Money Goals! From Debt to Teaching Financial Freedom with Bernadette Joy | Ep #34

October 18, 2022

Craving financial independence? Bernadette Joy was $300,000 in debt including student loans and mortgages and paid it all off in a few short years. She is now a financial guru, self-made millionaire, and founder of Crush Your Money Goals. Bernadette followed her FIllipino family’s advice and got a secure job in HR, that she ultimately […]

Volunteer your way into a second act
Now Trending:

The Second Act Success Career Blog features articles to help inspire you as you navigate your career journey. Plus, you'll find show notes from podcast guests who have shared second act success stories. My hope is that these quick reads will offer advice and comfort knowing you are not alone on your path towards second act success. xo - Shannon


Let's Connect!

Must Read Career Advice
Is Your Side Hustle Ready for full time?

Bernadette Joy

Bernadette Joy, Crush Your Money Goals


Craving financial independence? Bernadette Joy was $300,000 in debt including student loans and mortgages and paid it all off in a few short years. She is now a financial guru, self-made millionaire, and founder of Crush Your Money Goals. Bernadette followed her FIllipino family’s advice and got a secure job in HR, that she ultimately hated. She bounced around getting her masters and starting a business. When debt accumulated, Bernadette taught herself how to pay it off and now she teaches others how to find financial freedom through her business, podcast, and speaking engagements.  Listen to my interview with Bernadette Joy on the Second Act Success Podcast.



CONNECT with Bernadette Joy:

Website – https://www.crushyourmoneygoals.com/

Podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/crush-your-money-goals/id1422564669

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bernadebtjoy

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bernadebtjoy/

Facebook –  https://www.linkedin.com/in/bernadebtjoy/

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-marie-zanzal-m-div-a46622116/



0:00 – Introduction

02:29 – Career journey and working in Human Resources out of college

02:32 – Growing up in a Filipino family

03:54 – Having to fire people as part of her role

04:39 – Going for her master’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill

05:00 – Getting married and accumulating debt

05:52 – Starting a fashion business

06:20 – Teaching herself how to pay off debt

06:46 – Second act was a dress business she started, this led her to begin her business Crush Your Money Goals

07:32 – Beginning to teach others how to get financial freedom

08:52 – Learning from Dave Ramsey, but realizing she viewed getting out of debt differently than him.

09:38 – 5 Steps to pay off debt and achieve financial freedom spell out CRUSH

10:42 – Clearing the mental clutter

11:43 – Working with clients

13:28 – Bernadette and her husband paid off debt and grew millions

14:22 – FIRE movement and retirement

15:25 – Finding your financial retirement number

17:29 – Retirement age

18:37 – Family reaction to her career 

20:07 – Her father passed away, but she learned he was proud of her

22:56 – Family dynamics teach us that we must retire later in life, but there are other options

23:42 – Fear about starting other acts in life because of what we are taught.

24:38 – Social media

25:40 – Her different acts

27:31 – Client being afraid to leave a job because of her kids, but she realized she doesn’t want to stay in her job because of her kids.

30:33 – Communication with partners about money

31:40 – Imposter syndrome

32:40 – Speaking engagements

34:35 – Getting message out that women of color can make money too and bridging the wealth gap

38:48 – Working with corporations to help employees

40:08 – Crush Your Money Goals Podcast

41:36 – 5 Fast Qs of the Week

41:41 – What different acts have taught her

42:02 – What changing careers has taught her

42:35 – Advice for others starting a second act

43:21 – What is next for Bernadette?

44:31 – Connect with Bernadette

45:00 – Shannon’s takeaways




Your review would mean the world to us! 

Apple Podcasts – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/second-act-success/id1617274364

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/2bQTkm7ZjuvEa6JGLc48xi


If you would like to share your story with our listeners or recommend a guest for the show, please fill out our Guest Application Form at https://bit.ly/SecondActSuccessGuest or email info@secondactsuccess.co.


Share the podcast with friends to help spread the inspiration! secondactsuccess.co/podcast


To learn more about the show visit http://www.secondactsuccess.co, and please subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode.


Connect with Shannon Russell and the Second Act Success Team:

Facebook Instagram | Website 


Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #34 - Money Goals! From Debt to Teaching Financial Freedom with Bernadette Joy
Guest: Bernadette Joy
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Shannon: Hey friend, think you're ready to start a second act. I created a freebie that will help. It's my Second Act Blueprint with five questions that you should ask yourself before you make this massive decision. To check it out, go to secondactsuccess.co and download the Second Act Blueprint today. Now it's onto the episode.

[00:00:18] Bernadette Joy: every step of the way, I was like, Oh, I like this and I don't like this, so I'm gonna stop doing the thing that I don't. Keep going deeper into things that I do like, and it turns out that I actually really enjoy not only learning about, things related to personal finance and financial education, but I love teaching it. Kind of seeing those light bulb moments with people when they realize, Wow, all of this stuff that I learned about money isn't necessarily true or accurate or helpful. and how I could impact people in that respect.

[00:00:46] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.

[00:01:00] I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.

It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get started.

Welcome to Second Act Success.

[00:01:36] Shannon Russell: Today we are chatting with financial guru and self-made millionaire, Bernadette Joy of Crush Your Money Goals. Bernadette followed her Filipino families advice and got a secure job in human resources. But she ultimately hated it. So she bounced around getting her master's degree and even starting a dress business. In trying to find what she really wanted to do in life. She actually found herself [00:02:00] in $300,000 worth of debt. Bernadette taught herself how to pay off And now she teaches others how to find financial freedom through her business podcast and speaking engagements. I am fan girling over Bernadette. And I can't wait to share our conversation with you. Meet the ever so inspiring Bernadette joy.

Bernadette, welcome to Second Act Success.

[00:02:23] Bernadette Joy: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:02:25] Shannon Russell: Let's talk about your career journey. Where did things start for you?

[00:02:29] Bernadette Joy: If we wanna go all the way back, I'll try to make this as, as possible. For those of you listening, you can't tell, but I am Asian, first generation Filipino American, so it all started at, you know, birth when my Asian parents are like, you're either gonna be a doctor or a lawyer, or an accountant or something, you know, practical and that we understand. Fast forward through. All of school was like very stereotypically, great student, excellent at math, like all of those things. Went to college, thought I was gonna be pre-med, actually applied for all my schools as a biology major, and then [00:03:00] realized I don't like the sight of blood, that's, that's not gonna work. And, um, decided to, pursue psychology, which my Asian parents were like, that's not a real degree. So, You have to do something else. So instead of switching, majors, I ended up doing a business degree and a psychology degree. two bachelors in four years, and when I came to my senior year, I was like, Well, what do you do with a psychology degree in a business degree? And one of my, mentors was like, Well, that's a perfect combination for human resources. And I was like, I have no idea what that. but I'll try it. And I got my first job right out of school based off of a recommendation from, my mentor who worked at that, same company. I started a career in HR in 2007 in financial services. And then, uh, 2008. And I thought that HR was like, Oh, I'll help people find jobs and, you know, recruit people and make people excited about coming to work. And [00:04:00] all I was doing was laying people off.

[00:04:01] Shannon Russell: Oh, that's so hard. The hard part of HR

[00:04:05] Bernadette Joy: The hard part of hr, the, and it was the only part of HR I did for the, pretty much the first couple of years of my career.

So I, was a 20 something year old flying around to different offices and telling people they didn't have a job anymore. There was a lot of lying and there was a lot of, uh, self-reflection of like, is this what I really wanna do? but I didn't know what else to do. And so I stayed in that career for almost a decade. And somewhere in there I knew that I wanted to do something different, but I didn't know what, And again, being very, academically oriented was like, you know what the solution to this get another degree. So I went to get my master's in business at UNC Chapel Hill and, decided that, okay, you know, once I go through this program, maybe I'll have a better idea of what I wanna do. Turns out when I graduated from the program, I didn't have a clearer idea of what I wanted to do, but I had $72,000 of student loan debt from that program. And by that [00:05:00] time I had also married my husband and we also had, mortgages and all of the adult bills and all of the things. And I was just like, Is this what life is like? Just going to work and paying bills for the rest of your life? That doesn't seem. There has to be another way to this, and that's what started my journey in personal finance and that's led me to do what I do today.

[00:05:22] Shannon Russell: Amazing because you realize that, right? A lot of our listeners are people who get on one path and even if they're unhappy, they will continue with that until retirement, because that's what our parents taught us. So I like that you realize this is not fun anymore. This is. What I wanna wake up to every day. How did you go to the next step and try to figure out how to pay the bills and change jobs?

[00:05:47] Bernadette Joy: Mm. Yes. So at the time I was still doing recruiting. I was also, starting a new business. I was, I was thinking, Well, what am I interested in? And of all things I was like, I really love fashion, and so I. [00:06:00] Started, it was actually started as a project in my MBA program, and it was to solve the age old issue of wearing something once and then not wanting to wear it anymore. and I had started that business, but with the $72,000 of student loan tenure over my head, I felt like starting a business felt very risky to me. and I said to myself, Well, if I could pay off these student loans, I would have a little bit of breathing room to take some risk on starting, starting that business. Little did I know that I ended up. Really enjoying learning more about personal finance and teaching myself literally just by Googling and listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos on how to pay down debt and how to be better with money and learning about investing that I ended up, , going forward with that.

My second act was that dress business. But it turns out that second act was the, predecessor to what is now Crush Your Money Goals, which is where I do financial education, particularly for women to help them escape burnout and achieve [00:07:00] financial independence. I did not know that this is where this was all going. I was just every step of the way, I was like, Oh, I like this and I don't like this, so I'm gonna stop doing the thing that I don't. Keep going deeper into things that I do like, and it turns out that I actually really enjoy not only learning about, things related to personal finance and financial education, but I love teaching it. I loved kind of seeing those light bulb moments with people when they realize, Wow, all of this stuff that I learned about money isn't necessarily true or accurate or helpful. and how I could impact people in that respect. So, actually this is probably my third or fourth , you know, stint in from a career perspective that has nothing to do with, you know, what I intended to when I started college or when I started my first career. But, . I do believe that a lot of the things that I learned, like being a business owner in the retail industry, like understanding, what it's like to be in human resources and seeing people getting laid off and thinking, Well, I don't wanna put myself in that [00:08:00] position. All of those experiences and those first, second, third acts is what's, seems to be resonating with people now because I am, am able to speak from being an entrepreneur, being a nine to fiver, being, uh, you know, graduate degree student and, , those experiences have all led up to being able to speak from a unique perspective, I think that I have now.

[00:08:22] Shannon Russell: And even the psychology degree, right, because you're understanding people and that helped you in hr, so you're able to kind of relate to people, Hey, I was there and I can help you get over it. So how did you and your husband pay off this debt? At one point you had about $300,000 worth of debt,

[00:08:40] Bernadette Joy: Mm-hmm.

[00:08:40] Shannon Russell: so how did you follow the steps that you learned that you now teach others today?

[00:08:45] Bernadette Joy: The, uh, interesting thing when I, we start, first started it out right, is when I would Google how to pay off debt. The primary source that would come up was a guy named Dave Ramsey, which a lot of people are familiar with in personal finance. And for a long time I followed kind of what those baby [00:09:00] steps were, but where I found the gap in the steps that he had was one, it was still very. Ooh, you shouldn't be buying things that you don't like. Even though, you know, for women, practically speaking, you know, there are things that we have to buy that men don't. Right? And there are pressures that are put on us that men don't have in terms of like expenditures for family and how we look and all of the other things, right? And so I, I often found myself thinking like, Well, you know, this advice works really well if I'm, single and a guy and I. Care about how I look or I don't care about traveling or spending time with family. but those things were kind of important to me. And so, what ended up evolving over time, which is now the basis for Crush Your Money Goals, is what I call the five kind of strategies of CRUSH. And it spells out the word CRUSH. When people ask me how my husband and I paid, $72,000 of student loan debt in less than a year, and then subsequently paying all of our debt, including our homes in three years. When [00:10:00] I look back, if you asked me during that process, I wouldn't have been able to tell you what I was doing. But looking back, I saw that the common themes of what was happening and succinctly speaking, the five steps, start out with a psychology aspect of it. And then kind of progressively talk towards like about, about tactical things that you do with your money and, um, The piece that, people struggle most with in this crush model is that the first step is C, clearing the mental clutter. everybody wants to go straight to the H, which is hustle. They wanna hustle more. They're like everyone thinks, especially in American culture. Like while the, the key to solving our issues with money or with being unhappy is if we make more. But what I figured out in hindsight is like they're key to our issues here, is really figuring out what's going on in our brain here, which is my psychology background, clearing the mental clutter, what things are no longer serving us, what habits and beliefs and thoughts do we need to change around money. And then progressively working towards the H in [00:11:00] crush, which is hustle smart, not hard. And I'm very, very stringent to people to say do not skip all the way to five, Everyone goes to, Okay, well then I just need to get another side hustle, or two high side hustles or three side hustles, versus being like, let's figure out all the things that happen first before you have to work more. And that is the biggest thing that is probably, most differentiated about how I teach people, but also where people like struggle with it because it's not a, you know, get rich quick kind of scheme either.

[00:11:29] Shannon Russell: And nowadays especially people Can get the information on Google, YouTube, everything so quickly. So they want that answer quickly. But Talk to me about Crush your Money Goals because you have the Crush Your Money Goals Academy. You have different ways that you work with clients.

[00:11:43] Bernadette Joy: Yes. If someone is just, financial, Independence's curious. Right? Then, you know, I put a lot of content out. Uh, I have a podcast myself. I also have, partnerships with, places like CNBC and TIME where I post, articles to share, particular. Advice on, things [00:12:00] like career or building a business or, you know, paying off debt. Uh, I also have a free guide and I have, a lot of, free classes that I will host, usually once a month for people to just. Get an understanding of, you know, a particular issue that they're trying to solve. So I have classes like, how to improve your resume to get paid more, how to pay down debt, how to pay down student loans, so anyone can join, Crush your money goals from the perspective of just consuming the free content that's out there. ,

but if you are moving past just being interested and you actually want to commit to, going on the journey of financial independence, and when I say financial independence really meaning I help people separate and grow both their net worth and their self worth. The most basic level is people can, join the academy and they get access to all of the, uh, recorded sessions and all the content. They can do it at their own pace. If they actually finish the course, then they can actually meet with me one on one. To walk through what their particular plan is. Then I have a group [00:13:00] option, and so I have a, an amazing group of people who are going through the program right now who we meet every Wednesday and they have the course and they also have live coaching with me every week. And then the highest level tier is for those who are like, this is for me. I want to be financially independent, particularly in the next Five to 10 years. I have clients who meet with me every week one on one, and we are specifically going through the particular parts of their financial plan. So aside from my husband and I paying off $300,000 of debt, we've also built our first $1.2 million of net worth. I will be Work optional. By the time I'm 40, I'm actually work optional now, but now I'm just trying to make a couple of extra bucks to go to more BTS concerts, essentially and uh,

[00:13:45] Shannon Russell: it.

[00:13:46] Bernadette Joy: and uh, for those people who are really committed to, okay, I really wanna change the trajectory of my career and my financial future. That top tier option is where you really get the. Pun intended, bang for [00:14:00] your buck, because we are working on the specific nuances of what your plan looks like versus, you know, kind of the, the general topics that we talk about in the group.

[00:14:08] Shannon Russell: That is amazing that you sit one on one and really go through everything with them. I. Shocked and loving the term work optional. That's a goal that everyone wants. But how do you know when you're there?

[00:14:22] Bernadette Joy: so, the succinct version of this is in the personal finance community. There is a movement called the fire movement, which is financial independence, retire early, and you can actually calculate. The number you need in order to be financially independent, retire early, and that number, and you can Google it, but essentially it's 25 times your annual expenses, and that number has to be invested. So you can't just have that number sitting in a bank account because it's not growing, right? So if you have that number times 25. And it's invested. The idea is that you can, you know, withdraw a little bit of money [00:15:00] every year from it, but it's still growing a little bit at the same time you are withdrawing, so it doesn't run out. That's, that's a very short version of it. What's been interesting though is that a lot of people are repelled by the idea of financial independence retire early, because so many Americans have their identities tied up with their careers. That the most common response I get from peoples, like, I don't just wanna sit in a beach all day. And I'm like, First of all, I do

[00:15:23] Shannon Russell: I do too,

[00:15:25] Bernadette Joy: I be more than happy to sit in a beach, all day. But there's this idea that if you're not working, that you're just like useless or not valuable, and I just don't subscribe to that. The terminology that I use is actually financial independence, relax every day, which still spills out fire. And the idea is right, like that, you have the option to rest if you wanted to. And if you're working, it's because you want to, not because you have to, and that's because you're supported by the finances that you don't have to go to work. In my case, I talk about this number 1.2 million. It's actually a significant number because based off of my calculations of how much I would need in order to maintain a [00:16:00] similar lifestyle to what I'm living now.

And of course that's barring like, you know, not that anything completely catastrophic would happen or whatever, right? Um, that, that number was 1.2 million in investments. And that's literally what the amount is. I have in my, my, my investments right now. And so, . I tell people, and this is what I think people really gravitate towards, is like the, you know, the reason I show up to classes and teach classes, the reason that I show up to meet with people one on one is to be very clear. And it sounds, you know, kind of like full of myself, but it's like, I'm here because I want to, I'm here teaching you because I don't necessarily need the money in this, right? And so that really gets people to start thinking, Wait, wow. Is that possible? That I could actually be doing work, quote unquote, because I choose to show up here, not because I need that paycheck every two weeks. And that seems to really get people to shift their idea about focusing on their finances versus the traditional idea of retirement, which most [00:17:00] people think about as like super far away.

[00:17:01] Shannon Russell: I love that because you can retire and it just means you get to choose what you do every day. My dad is retired and he wants to hang out with my kids. Every day. And that's what he chooses. And you know, and he can do that, but there's other people who might want to play golf every day. They might want to, teach lessons, they might wanna volunteer. There's so many things. So just getting to your place, whether it's at 40 or 65, that you can have work optional as your lifestyle is amazing.

[00:17:29] Bernadette Joy: Yes, and I think a lot of people are still in this day and age, associate retirement with an age, and it's not actually an age, it's a financial number. So you could retire at 29, you could retire at 70. But everyone's number is gonna be different based off of, you know, what life. So they wanna live what their needs are. For me as an example, you know, one of the things that is unique to kind of My situation, a lot of people will say, Well, oh you know, it's so easy for you to retire cuz you don't have kids. Right? And I'm like, That's true, right? But I also have a condition that costs me [00:18:00] $3,000 a month. In like medical expenses, right? And so everyone's situation is different and oftentimes I see a lot of folks who look at other people's situations like, oh well that's the reason that they can achieve that. They don't have this or that going against it. But too often, and I would say, especially my female clients, we spend a lot of time. Discounting the things that we actually have in our favor and the things that are working for us that would help us get to financial independence sooner than other people.

[00:18:27] Shannon Russell: Right. It, it is doable and you're proof of that, that you can get there. I'd love to know what your parents and your family think now of what you've chosen to do with your life.

[00:18:37] Bernadette Joy: Uh, , that's a very complicated question. So I will say, my husband's parents like only really started to appreciate, I guess that's not even a strong word. They at least acknowledge what it is that I do for a living because, both my husband and I were first generation Filipino American, that both of our parents immigrated from the [00:19:00] Philippines. And um, their idea of someone who's good with money is patriarchal. and very traditional, right? Like you, if you are making good money, then you must have a big house. You must have a nice car. You must be a doctor or a lawyer. Or an accountant or everyone in my husband's side of the family is in the health field, like nurses or physical therapists. And so, they really did not understand what we were doing personally. We would often get joked on as being like the cheap ones in our family because while we were paying down debt, like we made some choices or like, we're not gonna go on that. You know, trip to Disney World, or like our car has a scratch on it because, uh, I hate to say it, I would love to tell you that I'm not the stereotype of an Asian person, but I am really good at math and I am terrible at driving. So there's like a huge like thing on the side of our, our car and they're like, Why don't you just get a new car? And I'm like, Well, I don't want to Right. And it wasn't until, my family started seeing me on television and really it hit them when one of their friends was like, I saw [00:20:00] Bernadette on tv. And they were like, Wait, she must be doing something important now. Right? more recently, I've had some really heart to heart conversations because my father passed away last year and.

[00:20:11] Shannon Russell: sorry, Bernadette.

[00:20:13] Bernadette Joy: Oh, thank you. Um, but he never really understood what I was doing. And my father was a, an accountant, and my mom was a bookkeeper, right? So they, they're of the mindset, again, like you do very traditional job, you do stable jobs. And so they didn't understand what I left my very stable corporate six figure job. Why would I go do something that potentially doesn't pay that much. But right before my dad passed away, and my dad was 82 when he passed away. So he lived a very long life, but he started like clipping newspaper articles of things like, you know, how to budget better or, he, to pay down credit card debt and that was his way of like, you know, I would get these like literal, like newspaper clippings in the mail and he would just be like, Oh, I saw this and it made me think of something that you said on your Facebook or whatever. And so I think [00:21:00] towards that, that last year he really did start to understand or appreciate things that I was doing. And the, the kicker on it was at my, now this is a little bit sad, but my, at my dad's funeral, at the dinner afterwards, one of his neighbors, who I'd never met before, like came up to me and she showed me all of the texts that he had sent her of like, Oh, my daughter is on this television show, or she put out this thing, like, You should read it. Right? And so, it was one of those classic examples, like, the Asian parents, don't acknowledge or ever tell you that they're proud of you. But then you find out, you know, afterwards that they were paying attention all along. And in fact, that he was more supportive than I realized.

[00:21:35] Shannon Russell: Then your. Bernadette, I, I told you how my husband is Filipino first generation as well, so I feel like you're talking to his situation and it's the exact same way. My husband and I were both television producers. He's still producing and his parents just don't understand it cuz it's so freelance. You know, we don't have the 401k. It's just never been like that and it's not in our blood. We're not used to that. They never understood it. And [00:22:00] as soon. My husband started getting some higher positions appearing on tv, things like that as well. That is when they started noticing. So it's funny how, and maybe it just comes back to how they grew up having so very little and wanting just something more stable for, for

[00:22:19] Bernadette Joy: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:22:20] Shannon Russell: it comes from a place of love, I guess.

[00:22:22] Bernadette Joy: You know, and I, I look back at that now and I was definitely like resentful about it. , you know, like the last couple of years, especially like when I started doing well and you know, one of the things that. Hits me every now and then. You know, some things have been really kind of sky rocketing in my business and sometimes I'm like, Oh, I wish my dad could see this now. Cause he was always really just worried that, would we be okay? But that's also one of the biggest things that I tackled with a lot of my clients and my. Students, right? Is that a lot of us have these hangups around what does career look like for us? What does money look like for us? What does our family dynamics look like for us? Because, we are passed down these ideas [00:23:00] from our parents and a lot of what I teach, to be honest, is quite counter. Culture to what a lot of our parents said, right? It's like you don't retire at 65, you can retire at 40 if you want to. You don't have to have a stable job, but you do have to have multiple sources of income, right? A lot of the things that I teach to people is not something that they've heard before. And if I'm being transparent about it, I used to get really frustrated at first cause I was just like, I don't understand why people don't get it. It just makes sense and like it worked for me. Why don't they understand that it could work for them too? But when you put those extra layers of family and tradition and expectations and not wanting to disappoint other people, that's the hard part of money. That's the hard. Making really tough career choices. That's a hard part of choosing to do A second act or a third act, or a fourth, fourth act, is balancing all of those, things that you know could actually help you. But the fear of all of the pressure that you get around you is, is probably where I spend most of my time coaching people.

[00:23:57] Shannon Russell: Because what you're teaching is so [00:24:00] valuable, but it's like changing the psychology that we have been born with and we grew up in. We're like the first generation, I would truly say that is living this way. We are going outside of that realm that our parents and the generations before did. What you're teaching is just so important and so valuable.

Actually, the way I discovered you was on this incredible Instagram post that you posted, and I actually wrote it down because I wanted to bring it up. You posted about how multiple careers are the rule and not the exception, and how you want to normalize that for people and not make it so. All right. You graduate with this degree. This is your job. Here's your retirement package.

[00:24:38] Bernadette Joy: Yeah. It's so funny to me cuz I'm sure you maybe experienced this too, like when you're in this content creator space, you spend all this time like trying to curate content that you think are like, Oh, people are gonna really like this one. And that one was like a thought that I just had one day and then it just like went viral and I was just like, Oh wait, what is. Okay, clearly I should have paid more attention to this thought process of how many people feel stuck in [00:25:00] careers because that's like the first place that they went. I've had many attorneys as clients who are like, I don't wanna do this anymore, but I have $200,000 in student loan debt and, you know, my whole family is proud of, of the fact that I'm the first attorney in our family. And, how many people I've had who are really just, you know, burnt out by whatever it's that they're doing, even when they loved it at one point. And it's been very interesting to me more recently where, I have met a lot of, entrepreneurs, the people that you see who are like, Oh, they're killing it on Instagram and they're making good money, and they get to do this thing that they love and they're helping people. And then they're like, But what if this is not the thing I wanna do anymore either, right? And so for me, when I talk about, Crush Your Money Goals and this iteration, I call it my fourth. act because my first act was in, , hr and then my second act was in that retail business. And then my third act was kind of the first iteration of Crush Your Money Goals. And now I'm moving more into, you know, kind of thought leadership and, speaking engagements and more, content creation type of [00:26:00] stuff. And every step of the way I've always, I've, I personally have paused, but like, am I doing the right thing? am I giving up something good for something that's just gonna fall completely flat? Am I gonna fail at this? Um, so far, so good. Like, everything's turned out okay. Right. But I am always so motivated to see people who want to make that change, but they're fighting against, you know, what those ideas are of just like that one single career. And you would've thought like, I'm 37, right? So I'm like older millennial. And, I thought that, we would've made kind of more quote unquote progress on that. But I still see a lot of people who are my age and even in their twenties who are still stuck with that idea. Cuz culturally that's, what a lot of people talk about. So, I'm so glad for a podcast like this that actually expose people to the idea that, you know, there's multiple paths to happiness, there's multiple paths to career. There's no one right way and exposing people to different options. is a first step in figuring out what it is that you wanna [00:27:00] do.

[00:27:00] Shannon Russell: Yeah. And there's a lot of my clients that are right out of college and are like, Okay, I have this degree. I don't want anything to do with it now what? And it's so scary. But in the same sense, Thank goodness that you discovered this at 23. because you're not sitting here at 53 saying, Oh God, now what?

I, I love, That we're both empowering women to make that step, because, like you said earlier in our conversation, is that it's harder for women in so many levels.

[00:27:30] Bernadette Joy: Yeah. Yeah. One, one of the conversations I've had recently, I have a, a client of mine who like left her corporate job and I was so excited for her on it, but she was really terrified about it because her family was like very, and she had a big title, Big Corporate Money. But she has two young girls and she. She said to me, the reason I can't leave this corporate job and this high paying salary is because of my girls. Like, like, because you know, it's, it's for them, right? But then as we went through our engagement together, it started [00:28:00] evolving of even more. So like, the reason I need to leave is because of my girls.

And I was like, That's interesting. What made made you shift? And she said, You know, I want to show them that I. Was able to make a shift. And so if they ever decided that they wanted to do something different, that they could say, Well, my mom did that. Um, and I wanna show them that, you know, again, you don't have to stick to something that is sucking your soul just for money. That's not what I want to teach 'em either. And so it was interesting because the, the reasoning was the same. It's for my kids. But the, but the choices were different. I stay in this job so I can provide them the basics of, you know, financial stability, or I can leave this job and show my, my girls what like real freedom really looks like. And I say that especially for, you know, those of your listeners who are particularly. Raising families. And I get that feedback a lot too, right? Where people are like, it's easier for you because you don't have kids. Right? But I have, nieces and nephews, and one of the things that I love is that my sister-in-law, asked [00:29:00] me to be the godmother for, one of my nieces. And she said to me, she's like, The reason I want you to be her godmother is because I want her to see. What an independent person can look like and both of us, she's also happens to be Filipino. Both of us like didn't have that growing up. And um, and so for all of the fear of, leaving stability, which is often the main reason that people stay in that first act is you know, the upside is that you create a life of freedom. And then that you can say, Well, at least. At least I tried, and I think that to me is better.

[00:29:32] Shannon Russell: Yeah, you tried and I left a, my dream job in television because of my boys, I was super happy, but I wanted to be around more and I didn't wanna travel and work the crazy hours. So I opened my own business. And then it's the same thing like your client of just. can be happy in both. It doesn't have to be a toxic situation, but you can change to make it a better lifestyle. And I don't know if it's a Filipino thing, but my husband had a really hard time with it [00:30:00] and he'll still say, But don't you wanna go back? I think to him it's more of a statute statute, um,

[00:30:06] Bernadette Joy: Oh totally.

[00:30:07] Shannon Russell: And that's where he got that from his family, where I'm like, I know I already did that and I'm still that I didn't change. but I don't need to be hanging out with these celebrities and doing all of this. It's not what brings me joy now. Um, it's learning from different generations and your family and just what you want to give to your nieces and the next generation.

[00:30:30] Bernadette Joy: And I love that. You know, it sounds like you and your, your husband have talked about this a lot too. You know, I tell people this to my husband and I, we're both in this financial independence journey together. And sometimes , what was hard for us in making some of these choices is, you know, at one point I was a breadwinner. At another point he was a breadwinner and like, and having someone on your side too. And I will never discount that. A huge piece of why I'm able to do what I'm do I do today is because my husband has been generally. Supportive, uh, in kind of every sense of the word. He is the one who told me to quit my, [00:31:00] my day job before it was like, I can't listen to you complain about this anymore. So like this, it has to be better. But even when I, my job was good, he was the one who would tell me like, you know, people are really liking what you're saying and it seems like people really needed, and he would even say to me like, sometimes I struggle with what you're telling people, Right? Thinking about my net worth different from myself or thinking about my identity other than what I do for my day job. And so I really encourage, People who are thinking about that is to have the conversations with people around you and understand where their thought process is and you know, look for support where you can, but also don't let other people's, limitations on what they think is realistic for them. Stop you from doing what you wanna do. And that was probably what helped me back for a really long time where, uh, I would literally tell myself like, Who am I to say this? Who am I to think that I can accomplish this? And then I literally had sometimes people in my life who would say like, who do you think you are? Right? And I realized in hindsight, right, it [00:32:00] wasn't necessarily, not to me, it was their projection of what they thought was realistic for them. And that's not the same for everybody. So you. You still wanna take stock of what people are saying around you, but you also want to take into perspective of where is that? Where is that coming from? Is it coming from them really knowing and understanding your capability? Or is it them projecting their limitations on you?

[00:32:22] Shannon Russell: Mm, That is, that's great. 99% of the time. I think it's that for sure.

[00:32:26] Bernadette Joy: I think 99.9 99% of the time, Yeah, I think it's that too.

[00:32:31] Shannon Russell: So you're, you do a lot of speaking engagements now, and you really speak to larger corporations, and how is that aspect of your business?

[00:32:40] Bernadette Joy: It is, uh, still a work in progress. It's growing. This is the first year that I'm doing live speaking engagement since I started this business in 2020 and everything went, you know, south on speaking engagements. Then, of course the first time I went to go travel is when I caught covid. I like was able to avoid it all this time and so, it's been a, a learning curve for me on [00:33:00] that. And I will say I'm an introvert by nature and I think the, the pandemic only like exasperated that. So, for anyone who is thinking about doing, speaking, like give yourself some grace and you know, for me it takes a lot more energy. , to go to these types of events. But I love it every single time I do it.

For the last two years, I've been really trying to socialize people around the idea that there is a cross section between race and gender and wealth and all of those things. And, it was a hard pill for people to swallow, but people are finally starting to, I. At least warm up to that. And so, my earlier speaking engagements have been more about crushing your money goals and flow your worth, which is, you know, to the topics I talk about. But in the upcoming quarters, I've been having more requests for one of my talks, which is Crush the Wealth Gap. Specifically talking about the challenges as a female or as a person of color on how, this generic advice of just like be disciplined isn't, isn't enough right. To really. Tackle those things [00:34:00] and that's given me a lot of hope. That going into 2023 in particular, I think that's a lot over my business is going to shift, which is really helping crush the wealth gap and not just help people individually crush their money goals. How can we actually aggregate some of these? Results that we've gotten. And so as a small example, my group of, of clients that I have right now, I'm helping them, grow their kind of six figure businesses, but I explained to them, I'm like, If you do what we talk about in this course, then we will have created, you know, 3.5 million of new revenue every month.

[00:34:35] Shannon Russell: Wow.


[00:34:35] Bernadette Joy: month. Right? And what can that change for women, right? What can that change for people of color? What can that change for, you know, different generations or the next generation after you? And so what I'm really excited for and that speaking has really shown me is. , in getting this message out, which is so uncomfortable for me, it's really starting to get people to think differently about not [00:35:00] just, you know, what we're doing on an individual level, but how can we actually, you know, solve some of these kind of like more societal level issues.

[00:35:07] Shannon Russell: That is so incredible on so many levels, and I think. People are ready to hear that now, cause a lot of times, even with my kids, as they save, We have a save jar, we have a spend jar and we have a donate jar. So it's like trying to teach. Yeah, and they get it and just trying to teach them now, they'll talk about Oh, this YouTuber is rich. And I'm like, Yeah, but look what he's doing. there's a particular YouTuber that they watch that gives all this money to people, and I'm like, That's what you wanna aspire to is to make enough money that you are secure and safe and have what you need. but that you can give back, that you can donate, that you can give money to different organizations, and it's just trying to teach that younger generation and for you to get out there and speak to large groups. It's so powerful.

[00:35:51] Bernadette Joy: I love that example so much. What I think, you know, has been really interesting to me is, you know, when I first started talking to corporate groups, I was trying to [00:36:00] talk to companies like, like benefits departments or financial wellness departments or like l and d departments. And I've actually really found a great niche in going to companies that have a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion. Mission, because it, it seemed obvious to me, but I literally had an organization one time say, I don't understand what your, how your work is involved in diversity. And I was just like, I'm sorry, let me just clarify. So you don't understand how a woman of color teaching other people. How to, increase their wealth, helps with diversity, equity, and inclusion. And, um, and I'll be honest, like I was really frustrated about it. I was like, this seems obvious to me, right? But, uh, I had to take a step back and, you know, say, you know what? Uh, we're dealing with a lot, everyone, right? There's the pandemic, there is inflation, there's a stock market, there's housing, there's like, there's a hundred things that people are thinking about. So yeah, maybe they didn't really have a chance to [00:37:00] think about this broader topic, , right? So I think that's like where I, wanna spend a lot more time is really educating people around the idea of the wealth gap and not just the wage gaps.

[00:37:11] Shannon Russell: Yep.

[00:37:12] Bernadette Joy: one stat that like always kind of throws people off is, there's a study that said in 2021 that the median household, net worth for a household that's run by a woman is 50 cents of the dollar of a, of a man's, right? Mm-hmm. and I, you know, in my earlier parts of my entrepreneurship journey, I was totally into like the whole girl boss, like, you know, like that whole thing. But that whole girl boss, mantra was still heavily revolved around, Make more money, make more money, make more money. But there was something missing in there about, no, keep more money,

[00:37:47] Shannon Russell: Right,

[00:37:48] Bernadette Joy: more money, grow it without doing more work, grow it passively And, and to your point. How do you disperse that to the next generations and not just like after you die, right? Like how do you [00:38:00] disperse that while you're still living? And that seemed to be like a whole gap that I didn't really see a lot of people talking about. And so that's, um, something that I'm very interested in seeing how people will receive in the next couple of months, in the next year or so.

[00:38:13] Shannon Russell: Yeah, we need you to get out there and, and explain that to people who don't know what the basics of your pitch is. Because you know from HR that there's money in these corporations to have you come in. Spread this. And then I think just the idea of like, if I'm able now in my forties to make a ton of money, give it to a charity that I want and see that reaction and not just do it when I'm dead, like do it now to enjoy it, that's gonna spread on and more and more people are gonna wanna be able to have that wealth to be able to share. And it's just a trickle effect.

[00:38:48] Bernadette Joy: Yeah. And uh, you know, one of the things that it has been, uh, I know I'm un undoing is that for a long time I thought that, you know, my messaging was actually contrary to, Cause in the [00:39:00] beginning I was getting rejected left and right. Like every corporate company was like, you're a little much and and you know, the messagings feels like anti work basically. I literally had one company said, We don't like that you're telling people to hustle. Smart. We just want people to work hard. And I was just like, Okay, well, So for a while I was thinking, am I sending the wrong message? And then I was like, No, I'm just asking the wrong people. And there are companies who have been bringing me in to talk about these things and want to empower their employees. I will be honest, it's a little bit harder to find, but they do exist and. I always wanna tell people too, like of course I talk about entrepreneurship, I love, you know, growing businesses and stuff, but you can still become financially independent as an employee, um, and knowing and understanding the resources that are available to you and, making use of the people that companies. That like bring me in, right? And showing up to those kinds of workshops and stuff where a lot of other people don't get access to that. There's still a lot of benefits of working for someone else, um, but it doesn't have to be [00:40:00] forever

[00:40:00] Shannon Russell: Right. Exactly. Exactly. So with this change and kind of moving in that direction, will you be keeping your podcast going?

[00:40:08] Bernadette Joy: so I have, uh, done the lazy version of podcasting. I pod faded. I learned that was a new term. Did you know that pod

[00:40:14] Shannon Russell: pod fade. I have you pod

[00:40:16] Bernadette Joy: So I pod faded for a bit because I was focused on growing, my, courses, my academy, and, I actually just recorded the, the next five episodes of the podcast and what's been really fun about the podcast is that initially it started off with, as an introvert, when I started sharing with people, my story about paying down debt and people started asking me to, you know, quote unquote pick my brain and grab cups of coffee. At the point where I was getting like 10 cups of coffee a week, I went to my husband and I said, you know, I, would love if I could just record all of the answers to the questions that people ask me and then just send it to them so I wouldn't have to go for all these cups of coffee, cuz I don't even drink coffee and. My husband was like, You know, that's called a podcast, right? [00:41:00] And I was like, Oh, okay, I'll just do that. And so I intended to do it for one season and it was literally how I paid off my student loans. And then, you know, lo and behold, now I'm doing like season five, four or five of the podcast. Going back to the original podcast and saying like, Wow, that I thought it was gonna begin and end with me paying down debt. And now I'm doing a podcast series on how I became a millionaire. And how you can become financially independent, has been very humbling, but also really cool to document that journey along the way.

[00:41:30] Shannon Russell: That's great. Well, I hope you keep it up.

[00:41:32] Bernadette Joy: So too.

[00:41:32] Shannon Russell: yeah, I'm excited.

[00:41:36] Shannon: Alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!

[00:41:41] Shannon Russell: Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.

[00:41:45] Bernadette Joy: sounds very cliche, but, uh, consistency in habits is who you really are. The things that have created the most, quote unquote success for me are the things that I have done routinely versus the, the, you know, the kind of big like [00:42:00] reveal moments.

[00:42:02] Shannon Russell: So would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best?

[00:42:06] Bernadette Joy: uh, for my personal best friend, no . And actually I say that because one of my close friend, she's like, incredibly risk averse. And so that would probably cause a lot more anxiety than , than excitement. However, for the vast majority people, Where, , people get stuck on not making moves is they try to think of that like really, really big leap. So for my best friend I would ask her, what's the next like, smaller leap that you feel like is really tangible in the next 30 days?

[00:42:35] Shannon Russell: I like that. What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is going to start their second act? And maybe it is kind of like finance based. Is it, you know, how can they prepare? Cause I feel like finance is the number one reason people are afraid to leave their job and start something else.

[00:42:52] Bernadette Joy: Uh, unsurprisingly, I would say if you have any debt, work on paying that off first. [00:43:00] That is a singular financial decision that propelled me to be able to take bigger risks. From an emotional standpoint, it literally felt like a weight off of my shoulders, but also from a cash flow standpoint, the less debt that you have, then the more risk that you can take on in potentially doing a.

[00:43:16] Shannon Russell: Great advice. so what does the next act look like for you?

[00:43:21] Bernadette Joy: Here's the funny thing. Our initial thought was to practice traveling cuz that's the number one thing that people say they wanna do when they, uh, retire. And so, Year or so we've been traveling. We found out that we actually are at that age now where we wanna be in our own bed and our knees and our backs and all that other stuff. So we have tempered back the traveling and I think this next phase for me is actually exploring my passions that have nothing to do with money. So in particular, I keep saying I wanna learn a new language, but I have not really spent time on doing. So I want to learn a new language. I also want to take up dancing again. I also, um, , uh, [00:44:00] people know this about me. If you follow me on social media, like I love K-Pop. And so I'm just going to combine those two things and try to learn, you know, the lyrics in Korean and also try to like learn more K-Pop Dances.

[00:44:11] Shannon Russell: There you go. And then you can get BTS to come on your podcast. That should be one of your goals.

[00:44:16] Bernadette Joy: I don't know if I want that, cuz I think I would literally die , I think I would pass out and that would be the end of it.

[00:44:22] Shannon Russell: Okay. Yeah, we don't want that. We want you to keep on doing your public speaking. Keep the podcast going. I love it. So where can my audience connect with you?

[00:44:31] Bernadette Joy: well first of all, thank you so much for having me. I've really enjoyed this conversation. If you want to check out my programs, I'm at crushyourmoneygoals.com. And if you want to follow me on social media, I'm @bernadettejoy and primarily on LinkedIn and Instagram,

[00:44:48] Shannon Russell: Wonderful. Bernadette, this was so much fun. I love our Filipino connection. I love everything about you, and thank you for sharing all of your wisdom and your advice and sharing your story.

[00:44:59] Bernadette Joy: Thank you so much [00:45:00] for having me.

[00:45:00] Shannon Russell: So much good stuff during this interview. I hope you've found some tips and takeaways. I am extra inspired learning that Bernadette changed careers several times to find something that truly fits her. What she found has helped set up her family for financial freedom and she is using her knowledge to help others through her programs, her podcast and speaking.

Be sure to connect with Bernadette on social. She is @bernadettejoy and trust me, her posts are always silly, fun, and insightful. Also, don't forget to subscribe to her podcast. It's called Crush Your Money Goals. Have a wonderful day my friend and i will catch you next time.

[00:45:39] Shannon:

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take [00:46:00] a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.





Previous Episode:

Episode 33: Coming Out Later In Life with Anne-Marie Zanzal