Nathalie shares her thoughts on how she manages her money and some of the lessons she’s learned.
LYNN: Hello and welcome to the Cherry Blossom Cafe podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Williams, and owner of The Lifestyle Protector. This show is all about uncovering life’s mysteries about money. If you ever wondered how other people manage their money or the money mistakes they’ve made, well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about. I will uncover these mysteries and more. On this episode, we talk to Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas. Nathalie is the founder of THINK Yourself Academy. She’s a speaker, master coach and number one best-selling author of seven books on wellness and empowerment.
LYNN: Nathalie accumulated over 25 years of experience in sales all while she was actively energizing the fitness industry for over 30 years as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and nutrition and wellness specialist. She combines her wellness and sales strengths with neuroscience, and the brain programming processes she practices as a master practitioner in NLP. She retrains your brain to allow you to take charge of your own life and get inspired from within. Welcome, Nathalie.
NATHALIE: Thank You, Lynn. Thank you for having me on your show. I’m very excited.
LYNN: It’s great to have you here. So we always like to start with the first question being, what was your first job?
NATHALIE: Okay, that’s super fun. My mom had a printing business, so probably like a five or six-year-old, it was child labor in my parents’ business. I wasn’t really paid at this time. It was just actually babysitting in the corner and doing some drawing, so it was not a real job. Now, my first paid job outside of the parents’ business I was teaching fitness. So I started to teach for the leisure in Saint-Raymond, a small town that I’m from in Quebec City, and I was actually … That’s when I started to have a very good relationship with money because I was paid $20 an hour, which was a fortune in these days.
LYNN: Wow, and how old were you when you-
NATHALIE: I was 13 years old.
LYNN: Oh, good for you.
NATHALIE: Yeah, so, by the time I was 15, I was teaching 20 classes a week. Every night, I was teaching for four hours, and on the weekend, Saturday morning as well. So 20 hours a week at 20 bucks an hour, I was rich. Then I started to invest actually in my mother’s printing business and my brother as well. We were working. We had a very good work ethic, I guess. There was a good incentive for us to make our own money, and my brother started to invest as well. So all three of us built the printing to a good size like about 20 employees, and then we invested in another printing business in Quebec City.
NATHALIE: We later had 50 employees. We had the two businesses later on, and always teaching fitness on the side, so I continued to do that. I’ve been still teaching fitness on the side of everything I do as my strategy is to stay healthy.
LYNN: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s fantastic. So that tells us a little bit about how you got started in your business, but once you started to gain some momentum in your career, how did you handle your wealth? How did you handle your money?
NATHALIE: The first time that I made the most money really … Well, as I started to make money as a kid, I was forced to put some money aside, so I had to take RSPs, and I thought it was for in another world really because it was … It seemed to be so far away. Now, I’m very lucky that I have started to do that. Then I was taught that I could spend some of it. I had to put some in an account that was not an RSP, but that was for when things happened. Then you need something. You need to have some money saved. But when I really had a big boost was when we actually sold the business.
NATHALIE: So we did sell the business. We made a whole bunch of money, and that’s when after that I didn’t really have to work, and I started to work for a friend in sales for fun and then moved to Ontario with that same job, met husband. Still continued the fitness and then realized as I was helping people in the fitness industry that I wanted to help more, and that’s when I discovered neuroscience brain programming, and then I started my own life coaching business.
NATHALIE: So that was about 10 years ago. But what did I do with that big momentum? That big amount of money? It’s interesting because my brother and I both had a different reaction. We both made some money as a young adult, and my brother bought an expensive car and the biggest sound system ever and hundreds of CDs and different things. I did buy a car more reasonable I have to say, and I did save a whole bunch of money as well, and I did.
LYNN: Good for you.
NATHALIE: So when we moved to Ontario, and when we got married, I was actually able to buy real estate there to buy my own place as opposed to rent. So that was a big moment for me is with this real estate. Then when we sold a condo in Ontario, then could buy … When we moved to BC, I was able to use this money. So I always had this … The money we made on real estate, I was always able to leverage that after. So as soon as you’ve got your one big chunk of money if you do something well with it as opposed to … my brother loves … I love him dearly. We had both a great bringing up, and I don’t know. I think he’s done well for himself after, but I don’t think that he has anything left from that lump sum of money that we had when we sold the business because he did not invest the same way.
LYNN: Yeah, and that reminds me that in many families with siblings or even spouses, one is the saver and one’s a spender. So even just the opposites often attract or often are in the same family simply because it’s a contrast, and that happens often with siblings.
NATHALIE: Yeah, exactly.
LYNN: So that seems to happen with you and your brother.
NATHALIE: Exactly, exactly.
LYNN: So you had some fantastic foundations, and you had made some really great decisions. So then were there any money mistakes that you made along the way that you would say, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I would have learned before”?
NATHALIE: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Well, one of them I did. Before buying in Ontario, I did rent for a year and a half, and I was paying $2,400 a month in rent. It was downtown Toronto, great neighborhood at Yonge–Eglington, and somehow, I think I should have not … Did I learn from it? No, because when we moved here, after I rented again for a year and a half in White Rock on the beach, because I didn’t want to buy anything on the beach, and we rented a place for a year and a half again. I thought, “Oh gosh. What a waste of money,” like all of these other mistakes is to think that a certain amount of money is a lot of money. Even if it means a lot and it looks like a lot, it goes out really quick if you don’t have anything come in.
NATHALIE: Then that thought that I did not have to work, I was making this up really, because somehow, even if you’re good with your money and you’re paying attention to your expenses and everything, you need to have your money doing something for you because if it’s just sitting there in an account, it’s a one way out and then there’s nothing that comes back in. I realized that the one big advice that my mom used to tell me all the time because we’re brainwashed as a kid to be super positive.
NATHALIE: So every time I would not be able to afford something, my mom would always say, “Don’t cut your expenses. Increase your income.” She built that entrepreneur mind as to, “Okay.” So my expenses, once you have a logical mind that it’s not to buy some things that are irrelevant or superficial. When you need something and you want the money to buy something important to you that instead of cutting expenses because if all your expenses are accounted for and they’re reasonable, you shouldn’t have to cut your expenses. You should increase your income instead and find ways to make more money.
NATHALIE: I’ve always found ways to make money, and I’m thankful for that way of thinking as opposed to teaching me that money is a bad thing, and you always have to cut, cut, cut and be broke and live paycheck to paycheck. I was taught instead to think that you can always make more, and then you can find ways to make more money, and she built an entrepreneur mind into mine to continually find resources and ways to make more money somehow. So I have a very good relationship with money for that reason somehow.
LYNN: Yeah, good for you. I think it’s a really important point too that you made about money and having it just sitting there not doing very much, because in many times, we think that by just leaving the money in the bank, it’s safe, but it’s actually going to go backward, one, if we start spending it. Two, it’s going to go backwards because of taxes and inflation. If we don’t have it working harder for us, we’re not really protecting it. So that’s a really good point too.
NATHALIE: Yeah, I remember my older uncle used to tell me, “Oh my gosh. When I retired, I had $100,000,” you know? Like, “Wow, that was a lot of money.” Well, guess what, $100,000 right now, it’s not like you’re going to go for 40 years on this. You can’t retire at 40 years old if you got $100,000. It’s only going to go so far if you’re not doing something with this money, right? So you really have to invest it wisely to make your money make money for you. Otherwise, if it’s just sitting in an account, it’s not really money. It’s not doing anything for you.
LYNN: Yeah, it’s not working for you. You’re not getting your money working for you. So speaking of getting your money working for you, what then is your investment philosophy?
NATHALIE: I am an entrepreneur, so I do have to set money aside for taxes for GST just for that, and I do have to set up money aside for savings. My strategy is automation, so I do remember the envelope system. I was cashing up my paycheck in all my teenage years because I was making a lot of money. I was going to the bank putting it in different envelopes, and one of them was for fun, and one of them was for saving. I would take this envelope and now go back to the bank and deposit this.
NATHALIE: So now, I don’t have to do anything. My money goes into my account, and then from this account there’s a fixed amount that goes in RSPs. There’s a fixed amount that goes into a fund saving account for all our holidays, so we just spend a month in Spain, and we didn’t have to just spend extra money for that. We had it in an account because-
LYNN: Get planned for it.
NATHALIE: … it comes out of our monthly money, and then there’s money that goes into a different account for … At the end of the year, I have to pay for the taxes and all the different things that-
NATHALIE: So it’s all automated. I don’t need to think about it, so my main strategy is to have everything automated because otherwise, gosh.
LYNN: Yes, exactly. Yes, I know. It’s hard to do when we’re busy and living busy lives to have to then rethink it. So, what’s your take on philanthropy?
NATHALIE: Oh, that’s the life purpose. That’s how it works. I do a lot of different things. I work with children in Haiti. There’s one of the association that my heart is with. It’s called Heart to Heart, in Congo and in Haiti. We go there and work with orphans. So I always do some fundraising for them. Now, closer to here, I was just last week just at the hospice in White Rock working with children who’ve lost a parent, because I thought I had such a good experience with the orphans in Haiti, and then I came home and I thought, “There are orphans here that I can help.”
NATHALIE: Then I work with Night Shift as well. It’s an organization that helps street people. We go there to serve meals. I don’t serve food anymore. I just walk and talk to them, so that’s on Saturday nights. I just find that there’s always a giving back, and with the training that I have with the neuroscience that I do, I would like to believe that it makes a difference, even if it’s providing them with one hour of having a conversation with somebody because everybody ignores them. People have all the different stories. They all have a different … We don’t know why they’re there.
NATHALIE: Not everybody is a bad person, really not. Everybody is good. That’s my belief. Then I do a lot of giving through. Actually, my philosophy, because you asked my philosophy, is everybody that asked me. So I have lots of friends. They do, “Oh, I’m doing a Terry Fox Run, and I’m doing the Sporting Life this for this thing. I’m doing the Ride for AIDS, and I’m doing this for breast cancer, and I’m doing this for cervix cancer,” and I give to all of them everybody that ask me really, and I have different amounts.
NATHALIE: I already know my amount. So for a very close friend, that’s this amount, and for somebody that I know of, and then they’re just sending me the email as part of the 100 emails that they’re sending. I’ll give a certain amount. So, I do give back a lot because-
LYNN: Yeah, so you give, and that’s what’s so awesome about your giving is that you give both of your time, and as I often say your treasure. So you give both of your … and your talent because of your work that you do in coaching and helping people-
NATHALIE: Exactly, exactly.
LYNN: … which is superb. Thank you. So, I know you have stepkids. Have you talked to them about their financial planning and their finances? What have you shared with them?
NATHALIE: Okay, I do also have a niece. She’s 16 now, and we have a grandson.
LYNN: Oh, awesome.
NATHALIE: So my stepkids are older, so this is not something … I was not in the picture when they were young to start bringing them on board as children. Now, I find that right now is when they need it the most because now they’re older. So I have managed the money for our middle son for a couple of years that his paycheck was… He didn’t even have access to them, and we had to redistribute them, and we would just even go buy gift cards to the grocery store, the drugstore, and at the coffee shop, and that’s how he was managing his money for a while.
LYNN: He’s managing everything on his own now. Then I was just doing a budget for my stepdaughter actually two weeks ago. I do that, and then for my niece and my grandson, we do have the … I want to say it in French. RESP-
NATHALIE: So saving for their education?
LYNN: Exactly. We do that, but I remember the first year our grandson was born, we would give him toys and things. Then we started to give him money when he was a little bit older. He is 13 now, and we started to give him money, and we would always … Let’s say we would give him $80. We would give him four 20s, and we would say, “This one, you’re going to save it. This one, you’re going to spend it on something fun. This one, you’re going to keep it to spend it and make and earn some money to increase it, to buy something bigger later. Then this $20, you’re going to give it. You’re going to choose something, a foundation or an organization, and you’re going to donate it under your name.”
LYNN: So we’ve very often given money that way and split it in four equal parts, and say, “Okay, when you save it, it’s for your long-term saving. This is when you save it to spend it on something bigger, and then this one you can just donate it and choose an organization or somebody that needs it or bring your friends to,” whatever, right?
LYNN: So you had to just spend it for somebody else than themselves, right?
LYNN: Yeah, great messages. Then when they learn those messages when they’re young, they just take them for granted, which is awesome.
NATHALIE: He’ll always have that with him. Yeah, well done. That’s great.
LYNN: So couple just final questions is, if you were talking to your younger self and looking back, would you give her any different money advice now than you’d had at the time?
LYNN: And what might that be?
NATHALIE: Of course. Of course. One advice that I wish I had given myself, as I was this rich kid … My parents didn’t have any money. That’s the thing. My parents were not rich, and the printing business was just trying to … As an entrepreneur, it takes years before you actually make money, especially when you have equipment that’s worth a million dollars for a big press, and you have to reinvest, and those equipment are expensive. So you have to run a business with 70 employees. It’s not like we were rolling on gold and not at all.
NATHALIE: But I had money because I had been working a lot as a fitness instructor, and it was just piling up in my accounts, and I remember buying my first sewing machine when I was 14 by myself, and I was so proud of it. It was my big investment, right? Then I started to make my clothes. I was so proud of myself buying the stuff all the time, and I remember buying so much stuff because I could and not even think about it. There’s a pair of boots; they’re $300. Well, I can afford it, so I’ll buy them and not think that it’s not making any sense.
NATHALIE: Are you crazy? This is dumb. A T-shirt should not be $1,000. This is not okay even if you can afford it. So to start, I wish that I had found out way earlier that all these things were not giving me confidence. I had the confidence all along. I did not need to wear these expensive brands or that much clothes as a matter of fact. I’ve changed so much in the amount of stuff that I have. We live in a small house. We have a townhome. We don’t have a big mansion, and I don’t have 500 pairs of shoes, and I have the most comfortable ones that I keep, and I’ve spent a lot of money on some shoes so that they’ll be comfortable because I’m a speaker, and I stand for eight hours at a time.
NATHALIE: So yes, they’re comfortable, and they’re expensive, and I have what I need. But now I’m not buying what I can’t afford. I’m buying what I need, and that’s the advice that I wish I’d given myself. It’s not because you can that you have to or that it makes sense really. Come on. There are things that are overpriced, and I pay for quality, and now, I don’t pay any more for things that are just because … it’s really not … Especially with the work that I do with children in Haiti, it’s just against everything that all the blood in my veins. It’s not hooking. It’s not okay. It’s not okay.
LYNN: I do think that there comes a point. When we’re younger, there are lots of shiny objects that we think we need or we think that we want, and we get to a point that we realize, “Well, those wear out too,” and I have to replace them. And really, I don’t really need them. In some extent, I don’t even really want them, so I really wasted a lot of my money in acquiring.
NATHALIE: I did.
LYNN: I’ve been through that path too, so I get what you’re saying.
NATHALIE: Yeah, things that are dated. I remember I bought some outfits that with the big shoulder pads, and I can’t wear them anymore, and they were expensive. I donated everything because they were just part of my learnings, and I’ve learned that these things have served their purpose, and now, I’ve learned and I know better.
LYNN: Yeah, good for you. Then one final question is, what piece of advice would you give your older self about money as you go into your future?
NATHALIE: What I would like to remind myself is to make sure that all the wealth that I’m generating is being used up at the end so that I have taken care of my closed ones. My parents were absolutely amazing. They brainwashed me into this positive person that I am. I’m very, very lucky for what they offered me and to even me and everything they’ve given me, so I want to make sure they’re okay. So I want to make sure that I do spend money on them and on thanking them and spend money on thanking and treating the people that I love and doing some good in the world, and I don’t want to pack a U-Haul with me at the graveyard.
NATHALIE: I don’t really need anything, and I think I want to remind my older self that money is not … I’ve always had a good relationship with it, so it’s just part of things, like food, like we need it every day, and I’m not paying too much attention to it. I really want to continue to remind myself, especially my older self as I get older, as I get closer to retirement and start to worry about money or whatever that I don’t think that’s going to happen to me because of the relationship I have with it. I want to keep reminding myself that that’s not what makes us happy, and that’s way beyond … It’s not even what you do with the money.
NATHALIE: It’s not even what you get with the money. It’s how it makes you feel, and the feeling is free.
LYNN: Yeah, for sure.
NATHALIE: Feeling is free, and you can always have this feeling independently of what you have and what you own and how much money is in your bank account. So I think my older self will thank me for having been wise with investing properly and making the right choices as far as keeping me in that state of mind where I can retire. I can move for three months a year on the coast of Spain or whatever and be happy without having to worry about money because money has been making money for me, and somebody like yourself is taking care of it so that they’re good at what they do and I don’t have to, because I’m an awesome coach. I’m really good at what I do. I’m a great speaker, and I’m a great author.
LYNN: You sure are.
NATHALIE: And somehow, I don’t need to be good with the specifics of what my money is doing for me because some people are really good at that, like yourself, and we should make sure that everybody is doing their best in their field. So yeah, somehow, I think that the biggest advice is it would be that. It would be your wealth is in your head really, and that it’s a feeling. If you can have that calm and that great feeling that you’re going to be okay and that everything worked out fine, that’s what I want for me in the end that everything worked out fine.
LYNN: Your journey has been so insightful because you started off earning. Then you made some spending mistakes, let’s say.
LYNN: And you learned from those mistakes, and you’re doing the right things in order to readjust and learn and invest and prepare, and you are an awesome coach in [inaudible 00:26:21], so I feel so honored to have had this time with you. So thank you, Nathalie.
NATHALIE: Thank you so much, Lynn, for inviting me.
LYNN: Well, that’s it for today. Thank you for listening to the Cherry Blossom Cafe podcast. You can check out the notes below for links related to this podcast. If there is someone you like us to interview, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our website at LifestyleProtector.ca for contact information and more episodes.
Visit www.thinkyourself.com to connect with Nathalie.