The Importance of Listening – Especially To *Yourself!*

Hey guys!

Remember the other month when I talked about those free money coaching sessions at Capital One Cafe’s? And how I wished we had one here in DC because mixing money and coffee is BRILLIANT??

Well, I just got word that one opened up here in Chinatown – W00T! Specifically, at 732 7th St NW. So if you’re in the area, or want to be in the area, make sure to stop by and check it out!

And if you happen to be around next Thursday evening, November 15th, I can hook you up with a pair of tickets to the Chinatown Capital One Café’s invite-only event and performance by musical artist Bryce Vine (of “Drew Barrymore” fame). I have 5 pairs I can give out as one of their ambassadors, so lemme know if you want one! [UPDATE: Tickets are now gone]

bryce vine

[Screenshot from Bryce’s latest music video]

The event is part of their “Listen In” program, where artists share personal stories on how listening has impacted their lives, followed by a private performance for everyone in attendance. Capital One wants to be the bank who actually LISTENS to what their customer want, and have since rolled out a number of new services aimed at doing exactly that (like their free money coaching services to everyone – customers and non-customers – as well as being more accessible (and engaging!) through all these new cafés they’re opening up).

If that sounds like something you’d like to attend, let me know and I’ll send you a pair of tickets! But I only got *5* of them, so make sure to hit me up right away. [UPDATE: Tickets are now gone]

This all came about from a recent poll they did on how Americans feel about their banks, and not surprisingly many of them thought their banks didn’t listen to them too well ;) In fact, nearly a third (31%) even said they were worse at it than used car dealerships! Haha…

They also found than over half of people (51%) also feel their own friends and family/colleagues don’t *actively listen* to them either. Listing the following as reasons why:

  • Constantly being interrupted (44%)
  • Checking personal devices (43%)
  • Redirecting the conversation (34%)
  • “Zoning out” (31%)

That 2nd one is the worst, and one of the first things I noticed when I started my “no phone checking when people are around” rule. People don’t even notice they’re doing it anymore :(

At any rate, that’s the news for today if you live here in DC… A new Capital One Café is now open where you can hang out, get help with your bank account, learn about new tools, products and technology, use the free WiFi to work, and most importantly – get 50% off your Peet’s coffee if you’re a Capital One cardholder :) And of course it’s open to the entire public too, who can also sign up to their free Money Coaching and Money Workshops.

More info on all this here –>

capital one cafe chinatown

On this same subject of *listening*, I thought I’d chime in here and talk a little bit how it matters *WHO* you’re listening to as well, especially when it comes to your own personal finances.

We’re always talking about how you gotta live your own life and not following The Joneses 24/7, and this is something I learned the hard way myself over a decade ago.

Many of you know this story already, but when my then fiancé and I were looking to rent a home together, we took a wrong turn during a hunt and stumbled across a nice house for sale that we ended up buying on a whim, with no money down, no budget, and no real thought behind it other than “ooh – a pretty house! Let’s buy it and become adults!” Before we knew it we were knee-deep in $350,000 of debt and scrambling to get a good budget going. (Although true story – it did get this blog off the ground! :))

It had been engrained in our heads our whole lives that owning a home was a right of passage and The American Dream, and everyone and their mothers (especially their mothers!) helped convince us this was true. Only of course, we all know it’s not true for *everyone*, and we soon found ourselves owning a home we shouldn’t have purchased to begin with and dealing with all the debt that followed.

Long story short, we sold it and lost a BUCKET FULL in the process, but ever since I’ve made it my mission to only follow what *I* truly want out of life instead of what everyone else thinks is best for me.

Much to the dismay of all mothers out there ;)

I’ve since:

  • Stopped working a 9-5 to become a full-time blogger
  • Quit projects that were taking off, and held onto others for longer than I should have
  • Gotten rid of over 80% of my stuff
  • Stopped hustling and chasing money 24/7
  • Turned down high paying book deals and speaking gigs
  • And probably do a half dozen other things daily that would make the Joneses next door cringe

Sometimes it works out, and other times not, but it’s always on MY watch and according to MY values. Which is really the whole point of this money and decision stuff, right?? To go after the things that best fulfills you? You can still ask for advice and consult loved ones, of course, but at the end of the day only YOU know what truly matters to you, and if that happens to go against the grain, well, then it happens to go against the grain! Living everyone else’s life is easy, but living your own is hard.

Do your best to remember what’s most important to you, and your loved ones will still be there to help you (hopefully!) along the way.

Anyways, just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone’s at a crossroads right now and looking for a good push :) I don’t know much in life, but I do know how it feels to not follow your own path, and it’s not fun! As one of my favorite sayings goes, “It’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb, than halfway up one you don’t.”

Always know what ladder you’re on!

j. money signature

PS: Hit me if you want a pair of those Bryce Vine tickets! As soon as all 5 of them are gone I’ll update this post so you know… [UPDATE: Tickets are now gone]

PPS: As mentioned above, I’m a Brand Ambassador for Capital One, and as such I get compensated to share campaigns like this that I think are helpful to others. If you make it into one of their Cafés, let me know what you think! (And if you make it to the DC one, keep your eyes out for me! ;))

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  1. maria@moneyprinciple November 9, 2018 at 6:05 AM

    Thanks for writing this one, J. For me it is a timely reminder to start living what I preach and stop being such chicken. Making some major decisions about career, going back to work (or not, or par-time) and getting wound up in it all. Nice to be reminded that decisions are like playing poker – sometimes they yield great results, and other times less so. We still should trust our selves. (I was also chuckling the other day remembering that a friend of mine – this is you – went out for a loaf of bread and got back home with a house. Or this is how I have ‘cataloged’ your house buying adventure.)

    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 7:25 AM

      Sounds about right ;) Doesn’t everyone spend $350,000 willy nilly like that???!

      And if you’re asking me about what you should do over there, you already know my answer as you’ve been dreaming of it for as long as I’ve known you!!! I think it’s time! :)

  2. Laneece Patterson November 9, 2018 at 6:59 AM

    Hi J,
    Thank you for this particular blog. I have decided to leave my 9-5 as well and invest my time and money into myself! Finally listening to myself and following my own path! I’m excited to get around some like minded folks. I hope I get to meet you at the Capitol One event! So if the tickets aren’t gone please send me a pair! I usually read your post through email but I wanted to come show some much deserved love on your blog because you’ve been one of my favorite motivational, virtual mentors!

    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 7:29 AM

      Awww YAY!!!!

      So glad you’re enjoying the blog AND going all-in on yourself!! Congratulations!! That is a hard step to take as you know, but what an opportunity you’re giving yourself! I hope you learn a ton and have a blast in the process!! Keep me updated with how it all goes, please :)

      And you won yourself a pair of tickets!!! Party time!!!

  3. Jacq November 9, 2018 at 7:40 AM

    If you do ask your close friends and 3 of them advise against buying the house to try to flip it, do listen to them. At least long enough to understand their reasons and concerns. My ex bought the property and we (the 2 friends & I) helped with the renovation around our jobs, but he didn’t get it done in time to rent it out for the school year in a college town. He ended up selling for what he got it for, essentially losing all the money he put into the renovation and closing costs.
    It also factored into our eventual breakup. He felt like I hadn’t supported him enough. I felt like he asked my opinion and then did whatever he darn well pleased. There were other personality factors that became apparent in the process too.
    It’s one reason I would not try flipping a house on my own, or just relying on help from friends. If they haven’t committed to the project, setting expectations is important: friends, of what they are willing to give, and the project manager of what they need. Having a realistic timeline, and back up plans for the work to be done. There is a big difference in having the hours after work (2-4?), vs all day to get tasks accomplished in the scope of the project.
    In other good news, I am happier not in that relationship. I would not be as far as I am in my journey to FI. :)

    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 10:03 AM

      Haha well that’s good! Better to find out this stuff now about people than later :) And totally agree that if everyone is telling you not to do something that you should at least stop and consider it for a hot minute, but then still follow what you deep down feel like you need to do. Even major fails help you come out stronger than before, and sometimes there’s really only one way to find out whether something is good or you or not – TO DO IT :) I’d much rather do something and regret it later than always wonder “what if” and regret trying. Except for flipping homes – you’ll never see me doing that, haha…

  4. Francis November 9, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    Thanks for this post which helps explain the Capital One Cafe concept. I picked up a promo card from them at a street fair in Chicago. I couldn’t figure out if it was a coffee shop or bank. A couple of weeks later I walked by one on Southport Ave in Chicago. Looking in the window, it looked like a cross between a coffee shop that used to be in Borders Bookstores and a place to just hang. The place even has a movie day with snacks.
    The Capital One Logo is prominent and large. It completely blew my mind.
    Next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll go and visit my CD!

    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 10:06 AM

      Haha yeah – do it!! I was a bit confused at first too, but the more I poked around and started seeing them pop up everywhere, the more I thought it was complete genius :) It’s hard to hate a bank that gives you a comfy place to crash and doesn’t even require you to be a customer!

  5. Adam November 9, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    If I didn’t already have a thing next Thursday I’d be all over it — that’s just half a dozen miles from my house! My wife’s a cardholder; maybe we’ll check it out sometime.

    On the other hand, I’m possibly too introverted to appreciate a bank that does all that. My credit union is perfect: free ATM withdrawals at every 7-11, and physical locations near enough for the rare mortgage signing extravaganza or a couple $k withdrawal for an engagement ring… as you can imagine, I don’t visit all that often. ;)

    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 10:08 AM

      It is nice these days that you can stay as far away from banks as you’d like :) It really changed when you could deposit checks right from your phone!

  6. Paul November 9, 2018 at 9:34 AM

    I applaud you for living on your terms. It takes a strong will bordering on stubbornness to shun everyone else’s ideas of what life should be like for you. In some respects its the worst form of peer pressure. I try not to fault my mom or anyone else for the advice they give. They only know what has got them through to this point, they give their best advice based on experience. The problem is we don’t live in that world… the world where hard work and determination gets you ahead has long since passed. We live in a world where everyone is expendable and you can never rest on experience, a world of 80 hour work weeks and employers who just exist to take. They pay just enough to keep you on the edge of comfort but not so much that you can ever rest.

    Anyway, coming from someone who has been reflecting on his life choices up until this point, my advice to anyone starting out is to never put yourself in a situation where you don’t have room to move around and grow. Sandwiching yourself into a spot where you have no option but to keep doing what you do is exhausting and leads to dissatisfaction with everything in life. Also, being in a place where your time pays for the lives of those around you is so mentally taxing and at a certain point becomes no longer rewarding. It may be a selfish way of looking at it, but at the same time we are all human and deserve to be happy, I keep hearing its OK as we grow and get older to change our minds and want different things, but at the same time I feel like it might not be OK to the people around you…

    Moral of the story, keep your bills so low that you can do whatever you want whenever you want. I mean in reality it prevents a great deal of things from ever becoming issues in the first place.

    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 10:13 AM

      Amen, brother… When are you going to get your own blog going to pass these nuggets farther around for people?? You always have such strong (and usually thought-provoking) feelings on things!

      1. Paul November 9, 2018 at 10:32 AM

        Appreciate it. Setting everything up is more than I want to take on right now, maybe one day.

  7. Travis Fisher November 9, 2018 at 11:08 AM

    J, I’ve been wanting to ask and this is the perfect time. Do you ever regret leaving the Money Show podcast? Is that a decision you would do differently if you could go back?

    Thanks for your blog!


    1. J. Money November 9, 2018 at 11:31 AM

      Haha nope! Not at all!

      I miss the engagement and working on a new project with folks I love, but I don’t miss the act of podcasting at all. Just wasn’t for me, and as you can see Paula is on fire over there and totally free’d up to do things her own way and it’s working! So no regrets leaving the show an ounce, but I’m super glad I tried it out so now I know what it’s about :) And it also allowed me to stay at home with my boys now too, which wouldn’t have been possible!

  8. Tri November 12, 2018 at 10:55 AM

    Can’t wait to check out the new cafe in Chinatown!! Do you host meet ups in DC? Would love to meet you in person one day :D

    1. J. Money November 13, 2018 at 6:05 AM

      Hey Tri! We do! There’s always someone putting together something for the DC folks :) I’ll add your email to my internal list so you’re notified the next time we get together.

  9. Danielle Ogilvie November 15, 2018 at 1:05 AM

    This was such a great read! You’re right. It matters WHO you’re listening too. Discernment is key