What does it really take to achieve financial freedom? In this episode, Alicia Dunams is joined by special guest Jacent Wamala, who tells her money journey and shares gold nuggets from her book, the Financial Freedom Formula. She explains why wealth building requires not only strong income revenue but also a resilient self who can properly handle negative emotion and self-doubt. Jacent also discusses what it takes to defeat imposter syndrome to unleash your confident and financially savvy self. Join us in learning how Jacent achieved financial freedom and how you can do it too!
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Financial Freedom Formula With Jacent Wamala
I’m very excited to introduce Jacent Wamala. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist turned Money Mindset Coach and the Founder of Wealth & Wellness University. Three years before turning 30, she paid off more than $90,000 in student loans and credit card debt. All this after getting divorced from her high school sweetheart and losing her father months later. Professional women of color hired Jacent for her expertise and been-there-done-that guidance and support to write the best financial chapters of their life.
They discover how to manage their money, overcome debt, and save and achieve life-changing financial freedom. We’re going to be jumping into Jacent’s new book. That is a book that shows you to stop living paycheck to paycheck. It’s time to be financially free and live your best life. After years of working with hundreds of clients as a money mindset coach, Jacent shares the five steps she used to pay off more than $90,000 in student loan and credit card debt in three years. She teaches women worldwide how to rewrite their money stories.
The name of your book is The Financial Freedom Formula. It’s great to have you here. Please tell us why you wrote this book.
It’s funny because when I started my money journey, it was selfish to start off. I am a little borderline bougie. While I like to shop at Ross, I want to be able to get on planes when I feel like it. I knew that if I didn’t get in control of my money, I wasn’t going to be able to live my life on my terms, or it was going to take a long time.
Starting my money journey was selfish because I just wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. What I quickly realized when people started asking me how I was getting results was that maybe it was for me to have started my journey for myself, but then to be able to share my experience so other people can be empowered to make progress in their journeys.
I had the idea for the book a few years ago. It’s weird because I will practice scripting and writing. I used to write a few years ago, even when I started my money journey, that I was going to be an author. At that time, I didn’t know what I was going to write about. I didn’t have a clue what the story was going to be per se. I just knew that there was going to be something I needed to share.
A couple of years later, from my money journey, it became clear that maybe this was the story I needed to share in about 2020 or so, and I sat on the idea. You work with authors all the time, and I’m sure there are plenty of people reading who have thought about writing a book. They have this idea and are excited about it, but they get maybe overwhelmed.
I was like, “I have no idea where to start. I’ve never written a book before. What does that even look like? How much is it going to cost? Can I do it for free?” There are many questions that lead to analysis paralysis. Long story short, this idea that I’ve had for a long time, I started moving on once I got pregnant at the end of 2021.
It was about 2021 when I got clear on figuring out how to serve in a sustainable way because I knew if I was going to have a baby, I was going to need to go on maternity leave. What if I wanted to do something different? What if I wanted to change how I was serving? The best solution that came to mind was being able to encapsulate what I had done in my own journey, and how I’ve been able to help so many other women in a book.
I love books, personally. What lit a fire underneath me was getting pregnant and saying, “If I were to, for whatever reason, not be here to serve tomorrow, what is it that could live beyond me and still get people results?” That was, for me, a book. It’s been so exciting. It’s such a rollercoaster ride. It is hard AF to write a book but rewarding, especially if I’m writing a book when I had a baby at the same time. I did it. It’s done.
That’s a long story about why I ended up writing the book. I had time to test what I was doing. It wasn’t like I just came up with an idea and slapped something together. At this point, when I started writing the book and got it out, I had done hundreds and hundreds of hours of client calls, coaching, and my own journey. I had something to stand on to say.
It’s something solid. That’s important because you want to substantiate your claims in the book. You do that through your hours and hours of coaching. You mentioned a lot of things in that. Thank you so much. First of all, it’s your book being a legacy of you and living beyond you and being able to support people. One of the most fantastic reasons to write a book is that feeling of legacy. I also had a client who was writing a book and used her due date as a way to have her book done. What will light a fire at the end of your butt is trying to get things done before you have a baby. I want to acknowledge you for that. That is very powerful. I met your little baby, which is the sweetest thing.
It’s being able to share your life lessons in addition to how you support your clients in a book so other people can experience The Financial Freedom Formula and be able to adopt it into their life and practice it in their life as well. One thing you said that is powerful, and I’m personally having this experience now as I finish my book, where I have 51,000 words now, is that a book supports you in solidifying your thoughts and developing a framework.
Sometimes all your ideas are up here, and when you write a book, it’s organized in a particular fashion. That’s the process that I’m working through now. That’s fantastic that the book writing process supported or created that for you as you launched The Financial Freedom Formula. With that, I’d love for you to share some of the lessons in your book because you have a financial freedom formula, five steps, self-experience, and client experience. What tidbits can you give the audience here about how they can be financially free?
What’s funny is that we all know what we’re supposed to do with money vaguely. We know we’re supposed to save some. We know we’re supposed to invest some and keep our debt in a manageable range. What happens is we don’t learn early and often the specifics of that. Save, but how much do you save? Spend, but in what situations is it okay to spend your savings?
The tidbits come down to not only having the step-by-step strategies and tactics to try out in your money journey because everything to me is experimental. That’s why there are so many different options when it comes to money management and creating financial freedom that you have to experiment to figure out what’s going to work best for you.
I love The Financial Freedom Formula because it’s a way of experimenting in your own journey to raise awareness and get clear on what’s going to help you make progress. Not what helps someone down the street or the friend who’s killing it at work because all of us are a little bit different. When we’re talking about the five steps, what is oftentimes missing and maybe missing specifically for women, and I’m a woman of color, so I speak a lot to women of color, is that before we get to the money, we have to start with the mindset.
I come from psychology as my background. The first step is the mindset. We then talk about money and think about our health because your energy levels, ability to show up to work, serve at a high level, and be engaged in your relationships are going to make wealth-building sustainable. We then talk about wealth building and legacy.
What makes The Financial Freedom Formula different is weaving in that piece around mindset, mental health, emotional well-being, and its effect on your money. A lot of times, as a therapist, many people came into my therapy office talking about money issues, but when I was in grad school, no one told us about it. We didn’t talk about money in grad school and how that affected people’s relationships. To me, mental health and money go hand in hand. Specifically, one of the strategies, if we’re talking about tidbits that is helpful that I haven’t heard anyone else talk about, is not only you do a spending audit, treating your budgeting and your money system like a business and auditing where the money go the last 30, 60, or 90 days.
On top of that, before ever touching a budget, do a mental and emotional audit. Was there anything happening in your life that might have influenced your spending mentally and emotionally? A breakup? A loss? Hormones? As a woman, we got all kinds of fluctuations sometimes. Did that play a role in how you spent the money? That’s going to better equip you when it comes down to creating a budget. One of the biggest complaints I get is, “I can’t stick to a budget. I don’t know how to budget.” I’m like, “Before we even get to the budget, have you looked to see where’s the money going and why did it go there? Then we can talk about the budget.”
That’s powerful. You bring up something important that, in school and college, they don’t talk about money. It’s like a huge lie that they did not share with us anything about money. I remember all the way through parochial school, elementary school, high school, and college. It was Physics, Calculus, Chemistry, and all this other stuff that has nothing to do with money. A whole bunch of people stumbling out there, making mistakes, having these $90,000, $100,000, $200,000 mistakes, marriages that go wrong, college debt, credit card debt, etc. It’s almost like that particular experience or that story or what they call turning your message into your message, which is what you did here. I don’t consider it a mess, but it was a life lesson in a story in a formula that can help others.
It was borderline a mess a little bit, but it turned into something. There’s a mindset, the theme around what happens when we get faced with life’s challenges. A lot of times, when life shows us a challenge, it’s easy or feels better in the moment to turn away, put our head in the sand, or come up with why we’re unable to do something.When life presents a challenge, it's easy to turn away in the moment or to put your head in the sand. Click To Tweet
For me, what was different, and that’s what I talk about in the book, is being able to ask yourself what if. What if everything went right? What if you were able to get out of debt? What if you are able to invest, save, and create financial freedom? Then what? From that place, it turns on our particular activating system where we start looking for solutions as opposed to the closed door and the closed-ended question of, “This is my situation. I can’t change it.”
I felt like that at some point in my journey. When I calculated my net worth for the first time, and it was negative, I was like, “What in the world? How did we even get here?” It’s also saying, “This is where I’m at now, but this isn’t where I have to stay. If I could go somewhere else or if things could be the way that I want them to be, what would that look like? How can I be creative in seeing what would happen if I did an experiment?” It will do anything, and it did. There’s that.
I love that. Where could people buy your book?
You can grab the book from my website directly at WealthAndWellnessUniversity.com. It’s also available on Amazon, which is so wild to say as a first-time author like, “I have a book on Amazon.” I feel fancy. It is available on Amazon and from me directly if you want to get a signed copy and some extra little goodies. I try to make it an experience. Everyone’s been loving the experience so far with the VIP boxes. If you want it to come in two days because you have Prime, live your best life. Get it from Amazon.
I love both of that, living your best life and having a VIP experience. That is fantastic. What we’re going to jump into now is the speed round. I’m going to ask you some questions, and you’re going to share with me the first thing that comes to your mind. The first one is what is your legacy?
My legacy, hopefully, is limitless potential. That’s my legacy. It’s that I have lived my life in a way that exemplified limitlessness, and that I hope other people are inspired and mobilized, not just motivated and feel good, but actually do things on a daily basis to seek to live their highest potential.
What’s your favorite book?
There are many good ones. There’s my favorite, and there’s what I recommend a lot. One of my favorite books is Lies We Tell Ourselves: The Psychology of Self-Deception. That’s a book that I have my students read in my program.
That sounds interesting. I’ve got to dig in.
I’m an avid reader, so this is a good one. A lot of us are living a lie, or we’re telling ourselves lies and convinced by the dishonesty not to live to our fullest potential. That’s what self-doubt, fear, and Imposter syndrome are. When we can choose honesty more regularly, we can live more authentically. That, off the top of my head, is my favorite other than my book I read regularly. It’s creepy.Many people are living a lie and convincing themselves about the dishonesty not to live their fullest potential. That's what self-doubt, fear, and imposter syndrome are. Click To Tweet
I love The Financial Freedom Formula. Who is your favorite author?
I don’t think I have one. I love Wayne Dyer, but it’s not necessarily because of his books, but I know that everything he talks about is in his books. If anything, I’d probably pick Wayne Dyer.
What are you reading next?
I am focused on reading things that I’ve already read again. I finished Lies We Tell Ourselves again. I’m going back through a book called The Big Leap. It’s about self-sabotage and upper limiting ourselves. The Big Leap is a good read that I’m going to go back to. At every level in our lives, we’re going to have challenges that we have to face, so how do we keep from getting in our own way? For me, that book is helpful as a reminder.
I can tell you’re a rockstar coach because you’re doing all the books to help you with your upper limits and getting yourself to the next level so you can support your clients. I love that. I know you finished The Financial Freedom Formula. The last question is, what are you going to write next?
I’m going to write a blog next, but when it comes to a book, I have a whole note on my phone that’s called Book Titles. I’m a person that would write a book based on the title in a weird way when I talk to ladies. The most recent one was Just Show Up. Many women deal with perfectionism, which keeps them from showing up, trying, giving it a shot, and seeing what happens. It would probably be something along those lines like Just Show Up: Breaking Down The Mental Blocks Keeping You from Living Your Best Life or something like that.
I love that you’re actively thinking about it. Before we go, I’d love for you to share where people can find out more about you and follow you on social media.
I’m most active on Instagram, @JacentsGems. It’s the name of my podcast as well, where I host other amazing women. Hopefully, Alicia will be on the show soon to chat about all things authorship and diving into wealth and wellness because the goal is to build wealth without burning out. It’s anywhere @JacentsGems, TikTok, Twitter, and all that fun stuff. Wherever you’re on the internet, type in @JacentsGems and find me so we can connect. Make sure to say hi because my internet home is my regular home. Don’t come over and be a creep, and don’t speak to me.
I love that. It’s like our home internet and connecting with people. I love real-life connections and these one-on-ones. I would want to be on your show. I might wait until 2023 when my book comes out. I’m very excited about that. Thank you for the invitation. With that, I’d love for you to share one thing you want to leave the audience at home with, one piece or word of advice that is something from your book that is too good not to share.
It’s an exercise, actually. You can do this mentally. Write a letter to yourself a year from now. There are two of them. One letter you write to yourself a year from now. It’s where you have shown up for yourself in every way you intended with your health journey, relationships, and what that letter sounds like. It might sound like, “Jacent, you’re a rockstar. Thanks so much for showing up for you because you ate real foods, moved your body, and went for walks daily. You feel energized. Your relationships and business are thriving. Keep going.” Write a letter out to yourself twelve months from now when everything that you said you were going to do, you did or at least tried to the best of your ability.
On the other end, you also have to write a letter to yourself one year from now where you didn’t show up for yourself and allowed self-doubt, Imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and fear of failure, judgment, and rejection to keep you from doing the experiment. That letter might sound like, “Jacent, I love you, but we didn’t do what we said we were going to do. We also didn’t get support to be able to figure out why. Because of it, you’re more tired than usual. You’re stressed out. You’re overwhelmed.” At least think about one year from now, how do you want to feel? Who do you want to be? Not what do you want to have or do, but who do you want to be as a person a year from now? Read that every day, and let that guide your day. That’s my last little tidbit.
I want to play that out now if you’re okay with that. Where will you be? What’s that letter going to say on 2023?
My letter is going to say, “Jacent, well done. You’ve been eating whole real foods every day, moving your body regularly, and taking time to slow down and enjoy the small moments with your family and friends. It shows how connected you feel to yourself and others. Your business is growing and thriving. It has the systems, automation, and team in place to scale and help millions of women around the world. You hear and see regular receipts on how that’s true because people are reading your book, joining your program, doing the stuff that you put out for free, getting results, and you’re traveling the world.” That’s probably what it would sound like to some extent.
I love that energy. I’m going to use the same for mine, “Dear Alicia, you have made it. You wrote your book. It was a best seller. Not only that, it has impacted the world. It’s impacting the world and humanity on a deeper level. You are speaking all over the world on stage. You’re doing corporate keynotes. You’re traveling the world. You are impacting others. Your life is abundant. You are sufficient and serving the world,” because that’s what I’m committed to doing, serving the world. It’s a little bubbly. I get to write it out, so it’s a little cleaner.
How does it feel to say it out loud?
It feels fantastic because that’s what I’ve been doing in the past and into the next month. I have been preparing how I’m going to launch this book and speaking, etc. It feels good. Life feels very expansive and dynamic. I’m very blessed, and part of that is gratitude and being able to speak to people like you. It’s wonderful. I want to acknowledge you because I hear your life story and see and meet you in person.
We met at the Summit of Greatness with Lewis Howes. I know Lewis Howes is a coach of yours. Lewis Howes has been a friend of mine for many years. We met back in 2007, right when he got off the couch. I acknowledge you for who you are because I can see what a beautiful family you have. I saw your family and what you’re committed to creating. It’s such a beautiful life story. Thank you for sharing it in your book, The Financial Freedom Formula.
Thank you for all that you’re doing, making sure that we don’t get stuck and are able to move through our book-writing process. I cannot wait to see how things evolve for you in 2023 and moving forward. Expansive is a wonderful word, so thank you.
Everyone, thank you so much for reading. We will see you next episode. Be well.
- Wealth & Wellness University
- The Financial Freedom Formula
- Lies We Tell Ourselves: The Psychology of Self-Deception
- The Big Leap
- @JacentsGems – Instagram
- Jacent’s Gems Podcast
- @JacentsGems – TikTok
- Twitter – Jacent’s Gems
About Jacent Wamala
Jacent Wamala is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist turned Money Mindset Coach and the founder of Wealth & Wellness University. In three years (before turning 30), she paid off more than $90K in student loans and credit card debt. All this after getting divorced from her high school sweetheart and losing her father months later. Professional women of color hire Jacent for her expertise and been there, done that guidance and support to write the best financial chapters of their lives. They discover how to manage their money, overcome debt, save and achieve life-changing financial freedom
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