Episode 115 – His And Her Money: How To Navigate Entrepreneurship With Your Spouse

What do you think will happen if two different people of different financial upbringing and goals get married? Would that spell trouble? Well, that was the beginning of the marriage life of our guests for today, Talaat and Tai McNeely. Talaat grew up in South side Chicago with great upbringing. Although he was given what he needs, although not necessarily what he wants, he also did not get early financial education. After graduating high school, he left the house at 17 and went straight to military where he splurge in his desires on branded clothes, car and stereos and all the stuff he thought he needed. Before knowing that he is in $30,000 in debt.


While Tai, on the other hand, was born in extremely frugal parents. With five siblings, she assumed that all shopped at thrift stores. She also became frugal, went into college debt-free and bought her own vehicle at 17 years old and paid it in 13 months. She thought she’s going to marry a man with the same financial mindset. Not long, she discovered her husband lied about his debt situation.


How they team up, tackle and beat debt is very inspirational and I believe all of us will get valuable insights that we can apply in our own lives. It is a blessing to be able to peek into their minds, get a glimpse of their proven ways of beating debt and building wealth, together as a couple. Are a couple that are trying to build a business, or are trying to make your business a success? Definitely take heed to this power couple as they uncover their mindset shift, business secrets and parenting and relationship tips to help you build the life of your design.


Here’s What You Missed


  • How to make the communication open for financial issues in marriage
  • How should parents view financial education at home?
  • What is hybrid approach in tackling debt?
  • Tips on having online presence for your business
  • Should you invest first or pay your debt first?
  • How will you know when to continue, pivot, shift or stop in pursuing your business



Knowledge Nuggets


Talaat and Tai tried a lot of side hustles first before really discovering the best business for them, that provides not just good money, but is also good for their family. Discover their family journey to building wealth today!


[4:06] Talk to your kids about financial issues. Don’t assume that they’ll just learn it overtime. Because they may interpret it in the wrong way that will lead to a pitfall. Educate yourself first and pass the right knowledge to the next generation.


[9:29] Once we got married it was he and I. You married a all of him/her. Not just his good traits. You should get to know each other really well. When you discover something that you did not know beforehand, tackle it together.


[10:17] You can’t tell your children one thing, but do another. You should teach by example. Your children are watching you. When splurging them with their wants, do it in moderation and find balance. Make sure you are having the conversation about financial literacy. Make sure they see your  action and hear your voices.


[14:26] Be honest and authentic when talking to your children. They will learn from both sides of the coins. They learn from the good and the bad. You don’t need to be perfect in their eyes, children can appreciate imperfection. They are not looking for the perfection, they look for structure, discipline and order.


[16:30] Hybrid approach in tackling debt. Majority of your focus should be on debt but you should also look for ways where you can invest. You can even start a business but not necessarily get into debt in order to have a business.


[18:21] Every dollar of debt that you pay off is an increase to your net worth. it’s a dollar for dollar investment when you’re paying off debt.


[21:40] Communication is a two way street. When you are trying to sell your customer some products or service, it is your duty to bring it to them in a way that they can receive it. Be sure to have an online presence in many other fashions, be it videos, blogs, graphics, etc. The world is not going to get less digital.


[22:21] You need to have an online presence where you own the real estate. Like instead of only having your business in Etsy and Facebook where they can easily erase your account, build your own website. Don’t build your brain or your real estate on somebody’s else’ land. Build your email list.


[26:07] If you have a dream or if your spouse has a dream, honor it. Start with honor and respect. Then have a better conversation. You should both want this dream. Continue to have updates to not have resentments. Honoring, upfront identifying rules, and updating each other. Communication and reevaluating are the keys.


[34:24] Have a calculated risk. Even though thing didn’t work out, never put your livelihood in jeopardy. Take a measured amount of money and a measured amount of time to go after it.


[41:09] Within your combined plan, we have ‘his and her money’. “We have access to the accounts we have and we have a dollar amount that we can spend that I do not need to have the spouse’s approval. We are in the same page, but we don’t do all of it together.”


[46:31] Index funds: It’s just you matching the markets. So whatever the market is doing, that’s what your money is doing.


[52:34] Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t you’re right. So change your belief system. We all have obstacles. Start with the belief system.


[53:53] Perfection is a destiny killer. A lot of times people are giving excuses on why they can’t start and why they can’t start now. =If you continue to fill your mind with those excuses, you will still be in the same place that you are next year.


Important Reads and Links


Recommended books:


Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins


Talaat and Tai Facebook:                          https://www.facebook.com/hisandhermoney/

Talaat and Tai Instragram:        https://www.instagram.com/hisandhermoney/

Talaat and Tai Twitter:                              https://www.instagram.com/hisandhermoney/

Talaat and Tai Youtube:                            https://www.instagram.com/hisandhermoney/


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Click Here for a full transcript of this episode:
[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

What’s up Dream Nation. We are back again with an episode that I’m excited to learn about how it exactly I can get my mindset, right. When it comes to the financials, we often talk about tactical tips and strategies for starting a business, but there’s so much more that goes into it. And specifically on the financial part.

And we have two of the biggest experts in the game. That is going to be sharing their wisdom and their knowledge with us on how exactly we can do just that. So without further ado, help me in welcoming. , Talaat, and Tai to the show, formally known as “His Andn Her Money”.

Welcome to the show. You want to go ahead and say hat’s up to Dream Nation?.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Hello? Hello. Thank you guys so much. Thank you so much for inviting us on.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

We’re excited to be here. Casanova what’s up Dream Nation.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Man, this is going to be a really dope episode. So I always like to think of us as entrepreneurs and really super heroes.

And why is it because we’re constantly flying around the world. We’re putting on our Cape and we’re trying to solve problems in the world to make it a better place. So before you all have been featured in. The world’s biggest publications like Black Enterprise and an Entrepreneur and everything else before you had your major, your show and your YouTube channel.

If we can take it back to when you were just young kids. And I know you’re both going to have a different, a different story, but tell me who is Talaat and who is Tai.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Wow. Great question. So for me, I’m born on the South side, Chicago, raised there, loved, loved the city. I was raised in a two parent home with both parents cheering me on telling me that there’s nothing that I can’t be.

And I had a great upbringing. Like I don’t have anything like to complain about. the thing for me was when I left home, I left at 17, graduated high school, went straight into the military. I made a bunch of financial mistakes, which is really the crust of, the work that we do. To this very day was what I went out and did because growing up, I wasn’t like directly taught about money.

I didn’t get like. Personal financial principles from my parents. I saw things. but like sit down one on one conversations, like do X, Y, and Z. I didn’t get that. And so I was kind of left to my own own interpretation. And so my parents were very thrifty. We’ll say thrifty. Okay. That’s a very politically correct way to say cheap, but they were very the wise.

I can say that as an adult now. With their money, but the 16 year old version of me didn’t think that because my friends were getting all the brand new Jordans and I was getting all the brand new Pro Wings. And for those in dream nation who are unfamiliar with what a pro wing is, first of all, you’re blessed to help you explain it.

It’s the pay less version Pay less shoe store version of the Jordan sorta jump, man. Wasn’t quite jumped in the same way. So they look close, but not quite. And so when I left home, I said, man, I’m going to use my money to buy everything. Name brand does not going to be anything in my closet. That’s not named brand.

And I went out and I created a financial mess for myself, chasing what I thought was what I wanted. And I ended up in over $30,000. How’s was debt with nothing good to show for it. Nothing to do with college had nothing to do with real estate. It was just stuff. Everything in my life was financed for my car to the sound system in my car, to the furniture in my apartment, I had payday loans.

I had loans to pay off the payday loans, every bad type of financial decision that could be made. I made it. And our story is one of recovery from that. And so it just goes to show you that it’s important for those Dream Nation people out there to have kids talk to them. Don’t just assume that they’re going to.

Get it by osmosis because what’s happening is even though your might be doing good things with your money, if you don’t, if you’re not deliberate and intentional with the lessons you want to pass the next generation, they’re going to be left to their own interpretation.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. And so I come from a family of five siblings.

so we were a seven. person household, both of my parents also married and I grew up in a household where they were extremely frugal as well, but I just assumed that they were because it was so many kids and, I am also an identical twin. So I just thought, Hey, they were just trying to make the money stretch.

And so my parents did not necessarily sit us down and talk about money and finances. However, their actions spoke louder than words. So I just assumed everyone lived this way. I assumed everybody shopped at thrift stores and. you know, everybody, you know, paid their way through college and things like that because that’s what I did.

I actually put myself through college completely debt free without any debt. also purchase a vehicle at the age of 17. when we were coming home, like mom and dad come look at my vehicle and they’re like, wait, you need a cold cider. And I said no, and I paid that off. And like, and so I thought that I was going to just live an entire life full of debt, freedom, building wealth.

And I thought the man that I was going to marry was gonna be, be the same way. And about three months prior to getting married, I found out that my husband actually lied to me about how much debt he was in. Now, keep in mind, was after premarital counseling. This was after pulling credit reports. This was after doing my due diligence.

and so I was devastated needless to say, and it was not because of the debt because we overcame it. It was the trust. And so he and I both had to start our first year in marriage rebuilding trust. How are we going to talk about money? What are we going to do with our finances that we’re going to join our finances?

How soon do you want to get out of debt? Come up with a game plan. And we did adjust that.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Wow. Well, first I want to say, I appreciate for you sharing, you know that, because I think that that’s where a lot of marriages and I’ll let you speak to this a little bit more, but that’s where a lot of marriages go bad is because of the financial aspect of it.

And when you grow up in a. A society where it does teach about the materialistic things and you have those maybe insecurities that you’re trying to overcompensate for. We all do it. And then all of a sudden to have your, so let me ask you this, I guess a better question when you were in all of that debt and you were buying things, you were already still in a relationship with Tai?.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]


[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

We were, we were in two different places. I was in the military in Texas. She was in college in Chicago.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Got it. And the reason why I asked that is because I wanted to see if the picture was being painted, that you felt like you needed to impress her. Right. Whereas, or was it like, no, you just did it because you were trying to compensate for something.

But if you had to let her know that you were doing those things, you would have been in trouble, so you just hit it.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

No, it was just me being young

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

He didn’t have to impress me.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

It was just me being young. It would be in not having any wisdom, having money of my own for the first time being able to do what I wanted to do for the first time, without anybody telling me that I couldn’t do it for the first time.

And I just enjoyed it. I enjoy clothes. I enjoy music. I enjoy my car with the sound system and, you know, I was just young with money and didn’t have anybody help guiding me to do the right things with it type. Our first date in 1998, I pulled up Casanova in a 1984 Pontiac Sunbird and she’d been riding with me ever since.

So it was never a money thing for her. It was just, she saw me for me. So the money problems that I created was self-made it had nothing to do with her, me liking to have stuff.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Right. No. And, and I, and I respect so much that you stayed with him in that, because if that was always your mindset, that I was going to live debt free, you know, and then all of a sudden you find out they basically, you’re marrying into $30,000 in debt.

That’s hard for a lot of people. Talk to me about how did you come through to say, you know what, I am going to stick this out rather than saying, Hey, this seems like more of a liability. If this is how we’re starting off building our foundation rather than an asset.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. again, it was not about the money as much as it was about the trust.

Right? So, at that time I think I was a little naive as well. I just thought that, Hey, if you’re honest, you’re committed to a relationship and you’re being truthful that, you know, your significant other or assumed to be was the same way. But then it caused me also to look at some character issues of myself.

What was it about myself that did not allow my husband to be. To actually approach me and tell me about his finances. And so I started to do some soul searching within myself as well, a lot of prayer, but a lot of I was able to step back observe. Hm. What was he doing prior to him coming clean? What was he doing?

I saw him, he picked up another job. I saw that he wasn’t, you know, we didn’t go out as much. He was actually trying to pay off the debt. So I already knew at that point that his mindset has shifted and I knew that I could work with it. I could forgive him, which I did. and I never threw it back up in his face.

After that I never did once say, well, you got it from this position. It was once we got married, we just celebrated our 14th year of marriage by the way,

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]


[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Thank you. Once we got married, it was he and I, it was no longer just his dad. It was now Arctic. And so that’s how we approached it.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Where was the knowledge that you originally got in the beginning? Cause you said at a very young age, you were able to really even take it to a level that your parents never took it to with buying your car, not needing a cosigner, getting it paid off within 36 months. Where did you get that knowledge from?

If your parents weren’t even doing it at the level that you were, was there a book? Was there a seminar? Was there something, a person. That you found that helped to educate you early?

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

No, not at that age. I was more so my parents actually spoke louder than words and that’s why we talk to parents right now.

We tell parents, you can’t tell your children one thing, but do another. And so, although you may not be verbally expressing, you know, Things around money. Your children are watching you. Are they watching you every payday every Friday? You know, you’re going out, you’re buying this or that, or are they watching you save money?

Are they watching you buy stocks? So they watch you, you know, invest in mutual funds. Are they watching you start a business? And so for me, I just saw my parents extremely diligent around their finances. I saw them having conversations amongst themselves. I saw them telling us, no, you can’t have that now.

I saw them not necessarily splurging on us. We got what we needed when we needed it. And so nowadays I just see where children are almost in this expectation mode, where they expect you to do this for them. They expect the new gym shoes. Every time they come out, they expect a new toy every month they expect a new video game once it’s released.

And so growing up, my parents did not give us those expectations. So we didn’t expect it. We, I actually expected the opposite. and it was also detrimental in a sense where it also worked against them in a sense, when I graduated from eighth grade, my twin sister and I did not go on our eighth grade trip.

And after we graduated, my mom was like, Hey, I didn’t even know that there was an eighth grade trip or you guys didn’t express interest in how come you did not express interest in going on your eighth grade trip. And it was mom. We just thought you were going to say no, Right. It’s what we say it. We just assume you were going to say no, it was going to cost too much money.

It was two of us. And she says, no, I wouldn’t let you all go. And so I now have taken that into our relationship. We’re raising three children and I’m being very, very conscious about verbally telling them. When dad and I say, no, it does not mean all of the time. And we also show them instances where it’s yes, they don’t have to wait till Christmas just to get toys.

You don’t have to wait till their birthday just to get toys. We do things for them throughout the year, but we also do it in moderation. So I think that’s the key. Just trying to find a balance for your family, where you’re not necessarily overcompensating. you know what you did not have growing up, but you want to make sure that you are having the conversation.

So we’re having the conversations with our kids, where my parents, they’re actually spoken out on the words, our kids, see our actions, but they also hear our voices.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Yeah, no, I love that. I think that’s a very good point. And one thing that my wife and I, because obviously kids just ask point of no return, right?

Especially the younger that they are. I mean, they’re so diligent, so resilient and asking. And one thing that I strive to my, or I stress to my wife first, but then we made sure that now we always said to my son is like, never stop asking. Because as a kid, that can be when you always hear, no, just like you said, it is, it can almost become a detriment.

And then when they get older, we know that closed mouths don’t get fed. And if you don’t ask the answer’s always no, especially in the world where you’re thinking about starting your own business, you’re trying to get your brand out there, whatever you have to be willing to ask, and you can’t let those fears overcome you.

So we always tell my son, just to your point of like, you’re not going to get this from me, but never stop asking. And so he gets that point and I’ve explained that context around, like, you always gotta be willing to ask. Cause if you don’t, the answer is always no. And so I think that that’s, that’s great.

And especially to hear that from a black couple, right? Because for me, I grew up a little bit different that my parents never talked about money. And I think that that’s, a pretty big thing in the African American community. The black community is kind of like stay in your own business. Like, why are you in my business?

And you never want to talk money. You never want to talk finances, whether it’s credit cards or whatever, because there’s so much pride. And so that’s when I said that I respected you because in the beginning you even talked about these payday loans, right? And that’s something that obviously we know we’ll check in advance, all these other places they’re deep into the black community or the poverty stricken communities.

And so. Talk to me about what is though the way that people can start to open up those conversations where you don’t necessarily feel like you’re an expert when it comes to finances, but you still want to tell your children and have those conversations, you know? Cause it’s a, it’s a little bit of like, I don’t really feel like I know.

So how can I have those conversations with my kids?

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah, just like that. You’re honest and authentic. Like mom and dad, you know, we have some dreams, we have some goals, but we’re also in this position and we are now dedicated to changing the narrative. We want to give you guys the tools that we weren’t given.

Mommy and daddy, we showed up into adulthood and we were forced to figure it out. and we want to give you a head start, but listen, right now, some things are about to change because of where we’re trying to take our family and look, mom and dad don’t have it all figured out, but we’re about to go on a journey to learn.

We are going to figure it out and we’re gonna pass on our. Victories. You’re going to pass on the things that we got wrong. You know, this conversation is dependent upon age of children. So you make it an age based conversation, but don’t try to act like you got it all figured out. Just be honest and authentic.

And they’ll learn from both sides of the coin, the things that you got, right. And the things that you got wrong, because if you don’t talk about it, They’re going to recycle the things that went wrong because you made it look like it was okay. And that everything was all right. And that’s why poverty becomes generational because that’s what they see.

And if that’s all they see, it becomes normalized. And if it becomes normalized, it now becomes a part of their life. Well, this is the way it was. I was my parents, my grandparents was on government assistance. And just when you turn a certain age, you’re supposed to go get your card as well. You’re supposed to get your government assistance as well, because nobody ever said anything different,

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah, children can appreciate imperfection.

But they can also appreciate order. And so your children are not looking for you to have this all figured out, and they’re not looking for you to be superstars, but they are looking for structure, children, love structure. and I know that a lot of times our society, they kind of say, Oh, Kids are just all over the place.

They’re creative, they’re bouncing off the wall, but they love discipline, but they’re not looking for you to be perfect. They’re just looking for the discipline, the order. And they’re willing to actually walk it out with you.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. Now, do you feel

if somebody right now is listening to this and they’re saying, okay, that all works, but I got a hundred thousand dollars in debt and that’s not including my student loans.

I’ve got credit cards, everything else, like, do you recommend that they find a way to invest first or do they find a way to get out of debt first? Cause that’s a big question that a lot of people always have. Should I be saving or should I be investing to create money to pay off the debt?

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah, we believe in a hybrid approach.

we would never tell you just to pause everything and get out of debt. We do want you to have a majority of your focus towards your debt, but we also want, I want you to look at ways where you can invest. and sometimes it’s as easy as maybe your employer doesn’t match. Maybe they’re matching up to 5% or 7%.

You need to be doing at least up to the match. We’re also be a component of starting a business, but we don’t believe that you should go into debt. When starting a business. When we started his, we started with a $500 seat, invest in ourselves and said, okay, we’re going to start this with platform. Does that mean getting a website done?

I mean, buying a domain that meant, what else did we do at the time? We already had a camera, so we didn’t have to pay for that. Yeah, yeah. Right. A logo. And that just meant shooting start. And so a lot of times when we look at business, we think that we have to spend so much money up front. Oh, I need $2,000 or $3,000.

No you don’t. but we do want you to look at the creative side. We believe that God has given everyone a gift and everyone has a talent of some sort that can be a blessing or use as a ministry for others. Another way to serve. And so while getting out of debt, we will tell you, look at how can you start a business for us?

We did a million gazillion side hustles before we really figured it out, but one thing we also never stopped investing. So, no, we don’t believe that just because you have a hundred thousand dollars of debt, you need to hit pause on all of your dreams and aspirations. But we do think that you should have a plan, a debt plan in place.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

And I think it’s somewhat of a false narrative. Should I get out of debt or should I invest? If I want to build wealth, you’re building wealth in both directions. Every dollar of debt that you pay off is an increase to your net worth just like investing and getting a return on every it’s a dollar for dollar investment when you’re paying off debt.

So they should both be a part of the game plan because you can invest, you can buy, real estate. It doesn’t mean that you’ll see that RRI right away. Right? You might have some three, four or five months of rehab going on before you can get a renter in there, but that $1 that you just paid on your credit card, made your net worth go up instantly.

Right? So it’s a, both, and it’s not an either or.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. I’d love it. Now for someone who is thinking about starting a business, I know that you all have been pioneers in the blog world. Do you feel that? Cause a lot of people, they feel like they have a story to share. They have a problem that they want to solve, but they don’t necessarily know the medium that they should be using.

Do you feel like people still should be starting blogs in today’s world? Where there’s? I want to say the last thing I read was like over 600 million active blogs. Or do you feel like there’s maybe a better medium, if you were starting all over today, that you would look at it?

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

So, this is how it answer the question.

You may not, you don’t necessarily have to, it’d be a blogger, but you should have an online presence. if this pandemic has not taught us anything, it has taught all of the corporations, all the mama pop, businesses that they not only need to have a brick and mortar, but the main important thing is to have an online presence.

And so a lot of companies and businesses that have failed because they did not have an online presence. So a lot of times I think when people hear the word blogger, they think, Oh gosh, I’m not good at writing. I got to write a blog post. No, we don’t even really write a lot of blog posts. Majority of our online presence has video and podcast.

And so, no, you don’t necessarily have to have a blog, but you should have some type of online presence because you can reach so many people. You know, farther by being online, that you can by them, you know, coming at your neighborhood, bringing a doorbell or whatnot, or coming into an ex an actual establishment.

so yeah, I would say online for sure.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. The world’s not going to get less digital, like we’re only going to become more digitized as a society. What has happened here and our world is going to force technology to be an even. More greater part of our world. So if you’re sitting there trying to establish yourself as an authority or as an entrepreneur, and you’re not investing in creating an online presence, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

So I don’t care if you can write or not. I don’t care if you can, you know what your strengths are. If your strength is audio, if your strength is video, if you’re straight is written, you need to take your strengths, but then have it. Created in other fashions. And so you can take a video that you did on YouTube and have it, somebody create article, basically the words that you said, maybe you’re not a writer, but somebody can take the words that you said and organize it in a fashion to put it on your online presence as well written article, because my wife’s background is in finance and my background is in education.

And one thing that I know from being an educator is that everybody learns differently. We don’t all learn from reading. We don’t all learn orally. We don’t all learn visually, but some do in each category. And so you want to give your content the best shot to reach people in the way that they should. One of the failures of the education system is that we only teach one way.

We are lecture-based. We are top down in our approach and that only reaches some learners. And so if your goal is to help somebody through the service, the product that you offer, then you, it is your duty to bring it to them in a way that they can receive it. Because communication is a two way street.

It’s not just a sender, but there’s a receiver. And so. We would encourage you to definitely have an online presence, play to your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

And let me say this, when we say online presence, we mean on your own real estate. So there are a lot of people that are building businesses and brands on Instagram, very successfully

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

on Zuckerberg’s real estate.

Facebook, on the, even on YouTube.

But the truth of the matter is they can literally shut down your business with a click of a button. Someone can say that you’re infringing on their idea. All they have to do is hit a button and change the algorithm and is over.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

So you need to have an online presence where you own the real estate. So for an example, I have a sister that is extremely successful in crafting.

She’s making very good money on Etsy. I think she just hit her. Ooh, how many orders? I don’t know. I think her 7,000 order, maybe on Etsy where she does crafts. And she recently over the past year said, you know what? I need my own online presence. So now she started her website. She didn’t shut down her Etsy store, but she’s now funneling new customers a.

Come to my website. When you want to put in that order, number one is going to be less fees because you’re not giving fees to a third party site. And number two is going to be higher retention and name recognition. A lot of times when people think of Etsy, they, they don’t necessarily think about your business.

And they think of Etsy in a world of 5 million stores. Right? You get them verbally say, Hey, go to hisorhermoney.com for your needs. Then that’s name recognition. You understand what I’m saying? So build your real estate on your own. You own it. Think think like a boss, think like an owner and don’t build your brand or your real estate on somebody else’s land.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

It should be supplemental.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. And that’s right there a whole truth, because so many people, they do, they look at Facebook and that’s the initially where they start to invest that. But your email list, which is an asset that you would own. Right. That’s so huge. And I was one who made that mistake, right?

Me having an online business now what, four and a half years, it took me two and a half years before I really understood the power of owning your own real estate. And that’s crazy because I’m in the actual real estate world and the offline market. And I’m always talking about ownership, but it was, it was that one time that somebody said, listen, you don’t own this.

you know, Facebook could shut you down. And so I’m glad that you all brought that

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

up. And they’ve done it. We know people personally, and it’s hard trying to show them, no, I really am the owner of this. Like it’s, it can be headache.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Absolutely. And I think even more than that, even if they don’t shut you down, they continue the algorithm of who sees your product, your name, your service.

Right. And that’s tough as well, because if you were expecting certain amount of traffic coming in, but all of a sudden you switch up something where you don’t do as many videos or whatever. And if you’re not getting that engagement, Facebook, LinkedIn, all those sites though, just don’t limit it. And now you’re stuck trying to figure out how you can create that.

But if you, the best organic reach that you’re going to have is through your email list, because everybody’s going to get it now, if it goes to their spam or whatever else, that’s a whole different story, but at least they get it. It’s in their inbox. I don’t have to worry about.

Something that I’m proud of you all for. And that a lot of people struggle with is you’ve been able to build this empire together from day one, you had the mindset, you had the vision and you worked in harmony rather than trying to balance out and fit in which works. And what doesn’t. I got an, a question a lot of times when people ask like Casanova, it’s so great that you and your wife are on the same page, but my wife and I are not on the same page.

How do you recommend that people can become on the same page? Like, is it, does there’s one party you have to really start putting into traction first? Or is it like, we’re not even going to do it if we can’t agree to it upfront, what does that look like?

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Well, I think that on the same page looks different for each couple, right on the same page.

Doesn’t mean that you’re sitting there next to each other, right? This is probably our seventh or eighth, his or her money, probably our seventh or eighth business. And it’s the first time anybody saw me. Right. She had an online presence before this. She had an online business for this and I was in the background.

I was playing a part, but it wasn’t a front person part. And that was born out of conversation. So if you have a dream or if your spouse has a dream, one honor it, you know what I mean? Start there with honor and respect. Don’t shut it down. Don’t poopoo it. Don’t tell them why. It’s a bad idea. Don’t talk about the, the obstacles that are before them, but honor the dream.

That’s where it starts and then let. Let’s have a deeper conversation about where do both of us fit inside of this dream. Can we both play a part for some, it might not be a complete involvement in, said business idea, maybe you’re the stabilizing force of the household. So you’re agreeing like, yo, I’m going to hold it down at my nine to five.

Wow. You built this thing at night, or I’ll help a little bit more with the kids when I get home for work so that you can go into the office and create this and create that. And so it starts, I believe out of a conversation, a real transparent, because at the end of the day, you should both want this dream.

Even if it’s not your dream, even if it’s your spouse’s dream, you should want the dream because of your love for that person, that person that you said that you were committed to. Like, I don’t understand how. Spouse A can not want, spouse B to succeed. It starts their honor. The dream.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

I agree.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

I think from there you have a detailed conversation about roles and responsibilities.

If you both, if this is something that you both are involved in, like for us, this is something we’re both involved in, but in the past, it, I wasn’t involved in these other things at all in the background a little bit. and so it. It becomes an identification of that. Is this a two party thing or is this a support thing?

If it is a support thing, what’s the best way to support. And then you got an honor. Both sides. Okay. Now, listen, if I’m a, hold it down, we gotta, you know, six months, 12 months reevaluate to see if it’s working because over time, if you don’t continue to have the conversations, if you don’t have continue to have updates that can breed room for resentment, right?

Because you’re, you’re creating a narrative about what’s happening or what’s not happening. What’s working, what’s not working. And if you all aren’t. Coming together to discuss it. Then that leaves room for anybody to come in and really mess things up. So it starts with honoring, upfront identifying roles and updating each other.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Now, let me say this too. there are, there are times where couples may be the one spouse is a habitual dreamer. What do I mean by that? Everything that comes out new and flashy and shiny, it’s like, Oh, I want to do this now. Now I want to do this. Now. I want to do that. Now you have to. Give sheer focus and discipline.

And one thing to try to build that thing up. So we can’t always down the other spouse. Maybe there’s a spouse that, I dunno, maybe they are not in agreement with it, but why are they not in agreement with it? Is it because every year you got something new and nothing has really stuck. Is it that it’s taking money from other goals and other dreams and constantly just hitting pause on everything else.

It’s like, okay, now this is now that’s new. So you kind of have to ask yourself, where do you fall in, in this scenario? Right. Are you literally trying to legit build something? Are you just chasing the next big thing? The next big thing,

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

you gotta be careful to have, a graveyard of failed businesses in your backyard half done business in your backyard.

And then you bring business idea, number 11 to your spouse. And they say, listen, I don’t know.

Oh, you don’t support me. You don’t believe in me. Like, you know, you gotta look at our basement is full of products that you didn’t sale 17 businesses. So it’s gotta be a balance.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

And I will say there are times where you got to keep trying things until they work.

But again, you have to also look at where you being a diligent, where you have a good steward, where you displaying excellence in everything that you put your hand to.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. I mean, you guys are speaking so much truth. I think communication is everything and reevaluating. A lot of the times we get off to the races and we think that life is so great.

But if both spouses are not reevaluating and communicating along the way, Then just, like you said, you could have that resentment to where one is like, especially if there’s one that’s in the front end, the spotlight and the other, one’s holding the house down, then all of a sudden, you know, ego plays into it and, and a lot of other things and yeah, and it’s kinda just like, Oh, you’re jealous of me where it’s like, no, you know, you’ve got to understand that this was a team effort from the beginning.

I did this, not because I was jealous because I wanted us to win together and build this empire. And then you let the ego kind of take off and. That’s where it just goes down.

I heard you say something though. That was very interesting. If we look at the first two businesses, right. What would you say was the reason that those businesses did not take off? Or would you say that it was a lack of clarity? Was it a lack of resources?

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Probably say the season, seasons matter. So, at one particular season we were having children.

Our children were extremely young. your father had got sick. So there were different external things that necessarily was not in our control per se. And so, one particular business, I was. And it with my sister, she was going through the same season. She was building her family. She had gotten married.

Oh, she had children. So I made it very difficult for us to come together for us to meet for us, to do the content, remember and where we were given. I gave birth. One of the kids in the hospital, I’m sitting there with the laptop after giving birth, you know, like typing away. I’m like this, this is just dysfunctional.

Right. It just doesn’t make sense. And so I would probably say the season. for me would be the reason why maybe those things did not work very well, could have still worked. But I think you have to know when’s the time to say it’s time to close this door.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah, I think we learned something from each situation.

So another situation we had a, we were trying to get into a business with multiple family members and because of the relationship, the familial relationship, you know, We were, we were still, even though we were grown people, we were kids. And so when we were sitting here and having a business conversation, it was as if our opinion wasn’t valued at the same level.

You get what I’m saying because of the family dynamic there. Right? So we learned, you know, a cautionary tale about, you know, whether it can be a good idea to work with family members or not. We tried to start an investment real estate business, but. 2008… enough said, right? So things, sometimes they’re in your control, sometimes things are not in your control.

And so I think we took lessons from, from everything that we attempted and we apply it to, or we made sure that we didn’t make those same mistakes when we built what we have now.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. I love it. And the reason why I asked that is because for a lot of people right now, they’re on that third, maybe even fourth, and now they’re, they’re starting to lose hope, right?

They have this dream. They’ve tried it. They do got those buried treasures of things that they felt that it was the right season, but yet. You have continued to make it work. You can, you found that one? And so for somebody else that’s listening right now, they’re thinking like, is this my next one? Or is my spouse really gonna say, listen, you got all of these other buried treasures and you said it was okay.

You know, you, you really understood that, that it was time to hang it up. How does someone know when to pivot or when to keep going?.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. Yeah. So for us, in each situation, it was a calculated risk, right? It was never an, an all of these circumstances, even the things that didn’t work out, we never put our livelihood in jeopardy.

We took a measured amount of money and we had a measured amount of time to go after it. And we were. Definitely conversating about it the week, month to month trying to figure out is this working? Is it not? So I think that it took a lot of just honesty and transparency and objectivity.

Right. We were able to see, you know, you don’t give up on the first obstacle, but you keep trying and you keep pushing. Yeah. But at some point, you, you feel the need, you should feel the need to shift or to pivot or to stop completely. And so

I don’t think it happened like with one conversation or we woke up one morning, like, I think it’s over, it was a series of things that we felt were headed in the wrong direction.

And ultimately the best option at this point is to stop or is to pivot. it took a lot of, I think, conversations in each situation. And I don’t think that I’m in any of those yeah. Situations. We pretty much came to the conclusion simultaneously. Probably not completely instantly, but we were feeling, you know, some of the same things.

And in each of these scenarios, like, you know what, this isn’t working because of X or this isn’t working because of Z. And it was okay again, because we didn’t put our lives. In jeopardy. We talked about how we wanted to approach this. We gave ourselves time and space to make it work. We’ve worked hard. We worked diligently.

So we didn’t walk away from any of these situations like feeling like we didn’t give it our, all you get what I’m saying.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

And also, money should not be the depicting factor on whether or not you should stay or not. So for an example, Some of the things that we actually closed the door on, we were making money.

We were making good money, but you have to ask yourself, is it profitable at this time in your life? Right. So again, you have to look at the season that you’re in. Is it beneficial for the family? Is it taking a lot of time away from doing XYZ? So you have to kind of look at an extra set multiple questions, right?

don’t just look at the money. It’s like, man, well, I am bringing in more money than I do. I am spending and expenses every month. So this means it’s good. It means that I must stick with it. has your passion left, has your drive left? does the business require your physical hands? Right, right now we’re living in a society where you can outsource a lot of things, but there are some businesses where you can’t outsource.

Yeah. You have to literally legit do it yourself. So you have to ask all these different questions again. Okay. Our household is different from the next household. And what’s good for us right now. May not be good for you.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. Now, one thing that this is a question for me, but I’ve had conversations with friends about this as well is when people first get married.

There’s always the question of, do you put your finances together now, of course, in this situation, when you guys have built a business together, it’s understandable of how you can, or at least separate and just business from personal. But do you think that it’s important that each spouse has their separate finances?

Or are you someone that says no. What we make is ours together?

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

So it’s a, it’s a semantics question. So the principle for us is that everything that we have is combined, it was combined from, June 3rd, 2006, the day we got married to present day. With that said within our combined plan, we have his and her money.

I have an account that’s quote, unquote, my account. She has an account that’s quote, unquote, her account, but we both have. Our names on every account that we have, we have access

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

There’s nothing that I have that he can’t acess.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Well, we built some independence with, into our family plan. So I get to, you know, get my, my, my spend, you know, spend her out, you know, on things that I like without having to answer.

Why did you get that? Why did you get that? And there’s a dollar amount agreed to, so we created the plan together, but there’s a little bit that I get to myself. There’s a little bit that she gets to herself, but 98.9%. It’s all,

it’s all ours.

Like from the principle, the principle of the matter is all of our money is combined, but we get how some people like to like, that’s why I said it’s semantics because I need a little spending money.

Well, you can build that way. I’ve been to a combined plant. And so for us, it’s we are on one accord, same page. We’re in this together. We’re gonna ride together. We gonna win together. We might take some L’s together, but we going do all of this together.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Yep. I love it. I love it. Was there a book or was there a other podcast or anything that helped to accelerate your growth over these last 13 years?

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. I mean, I, I would say for people trying to, I’m, I’m big on blueprints. I think that you do much better, following the, I believe Tony Robbins said that if you want to be successful, find somebody who’s been successful at what you’re trying to be successful at and do what they did.

so I love blueprint. So Ramit Sethi in his book.”I Will Teach You To Be Rich” that’s a fantastic blueprint. If you’re trying to get your personal finances in order in a systematic way, I would highly, highly suggest you check that out philosophy wise. I mean, it’s one that people say on your show all the time, Rich Dad, Poor Dad that you won’t find strategy there, but you will find, several paradigm shifts, to the way that you view.

how the world system is set up, from the different categories, which you’ll, you’ll read about the, the business owner.

for investing the one book, the only book I’ll tell you for stock market investing is “The Simple Path To Wealth” by J L Collins.

Phenomenal. It’s it’s it’s our whole stock market strategy is based on his, it was based on his teachers before he wrote a book, but then he put it all in a book. So go get the simple path to wealth by J L Collins. So those three books from the personal finance standpoint, “Rich Dad Poor Dad, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and The Simple Path To Wealth.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

And The Bible!

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

That’s a great point that you brought up and I wanted to address that you talked about the stock market and right now for current events, a lot of people are looking or thinking about double Dutch in the stock market.

Right. They, they jumping in and out. What are your thoughts? Do you think that. People should still, because it looks like a lot of people, they might’ve missed the boat and I did it to a little bit of investing, but you never really know. And when you see your money go up, you always feel like you should have put more money in.

Right. And some people are still saying that the stock market’s still only about 75 to 80%. So you still, you know, should be investing. Do you think that people right now should be still buying stocks? Or do you think that, you know, like what are your thoughts on it? This market in particular,

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

So, what you’ll learn through reading that book is a style of investing, or a vehicle of investing, I should say, index funds. And so we don’t personally pick individual stocks because you can’t, for one, you can’t time the market. So those who are waiting for the perfect time, you’re watching all these TV shows and reading all these magazines, telling you whether we’re at the bottom or not.

They don’t know. We don’t know. Nobody knows if we’re at the bottom of that. The philosophy is not to buy at the bottom and sell at the top is to buy low and sell high. And the market is low right now. We don’t know if it’s the lowest, but we know it’s low. And so it’s a great time to push your chips into, and this is what we teach our students that are in our mentorship program, Power Couples University.

We teach them that if you put your money in now, you and. You should be investing for the longterm. We’re not trying to, and no shade to anybody that, that trades and does options and all that. Those are all viable ways to make money. The stock market just takes a lot more, yeah. Direct effort and impact.

And you have to have your eyes on what’s going on a lot more frequently. And so we are a big proponents of index funds and index funds is you not trying to beat the market, it’s just you matching the markets. So whatever the market is doing. That’s what your money is doing. Warren Buffett himself. his advice was that he said out of his own mouth that most people can’t. Invest like he does.

And he would suggest that most people invest in an index fund when he passes away the money. Most of it’s going to, to charity, but the money that he’s leaving, his wife is going into index funds. And so if the number one investor of all time is telling you that you should invest in index funds and I’m prone to believe that may be investing in index funds is the best idea.

And when you invest in index funds, It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the market because you’re not trying to beat it. He did a, he did a, a challenge where he took on some of the top mutual funds investors in the world, and he put a certain amount of money index funds and they got to compete against his index fund and they lost.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Yeah, I think it was over a 10 year period, right? Yes.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Are people looking at the market every day, all day moving and shaking and they lost the index funds.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

Yeah. It’s so much information, you know, to try to keep hold of. So I definitely respect that, but I know a lot of people right now is being glorified by doing stock options and things like that.

And so you want to. He’s like, Oh man. And you’re thinking, listen, I already use Apple, so I should go buy Apple. But Apple is super expensive right now, if you’re not going to buy more than if you’re trying to buy more than 10 shares. Right. And so people are like, well, what can I do? So your recommendation would be to really look at index funds and to read that book as a way that you could at least start getting your feet wet and start to build longterm wealth over time.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah, we would say that that’s, that’s where your foundation, your stock market foundation should be built. And we know people that, again, the thrill of index, I mean individual stocks or the thrill options, but I would never make that the core of my strategy that could be icing on the cake, but it should not be the cake.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. I love it. This has been a phenomenal episode. You two did not disappoint at all. And I love that we got the opportunity to pick your brain and share some of your wisdom. For anybody out there. That’s super inspired and yeah, love your journey, especially if they’re a couple and they, they want to, aspire to be on the same path that you and Tai have.

but they have this, a little voice in their head and that voice says that maybe they’re not strong enough. They’re not smart enough. Or maybe they just don’t have enough resources. What’s the one thing that you both would tell them to get them to just take action.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. I would say that, I believe just like Henry Ford said “whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t you’re right”.

Yeah. So change your belief system. We all have obstacles. We didn’t, we didn’t come from silver spoons. We fact the data, the statistics statistics out there say that we shouldn’t be anywhere near where we are in life. You know, we were both born to single mothers on the South side of Chicago, go in the middle of the crack era in the middle of the war on drugs.

And so our story from a data statistical standpoint should be completely different, but we chose to believe differently. We have, And we’re not at the place where we’re even comfortable. Like we have dreams bigger than this way, bigger than this right. Dream nation. This is all about dreams, big, super sized dreams that we are still pursuing.

And even though. It doesn’t all the resources aren’t in place or the team or the strategy isn’t in place to achieve these big dreams. We believe in a big God and we believe that if we honor him and all that we do, he’s going to help us walk towards that destination. And so it starts with a belief system, right?

Don’t listen to, even if family tells you you’re not qualified, the world tells you you’re not qualified. You have the power to. Create things that your parents, your grandparents, your ancestors never had the opportunity to. And so you have to take control of your thoughts and let yourself know that God is more than able.

And if God is more than able to, if I serve him and I align my life with him, He can help me to do anything.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Yeah. And I would say perfection is a destiny killer. A lot of times people are giving excuses on why they can’t start and why they can’t start now. and if you continue to fill your mind with those excuses, you will not, you will still be in the same place that you are next year.

Basically, when the pandemic happened, we did an entire, like three week stay home. We call it a stay home university where we were giving away free classes, right. Packed. People were in there, they were learning as much as possible. But the truth of the matter is once all the glitz and glam is gone, once all the lights are turned off, what are you going to do with all the information that you have now acquired?

So. Like your podcast, DreamNation is a fenomenal resource. People are gaining this information is now hard to put feet to your dreams. And so don’t allow perfection to keep you there. If you all could see our old website, when we started almost six years ago, it was. Now I can say it was ugly, but then you couldn’t have told me anything.

It was the best we can give at that time. Right. Our logo, everything has now changed since that, since that day. So don’t spend so much time wasting time on the very miniscule, the very minimal things, right. That really doesn’t mean anything because you’re probably going to change anyway, five years from now.

Just start.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

I love it. Right? Start where you are with what you have right now. Love it, but Hey again. Thank you. Remember. Dream nation in the dream we trust. But as they both just said, Talaat and Ty, you must take action. Otherwise it will only merely be a fantasy. So hopefully you all got some great information out of this.

As I know I have, and I appreciate both of you coming on, sharing your wisdom and giving us your time. We’re completely honored. We can’t wait to have you back on the next one. And we hope you both stay blessed and keep going. After those major dreams. Thanks again.

[strong]Tai McNeely:[/strong]

Thank you.

[strong]Talaat McNeely:[/strong]

Thank you for having us. It’s been a blast.

[strong]Casanova Brooks:[/strong]

You bet.


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