Home Real Estate Achieving FIRE in Her 40s By Taking “Calculated” Risks
Real EstateTravel

Achieving FIRE in Her 40s By Taking “Calculated” Risks


What would it take for you to achieve financial freedom? Now, think about what it would take for you to achieve it for your family. Many of us have parents we’ve seen work day in and day out, providing for us when it meant putting their dreams on the back burner. But what if you could repay your parents for all they’ve done for you, helping them retire and ensuring they can truly live the life they love without worrying about money? That’s exactly what today’s guest did for her mother and herself.

After her parents divorced when she was a teenager, Delyanne Barros began what seemed like a two-decade-long non-stop grind. Fearing what would happen to not only herself but her family if she didn’t provide, Delyanne chose to go to law school to not only help those in need but also bring home a steady paycheck that would support her and her mother. After realizing that the nine-to-five grind wasn’t what she thought, Delyanne began searching for a way to get into a better financial position. As a result, she found the debt-free and the FIRE movements.

Now, only in her early forties, she’s already started a business that brings in millions, retired her mother, achieved financial freedom, and did it all just within six years of finding the FIRE movement. Her biggest tip for success: Take a calculated risk and bet on yourself! If you want to find FIRE like Delyanne did, don’t skip this one!

Mindy:
Eight years and a hunger can be all it takes to change an entire family’s financial future. Hello, hello, hello and welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. My name is Mindy Jensen, and with me today is the Fantabulous Amanda Wolf. Amanda, thanks for joining me. Thanks

Amanda:
So much. Glad to be here.

Mindy:
BiggerPockets money is here to make financial independence less scary, to introduce you to every money story because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you are starting. And today’s guest is going to absolutely prove me, which is my favorite kind of

Amanda:
Guest. Today we are speaking with Delyanne, the money coach, who also happens to be a good friend of mine in real life. Deanne is so amazing, she is killing it in the financial education space, but it wasn’t so long ago that she was also in a ton of debt and hated her dream job, and she is here to share her journey towards wealth for herself and her mother, and is so incredibly inspiring.

Delyanne:
Oh wow. What an intro. Thank you for that.

Mindy:
Delyanne. Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I am so excited to talk to you today.

Delyanne:
Thank you. I am so excited to be here. I’m a huge, huge fan of the show, so this is a very big circle moment for me.

Mindy:
Well, let’s jump into it. Deanne, you are a product of hard work mixed with money management. I want to hear all about your money story. So where does your journey with money begin?

Delyanne:
Oh gosh. Okay. So I think a lot of us, it starts with what we experienced growing up and we make a decision sometimes of am I going to follow the same steps that my parents went through or do I want to go in the completely opposite direction? And my parents did the best they could with the little that we had. We were immigrants from Brazil. We came here with very little. We came to the US with very little and they really emphasized education and having good credit. Those were the two money lessons. Get an education, have good credit. And you know what? I’m grateful for those two things because I did stick to that and it did help me a lot. But that was the extent of money education. But somehow after my parents’ divorce and seeing my mother struggle, I knew that I didn’t want to end up in that situation.
I never wanted to be so dependent on somebody that I was left to start all over again and really, really struggle. And so I became an avid saver and I became very frugal. And honestly, sometimes I say frugality comes out of necessity, and that’s what really drove that was necessity. It wasn’t so much like, yeah, let me cut costs because it would be nice to do X, Y, and Z. It was because you had no choice. You had to know where every dollar was going. So I always saved money was frugal and really, really focused on my education. I was doing everything in my power to get myself in college, in law school so that I could support myself and hopefully take care of my family someday because my mom was somebody who was never going to be able to save money, retire. She was a housekeeper. And I think my mom only went through fifth or sixth grade, so I was her retirement plan. And that’s something that’s very, very common in immigrant Latin families. Being the eldest daughter of three, the pressure was on. So every decision I made was like, is this getting me closer to that goal? Is this getting me closer to the goal of being able to take care of my family someday, taking care of myself and hopefully landing the dream career, which at the time was being an attorney. So that’s kind of where the journey started.

Amanda:
Did your siblings have the same attitude about money?

Delyanne:
So funny enough, it’s so funny how you can grow up in the same household and people come out with different money beliefs and me and my sister, my middle sister, we are very, very different. And she’s actually helped me with my money mindset a lot because like I said, I was very frugal. And my sister, somehow through her networking and meeting different people in her life, she was exposed to millionaires very early on. At 16, 17 years old, my sister was working for people who were multimillionaires. And so she got a glimpse of what that life was like, and she saw that they were entrepreneurs and that they were not doing the typical nine to five lifestyle. And I think she started her business at 17 or 18 years old. So she became an entrepreneur very, very young and knew that that nine to five lifestyle was probably not going to be her path.
So we actually went in the complete opposite directions. I went very formal education and she also got her master’s in marketing and everything, but she knew entrepreneurship was her goal. And so not only does she want to make more money, but she also wants to spend a lot of money. My sister likes nice things. She likes the finer things in life. She’s introduced me to a lot of amazing hotel brands that I never knew about. We’ve taken fantastic, luxurious vacations, and it’s all because she opened up that world to me. It’s just so funny how, like I said, we grew up together, but we both came out with two different money philosophies.

Amanda:
And as somebody who has met your sister, I can say that she definitely just exudes luxury and all the finer things in life. And so I love hearing that. But I wanted to ask you a question. So would you say that the core memory that kind of inspired you to break this cycle was your parents split? Would that be correct?

Delyanne:
Definitely.

Amanda:
So then did you feel like when you were that age, when you were really young, that you were responsible then to take care of the entire family? What was that dynamic like between your mom and your sisters? Was your mom just at a place? Yeah. Deanne, go, Deanne, go take care of us. Or how did that feel at that age and what did that look like?

Delyanne:
Yeah, so I was about 14, maybe just barely 15 when my parents split up. And my mom was the typical, and I don’t want to say typical because obviously I think things have changed so much even in the last 10, 15 years. But she was basically hands off with money. It was my father’s job to handle all the finances. She didn’t know what the credit card bills looked like. She didn’t know where the condominium bill went. She didn’t know anything. And so when my parents split up, it was under very severe circumstances. My father became mentally ill. He practically had, I think it was a nervous breakdown. It was basically overnight. Overnight. Our family went from being a normal, hardworking family, but very normal to completely shattered my mom not knowing where the money was going to come next month to pay the mortgage. And I was the oldest.
My sister was about 11. My little sister was what, four or five years old. So yeah, it was on me then to basically step in as a pseudo parent and help my mom because she literally was not going to be able to make the mortgage. She’s like, I’m not going to be able to pay the condo fee this month. And I was working a part-time job at a Walgreens type place, but I was helping her pay the mortgage very early on At 15, 16 years old. I was giving her whatever money I made so that she could pay the bills. It was a very, very tough time for our family. Very tough. I could see the strain. I could see the stress. She would come home super stressed, a lot of anxiety. And that was obviously now I’m connecting all the dots because when you’re 15 years old, you’re just like, I hate you. You’re the worst, but now you’re a grownup. You’re like, yeah, she was under a lot of financial stress. That experience was what drove me to be like, wow, I never ever want to be in that position where I’m so lost about money and I don’t have a backup plan and I don’t have a safety net because look at what that caused our family to go through.

Mindy:
So what made you choose law school? That’s a lot of school. I am not an attorney, although I do have a University of John Grisham degree, so I’m practically an attorney. But law school is the first four years that everybody goes to when you graduate with a four year degree, and then there’s an additional three years, which is not free. So why was law school what you chose?

Delyanne:
Because I hate math. That’s the honest answer is I am terrified of math even though I took calculus, I took AP calculus and it passed, but I was terrified of math and it was literally going to be medical school or law school. And I’m like, I think there might be math in medical school, so I’m going to go to law school. But also, all joking aside, I wanted to be in the public interest space. I wanted to help people. So I always knew I wanted a service driven job, and I specifically chose, I was between immigration law and employment law and law school. I knew I wanted to help that community, and at the last minute, I decided to shy away from immigration. It just felt very formulaic. A lot of the laws are codified and it’s a tough industry. And I decided I wanted to do employment law, but I only wanted to represent employees.
I never wanted to be on the side of the big companies and the employers. I always wanted to be on the side of the employees, and I had a dream firm that I wanted to pursue. And I thankfully landed a job there. And that’s basically where I practiced law for seven years was with that firm until I moved on to the next gig. But yeah, I mean, law school was three years. I’m like, I can get in and out in three years. I can start working. I can start making money. I can start helping my family. And so I was all about, yes, I want to help people, but I also want to be as efficient as possible so that I can make money and help my family.

Amanda:
Deanne, we want to get into your dream job and what impacts this had on your journey. But first, a quick word from our show sponsors that make it all possible.

Mindy:
Welcome back. We will get into what life looks like today with careers and finances. But first let’s hear more about your early career. You chose the path of becoming an attorney. What was the motivation? Was it just the six figure salary and a prestigious title?

Delyanne:
Well, I wish I could say it was the salary, but the truth is that a lot of attorneys do not make a lot of money out of law school. I think there’s this stereotype that if you go to law school, you’re immediately going to come out making six figures. But if you want to do public interest like I did, you’re definitely not going to be making six figures. I mean, I was very lucky to land a job that was making about $85,000 out of law school, which in a lot of places in America would be a lot of money. But I was living in New York City and I had $150,000 in student loans, so that was barely paying my day-to-Day living expenses. But yeah, I mean, I chose law because I wanted to help people. I chose the specific law firm that I wanted to work with because they were the best.
They are the best to this day, that practice employment law. And they specifically told me they were not going to hire me out of law school because at that time, they did not hire students out of law school. They only wanted to hire people who either clerk for federal judges or people who already had job experience. And I was like, once they said that, I was like, it’s on. I’m going to campaign for the next year and make sure that they hire me. And I was one of the first ever person, I think I was maybe even the first attorney that they ever hired out of law school and got them to break that rule, and after that, they started hiring out of law school. So it was really cool to see them change that policy. It was amazing experience, but it was sad too, because within six or eight months of becoming an attorney, I quickly started to realize that.
I’m like, wow, this is way different than what I thought it was going to be. This is not what law school prepared me for. There’s just so much more politics. There’s a lot of paper pushing, there’s a lot of timekeeping. It’s very adversarial. Obviously that’s not a surprise, but it’s adversarial from so many different angles, and then you’re having to micromanage your client and their psychology and what they’re going through. So there’s a lot there that law school did not you for At that moment I was like, oh, this is why becoming an attorney is so much work and so stressful, and why so many people hate it because it’s not necessarily the law and the work. It’s all the other stuff that distracts you away from the work.

Amanda:
Yeah. Well, and especially knowing that it’s not like you necessarily had a big community of people who you could lean on in preparation for law school and knew what you were signing up for. It’s like when you’re younger, there’s doctor, lawyer, police officer, nurse. It’s these stereotypical jobs, if you will. And so you’re like, yep, that one sounds like it’s going to make a lot of money. Let’s go do it. So before you even got to the point where you realized, whoa, this isn’t what I thought. What other hurdles did you have to overcome just in the beginning of that career? It sounds like you made that first leap by just getting hired in a place where they didn’t normally hire people out of school, but what other types of hurdles did you have to overcome?

Delyanne:
I didn’t have a mentor. I’d never had anybody who necessarily opened doors for me, Hey, I’m going to make a phone call and try to help you out and try to get you a mentor and try to make sure that you have the support that you need. And the firm tried to do that at different points. But even at the beginning of my career, one thing that I struggled with was writing because they were like, oh, you write a law student. And I’m like, well, how else would I write? I’m coming out of law school. And they’re like, you need to sound like a lawyer. And I’m like, I thought that law school did that. And they’re like, no, you’re writing something for your professor. You need to write. You’re writing for a judge. I was scared the first few years of my career because the criticism was constantly about my writing, but after the third year, I was able to somehow it just clicked.
And I got a writing coach and I worked really hard on my writing. And from then on, I just started getting so much praise about my writing that they actually had me mentoring other newer attorneys on their writing and any issues that they were having at the firm because I was one of the quote people who was able to turn it around, which at the time I was so proud of. I was like, oh, yeah, I turned it around and I proved them wrong. But now I looking back, I’m like, yeah, you guys threw me in the deep end with no support and nothing, no resources, and I had to go out and find them and do this on my own. So it just goes to now I can look back and see how much I was being gaslit, but yeah, I had to basically just do that by myself,

Amanda:
Which it seems like you are one of those people, obviously, who can just go and figure things out, which is I feel like such an underrated skillset. And it kind of brings me to the next question, which is, so you go to this law firm, you’re making your $85,000, which is not as much as you were thinking you were probably going to make, I’m assuming from the beginning, right.

Delyanne:
Well, I mean, to me, I felt like I won the lottery because $85,000, I was making $28,000 a year before law school. So to me, I was like, I’m rich until the bills started coming in, and then I’m nevermind

Amanda:
More money than you’ve ever had, but also, wait, this is still not enough.

Delyanne:
Yeah.

Amanda:
Okay. So then my question is, what drove you to that fire? That financial independence retire early? What drove you to that fire way of thinking when you were making this a salary? Because at this point you just said it was barely paying for my day to day. What made you be like, yeah, I’m going to retire early.

Delyanne:
Oh gosh, that didn’t come till many, many years later. So here I am as six, eight months in deciding, okay, I don’t like this job as much as I thought I was going to like it. And then I proceeded to do it for 14 years.

Amanda:
Oh, well, as one does. Yes.

Delyanne:
Yeah, because I stayed at the firm for seven years as a litigator, and then I transitioned to another position where I was an attorney editor, so I was basically creating resources for other attorneys. It’s a big, big product now. So seven years as an attorney, seven years as an attorney editor, and I was making close to 200. Oh, I was making, yeah, I think I was making way over $200,000 at some point towards the end. So I’m like, okay, I’m making $200,000. This is it. You did it right? You crossed the a hundred thousand dollars line. You crossed the $200,000 line. And I’m looking around, I’m like, oh, I still can’t buy a house. Couldn’t buy a house in New York getting outbid. And this is like 20 15, 20 16, 20, probably even sooner. Couldn’t buy a place. And I’m getting frustrated because I’m just kind of putting money in a savings account, and I’m like, is this it is what I’m supposed to be doing because this doesn’t feel like enough.
Everybody’s telling me you’re supposed to buy and build wealth and prepare for your future, but I just felt like things were kind of stagnant and I’m making this supposed dream salary and things aren’t moving. So that’s when things started clicking that I’m like, okay, I need to look at my finances more holistically. So then I started looking at my student loans. I’m like, yeah, you’re $150,000. I think I had borrowed about 90, 95. It had ballooned to 150 12 years later. I was planning to pay those loans for 20, 25 years. I didn’t care. I was not in a rush to send Sally Mae any checks, but when I started learning about paying off debt, and then this is literally just going on the interwebs, looking for ways to pay off debt faster. And then of course if you fall down that rabbit hole, you’re eventually going to bump into the financial independence people because that’s just one step away.
And so when I am in the debt-free pool, I’m like, yeah, this is kind of interesting, but whatever. You pay off debt. And then what? That doesn’t solve the initial problem. And then I’m like, I bump into the financial independence people. Oh, now I’m excited right now it makes sense to want to pay off all of those student loans. Now it makes sense to reprioritize some of my goals. Now it makes sense to start learning about this really boring investing stuff and go look at my 401k and why I should care, and I don’t have to wait until I’m 65 to retire. When all of that started clicking, when I learned what a brokerage account was, which I didn’t even know, I just literally knew about my 401k, and I barely understood that. That’s when my whole world opened up, and that’s when the plan started formulating in my mind. And that was around 2018.

Mindy:
Wow. So that was really not that long ago. That was what, six, seven years ago that you discovered the concept of financial independence, the concept that you don’t have to work until you’re 65. What were some of the first steps you took once you understood what was involved?

Delyanne:
So I had a hundred thousand dollars in a high yield savings account at the time, which if you remember 2018, they were paying like 1%. So I was just hoarding money in a savings account. I didn’t know what else to do, and I was trying to buy property like you got to buy property. That’s the way. And then when I realized, no, no, we’re going to do this other thing. We’re going to focus our money on the stock market. I took that money. I left a three month emergency fund in the account. I took $50,000 and I sent it to my student loans and the rest, I threw it in a Vanguard brokerage account. That was the first few dollars that I ever invested by myself outside of a 401k was that I think it was about 30, $35,000 in a Vanguard brokerage account. And that was in 2019, about four months before the pandemic and the stock market crashed. So when people are like, I’m so scared to invest because what if the stock market crashes? I’m like, I did that. I did exactly what you’re scared of. I put money when the market was at an all time high and it crashed four months later. And guess what? That money has three x and four x since then. So don’t think about that.

Amanda:
Wait, so I have a really quick question. I’m obsessed with that. I can’t believe first of all, that you went from not investing to dumping $35,000 into something because anybody who has talked to somebody who’s new to investing, that’s the scariest part. They’re like, can I just do $10 to start? I just want to see what it feels like. What made you brave enough, I’m going to use that word. What made you brave enough to do that first step? To take that first step and buy that first stock? I

Delyanne:
Became compulsive. This idea took hold of me, and I think everybody who’s in the space understands that when you first see a compound interest calculator and you start seeing those numbers. And the thing is, I didn’t hear it from just one source. I went to multiple sources. I was devouring books, I was devouring podcasts, I was talking, I was finding people talking about it online. Once I started seeing the pattern and I’m like, oh, this isn’t like a fad. This isn’t just somebody doing some get rich quick thing. I’m like, this is the way, right? It’s going to take time. It’s going to take patience. I saw all the pros and cons and I was like, okay, I’m in it. I’m going to do this. I’m going to invest this much per year. I’m going to try to retire by 45, 47, maybe 50 at the latest. I was just so happy to have found something that gave me an ouch out of that career before, way before 65. There was no other option for me. I’m like, this is your exit strategy. And so for me, it’s like I just, once I understood everything of how it worked, I spent lots of time reading, researching, understanding everything. Then I was like, okay, it’s time to execute. And there hasn’t been one moment of hesitation since I’ve started that journey. I mean, 2021, I invested $400,000.

Mindy:
Whoa.

Delyanne:
You don’t dump $400,000 into the market. Oh, by the way, also all time highs. Again, I’m really good at market timing, guys, but you don’t do that unless you are like, I’m in this. I’m committed to this plan. And I am not a gambler by any means. I don’t even own crypto. I’m not into fads. I’m very risk averse. But once I am educated about something and I’m like, this is going to be it. I don’t see any difference between doing that and putting all of your savings into a house. To be honest. To me, it’s potato, potato. Pick whichever one you want to do.

Mindy:
Okay, going back to that initial $35,000 investment that you did in the stock market four months before it crashed, it crashed hard. I don’t know if people remember, I’m a huge market nerd, and I remember it crashed on March 13th, and it didn’t just drop a little bit over the course of two or three weeks, it plummeted. How did you feel? First of all, were you checking the stock market every day or frequently enough that you would notice this? And how did it feel when you see the number? You had 35, now it’s 30, now it’s 25 now it’s like 12. How did that feel?

Delyanne:
So funny enough, I felt prepared because again, I had read so much about stock market crashes and the 4% rule and how it bakes all that in and that I was investing for the next 15, 20 years. This is not money that I was going to pull out anytime soon. Funny enough, the overlap with this time, I started my business January, 2020. So here I am sharing my journey about my, because I started probably six months before just personally, Hey guys, I’m going to start posting about paying off my student loans if you’re interested in following along. And the more I posted about that, the more people got interested in my journey. So I was like, wow, I think there’s this money coaching thing might be a real thing. People might actually need help with this. And so while I am learning myself and I’m experiencing my first market crash, my first big market crash that I am really feeling, because obviously I lived through the 2008 and my 401k also felt that not a lot because at that point I wasn’t investing that much.
But anyway, I am not only experiencing myself for the first time, but I’m also having to talk people through it. Because at that point, I’m getting bombarded with messages like everybody in the finance space, like, oh my God, what do we do? Do I sell everything? Do I cash out my 401k and I’m telling people to double down? I’m like, no, you should be buying more. And so I am trying to do everything in my power to take every dollar that I can to invest, but at that same time, I’m also paying off my student loans. So I’m like, oh man, what do I do? And so I’m going through that struggle of how much money do I send to my student loans and how much do I send to my brokerage account? And I am like, that’s what I’m battling. I’m like, how much money can I throw at this account? So instead of running away, I was running towards the fire. And I think that all that time, preparing and learning about how the stock market works and learning its history is the only thing that kept me from panicking. It’s literally the only thing.

Mindy:
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Because it is so hard. I cannot imagine being in your shoes, okay, I am going to start investing in the stock market. Here’s $35,000 and look, poof. Now it’s 12. So I can’t imagine being in that position. It was hard for me, and I’ve been investing since God was a boy. So I have been through multiple downturns.

Amanda:
Sorry, sorry. I’ve never heard that. That

Mindy:
Is so funny. It’s been a minute and I’ve been through multiple downturns and I don’t love it, but I have faith that the stock market will eventually go back up. So to see such a drastic drop. Now, we did have a rebound, and I think it was back to similar levels by June or July or August of that year,

Delyanne:
It was one of the shortest crashes in history or something.

Mindy:
Yes, yes. And it was that I can imagine being on the, oh, now it’s 15, now it’s 25. Now I’m back to my 35. Now it’s more that could be very exciting. But the initial drop, I can feel like when you’re on a roller coaster, I can feel my stomach going up just by doing that. Oh my goodness. I cannot say enough good things about your mental state. And it comes back to knowing that the stock market does have crashes. And I think for somebody who has been investing since 2013 where we hit the bottom and then we started going back up again or whatever the bottom was, you start going back up again and you’re like, oh, I’m such a genius. You’re really not. You’re just lucky.

Delyanne:
Exactly. I’ve been investing since 2011. That’s when I started investing in my 401k. But I’m telling you, I did not look at that 401k for years. I just forgot about it. The money was coming out of my checks and I didn’t even understand what it was. I thought a 401k was a super savings account for a long time. I did not understand that a 401k meant stock market. And that’s still one of the most common things that I answer to this day. People are like, oh, when you say invest, do you mean 401k? I’m like, yes, you’re in 4 0 1 Ks. Invest in the stock market. And I never ever judge any kind of question that I get because I’ve been there. I didn’t know that either. So I didn’t even look at my 401k. And when I started looking at it, when I became financially awakened, that’s when I was like, oh, there’s money in here.
Oh, this is grown a lot. So I had put in over a 12 year period, about $94,000, and it had grown to over $300,000. I’m like, oh, this is real money. So again, that also reinforced me and that helped me to cope during that 2020 period because I was like, yeah, I remember everybody talking about how often their 4 0 1 ks were doing from 2008 to 2013. I’m like, it’s happened before. It was a lot worse then. It’s going to be okay now. And I don’t know, just something in me just knew that the economy was going to be strong enough to endure, and I was right.

Amanda:
And you were very right, I would say now. So we want to hear more about how you got into entrepreneurship and when you were able to finally leave your full-time job. When we get back from this quick break,

Mindy:
Welcome back to the show, Deanne. We were talking about you leaving your job, but that in theory is super easy to talk about. The actual going through with it can be really nerve wracking and kind of scary. So and when were you able to finally leave this six figure salary?

Delyanne:
So that was also a big, big surprise. Out of nowhere, I did not see that coming because I started my business in January, 2020, and my sister’s a business coach, and I turned to her and I was like, Hey, I think I found the thing that I’ve been looking for all these years that will finally get me out of law. I really want to pursue this money coaching. I want to help people pay off their debt and I want to help them invest. And she’s like, let’s go. And she started coaching me from the beginning and she asked me, how much do you want to make per year? And I’m like, I don’t know. If I made 10, $15,000, I’d be so excited. I’ve never in my life earned money outside of a paycheck. I couldn’t imagine people paying me for coaching advice. I’ve never been an entrepreneur ever.
I told my sister for many years, I am a worker bee. I will never be an entrepreneur. That is not who I am. God, I was so wrong. If I could go back, I’d be like, you were so wrong. So yeah, that first year I easily cleared a hundred, $150,000. By the next year I was one, one and a half million. So by March of 2021, I was exceeding my salary at work by multiples. In two months, I was making what I made an entire year as an attorney. And so it did not make sense to stay at that job when I had this business that clearly was just exploding. And I was working two jobs. I’m working my full-time job and I’m running my business at night and on the weekends, and I was burning the candle at both ends, but I was so, so scared of quitting my job because again, I was like, what if this is a fluke? What if it poofs and disappears the next day? I don’t know. I just had so much fear that it would just disappear. And it’s so funny because here we are almost five years later and I’m still here. So basically I started the business January, 2020 by March, 2021. I had put in my notice in April 1st was my last day working a nine to five.

Amanda:
And I think the thing that’s really hard to wrap your head around is when you said in two months I made the same as my entire salary as an attorney the year before. That is insanity first of all. The second is I want to ask how that felt. Was that because the work you were doing, I’m assuming as a financial coach, is probably much more rewarding than what you were doing as an attorney, though the type of law you were practicing, I think was probably aiming to give you that feeling that you had with the coaching, right? Because the type of law that you were doing was really to give back to the people. But you sounds like you didn’t get to do that quite as much, right? So how did that all tie together is where I was going with that?

Delyanne:
Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly why I picked employment law. In fact, I even got bullied a little bit in law school by some of my classmates who were going after those big corporate jobs and they were going to get paid 140, $150,000 out of law school. And I would say, oh no, I want to do public interest. And they’d be like, ha, have fun being poor. And they would literally make fun of me and laugh in my face. But the jokes on them, because they all got their offers rescinded. We all graduated in 2008 and I still had my job offer.
So I am very grateful that my firm was actually thriving during the recession because hello, everybody was getting fired left and and they all needed representation. So we were helping out a lot of people negotiate severance packages and deal during this really, really difficult time. And I did get to work on some incredible pro bono cases that I would pitch to the partners and I would have to convince them to take it. And they’re like, yeah, we’re running a business here. I’m like, I get it. Not a charity, it’s not a legal aid, but that’s what I wanted to do was that kind of work. But I also needed to pay because I’m like, I have a ton of student loans and I need to help my family. I can’t work at legal aid.
That’s not an option. So it was frustrating because I wasn’t able to really be doing the kind of work that I wanted to do. And like you said, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I was doing a lot of bureaucratic stuff. There was a lot of politics. So when I got to swipe all that away and run my business the way I wanted to run it and help the people the way I wanted to help them and have that one-on-one interaction with my students all the time, oh my God, I just felt so full. And I just would wake up every day and I’m like, I can’t believe this is my life. And I can’t believe I created this business out of thin air when I tortured myself through law school in those 14 years. But I don’t regret that because that really did prepare me. It helped me so much. I don’t think that I would’ve been able to do what I did as quickly without the experience that I had as an attorney. So I don’t discount all of that.

Mindy:
So you exude confidence. Did you ever have moments of imposter syndrome when you were considering going out on your own, when you were growing your business or even right at the moment of giving notice?

Delyanne:
Yeah, not when I was giving notice. Let me tell you, there are two great days when you work. It’s the day you get the job and it’s the day you quit. Everything else in between is whatever the day you get to walk into an off, oh my God, if nobody’s ever quit a job, if you’re listening to this and if you’ve never quit a job, I highly recommend it. It is so empowering. It is so intoxicating, especially if you’ve been treated like crap and you just walk in, you’re like, I quit. It’s amazing. So I was so happy to tell my boss, and she was like, well, where are you going? What are you doing? And I’m like, I don’t know. I’m going to figure it out. I don’t have to tell them anything. I didn’t have to explain where I was going and what I was doing.
And I never told anybody at work that I was creating a business during my free time. And you don’t have to unless you’re violating some kind of non-compete, really, you don’t have to disclose that to your employer. And I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t. So I was happy to give the notice. I was feeling very financially confident because I was hoarding money like crazy. I was paying off my student loans and I was saving my money. Like, God forbid this business evaporates the next day. I want to make sure that I have my safety net. But yes, of course, there was definitely fear that am I making a big mistake? I’m throwing away a massive career that I spent so much time and so much money on, but I have been playing it safe for so long in my life, so, so long. And whenever anybody asks me, what would you do if you could go back 20 years?
I would tell myself, take more chances. Take more chances, be more gutsy. It’s okay to fail. I was so scared to fail that I just played it too safe, too long, way too long. I could have accomplished what I did here many years ago. I believe that now. But everything happens for a reason. But yeah, I think I got to a point where I was enough enough of being careful enough of being scared. It’s time to try something new. If you really want to build this dream life that you say you want to build, you’re going to have to take some chances, and this is your opportunity. And I got very, very lucky with the timing. Insanely lucky with the timing because wow, the timing worked out great. Everybody all of a sudden became obsessed with the stock market overnight. That’s all everybody wanted to talk about. And I was like, holy crap. I can’t believe I built a whole business over the subject that everybody’s talking about. This is insane. I did not see that coming.

Amanda:
I think the part where you just said that if you want to build your dream life, you’re going to have to take chances. I felt like we were just sitting one-on-one, FaceTiming Deanne, and that you were saying that to just me. And I’m wondering how many others out there are going to feel like that too, because it does take a lot of bravery to take those uncomfortable steps. But I wanted to ask you another question as it relates to entrepreneurship and W2 jobs because you went the entrepreneur route, but that’s not necessarily the route everybody wants to go. So do you feel like W2 earners have the same chances as entrepreneurs to lead their life towards financial freedom? And why or why not? What are your thoughts on that?

Delyanne:
Absolutely. In fact, that is the path that most millionaires take is they are boring. I don’t want to call people boring, but you know what I mean. They have regular everyday nine to five jobs, and they’re investing in their 4 0 1 Ks and they are 401k millionaires, and they’re just squirreling away their money for their 20, 30, 40 years, and they do it, and they did it. So that is the path that most people take. I feel like the path that I took is the very unusual route, the route that a lot of people want to take, but they’re not able to accomplish it. I mean, I think it’s something like 95% of small businesses go belly up every year. They are not successful. They don’t even reach a hundred thousand dollars. So I never go out there and say, Hey, I did it this way, so you have to do it this way too, because I know how hard it is to be a successful entrepreneur.
It is extremely hard, and I don’t downplay that ever. My initial plan for financial independence had nothing to do with my business. I am telling you, I didn’t even have a business in mind when I built that plan. I was like, the plan was to pay off the loans and then take the difference and just start pouring that into the brokerage account. I calculated that all of my financial independence numbers based on that, my salary, doing that for the next seven to eight years, that was the plan. Then the business came along and just poured gasoline on the whole thing and expedited it. But I swear that was a surprise. That was not part of the initial plan. A very happy surprise, but not part of the plan.

Mindy:
Okay. So I’m going to ask you kind of an obvious question. Do you consider yourself financially free?

Delyanne:
Yes.

Mindy:
Do you consider yourself

Delyanne:
No, not fully retired. I say that I’m, because I work about 10 at the most 15 hours a week. So I feel like as long as you’re still exchanging time for money, you’re working, you’re not fully retired, but I am retired from the nine to five lifestyle, I am a retired attorney. I would not put myself in the same category as somebody who’s working 40, 50, 60 hours a week. So I feel like I’m kind of in that limbo state, which honestly, I could kind of hang out here for a while. There’s no rush now because before I had this very set goal of we’re retiring by 45, and that means quitting law. That means stopping working completely. Now that I’ve created this other business, I just feel like, oh wow, there’s a lot more flexibility now. I’m not working 40 hours a week. If I want to kind of hang out here and work 10 hours a week till I’m 50, we’ll see how I feel. I’ve given myself the luxury of having that option and deciding when I get there. I don’t have to make all of these hard and fast, black and white decisions that I felt like I always had to do with my previous career. So I’ve given myself a lot of financial freedom, I feel like, and I have saved honestly enough that if I wanted to stop right here, right now, I could probably cover my expenses for the rest of my life.

Amanda:
You are, first of all, just freaking goals for anybody, I would probably say. But I want to ask, what has financial freedom bought you apart from peace of mind, which I can just probably has no price tag, but what has Financial Freedom bought you?

Delyanne:
Yeah, and like you said, it’s peace of mind, but it’s also being able to extend that to the people that I love in my life from specifically my mom. I’ve wanted to retire her for so long. When I started the business, she also had a business. So it was funny. It was both my mom, me and my sister, all entrepreneurial women, and my mom had a pet supply store that she was working at seven days a week in Brazil, and my mom’s 61, I had to twist her arm to take a weekend off. I’m like, come mom, mom, you don’t have to work Monday through Sunday. Why don’t you work Monday through Friday? I had to twist her arm. And so slowly I started getting her to take days off, and I was like, okay, well, how about we just sell the business? You don’t have to work anymore.
And so that took time though, and many, many conversations over time to be able to get her to that point. But the fact that I was even able to offer that to her, and I had to reassure her many, many times over and over again, my mom was like, I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to distract you from your life. I know you have your goals and you have things you want to get done. You don’t have to do this. My mother never asked for any of this. It was always me offering the fact that I was able to do that and that she was able to fully retire this year. She sold her store and now she, oh my God, she calls me every day. She’s so happy. She’s like, oh my God, I spent all day doing my crochet or my gardening, and she goes to church and she does all, she’s busier than I am.
Okay. The woman has a busier schedule than I do, and she’s so happy. And I just see how much her energy has changed since she quit. That is the biggest gift. Honestly, if I never get to retire, I will, will still be so, so happy knowing that I got to do that for her. Let me not start crying, but I’m just so blessed that I was able to do that for her and that she gets to live like her. My mom’s young 61 is hella young. I’m like, yes, I want you to enjoy these years when you’re healthy and we can travel together and spend time together. I don’t want you working until you’re 70 years old, and then when we finally go do something, you’re struggling with your health. And so I’m just so thrilled that I was able to do that for her.

Mindy:
So Deanne, let’s wrap up this episode by talking about some of the key lessons that you’ve learned on your journey to financial independence and some of the advice you wish you would’ve had in the beginning.

Delyanne:
Yeah, I think just like I mentioned before, the taking more risks and taking more risks doesn’t mean gambling. You can take measured risks, you can take calculated risks, and that’s part of being an investor. That’s part of being financially savvy. That’s part of job hopping, whatever it is that you’re doing. If you’re moving to a different state, if you’re moving to a different country, like I did all these things take planning, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t include risk, but invite some more risk into your life. Just make sure that you’re prepared for whichever way it may swing. But I feel like, yeah, sometimes, not all of us, but a lot of us do play it safe, especially women. I feel like we play it way too safe. So I say, if you’re going to take a risk on something, take a risk on yourself. What else do you know better than that? Then yourself and who knows, you might surprise yourself. I know I did,

Mindy:
Deanne, this was so much fun talking to you today. And we will share deanne’s contact information in our show notes if you want to connect with her, you can connect with [email protected] and you can tap our community by posting in the forums, which are located at biggerpockets.com/forums where you can ask your questions, share your goals and successes. Alright, Deanne, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for your time today. This was so much fun, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Delyanne:
Thank you.

Mindy:
Alright, Amanda, that was Deion, the money coach and holy Cats, thank you so much for introducing us and suggesting that she come on the show. That was a fantastic episode. I absolutely loved her mentality about the stock market and if you, my dear listener, are leery about investing, go educate yourself about how the stock market works. I believe everybody that I know believes that the stock market will go up. It might be going down right now, but it will back up. And I just loved the way that she was able to overcome such a shocking drop when she first started investing.

Amanda:
There is nothing more empowering than feeling educated and feeling like what’s going on and being able to semi expect the unexpected. So I completely agree with you, Mindy. And another piece that I really liked is around at the end when she said, to take risks and to take a risk on yourself because you know yourself best. That really hit home for me because I’ve just never heard it phrased like that. And I’m like, yes, we know that you should take risks and get outside of your comfort zone, but you know yourself best, so why not take a risk on you? And I thought that was just such a beautiful way to encourage you to do the uncomfortable thing and to go out and to take that next step to do whatever that thing is that you’ve been putting off.

Mindy:
And I like how she said, take risks, not gambles. It’s not the same thing. It can feel like the same thing, but it’s not the same thing. They’re calculated risks. So don’t just throw it all on black at the roulette wheel, but think about what you’re doing, think about how you can succeed and then pursue that. Absolutely.

Amanda:
Take the calculated risk.

Mindy:
Take the calculated risk. Yeah, not a gamble. Alright, Amanda, this was so much fun. Again, thank you for introducing us to Deanne. That wraps up this episode of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. She’s Amanda Wolf. And I am Mindy Jensen saying, free Tickety

Outro:
BiggerPockets money was created by Mindy Jensen and Scott Treach, produced by Hija Ed, by Exodus Media Copywriting by Nate Weinraub. And lastly, a big thank you to the BiggerPockets team for making this show possible.

 

 

Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds. Thanks! We really appreciate it!

Interested in learning more about today’s sponsors or becoming a BiggerPockets partner yourself? Check out our sponsor page!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.



Source link

Related Articles

Real EstateTravel

How I Mastered Real Estate Deal Finding After a Panic Attack

In This Article Key Takeaways I started learning about real estate investing...

Real EstateTravel

5 Mistakes to Avoid When You Start Investing in Real Estate

In This Article Before you start investing in real estate, make sure...

Real EstateTravel

My Property Manager Robbed and Ghosted Me ($40K Stolen!)

If you get your property management wrong, you could lose tens of...

Real EstateTravel

First Time Landlord Checklist (9 Essential Steps)

In This Article Key Takeaways Prepare the property and set a competitive...