June 20, 2021

Forging her own path with Deborah Miranda

Forging her own path with Deborah Miranda

Deborah Miranda was born in Panama to a Nicaraguan mother and moved to the United States at the age of 6. She was the first one in her family to go to college and was the emotional and social support for her mother who did not speak any English at the time. Today she is a money coach and talks about navigating her way through college, importance of community, creating boundaries and speaking up for yourself. This is her story.


Deborah J Miranda is a Seattle-based GenX Money Coach and blogger.

Born in Panama to a Nicaraguan mother and an American father, Deb navigated through both cultures in her home. While she was the social and emotional rock for her mother who did not speak any English at the time, Deb also managed to navigate through college without any help or guidance.

Deb considers herself a late bloomer. Having been through hardship, and trying to figure things out on her own, Deb got tired of things not working out and decided to make some changes. She considers her kids, family and community her biggest strength and today she is a Money Coach and blogger also studying to become a paralegal. 

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Transcript

Malini Sarma:

Hey, Deb, thank you so much for coming onto my show. I'm so excited for everybody to hear your story.

Deborah:

Thank you so much for asking me to be on the show. It's such a wonderful podcast. And I think it's just going to be seems like it might be just a natural extension of all the talks we've had before.

Malini Sarma:

I agree. I absolutely agree. So you I remember, you tell me so you were born in Panama, your mom is from Nicaragua. And then you move to the US. So tell me a little bit about you, you know, your experience growing up? I mean, do you have siblings? How did all that work out?

Deborah:

Sure. So I was born in Panama to a Nicaraguan mother, like you said, she certainly got hurt the whole family's from Nicaragua. And my father was a, an Army soldier stationed in the Canal Zone at the time. And but because my mother grew up in Panama, and all the families there, I grew up mostly in the city. Because when my when my dad would go out on maneuvers or to war, because the Vietnam War was going on at the time, we would spend time was my mother's parents, my grandparents or with her sister and her family. And we lived there until my sister was born. I have a sister Rebecca, who was born about three weeks before my dad had orders to move to Fort Lewis in Washington. And so Rebecca, was born with Down syndrome. And it was a huge shock to my parents. And that was the last thing they expected when making a permanent international move. And I grew up in Lacey Washington, a little town right outside of Olympia, which is the Capitol. Growing up was really was really difficult. In that I was, I didn't speak English, when I came to the United States. And my experience was limited to a family was limited to what I knew from my mother's side of the family. And all of a sudden, I went from this huge rambunctious, loud family to just me and my sister, who was three weeks old, and my mother and father,

Malini Sarma:

how old were you? When you came,

Deborah:

I was almost six, was almost six. And I lived in Lacey, or Olympia, until I moved to Seattle at the age of 20. And so, my experience growing up was mostly having to deal with an immigrant not dealing with but having an immigrant mother, who was trying really hard to provide for the family, because my dad suffered from what at the time was not known as PTSD. He had major alcoholism, he had a lot of depression and anxiety issues that were never resolved, the army never really did anything to help resolve that. And he retired in 1978. And that was when my mother, when she she, even though he had a pension, my mother decided that she had to go to work. And so she went to work, and worked all kinds of jobs that today we call side hustles. But in those days, it was like, I have to go to somebody's laundry, I have to go, I'm gonna have somebody invited me to clean their house, and you know, all those kinds of things. And they divorced in 1985, which was the best thing that could have happened. My dad was absent all the time anyway. And it was just kind of finalizing making that final step, you know, for my mother, to, to put us on a better path. And so I felt like, at that time, that I did not want to stay in Lacey. I was going to school. My grades were okay. But not enough to catch the attention of any university. And so I decided I would go to community college. I did that for a year. And then I said, fuck it. I need to move to Seattle. At the time, I wasn't speaking to my father. I didn't speak to him for about five years. And then when I moved to Seattle, we started a relationship again, but it was still really difficult. And then I moved to Seattle, and I never looked back. I love Seattle. I will probably never leave Seattle. And I feel like it gave me like a new a new beginning. Definitely.

Malini Sarma:

So, when you moved to Seattle, you went to college? Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do? Do you have a dream to say that? Oh, you know, when I grow up, I'm going to be this and, or anything like that? Or was it just like, this is so amazing? It's so it's so different from what I'm used to, I'm going to make the best of whatever I got is that,

Deborah:

Oh, no, no, not at all. During high school, I was always in honors, in honors English classes. I was in all the college prep classes for English. I was the school newspaper, my junior, or my freshman year, my junior year, my senior year became editor in my high school paper, I got interviewed by the local newspaper. And I, in fact, worked for two years at our local newspaper between high school between finishing high school and going to college as the obituary writer, which I loved, I love doing it. And then when the United States invaded Panama in 1989, I got to do a little bit of reporting from my desk, at the, at the newspaper at the Olympian, and got to report from, you know, getting getting stories from my family, you know, to kind of make the the coverage a little more personal. And so that was always something I wanted to do. If somehow, you know, right, and when I moved to Seattle, I kind of let that go, because I was, I wanted, I was working at the Seattle Times, I got a job work at the Seattle Times in customer service. And I loved working customer service so much that I even turned down a job in the sports department. Wow, I, which I regret to this day, because I was going to start out doing all the putting together all the scores for like the local, the high school athletics, and eventually, there was going to be a possibility for me to move up and to probably even be able to report. And so or move over to another department. But I love customer service so much. I had so many friends there. And I felt like I was finally with people who I really belonged with, you know, growing up in Lacey, it was a very, very military community. Most of the people on our streets were black, Korean, or white. And that was pretty much what I grew up with. And it wasn't until I moved at the Seattle Times and went into customer service, when there was this whole new world opening to me. There were people from everywhere. And I loved it. I loved being among all the people. I mean, there were, there were a gay people, there were Mexicans, there were Filipinos, I'd never met anybody, or I'd never known anybody who was Filipino, you know, and the, the community that we had was so so. So like, like a family. And I loved it so much. And I was like, I am not going to give this up. Which was too bad. Because, you know, I mean, it's not too bad. But I could have, I could have done more. I guess, when I went to the University, when I finally got to university, that the fall that I moved to Seattle, I really didn't know what I was going to major in. Because I really loved learning about the history of Latin America. I wanted to expand my worldview past Mika, one Sonoma, and everything that I had grown up with, you know, I feel like I got an education growing up with a Nicaraguan mother who grew up in Panama. And I thought that the School of Communications would be too hard to get into. And I didn't even bother to see, you know, can I do this? And so I just started taking more and more classes related to the International Studies program. And then I found myself somehow in the International Studies program, and that's where I ended up getting my degree in International Studies, with a focus on Latin America. Yeah, except that it's been, you know, I wish that you know, and I tell my kids, you know, when you're going to go to college, you need to talk to people in your chosen field to find out what it is that you're going to want to major in and how you're going to use your degree. My understanding of how I could use my degree would be to go work for the United Nations go work for an NGO or for a multinational corporation. But the thing that stopped me was my mother and my sister, and what I felt was my duty to be around for them. My mother was an she was an older mom, she had my sister at 42. And even though she speaks English now, and did at the time that I was at university, I still felt an obligation to care for her and for my sister, because there was no way that they could depend on my father. Never My mother has always depended heavily on me for emotional support and for social support. And as she got older, it was more evident that she was going to need more help with my sister who was starting to develop other medical conditions associated with the downs. And I just never felt like that was something that I'd be able to do. I would never be able to, I would never, it never occurred to me to move, even to you know, another state. Seattle was far enough away from my mother, she cried for a year when I moved 60 miles north, she cried for a year. Wow. And I didn't know that until, you know, a long time later. But I know that I just never would have been able to leave to leave her and my sister behind because there'd be nobody to take care of them. And that's not a thing that people do anyway, in Latino cultures, you don't just you just don't get up and leave your home like that, much less leave the country or go somewhere else. And so I just didn't, I didn't use my degree. I'm happy I have my degree. I'm proud of it. Even though it took me a long time to get it. I'm the first in my family to graduate. And so, you know, my my parents both have high school education, and going to college or university was just never do you have?

Malini Sarma:

Did you have like role models in high school telling you you should go to college? What is that? Because your parents, your mom was definitely not only did she say I need you to go to college, because I didn't get to do that.

Deborah:

Never, never. And might dad because we had weed. Growing up, I always had a terrible relationship with my father. And it got worse, obviously, during the five years that we weren't speaking. But they never encouraged me to go to college, but they never discouraged me either. They just felt like oh, okay, it's just a thing that you do. When I was going to, like, I don't know what, at least my mother because my dad grew up here. So he knew you know, the path, graduate from high school, you go to college, or you join the military, or you join the military, then you go to college or whatever. But for my mother, it just was never a thing. And in her eyes, it didn't matter what I did, as long as I somehow was making a living, however, that may be a minimum wage job was the best thing that could happen to me. And if it made more great, but her vision of somebody who had some kind of success was working 40 hours a week, getting paid for it, and just having that job, and just sticking with that job forever and ever and ever until you die. Amen. And I was like, I don't want to do that. Or if I do, I'm not gonna do it in fucking Lacey. You know? And, but it was, there was never an expectation that I was going to go to college, there was never any talk in of saving money to go to college of how, you know, how are you going to pay to go to college? How are you going to do this? How are you going to do that? I ended up applying for financial aid on my own, I ended up you know, finding out how to apply and in those days, there was no internet, you couldn't apply online. You know, I had to figure out everything on my own. And it wasn't until just recently, maybe in the last year or so that I realized what a big deal that was. Because it was never, it was never something that was discussed or talked about growing up. And even in my in my you know, with my cousins, you know, from the my dad's side of the family, it was never a thing either. And so I don't like saying that I'm proud. You know, like, I'm proud of myself for doing this. But I do feel like okay, you did this, you got through it. You know, now you know what to do for your children and help them so that they can navigate those systems with guidance, because I didn't have that.

Malini Sarma:

And I think that is very, for me also was the same thing. It's like you didn't know what you didn't know. Right? Yeah, look around you see what other people did and you kind of did the same thing nobody to tell you. Oh, you should do this or you should do that. So you should you should you should you know pat yourself on the back for having the vision to do or that whatever whatever energy around the universe prompted you to do that, you know, that said that you should be doing this. I think that's that's amazing because knowledge is something once you once you get it can never be taken. In a way, and that plays Yeah. And something that puts you on a path of, you know, success and these making wise choices, right? These you're aware of a lot of things. So, yeah, you definitely girl. Yeah, of course. I mean, those days, nobody said anything. So the fact that one that you're the first your family to go to college and that you did all on your own financial aid and everything, it's, you know, that's commendable. So you should be proud of that. Thank you. So you, you're a giver, I know, you just just from knowing you, I know you take care of your sister, you take care of your mom, you take your extended family, your children, and now you're actually doing your own business, too. And you're educating people about finance in the community. So how did you get into that?

Deborah:

into the Finance?

Malini Sarma:

Do you like doing, you know, because you're doing your legal thing and taking a course? You have so many things that you're working on? How did all that come about? Was it more a question of survival?

Deborah:

So it wasn't really survival I, let's see, I've always loved personal finance, I've always been the one to be like, I remember when my daughter, my oldest child was born. I said to my husband at the time, we're divorced. Now, I said to my husband, we need to get life insurance. And we need to have wills. And we need to get our money out together. So we got life insurance. And we didn't get our money act together. I was working at the University of Washington at the time, I wasn't investing in the voluntary investment program. Thank God, the state takes money out of your check for your pension. I invested. It's not a lot of money, but there's a little bit there. And I don't know why I was never able to continue on with good money habits. We would agree and be like, yeah, yeah, we need to save money, we need to do this, we need to do that. But we never did it. It just didn't happen. And I don't know how much of that is, you know, was part partly my fault, partly his fault, you know, lack of communication between the two of us, which was already kind of iffy anyway. But we just kind of muddled along, living paycheck to paycheck, and not in a good way. Because you can live paycheck to paycheck and have a bunch of your money going into savings and investments and retirement. And that doesn't happen. I had student loans hanging over my head, we had consolidated our student loans, and we had a ton of money in student loans, that we had deferred because I was on maternity leave after Medea was born. We were trying to refinance a mortgage. And it just nothing ever seemed to work. And I always thought that when you saved money, you needed to be saving hundreds of dollars a month, and just sticking it in a savings account, I didn't know what an emergency fund was. And if I had known that, it's okay, to start saving $10 a month, then increase it to 2030 4050, you know, increase it little by little, and have a little a little, not a nest egg. But to have a little account, a fund or something would be a really good, smart thing to do. But it just was not a thing. You know, and I should have learned that from my mother, because my mother was the kind of person who, when she would clean somebody's house, she got paid $40 she'd take five or $10. And she would put it away. And then when she got enough, you know, maybe $50 should go to the bank and make a deposit. And so by the time she had she and my dad divorced, she had in those days, it was fine. It was a lot of money $500 in 1985, in that in her little savings account. And it wasn't a ton of money, we still had to go on to welfare. Because she had been in a car accident lost her job. That's another that's a whole other story. But we were on welfare for a year. But that little bit of savings that she had helped us out because she was able to stretch that dollar. And that's something that I knew that she did, but somehow it just never was inculcated in me. I just saw her do it. And our money situation at home was a disaster. Both of us, you know, my husband, I both had full time jobs. And my mother was living with us at the time. She and my sister were contributing to household expenses, my, my my check cover the mortgage, but it just was. We just had no discipline or motivation or something. I don't know what it was. But I've always loved personal finance and I had all the books, David Bach, Suzy Orman, just so many people and we muddled along like that. For the longest time, and then when I, we were divorced, and then I received cell phone maintenance, and I used the time during the time that I was receiving cell phone maintenance to go to school to see if I could get a degree, second degree. And then I left that behind when I started working, actually, for my ex husband's restaurant. I worked there for two and a half years as a manager, and still was not doing the money saving thing, but still trying to figure out what my next steps were. In 2017, I was on the verge of foreclosure. Because I hadn't been making enough money to pay for my house, my money situation was a desperate mess. And I filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was dismissed, because I wasn't bringing in enough money to make the monthly payments. And I was able to start making monthly payments toward the mortgage. And then that stopped again. And I was by then too far behind. So I tried filing again in 2019. And I was getting tired of my behavior, I was getting fed up with not being able to make anything work and not knowing where to start. Again, that petition was dismissed. And when it was dismissed, I found myself having to face the decision. Do I sell my house and move somewhere else. And I didn't want to do that. My kids were born in that house. I lived there since 1998. Like 2322 years, you know, all this time. And I was like No. But there was no other way out. And one night, January last year, I was 49. And I was sitting in my room and I was looking at my retirement account. And I was like, This is so low. And I'm almost 50 Something has to give. So I talked to the kids, I talked to my mother and I said right now, the only thing I can do is sell this house. We have equity in the house. I'll make a little bit of money. it'll pay off a couple, you know, to pay off the mortgage and the second mortgage. And it's a way to start over. My kids and my mom were like, do what you need to do. We're behind you all the way. This has been stressing you out. Let's do it. And that very night that I talked to them. I got into my retirement account at Tia Chris. And I opened up my Roth IRA. Yes, I opened it up with $100 smells like am I gonna have to transfer $100 into this thing every month. And it was like, yeah. And I was like, okay, so two weeks later, I transferred $200 into the account. And I was like, Can I do this each month. My house is about to be foreclosed or sold. And here I am opening a Roth and transferring money into it. And I was like hell yes. I transferred more money into it. I put my house up for sale. I in January of last year. my credit score was so bad that I couldn't even even with a cosigner. I couldn't take out a personal loan to pay what was owed on the mortgage. my credit score was 493. In January of last year, I applied for a secured credit card and then a second secured credit card. I sold my house and everything. Everything just seemed to be getting better and better between January and the end of February. And then the pandemic hit. And I had to quit my second job as a paralegal because I couldn't go into the office. I couldn't expose myself because of my mother and my sister. So I lost that source of income. And I thought maybe I can do this online, but I should get a certification. So I enrolled in the paralegal program for people who have bachelor's degrees and In the middle of the pandemic, in the middle of my move and my house sale, I still didn't have a house to rent. In the middle of all of this, I started taking 15 credits for my paralegal certificate. And there were days when I was sitting at my, at my mother's sewing machine with the top down, doing my homework, getting on to zoom, doing the thing that I needed to do. And little by little, I increased my credit score. I've made myself more marketable. In July, I entered into a contract a small contract with an immigration attorney, who I love practicing the law that I love. And although I still, even though I was doing the paralegal work, I still felt the pull toward finance. And so around August, I just got on Instagram, and I'm like, I'm just going to share all the dumbest mistakes I've made. And I am going to just listen and learn. So I did. And I found Jenny's, who we know and love. And I remember in December, she talked about something that she was going to be offering, and it would be available in January. And so I got online, and I looked at it, and I was like oh my god, but it's $500. Imagine my service. So I started talking about it to my mother to my kids, my mother, my kids to my ex husband, I was praying to everybody. At Christmas, I was handed an envelope with $500 from my kids and my mother and a card telling me to go for it. So when we started that course, I think it was like the first week of January. I wasn't sure what I was going to be doing, I thought maybe I was going to be using doing my blog. So I had a blog website, I thought I was going to be you know, kind of maybe monetizing that and doing that as a side hustle. But I kept posting and talking about finances. And it was kind of toward the end of that that cohort that I decided, you know, maybe this is something I can do. And so I kind of fell into the financial coaching that way. And I decided that the paralegal thing I'm going to keep doing, because I love immigration work. But there isn't a lot of work for me to do right now. And so I've slowed down the courses, I have two more to go after this quarter. So I'm just going to take it easy, I'm probably going to take the summer off, because I want to give the the coaching the fine and the money coaching a boost, and do some more work toward that. And that's where I'm at right now. I had my first coaching session last week. And I'm really excited. And on Monday, I checked my credit score. And I'm at 712

Malini Sarma:

be so proud that I'm so proud of you. Look, yeah, you've been through welfare, and bankruptcy, and no job and no house and look at you. And now you're like, ready to kick some serious butt.

Deborah:

It's been hard. It's been so hard. And it's it's been hard, mostly because I've wanted to give these things more attention to help lift them up a little bit more. But I have family obligations that have been pulling me toward toward me, I've been being pulled toward those obligations, because the pandemic has been hard on everybody. And funnily enough, you know, last year when we moved into this house, that we're renting for a few years, for the first time, in at least three years. I'm not waking up with anxiety attacks. I'm not waking up thinking I'm going through menopause. I haven't had a panic attack. I've been able to sleep through the night without having financial worries. I have been able to sleep and just release that stress during a pandemic. You know, I mean, it's been, it's been hard for so many people and I get it. It's been hard for my whole family. But I've used the opportunity to just buckle down and try to just be more present for my family and to try to ease things for them. And it's been easier for me to do that because I have the burdens of my financial situation lifted. I don't have that burden anymore. And I want people to know that no matter where you're at, there's always a tiny step that you can take. I took a bunch of crazy steps all at once. I don't know why, and I wouldn't recommend it. But I was looking the other day, I forgot to check my credit score. And I checked it in a couple places. And I was like, Oh, my God, you know, I was at 493 17 months ago. And I know that in a year, I'm going to be at least 100 points up. Because I'm working so hard to do this, because and I told him, you know, and I said to my mother, I said, I want to stay in this house an extra year. Because even though I could get approved for a mortgage, right now, I don't want to do that, I want to wait until I can get a really good rate, I want to rate for that wait for the right time. In the past, I would never do that I was too impatient and unwanted everything now. And it's something that I've had to learn. I'm 51. And it's, it's been really hard to be patient. But my kids have been a big part of that too, because they are pretty patient. They're like, you know what, it's just going to happen when it's going to happen. And you just need to let it happen when it's going to happen. You know, we've talked about this, how much our kids have taught us, yes, and they're like, I don't have to have that thing this minute. And that was the kind of attitude that I had, for most of my adult life. I had to have this thing right now. And that got me into so much trouble. Because I wasn't, I wasn't managing my time, I wasn't managing my money, I wasn't managing my emotions, I waited too long to get a divorce, I didn't take full advantage of the time that I could have, of the time that I was receiving spousal maintenance, you know, if I wasn't going to take that path, I could have saved half of that money to do something else, you know, I could have done so many things. And it's, and it's but it's just not worth, you know, thinking about or going on and on about, because that's taking time and space away from what I'm supposed to be doing now. Which is to help people get their papers in order for immigration, or get their finances in order. So that they can be as, hopefully feel as free as I feel right now.

Malini Sarma:

Now you've come a long way, because I remember because you I was part of that first cohort, too, that Jannese had, and I, you know, you got to meet everybody, I think we were all of us were in like the spaces that we weren't really sure what was going on. But we just knew that we needed to do something about it. I think a lot of us were in that. And I think looking back now it's been what, six months, you know, since we graduated from that, and we're all following our own path, but at the same time, we're all connected, doing similar things in our own little spaces. And it's so powerful, it is so powerful. Just knowing that, you know, and that, like you said, it's that that passion that you have of personal finance to say yes, I need to do this and using yourself as an example. I think that's what people look for, because like, you know, if she can do it, then we can do it too.

Deborah:

I hope so. And and I hope that the people that I've brought on to my ID lives, like, you know, you, for example, you know, you made major changes when you, you know, got older, you know, when you ain't your middle age, you know, just like me, and it's and it's a it's a really important thing. And that's and that's the community that I really want to reach out to, you know, to let them know that women late, and it's like women like you and me, you know, we didn't do things or didn't not do things or whatever, at one point. But we're doing them now.

Malini Sarma:

Yeah, what it should have could have doesn't help right now. So right now, it's like, well, what are you going to do today? That's going to debut in the future? Yes, exactly. That's a very good.

Deborah:

We have to do that. You know, in fact, it wasn't until, you know, when you were asking about anybody who any role models. I mean, I guess I could say my mother, you know, hard worker, good mother. You know, we never went to bed hungry.

Malini Sarma:

She is the ultimate side hustler when you think about it. Exactly.

Deborah:

Yeah, she is. And so, you know, but aside from her, you know, no one on my dad's side of the family really took any interest in me, except maybe my grandmother who had an undercurrent of racism in her and I think that that, you know, I didn't really realize it at the time, but really missed. For the longest time, I really realized how much I needed to be with my Panamanian family. It was devastating, you know, looking back the transition, you know, to move to this country, and I didn't, I didn't go to kindergarten because I didn't have that became too late for me to enroll, right, or for whatever reason, and so I just got thrown into first grade. And there was no ESL in those days. And, you know, kid, my mother was tied up, you know, and my mother was tied up taking care of my sister. So you know, and my dad was too busy not being at home. So it just, it just, it is what it is, you know, my kids, my kids have a funny, oh, my God, I can't remember but my, my, oh, my, I think my, my dad calls it, uh, your unsatisfactory childhood or something, like, we have a nickname for it, I'm like, I'm gonna name my book, you know that there are a book, it's gonna be called my unsatisfactory. Because, you know, I went through as a kid, you know, it may look hard, my mother had a car accident that almost killed her. You know, she was able to work and I had to take care of her when she went through a depression and

Malini Sarma:

traumatic for a child to have to do that was traumatic enough for an adult to do that is very traumatic.

Deborah:

Well, because it's the kid who's supposed to be taken care of, not the other way around. Right? You know, and, and it was after that divorce, that she, after the accident that she told my dad, you know, fuck off and get out of here. And so she's, you know, left with a broken arm, and, you know, depression, major, major depression, and not being able to take care of herself or bathe, or take care of my sisters that fell to me to do that. And the way I see it is just, that's just how it was. There's nothing that can be done, you know.

Malini Sarma:

So in thinking about, you know, the course that we did earlier in the year, after, you know, you were part of that, and you met all of us, and, you know, what kind of changes Did you see or, or start to make, when you found yourself surrounded by community of women who were so supportive.

Deborah:

So, the thing about this cohort, this group is that I found people who valued my input, who cheered me on who supported me, who are giving me advice, who are, who care about what I'm doing. And I, I value that so much, because community is everything to me. I had a falling out with my best friend last year, in January or February. And we didn't speak through most of the year, until like, December. And when I told her that I was doing this, you know, when I was kind of like, Hey, this is what we're doing with our lives type of thing. You know, she congratulated me and she's like, that's great. I'm so happy for you. I'm so proud of you that, uh, and that was it. You know, I haven't received any kind of support, how's it going? How's this? I even tried to jokingly say, you know, I know what you should do with that money that you made at the casino, and there was no response. And I feel like, there's been a bit of a break there. And I think that it's really important to have, I don't want to, I don't want to bring culture into this because her so she's German, her mother's German. And she grew up very, very German. And they have a lot of the same values. She has brought her kid up the same way I brought my kids up, we're very, you know, very strict. You can't just go sleep at anybody's house, you can't just go and do this thing or whatever. You take care of your kids, you don't throw them out of the house, that kind of thing. And so I don't know, what I have learned is that I need to talk to her and say, This is what I need from you. But I hesitated because I haven't had to tell you, or Evie, or studying us. Or Denise, I need this from you. Or Charlie, I need this from you. You know what I mean? I don't feel like I'm burdening anybody with questions about how to do this or that. And I feel like just going to my friend and saying, Can you please ask me how things are going? You know, I know her financial life is a mess. And it's like

Malini Sarma:

sometimes you just have to let things be and, yeah, there's a time when things work out, it'll work out. But sometimes you got to walk away, because you have something to learn from into.

Deborah:

Yeah. And so I think that that's one of the things that I appreciate so much about our group is that we have a very, very special relationship. You know, I love that we're cheering each other on still, yeah, no. And I love that I'm still in touch with you. And I love that I'm still in touch with, you know, the other people, I think it's just a really good community. And I think it's important also to surround yourself with people who are going to support you, and to hype you up. And I think that there's a lot of value in that, you know, they say surround yourself, they tell the alcoholic, surround yourself with people who don't drink, right, because they're not going to invite you to go drink, and they are going to know and respect that. Right. And it's the same thing. I think with this, because we all have our own little niches, we have our own little groups, but we're all there for each other. Like I was thinking last night, Charlie is a money coach. If somebody comes to me, and I feel like maybe there isn't a right fit, I'm gonna say, what do you think you might be looking for? And I would totally say, go to Charlie, or go to some of the other money coaches. I know, right? Because I think also it's a, it's a collective that we have.

Malini Sarma:

No, we all have our strengths, and we can all help so you never know. Now but that is that is it. But like, just like you said, you know, community is very important. And I think the the Latino community, the you know, even the Asian community, though various communities all by we're like, raised by a village. It's not by one person. Exactly. And, and I think, for me, especially I've come to the conclusion, and I've lived my life long enough to realize that I don't have time to waste with people who don't care or support me. I need to be surrounded by people who I don't have to explain myself or justify my existence. You know what I'm saying? Yeah, exactly. I need to be with people who care about what I'm doing. And if and you know, if nothing else to say Yay. Okay, yeah, yeah, no, I don't need the negativity. I don't have time for it.

Deborah:

Yeah, the boundaries are so important. It is important. Like, I as much as I love my family in Panama. I ove them all. Most of them. But 've had to set boundaries with any of them. Because it's like, o, I can't do that. I'm not oing to do that for you. This s not this is not happening. eah. And because they don't now about boundaries, there is

Malini Sarma:

no either, so sometimes you have to kind of draw it out for them. But yeah, no, but girl, you should be so proud. Look at how far you've come. Six months. Oh my god. oh, you open your Roth IRA.

Deborah:

I'm so proud of you. That's awesome. And I'm on track to to max it out this year, which is even better, because

Malini Sarma:

oh my god, you gotta have already when you do that,

Deborah:

I don't cool. I calculated I did the calculation. I'm like, if I max it out, from this year forward. Oh, my God, I calculate I think I talked to Charlie about it. And I was like, I'm gonna end up with like, $140,000 just out of the Roth. Yeah. Out here, just 65. And it's like, and what if I decide not to take it on? It's 65? What if I'm still working? Keep it I can keep it because there's no obligation to withdraw? Right? I can keep making money. And why the whole note? You know, yeah,

Malini Sarma:

that's awesome. You have to be really proud of achieving your goals. Now, knowing all the stuff that you've gone through, what would you want to tell others? You know, who are you know, like us, women, immigrant Brown, marginalized, you know, want to follow their dreams? What What would you tell them?

Deborah:

My advice would be to first think about where you're at right now. Think about where you're at. And write it down on a piece of paper and draw an arrow to where you want to be. Whether you want to build an emergency fund, whether you want to travel to x country, whether you want to buy a house, whether you want to save for retirement, or even if you want to buy a new handbag that costs 15 $100. Look at where you're at now. draw an arrow and then write down what it is that you want. And then you start making little steps about you start making then you need to make a list of the steps that you need to take to reach your goal. You have to start small so that you don't get discouraged and Do what your gut tells you listen to your gut, you have to listen to your gut. Because if you listen to all the noises outside your head, you're going to get confused. And you're not going to know what you want to do. Because you're listening to so many people who think that they know what's good for you. But only only you know what's good for you. Trust, I've, I've had to set those kinds of boundaries, for example, with my mother. Because she sees me in all these meetings, all these interviews, all these things that I'm doing. And she was like, Well, where's the money? It's like, well, it takes time. It takes time. And I've told you this. So back off.

Unknown:

Yeah. Yeah,

Malini Sarma:

there you go. Sometimes you just stand up and just say it, you know, in service. Yeah, that's awesome. So knowing what you know, now, and looking back, what would you have told your younger self?

Deborah:

So as far as money, I would tell my younger self. When you get to the Seattle Times, and they offer you something called a 401k, and you don't know what the hell it is, go and ask somebody. What is this? Why should I sign up for it? Is this worth it? I don't know what it is. Ask somebody, ask, ask questions. Because I didn't. And I didn't open my 401k until I was five months away from leaving that job. But I didn't know I was going to leave. It was an unexpected decision. And I had only out of the four years, I'd only invested $500. That's nothing. And I would tell also my younger self, to listen more to your gut, and stand up for yourself. It's always been really hard for me to stand up for myself. For the first time ever, I stood up for myself in public, without stammering or without getting nervous. And that was a month ago, when I took my sister to the doctor. I was speaking to her in Spanish, we were looking at the fish tank. And she was talking about I want a fish. And I said you can't have a fish. You have chickens, dogs and cats. This is like Why can't I have? What can I have fish? Said who's going to take care of them? I don't know. Exactly. So here I'm having this conversation. And then she says mom can feed them? And I said no. So she's answering me in English. I'm speaking her in Spanish. And across the room, we were waiting at the lab for her to get blood drawn across the room and older woman older than me. yells across the room. Having pets is a responsibility, not a right how rare I was. And I just stood there and I looked at her. And then she she thought she got called to go into the lab. And I was thinking to myself, okay, I'm going to say something to her. And I'm going to try not to tell her to fuck off. I'm gonna try not to be vulgar. There were people waiting in line at the pharmacy, there are people waiting in line to register, you know, to check in for their appointments. And then there were people waiting for the lab. So it was you know, three o'clock in the afternoon. So anyway, she got turned away at the door, because I guess she misheard the name. And I just looked at her and I said, you need to mind your own business. This conversation has nothing to do with you. I'm having a private conversation with my sister. Would you are not a part? Well, I'm just saying that. No, no. You are not saying anything. Because this is not your business. You know, is this, I said that? And I said, No, no, stop, stop. I've just told you, it's none of your business. So back off. And she got her her book and she's looking at her book or whatever. And I said, mind your business. Now, I didn't swear at her but my voice was loud. To be loud. I was wearing my mask I had never I'd never done that before. Usually I would have just said I shut up or you know, whatever. But I just wanted to let her know it's none of your business. And

Malini Sarma:

that's awesome. And you got to get yourself out High Five standing up girl. And I and I and I've noticed that I'm doing the same thing too. I stand up and say stuff because I'm like I am so tired of people. All Time unlike just because I've kept quiet doesn't mean I agree. You know? Yeah, I'm usually keeping quiet to keep the peace, not because I agree, but you're taking it as a sign of weakness and thinking that I'm okay with it. I'm not okay with it. Yeah, I'm so proud of you. Oh, they're not gonna mess with you anymore. Not that I have the confidence to do that. Yeah. Speak up, you know? Awesome. Well, you know what, you didn't do it before. But you did it now. Anyway, no stopping you now. That is awesome. But thank you so much for taking the time. I really do appreciate it. So people want to get ahold of you. And they want to know about your, if they want you as my coach, where can they go? What, where should they go.

Deborah:

So my social media handle across Tiktok, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is at my B budget. And B is in reference to the bees. So it's My Bee budget my be budget, or my be budget.com my website or contact at my B budget.com, which is my email. And I would love to hear from anybody who has questions or just wants a free 30 minute clarity call to discuss to see if there's any way that I can help.

Malini Sarma:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much. And I really do appreciate it. I'm so proud of you, girl. And I can't wait to see them all on me. I can't wait to see all the amazing things that you're going to be doing. So I'm sure you'll be back for another day. I love it. I'd love it. Yeah, I'm not going anywhere. Oh, yes. Well, thank you so much. I really do appreciate it. Thank you so much. Bye, Malini.