Rich Jones had a great day job as the lead recruiter of engineers for a major Silicon Valley tech company.

But when he started looking around for financial advice, he couldn’t find a voice that really resonated with him.

So in the spring of 2016, he and his friend Marcus Garrett started Paychecks and Balances: work and money advice for millennials with a good soundtrack.

How is it different than other money podcasts? Its wry and witty take on the all-too-real questions and situations surrounding debt and money planning.

“I ain’t too proud to budget”

Jones’s human resources background makes him uniquely qualified to help listeners plan for the next steps in their careers.

Garrett knows from debt. He wrote a book about freeing himself from more than $30K in debt, draws from his personal experience to counsel them through credit improvements and budgeting pitfalls.

Broken up into bite-size segments (recent ones include “I Ain’t Too Proud to Budget” and “Adaptable Adulting”), Paychecks and Balances is less like a lecture and more like a group chat with two old friends who’ve got your back.

Know where to start

Jones says that a lot of the questions he gets from listeners are about knowing where to begin.

“We get messages from people who say, “I’m 30 and I’m learning about money for the first time,” or “How do I save more?” or “How do I get promoted, when I feel stuck where I am?”

Sometimes those questions involve getting in over their heads.

“Is it worth working with a credit repair service?” Or recently a listener asked, “I’ve been laid off, and now I’m having to do these sharing economy type jobs. How do I get out of this situation?”

Paying off debt is a hotly debated topic. “We recently had someone write in who was in debt and asked, “Should I spend $10,000 on an engagement ring?’”

Get real with your goals

Rich Jones, co-host of the money podcast “Paychecks and Balances.”

Saving money just to save it isn’t always the best route. Rich recommends setting an emotional goal. A goal that, when you think about achieving it, you really feel something.

“People will say, ‘You know what, I want to get out of debt, or, ‘I want to save $10,000,’ he says. “Well, why? Just so you can have $10,000 in your account?”

Jones takes this tactic to heart when it comes to setting and achieving his own goals in life. One day, he wants to leave corporate America and work for himself. And that requires a lot of planning.

“I set that goal and gave it a deadline, and I now have probably four to five months of expenses covered,” he says. “I didn’t have that before.”


Inspired to retire

Jones is in his mid-thirties. And like many people his age, he hadn’t made retirement a priority until lately.

“That’s one of the areas where I need to beef up my knowledge the most,” he says. “For me, the most important thing is to make sure I get the most out of my company’s 401(k) match. For a while I wasn’t contributing because I thought, ‘I need this money now.’ It was essentially money I was throwing away.”

To Jones, it’s all about getting out of this “yeah, retirement is in years” mindset and thinking more about the potential gains. That includes thinking a lot about your future self.

“I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m saying, ‘Ah, I have to work one, two, or three more years because I don’t have the money saved up,’” he says.

Don’t wait, automate your paychecks and balances

Jones credits the power of apps and automation with helping him pay off his personal credit card debt. But everyone has their own personal strategy.

“Everyone is different,” he says. “Marcus is a note-on-the-fridge kind of guy, but for me, apps have helped me save money that I didn’t even think I could save. It’s nice looking into an account and seeing a rainy day fund.”

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