy. So, so that's the first thing you have to do. The second thing you have to do is pay off any high interest debt, which is any debt over 7%. And the reason I say that is because what a lot of people think is they have to be totally debt free to start investing. And the average return of the stock market, the historical average return, not every year, but over time is about 10%. So, if you are, you know, trying to pay down low interest debt fast, like, if you have a mortgage that's at 4 or 5% or something like that and you're trying to pay it off quickly to get out of debt before you start investing, you're actually missing out on an opportunity to grow your wealth in the stock market. So, I'll give you an example.

Tess Waresmith [00:15:59]:

The of my clients in my small group coaching program, she was paying an additional $500 towards her mortgage every month, and her interest rate was 3%. And so, we did the math, and we figured out if she kept doing that, she'd pay off her mortgage 10 years faster. She'd save roughly $20. If she invested that money and received the historical average of the stock market over the next 10 years, she'd have over $100 in her investing account. So, it's important to do that math and think about, you know, the opportunity cost of where your money is going. But other than those 2 things, other than emergency fund and paying off high interest debt, that's all you need to have done before you start investing. And what's amazing about living in 2023 is now you can buy what's called fractional shares. So, you can get started investing with a dollar.

Tess Waresmith [00:16:45]:

A fractional share is just like a piece of a stock or a piece of a fund. So, even if the price of the fund is more money than you have, you can buy a portion of it, and you can do that with literally a dollar. Now, obviously, you want to invest more than a dollar because we want to benefit from compound interest. But I always encourage people even if you only have $50 a week or $100 a month, whatever it is, the more you contribute and the earlier you contribute, the bigger opportunity you have to take advantage of compound interest. And the only thing you can't do is go back in time and invest more. Right? So, even if you only have a little bit to invest, it's better to get started and build the habit, and then you can add more money as you go.

Diane Schroeder [00:17:26]:

Oh, wow. That is very informative. So, the next question I have then, yeah. But, I mean, I'm in my forties. What does it matter? Like, it's too late. It's too late for me. I'm just going to keep, you know, white knuckling it and hope that, you know, something changes, and I'll be able to get some inheritance from a long lost relative. Is it too late, I guess, is the simple question.

Tess Waresmith [00:17:51]:

Yeah. For sure. So, absolutely not too late. I get this question a lot. And in my small group coaching program, I work with a lot of women in their forties and even early fifties. And a lot of them feel like it's way too late to get started. They have nothing. But here's what I say.

Tess Waresmith [00:18:07]:

First of all, you have a couple decades until traditional retirement age. So, you might not be able to retire right now, but if you focus on your finances for a couple years, a couple years make a huge difference in your life. And even if you started investing, let's say, you started investing at 45, and all you had was $500 a month to invest, and you did that for 20 years. That's roughly $270,000, which is more than the median American has in retirement savings right now. So, you'd be doing better than the average just by starting at 45. So, it's not too late at all to make a huge difference. The only mistake you can make at this point, first of all, give yourself some grace because everyone thinks they're behind. Let me back up and say that.

Tess Waresmith [00:18:50]:

Every single woman I work with, thirties, forties, early fifties, feels like they're behind. Every single one. You're not really behind. You're ready when you are, and, unfortunately, our generation did not benefit from getting this education at an early age, and that's something that I'm trying to change. So, there's nothing you can do about what happened before, but you can change what the future looks like. If you feel behind, give yourself some grace, but then take action. Right? And the more you start investing, the more in control you're going to feel, the more confident you're going to feel, and then you're going to get more motivated to start investing more. It is absolutely not too late to start in your forties.

Diane Schroeder [00:19:24]:

Thank you for that pep talk because it's true, and I agree with you. And I guess, you know, I struggled a lot with my finances, and it was funny because you were sharing your story. And, you know, I grew up solidly on the lower end of middle class. My parents worked really hard. We never talked about money. They never taught me about money, and they never really said no, but what I found out when I got older was that my mom was just trying to figure out how to make it work. Like, she was robbing Peter to pay Paul and transferring credit cards to 1 credit card, and I didn't know that. Like, I never knew it was bad to have credit cards.

Diane Schroeder [00:20:01]:

I didn't really know that it was good. It was kind of a neutral thing. So, I feel like I got into the world, like, okay. Now what do I do? I don't know even how to pay my bills. So, it took a long time to correct that, but what I figured out was the freedom that comes with managing your finances. And, you know, investing is one huge piece of that. Paying off high interest debt, absolutely. But just that freedom that you get and, you know, I talk a lot about self-care and creating a self-care strategy, and that is such a pivotal part of it that we don't, you know, think about. How has your financial situation and investing and kind of your financial journey, how does that impact your self-care?

Tess Waresmith [00:20:43]:

Wow. I'm so glad you brought that up because, you know, there's a narrative that self-care is like bubble baths and shit. And, like, that might make you feel good for, like, a minute, but it's not actually going to help you change your life or solve any problems or give you options. And at the end of the day, taking care of your finances is the ultimate form of self-care. Because when you have enough money, first of all, you're less anxious, which is pretty much every single millennial woman I know is anxious, and many are anxious about money. But if you can get your finances under control and learn a little bit about your money and start investing. And, again, that can take weeks, not months. It's something that I do in my small group coaching program in weeks. That kind of self-care is the self-care that's going to pay dividends. Real dividends and metaphorical dividends.

Diane Schroeder [00:21:31]:

Pun intended.

Tess Waresmith [00:21:31]:

Yeah. Pun intended. And the reason I say that is the reason why I get so excited about helping anybody build wealth, but particularly women, is when you have money, you have options. You have time. You have independence. You have the flexibility to walk away from a garbage job, to leave a toxic relationship, to pay for therapy, to go to the gym. Right? All of those things are so incredibly important for your mental health, your well-being, to live a fulfilled life, and money is the tool that can make that happen. And I think one of the worst adages out there is, like, money doesn't buy happiness, which, like, no, in itself, it doesn't, but it buys a shit ton of things that I want, like freedom and independence and flexibility and options and all that stuff.

Tess Waresmith [00:22:15]:

So, I think financial education is the ultimate form of self-care because it can not only in itself, create more confidence in every area of your life, but also give you more options to take care of yourself when you need to, to go hiking on a Tuesday and take the day off work if you need to, whatever it is. And I can't tell you how many people that I've worked with in my coaching program or my free workshops or anything like that. They tell me their money wins, and that's exciting. But what they're most excited about is that they have more confidence or that they have more time to do this thing or they feel less guilty about paying for their yoga classes. Like, that's the stuff that really matters. It's not the cars or the houses. It's the options, and that's what's so powerful about money as a self-care tool.

Diane Schroeder [00:22:59]:

Oh, preach. Thank you for saying that, and it really resonates with me. And I think the other piece of that, it's the ultimate form of self-care, and it helps you along your journey to authenticity because when you have options, when you can do what you want because it's what you want and what feels good to you and what you're aligned with, then you're being in your true authentic self. And you're not stuck in a crappy job with crappy bosses or, like you said, a toxic relationship. You create your own options, and you create the life you want.

Tess Waresmith [00:23:34]:

Absolutely. Yeah. I love that, and I'm a good example of that. You know, I left my full-time job pretty recently to take this business full time, and I love talking about money. It energizes me. I also like making money, by the way. Like and I'm going to say that because it's true. And what I love most about it is just the options that I have, and it's totally transformed my life and reduced my anxiety and all these things.

Tess Waresmith [00:24:00]:

So, it allowed me now to have a platform where I can say the stuff I want to say, and I can, you know, swear as much as I want to. I can be myself, and there is nothing more rewarding than being able to be myself in relationships and business, and money really has given me that opportunity.

Diane Schroeder [00:24:20]:

Absolutely. Well, thank you for sharing that. I think it's a form of currency. And, you know, healing that money relationship, I think women in general, and I don't mean to stereotype because I'm sure men struggle with it as well, but I feel like it's just an easy way once you heal that relationship with money. Like, everything you just said is so true, and I've seen it in my own life. And I just, you know, I can't stress it enough that it's currency. It's an exchange of goods. It's not good or bad.

Diane Schroeder [00:24:48]:

It's just money. It's what we need to do what we need to do and what we want to do in life. And you can make choices to make more money, and that doesn't make you a bad person. I think there's some shame around money, and I'm not sure why. Can you answer that why we hold on to shame around money?

Tess Waresmith [00:25:07]:

Yeah. And, I mean, this is something that I find different depending on how you identify. And I think for women in particular, there's a lot of shame because with, you know, thousands of years of patriarchy. Right? Like, we're supposed to act in a certain way when it comes to money, and wanting money is greedy, and we're supposed to be generous and doting and all those things. And I think we've been to some degree; we won't talk about it as much. We won't chase promotions as much. We won't talk about our salaries, and we have to change that because money in the hands of anybody is magic if they speak their truth, if they live an authentic life because usually that's going to lead to making everybody else around them better. So, I had a really hard time sharing my financial success for a long time, I felt so, I don't know, almost embarrassed or, like, I was going to sound arrogant by sharing my net worth or that I'd made $1,000,000 through investing or that I had started this business. Meanwhile, you see all these guys posting all the time, like, about their money and their salary and all this stuff.

Tess Waresmith [00:26:10]:

So, I do think it is a little bit different when it comes to gender, and it's also the way we've been conditioned. And the other thing I would say is the messaging that we've received for most of our lives is very specific, and there's actually data on this, by the way. Like, most articles, financial articles for men talk about, like, bringing in the big bucks and investing. And something like over 65% of articles aimed at women talk about saving and coupon clipping and not being an excessive spender.

Diane Schroeder [00:26:41]:

Right. Don't buy the latte.

Tess Waresmith [00:26:43]:

Yes. Yeah. Exactly. Like, that's why you're not doing well is because you're buying a pumpkin spice latte, which is total bullshit, and that's gaslighting, by the way. Like, that is not the reason why. I think it is really important to address that there are differences when it comes to gender and how we've been talked about. How we've received messages about money, the type of messaging that is out there for us. And at the end of the day, that is something that I really want to change, which is why I've kind of niched down in that area.

Diane Schroeder [00:27:11]:

Oh, I absolutely love it. I think it's magic. So, that leads to a perfect segue. Tell us a little bit about your program and your group coaching and just how you work with women, and I know it's not just women. How you work with people in investing their money.

Tess Waresmith [00:27:28]:

Yeah. So, I have a really straightforward four step process. And in most of my content or I actually have a great free 4 step investing guide. It's called a savvy investor starter pack, and it's a 4-step toolkit that'll walk you through the steps that I would take if I was going to start investing but, really, the first step is a lot of what we've talked about today is understanding your money mindset. Like, what is holding you back? What is your current relationship with money? Why do you feel that way? And that's worth journaling on and spending some time on, so we talk a lot about that. And then we figure out what your spending looks like, how much you can invest per month, and there is budgeting involved. A lot of the hardest part about investing is not the actual investing itself. Picking these funds and buying and holding these funds, that's easy.

Tess Waresmith [00:28:14]:

The harder part is making sure you have enough money to invest in the first place. So, we figure out, you know, how much money you are able to invest now, potential ways to improve it. And then the 3rd step is taking advantage of retirement accounts, which by the way, doesn’t sound like a sexy topic, but accounts like your 401k and IRAs, those are accounts that they don't just help you save for retirement. They help you save a shit ton of money on taxes, and that's why they are so valuable. So, that's the 3rd step is figuring out which of those accounts you can leverage to save on taxes. And then step 4, we start investing in those simple investments. So, we try to make it as straightforward as possible. If you want to get started, the best way to do that is with the savvy investor starter pack, which will link to kind of all this information that I just shared, and there's actually a video in there, in the pack that is I think it's about 20 minutes long, and it's the 8 most common investing mistakes I see people make, AKA I made every single one of those mistakes, I think.

Tess Waresmith [00:29:12]:

So, if you want to save thousands of dollars and not make the same mistakes I did, make sure you grab that guide, and we can put that in the show notes maybe.

Diane Schroeder [00:29:19]:


Tess Waresmith [00:29:20]:

Perfect. Alright. So, that's the best place to start. And, you know, that's a good next step if you're trying to figure out where to go from here.

Diane Schroeder [00:29:26]:

That's awesome. And then I'll also link how they can find you and the best place to connect with you so if they want, you know, additional information. And I love your no-nonsense approach. I guess my other question well, I have a lot of questions. But another question that I have, and this is I'm super curious because you're young, and that's a gift, to be young. Have you faced your own kind of, like, judgment from other people, any, like, imposter syndrome about yourself, like, am I too young to be doing this? Do I not? And I'm just curious, and I think it comes from being in the fire service for so many years of my life, I was really young when I got hired. I always looked young, and it was really just, I struggled a lot with that to finally, when I got to the space where I was like, no. I fucking know what I'm doing. Like, you all can kiss off. Do you struggle with any of that yourself?

Tess Waresmith [00:30:24]:

Oh, totally. Yeah. I think if anyone answers that question, no. I have further questions. But, yes, totally, I do. And I'll say this. I'm also very transparent about the length of this journey. I'm 35 years old, and I bought my first rental property when I was 25, and I lost a lot of money on that, and I have been learning and making mistakes and growing for 10 years. And becoming a millionaire, having $1,000,000 net worth, that did not happen overnight. That was 10 years of intentional effort and a lot of mistakes. So, to go back to your question, like, is 45 too late? No. It's not too late.

Tess Waresmith [00:30:58]:

If you start now and you make intentional decisions and you put your head down and you get to work, absolutely not. And the great part about, again, 2023 is there’s so much education out there. You know, I have an educational program that'll help you avoid all the mistakes I made. There's a million ways you can learn whether it's with podcasts or books and so much free and paid education that can help you fast track where you want to get to. So, at the end of the day, I think it's really important to invest in your education, and that's something that I still do. So, you know, to circle back to your imposter syndrome question, one of the things that helps me make sure that I feel good about what I'm sharing is, 1, I'm constantly challenging what I'm saying. So, I'm constantly trying to debunk the way that I teach investing. And then the other thing is constantly educating myself. I spend hours each week listening to different people talk about investing, and sometimes I learn something. A lot of times, I'm just getting more different ways to frame the same information, which is awesome. But I'm a lifetime learner, and I think that's one of the best ways to combat impostor syndrome is to dedicate yourself to that, knowing that I'm not going to know everything. This just happened last night. Somebody me a question in my small group coaching program, and I didn't know the answer, but that's okay. Like, I'll own that. I'll go find it. Give me a minute, and I did.

Tess Waresmith [00:32:13]:

You’re not always going to know everything, and that is not the expectation. But if you can provide value, if you have experience, like, you can help somebody else that doesn't have that experience. Even if you don't think it's as much as you think you need, you probably know more than you know.

Diane Schroeder [00:32:27]:

That is such valuable, again, not just financial and investing information, but life information. You know, you've been very vulnerable, and I appreciate that sharing that you failed and screwed up and you may not know all the answers. I think we all go on the journey of life, and you've got to continue to fail. If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough or you're not even putting yourself up there. I completely believe that. It's what did you learn when you failed, and are you continuing to grow on that foundation? And I just think the idea of being perfect and, you know, not being too afraid to fail keeps people really small. And, again, I think that goes to how we identify as gender as well, and there's plenty of science to back that up, but it's okay to stretch. And if you do fall, that's okay too because you can pick yourself up. I always remind people of that. So, thank you. And it's really again, it's a leadership quality that you carry, you know, so it's not surprising that you're, you know, kicking ass because you're leading from a very genuine place, and you've been doing it for your whole life. So, while you are young, yes. You have a lot of experience, and I think that's another thing that, you know, well, only old people have experienced. No. You can have 1 year experience 50 times. Right? Like, you can either have that growth mindset or not. So, thank you for sharing that with me.

Tess Waresmith [00:33:49]:

Well said. Yeah. I couldn't agree more.

Diane Schroeder [00:33:51]:

I guess, I want to know, are you a sports person?

Tess Waresmith [00:33:55]:


Diane Schroeder [00:33:57]:

So, New England? Patriots?

Tess Waresmith [00:33:59]:


Diane Schroeder [00:34:00]:


Tess Waresmith [00:34:01]:


Diane Schroeder [00:34:02]:

Red Sox?

Tess Waresmith [00:34:03]:

Red Sox. Celtics. Yeah. Yeah.

Diane Schroeder [00:34:06]:

The Pats are not having a good year right now, so.

Tess Waresmith [00:34:09]:

Terrifying. Talk about failure. I hope we learn something from this.

Diane Schroeder [00:34:14]:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I do fantasy football with my son and my partner because they love it. And I named my team Brady GaGa this year. And I'm like, man, we really miss him. But anyway, super random question. So, what do you do to take care of yourself? Like, what does your self-care look like outside of creating a solid financial foundation for yourself and the future? How do you enjoy creating capacity in your life to do the things you love, which is why you now work for yourself?

Tess Waresmith [00:34:51]:

The number one thing I do is move. So, I'm active every single day in one way or another, and I do lift weights still. I do yoga. I rock climb. I hike a lot. And it's not always the same every week. And there are times when I don't want to move, but I give myself grace to say just do something. So, sometimes that something is walking around the park. Other times, I'm lifting heavy shit and crushing it. So, you know? But I do know that if I move, I'm always going to feel better. So, I try to do something almost every day, and that's definitely the number one thing I've done, and that's been really important for my mental health as well. And then other than that, I do spend time with friends. For me, I love connecting with people. I'm actually kind of an extrovert introvert. Like, I do need time alone, and that's really important. But I will prioritize getting together with a friend or getting on the phone with a friend.

Tess Waresmith [00:35:48]:

I don't have a great family structure, so that's really important to me to connect with other people and to continue to foster relationships in my community. So, those are the 2 most important things. You know, I don't have a perfect morning routine, and I think that that as a concept is, like, great in theory. But a lot of times, it's overwhelming. It’s like read, and then journal, and then drink water, and then do yoga, and then do your meditation, and then do more affirmations. And I'm like, okay. I used to try do that, and I could not. So, now, I know that I actually, I do really well if I get to work pretty quick.

Tess Waresmith [00:36:23]:

So, I wake up, I take a few breaths, I have some coffee, I crush it in the morning, and then I go work out and I go for a walk and I, you know, listen to some educational stuff or whatever is going to make me feel good. So, I'll also say, like, that's a little high level of what I do, but also don't feel like you have to do someone else's stuff. You know? I tried that. I do have actually in my notebook every single day, and this is my favorite thing because it takes literally 2 minutes. I have my to do checklist. It's in different sections. So, I have business, personal, and I have a gratitude section. And before I do anything, I just have to, like, quickly jot down 3 things that I'm grateful for. And it takes 2 seconds, and so easy. So, I'm all about, like, easy self-care stuff. Like, don't make it complicated.

Diane Schroeder [00:37:03]:

No. Thank you for sharing. And what you said that, you know, it's a very personalized thing. Like, you know, it's whatever you need to put you at your best and give you the best to set you up for success. And I've learned that because, like you, I was like, oh, well, I feel all this pressure now. Well, you shouldn't feel pressure to do anything to take care of yourself. It should just feel natural. And if you're a morning person and you crush it in the morning, awesome. If you're a night person and you're like, mornings aren't my thing I sleep in, then that's awesome too. It's recognizing your energy, how your, you know, flow is, and just honoring that. So, I think that's a really great way to describe self-care. It's honor what's best for you.

Tess Waresmith [00:37:44]:

Oh, I like that. Yeah. A 100%. Yeah. There's a lot of Information about the of all different things you can do, and then it becomes overwhelming. So, I think just picking, like, a couple things that work for you, even if it's just drinking coffee in silence, whatever it is, that's the best way to start.

Diane Schroeder [00:38:01]:

Yeah. That's how I started. I mean, that literally is what I would do. I would make a pot of coffee and get up extra early and just drink it in a quiet house. And then it expanded from there. But it was like, I got to start somewhere, and that was the best thing for me, and I still really enjoy that actually.

Tess Waresmith [00:38:20]:

I love it. Yeah.

Diane Schroeder [00:38:21]:

Well, Tess, thank you so much for dropping so much wisdom and knowledge and just being very transparent, I really appreciate it. And for everyone listening, I will, again, make sure everything is in the show notes so that you can connect and follow and just get awesome financial advice to help set you up for success in the long game.

Tess Waresmith [00:38:43]:

Amazing. Thank you so much for having me. I so appreciate it, and I hope you enjoy your trip to New England.

Diane Schroeder [00:38:49]:

I will. Thank you.

Diane Schroeder [00:38:52]:

Another great conversation. Thank you for giving the valuable gift of your time and listening to The Fire Inside Her podcast. Speaking of value, one of the most common potholes we fall into on the journey to authenticity is not recognizing our value. So, I created a workbook. It's all about value. Head on over to to get your free workbook that will help you remember your value. Until next time, my friend.