Bestselling author Rachel Richards developed a passion for finance and money management at a young age. While her peers were immersed in child’s play, she was poring over The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of. This book sparked her interest in personal finance, and from then on, she spent much of her free time learning all she could about money management.
Rachel sold Cutco Knives to pay her way through college and avoid racking up student loan debt. She attended Centre College, where she majored in Financial Economics, and upon graduating in 2013, she pursued a career in financial advising. Rachel then worked in real estate before joining a global manufacturing corporation as a finance analyst. In 2017, while working in corporate finance, Rachel wrote and launched her first book, Money Honey: A Simple 7-Step Guide For Getting Your Financial $hit Together. That same year, she and her husband began accumulating rental properties as a way to build passive income. Though she had a budding career in corporate finance, Rachel promised herself that once her passive income replaced her monthly full-time salary, she would quit her job.
In 2019, Rachel quit her job, retiring at age 27 with over $10,000 per month in passive income, and fulfilled her dream of becoming a self-employed entrepreneur, investor, speaker and author. She recently released her second book, Passive Income, Aggressive Retirement. Meet our newest FACE of the South, Rachel Richards!
What first sparked your interest in personal finance and financial planning?
When I was in sixth grade, I somehow came across this book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of, and I thought it sounded really interesting. I remember that I went to this summer camp at a water park that year. Instead of going on all the waterslides and playing with all of my friends, I sat on the edge of the pool and read this entire book about money management. My passion and financial nerdiness really started there. I was just so wowed by this book that I wanted to learn everything I could about how to manage your money well.
What compelled you to start your money management business?
I came to the realization that we are in a financial education crisis. At no point in our lives are we taught how to manage our money, and that has become a huge problem. I realized somewhere along the way that all of my friends and family were coming to me for financial advice, which I love because I love helping people. However, I started wondering why they were coming to me when there were all of these great personal finance resources out there. The problem was really that finance is a very dry, boring subject to most people, and so were all of these resources. That’s when I had the idea to make something that could really help people but is also accessible and easy to read. It was scary to launch my first book — it’s very vulnerable to put yourself out there like that, but I figured at the end of the day, if I can help just one person, then it’ll be worth it.
Describe your business and the services you offer.
If I could sum my business up in one sentence, I would say that I empower millennials, young professionals and women to learn about, and take control of, their financial future.
Why did you choose millennials, specifically millennial women, as your target audience?
I am a millennial woman, which makes me relatable to other female millennials, and those were the types of people coming to me for financial advice prior to starting my business. I sometimes think our generation has been misjudged as being lazy and entitled, but those individuals exist in every generation. When it comes to finances, millennials want to know how money management works, and they want to be great at it, but they don’t know how; they’re eager to learn. I saw this real market need and wanted to create a resource for them, specifically, that is accessible to young people.
How did the opportunity to become an entrepreneur, speaker, and ultimately an author come about?
My first book, Money Honey, was in the works for some time, but it wasn’t until I read Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page to Published Author by Chandler Bolt that I really felt like I had the tools to publish it. That book taught me 99% of what I needed to know, from how to refine the book idea to creating an outline, writing, editing, and ultimately publishing my book. All of the other opportunities, like workshops and speaking engagements, have been a result of the success of Money Honey. I just keep saying yes to opportunities, thus earning more and more over time.
Tell us a bit about your two books: Money Honey and Passive Income, Aggressive Retirement.
In a nutshell, Money Honey: A Simple 7-Step Guide For Getting Your Financial $hit Together is a sassy, simple, and funny take on the basics of money management. This includes budgeting, saving, debt, investing, taxes and insurance. That’s the book that really resonated the most with female millennials because it was written in a witty, relatable voice.
Passive Income, Aggressive Retirement: The Secret to Freedom, Flexibility, and Financial Independence is all about passive income, which is money earned with little to no ongoing work. An example of this is rental properties because you have tenants and little to no day-to-day work, especially if you have a property manager. My husband and I have rental properties, but over the last few years, I learned about tons of other types of passive income opportunities. I had the epiphany that once your passive income exceeds your expenses, then you’re retired. You don’t have to go to work anymore, and you’re financially independent. Once I had that revelation, my husband and I started working toward gaining more forms of passive income. Through my research, I was able to identify 28 different types of passive income streams, which you can read about in my second book. It’s really becoming a buzzword, but so many people still don’t really know what it is or how it works, so that’s why I wrote and published my second book.
Who is your most significant professional inspiration and why?
Hal Elrod, self-help guru and best-selling author of The Miracle Morning series. His books have gone on to be international bestsellers, which are translated into 37 languages, and he is an international keynote speaker. I was fortunate enough to interview Hal for my second book, and he is such an incredible human being. One of the things I admire most about him is his ability to truly prioritize the most important things in his life, which he said are his health and his family. He is so open with his community and readers about the struggles he has gone through, and he genuinely wants to help people. That inspires me so much both professionally and personally.
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur and being financially independent?
I am truly living my dream life, and I have my dream job. I get to do whatever I want without being constrained by money, time or a work schedule. I get to do all of the things I’m passionate about, which is traveling, writing, and teaching people about money management while working when, where, and if I want.
Tell me about an organization or cause that is close to your heart and why.
One organization that I recently learned about is called Puppies Behind Bars. Their mission is to educate prison inmates to train service dogs for veterans and law enforcement, which I think is the coolest thing. My husband is a veteran, and I love supporting organizations that support veterans. Plus, they help dogs and inmates, so it’s just a great combination of causes.
What is your favorite thing to do for fun or relaxation?
My husband and I love the outdoors, and we’re avid hikers. We’ve done the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike, and just a couple of months ago, we hiked in Italy. Soon, we’re going to start training to hike Machu Picchu, which we plan to do in 2020.
What do you think your next big career adventure will be?
I’m really looking forward to growing my business in 2020. I want to work on expanding my existing book business, now that I can devote 100% of my time to it. I feel like there is a lot of potential there. Secondly, I want to book more speaking engagements, specifically at high schools and colleges. I’m also thinking about creating an online course to go with one — or both — of my books.
My passion is truly helping people. I encourage my readers to email or message me if they have any questions. I always take time to answer those, and I really want to help people make sound money management decisions. If anyone out there has questions or is struggling, feel free to reach out at [email protected].
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
When I was younger, my parents always encouraged me to read, which helped me develop a passion for reading at a young age. That’s the main reason I know as much as I do about different topics, like passive income, entrepreneurship and finance. I read both fiction and non-fiction. They serve different purposes, but they’re both so important. I try to be intentional and set aside at least 10 minutes to read each day. My favorite nonfiction books are The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by M.J. DeMarco, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and of course, I have to say my own books. My favorite fiction books are A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, who also wrote The Kite Runner, and I recently read and loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
What are three lighthearted or frivolous things that you can’t live without?
First, is Nothing Bundt Cakes, which I am so obsessed with. Second would be my dog Chloe, who is my fur baby. Third, would be Allbirds. I finally got a pair about six months ago, and they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I take them everywhere with me.
Thank you for chatting with us, Katherine, and thanks to Gretchen Bell for the fabulous photos.
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