Today, I’m bringing you a special interview with one of my friends and money colleagues, Yael Trusch. Yael has dedicated herself to helping Jewish women and couples build wealth, interweaved with spiritual insights and practical advice, and I know you’re going to love her.
Yael Trusch is an MBA, a money coach, and host of the award-winning podcast Jewish Money Matters. Her signature program G-d Wants You to Be Rich has transformed the financial lives of countless Jewish women and couples all over the globe, and she’s here to generously share her insights with all of us.
Tune in this week to hear from Yael Trusch about how she developed a money program around Judaism and why she believes that God wants all of us to be rich. Yael is sharing why many of us struggle on the journey toward wealth, and she’s sharing her journey of creating a profitable business that serves at the highest level.
In March 2023 I will open enrollment for two of my favorite programs, which will take place in May. First I will be running a week of Money School 2.0, beginning March 13, 2023, and then open enrollment for Wired for Wealth, my money mindset program with business strategy and mentorship that directly works to release money blocks, transform your relationship with money, and create the lasting wealth you fully deserve.
To be one of the first to know when enrollment for Money School 2.0 and Wired for Wealth open, send me an email to get subscribed to my newsletter!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- How Yael decided that her work was to help women with their money.
- The action Yael took in discovering how to monetize her business.
- Why sometimes, you just have to follow the breadcrumbs and trust in God when building a business.
- Some of the pivots Yael has made in her business and why pivoting is a necessary part of financial growth.
- Why Yael believes that God wants all of us to be rich.
- Some of the most common money mistakes and how to take responsibility for the resources God has given us.
- What the joy of money means to Yael.
- The tools that Judaism has given Yael that has allowed her to truly understand money.
- If there is something specific that you want to hear or learn about money, business, marketing, or selling, send me an email!
- Connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram!
- If you love this podcast and have enjoyed it for the last week or the last year, please go over to iTunes and leave me a review!
- If you want a flash of fresh financial inspiration and actionable tips to rewrite and master your relationship with money every week in your inbox, sign up for my email list!
- Jewish Money Matters Podcast
- Yael Trusch: Website | Instagram | Podcast
- G-d Wants You to Be Rich waitlist
- Free Resource: Ten Tips for Money Date Success
- 68: The Joy of Money
- Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen
- Rabbi Simon Jacobson
Read the full transcript now
You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 69.
Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money Coach Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of underearning and undersaving, sabotage the growth of your business, and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.
Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have a very special interview for you with one of my longtime friends and money colleagues. I have appeared on her podcast, and now for the first time, Yael Trusch is appearing on my podcast. I’m going to introduce her in a minute.
Before I introduce our lovely guest, let me tell you about Money School. Money School 2.0 is now open for enrollment. We are going to spend three days together; this is a three-day free training. It is starting March 13th. It is the 13th, 14th, 15th of March. We will spend three days together creating a new relationship with money.
We’re going to go deep, and uncover the thoughts that you’re thinking about money. So many of those thoughts are embedded in your subconscious mind. You don’t even know that they are driving your money bus. You’re not even aware of the fact that the thoughts that you’re thinking, and that are really programmed into your subconscious, are the thoughts that are blocking you or slowing you down from asking for more money, receiving more money, and having more money.
So many of us, once we open a business, the money just seems to flow through us. We asked for it. We’re not even going to talk about right now prices, whether you’re pricing your offerings properly. But the money comes, it goes out, it comes, it goes out. And we haven’t yet learned how to create a safe and sacred container to hold onto our money and feel deep abundance.
So, we are going to go deep and really uncover all the things in Money School. I invite you to go to my website, DebbieSassen.com/MoneySchool and sign up for this free three-day training. We start on March 13th. And if you want to bring an apple for the teacher of Money School, you are more than invited to do that.
Also in March, middle of March, I will be opening the doors, enrollment, to my signature program. Wired for Wealth will be opened. And this program is the nine-month program that I have curated specifically for female entrepreneurs, who really have a mission and a purpose in the world.
When we begin the program on May 1st, with our live event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, we are going to go deep for a full day. We’re going to create your signature offer so that you are really connected and aligned with what you are here to do in the world.
Then, we’re going to go with my signature four step process for sales conversations. So, you can really show up for your clients in service. You can understand their needs. You can ask them for more money. You can, again, receive money abundantly.
And when your clients come up with objections on your sales calls, you will learn how to answer their objections. This is very important, because if you can go from closing 1 out of 10 sales to 8 out of 10 sales, or even a 100% close rate on your sales, in service of your people; no sleazy or manipulative sales conversations; you can help more people and you can show up in the world as the entrepreneur that God has created you to be.
The other thing we’re going to be discussing during this nine-month program, is you stepping into your CEO embodiment. It is all connected with your purpose and mission from God, and you are here as a business owner to serve the world with the gifts that only you were gifted to create and share and serve.
My current cohort, the December 22 cohort, is really showing such massive success. One of my clients had her biggest day in the history of her business. She’s been in business for several years already. Another one of my clients created three new clients from a webinar, with just a handful of people showing up.
My clients understand what their gifts are, what their simple offer is, and they’re going to show up in the world and share that boldly. I want that for you, too.
You can go to my website and check out Wired for Wealth. It’s DebbieSassen.com/Wired-for-Wealth We’re opening enrollment in the middle of March so just look out for that.
All right. I am so excited to introduce you to our guest today. I am excited to introduce you to Yael Trusch. She is an MBA, a money coach, and host of the award-winning podcast Jewish Money Matters. Her signature program, G-d Wants You To Be Rich, has transformed the financial lives of countless Jewish women and couples all over the globe.
Her Jewish financial insights have been featured in Real Simple magazine, Chabad.org, Aish.com, The Independent, and numerous podcasts. Yael is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. And she currently resides in Houston, Texas, with her husband and four children.
Welcome to the podcast Yael. I am so delighted that we’re having this opportunity to speak about money. Let’s go.
Debbie Sassen: I am so excited to introduce you to my guest today. I am here with Yael Trusch. Yael is an MBA, money coach, and host of the award-winning podcast Jewish Money Matters. Her signature program, G-d Wants You To Be Rich, has transformed the financial lives of countless Jewish women and couples all over the globe. Her Jewish financial insights have been featured in Real Simple magazine, Chabad.org, Aish.com, and numerous podcasts. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Yael currently resides in Houston, Texas, with her husband and four children. Welcome Yael.
Yael Trusch: Thank you. It’s so great to be here. I’m so excited.
Debbie Sassen: It is so much fun. And for all of my listeners, Yael and I, before the show started, we went back down memory lane. Because Yael’s podcast, which is now called Jewish Money Matters, was, once upon a time, The Jewish Latin Princess. We’ll talk to Yael about her history and how her business has been transformed and transitioned over the years.
But back in the day, and we said December 2016 was the first time you and I connected?
Yael: Yes, right. That’s it, the first time.
Debbie: Yael interviewed me for her podcast, and then again, in 2017. So, a little bit delayed, but thank you so much for coming on to the podcast today.
Yael: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. Second of all, more importantly, thank you for having a podcast. I was so excited when you finally did this. I was so excited!
Debbie: You know what? There’s a runway. You know, when you start something and then there’s the dread before you do it. You sort of have this idea, and then it’s all the overwhelm about putting something together. Anything, right? It could be even you’re planning a wedding. You’re planning to move house.
You were doing interior design before you just focused exclusively on money. It’s all a lot of pieces and moving parts, so it does get overwhelming. But now, it is so much fun. It’s just part of who I am and what I do.
Yael: Yeah, but you know what? You just hit the nail on the head. It’s a lot of moving parts; the key is to stay moving, at least for me. Like, the key is to stay in action. Things happen when we’re actually doing something. They don’t happen here in our heads. That’s my experience.
Debbie: That’s right. And of course, it relates to money because we have to keep moving into things. But take us back to the beginning, Yael, because again, you and I have known each other for a long time.
When you were known as the Jewish Latin Princess, you were the Jewish Oprah, back in the day. So, tell us how you got your, I don’t want to say humble, because I mean, you are a humble individual, 100%. But I think whatever you’ve done, you’ve always done it with a splash. So, tell us about the beginning.
Yael: That’s so sweet. So, I had this, we could call it sort of a unicorn space. Although, my work today still continues to be I want to say my unicorn space, but at the time, in 2014, back in the days of blogging, I carved myself this space called Jewish Latin Princess.
And it was a place where I was writing about all the things that Jewish women might be interested in and weaving spiritual insights into them. So, everything related from design, art, even work, parenting, money, and it was a real creative outlet and really, really fun.
The backdrop to that, is that I teach classes in Spanish, here in Houston, Texas, to Jewish women. So, I was like, “How could I amplify this message to the greater world?” That was a bilingual blog. Then, came the days of podcasting. The Jewish Latin Princess was because it reflected me and it reflected that audience of Latin women, who I knew have a certain sensitivity to spirituality. There’s a whole story with that.
But when I started listening to podcasts, I was like, “I like that. I really, really like that. And I want to do that.” I sat with that idea for one full year; I think from 2016 to 2017. February, we just had our 6th year anniversary, and that’s when I aired my first show.
Now, back to our history. You were in that blog, even before the podcast in 2017, because I started interviewing Jewish women on the show. I started interviewing people. And so, that led to the podcast. And then the podcast was, again, it was just me moving. Did I know what I was doing? Did I have a business sense of where this was going? Absolutely not. It was all part of my… I just wanted to bring a message to the world.
It was my unicorn space. I was creating something. I had no idea what I was doing. What happened was, over the years, very, very quickly, actually, even from the beginning, from the blog, I started getting speaking engagements. So, the more I traveled, and the more I taught women, not just in my group in Houston, Texas, but all over the world, I kept struggling with the question of; how am I helping these women?
Because, Debbie, you and I know that, yes, we are souls with a body, right? We’re not a body with a soul. We’re souls with a body. But we still have a body. So, when we go through life, we don’t feel a spiritual void, we feel a physical pain of some sort, right?
And yes, there might be a spiritual answer to that. But at the end of the day, there’s a physical thing that people are struggling with. And I kept saying, “My message is great. Everything is great. Everything is spiritual, but what are people really struggling with?”
I said, people are struggling with four things. Number one, their relationship with their spouse; marriage and intimacy. Number two, their parenting; relationship with children. Food and body image, perhaps that kind of relationship. And number four, money; their relationship with money. Sometimes even money and spouse.
So, I have a great marriage. I wasn’t about to just start talking about marriage for the rest of my life every single day, you know, okay, whatever. I’m a pretty good mother. I don’t know that I wanted to talk about children every single day for the rest of my life. I don’t know anything about body image or food really. I really just don’t know. I have nothing to say about food.
Money. I had a lot to say. And the reason I had a lot to say, was… Two, there were two reasons. One, I had experienced my own trials and tribulations when it came to money, even within my marriage. And number two, I actually had a career based on money, and an education based on money.
I studied economics, as you well know, and international relations. I worked in investment banking. I traveled all around the world with that career. Then I got my MBA. So, all of a sudden, I was like, oh, that’s something I could really talk about.
What happened, was I sat on this idea for a long time. And again, I started taking little pieces of action. The action just led me to understand and follow the breadcrumbs. Namely, the first time I openly went on a public stage, actually, and gave a talk about marriage and money, all within the framework of Judaism, literally, it was, you could hear a pin drop.
And then the questions, the flood. It was like, oh, I get it God. You do want me to talk about this. It was like people were so thirsty, right? And then, my column started for Chabad.org. Women were so thirsty for this information. It was so obvious to me that if I had found what had helped me, what had helped my marriage, and what are the understandings that I’ve come to have, and the lessons that I’ve learned, I had a responsibility to share them with the world. I couldn’t just keep dabbling. I had to go all in.
So, that’s how I went all in. And eventually, I started teaching it in online programs. Now, you should know, the podcast stayed with that name, Jewish Latin Princess, even while I was teaching online programs, in English and in Spanish, regarding money.
Because, again, it’s like you take these steps, but not everything happens at the same time. It took me a while. Until finally I said, “Oh, that has to come on board too. It’s like it’s one thing. That’s who Yael is. That’s what I do.” You get over the fear, and you do it.
And then my audience was like, “Sure, change the name. We’re so cool with that,” and that’s what happened. That’s what became Jewish Money Matters, it was actually the name of my column on Chabad.org. So, I already had that name. And the audience voted for that name; I remember we did a survey.
So, that’s how we ended up here. And then obviously, we can talk about the classes and all that. Those also evolved tremendously over the years. And the business side of this also evolved. But that’s how we ended up here, at least on the podcasting space.
Debbie: I love it. I love that you shared your journey. I don’t even know if you remember, but you and I have had many conversations over the years. I’ve even been a guest teacher in your programs a couple of times. I once asked you, somewhere before you started offering your online classes, when you were still the Jewish Latin Princess, I asked you, “How you’re going to monetize your business?”
Yael: Did you?
Debbie: You remember that?
Yael: No, I don’t?
Debbie: I did.
Yael: Did I have an answer?
Debbie: I don’t think you did. I think it was still the ‘figuring it out’ stage, which is okay. And I think that that’s just a message to give to all entrepreneurs. That sometimes we just follow breadcrumbs, and we’re not quite sure how it’s going to all come together. And we just trust. You and I both, like to talk about trust, relying on God, [crosstalk].
Yael: 100%. I think we have to trust. I think, of course, we have to be strategic, and we have to follow sound advice. But I think we have to keep moving. I think that action is so important. And you know what? Those days, I was making money but it was little money, right?
It was getting ad sponsors, which was even easier, I would say, than today. Speaking engagements, I was making money. The writing, makes peanuts, right? The speaking engagements, I wasn’t making nearly what I make today.
So, you evolve and you grow. But definitely, starting to teach in a serious space, like really offering a service and coaching, that, obviously, catapulted me on a different level. Now we weren’t just playing and dabbling with this, it was actually, officially, a business. I was treating it as a business. And I knew that’s what it was.
You should know, there was a whole transition, because I also maintained this as a bilingual space for a very long time. We had a membership in Spanish. We had courses in Spanish. We had a whole newsletter in Spanish; many people don’t know that.
Until two years ago; I had to make the strategic decision to just nibble that and take the risk and say, “The revenue is just going to come from the English side, and I’m going to take the risk.”
Debbie: Is anybody doing it in the Spanish space anymore?
Yael: I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s anybody in the Jewish world, in Spanish, who talks about money. I mean, it’s not like I don’t talk about it, but I don’t cater to that audience exclusively. If somebody calls me to do a training or to do something or be a guest speaker, I’ll do it. Absolutely. I made a strategic decision to move from serving that space. It might not be forever, but it definitely made sense at the moment.
And, it’s paid off. It’s paid off. Looking at who my audience was, etc., looking at the market, it definitely paid off. I have enough free content that I am providing in Spanish, because I kept, for a long time, a free WhatsApp group. There was enough to serve that audience. I actually stopped that recently. But I just moved away from that being a revenue making thing.
Debbie: I think that’s important to point out. Because as we grow and evolve and pivot and transition our businesses, we have to let things go. I don’t want to say we have to, but we niche down. We’re no longer, I think we’re no longer excited, or just no longer aligned with something that we were doing. Or, as you say, strategic. We don’t have the time to do all the things.
Yael: And that’s exactly right. Right. We don’t have the time to do all the things and to do them well, and to serve people well. It wasn’t the right time for me, because my ideal client was bilingual, no matter what. I’m not going to get into a whole thing of describing her. But I knew who I was becoming, and I knew I was limiting myself by staying in Spanish. I needed to double down on the English because I would be capturing both, you see what I’m saying? Otherwise, I would be leaving the English audience.
So, it ended up being a good decision at the time, for me. And you know, we can always revise that. I think that’s part of the message here. Like, don’t be afraid of listening and pivoting, and pivoting many times. It’s okay. Like, I really, really believe it. And I’m happy I do, because if I would stay stuck, I mean, you see how many times I’ve changed?
I’m having a great time. The last eight years have been so fabulous for me in terms of being fulfilled, excited with my work. And the more I monetize my work, of course, it makes me more happy on so many levels. So, yeah. And I’m ready for the next level. I’m always like, “Okay, what’s the next? What ceiling am I breaking now? Because that’s going to be my next floor kind of thing.” You know?
Debbie: Good for you. You’re just going to keep moving. But I want to go back to leaving the Spanish-speaking world. I think this is something that might be unique to women. I would actually venture to guess that it is. But tell us about any guilt feelings you had.
Yael: You know, you’re asking the wrong person. I’ll tell you why. I don’t struggle. I’ve been asked this before. I was actually a co-host with my colleague Jael Toledo. We had a had a show for Momentum; it was actually in Spanish. We had like a TV series for JWRP.
We had an episode on guilt, and she just poked and poked about that. I can’t relate. I really can’t. It’s not one of those emotions that really… Fear, yes. Guilt, no. I’m an only child, and maybe I have that streak of self-centeredness. Maybe it’s from that, but it’s not something that I struggle with.
I know for my friends leaving their kids and sitting at the computer, answering work, I think they’re laden with guilt. No, I’m not. I don’t really feel guilty. So, that’s not something I felt, by leaving. I might have felt kind of scared.
I might have felt like, “Why can’t I do this? You know, why can’t I handle both audiences? Is the revenue going to come?” But guilt? I knew that they would be fine. There would be other people who could serve them. Or, that I would be there to serve them on another capacity. But not on a full-on capacity.
Debbie: I love it. Okay. I also don’t struggle with guilt. Certainly not the mom guilt, it really isn’t my thing. I just do what I do. I’m pretty decisive. My kids will tell you that. If they ask me questions, I’ll say, “Nope. I’m mean and bad.”
Yael: You know what? That probably makes you a very good podcast host. My husband tells me all the time, “You know why you’re so good at what you do? Because you’re so decisive and so opinionated.” I’m like, “Oh, I guess I am.
Debbie: Bring it on. Tell us about G-d Wants You to Be Rich. Because I remember when you launched that program. I was like, “Ooh, that is a very bold statement.” Especially in the religious Jewish world, where you and I both find ourselves spiritually, in terms of our values. People can question you on that. Like, “How do you know? What do you mean, God wants you to be rich?” So, let us know everything.
Yael: It’s interesting you say that. Again, I never struggled with that. And it’s probably because I learned that that way, let’s say, from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. So, for me, it’s not a shocking statement. It is a fact. I don’t need to know it like I can read God’s mind. But I do know how, yes, God wants us to prosper. Yes, God has a vision for the world.
It happens here in the physical world. The demands match your reality; it’s called the Messianic vision. Therefore, God wants to bless us with everything. Now, can you, me, Yael Trusch, and everybody else around me, get on board with that mission? That’s what we’ve got to work on.
But the statement that God has for us and wants for us, I don’t find it something that is a real struggle. I do know why that is a struggle for people. But the struggle is really in getting on board with that journey. I think that’s where we struggle.
So, I do have to give credit to Hassidis and to the Rebbe for that. But interestingly enough, you said that it is a struggle. I will say to you, quite honestly, the precursor to that program was called Jewish Money Makeover. And it was, Debbie, a four week, little $99 course, where the materials were on a Google Drive.
I tell this to my students today, so that they realize, “Listen, it’s okay to do it messy. It’s okay.” It was so scary because of exactly what you just said. Because here I was, all of a sudden, becoming really vocal and taking a stand. And not only that, I was going to sell something that was Jewish and money, together. Like, “Oh, my.” Who does that in the Orthodox Jewish world, right?
So, I will tell you, as much as I don’t feel so much guilt, I had all the feels when it came to fear, right? Literally, I remember calling one of my friends in Israel. I’m like, “The pain in my body; my physiognomy.” Because I was launching this, I think it was going to be after Pesach. And, it was physically painful.
But I know enough to know, that it was just my animal soul, in my body, trying to keep me from doing what I’m supposed to do; what my godly soul wants me to do. So, I knew enough to know, this ain’t stopping me. I’m going to feel this. I’m going to deal with this. But I’m moving forward. So, that was a really interesting process.
Eventually, how did it change names? It actually changed names in Spanish. Because one of the iterations of that program… That program grew. After the third week, I remember my student said, “Wait, we’re finishing next week?” And I was like, “What do you mean, you want more?” They’re like, “Yeah, we want more.” I’m like, “Sure, we’ll do more. Here’s another price.”
And then I upped the price. And then, that program is what it is now today, which is a 10-week coaching program. But one of the iterations in Spanish was, Dios quiere que seas rica, which is the translation in Spanish. It felt so right and it worked so right.
Then, when I was going to relaunch in English, I was like, okay, well, that’s the name. I love the name. Like, it works.
Debbie: And people don’t give you push back on the name?
Yael: Maybe they do. I don’t know. I heard maybe one or two people on social media question it. I think maybe, if people have gone to my retreats… Because I usually introduce the program with a five-day retreat; I’ve done it many, many times. They kind of get it.
I’ve never felt like there’s this push back on it, honestly. It could be because of the nature of how I bring them on. You know? Like, the whole mindset shift of understanding the Jewish perspective that happens even before we get into the program, and we start dealing with the mechanics of money and all the practical stuff.
So, maybe that’s why. But time will tell. It could be that in the next stage of growth is, this program is going to be so huge that then it’ll be more people will have eyes on it, and there’ll be resistance. And, okay, we’ll deal with that when it comes.
Debbie: Good for you. Good for you. You just keep moving, you keep growing, keep facing every challenge as it comes up. I have had people say to me, “How do I know that God wants me to be successful?”
So, this is different from the Chassidish world. But in the Litvish world, where there is a very strong focus on the men sitting and learning Torah, and the women, many of them are going out and they’re supporting the family; they’re the ones who are working. So much of the focus is on really living a very simple life; not a materialistic life, and not a rich life. It just could be that you’re speaking, on average, to a different audience who isn’t…
Yael: It could be. It’s interesting, because the Litvish world actually has gravitated towards my work very, very strongly, which is so beautiful. First of all, when I first started, I wasn’t even talking to religious women, it was never my intent.
Somehow, I understand now, that my audience is… There are many, many religious women who follow my work. Many of them don’t come from a Hasidic world. They are absolutely enamored because it’s such a new, refreshing, perspective. I don’t take credit for it. I mean, I show them the sichas. I show them the commentaries, I show them The Tanya. I’m not taking credit for any of this. But it’s very eye-opening.
And it’s not just about money, it’s just so many aspects of life. I think the world today is very thirsty for these ideas. I think there’s a certain sensitivity and receptivity, and it’s very welcoming. So, I’m still venturing out that there isn’t going to be that much resistance. I’m really optimistic about that.
Debbie: Okay, let’s go. Now, you and I are both speaking in the month of Adar, the Jewish month of Adar. It’s actually the first of the month of Adar, as we’re speaking. And, this is the month of joy. I’m going to record a podcast a little bit later called “The Joy of Money”. But why don’t you tell us, from your perspective and in the work that you do, what does that mean to you, the joy of money?
Yael: Hmm. So, I love that you asked me, because I actually reflected upon this this morning. My mother used to have this expression when I was growing up, that always made me a little bit cringe. She would say, “Money;” I’m going to translate from Spanish and hopefully I do a good job. But it was something like, “Money doesn’t bring you happiness, but it certainly helps.”
It was always like this thing. Now, as an adult, growing up, and approaching this from a more from a Jewish perspective, it all started to make sense. Because the truth of the matter is that yes, joy is an inner feeling. And it’s something that doesn’t happen with external things. Even economists have proven that after a certain amount of money, you’re not guaranteed to be happy. Like, after your needs are met, there’s no real correlation between the level of happiness and the amount in your bank account.
But here’s the thing, from a Jewish perspective the joy comes from where, Debbie? It comes from living in alignment with our soul, right? Doing that which our soul wants. Guess what? Going back to this idea of God wants you to be rich.
When we use our money to do all those things; to have the guests, to have the beautiful linen to welcome them with, to pay for your children’s tuition, to help somebody else have their tuition covered, to buy your beautiful, delicious kosher food, to serve it to somebody else, to open a business and pay your employees with dignity and on time, right?
All these things actually give you a tremendous amount of joy, inner joy. Because you’re doing exactly what your soul wants to do in the world. So, does money bring you happiness? If you read… Actually, I have an article out on this on Chabad.org. If you read the Pirkei Avot on that, “Eizehu Ashir? Hasameach B’chelko.” I’ll translate, “Who is happy? The one who is content with his lot.” Would that be the translation?
Debbie: He who is happy with his lot. Content with his lot.
Yael: Yes, exactly. But if you continue the verse, you’ll see how David HaMelech explains it and you’ll be like, “Oh, this totally has to do with the way I use my time in this world, my physical time and my resources to serve my soul. So, of course I’m going to be happy.” Right?
Debbie: Because you said the research of the economist says that after a certain basic level, once your needs are met, money doesn’t give you more happiness. We also know that money is a huge stress for so many people.
Yael: We can get more practical. Advise us a tremendous amount of opportunities, I’m not going to deny that. It really does. Right? 100%. And, that’s okay. And, that’s good.
Debbie: The American Psychological Association, they put out statistics that say 70%-75% of Americans; you’re living in America, I’m living in Israel, right? Our countries aren’t so different in terms of what causes people stress. But money is one of those factors that causes 3/4 of the population stress, right? And marriage, right? They say it’s the #1 cause of divorce.
Yael: Yes, 100%. And this is why you and I do what we do. And here, Judaism comes to the rescue yet again. I’m saying this from my personal experience, and from what I teach. Look, the Gate of Trust, Shaar Habitachon. This is trust, but I’m talking absolute, exclusive, trust in God. The Source of all the money, with capital S, and of all your business and all your clients.
This is the foundation of our financial system. And if that foundation is not nourished… I have a house in Houston, Texas. Unfortunately, I have some foundation problems because here it gets very dry, the summer is really awful. If you don’t water your foundation, you start getting cracks on your house, on your foundation, right?
The system could be great. And you and I could teach people all the mechanics in the world, right? We can learn all the savvy things to manage our money properly. If the trust is not solid, and by that, I mean it has to be constantly nourished. It’s not something that happens in the blink of an eye, it takes daily, wonderful work, right? The foundation is standing on very, very rocky terrain.
And so, yes, people can have a ton of money, and still live in a tremendous amount of anxiety and misery. There went the joy. The joy just went out the window. And there is a way to combat this. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying, “You know, I’m just going to…” No.
But I learned this, five minutes a day with my husband, every single day. I teach it. I help myself. We have tools to help ourselves. They’re not ours, Judaism gave it to me, thank God to us.
Debbie: I’ll just give a shout out. Because as I was going on my walk this morning, I was listening to Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen. Who also gives Shiurim online, gives classes online, all about The Gate of Trust, Shaar Habitachon. So, you and I are both doing the same thing. And we’re both reinforcing our Jewish values, and how we rely on God for everything that we have in life; our money, our health; everything that comes from Him. So, I love that we’re both on the same page with that. That’s beautiful.
Yael: And in 2008, when really, I experienced this whole kind of transformation, you would call it, but there was something we all know was the recession. I was living in China with my husband. And I was maybe married for about three years. Yeah, about three years. It was the first time that money became like a thing that I actually think about. Because it was becoming this sticking point in my marriage.
And I was like, what’s happening here? The more I learned, the more I realized, oh, it’s not the financial stuff. That’s the easy part. There’s so much more going on. But here’s the thing, I realized that Judaism came to address those things. And one of the tools that Judaism gave me, was this bitachon, this trust piece.
And I remember thinking, you know, it’s like you assume, oh, but I’m a religious woman. I keep Shabbat. I eat kosher, right? Like, of course I trust. And it’s like, oh, no, no, no, I get it. I don’t really.
Debbie: There’s something else. When I was on the walk, I ran into my daughter who was going shopping. And I was telling her exactly what I had learned on the recording. About we trust, as it were, so many different things. The ultimate source, yes, is God.
But we assume that when we’re going to go to the store, we’re going to be able to buy a loaf of bread. We assume that if we buy the loaf of bread, it’s because it came from the bakery. So, we’re assuming that the bakery is working. That they have electricity, that they have water, that have workers, they have trucks to transport the bread from the bakery to the store.
We assume that the bakery is going to get the wheat, and then, as Rabbi Kelemen just stopped, and it’s like, oh, the wheat, the wheat comes from God, right? We know the wheat is coming. Making sure that the rain, and the sunshine; it’s going to be watered.
But then, even every step. Because you have to have workers who are going to cut down the wheat. And you’re going to have to have the trucks who are going to transport the wheat. How do you know that there’s not going to be a trucker’s strike? How do you know that the bakery is going to have everything? And she said, yes, last week, in her little mini market, in her neighborhood, there was no milk. Her husband had to bring milk from Jerusalem, because their store, for some reason, was out of milk.
And you realize, like really practically, even today… I think during Corona, we really realized it. Certainly, in Israel. We had an egg shortage for weeks, here in Israel. But there could actually be, in 2023, things that we rely on every single day in our lives, and really, whether it gets to the store or doesn’t get to the store, is all in God’s hands. And so, we’re really have to go back to the ultimate Source, as you said, with a capital S.
Yael: Yeah. And the work is in everyday, everything that’s happening, bringing it back to God and saying, “Oh, look what just happened? Thank you, God. Oh, that client called. Oh, that person…” It’s all God. People say, “You have to see, to believe.” The Jewish way is you believe, to see.
Debbie: I have it written in my little notes that I say every day, you believe it first, and then you see it. So, I love that. Does it bring you joy to rely on God? Or, does it give you more stress?
Yael: Tremendous amount of joy. Oh my gosh. Why would it give you stress? I don’t understand. On a personal level, I can tell you that the more I’ve learned to, not just have God in my life like a lip service type of thing, but really internalize this idea and let go and rely, the more content I am. The more supported I feel. The less the emotional charge. The emotional investment, the emotional reaction, to not just things money, not just things business, anything that happens around us, right?
We have a lot of things that challenge us throughout our day. It’s so much less. It’s just this contentment, this peace of mind, this tranquility. Bitachon, at the end of the day, trust, is an emotional state. It starts from the intellect, like any emotion, right? And that’s why we have to intellectually work through it.
The goal is that our emotions should be affected. And then, emotionally I can stay cool, collected, happy; talking about Adar. Having that sense of joy and levity about doing my work and parenting my children and all the things. Because I know I have God with me. And, what could be better? Who could be…? What other entity would I…? There’s nobody else who can provide like God does, right? It’s a whole mindset shift, but it definitely affects your emotion. So yeah, for sure, the joy comes from the Habitachon.
Debbie: I love that. Listen, I have an ego. I like to think that I’m in charge. I’m a control freak. I really think it’s all in my hands.
Yael: Come on!
Debbie: But when you said it is daily work, we keep going, over and over, reminding ourselves, and it’s that real trust. It’s the real letting go. We are human, and sometimes we let our human brains and human minds get in the way. And then, we like spiral down the stress rabbit hole or something like that. But when we remember….
Yael: Well, sure. Listen, it’s like SEO, right? The more you learn this, the more your brain can then automatically bring you to that place. That’s why it has to be daily intellectual work, right? Because your brain will, as you say so often, your brain is going to take you to a very dark place, right? It knows how to do that. It’s been doing that for decades. Those neural pathways, they are well developed, right?
But again, the more it’s like a Google search, it’s SEO; the more you give it something else… Oh, it can pull from there. It happens little by little. I had an experience the other day, when I was sending a client a quote. I’d sent them a quote, and then they asked me this strange question about kind of validating my work or something.
And it depended on just a very straightforward answer. But your brain wants to try to craft the perfect answer. Because if I don’t say the right thing, I’m not going to get the deal. And it’s like, oh, no, no, no. That’s not how it works, Yael, my friend. They have no power. There’s nothing. You just answer without trying to be so strategic, just let it go. Just send the email, whatever they think about that.
If you’re meant to have that deal, it’s going to happen no matter what. That takes work. I mean, that is not easy. How many times are we just bogged down by that email? Or, how we word that to a client? Or, how we…? No, we’ve got to just let it go and know that we’re all agents. Nobody really has any power over how much you’re going to get.
Debbie: So, before we wrap up, let’s just talk about… Because people have asked me this, as well. I want to hear your take on it, setting your goals for the year. I’m very specific with my clients, who have to set an income goal. We’re in business, that’s how we measure our success, is with the amount of money. And, did we get to their goals or not?
And not by the number of clients. Not by the number of whatever. But let’s set a money goal. How do you reconcile that with Rosh HaShanah, that God sets how much we’re supposed to make for the year? Why don’t we just leave it up to Him? And whatever comes out, comes out.
Yael: Yeah, 100%? It’s such an important question. It’s been talked about on my podcast many, many times. But I do agree with you, that we set the goal. And I’ll tell you, before I answer the Rosh HaShanah question, I’ll tell you why I think it’s important. It’s not because of the goal itself. It’s because of the person you become, in the journey of achieving that goal, my friends.
That’s what’s happening. That’s what happened. You’re becoming a better agent for the service of your Creator, period. Okay? So again, if you’re doing whatever, the work. But with the right perspective. I’m saying not for yourself, not on ego-based work.
But yes, God assigns for us something on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. But it also says very clearly, that now, weave… The package comes in the mail, right? But you have to actually bring it from the mailbox into the house. And you actually have to open it. You actually have to unpack it; that whole unpacking happens here. You’re responsible for that.
All of it is there. Now, how are you going to bring it down here, in the physical world throughout the year? That is contingent on your actions. We go back full circle to the beginning of this conversation. It’s contingent on how connected you are with your core essence. That you’re living in alignment so that those actions are really being for the service of your Creator. That your business, everything you’re doing, is for a bigger purpose and not just feeding your ego, right?
All of that unpacking, you’re responsible for. And, trust is part of that.
Debbie: Beautiful. I love your answer.
Yael: And remember, I just want to add one more thing that people sometimes forget, that intrinsic to trust is the doing. There’s no such thing as, I sit on a beach with a Piña Colada, and the sustenance would come. As much as I would like to go back to Puerto Rico and do that all day long, it doesn’t work like that.
God says, “I will bless you in all that you do.” Go back to the action. We’ve got to be doing, my friends, we’ve got to be doing in this world.
Debbie: Right. Or as I say, “Pray and move your feet.”
Yael: Totally. I love that. Because by the way, prayer is one of the, if not the most important part of effort, probably the most important, but it’s super important. 100%.
Debbie: Right, but you can pray all day, and if you’re not moving your feet… I love your metaphor, bringing the package into the house. It’s so visual. And yeah, who doesn’t love to receive a package? But you have to claim the package.
Yael: Good. Right, right. And I’ll give credit, I didn’t come up with that. I think it was probably Simon Jacobson, who said it on my podcast. I’m pretty sure it was him; on one of the 200’s episodes. We’re already at 310, I think.
Debbie: Okay, a long time ago. If you find it, send it to me. We’ll put it in the show notes.
Yael: Yes. For sure.
Debbie: Let’s just talk about, if you don’t mind; you don’t feel guilt. I don’t know if you feel embarrassment. Just talk about a money mistake. Because I want to just unshame money mistakes for the listeners. Because we all make them. And people just feel so much angst about their money mistakes.
Yael: Yeah, yeah, let’s do them. I have a lot of them. I can make people feel really good. Oh, my gosh, Debbie. Listen, you know, I was somebody who took stock-picking advice from my colleagues. I remember working in the bank in Argentina. I worked in Manhattan, and then I went to work in Argentina.
It was the day of the .com craze. And I remember just putting money in stocks I knew nothing about, right? I’m just doing things like that. I remember also, vividly, even worse than that. Because maybe that was play money. When I first started my first banking job at age 21, I got my first bonus. I’m pretty sure it was $22,000. Now, $22,000, in 1998, it’s money, right? I had no idea what I was going to do with that money.
I was smart enough to know that I shouldn’t go shopping with it. So okay, that wasn’t so bad, right? I was smart enough to know that I needed to do something with it; because I’m actually a spender by nature. This is an interesting anecdote. I asked my friend at the bank, my really good friend. You know what she said? Ask my husband. He wasn’t even a banker. She and I were bankers. He was a lawyer. That’s just to show you.
So, I asked Gonzalo. He said, “I’ll go to the Fidelity office here. The guy is going to take care of you.” So, of course, I did it. I went and the guy’s like, “Are you 21? We’re going to put it in these growth funds and all the things.” I’m like, that sounds great, growth. Yeah, that’s all I wanted to do.
But guess what? I actually did not know at the time, that there’s something called expense ratios. And there’s something called the fees that you pay for that money being managed. And so, many, many years later… In the middle, I’ve moved countries several times; I moved to Israel. I moved to China. I was never paying attention to that money. I had gotten married. I had children.
And I was like, “All that money, I don’t understand. Why has that money not ever really picked up? Like, it’s not grown over the years.”
Debbie: Growth fund. Your Growth fund is not growing.
Yael: Exactly, exactly. And that’s when I opened my eyes, and I realized… I must have read a couple personal finance books, and it started clicking. And so, expense ratios are a big mistake. I always talk about them. Not asking the right questions.
I also was very reckless with credit cards, you should know. I don’t use credit cards today. I had zero education when it came to credit cards. I walked into a world, in college, where, back then, credit card companies were allowed to have table tents in the student center or whatever. They would give you a t-shirt and a cap, and you would just open credit cards.
I had no idea. My parents really didn’t give me a financial education. This is not to blame them, at all. But I literally walked into adulthood, being financially illiterate. It’s ironic, but it is the truth.
It took me many years, not just to… On the other hand, I married somebody who didn’t come into our marriage with credit card debt; I did. And not only did I, but I didn’t understand the consequences. It didn’t feel like… I wasn’t uncomfortable with it. You see what I’m saying? There was nothing about it….
I’m not against debt in general, whatsoever. But I’m saying I could have done so many things differently with my money, and my earning potential, in my early days, in my youth. Like, saved more, invested much more. You learn. You learn. But those are big mistakes, that I now hope that my children don’t make. I teach them not to do it.
Debbie: You’re teaching them a different way. They’re selling chocolate chip cookies in order to make money; I’ve seen their tables. Your kids are so cute.
Yael: Yeah. Baruch hashem. Thank you. Yes, now they’re getting really bigger; my oldest is 17. I can’t believe I’m saying that. It’s like, I don’t have little kids anymore. Yeah, my youngest 10. He’s a big guy.
Debbie: Just for the grandchildren. Before you know it, in the blink of an eye, you’ll have grandchildren. God willing.
Yael: Amen. Amen. We’re looking forward to that day.
Debbie: Yeah. The money mistakes. Really, for all of the listeners, it’s so important. I’m a saver, not a spender by nature. I can have my spending sprees. But they’re few and far between. I went to college, and my dad gave me his credit card and said, “Only in emergencies. This is a credit card.” So, I never got into that stage where I was spending, spending, and didn’t have any idea.
But for all of our listeners, financial literacy is not something that we’re taught from a young age. I did have an allowance; I got five cents a week. That was really fun. Or, 20 cents a week, or whatever it was. I’m a little older than you. But I wasn’t taught.
I remember even asking my dad, after my grandmother passed away and I inherited $5,000. I asked my dad, what should I do with it? And my dad said, “Go to the bank and ask them.” I put it in a CD, which was not a very high interest rate. We’re already talking about the early 1990s. Not the heydays of the 1980s, when interest rates were like 16 and 20%.
But my dad also didn’t really know. I mean, we were just a family, an immigrant family from Germany. They were just working, working, hard workers. And, figured out how to make it.
Understanding finances? Most people just figure it out as they go through life. Wherever you are, dear listener, with your financial situation, even if you’ve made mistakes, it’s just okay. Right? It’s okay.
Yael: It’s okay. I think it’s so important for us to say, “Okay, it’s okay. And now I can turn the page and open a book, or listen to a podcast like this one.” I think financial literacy, Debbie, is so important. And I really try to emphasize that with my students in my program. I want you to feel comfortable with the language.
It’s like, learning any language, right? They’re like, “Oh, we’re learning…” So, I’m like, “Yes.” And then when you try a new language, you test. Does this work in the sentence? Is this how you use this word? Yeah, you’ll be testing and you’ll be, “Oh, yeah, that’s what that really means. Because now I see it used like that,” right?
It’s a new language. But we can push ourselves, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you start getting mastery over that language. And then, your comfort level with the whole subject matter increases so much. It’s not like you have to become this super expert, right? But you can ask smart questions that help you. You can ask the right questions. You can look it up for your money.
Because guess what? I really say, if you’re listening all the time, nobody’s going to care about your money more than you. That’s the way it is, right? Not your financial adviser. Not your tax person. Not even your husband. It’s you. You have to take responsibility for that resource that God has given you.
So, all that to say, let’s just do it. Let’s learn the literacy. Let’s go manage the money. We can do this. And find a community that will support you through that. Because I also think that was a hard piece, at least in the earlier days of my journey, even in 2008, as I was having this realization; I better address this money stuff, right? Who would you talk to about money?
Like you said, your father wasn’t teaching it to us. My parents weren’t either. It wasn’t talked about. Now, everything is different. There are podcasts, there are groups, there are memberships, there are programs. There’s so many wonderful ways to connect to others, so that the conversation can be normalized, the shame can dissipate.
And so, that you can learn and gain from being in a supportive environment. It’s just so important.
Debbie: 100%. And there were no blogs. I don’t know when blogging started now.
Yael: No, there weren’t.
Debbie: But 20 years ago, almost 21 years ago, when my husband was sick with cancer, that’s when my real awakening… Again, I worked on Wall Street; I didn’t really understand. I made my $50,000 money mistake, that I talk about very openly. And which I wrote about in my book, The $1K Investor. Shout out to my book. I’ll put it in the show notes. It’s all of the basic things that everybody needs to know about investing stocks, bonds; just what the differences are.
Yael: It’s right here.
Debbie: Oh, yeay. So nice to see you got my book on your shelf. But I was googling Yahoo Finance, and I was at CNBC. There were different sites that I could get an article here, an article there. And we started realizing also, that the money manager we had was churning our account. And every time he was buying or selling in our investment account, he was making a lot of money, and we weren’t making so much money.
Even my 401k at Goldman Sachs, it also wasn’t growing because it was in this stable value fund. And I never took the time to figure out what that meant. But it means basically, you get a money market rate on your money that’s supposed to be there for 40 years, until you retire.
Yael: It’s like the classic Wall Street joke, right? All the brokers have the yachts, and where are the clients’ yachts?
Debbie: Well, yes. I wasn’t a broker, so maybe that’s why I didn’t have a yacht. But I left Wall Street. I wanted to come to Israel. I wanted to live in an Orthodox Jewish environment, and be in alignment with my Jewish values.
So, before we close up, Yael, what is one last thing that you would just love to leave the listeners with? We’re in Adar, the month of joy. We’re moving towards Pesach Passover, which is the time of freedom; we celebrate freedom. You can talk about joy. You can talk about freedom. What’s one, maybe two, things you want the listeners to take with them at the end of this podcast?
Yael: Sure. Wow, that’s such a beautiful question. Listen, when we can really understand that money is a resource that’s been given to us to create so much good and so much impact in the world. And that, therefore we should engage with it. It’s not something to shy away from. It’s not something to shun. It’s not something to push away.
On the contrary, God wants us to own it, so to speak. To take responsibility to say, “Yes, I’m your agent. I’m doing this.” That is so liberating. And again, it gives us such a level of joy in doing the thing. And sitting with your husband and planning what you’re going to be doing with your money. And having conversations with your accountant.
Things that are really, I’m not saying they’re easy, but if we get the perspective, the why, the bigger reason why we’re doing this, then all of that becomes so much easier. There’s a level of joy in doing it. And there’s a tremendous amount of freedom from the worry, the stress, and despondency, right?
There’s this really positive attitude, which is exactly what we should have. Again, it’s all like, let’s serve God and His world with joy. So yeah, all that’s a tie to the money, to the simchah, to the joy, and the freedom. I’m encouraging everybody to really just approach it for what it is. It’s something wonderful that God wants you to have and engage with it.
Don’t shun it, don’t shy away from it. Find the help if you need the help, and that’s okay. Find the community, find the podcast, find the mentor, find the coach, the program, to get you there. But go there. Because there’s so much good that you’re going to find there. There’s so much impact that you’re going to be able to create in this world. There’s so much joy in that place. So, go there.
Debbie: Amen. Tell us where we can find you, so people who want to learn from you and want to learn from you how God wants them to be rich, and they’ll follow your footsteps. How can they find you?
Yael: Thank you. Yes, so the podcast is Jewish Money Matters. On every podcast platform, I drop an episode twice a week; an interview and then an “Ask Yael” episode. You can ask any questions; I answer them on the show. You can register for the wait-list for G-D Wants You to Be Rich at YaelTrusch.com, the waitlist is right there. Or, you could do YaelTrusch.com/waitlist.
And if anybody in the audience is struggling with marriage and money, which we didn’t address, but it can get sticky. And I know, I’ve been there. Again, God wants us to have happy marriages and money should not be… Although the media wants to show us something different. It really shouldn’t be a source of discord and arguments and disruption in the marriage. It actually should be something that unites us. And I say that firmly believing it. And, my students get to believe it.
If you want help in that area, I have a really good resource, free for everybody. It’s the 10 Tips for Money Date Success. Yes, we’re going to have money dates with our husbands. And, they’re going to be wonderful. I know they can be. So, you can get that… It sounds scary. But you can get that at YaelTrusch.com/moneydate.
Debbie: All right. Thank you so, so much. It’s really been a pleasure.
Yael: It was so fun. I get to call this work? This isn’t work. This is so fun. Thank you so much, Debbie.
Debbie: Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I am sure that you have takeaways like I do. Like, really stepping boldly into that belief and that message that God wants you to be rich. I just love the way Yael shared her message. She went back to our Jewish sources, and she feels connected and aligned with her mission. We talked about that.
And similarly, you have a mission to fulfill in this world. I invite you, again, to sign up for Money School. DebbieSassen.com/moneyschool. We are going to be talking about all things money and business, beginning March 13th. I look forward to seeing you there. Thank you, and bye-bye for now.
Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast, visit MasteringMoneyInMidlife.com.