The Soloist Life with Ashley Maready - Childfree Wealth Podcast Ep. 28

The Childfree Wealth Podcast, hosted by Bri Conn and Dr. Jay Zigmont, PhD, CFP®, is a financial and lifestyle podcast that explores the unique perspectives and concerns of childfree individuals and couples. In this episode, Dr. Jay talks with Ashley Maready on what it means to be a soloist. 


A museum curator turned full-time freelancer she now spends her time writing & editing for different clients. After paying off $25,000 in debt in seven months she’s focused on building up savings to purchase a home for her and her three cats. Listen as she shares the joys and challenges of what it means to be the sole provider for yourself.


Resources:

Article: 11% of Americans Over 55 are Childfree

Podcast: Childfree Wealth Ep. 16 Unlearning the Standard Life Plan

Article: A Family of One: The Ascendence of Solo Households

Article: Disability Insurance

Book: Die With Zero by Bill Perkins

Article: Estate Planning


Be sure to join the conversation by emailing us at [email protected], following Childfree Wealth on social media, or visiting our website www.childfreewealth.com!


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Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.

Transcript

Dr. Jay

All right for all you Childfree Wealth listeners. So if you've been listening for a while, you'll find that Bri and I are both married. I've been married for so long that I don't even have a clue what single life would be like. And I don't want to know about it because I hear it's bad. I help a lot of single people with their finances, but, like, I have no clue what it's like to be single.


Ashley actually helps us out with some things. Just for a disclaimer. She's our editor and content person, so she is paid by Childfree Wealth so you can infer whatever you want out of that. But that is a disclosure. And Ashley was like, Hey, what about the single folks? And, you know, talking about the single perspective and I'm like, awesome. So come join us on the podcast.


So we're going to dove into what is it like to be childfree and single, how to impact your finances. And a little bit about Ashley's journey. She actually started with me, oh, a year and a half ago, almost like a long time ago, and we work on her finances and then she was helping me with the book and all that.


So we go way back. So I Ashley kind of introduce yourself, who are you? What are you kind of what's your life like? You know, I see a cat behind you. I mean, tell me about the things that matter.


Ashley

Well, first, a point of order, and that is that I'm not actually single. My finances are single, but I myself am not single. I refer to myself more as more a solo. I am polyamorous and I have multiple relationships, but my finances are my own. I live alone with cats, so I guess maybe I don't live alone.


I have three cats. Right now I'm working as a freelance writer and editor and Childfree Wealth is one of the few companies that I work for and it's all it's all been great. And actually it's thanks in large part to your help that I was able to take this step and in addition to changing careers in 2021, I used to I used to do museums.


I did museums for 12 years. I was a curator. I was an executive director. I was in charge of collections management, all that stuff, but switched over to digital content writing and editing in 2021 and then made the leap to fully freelance work beginning of this year. And it's been good. I like being my own boss.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, I get you, by the way. You’re right in the terms. I mean, I was single versus married when I was going about it. We get the SINK versus DINK, but I think you qualify as like a DINK as you’ve got more than one income coming in anyway, even though you're a single person or not partnered up. Yeah. So yeah.


Ashley

I got it's hard to say. Honestly, I was very underpaid in museums and I've almost tripled my highest income from museums, which is kind of sad if you think about it. When I worked jobs that required a master's degree, it didn't pay you like you had a masters degree. But. But I digress.


Dr. Jay

We can have all yeah. We can have a whole separate discussion on how jobs aren't paying what they should out there. But, you know, that's probably a topic for like three more episodes as it goes through. So. All right. And for people listening, if you haven't heard the term, I do love using the term soloist. A soloist is the technical term that I'm using now to replace what's called a solo ager.


A solo ager. The statistics say childless women, they just have childless is what the term these for the Census. 32% are not married and were never married. Now, Ashley you were married, though, right?


Ashley

Twice. I was married twice. Twice. I tried that whole monogamous, heterosexual thing and it did not work out for me. But, you know, sometimes you don't make the mistake enough. The first time you got to try it again.


Dr. Jay

Is there a third time?


Ashley

No, there will not be a third time. No, we're good. We're good now.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. So so from a financial standpoint, the way I look at it is you're a soloist when you're like managing your own stuff yourself. Like there can be other people in your relationship. And one of the interesting things with childfree couples or families or structures is like all these weird things, you know, like it could be one, two, three, four or five people.


I don't know what married not married couples. Financially the question is, are you doing it alone or with somebody else? And your answer, you're doing a lot right, except for the cats, am I right?


Ashley

Well, seeing, you know, as much as I would love for them to get jobs, start pulling their weight around here, they just haven't yet. So so we'll see how that goes. But now it is it is just my income at play here.


Dr. Jay

By the way, the answer for the cats is they they have an Instagram account. They can start pulling in money, you know, and then you have that, you know, that big money.


Ashley

See, I really only have big time and energy for one social media account. And it's just Facebook and it's just friends and family. So I, I don't have that kind of energy. Maybe I need somebody to manage an Instagram account on behalf of the Cats.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, I have no time for any of that. I'm on Facebook only, like, reluctantly, but. All right, so let's go through this. So, Ashley, when I started out and I'm going to get my side of story, Ashley Share will give a different side, but my side is Ashley reached out, said, Hey, I want to buy a house tomorrow. And it wasn't exactly tomorrow, but I want to buy a house.


And my answer was, why was that? That kind of when we started.


Ashley

You were a little confused. Yeah. And I think maybe it took some time and you truly grasping how many times I have moved in my life to sort of understand, like, you know. Yes. Okay, you know what? I'm childfree. I'm not married. You know, I don't have other things tying me down. I am a freelancer at this point.


I'm not even tied to any one employer now. But I do have a home base and to be able to make a home my own and be able to put time and money to do that, that feels meaningful to me because I haven't had that. I owned a house once when I was 26 and young and stupid, and I bought it for the wrong reasons.


And those reasons were I was tired of my apartment complex and I had some well-meaning relatives say, you should buy a house. No, no. Now I actually have a firmer grasp on how much this will actually cost me, and I would be going into it. Not necessarily excited to spend that kind of money, but also knowing that I would be spending that kind of money instead of being 26 and being like, oh, the mortgage costs the same as rent.


It's fine, it's enough. I could afford this. No.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. And I'm, I don't know, I'm having trouble with this whole housing market right now, and I'm just dismal buyers right now. The numbers are just crazy. To give you a little insight into my life, it's Friday right now when we’re recording this. On Tuesday we took photos of our house. Wednesday it was listed. Thursday we had a contract and today I signed it.


And by the time you're watching this, we will have sold our house most likely, and be renting. So it's not because I can't afford a house, it's because renting allows more flexibility. And when I talk to childfree folks, my answer is buying a house is a choice, not a requirement. And Ashley, I hear you had moves like how many times was it told?


Ashley

I’ve moved 35 times in my life. And I'll tell you, I'm trying to think, when was the last time I even went? Two years without moving. Now, I haven't talked to my landlord lately. Here. He's very hands off. Technically, the end of this month, the end of June 2023 is two years since I moved in here.


That will be the longest I have gone without moving since I lived in that house that I bought for the wrong reasons.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. And we can go a whole separate episode. Buy houses for the wrong reasons, but let's focus on the right reasons. And Ashley said, Hey, I want the stability of the house and I want to have that. I want my own space. I get that. Now I'm going to challenge people just because that's what I'm going to do.


And it was actually 2022 when we first met and like housing was even crazier actually then.


Ashley

I think at the time at the time when we started talking, the interest rates hadn't gone nuts yet. But I also had a lot of debt and no money set aside.


Dr. Jay

So well, that's the other part of it. So I say you're ready to buy a house when you're out of debt. You have 20% down for the house and an emergency fund. And that's really kind of rough for some people because, I mean, that could mean years before you buy a house. And but Ashley, you're pretty you're on that path now, right?


Ashley

I am on that path. Although I'll tell you full disclosure, I am leaning more towards 10% down to give myself even more of an emergency fund and going with a conventional loan and just paying PMI and putting as much money into extra payments as I can to get out from under that as soon as possible. But I also live in a very cheap area.


If you live in a part of the country where you're looking at 400 or $500,000 to buy a house, you're right 20% on that. You're going to save up $100,000 to put 20% down on $500,000 house. That is untenable. Where I live, I could probably buy for between $150,000 and $200,000.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. And by the way, that's a rarity. I just saw something went by. One of my colleagues put out there. They have a rent versus buy affordability index and there are only four major metros where it's worth buying. And it was like Detroit and like Philadelphia. It was like I was like, all right, whatever. And everywhere else you should rent.


And I know that sounds weird. And if you're listening to this, the standard life plan says you got to buy a house, you got to get married, you got to have kids, you got all that stuff. And buying a house is a choice, not a requirement. And in some areas, it's just it's almost not a choice to buy because it's so expensive.


And that's the hard part. Luckily you can work from anywhere, so you working in a low-cost-of-living area is awesome.


Ashley

Yeah. And I chose to move here. That's another thing too, that I moved so much. Not so much by choice, but because there was a job that I had to move for. And I moved to the state in 2016 for a job and I have stayed here because I like it here. And I moved to the city in 2021 because I had a partner here and because I like the area.


And to be able to say, hey, I moved here because I wanted to, you know, that's been a big thing for me.


Dr. Jay

That's fair. So you're handling all your finances yourself, but just, you know, as a solo.


Ashley

With yourself and with and with my accountant. Yes.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. Well, you know, everybody I had somebody say to me that working with me is like doing forced adulting. And I was like, that's kind of a weird way to say it, but okay.


Ashley

Take the compliment.


Dr. Jay

I don't know if that's a compliment or a curse or what. I mean.


Ashley

They didn't say that it was unenjoyable, did they? They just say no because, you know.


Dr. Jay

I just laughed and I'm like, that's just that's not a bad assumption. So what do you think is the biggest challenge of being a soloist and managing your finance?


Ashley

I mean, if something goes wrong, you have a big bill, you know, your electric bill comes in higher than expected. You car repair, your rent goes up, whatever it's on you, you've got to adjust your budget around that. And on the one hand, it's very freeing because it's like, okay, especially me as a freelancer, like, oh, you know, I have this big car repair that I've got to pay for.


Okay, well, you know what? I might just do some more work this week, or maybe I'll write an extra article or two or something to kind of make up the difference. But ultimately it's on me to take care of that and I'm not sharing I'm not splitting my bills with anybody. You know what? When I was married it was, you know, I'll take care of the rent and you take care of, you know, the rest of the bills or oh, we'll split everything 50/50 and it was, you know, you could you could kind of look at your pay and be like, okay, you know, I'm responsible for X number of dollars for this week or whatever. And look at everything that was left is just this is your money versus, you know, now you never know what's going to happen.


You never know what's going to happen. And it's hard to plan these things. And having an emergency fund is incredibly important. Having an extra cushion of money in my checking account is incredibly important. I'm very lucky now that I don't live paycheck to paycheck anymore, as I did for so many years. So that is helping. You know, I went to the grocery store this morning and I didn't buy that much stuff.


And yet my bill still came to $125 and was chatting with the cashier. And she's like, yeah, you know, I don't I don't know how people are getting by. And I said, I don't either. And part of me feels a little guilty that that yeah. It's annoying to shell out that much money for not very much groceries, but at least I can still afford it.


You know, I'm wondering if I had not made these changes to my finances, how badly off would I be right now with inflation being as high as it is?


Dr. Jay

Yeah, I. My wife and I were out grocery shopping the other day. We just stopped in for a couple of things. And when we walked I was like, Hey, I'm like, can we walk out of the store without a 100 bucks bill? Like, we're like carrying three bags.


Ashley

Yes.


Dr. Jay

We get some cold cuts in it & some sandwich stuff. Like we were going away for two days and just hanging out. I'm like, really? This is ridiculous. But there's a study in including the show notes Fidelity put out looking at solo agers and they found that the solo tax or single tax and it's not a real tax, but the price that it costs you to be single and not have anyone else to rely on for your money costs is somewhere between $400,000 and $1,000 and $1,000,000 across a year.


I'm sorry, $400,000 and a million across your lifetime. The way it works is like you can't share your apartment, you can't share the milk, you can't like. And they started adding that all up. You know, you have one car, you can share between two people, an apartment you can share, but if you're on your own, somewhere up to $1,000,000 and I have no clue how you like make that happen.


I mean, can you are you do feel that single tax?


Ashley

I do. But here's the thing, too. And I again, I feel guilty about it because I did improve my finances so much. I like not having to share the space or the milk or whatever else. Like it's when my when I got my second divorce, my ex moved out and I wanted to stay in the apartment that I was living in at the time because I knew that I didn't have the budget to find another whole place that I was going to be able to afford on my own.


And I had the cats, I had two at that time, instead of the three that I had now, have now. And I ended up having to get a roommate and he was fine. You know, he was a good dude. We lived together for 11 months until I moved out of there. And I tell you, as soon as I could swing a place of my own that I did not have to share, I found one and I moved up because that is how much I wanted to live alone.


And I love living alone. Living alone is amazing. Yes, I probably have more space here than I need necessarily. And I'm hoping to buy a house that's maybe just a little bit bigger than this place. Just, you know, maybe some more storage space would be good because I need something. I'm like, in here, but it's so good. So I don't know that extra cost, yes, it sucks, but it feels worth it to me.


Dr. Jay

Well, I feel you. I mean, I love my wife, but sometimes I'd like my own space just to get away for awhile.


Ashley

You have like a 4,000 square foot house. I thought you guys…


Dr. Jay

This week, it's changing next week, but now my for those watching this is my office. It's got like a kitchen next to it and it's like it on suite. So, yeah, I'm spoiled, like, I admit that, but I. So you said, hey, if I hadn't improved my finances, I'd be at home. What do you do to improve your finances?


Ashley

Oh, I did so many things. Well, primarily I changed jobs. That was the first step. Although the first job that I had in the new career in digital content writing and editing paid me as much as one of my museum jobs did, which was kind of a bummer. The benefits were better though, so I took on freelance work and I paid off $25,000 worth of debt last year in about seven months.


And I last year was my grand year of being a workaholic. And, you know, I started I tried a couple of different freelance gigs at the beginning of the year and nothing was really working. And then around the same time that you and I started meeting, you know, I was interviewing to become a freelancer with The Motley Fool, and they ended up loving me and I loved them.


And it's been 14 months that I'm still there editing and writing for them, and it's been great. I mean, even now as a full-time freelancer, I work probably 60 hours a week, but I don't mind. It doesn't feel like a hardship to me. And for me to be able to do this and enjoy my work and also be able to save a substantial amount of money to buy a house and to be able to make purchases that make my life better and stay out of debt and also pay for my own health insurance now and pay my regular bills.


And just to be able to do all this stuff, it's been so good.


Dr. Jay

And you, like, flew right by it paid off $25,000 in debt in seven months and kept on going like to other people listening that's a huge achievement you know and when I talk about getting out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle going on, debt is the core. You know, you got to it's a must it's not even a good how did you get it?


How did you pay off $25,000 in debt in seven months?


Ashley

Well, I think I think I had you sitting on my shoulder like whispering in my ear the entire time. Here's the thing about me. If I had the ability to change something about my life, I will change it. I'm not the kind of person that is willing to just sort of roll over and just let things go. I'm stubborn.


I think that that's the secret of my success. I am maybe just more stubborn than most people. And when I found that I could work more and make money snowball my debt, you know, this is paying things off smallest balance to largest, which technically costs you more money in the end. Because ideally, if you want to save save money on your debt, pay off, you would start with with whatever balance has the highest interest rate first.


And I did not do that because I wanted those early wins. You know, when I started, I had a couple of a couple of small you know, I had I had a bill that I that was 0% financing on the credit card, that 0% financing, small balances. I paid those off first because that gives you that momentum. And I just I kept going.


I kept going. You know, I would wander around my neighborhood and listen to music. You know, my action walks and just be the in my notes app and plotting like, okay, this is the next thing I'm going to pay off and it's going to be paid off on this date. And then I'm going to change this one. And it felt so good.


And my original projections when I started, I guess would have been April 2022, just running the numbers. At that time, my thought was, Oh, maybe I'll be out of debt by the time I turned 39 at the end of January 2023. I finished in October, so I started in April and I finished in October, but seven months.


So I don't know. I got into a groove with it.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. And the, the hard part is it's easy to get into debt, it's hard to get out. But I mean, just reality check and I tend to be a snowball method person, put you on budgets and then work it through and it sucks, but it sucks for a period of time. But then the other part of this was and Ashley is kind of playing this down so I can trumpet her own horn and say she got a debt and then she immediately was she had built behaviors that was putting a whole bunch of money in debt and immediately start putting that to our emergency fund and saving her house.


Like, besides, like, you know, the cats needed something or, you know, whatever else, you know, any other regular urges that come on.


Ashley

Oh they were spoiled before, they are so very spoiled now.


Dr. Jay

But there was a behavior and it was just debts no longer a choice. And I just kind of put it all towards my goals. And if I have this right, I mean, by this time next year, you'll you'll be either in a house or pretty close or looking at, you know, looking at finding the right one in the next year or so.


Ashley

That's the hope. I don't like those interest rates, but I don't know. We'll just we'll have to see how it goes. I mean, I'm not I'm not planning on on calling my landlord and being like, can I renew for another year? My downstairs neighbors are just month to month with them and I think that might just be me, too.


And we'll see. You know, if I find the perfect place for me in January or February next year, you know, maybe I'll I'll see about it then. You know, I'd like to be able to take my time and I'd also like to be able to get whatever I buy into moving condition for me beforehand. You know, the worst thing is you move in somewhere and then you've got to do all this painting, cleaning, whatever.


No. If I buy a place and I've got, you know, a month or two where I'm paying rent here, which is very cheap and also a mortgage, and I'm also fixing the place up. That's great because I'm looking at that as a long term commitment for me. You know, there's no sense in me buying a place if I'm not going to stay there five, seven, maybe ten years, maybe longer, who knows?


You know, I don't know what the future holds, but I really like the way my life is going right now. And I'd like to I'd like to ride this train as long as I can.


Dr. Jay

It. That makes good sense. I will say one of the things for the soloist I was looking at this, I have I have notes going back to when Ashley and I first met back in February and I said, Hey, it fit in. So I was in April. I first said, hey, by the way, as as a solo person, you need disability insurance.


Yes. Because you're only is your income. And if you get hurt, you got nothing. At the time, Ashley was like, Yeah, I got to pay off my debt too. I was like, okay, but we need to get this. Do you remember this debate?


Ashley

I do. I do. And that reminds me, I need to follow up with them again. I know what their deal is. But but yeah, that is another thing that that feeling of kind of dangling over over a financial cliff like I, I feel good about where my savings are at this point, you know, and if I did have some catastrophe, I've got money in there. It would like delay my house plans.


But ultimately, I wouldn't have to go into debt again unless something really catastrophic happened. And we'll just cross our fingers that that isn't the case.


Dr. Jay

Absolutely. And what you say is you got to check back. She's actually applied for disability insurance. Now it's just a matter of the process. And I bring up the disability insurance over and over and over because for for the soloist, it is like the most important because your income is your income and that's it. Like Social Security disability pays like nothing, you know, like it may literally be $1,000 a month for many people.


So that makes it hard to live on. So let me shift a little here, actually, and ask you some of the harder questions about being a soloist. So you’re childfree, right?


Ashley

Yes. Since I was about eight years old and I found out my mother had her tubes tied, which she had my a younger brother, it was like, I want one of those.


Dr. Jay

You’re ordering your tubes tied at eight years old. Well, that's impressive. I had somebody the other day I was talking to some press people and they said, well, maybe it's just a phase people are going to grow out of. I'm like, No, I got people literally getting sterilized in their early twenties and you like, were trying to order it even before that.


Ashley

No, I did. I did. Finally. It wasn't wasn't a tubal ligation. I was able to have non surgical sterilization in the age of 28 in Arkansas from a male doctor in his sixties. So I don't know how I managed that, but somehow I did. There was a little bit of a lecture, you know, this is permanent, right?


Yes. That is the whole point.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. Like we can have a whole series of discussions on mistreatment of childfree folks by doctors. But so I hear and I don't know anything, but I hear that dating as a childfree person is interesting. So when you date people with kids or you're like, are you like childfree everybody?


Ashley

Do you say, okay, so I'm I'm childfree. I don't have kids myself. It doesn't really matter to me whether people in my life have kids or not. As long as they realize that I am not going to be like a bonus parent. You know, in any sense of the word, you know, I can be, you know, that that kind of that friendly role model, you know, that grown up friend that that mom or dad has that, you know, the kid sees occasionally, whatever.


You know, right now I have I'm in a relationship with someone. We've been together four and a half years at this point. And he does have a child and, you know, I know her. I have hung out with her. You know, she's got a mom. I'm not her mom. I'm not you know, I'm not involved to any extent. You know, if she's belt testing for tae kwon do, if I go, might go along for that and cheer on.


But it doesn't matter to me whether people have kids because I'm not going to live with them and I'm not going to be in that parent role.


Dr. Jay

So I've heard from others like, Oh, I'm just never to date somebody with kids because I'm super childfree. But you're saying I'm still childfree and there's not going to marry them, move in, be a parent, you know, like so who cares kind of what's going on there?


Ashley

And I've had people question my childfree cred for this and oh, dating somebody with children or did I give birth? Did I adopt? No, I didn't do any of those things, actually. Oddly enough, the older I get, the more I actually do like kids and the more sure I am, I made the right decision not to have it.


Dr. Jay

That's kind of funny, the two combo. But yeah, I think you're right. There are there's some gatekeeping in the community of, you know, are you really childfree? Or that the definition I used, which is you don't have kids not planning on having kids, which fits ya.


Ashley

That that ship has sailed.


Dr. Jay

You know, if you want to date somebody that has kids, hey, that's your choice. I mean, but, you know, it sounds like your partner knows, hey, this is not a marriage. I'm going to take it because that was, like clear from the beginning.


Ashley

Oh, absolutely.


Dr. Jay

So when when you're like, I don't know, I'm going to show how little I know about dating right now. So when you're out dating, do you even like screen for people having kids or not? Because some people do. Like, some people are like, you know, it's I'm like all their profiles and all that. Like, you know, no kids anywhere near.


You're like, I don't care?


Ashley

In, in, in my dating profiles. It's more like I'm childfree. I don't have kids. I don't care if you do. Don't expect that I'm going to have them with you. Don't expect that. I'm going to want that much to do with yours. I will say that it would probably be harder to see someone that has like a little kid, you know, like people like even a baby or a toddler.


Like that's a lot more in the way of time commitment, you know, for them as a parent, you know, for me, the serious relationships that I've had with people who have kids, it's school age kids, you know. So the kid themselves, the kid themself has a little bit more in the way of, you know, agency. They go to school, they have another parent, so on and so forth.


It's not I don't want anybody leaving their baby at home with a babysitter to come and hang out with me. You know, like that's you be a parent at that time.


Dr. Jay

That's fair. We'll have to bring somebody in who's on the other side who could argue and be like, I only date people that are childfree and that's okay. Like, seriously, pick whatever you want.


Ashley

Like I okay, so I can see where that would make a certain amount of sense. Like when I got married the second time by my second husband, now ex husband, we actually did meet in a, in a Facebook group for childfree people. And so that like formed part of our connection initially that we had kind of that big thing in common.


And of course, you know, we live together, we got married, so on and so forth. So the fact that we did not have kids, that was a much bigger deal. You know, it's not as it's not a thing for me now because again, I'm not going to live with anybody. So, you know, if I was seeing someone and it was, oh, I'm looking for somebody to move in with and help me raise my child.


That is not me.


Dr. Jay

So from a financial standpoint, you’re going to be a soloist for your life.


Ashley

That is my hope. I mean, again, you can't predict these things, but in terms of what I would actually want, you know, I don't want roommates. I don't want to live with a romantic partner, you know, in any traditional sense. So, yeah, I hope it's just me and the cats, you know, in in this apartment. Well, not in this apartment, in a house that I bought for us.


Dr. Jay

So the other one I hear from soloists, is okay, well then who's going to make the decisions for me? You know, it's the well power of attorneys, all that. And then the other one is who's who am I gonna give my money to? So, like, who do you have making decisions for you?


Ashley

That would be that would be my serious partner is the four and a half years now at this point. And I did ask him just to make sure I said, I know you don't want to talk about this, but if I do this, this well, paperwork, power of attorney, can you do that for me? And he did grudgingly agree.


So I think we're okay there. Leaving money to anybody. I mean, I don't know. I'm I'm kind of getting into this Die With Zero thing I requested the book from the library and it hasn’t made its way to my Kindle yet hoping it will soon but I don't want to leave a chunk of money to anybody I would rather get the fullest out of my life and my money while I'm here.


Dr. Jay

And by the way, you have to leave enough to take care of the cats. Like, seriously, it sounds weird, but then you will need to say who's going to take the cats? And here's some money to take.


Ashley

Yes.


Dr. Jay

And we have a separate episode coming out on Die With Zero. Bri and I did a book club on that, so keep an eye out for excellent. One of the things for soloists is you have to have the paperwork in place because the government systems and the bank all look for next of kin. And if you don't have a legal partner in you don't have kids, the systems just explode and you may result, you know, if you don't paperwork in place, the state may take your money.


That's possible and they may decisions for you. I do not want some random state person or healthcare person making decisions for me without any paperwork. So just one of those. Ashley is working on her paperwork. And what you heard her say is, you know, you got to ask the person who you going to say does this and your partner agreed, at least you know.


But you know, we'll have a different discussion the grudgingly you know it's that nobody wants to talk about it.


Ashley

It grudgingly more. So I don't want to think about this because I don't want you to die or so like that, you know, and this is a depressing topic of conversation, but it is a necessary topic of conversation.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, it is. So what advice would you give to other soloists out there?


Ashley

Advice as far as money, advice as far as what.


Dr. Jay

You tell me. This is your time to share.


Ashley

God. I've always extolling the virtues of finding a finance professional to meet with even if it's just once. Because I feel like having a third party look at your finances and give you unbiased, honest advice is incredibly valuable because you can just soldier along with your money and think that you're doing the right thing. So, you know, I think I'm putting enough away for retirement or to buy a house or whatever.


But do you really have any idea? You know, I work with people who have been writing about personal finance for years and they still meet with CPAs and similar and they have a CPA who does their taxes because they recognize that having another set of eyes and having another opinion is always a good thing. So especially if you're on your own and you don't even have, you know, a spouse to bounce money ideas off of, you know, work with a professional, get somebody to look over your budget for you and, you know, give you advice.


You know, if you're hoping to buy a house, you know, maybe they can give you a reality check that, no, you can't buy a house in a year with no money down and still with a bunch of debt. So it's helpful.


Dr. Jay

I call it accountability, partner. It's someone call you on your B.S. It can be a friend if the friend is in the right mindset of it or professional or whatever it is, but it's just somebody you can go, hey, can I do this? And they're like, really? You said you this other goal. Do you really want to do like it?


We all we all have that. We all have the moments. You know what? What do we do when we're sad? Hit add to cart, right? You know, you just kind of like I got to buy that become an accountability partner helps on that in any right and I think a professional can help on that I think the hard part is particularly for the soloists with no kids, no partner, there's there's not a finance book out there that says, hey, here's how to do it.


Ashley

No, no, there's there's really not. I mean, I'd like to think that we're we're taking some steps today to put some good information out there, maybe.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. And Ashley's actually had a sneak peek, so I recently signed a deal for my second book, and it's going to dove into some of this. And what I'm saying is, first thing is you figure out what life you want to live. Second, your finances and third, your taxes. And actually a great example, she said, “What life do I want to live?”


A stable life was kind of like the word of like, I want to have the house, I want to know where I live and all that. Is that is that kind of the start of that for you?


Ashley

I mean, it might also be the end of it because I really like freelancing and I really like, you know, having multiple special people into my life. And I really like having three cats, you know, like I to, to commit to something. I feel like I could probably commit to homeownership, but beyond that, you know, just to have to have a nice home base like that and to be to be comfortable enough and to know that I can always pay my bills and not have to worry.


That's I guess that would be stability, too. So being able to design a stable life in whatever way works for you and knowing that stability, stability doesn't have to be you're married and you work for the same company for years and you've got kids and it doesn't have to be that.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, that's fair. And I think the hard part of living the childfree life is there's not like a life plan or life script that we can follow that says do this because we've gone off that script completely. And then you got to figure out this whole new pathway. Now, I mean, you've been on a, I don't know, four or five different scripts across your life, if you really think about it.


Yeah, bouncing between different locations and lives and marriages and. But sounds like you're happy now. Is that fair?


Ashley

I mean, yes, I think I am. I mean, everybody has their ups and downs. But in terms of, you know, an average day, I could say, usually turns out to be pretty happy because I've got I've got this flexibility now, especially with work that I never had before. And it's it's been really good.


Dr. Jay

That's great. And that's a great segway, so if somebody wants to, like, hire you to do like content writing or editing, where can they find you?


Ashley

Well, I'm assuming you'll you'll put a link to my my job site in your show notes, but I am, you know, if you want help with with your with your novel, you know, you're fiction writing or, you know, you want help with your nonfiction writing. You want somebody to write for your website, write content for your website. Personal finance is what I specialize in.


But I used to do museums and I never knew anything about salt mining or canal boats or mules before I learned how to learn how to write about that stuff. So I'm really like a quick study, you know, if you've got a topic you want to cover for your site and you want somebody to put some information together for you, you know, check me out.


Dr. Jay

And I use her as my editor. So, you know, she makes me sound good.


Ashley

You need an editor. Yes you do!


Dr. Jay

Hey!


Ashley

You've got… It's good bones, though. See, that's the thing. You can't I can't make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so I think I'm doing pretty good with you.


Dr. Jay

She just complains because I don't use an outline, you know, and you know, I just have a conversation and I don't know. But. Well, thank you very much for coming out and given the soulless approach and you'll hopefully see Ashley in a few other episodes. So we'll have her back sometime soon.


Ashley

I'm ready to sign me up!