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Financially Fab Female of the Month: Carrie Smith Nicholson

At the virtual office that is Mo’ Money HQ, we’re obsessed with learning new ways to make mo’ money and manage what we’ve already got. That obsession, combined with our burning desire to share what we uncover with the rest of our millennial peers, pushes us to confront what we don’t know on a daily basis and ask the experts how they got (or are in the process of getting) their own financial shiz together.

This month’s Financially Fab Female, Carrie Smith Nicholson, founder of Careful Cents, has done just that and has helped more than 7,000 freelancers on their own paths to financial freedom. But Carrie has accomplished more than simply making mo’ money: she’s also made mo’ progress towards creating a happier life. Read on to see how she created a “life-centered business” and why she helps others to do the same.

FFFOTM - Carrie Smith Nicholson

1. Hi! Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Carrie Smith Nicholson and I’m an ex-accountant turned financial advocate for freelancers and small business owners. Over the past five years I’ve created a blog and community to help people overcome the financial mountains that come with quitting a day job to launch a business.

These are all obstacles I personally faced as I went through a tough divorce at a young age, ended up quitting my accounting job and became self-employed. Now, I’m on a mission to help small biz owners and freelancers establish business systems and organize their finances so they can stress less and earn money on their terms.

2. Do you have a money habit you practice that has made a big impact on how you made mo’ money or manage what you’ve got?

I’m a savings account hoarder! Seriously, between my husband and I we have 17 bank accounts – most of which are separate savings for each financial goals we’re working towards. I’m a terrible saver by nature, and in fact classify myself as a bit of a spender, so I have to put systems in place that automatically save for me, and divide my goals into different accounts. That way when I’m tempted to spend money I have to pause before swiping my card, otherwise it just feels wrong pulling from the “travel fund” to pay for a new pair of shoes!

3. Who taught you to manage your money? What was their best advice?

My parents were very big influencers on me as a kid, especially my mom. I was blessed to have parents who talked openly with me about money, budgets, and even how to write a checkbook (old-school style). My mom had an awesome entrepreneurial spirit and launched many of her own endeavours, like jewelry making and tutoring. She taught me that you should never use credit as an extension of your income, but only use it when you have the funds in your account to cover it, or else save up for what you want instead.

My dad taught me the importance of balancing my career with my calling (which aren’t always the same thing), as well as taking time off for important family time and self-care routines. You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Both of them had large impacts on my mindset with money today and how I view my career goals.

4. What does being “financially stable” mean to you?

If you would have asked me this question a few years ago, I would’ve shared a completely different answer. But today, the meaning of “financially stable” means having enough income in my accounts to cover a few months of expenses, including our outrageous rent bill, while being able to take off work at a moment’s notice.

Since I’m self-employed I have the freedom to work on weekends, take days off in the middle of the week, or even go on a last-minute workcation. Being able to have a flexible schedule, while still being able to cover all my bills gives me the sense of financial security I crave.

5. What is the main lesson that you think Millennials need to learn, or hear about, when it comes to making mo’ money and mo’ progress?

The American dream is dead. Don’t get sucked into working a job you hate, buying a house that’s too big or being trapped in a loveless marriage. I was guilty of all those things and it cost me a lot of heartache and years that I can never get back. Find out what you truly want your life to look like and then follow it with boldness. Create your own job if you can’t find one. Live in a smaller house with less stuff. Find a partner who can match your enthusiasm for a life-centered career. Focus on consuming less and giving more! That’s what this world needs, not the American dream.

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