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My Story & How Goodbye July Got Its Name

I'm doing a special episode today because I realized I haven't introduced myself properly on the show! So, before we get too far down this road, let me do exactly that.

I'd like to share my story, where I came from, my big financial milestones, and more about the namesake of this podcast: how did The Goodbye July Podcast get its name?

I'll be sharing all of that, plus steps on how you can get started. Let's dive in!


If you are listening to this, you probably know I'm Jess, and I'm honestly just a regular girl who has become obsessed with financial independence. I took a money class, I cornered a corporate executive to ask her how she was retiring early, and then I used insights from both of those experiences to create financial freedom. That is the short version of my story.

Since then, I created financial freedom in my own life. At age 30, I took a leap of faith and left my corporate job to pursue self-employment / full-time entrepreneurship. And now I have the privilege of teaching others how to create financial freedom in their own lives. I want to dig into what happened on either side of those two turning points in my story: what happened before, what happened during, and what happened after. So that's what we're going to talk about today.


I'm originally from Austin, Texas, and I grew up in middle-class America. This was long before Austin became a tech hub for the states, but it did have a fast-growing housing market. My mom was an accountant and my dad built houses, which is why my parents relocated to Austin; they were originally from a small town in Missouri and they relocated to Austin in the 1980s because the housing market was growing fast.

Fast forward to 2008, I was graduating high school just in time for the financial crisis. So I wrote several scholarship essays and received valuable financial aid as I entered my first year of college. The next thing I did, is I proceeded to blow through all of it.

Looking back on that, you know, having a couple of thousand dollars in my bank account now does not seem like a big deal, but back then it was more money than I had ever seen and I did not know what to do with that. So I offered to buy my friends lunch, I offered to buy them dinner, I partied a lot and I blew through literally all of my financial aid.

Now, we're talking about thousands of dollars, right? Thousands. So when my mom, the accountant, found out, she held an intervention of sorts - we still joke about it, but it was this come-to-Jesus meeting where we had a sit-down, and it was embarrassing, and I cried a lot, and there was a lot of tears and snot and hurt pride (all on my part, of course). But I left that little meeting with a shiny new budget and a newfound understanding of what living within your means meant.

It's safe to say, at the time, I sucked at money. And, because I blew through all my financial aid, I then had to work three different jobs while balancing school to pay for my living expenses. So I had an internship, and I was a lifeguard at the university gym where I would have to get up super early in the morning - like, I had to be there at 6 am - so I could work my shift before class. So I would get to the gym, I would lifeguard, try not to fall asleep on the stand, and then go to class. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I would go to my internship after school, and then during the holiday season on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school I would work at Bath and Body Works - I'll never forget the smell of that place.


Once I finally made it through college, I essentially picked the employer that offered me the highest salary and I ended up relocating to Dallas because that's where that employer was. I didn't want to move to Dallas; I loved Austin, and I wanted to stay there. But to me, at the time, I was just following the money. So, at this point, I'm now working my first corporate job - my first "big girl job" out of college - and I'm making what was, for me, a good salary. It was the highest offer I received.

I felt like, okay, I have the salary thing figured out, I've got this 401k which everyone says is what you need to have, and I was literally putting as much as I could into my 401k. So I thought I was doing good by doing that. I was putting ~14% of my paycheck into my 401k, my retirement account.

At the time, I felt truly happy because I was watching the magic of investing happen for the first time. In fact, I still have my very first retirement savings statement that I got from my first employer that shows the details of my 401k. It shows how much money I put in, how much money my employer put in (because they had a company match, which is where they would match every dollar that I put in up to a certain percentage), and then I have the total showing the change in the market value, which is, the way I see it, like free money because all I have to do is put my money into the 401k investment account, and then I get back a whole lot more than I put in. I thought of it as a savings account, but with a much higher return rate.

That was my first experience with investing and I was intrigued, but I didn't know there were other kinds of investing; I thought there was only this 401K thing. So I was putting as much money as I could into it. Now, let's talk about my turning point because, while I think investing is powerful and if you have a 401k I have opinions about what makes sense to do and what makes sense not to do, and this is how I formulated my opinion.


Let me tell you about the turning point for me: One weekend, a group of my friends and I decided to caravan from Dallas to Matagorda, Texas, which is a little coastal town in Texas. We were going to hang out at our friend's bay house, and I offered to drive my car. After hours on the road, we were finally a few miles away from our destination. And that is when a large buck ran into the road and I plowed into it at 60 miles an hour.

That poor animal; we never found the deer, and it's something that still bothers me to this day. But luckily everyone in my car was okay. And once we got out of the vehicle and the shock wore off, we realized my car was not drivable, so we had to have it towed. Luckily, we were caravanning so we were able to squish into the other cars and we went about our weekend and tried to have as good of a time as we could despite the fact that we all had this traumatic experience in the dark on this backroad in south Texas.

Sunday night, we leave Matagorda, drive back to Dallas, and get ready for work on Monday. My car, however, had to stay in Matagorda to be fixed. A few days later, I got a phone call at work from the mechanic who told me how much it was going to be to fix my car. And I had what I can only describe as my first full-fledged panic attack (as I write this, I've only had ~3 in my life). Why? Because I was putting so much money into my 401k (which if you're not familiar with, you can't access that money until you're ~60 years old without paying a huge fine), that I did not have much money in my bank account to deal with emergencies like an unexpected car repair.

In my bank account, I only kept the amount I needed to pay my bills and a little more for gas and activities. So it was easy to see that, after fixing my car, I was going to have less than $100 in my bank account, and that made me freak out. I remember crying in a manager's office; it was a low moment for me. Especially because I could not understand how this was happening. I thought: I'm making this good salary. I'm investing in my 401k. How is this happening? How is it that I can't even afford to fix something as critical as the car that I use to get to my job?

It did not seem fair. I thought was doing money "right". I racked my mental checklist: I remembered the awkward intervention with mom, learning how to budget, living within my means, saving money, working hard to find a well-paying job, and pouring money into my 401k. And yet, I did not feel any freer. I did not feel the freedom that everyone promised.

In fact, I felt trapped and panicked - the opposite of freedom.


Luckily, because of this bad experience, things finally started to change.

Once I got my car back, I signed up for a free financial workshop my employer offered. Every day for a week, I went to this class after work. It was given by MetLife and the class was called RetireWise... I still have the folder they gave me over a decade ago, and I look at it a few times a year. It changed my life; I'll never get rid of it.

The entire class was about things that you can do in your life today to help you work toward a comfortable retirement: savings, investing, tax strategy, emergency fund, diversification, etc.

And I realized that by putting all of my savings into my 401k which, as I said, I can't touch for decades, I was limiting myself. If I was not diversifying well and that is why I had so little left in my bank account to deal with things like a car emergency.


Now, the second catalyst in my story is something that happened right around the same time. Soon after this class, there was an executive at work named Melanie who announced her early retirement. She was only 50 years old. And, generally, at this time, people weren't retiring until age 65 or so - so she was doing it 15 years early. That's a big deal.

What I ended up doing is setting up some time with her. I put a meeting on her calendar. And honestly, I just asked her: "Can you tell me how you're retiring early?"

Sometimes you just have to ask.

She gave me some invaluable advice, but one of the biggest realizations I had from this conversation is that retirement is not an age - you can do it whenever you want. All it means is you don't have to work anymore to pay for your life

I felt like I just discovered fire - my entire perspective changed and, from then on, based on her advice and the different tactics I learned in that free money workshop, I started looking for assets in which to invest my money. An asset is something where I could put in a certain amount of money and, without me having to do much (namely, without me having to exchange time/moments of my life), that asset would give me back (usually) more money than I put in.


Now you've heard the high-level backstory. So since then, here is a rundown of what's happened.

After I took that workshop and got that advice from Melanie, I continued investing in my 401k, but only as much as my employer would match. That is my personal strategy because I'd rather invest in other things where I have the option to use the money now if I need to, however, because my employer offered a match, I didn't want to leave money on the table by not contributing at least as much as their match.

And I think a 401k is a good idea if you have the option to have one, especially if you are someone like I was in my younger years who maybe didn't have much self-control when it came to money. It's a good place to put your money so that you don't touch it. But, as I started to get more financial self control, I said, okay I'm only going to put in my 401k what my employer will match, and I put the rest of my savings toward an emergency fund which, for me, meant six months in my living expenses.


So, I built a budget. I calculated my living expenses down to the last dollar so I knew exactly how much I needed to survive for a month, and then I multiplied that by six and that was my emergency fund goal.

I wanted six months of living expenses so if I lost my job or I wanted a break or whatever, I knew I had six months that I could live at my exact same standard of living and be totally fine.


Once I hit my emergency fund goal, I invested in other assets that, unlike my 401k, I could access whenever. I decided to start investing in the stock market and, no I don't pick my own stocks. I don't have time for that. I don't have interest in that. I found a fiduciary who will do it for me, and that word is important.

A fiduciary is someone who is legally obligated to act in your best interest and not their own.

So, I found a fiduciary and, from my research, most of them charge about the same. No one has a crystal ball so I don't believe that one fiduciary is going to make me significantly more money than another. I looked more for a company who had similar values to me, a portal that was easy to use, an app where I could easily access my investments from my phone, and positive reviews relating to customer support - those are kind of things I personally look for.

Once I selected a fiduciary, I invested (through them) into the stock market as much as I could. Again, it's important to note that I only started investing AFTER I hit my emergency fund goal (6 months of my living expenses).

Now, I had an emergency fund for my emergency stuff and, if I needed extra money, I could now pull it from my investments in the stock market (which, unlike my 401k, I could access anytime I wanted). Another important note: I don't recommend you sell investments to pay for stuff. Instead, I suggest you keep your expenses low and live within your means. But what I'm saying is, if you need the money, it's there in the stock market, whereas with the 401k, you can't get it unless you want to pay a big penalty fine.


Another thing I focused on was finding a higher-paying job and intentionally negotiating my salary. In doing so, I successfully negotiated a 17 percent raise. That was the first time I was very intentional about asking for a raise and using data to back my ask, and it worked out well.

With my new job, I got to move back to Austin - that's really what I was looking for because, in the end, money is a tool to help expand your happiness and I knew in my heart I wanted to go back to Austin.

So I looked for a job in Austin, and I looked for a higher-paying job that would allow me to move to Austin, and to afford the lifestyle I wanted when I moved back.

Next, I focused on building my credit. I use credit cards - I believe in credit cards, if you know how to use them. They're great for points that you can use to get perks (free flights are my favorite). But, beyond that, it's also necessary to have credit if you want to, say, buy a house, for example, without having to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it

So I was focused on building my credit built it to the high seven hundreds and then I did exactly that. I bought a house that was very much within my means just outside of Austin.


I know it's tempting to buy the fancy house right in the middle of the city, and, unfortunately a lot of loan providers will give you a loan for that. I say unfortunately because usually it's not in your best interest. Definitely don't recommend. If you're going to buy a house, buy something within your means - trust me. I've had a big house; it's not fun to clean, it's not going to maintain. Just get the small house.

Not long after we moved into that house, I started playing with the idea of starting a business. Fun fact: my very first idea was a clean pet food company called the Texas Gourmet Pet Pantry :-) I recently found that in one of my journals the other day which was a fun blast from the past. In addition to that, it was around that time that one of my favorite financial milestones happened: I paid off all my student loans (over $21,000 worth) which meant, besides our mortgage, we were officially debt free - an amazing feeling.

Speaking of amazing feelings, that fall, Cory proposed. He is my person and one of the big reasons I moved back to Austin so this was such a special time. And as another fun fact, my ring is lab-grown! It tests as real, but I think Cory paid ~$1,000 - not much at all, relatively speaking. And my personal opinion is the ring doesn't make the marriage.

I'm open about the fact that my ring is lab grown, and I hope that more people use this approach as well because, although the industry tells you it's necessary to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a ring, in my experience, that does not necessarily mean you'll have a good marriage. In my opinion, you can have a perfectly healthy, wonderful love without a big fancy rock.


When it was time to get married, we did it at our dear friend Spencer's house, DIY- style (meaning: I was the wedding planner). If you have a wedding coming up or know someone who does, I created a whole customizable wedding template pack. I definitely see the draw of hiring a wedding planner, but you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself. For example, our wedding cost ~40% less than the average for weddings that year in Austin - almost half. And, even doing it ourselves, it was still expensive, but much less so than if we'd hired it all out. So definitely think about doing it yourself; I've got templates that can help.

Somewhere between the engagement and the wedding, Cory started dabbling in crypto, a subject that I know I need to dive more into on this platform. I promise to share my opinion on crypto on another episode soon and, truthfully, I'm looking forward to digging into crypto more especially because crypto is one of the big reasons we moved to El Salvador. So we've been in the crypto space just about as long as we've been married.

About a year after we were married, we "retired" Cory (as I like to say) from a job he did not love so he could work on his passion: health and wellness. It was pretty cool to be like: okay, we're at a place financially where we can survive on my income while you build your business (a favor he would return a few years later).

So, that year, Cory started his sports supplement company and his health coaching programs. If that's something you're interested in learning more about, fill out the form at and I'll get the two of you connected.


Soon after, I found another higher-paying, job negotiating a 33% raise. This means, as I got more intentional about using data to back my salary asks, the raises I received increased. Like I said, the first time I did this, I got a 17% raise. As you can see, the second time I did this, I almost doubled that. And I documented the exact steps I took to do it in this free guide.

With that raise, we hit a key income milestone and we used that to buy my childhood home from my parents. They were retiring and they were preparing to put that house on the market and, for some reason, that struck an emotional chord. So Cory and I talked and decided that we would buy the house from my parents. And, based on the largest loan we could get approved for, my parents ended up giving us a 15% discount on the house. we moved into that house, we turned our previous house into an investment property.


I incorporated this business in January of 2020, which feels crazy to think about. I felt strongly about helping you organize, automate, and grow your money so I made this thing legal.

On the heels of my incorporation came the global pandemic. Luckily, we had just shifted our investment property strategy away from short-term rentals on Airbnb and we had just secured long-term tenants (thank goodness).

With all the extra time on our hands, I started dabbling in crypto alongside Cory (who is way more advanced than I am when it comes to crypto). But that year, the lightbulb came on for me. That's when I was like: I get it, I believe in it.

The rest of that year was, as it was for many of us, a lot of reflection and planning for the future... which brings me to the Easter Egg in the episode, which is where The Goodbye July Podcast got its name.


In 2021, I "retired" from my career in tech marketing to pursue this work that just feeds my soul - and this is where The Goodbye July Podcast got its name.

My very last day of work in corporate America was July 31, 2021 - the last day of July. And Goodbye July is an ode not only to that last day of July as we moved on to August, but a huge turning-of-the-page, starting an important new chapter in my life of no longer working for corporate America or receiving income from an employer, but instead, financially being able to provide for myself, through our investments and income from our businesses.

This was a huge moment for me, and I felt like the name Goodbye July spoke to my life at that time and the financial freedom that I had been working toward for so long. Goodbye July, goodbye corporate America - starting in August, I was moving on to work on my passion projects and building the dream life that I always knew that I wanted.


After I left my 9-5, we dug deeper into crypto. We went to a conference called Bitcoin Miami and, when we were there, we heard the news that El Salvador would be the first country in the world to use Bitcoin as a legal tender, which means that, theoretically, you can go to any store pay in either their local currency, or you could pay in Bitcoin. That's a big deal - first in the world to do that.

Once we heard that, we decided we wanted to travel to El Salvador because we were curious. And once we did, we loved it - and we ended up going 5 times within a year.

During that time, we sold our very first house - the one we bought outside of Austin because we wanted to take advantage of what's informally known of as the two-out-of-the-last-five tax rule. Currently, what this rule says is if you live in a house as your primary residence for two of the last five years, you are allowed to sell that property and not pay capital gains taxes.

This was a huge learning for us, we did not know about this before. We only had heard of the 1031 exchange, which more people know about. And what the 1031 exchange says is that if you sell a property, you have to reinvest the money within ~90 days so that you don't have to pay the capital gains tax, but you're just kicking your tax burden down the road, you're not actually avoiding taxes. However, with the two-out-of-the-last-five tax rule (and I don't know the official name of it, but informally it's called the two-out-of-the-last-five tax rule), you do not have to pay capital gains taxes if you lived in that property as your primary residence for two of the last five years.

You do not have to pay capital gains taxes - that's why we decided to sell that house because we had lived in it (it was our first home) and then we turn it into an investment property for about three years and, had we not sold it by the summer of 2022, we would no longer qualify for that tax rule. So that was the driving factor behind why we decided to sell that house when we did: to avoid capital gains tax.


We ultimately turned a 104% profit on the sale of that house (we sold the house for about 2x what we paid for it), and we reinvested that money across a variety of different assets... one of which was our house here in El Salvador.

After we closed on the house in El Salvador, we went back to Austin and spent most of that summer turning our house there into a rental property. It is now being used as a short-term rental on sites like Airbnb, VRBO, etc.. We might do a long-term rental with it soon, but we're not sure; we're still feeling that out.

At the end of that year, we picked up and we moved down here to El Salvador. Now, we're living in El Salvador, and we have the house in Austin generating cash flow along with our other investments.


And there you have it! In a nutshell, that's my story... That's where I came from, where I'm at, and where I'm going is, like I said, we're living here in El Salvador for the near future. Cory spends most of his time working on improving this house. He's done a beautiful job so far. He's put in shelving from local wood. He's built a bamboo gate. He's planted new plants. He's been coordinating painting. He's been amazing, and he's been focused on all-things house as well as reflecting on what he's going to do more long-term with his supplement business. As I mentioned, he's digging into his health coaching so, if you're interested in that I would love for you to reach out so I can connect you two.

I've been spending a lot of my time building out this business and working on new offers like my free workshop, which I hope you'll take as a next step, and just digging down into what it looks like to help as many people as possible while trying to scale this thing, and getting my prices low enough for people who want help with their finances to be able to take my programs. So that's where we're at and where we're going.

Now, I think eventually we're going to turn this house into an investment property, as well. We have some rooms that we don't use, we're thinking of putting those rooms on short-term rental or maybe renting this house out when we're in Austin and then renting the Austin house out while we're here. We don't know what our plan is long-term in terms of where we're going to live, but for the foreseeable future, for the next 3-6 months, I think we'll be hanging out here in El. Salvador, learning Spanish and working on our lives here, just learning how to slow down, work less, and live more.


So now you have it, there's my story. There is the background of where The Goodbye July Podcast got its name. And as a next step, I just launched a brand new free wealth workshop, and I would love to see you on my next one. It's called The Three Secrets to Building Lasting Wealth + The SINGLE Most Important Step to Cracking the Financial Code.

If you show up on time, you're going to get a quick win, right out the gate. Then you're going to hear the three secrets to building lasting wealth, which are quite simple and feasible - but they're elusive. But they're critically important. And if you stick around until the end, you'll hear the single most important step to cracking the financial code. And it is the most important thing that you could possibly do to build lasting wealth.

Also, if you stay until the end, I'll give you a freebie. So join me! I have a few sessions currently running - check them out! I'll see you there.




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