Episode 123

Mastering the Money Game (Part 1)

This month, we celebrate Pesach (Passover), the beautiful holiday celebrating G-d redeeming our people. Taking Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt, out of bondage and slavery, to freedom. We left Egypt back-broken. Going to Israel to establish and build our nation, raise families, start our agricultural businesses and make a living in the Holy Land. And serve G-d. Our ancestors were entrepreneurs! So over the next few weeks, marking the festival of freedom, I’m bringing you a series about mastering the money game as business owners.


How do we create money mastery as businesswomen? I see too many entrepreneurs who are slaves to their business and money. But we are no longer slaves, G-d is abundant, and money is a game. Meaning we can go out into the world and create as much money as we need or want to, with Divine assistance.

Tune in this week for part one of mastering the money game. Your business was created to provide you income. So in this episode, I’m covering your personal finances: the money required to cover your essentials and your additional expenses. You’ll learn how to start tracking your expenses, and how to negotiate with your brain when  it resists looking at your numbers.


Money is the underlying thread of everything we do in our businesses, so get my free Money Mindset Workbook by clicking here!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why it’s vital that you’re aware of how much it costs you to live.
  • 3 different stages of your life spending plan.
  • Why we don’t want to live too much of our lives surviving on the bare minimum.
  • Some of the important financial decisions you’ll need to make in the early days of your business.
  • How to start tracking your expenses simply and easily.
  • Practical ways to create self-trust around your personal finances.


Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 123.

Welcome to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Debbie Sassen. I went from being a financial adviser, author and chronic underearner to building my business to six figures as a financial planner and money mindset coach. And then, on to multiple six figures as a full-time money and business coach.

I help entrepreneurs create money making businesses and build wealth, using sales and money mindset strategies in alignment with authentic Jewish values. Now, let’s dive in to today’s show.

Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. We are in April. We are almost in the Jewish month of the Nisan. This is the month where we celebrate Pesach, Passover. We’re celebrating that beautiful holiday where God took us out of Egypt. He took us out of bondage and slavery. We had been there for over 200 years serving Egypt, and we were backbroken. It was such a low point in Jewish history.

We’re not going to compare it to what’s happening now. Our 134 hostages are still being held against their will in Gaza. But that was a low period in our history, when we were slaves. God took us out, and He took us from slavery to freedom. What did that even mean, taking us from slavery to freedom? It meant that we were no longer serving a different master.

That we were now going to be brought into the Holy Land of Israel, and we were going to be able to serve God in our Holy Land. We were going to be an agricultural community. We were going to have businesses. Men and women were going to have farming communities, businesses, and leather tanneries. We were going to make a living in the Holy Land of Israel, doing our businesses and serving God.

I thought it was so appropriate at this time of year, because just like our ancestors were businessmen and women, we are too. And talk about creating money mastery as business women, as business owners.

Because what I actually see from so many of my clients, some of them who are just starting to work with me and we’re in a process, when we begin together, is that they’re actually slaves to their business, they are slaves to money; I think that it’s so appropriate. So, over the next few weeks, we’re going to be talking about mastering the money game.

I wanted to call it a game because my dad once said that to me, that money is a game. And what he meant by that… I think I never actually questioned him… is that there is so much money available in the world. God is abundant, and He can really give you whatever you want. You have to ask for it, you have to pray for it.

Now, God can always say no. But really, when you just stop and look around at all the beautiful abundance, and material abundance in the world, whether it is through oil, or through diamonds, or through gold or businesses, there is a tremendous amount of money. So, my dad sort of referred to it as a game so I’m calling this series “Mastering the Money Game”.

Today, we’re going to talk about part one, which is such a crucial piece that most business coaches don’t talk about. But I love to talk about money, so we’re going to talk about personal money today on the podcast.

Because your business is created to provide income to your personal life. It could be that when your business grows to the million or multimillion dollar level, that you won’t need all of the income that your business is generating.

And/or perhaps you’ll have a lot of people working for you. You will have employees, whether it’s 5 or 10 or 20 employees, and you may or may not be taking home a significant increase in your salary, because you will be paying income also, or salaries also, to other people working for you and your business.

But either way, most of my clients are small businesses. They might have one or two contracted workers who are doing some part time work. None of my clients, that I can think of right now, have full time workers. That’s not true, one of them… I can think of one of them who actually does have one full time worker in their business. But most of my clients are either solopreneurs or they have some part time help in their business.

So, at that stage of your business, your business is here to make sure that you have money coming into your household life. But if you don’t know how much money you need to run your personal life; how much money do you need for your rent or for your mortgage, what it costs to keep the lights on, pay the electricity bill, the water bill, gas, food.

You might want to buy some gifts, especially now that we’re going to the holiday season and people buy extra clothing for their family members. It is a mitzvah, it is a commandment to buy the wife new clothing, new jewelry. The kids are going to want new clothing. Because it makes us happy during the holidays. So, this is an expense that you have.

And then, there is maybe life insurance. Don’t forget life insurance, especially if you’re a parent of small children. God forbid something should happen to you. You want to make sure that you have insurance in place to take care of them in an event that the unforeseeable happens.

Just a few months down the road there’s going to be summer camps for children. And then, we’re going to have more holidays. Maybe you have car insurance, or a tax that you need to pay for, for your car, right? We always have expenses in our personal lives, and we want to make sure that our business is being designed, that we reverse engineer our business, to create a cash flow.

It may or may not match, in terms of the timing and the ups and downs of the cash. But we want to make sure that over long periods of time, like six months to 12 months, your business can create enough cash for you to keep running your personal life.

And it’s going to be dependent on what stage of your business. In the early days of your business, of course we can never expect your new baby business to fund your personal life. So then, we’re going to have to set up other means. But I’m jumping a little bit ahead of myself. Let me go back to the critical importance, when you’re mastering the money game, of knowing how much it costs you to live.

I like to look at three different stages of your life spending plan. Number one is just the bare-bones necessities to run your life. You might have to move house if you really, really had to cut back. Some people do, they have to downsize. Or they might have to sell a car and they have to rely on public transportation, if they get down to the bare bones of their lifestyle.

But we want to know that number. Find out what’s the minimum that you need, on a monthly basis, to bring into your home to keep going. Most of us don’t want to live at that bare-bones stage of life. It’s possible that some of you listeners, my dear listeners, that you went to college and then maybe graduate school.

People, when they’re studying in law school or medical school, they’re willing for a short period of time to live bare bones so that they will have the promise of having a higher salary after they graduate and they join the legal profession or the medical profession, or become an accountant or something like that.

And holding out that sort of carrot, of a future rise in income, will just enable them to stretch themselves a little bit. And you might have to do that in your business. Depends on your family size, if you can really eat ramen noodles and just have pea soup for months on end. But if you can’t… That’s not a reality for you, you have children, your children also have needs… If you either can’t or you don’t want to, you will have to figure out a different way to get money into your household.

That could come from borrowing money from the bank, borrowing money from your retirement plan, borrowing money from your parents. It could be that you have to sell something. I recently told one of my clients, we had a real face-to-face discussion, “It’s time for you to sell your car.”

Because having that gas guzzler, and you have to pay for the insurance and everything else in life at the moment, in the early stages of building your business meant that there was money going out the door that her business could not yet generate. So, I suggested strongly that she sell the car, and she’s actually in the process of doing that. Yay, for you, for listening. Shout out.

You want to write down every single cent that you spend in your life. You also want to be aware of what is going to cost you for those fluctuating expenses that don’t happen all the time. As I mentioned, there’s going to be summer camp, there will be Jewish holidays.

Maybe there is a vacation, something that you’ve been planning for a long time that’s maybe different from your summer holidays, maybe it’s going to be a celebration of an anniversary. So, you might want to go away for a celebration of your 20th or 25th or 30th wedding anniversary, and that could be different from taking your kids away down to the beach for the summer to relax and have some watersports and cool off a little bit.

It could also be that you want to take a trip somewhere to celebrate a family celebration, a simcha. I was speaking with one of my clients this weekend, I said, “Just imagine…” This wasn’t a real situation, she’s here in Israel. I said, “Just imagine that one of your friends gets engaged in London and you want to go to the wedding.” Now, I don’t know if she actually had a friend in London who was going to get married soon, but we’re trying to create some hypothetical situations.

We have these unexpected events that come up from time to time. Things that we could never imagine, so we do want to have that as part of our expenses. So, we also have to set money aside. Some people like to call it an “emergency fund”. I like to call it a “financial freedom fund”.

Because when you have money set aside for those unexpected expenses that just crop up…. Maybe it’s a good thing, like a wedding that you want to go to. Or maybe it is something like your car needs a new transmission, or your washing machine just dies on you. It’s really hard, especially in our day and age when most of us don’t live next to the river, it’s hard to live without a washing machine.

So, you’re going to go and buy a new washing machine. It might be that you put it on a payment plan or whatever, but we always want to have a fund there for unexpected expenses. And that’s what I call your “financial freedom fund”.

You really need to sit down and do the work, and figure out what you need every month, what are those fluctuating expenses that happen once a year, twice a year, make sure you put that down. And then, if you have a number… Let’s say your fluctuating expenses amount to $12,000 every single year, more or less.

Well, that’s great information. Because now you can take $1,000 and put it in your monthly expenses. Making sure the cash goes out from your personal bank account to your financial freedom fund.

That is the very simple basics of creating money mastery. And mastering the money game is knowing how much you need in your personal bank account to fund your personal life for a month or three months or six months.

What I also know is that… and I would probably put money on it. I’m not a gambler. It’s against Jewish law to gamble. So, I’m for sure not going to do it. But I would bet, dear listener, that you’re not going to do it. Now, I’m willing to for anybody to take me up on this dare. But here’s what I know.

This is tedious, boring work to track your expenses. First of all, I don’t recommend that you go backwards, because that’s the worst. Here we are at March, April, if you have to go back and start looking at how much money you’ve spent since January or February, I promise you very few people are going to do it. But you can start today.

It’s very simple. Every day, you pay attention. You write down where you spent your money. But your brain is going to try to negotiate with you and tell you, “It’s not important. I’ll do it later. I know more or less how much money we need.”

I worked with enough clients when I was a financial planner to know that most people do not know more or less how much money they need. They are usually underestimating by as much as 60%. Because there are, again, those one-off expenses.

Maybe you’re going to a wedding and you want to buy beautiful wedding gift, you’re not thinking of wedding gifts when you’re normally calculating your expenses. “Oh, yeah, my mortgage is this month, the kids school fees is that, and then there’s electricity…” And then we forget that there are months of the year when we are jacking up the air conditioning. So all of a sudden, our electricity bill doubles, right?

So that, “Yeah, I know, more or less, how much money I need,” is usually very far off; anywhere from 30-60% off. If you actually wanted to use that, if you wanted to pretend that you knew how much money you need and you just want to add another 60%, I would be cool with that. But most people are not going to sit down because your brain is going to say it’s not important.

This is the exact place where real money mastery comes in, and that is managing your brain around all of the times your brain is going to tell you, “It’s not necessary. it doesn’t matter. I’ll do it later. We’ll come back to it.” Because when that is your modus operandi, that you’re always putting things off, number one, you’re not creating self-trust with yourself.

Because there is a part of you that wants to figure out what your numbers are. Because that clarity is going to give you the direction that you need to go in your life and your business. If you’re thinking about driving from one city to another city, you need to put your coordinates into your navigator, into your Waze application.

So, if you know how much you need, you can put into your navigator how much you have today and where you’re going, and you can try and figure out the path to get there. But if your target is a moving target, you don’t know how to set yourself up from where you are to where you want to get to. And that is exactly what causes all of the spinning in your business.

You want to create that self-trust with yourself, that you will do what you said that you’re going to do. So, if you told yourself, “Every night at six o’clock, right before I have dinner,” do it before dinner because you’re going to be hungry. You’re going to really sit down and make yourself get it done.

You’re going to write down all the expenses since last night, at dinner time, until today, where all of the money went. You’re going to have to look at your credit card bills, if you have things on auto pay, if you have expenses that are automatically deducted from your bank account. You’re going to have to open your bank account.

Really, once this becomes a routine, it’s not going to take more than 15 minutes a day. And even then I think that I’m overstating. But what you need to do is you need to stop letting your brain negotiate with you. When your brain says, “I’ll do it after dinner,” you’re like, “No, no, no brain. We’re going to do it now.”

Because your brain is going to be a little brat. Your brain is going to go and want to play with other toys; not little kids toys. It might be scrolling on your phone, it might be checking your email, it might be doing anything but looking at your numbers. So, you’re going to have to get your brain on board, remind it, and create that self-trust with yourself, that you do what you set out to do.

Because if you’re not, another week, another month, another year can go by before you create this money mastery. And I know that there are other, more exciting, fun, enjoyable activities to do during the day.

But here’s what I also want you to bear in mind. If you do not create this awareness around your money, if you do not change what you’re doing right now to make sure that your business is funding your personal life, and you’re putting money aside for the future, you’re going to get to the future… could be 70, 75, 80… you will not have put enough money away to take care of your future self.

And that, for sure, 100% guaranteed, is not going to be enjoyable. You’re going to have to seriously downgrade the quality of your life to manage with the last few dollars that you have left. Or you might even have to go back to work. Who wants to go back to work when they’re 70,75, 80? If you have your own business and you’re doing work that you love, that’s great. Show up in your business, have a whole team, work three hours a day.

I’ve told you about my dad before, who, God willing, in July, he’ll be 86, and he still goes into the office a couple days a week because he loves it. He loves the community. He loves the camaraderie. And he still has some great business ideas that he contributes to his now former team; that he contributes to the team.

So, if that’s what you want to do, that’s great. But you don’t want to start working as a cashier in the supermarket when you’re 75 years old, because you didn’t create money mastery in your life and in your business today. So, I understand that it might not be fun today. I’m a little bit reading you the riot act; Debbie’s getting ranty. But do this work.

Take me up on my dare. Figure out how much money you need in your personal life. And then, in future episodes this month, we’re going to talk about how you’re going to create money mastery in your business, how you’re going to reverse engineer your business, so that you will have the cash flow that you need.

I’m so thrilled this month, we’re at the end of March as I’m recording this, my clients are celebrating. One of my clients, who has been working with me for a few months, she started earning $1,000, and then $2,000, and $3,000/month in her business. She just created her first $4,000 month.

I have another client who is creating consistent $5,000 income months for the last few months. And now we’re talking about how we can now stretch her goal to $7,000. One of my clients reported today that she signed on two new coaching clients. I have another client who signed on a $5,000 client.

My clients are creating money. We’re creating this awareness in their personal life, and reverse engineering their business, so that their business can pay their bills. It’s a beautiful thing. And, we do it step by step by step.

So, I would love if you would do this exercise that I recommended to you, and send me an email and let me know that you actually did it. I love hearing from my listeners. I love hearing what’s up. I love hearing what you’ve created. So, please go start the process of mastering the money game.

Especially as we’re going into the month of freedom. We’re going to create financial freedom, and things are going to look much better when we end up on the other side.

Alright, my friends, thank you so much for tuning in with me today. I want to remind you that part of mastering money is understanding your relationship with money. So much of your relationship with money comes from how your parents dealt with money, and what you witnessed and observed and downloaded into your subconscious mind when you were growing up.

You can do that work by going to my website DebbieSassen.com/mindset and download the Money Mindset Workbook, so you can start understanding where all of your thoughts and beliefs and fears and anxiety and panic around money come from.

And then, I will see you next week on The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.

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