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7 Things I'm Afraid to Admit to You

I’m squirming in my seat because today's the day I share 7 things I’ve been afraid to admit to you. Why am I sharing these 7 things I’ve been embarrassed to tell to the world? Because I believe it’s important for me to show up authentically and also, although I think it’s great to regularly share our wins, I think it’s critical that, as a culture, we also acknowledge our difficulties.

It’s important to realize that everything doesn’t always go our way – and that’s okay. But talking about that is crucial because it reminds us that we’re not alone in our struggles.

With that said, it's going to be a bit tough for me today, but I think in the end, it’ll feel good to get all this off my chest and to remind you that, like you, I'm just a human doing my best and I’m not perfect, especially when it comes to personal finance.


I’ve not only been avoiding talking about this one publicly, but I also avoid thinking about it, so let’s start here and just rip the band-aid off: Cory and I currently have a credit card that's completely maxed out.

Here’s the backstory: Last June, we closed on a house in El Salvador, and, between the time we bought the house and the time we moved to El Salvador, we went back to Texas to prepare our house in Austin to be a short-term rental property (think: Airbnb, VRBO, etc.).

Now, there was a lot we had to do before launching the Austin house as a short-term rental – namely, we needed new furniture throughout the house. For years, Cory and I collected a random hodgepodge of furniture because we didn’t want to spend money on matching sets, but the company we hired to manage our house while we live abroad suggested updating the furniture to increase bookings, so we agreed.

To do this, we decided that, instead of spending our money, we would get a credit card with a 0% interest rate. So we did — we got a 0% interest rate credit card with a maximum limit of $10,000, and we put that thing to work. We bought furniture on Amazon, we bought new paint for our house at Home Depot, and we bought new wood for our old deck at Lowe’s...

Now, let me just say as someone who regularly discusses personal finance strategy, I do not recommend maxing out credit cards as a general rule. Let me be clear: the reason we decided to use this credit card so heavily is that it has 0% interest for a year which means we got to use someone else’s money to upgrade an investment we own (our house, which was going to be used to produce cash flow), which meant we got to leave our money alone in our other investments (stocks, cryptocurrency, precious metals, physical goods, etc.) to continue growing.

So that’s what we did. And now, slowly, we are paying down the credit card month to month so it will be completely paid off before the 1-year mark, meaning we won’t pay any money toward interest.

This was a calculated strategy, but it’s strange to admit it out loud because I’m someone who is careful with debt, and ‘maxing out a credit card’ still feels like this naughty thing in my mind, but in reality, if you know how to use this strategy intelligently and you make sure you've got 0% interest, you keep track of your dates, you have a plan in place to pay off your balance before your interest kicks in, and you have the funds to pay that balance off – it can be useful.

I should also mention that if we needed to pay off the credit card in its entirety today, we could do that. We could sell some investments, and we could pay it off in a matter of days. So I’m not saying to go max out a credit card if you don’t currently have the money somewhere to pay for it. But, again, as someone who has been always careful with credit cards and debt, it feels uncomfortable to admit we have a credit card that's essentially maxed out right now.


If you follow me on Instagram, I imagine everything always looks so beautiful here in El Salvador, so I want to be honest with you about some things that happened behind the scenes… specifically that our first 6 weeks here in El Salvador were actually incredibly emotionally taxing.

As I said, we bought the house here in El Salvador, we had this whole plan about how we're going to move down here, and we ultimately decided to drive. So in case you missed it: my husband, our 3 dogs and I drove from Texas to El Salvador, and the reason I mention that is that we were so focused on literally surviving that drive (since whenever we told anyone we planned to drive through Mexico and Guatemala, they’d tell us we were crazy, it was dangerous, we were going to get hurt, etc.), that we gave little to no thought to what it would be like once we got to El Salvador and started our lives here.

Once we arrived, I was not expecting how stressful our first couple of months would be in this new country. I hadn't thought about how big of a life change it would be to pick up our lives and move to a brand new place – more than that, an entirely new country with different customs, traditions, habits, and ways of life. Even the language is different, and it’s one that Cory and I don’t speak well yet (especially at the time of first moving here).

In theory, it seemed like such a fun adventure, but I had not considered the realities of what it would be like once we got here, so let me talk you through those first six weeks.

Once we finally made it to El Salvador after a 9-day drive that should have been 6, our friends helped us get situated and unpacked (which I’ll be forever grateful for), and then they gave us our space to start settling in. And that’s when things got hard.

One of the first things that happened is: we learned we did not prepare our house properly to be left unoccupied for several months during the rainy season. So, in this country, there are two distinct seasons: a dry season and a rainy season. And, while we were back in Texas working on our house there, our house in El Salvador sat empty throughout the entirety of the rainy season.

We don't have a rainy season in Texas, so we don't know all of the things that you're supposed to do to your house and all of your things to make sure everything's okay during the rainy season, which means when we came back to El Salvador, there was mold all throughout our house. And I mean everything we left here – clothes, electronics, notebooks, journals – everything was all the way molded out. You could smell it all throughout the house. It was bad.

And let me just say, I realize that, in life, there’s mold everywhere, all the time. I do know that, and I’m not sensitive to it. But the magnitude of the mold in our house and the fact that you could smell it was concerning.

One day, Cory had to go to the city to deal with some legal stuff regarding the vehicles we brought from the US, so I was at the house alone and I decided I was going to clean the house as best I could. Well, I now know that when you're cleaning mold, there's a certain way to do it so you don’t just spread the spores even more, however, I’ve never had to clean this level of mold before, and, at that time, I didn’t know there was a certain method one was supposed to use, so I simply just scrubbed every surface where I saw or smelled mold.

The next day I woke up with a rash all over my body that I can only assume is from inhaling and spreading mold spores all day.

I was freaked out by that. I had a rash pretty much all over my body and that really scared me. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. So that was one of the first things I really struggled with here.

The second thing I really struggled with is something that happened our very first morning in El Salvador. We got up and, since we hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet, we decided to go down to the beach for breakfast. We also decided to bring our dogs as it felt too soon to leave them in an unfamiliar place without giving them the time alongside us to settle in and get used to their new surroundings.

Pretty soon after we got to the beach, a large dog tried to attack my beagle. She ran up, got super stiff and tense, and when I tried to pull Beagle away by his leash, she started to attack. When I realized this was about to happen, I reached my hand in to block her and, luckily, she didn’t get him (although he cried for about a minute straight after the encounter so it certainly scared him), she ended up biting me instead. And I’m okay, but it did break the skin, and, more importantly, it rattled me.

So, we came home and, again, Cory had to go deal with a bunch of legal stuff we were bound to by deadlines, so I stayed home by myself and was literally shaking and I just cried. I cried most of that day. I was upset because one of the very first things that happened was something I’d been nervous about (putting my dogs in harm’s way), and I felt like it was a bad omen. I was worried I brought my dogs to a place where they might not be safe, and our fence at the time wasn’t secure around the yard, so I was worried other animals might come in and get them.

And the third thing that I struggled with in the beginning was around feeling somewhat dependent, trapped, and without purpose. Let me explain. The vehicles we brought to El Salvador from Texas are 1 Suburban and 2 street-legal dirt bikes. So we had 1 car we were sharing between the two of us.

As I said, for the majority of the first 6 weeks, Cory had to run around like a crazy person and deal with all this legal stuff in the city, which is ~45 minutes from where we are and, let me just tell you, you do not want to ride a motorcycle in the city. It’s freaky enough driving a car in the city; on a motorcycle, it looks terrifying (I’ve never done it, and I don’t plan to). So, for the majority of the first 6 weeks, Cory needed to use the Suburban as he went back and forth to the city dealing with permits, registrations, etc.

Instead of going with him, I would stay at the house to help acclimate the dogs to their new environment, which meant I was here at the house with no internet (we had issues getting Internet for those first 6 weeks) with only the 2 dirt bikes (which I was afraid to ride by myself because I needed more practice). So I couldn't work on my business – my passion – which made me feel very much without a purpose; I cleaned as much as I could but was kind of freaked out to be inside the house anyway because of the mold, but I was freaked out to leave because our dogs are here and I couldn’t even really leave anyway because I didn't have means of transportation since I wasn’t confident riding my dirt bike alone yet.

I felt without a purpose, I felt frustrated because I felt very, very dependent on Cory – who was leading all the legal stuff, who needed the car more than me, and who knows more people here than I do – and I did not like how that felt.

And, from his perspective, he was super stressed out because he had to deal with all the legal stuff because we’d put all our vehicles solely in his name as a strategy for driving from Texas to El Salvador so, at borders, he could go in by himself (since it was just his name on the documents) and I could stay in the car and watch our stuff and our dogs. But that meant that, legally, he was solely responsible for making sure all the vehicles were legal once we got to El Salvador.

So he has to go to the city to get temporary import permits. He has to go to the city to get the plates. He has to go to the city to get all of the legal stuff. And it’s been a huge process for him because legal stuff is complicated enough as it is, but imagine doing it in a language you don’t know. That’s what he’s been dealing with for months. It was a mess.

He was stressed out and emotionally tied up with that. I was stressed out and emotionally tied up with basically second-guessing our decision to come here, feeling trapped at our house, worrying about our dogs, not having a purpose, feeling super reliant on Cory, etc.

It was hard. Those first six weeks were really hard. And it ended in a huge day-long fight between Cory and me.

I laugh now when I tell this story because the way the fight started, in hindsight, is hilarious.

So, as a background to this story, it’s important to know that our Suburban was only allowed to be in El Salvador for 60 days unless we legalized it (which we just haven’t done for various reasons). That meant I knew eventually I’d only have my motorbike to ride and, if I wanted any kind of freedom at all, I would have to make the time to essentially re-learn how to ride it – and I wanted Cory with me in case anything went wrong as I re-learned.

So I put it off, and I put it off, and finally, the weekend before we had to get our Suburban out of the country (it had to go sit in “time-out” in Guatemala at our friend’s mechanic’s shop for 90 days), Cory says, “Let’s spend the day working on your dirt bike skills.”

We get all geared up – I’ve got on all the pads, the pants, the long-sleeves, the helmet, the gloves… I’ve got on so many clothes I can hardly bend my limbs. It’s hot, I’m sweating, and I go over to my bike at the bottom of our driveway, I get on it, and I look up our steep driveway and try to get my mind right because just getting out of the driveway felt like it would be a huge feat.

I don't know if you've ever ridden a dirt bike or a motorcycle, but for me, hills are the hardest to navigate, especially as someone who felt like I was starting from scratch (it had been several months since I had been on a motorcycle).

And what happens? Literally, the first thing that happens is: I essentially just tip over, drop the bike, and break off the clutch (which is one of the handful of things you have to have for a motorcycle to work). I’m talking: I didn’t even make it 3 feet up the driveway, and now my bike is not driveable.

At that moment, Cory said, “Well, I guess you're not riding your dirt bike today,” and as soon as he said that, all of this pent-up anxiety and, in some ways I felt resentment because I was so dependent on him in those first couple months, all of these things just came pouring out of me.

I started crying and it was this huge fight because he was stressed, I was stressed, and we hadn't been communicating because we had both been emotionally unavailable to each other for weeks. It was not our best day, but, I'm glad it happened because it forced us to finally slow down, prioritize each other again, and talk about, “OK, how have you been feeling? Why are you so stressed out?” And, “OK, here's how I'm feeling. Here's why I'm so stressed out.” And, “Can we approach this as a team again? And can we be emotionally available to each other and work together instead of separately and alone?”

It was a difficult 6 weeks that ended with that really hard day in late December but, all in all, I’m grateful for the experience and I’m grateful that the fight happened because it forced us to communicate and ultimately brought us even closer together (although it sucked at the time).


The next thing I'm afraid to admit to you is that lately, we have been very stressed out about money. It feels weird to admit that because my entire platform is built on the fact that if you invest, build up your net worth, and work on passive income and cash flow – that you can feel freer. And I believe that to my core because I've experienced it, but just because you have a high net worth or you have investments and assets does not necessarily mean that everything is always going to go smoothly financially. And for us right now, that is the case.

This is mainly due to our rental house. As I mentioned, we have the house in Austin running as a short-term rental, and we have a rental management company that manages the whole thing for us in exchange for 25% of the revenue. When we signed up, they told us Cory’s and my share of the profit would be about $100,000 per year – plenty of money to cover all our expenses for that house, with money left over to cover our lives here in El Salvador.

Well, we did the numbers last week and compared the month-to-month projections from the rental management company for the last few months to what we actually made, and they’ve been performing, on average, at 25% of what they projected for us, which puts us in a position of a cash flow loss.

Here’s another way to think of this. Say you work for an employer who tells you you’re going to make $100,000, but then they only end up paying you $25,000 per year. It’s kind of like that because, although Cory and I don’t have employers, we get a ‘paycheck’ from our rental house every month.

The net of it is: the money we're getting from that house is not covering the expenses it takes to own that house, so we’ve been stressed because, as a result, we’ve been having to sell investments to pay our bills – which is something I don’t recommend doing if you can avoid it, and I certainly don’t like doing in my own life.

So that's something I've been embarrassed to share, but it's important because there's a good lesson here. We’ve been spending a lot of time worrying about this rental management company and on the fence about if we should just wait and see how they do through the summer when rentals are likely to pick up in the Austin area…

And we finally realized: they’re not hitting their winter projections, so why would they hit their summer projections? And then it dawned on us that this might just be a fail, which is okay. But, as I like to say if you’re going to fail, fail fast. Recognize it’s a failure, and quickly course-correct, which is exactly what we’re doing.

We’ve officially given them our 90-day cancellation notice, and we’ve listed the house for rent for a long-term tenant. We’ve booked flights home to make preparations and, moving forward, we’ll have a tenant in that house who is more likely to provide consistent, reliable monthly cash flow to cover all our costs.

So that’s the truth – it’s been stressful lately in terms of cash flow and having to dig through our numbers to see how much extra money we need each month, and then dig through our investments to figure out what we’re up on and prioritize selling those things so we don’t lose money. But, at the end of the day, we have to pay the bills and, we do have the money in our investments to do so. It’s just tough because our investment strategy is to put money into investments, and leave it alone (we don’t like to think of it as money we can go use whenever we want).


This one's pretty personal, and I don't know why it's so weird to talk about this stuff out loud, but here's the truth: as I'm getting older and starting to work toward going more natural with things like my hair color, for example, I do not feel as beautiful as I once did.

I know you might be rolling your eyes, but it’s the truth. And I don’t want to alter my body or inject things into it because that goes against my personal belief that we as a society should honor the natural aging process, but I’d be lying to you if I said I feel just as confident and beautiful as ever because that is not the case.

I hate that I still feel like I need to use filters online, or how I primarily see imperfections when I look in the mirror, and I get frustrated by the fact that when, in my effort to go more natural, I went off hormone-based birth control years ago my skin started breaking out.

These are internal struggles that I battle quietly, and I have some mindset and self-love work that’s ongoing and I’ll continue to do in this area because it’s a core belief that I hold that we should not have to alter ourselves to fit some industry’s beauty standard. So I intend to live that truth in my own life and, instead, work on things within myself to continue to feel confident, beautiful, and worthy.

But I would be lying if I said that worked every single day and I’d be lying if I said I feel just as confident as I always have because it's not true.

So that’s something I’ve been afraid to admit to you: that sometimes it's hard to stand by my belief that we should all just be who we are, look how we look, age how we age, and be okay with that. I do believe that, but it's hard to feel it some days.


Let’s talk finance again, but let’s talk about a different type of asset: Bitcoin. What I’m afraid to tell you is, for someone who believes in Bitcoin, which I do, I have not prioritized learning how to use it because I rely a bit too much on Cory.

I personally do not see a future where Bitcoin is not a currency that’s used around the world. Digging into why is outside the scope of this episode, but that is my belief. I do not see a future where that is not the case.

I also don't see a future where money isn't digital. Paper money feels like such an antiquated concept – think about it: you probably use credit or debit cards way more than you use cash, right? Well, the next step is to get rid of the cards altogether and process payments through, say, our phones, which we’re already starting to see with things like Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. To take it one step further, I don’t see a world where governments aren't digitizing their currencies, as the U.S. will likely digitize the dollar, for example, because it will enable the government to keep an even closer eye on how dollars move and seize all your assets should they ever want to do that (if you’ve got cash, it would be harder for the government to do that).

Enter Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows people to keep control of their own money in a way in which the government cannot seize or control it. Plus, I’m sure you’ve been seeing a lot of things lately regarding the inflation of the US dollar and, because of things like inflation and some of the other things we’re discussing here, I think the more that time passes, the more people are going to realize the value of Bitcoin. That's my personal belief.

So for someone who really believes in Bitcoin this much, I am embarrassed to admit that I have not prioritized learning how to actually use it. Here we are in El Salvador, the first country in the world to make Bitcoin a legal tender, which is one of the main reasons we moved here, and I still don't feel confident going to a store by myself and paying for something in Bitcoin because I'm usually with Cory and he'll just do it.

I don't love that. I value knowledge, I value experience, and it's something I'm publicly admitting now so I’ll light a fire under my pants to actually start using it in my life.

If you're not familiar with Bitcoin, the documentary I watched that really helped me understand and really turned the light bulb on for me is called The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin on YouTube. It’s made like a movie, so it’s entertaining and easy to watch. I highly recommend it.

If you’ve been curious about Bitcoin, you need to understand what it is and decide whether or not you believe in it. And then there's the whole second piece of actually using it, which is also incredibly important. So that’s something I need to really prioritize in my own life.


I’m turning 33 this year, and I'm starting to feel the inkling of being ready to start a family soon. I’m not talking about this year or even next year, but in the next handful of years, I think I’ll be ready to start a family and have some kids.

I always knew I’d wait until my mid- to late-thirties to have children because my parents had me at age 39, and I always respected that because they spent a lot of time making sure their marriage was strong, building a financial foundation, and doing a lot of things they wanted to do that maybe wasn’t super kid-friendly. As a result, I've always wanted to do that in my own life, and I feel like I'm on a similar path.

My parents were married almost 20 years before they had me and, although I don’t think I’ll wait that long, I want to make sure the marriage is rock solid, that our finances are good, and that we do things now that might be more difficult with a newborn or young child. In any case, I think I'm ready soon, but the thing I’m afraid to admit to you is I’m not sure where I want to raise our family.

When we first decided to move to El Salvador, we said, “Let's do 6 months here and let's see how we like it, then maybe we'll alternate 6 months in El Salvador, 6 months in the states, back and forth.” But now I don’t know. I feel sad to say, but there are a lot of issues in the United States and I’m not sure it’s where I want to build a family. And on the flip side, I can’t fully see myself raising a family here in El Salvador yet, either.

I will say, however, that this international move has opened my mind to the fact that you can pretty much move to any country you want and have a life there. Of course, there are rules you must follow like, for example, we're juggling this visa thing right now where every 6 months we have to leave the country, ask for an extension or proceed with applying for permanent residency. And if you're trying to move to any other country, I’m sure there are similar rules you’d have to navigate but, theoretically, if you follow the process, you can go move to another country.

I do realize that’s not true for every single country in every single situation, but I'm talking broadly, and also as an American which I understand is a huge privilege.

But my point is that I don’t know where I want to raise our family, and I don’t know why I’m afraid to admit that. I think it’s because I like to have a plan. I like for things to be relatively certain so I can know what to expect.

But I don’t know if I want to do it in the US, I don’t know if I want to do it in El Salvador, and I don’t know where else I would want to do it, but it’s something I’m starting to think about.

What’s the most difficult to admit is that I’m 90% certain I don’t want to raise my kids in Austin anymore, which is hard to say out loud because I honestly thought I’d stay in Austin forever. I loved growing up in Austin and I’m so proud to be from Austin, but it's changed so much from Austin I loved. Who knows, maybe there are other places in the US that we’d like, but it’s hard to say right now. It’s definitely a huge question mark and I have fear around it because I feel like until we figure that out I'm not going to be ready to start a family.

I imagine most people with kids will tell me there’s no ‘right’ time to have kids, and I’m sure you’re correct! As humans, I’m confident we can adapt to any situation. But, right now, this feels like a mental block that stands between me and moving forward in this area of life.


You know I’ve got to leave you on a personal finance note, so here’s something I’ve been putting off for years: learning how to pick my own stock investments.

I've used fiduciaries in the past (in case you're not familiar with what that is, a fiduciary is a company that is legally obligated to invest your money on your behalf for the primary benefit of you, and not invest in things that will line their own pockets) and I still think they’re a worthwhile way to get into the stock market for new investors. But I’ve been investing for years and I think it’s (maybe even past) time that I at least look into picking my own investment and taking more control over my portfolio and the financial future of my family.

In an effort to make progress in this space, I'm currently looking at 3 things: 1) how to identify a good stock to invest in, 2) how to identify signals that indicate it’s a good time to buy/sell stocks, and 3) how to identify a good price at which to buy/sell each stock.

In other words, it would have been great if years ago I would have been like, “Oh, Tesla looks like a great stock to invest in”, right? But how do you come to know that? And once you know you’re going to invest, how do you know when is a good time to buy (and, eventually sell), and how do you know what good prices are for both?

So how do you pick companies to watch, and what are the signals that will tell you you’re coming up on a good time to buy in? And then, once you see the signal to buy, what’s a good price? Likewise, what are the signals that you’re coming into a good time to sell, and what’s a good price to sell at? Obviously, you want to buy at the bottom and sell at the top so you make as much money as possible on each trade, but how do you identify those specifics, and how do you avoid getting too greedy?

Those are a few of the things I’m looking into now. I’ve just started doing this research and, of course, I’ll keep you posted as I do this. But if you’re new to investing and you’re just trying to get started, it’s important first to know if you’re even READY to invest.

Lucky for you, I created a 5-question quiz that can help you answer that question. Check it out to see if you're ready to start investing, and if you are, I still think (if you decide you’re going to start investing in the stock market) that a fiduciary is the easiest way to get in and start your investing journey.

Again, I’ve used fiduciaries for years and, in my experience, it’s been a wonderful way to consistently get my money invested into the stock market and to see returns on my investments. But, now that I’ve been investing for over 10 years, I feel it’s time for me to at least explore the possibility of selecting my own stocks (or maybe even just some of my own stocks) and what it would look like to take more control over my own portfolio… who knows, maybe I can outperform the professionals! In any case, I’ll share more with you as I make progress.


So there you have it – 7 things I've been afraid to admit to you. I’m saying them out loud and putting them out here for the world! As I said, I want to keep this real. I want you to see me as a human, someone who is not perfect financially or otherwise. I still struggle with things. I'm not so different from you; things aren't always perfect and I think it's important to not only talk about the good stuff but to also acknowledge the not-so-good stuff.

I think it's good for us all to remember that life is messy. But it can also be beautiful. It can be both.


Despite the fact that things aren’t always smooth (personal finance or otherwise), I still firmly believe to my core that financial self-care and mastery can help you build a life of more freedom, contentment, and happiness… and it all starts with investing.

Remember, you shouldn’t invest until you’re ready, but the second you’re ready, I’d personally start investing ASAP!

How do you know if you’re ready? Take my quiz to find out.

Regardless of whether your results are “You’re ready, let’s do this!” or “You’re not quite there yet,” this quiz will give you 4 specific next steps to take to continue moving along your path to getting invested.

I can’t wait to see what you do with your financial future! Best of luck, I’m rooting for you.




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