savvysisters

Priya Malani Offers Financial Advice All Millennials Need to Hear

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 7.15.43 PM.png

Priya Malani, founding partner of Stash Wealth, a financial planning team that helps young professionals get smart with all things money, started her finance career at Merrill Lynch, where she had the inspiration to create a better, faster, and cooler way to manage money for twenty & thirty-something’s who need help navigating their finances.

She’s been featured in articles from publications like Bustle and Wealth Management, where she is admired for addressing her clients as H.E.N.R.Y’s (High Earners, Not Rich Yet), and helps them save for the future.

Priya offers us some fun, yet essential advice on financial planning as a young professional.

How did you get started in your career at Stash Wealth?

I started working in finance in 2003 at Merrill Lynch. I was immediately hooked as I loved the idea of creating wealth and providing freedom of choice through a solid financial foundation. Not long after I joined Merrill, it struck me as odd that the Financial Services Industry was basically ignoring my entire generation. Many of the practices were very old school so even if the big banks wanted to work with millennials, I knew the concepts wouldn't resonate.

What are the common negative money habits some of us have, and how can we fix them?

>>We spend money we don’t have (a.k.a. get into credit card debt) That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a credit card. In fact we encourage credit cards at Stash. Just make sure you can pay off your bill in full at the end of the month. If you don’t trust yourself not to overspend, consider a free site like Debitize which does the hard work for you.

>>Living a lifestyle you can’t afford (goes hand in hand with the previous one). More here. Instagram makes it very tempting to try to keep up with your friends but just a friendly PSA from Stash: Your friends appear a lot richer on social media than they actually are!!

>>Saving for the sake of saving. When you’re putting money into a general savings account, it’s very easy to move it right back to your checking account when “Whoops! The credit card bill was a little high this month”

>>Confusing investing with gambling. Just because you’re buying Bitcoin or Amazon stock, doesn’t mean you’re investing - that’s gambling - don’t confuse the two.

What are some of the best ways to save effectively?

1 - Out of sight, out of mind. Keep your savings at a different bank than where you keep your checking account. You won’t have immediate access to it if you want to make an impulse purchase - that’s the point.

2 - Nickname your savings accounts. Stop saving for the sake of saving. Save with purpose so you’re less tempted to touch that money. Keep a separate account for each goal. Sounds tedious, but you’ll actually stick to your savings plan this way. Two common accounts we set up for our clients are: Travel and Holiday Gifts.

3 - Automate your savings. Technology is your best friend. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to each savings account the day after payday. Then watch your savings grow without lifting a finger.

How can millennials can save without feeling restricted?

At Stash, we hate budgeting. Instead, we do something with our clients called Reverse Budgeting™. The concept is to save first, and then blow the rest. With your savings out of the way (and out of sight/mind at an online bank) you can blow whatever’s left in your checking account, guilt-free.

“No one wants to feel like they have to watch every dollar they spend with the hopes that there’s something left over”

How can recent college graduates/millennials feel secure taking on a business venture while paying back student loans?

While this works out in rare cases, taking a step into the very risky world of entrepreneurship is never a sure bet. We advocate that our clients keep a steady job while building up their side venture (hustle) simultaneously. Once you’re feeling solid about the revenue you’re able to bring in (which could take 1-5 years or more), then take the leap - especially if you’re still paying down student loans!

Do you think that having a financial plan is a form of financial wellness? How can having a financial plan better our lives?

I’m sure I’m biased, but absolutely. Financial planning eliminates the need to keep your fingers crossed - which decreases stress and uncertainty. Having a game plan is appropriate for many aspects of life. When you get in a car, what’s the first thing you do? You enter your destination into Google Maps or Waze and it tells you how to get from one place to another in the most efficient way. Same goes for having a financial game plan.

Do you have words of wisdom for anyone who thinks they’re bad with money?

Being bad with money isn’t a thing - so get that idea out of your head. If you think you’re “bad with money” it’s likely you just haven’t started thinking about what you want yet. Setting small and large financial goals is the first step toward being better with money.

What are some things we don’t need to spend a lot of money on?

At Stash, we are a #judgementfreezone. It’s your money, you work hard for it! Spend it on whatever you want as long as you have your financial sh*t together. That means, you are living a lifestyle you can afford (no credit card debt) and aren’t ignoring priorities like paying rent, paying down student loans, etc. If there’s money left over, blow it! An expensive bottle of wine, a weekly mani/pedi, SoulCycle/Equinox, Ubers, first class plane tickets, whatever!

How do you stay #savvy in your everyday life?

As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to lose yourself in your work so I try to find balance. I read a lot (fiction and non-fiction). I workout a few times a week. I spend time outdoors. I am always “pruning” various aspects of my life, from my closet to Chrome bookmarks! When it comes to my money, I stay #savvy by spending my money on things and experiences that I value. Before buying anything, I ask myself “what is this thing or experience worth to me?”

“Remember, it’s your life, if you don’t plan for it, who will?”
Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 7.16.19 PM.png

A Change in Perspective

Lessons learned from my week in Jinotega, Nicaragua  

IMG_9395.JPG

This past week I spent my time in Jinotega, Nicaragua, to assist the Sasle community in making a home for a family in need. I was given this opportunity through the University of Delaware’s alternative break program, and a non-profit organization called Bridges to Community that does this work all over Central America.

For two days out of the week I spent in Nicaragua, my group of 12 and I explored unbelievable crater lakes and the lively cities of Nicaragua. For the rest of the week, we lived in a beautiful home that belonged to a warm and welcoming woman named Benita living within the community. We spent 8 hours of each day passing cinder blocks, mixing cement, painting the roof of a home, and working on the finishing touches with the other giving members of the community.

For a family in need to receive a home from Bridges to Community, a family is nominated by members of their community, which they then pay an amount monthly which goes back into a community fund.

There are numerous amounts of lessons that I gained from this experience, but here are the ones that stuck out to me the most.

IMG_9428.JPG

The Importance of Family and Community

When building the home, we worked with such hard working members of the community, including the father of the beneficiary family. Could you imagine your next door neighbors helping you build your own home? In Sasle, there was such a strong value of community and helping one another. While we worked, every car or bus that passed by honked or waved at us on the worksite to say hello. Not only is community valued so much in Sasle, but so is family. During our dinner with the beneficiary family, the father told us how grateful he was for us to leave our families for a week just to come and help them build a home. Family is so meaningful to their culture, which made me want to express gratitude for my family even more than I do.

How can We further embrace community and family in Our lives?

Having a sit down dinner with loved ones without distractions is an overlooked moment. Checking our phones when out with others has come habitual. When we eliminate an option to distract ourselves, we can have even deeper conversations with the people we love.  

Ask yourself, are you educated on the issues in your community? Spend a little time researching, and see if you can lend a hand to someone in need. Helping others makes us feel so much more connected to those around us and gives us much stronger ties to our communities.

Embrace Simplicity

There were many things that the Sasle community did not have, but to them it did not matter, because they know they rich in what truly matters; family and community. The Sasle community was always happy, grateful, and content with what they had. Though some families did not live in what Americans would consider ideal living, the community members never complained because they know that material items do not fill them.

Another thing I noticed during our dinner with the beneficiary family, was that each person took a humbling amount of food and politely made sure that each person had a plate before eating. They were in no rush to consume what was on their plate, and believed that the simplicity of the moment was enough.

How can we further embrace simplicity?

If there are clothes sitting in your closet that you haven’t worn in a while, consider giving them to someone who could make use of them every day.

Instead of spending extra time on social media, which can create extra content in our brains, try connecting with the nature around you, or reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

When plating your food, try to take only what you know you need to fuel your body. Eat with friends, and shop locally whenever possible. Simplifying our day to day actions creates an immense amount of appreciation for life.

Cultivating Acceptance

Many stereotypes and judgments come from things that we don’t understand. Before coming to Nicarauga, I thought I knew what the members of a developing country would be like, but I was wrong. They were the most hardworking, kind and wholesome people I had ever met. Being open-minded to the stories of the people we met was key to having an incredible trip.

I learned that people value different things because of the way that they grown up, and it’s our responsibility as humans to take that as an opportunity to dig deeper. We need to look past our own barriers and listen to the stories of others and maybe even spend time in different cultures to show us just how much we have in common.

How Can we Cultivate Acceptance?

Try to actively reach out to and listen to stories of those that are different than yourself. Listen without judgement.

This will always help you become a more well-rounded and compassionate person.

Understanding Culture

When I arrived in Nicaragua I experienced culture shock, but surprisingly experienced culture shock when home to America. I felt like I finally realized why so many people suffer from anxiety in the U.S. While in Nicaragua, I never had cell service, so I spent free time playing cards, singing, or bonding with members of my group. When I first arrived, I was in shock at my lack of distraction, but once I embraced it I felt clear-headed than I had ever been.

The night before my flight home to America, I had trouble sleeping because I was already experiencing anxiety about my responsibilities at home. At first, I shamelessly blamed “America” for being so overpopulated, obsessed with technology, money, and other material items, but I thought for a while and realized that we just live in a different culture, and the only way to improve it, is to recognize it and appreciate how far we have come.

Though America might have numerous amounts of distractions, we should take the time to see question giving them a break. Distractions only have power if we give them power.

How can we Improve our Country’s culture?

If you ever experience anxiety after scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, try to explore what it’d be like to journal, meditate, or reach out to a friend.

My week spent with the Sasle community taught me the value of hard work, support, connection, and love. I will never forget those friendships that taught me imprinting lessons that I’ll take with me forever.

Always remember to keep an open mind and constantly push past your comfort zone. There’s so much to gain from being connected to what truly matters.

IMG_9433.JPG

How to effectively use #’s for your brand

#smm.png

What even is a hashtag??? It’s the key to growing your brand's organic growth. Hashtags often get thrown around without purpose, but we are here to tell you that if you use them correctly, it can make or break your social media strategy. By adding a #savvy touch to your social media game, the potential to grow your brand is limitless.

Types of #’s

Branded hashtags, which are created specifically for your company in mind. Fun fact: 70% of hashtags are branded. You can use these to encourage (and find) user generated content, as well as analyze your efforts.

Community hashtags, which are general hashtags that are widely used, and include things like: #tbt, #instafood, #throwback and #ootd.

# Shortcuts

We all live very busy lives, with little time to perfect all the little details. Luckily, for you iPhone lovers, there’s a solution!

Settings > general > keyboard > text replacements > (add hashtags)

Saving lists of your hashtags will help you know the value of each to determine what works and what doesn’t.

# Tips & Tricks

Instead of putting the hashtags in the caption, leave a comment immediately after posting. You can use up to 30 hashtags per comment.

Focus on the activity of hashtags. It’s important to always do hashtags with a purpose and finding a specific niche audience that will find use in your hashtags. Finding hashtags with more than 1,000 users will get you the most results because you know people are constantly looking for that specific one. Get a general idea of how often people use hashtags. If the hashtags are too popular, your post will be gone in seconds. Hashtags that have a lot of viewage are harder to track and have a lower conversion rate.

Untitled design.png

Use what’s popular instead of what’s trending. Trends come and go, so it’s important to keep a long shelf-life of your branded hashtags.

#’s For Your Business Hashtags are both keywords and conversations. Instagram users can now search for a location or hashtag, and see a Story compiled from Story posts by other users that include that location sticker, hashtag sticker, or hashtag in the caption. Location Stories from nearby places (but not Hashtag Stories) will also appear featured on the Explore tab.

According to Simply Measured, using even a single # increases post engagement by 12.6 percent. Hashtags are an effective way to drive organic traffic to your content.

The more specific the hashtags the better.

Add new hashtags to target and leverage the social authority towards organic authority. Different #’s can mean different things to many people.

All in all, hashtags are a powerful tool that are often overlooked. Hashtags are crucial to growing your brand organically.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can grow your brand sign up for one of our social media training sessions, and learn how you can take your brand to the next level.

Manage Your Anxiety With These 3 Steps

3.png

Stress creeps up on us all the time. Whether you’re at work, at school, your side hustle, or just in life itself, stress and anxiety can come in all types, but it’s important to manage that sucker and get it under control.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, PsyD, founder of the online community for young women called #HeyLauren, told us the three ways you can manage anxiety in your life.

Step 1: Manage that stinkin’ thinkin’

Each of us has many thoughts, up to 70,000 per day! The goal is to get so familiar with your thoughts that you can instantly recognize the thoughts making you feel scared or worried. Once you know which thought patterns cause the unwanted feelings, you can change them! If you change how you think, you can change how you feel and how you behave.

 

"Thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to behavior."

 

Step 2: Take two (minutes to relax!)

Your body cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time. So, consciously relax your muscles. Taking a couple of minutes to stop, breathe and get present can reduce stress, increase mood and decrease anxiety in an instant. Focus your attention on your breathing, exhale slowly. Scan your body for tension. Loosen the cramped body parts, letting go of anything you’re holding too tightly. Recall a good memory, favorite place or event. Continue to breathe, exhaling slowly. Repeat, as needed.

Step 3: Walk through it—Exposure, exposure, exposure.

If you're afraid of it, you need to do it. It's as simple as that. You cannot will yourself to courage. You have to exercise the emotional muscles that flex when you walk through the fear to overcome it. Avoidance adds to the anxiety by reinforcing it. There's no easier, softer way. You don't need it to be easy and soft. You need it to work and exposure does work. Promise.
 

"You cannot will yourself to courage."

 

You are in charge of your own life, don’t let anxiety control you. Take a breath, take action and reflect. Whether you are dealing with an in-the-moment panic attack or facing an anxiety disorder, the feelings you have are normal and treatable. You are not alone! We all get nervous sometimes, we all have freakout moments, and that’s okay. Research tells us that there are an estimated 40 million adults (—women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed than men), who suffer from an anxiety disorder.

At the end of the day know this: you are the creator of your own mind and who you become or who you are is rooted within you. Anxiety is manageable, now go out there and kick some #girlboss ass! 

For more from Lauren, visit  @dr_lauren  and sign up for her weekly newsletter at  HeyLauren.com .

For more from Lauren, visit @dr_lauren and sign up for her weekly newsletter at HeyLauren.com.

Savvy Sisters Media, Inc. Celebrates Their One Year In Business

Wow, has it really been a year already?

Time really does fly, when you're having fun!

From the very beginning, Jamie says, “I knew Savvy had potential to grow. I just didn’t realize how fast it would all happen. When you work hard and genuinely love what you do, time really does fly by!”

This past year has been full of amazing memories with our Savvy Sisters, so naturally we decided to celebrate with the distinguished 1st birthday party! Not only was this a celebration for the Savvy Sisters’ persistence, motivation and many accomplishments throughout the year, but it was also a time to get crafty in the kitchen!

The Savvy Anniversary party took place at the Levy’s family beach house in Southold, New York. Close friends and family were invited to take part in this great milestone, while soaking up some sun on the Savvy-theme-decorated deck. Unlike the serene venue, the hors d’oeuvres were very extravagant. Jamie and Tara decided to get particularly festive by adding teal, Savvy’s signature color, to the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels. The ladies also had some of their delicious brunch favorites: fluffy bacon pancakes, french toast and omelets, to add to their teal creations.

As the “sisters” relaxed outside, commemorating the launch of their very own company, they thought back on the past year and all that they’ve achieved. Some of the major highlights of the year include:

Throughout this amazing journey, there have been many indispensable people who believed in us. And, without them, we would not be here, sipping on teal champagne, today. The Savvy Sisters are independent and empowered young women with growth mindsets meaning that they are always open to outside ideas and influence when it comes to improving the overall quality of their business. Along with many others, their #savvy dads did an exceptional job at keeping the two women grounded and supplying them with unlimited business advice. As they expressed their thanks to the family and friends surrounding them, they began to look forward.

When the Savvy Sisters take a glimpse into the future, they see endless potential! A major priority for this next year is adding new #bossbabe (or #bossdude) members to the Savvy Squad. We are looking to grow our team with like-minded and ambitious individuals who have high expectations. Because once we have a strong foundation built, there’s no stopping us! This is only the beginning for Savvy, and you most definitely will be hearing from us again!

 

Xoxo

Your Savvy Sister,

Madi

 

Savvy Sister Roots

It all started one sunny morning as we sipped on iced coffee by the beach soaking up the sun. Both Jamie and I had enjoyed a long summer of tanning, singing our hearts out on long car rides, making memories with friends and tasting new foods...all of course which we documented on social media. That one sunny morning on the beach Jamie and I decided to captivate on those memories and put them to good use. If we could be as excited about our own social media, why couldn’t we be excited about someone else's social media, too? As the coffee kicked in and the sun beamed hotter, it dawned on us that we could do what we love and help others do so, too. Why not captivate on what we’re good at and turn it into a career?  

From that moment on, Savvy Sisters Media, Inc. was born. It took us some time to get where we are now, but without that moment on the beach we would not be the #girlbosses we are today. I’ll be the first to tell you that starting a business is not easy, but it’s worth it. All the blood, sweat, tears and Starbucks purchases have paid off, and will continue to pay off...especially the Starbucks purchases.

If it weren’t for the people around us to guide us in the right direction, we’d still probably be brainstorming on the beach, but one of the most important things about Savvy is the bond Jamie and I have. We conect with each other on a personal, emotional and even a marketing level. Because we know how the other thinks, it makes brainstorming, pitching, creating and innovating all the more better.

From the very start, Jamie and I were always tag teaming on ideas. We started with the basics, creating our brand. With the help of some friends, we designed a logo, created a website and started social media accounts. From that point on, we went from door to door, town to town pitching to stores, restaurants, small businesses, anyone that could use our savvy social media skills. Eventually, clients started coming to us, and it was one of the many breaking points in our career.

It’s important to set goals and constantly remind yourself of them. Push your limits and don’t be afraid of the what-ifs. Write your goals down and don’t cross them off until you’ve reached them, and once you have reward yourself...preferably with more coffee! Nobody can be successful for you, it’s up to YOU to pave the path of your own journey. Our journey was not a smooth one, and it will continue to be bumpy, but the journey is a marvelous one.

Through this blog you’ll see everything from social media tips to marketing ideas to trending topics. If you have something that you’d like to learn more about, please reach out to us and let us know! We’d love to blog about topics you’re interested in, too! This journey has just begun, and I can’t wait to take you on the ride with us.

Xoxo,

Your Savvy Sister,

Tara