The banking and payments industry is in a period of rapid change, with new technologies and services emerging all the time. It can be hard to keep up.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge speaks with Aaron Wollner, the Chief Marketing Officer of Quontic. They discuss how Quontic is changing the narrative of traditional banking by being digital-first and customer-centric without sacrificing the personal touch of traditional banking. Aaron delves into the benefits of being a digital-first bank, why they created a wearable payment technology and his advice for those who are interested in starting a business in an industry that is slow to embrace new technology.
What it means for a bank to be identified as a CDFI and what type of customers they focus on serving
The benefits of being a digital-first bank and the perks of working with people within that community
Why Quontic created a contactless payment ring that’s wearable, and how it works
How asking basic fundamental questions can help people who are looking to build a business in an industry that is traditionally slow to adopt change and embrace new technology.
Aaron Wollner is the Chief Marketing Officer of Quontic, an adaptive digital bank that helps people grow their money with purpose by changing the narrative of traditional banking, being digital-first and customer-centric without sacrificing the personal touch. Aaron has delivered results for companies ranging from Fortune 500 and FinTech startups. He spent over 15 years honing his craft both as a consultant for financial institutions like American Express, Bank of America, CAN Capital, City National Bank, and BBVA and as a marketing leader for FinTechs, such as Resolve and TaxSlayer.
While they may sound like the same thing to those outside of the financial services profession, there are several key differences between the terms tax planning, and tax preparation. In short, one takes place once per year and is more transactional in nature, while the other likely happens multiple times each year in stages and is meant to be seen as an ongoing advisory relationship, sometimes lasting decades.
Tax planning could be as simple as making sure you’ve appropriately set your withholdings to avoid any withholding issues at the end of the year. Or, it could mean more complex strategies such as establishing legal entities and holding companies that qualify you for other deductions and opportunities in the tax code, specific to your industry or profession.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge speaks with Christina Lael, founder of Lael Tax LLC and Freedom Tax Plans. Together, Malcolm and Christina discuss key differences between tax planning and tax preparation. They also share some of the common mistakes they see people make with regard to their taxes each year, and some rules of thumb to keep in mind each year designed to help you save money through proper tax planning and preparation.
Her experience preparing taxes for her law school classmates and how that sparked her passion for the accounting profession
What she believes are the most important things for business owners to know that will help them reduce their tax bills
The difference between tax planning and tax preparation
Some of the common mistakes Americans make when it comes to tax planning and preparation
Christina Lael, CPA, JD, is a certified public accountant, tax attorney, and self-proclaimed tax nerd. Her firm Lael Tax LLC provides both tax planning and tax preparation, specializing in working with small business owners and law firms. Christina helps business owners, partners, and law firms legally and significantly reduce their tax liability by using strategies and principles in the tax code that the average CPA doesn’t know.
Women in tech often face unique financial planning challenges that are not usually taken into account by traditional financial advice firms or FinTech solutions. For women working in tech, it can be hard to find a financial planner who understands the nuances of the gender pay gap and its limits on taking risks, the need to be methodical and do research prior to making a big decision, or the guilt associated with being a working mom logging long hours. But, advice that takes these factors into account when working with women would certainly fell on welcome ears.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge speaks with Danika Waddell, the Founder and CEO of Xena Financial Planning, about how she helps women working in the tech industry manage their finances. Danika explains how women within the industry experience financial planning differently, their specific needs that aren’t met by the typical financial advisor, and why women start investing later in their careers than men.
Why women need a space to talk about money that caters to their specific needs and preferences
Why women are less likely to invest money in their 20s than men
The different investor personalities between men and women
Her main message to women working in tech: You’re not alone.
If you are a person who is paid in restricted stock units each year, it’s important that you develop a plan for how and when you will convert those shares into actual dollars well before they actually vest. Doing so will help to ensure that no matter what direction the markets move over time, you will end up with something to show for all of your hard work.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge discusses The Tech Money Guide to Restricted Stock Units (RSUs). He explains how to incorporate those shares into your overall financial plan, and answers some of the more common questions he gets about managing restricted stocks.
Why it’s important to own equity in the company you work for
How to avoid being double-taxed on RSUs that you’ve sold
What people often overlook about their restricted stock units
How to determine the right balance between holding and selling your RSUs
A donor advised fund is simply a type of brokerage account, where contributions to it are specifically earmarked for charitable giving. And in exchange, the IRS allows you to realize the entirety of the donation in the year it is made; regardless of how many years it might take you to actually distribute those dollars to the various charitable causes you support.
While one of the major positive effects of supporting charitable causes is simply to feel good about giving, what and how you give can be just as important as how much you give and to whom. Deciding which assets to donate and how best to structure giving is where the real tax strategies of charitable giving come into play. And since you are going to be giving one way or another – either to the IRS or to a cause that you actually care about – you might as well be the one to make that decision.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge talks with Adam Nash, the CEO and Founder of Daffy, a not-for-profit organization built around the simple idea that everyone should put something aside for those less fortunate than themselves, to discuss the ways in which Daffy uses technology to improve the giving process. Malcolm and Adam discuss the benefits of the donor advised fund, and how technology and automation can lead to more dollars being donated over time.
The current state of charitable giving and the friction involved in the process
His theory, as well as the numbers that suggest Americans would be more charitable if it were easier to give
The lesser known tax benefits of using a donor-advised-fund compared to simply writing a check and donating cash
The outlook for the nonprofit community and gifting
Adam Nash is the CEO and co-founder of Daffy, a not-for-profit organization built around the simple idea that everyone should put something aside for those less fortunate than themselves. In addition to his work at Daffy, he is an active angel investor, investing in over a hundred companies and he serves on the boards of Shift and Acorns. Before Daffy, Adam held leadership roles at Dropbox, Wealthfront, LinkedIn, and eBay. Adam also holds an MBA from Harvard business school, as well as a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science with a focus on human-computer interaction from Stanford University.
How many times have you had an idea for something that you thought should exist in the world, but never actually pursued the thought much further than that initial moment of inspiration, only to see someone else promoting that very same product on Instagram a few months later, and all you could do was kick yourself?
And while there’s no telling why exactly you let that idea go and didn’t pursue it further, one common reason is likely that you had no interest in leaving your current job or sacrificing your nights and weekends in order to pursue it. But what if you didn’t have to? What if there were an in-between option that would allow you to profit from your invention, while keeping your day job and not sacrificing very many of those Sundays you reserve exclusively for brunch?
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with Toni Moore, the Wealth Building Attorney, to discuss the various ways entrepreneurial minded creatives and inventors can protect and profit from their intellectual property. Toni breaks down differences between copyrights, patents, and trademarks, and shares some instances of when it would pay to file more than one of these forms of protection.
What types of creative works are considered to be intellectual property
The difference between patents, copyright, and trademarks
How to know when you’ve created a piece of work worth protecting
The value of licensing agreements and white labeling your creative works to bigger companies
Toni Moore, Esquire, also known as the wealth-building lawyer, is the founder and principal attorney at the Moore Legal Firm. She is an attorney and business strategist with over twenty years of business structuring, real estate, asset protection, and estate planning experience. For more than 15 years, Toni has created companies, restructured companies, and developed and assessed Corporate Compliance Plans to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations. During the past seven years, Toni has become obsessed with empowering entrepreneurs to build wealth through entrepreneurship.
If there’s one thing we all have in common, regardless of age, gender, profession, or socio-economic status, it’s a good deal. And one thing many of us love to be able to say that we got a good deal on is travel. In fact, some of us love to brag about the deal we received on the trip almost as much as we love to brag about the trip itself.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge discusses Elude with it’s CEO and co-founder, Alex Simon. Elude is a budget-first search engine that allows users to type in their ideal price range and see all the places they can explore across the globe. You might be surprised to see where your budget can take you.
His lifelong passion for travel and how it lead to the start of Elude
How Elude’s budget-first approach to travel differentiates them from competitors
How Elude helps open travelers’ eyes to new destinations they never would have thought of
When he knew it was time to pursue his passion project full time.
Alex Simon is the CEO and co-founder of Elude, a budget-first search engine that allows users to search by their ideal price range and see all the places they can explore across the globe in seconds. Prior to Elude, Alex spent time as a global business manager on the reporting and analytics team at Morgan Stanley, and a business manager on the fixed income and debt operations team at Deutsche bank.
Alex is also a fellow of the Kairos society, which unites the next generation of entrepreneurs with leading innovators and has been endorsed by international leaders including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Tim Draper.
Receiving a financial windfall, such as winning the lottery, may seem glamorous to those of us who never have. Still, even if half of the news articles or TV shows covering lottery winners are accurate, it may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
While winning the lottery is a bit of a rarity, a windfall could include events such as selling a business or receiving a large inheritance. And for the listeners of this podcast, that probably includes your company making it to IPO. And if you’ve been there long enough, maybe you just went from a negative net worth with school loans to a multi-millionaire overnight. But the key point remains the same. If you don’t take time to plan before and after receiving the cash, you run the risk of ending up another statistic, along with those who had it and lost it.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with Susan Bradley, Founder and CEO of the Sudden Money Institute, a think tank designed to help recipients of financial windfalls understand how to make smart decisions around their new-found wealth. Malcolm and Susan tackle topics such as what goes into planning for a sudden financial windfall, as well as the psychology behind the choices people make when they unexpectedly receive a large amount of money.
How we can prepare ourselves for the inevitable change that come along with life
What criteria are considered a financial windfall, and why it’s subjective
How her organization trains financial professionals to work with people who have suddenly come into a large amount of money
How to find and hire the right team of financial professionals to help guide your financial decisions once you’ve experienced a financial windfall
Susan is the founder of the Sudden Money® Institute, which began 18 years ago as a community of practice seeking to better serve their financial planning clients by developing processes and tools for the personal side of money and for clients going through transitions. This think tank created the Certified Financial Transitionist® (CeFT®) designation, and a division for training and certification called the Financial Transitionist® Institute. Susan has served on the FPA’s National Board of Directors, she currently sits on the National Football League’s Players Association’s Financial Education Advisory Board, and she serves as the Dean of Transitions for the Council of Deans of the Purposeful Planning Institute. She is seen and heard frequently in the national media, including NBC’s Nightly News, CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. She is the author of Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall (Wiley 2000), and she is also the recipient of the Insiders Forum Iconoclast Award 2017.
The Great Resignation may have tipped the scales, but the underlying sentiment of dissatisfaction among workers of all ages and demographics, representing companies and industries across the board, had been brewing underneath the surface for some time. Whether it’s the multiple attempts to unionize, rallies and protests outside of corporate headquarters, or the class action lawsuits filed on behalf of those seeking better working conditions, employees had been making their voices heard time and time again, mostly to no avail.
But once the Covid-19 pandemic came along and made it obvious just how many disparities existed among gig workers, hourly employees, salaried employees, and corporate executives, many of those same workers who had been vying for better working conditions finally decided enough was enough. They either left their company for another who was promising better flexibility and a higher salary, or they left the employee population altogether and instead decided to go and become their own boss.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with Matthieu Silberstein, Vice President of Creative Marketing for Lili, a startup dedicated to helping freelancers manage their work life and financial life all in one place. . Matthieu and Malcolm dig into the impact of the Great Resignation and discuss some of the key financial concepts that freelancers all need to know in order to run their companies effectively.
The financial products and solutions Matthieu wishes existed back when he began his own journey as a freelancer
The importance of keeping business and personal expenses separate as a freelancer and small business owner
Why using Venmo or Paypal is not the best way for a freelancer to structure payments processing once they formalize their business
The value and importance of finding a good accountant to work with early on in your journey as a freelancer or other small business owner
Originally from France and moved to the United States twelve years ago, Matthieu Silberstein is the vice president of creative marketing for Lili, a startup dedicated to helping freelancers manage their work-life and financial-life all in one place. His work includes public relations, media partnerships, social content, creative writing, and storytelling. Matthieu has been a freelancer in the creative space for half of his career. Prior to joining Lili, he was a video content director for a media tech startup that was acquired by Discovery and a video director and marketing producer for Pop Sugar.
You’ll often hear about companies and their founders who made the decision to pivot from their initial big idea that wasn’t quite working right, to something else that ended up being the best thing that ever happened to them. Take Facebook for instance, which got its start as a silly website used by college kids to rate the attractiveness of their classmates, to now being one of the most important information and communications platforms around the globe.
This example obviously serves as an extreme case where that seemingly small decision to pivot made a world of difference. But one of the best skills a person can have, both in life and in business, is knowing when it’s the right time to pivot, persist, or pull the plug. And while it may feel in the moment like calling it quits is your only option, in many cases, it may not even be your best option. It may just be time to pivot your business (or your career), rather than persist blindly in the face of opposition.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with Donald Boone, Founder and CEO of BoxedUp, a startup that allows creators to rent high-end cameras and production gear from trusted equipment owners across the country. Donald shares his journey from working on a previous idea and deciding to shut the company down, to working on BoxedUp as a side project while also working full-time as an engineer at Amazon, to making a big career pivot to pursue entrepreneurship full time.
The challenges of being a solo founder when looking to raise capital from investors
What factors led up to him ultimately deciding to leave the safety and security of working at Amazon and give entrepreneurship another go
How his previous experiences as a founder helped give him the confidence and optimism to persevere through the pandemic
His process for determining when to persevere, give up, or pivot
Donald Boone is the CEO and Founder of BoxedUp Inc., a startup that allows creators to rent high-end cameras and production equipment from trusted owners across the country. He is a father of three and a husband, and has been an entrepreneur for most of his adult life. From 2015 to 2017, before founding BoxedUp, he founded the startup Oleo LLC. Oleo was a mobile app for restaurants and their patrons featuring 40 restaurant locations in Houston, Texas and Washington, DC. Donald graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.