Investing isn’t just for men, it’s for anyone who wants to thrive financially. There’s a cultural shift happening today, right now, more and more women are investing in the stock market and claiming their financial freedom. But it’s really hard to know where to start. School really never taught you how to invest and trying to research personal finance options on your own can be overwhelming, especially when the information you need is buried in financial jargon.

This is where Shinobu Hindert’s new book, Investing is Your Superpower, comes in. The book offers a proven step-by-step process for building wealth and confidently making investment decisions. Stop waiting and take charge of your financial future. Create the lifestyle you’ve always wanted but thought you couldn’t afford.

Drew Appelbaum: Hey Listeners, my name is Drew Applebaum and I’m excited to be here today with Shinobu Hindert, author of Investing is Your Superpower: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Lifestyle You’ve Always Wanted, Shinobu, thank you for joining, welcome to The Author Hour Podcast.

Shinobu Hindert: Thank you, it’s awesome to be here.

Drew Appelbaum: Let’s kick this off, can you give us a rundown of your professional background?

Shinobu Hindert: Sure, I started in the financial industry about 15 years ago in a financial advising type of role, and I built the bulk of my career doing that. So, I was creating custom financial plans for high-net-worth clients on the east coast, and then I transitioned over to the west coast. At one point was overseeing a book of about 350 million dollars worth of client assets, so that was primarily strategic planning, investment planning, tax planning, all of those fun things. While being a financial advisor is exciting because every day is different, things are changing, and it is a very sales-focused role.

I became a certified financial planner during that 10 years, so I could take a look holistically at what comprehensive financial planning was. I could understand, okay, yes, this is a good solution or product for those clients, but I wanted to know, “What does this mean for the long term? How is this impacting them on all angles?”

Once I had that, I felt really confident in my position because I knew I was always doing the right thing or recommending the right thing for clients. After probably about 10 years of that, I transitioned to a financial education role with a larger company in the US, and that was really different.

I was going from working with clients that had, let’s say, a minimum of one million dollars of liquid assets that we were managing, to people that were heading towards retirement and really had not thought about saving.

I was also meeting with or getting in front of recent college grads who had an enormous amount of debt, and maybe not the income that was going to support their lifestyle. I was teaching a lot of these but there was a lot of it that was a little bit too late for me to be telling people after the fact.

So, then I started my own financial education business so I could change it because I was working for a really big company. While my ideas were great, in the financial industry, there’s so many standards and rules and things that you have to follow and a ton of red tape, that I couldn’t just go rogue and start doing my own thing in these workshops.

That was kind of the backdrop of what I did–I was a financial planner, educator, and primarily a public speaker, and now, I have my own business as a financial educator.

Financial Education

Drew Appelbaum: Now, was the financial educator part, the reason why now is the time to share the stories in the book so that you could spread the message to people all across whoever has Amazon, or was there another “aha moment” you had or something inspiring that you said, “Okay, now is the time to write a book on this subject.”

Shinobu Hindert: That is such a great question because it was something that I had always wanted to do but when I was working for a larger organization, there were so many things, even as simple as social media where you have to be really careful because as a certified financial planner, you’re also held to a board of rules and regulations.

You can’t necessarily have your own public opinion. It’s not because they don’t trust you, but it’s because then that might look like an endorsement from your company. It was something that I knew I wanted to write and create, and it just wasn’t possible at the time.

Then I actually had left my job because I had my son and I was working long hours and because I was a public speaker, I was traveling at least one week out of every month, and with a newborn baby, I realized, “This isn’t the life that I think is sustainable for myself.” So, I had completely left the industry.

As soon as I left, I don’t know why all of a sudden everyone that I knew was calling me and saying, “I know you left, I just have one question.” They would ask me a financial question or an investing question, and we would have these great conversations. I would be able to move the needle a little bit, and then we would kind of wrap it up, and I’m still with a newborn baby at home. They would say, “Where else can I get this information?” I would go online, I would do some research, and I’d send them to some sites. I realized, “Gosh, they really have to piece all of this together,” and then they would say, “What about the companies you used to work for, can I go there?”

At one point, I even worked for more of a boutique investment firm and our minimums were much higher, and I would say, “No, you actually can’t, because they’re paid on assets under management, not future assets.”

That’s when I realized, I needed to give people this information in a succinct, clear way in this guidebook where they can go and do this themselves, so they’re not running around from article to article on the Internet and trying to piece all of this together.

Drew Appelbaum: Now, when you said okay, I’m going to put all of this into a book, a lot of times, you’ll have the idea of the book in your head but during the writing process, sometimes by digging deeper into some of the subjects, you come to some major breakthroughs and learnings. Did you have any of these major breakthroughs or learnings during your writing journey?

Shinobu Hindert: Well, I created an actual course or an academy that I teach, it’s a live course, and so that’s what I wrote the book off of. I think it was a lot of those “aha moments” were really from running this course live. To give an example, if someone says, “Okay, to create a financial plan, you need to know all your numbers and you need to know what your risk is, and then you pick some investments and you save towards it every month and you check up on your plan.”

That sounds great and that sounds easy maybe to someone who has a lot of experience with it but within that, someone’s asking, “Well, what kind of account do I open, who do I open it with, what, do I buy a stock, do I buy a mutual fund?” There are so many layers of questions that people have and those were all the “aha moments” I had. This is why the book is a step-by-step because I never assume that somebody knows what to do.

I’m going in with a blank slate, as if this was totally new to you, here’s how you’re going to get from having a vague idea or understanding what you want, to clearly laid out steps. And by the end of this book, you’re going to create what I call the empower plan, which is someone’s personal financial plan that they’re in charge of themselves and they feel comfortable with.

Drew Appelbaum: In your mind, is this book for people of all ages 20s, 30s, pre-retirement, could millionaires still pop in and have takeaways from the book as well?

Shinobu Hindert: Yeah, I think of this book for anyone that’s pre-retirement age because it’s all the same, you’re going to need all of it, whether someone’s making a million dollars a year or someone’s making $10,000 a year, they still need to know how much they’re spending.

Even if someone is really risk-averse and they’re afraid of the stock market, they still need to understand what different asset classes do. Again, that could be someone who is making a million dollars a year or someone making $50,000 a year, it’s all information that you need to make confident investment decisions, but I do tailor this book specifically to working, female professionals.

Drew Appelbaum: Now, do readers need to do anything to prepare themselves when they start the book, is there anything that a reader can do to make sure they’re getting the most out of the book?

Shinobu Hindert: No, I break it down. I really look at this as someone who is starting from the beginning so there could be some areas where they want to skip over, if they realize, “I’ve already put the work in, I know this part, I want to skip to chapter three.”

I mentioned that in the book too, and the chapters where I start to go a little bit deep in some of these areas, I say, “If you already got this, skip ahead to chapter five,” so people can pick up the areas that they need the work on. But everything that’s in there, even though I’m 15 years deep in this business, I still have to do this stuff maybe every three months.

It’s not something that is you set it, you forget it, you’re done. When I had a daughter, after I had my son, my expenses changed. When I moved from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, my income changed. Moving houses, your life’s going to continue to evolve, and you want your finances to be in alignment with that. That’s really how the structure of the book is broken down.

There’s no prep that needs to happen beforehand, I think it’s just a readiness to be a student. I think information is awesome, I think it’s great to get your feet wet and understanding information, but this book is all about taking action because that’s what’s going to make real life-changing events happen for you and move the needle. I think a lot of people get stuck with too much information when it comes to investing or finances.

Financial Lessons from Childhood

Drew Appelbaum: Now, you talk about this early in the book, and I have two questions about it. You talk about how kids really aren’t educated about how to manage their money. The question is, why aren’t they educated, and what role does childhood money culture play in influencing some future financial decisions?

Shinobu Hindert: The problem that I have is we can’t change the past of the education system, and there’s a lot on the docket right now, there’s a lot of things that are being implemented to include that in the curriculum.

I think a lot of it is just it’s been really taboo to talk about money, it’s just not tasteful, it’s not tactful. If we look at 30-plus years ago when my mom was in the workforce, there weren’t a lot of working moms around her in the professional world.

She’s certainly wasn’t talking about money at work. Then you translate that to talking about it with your friends at home and then going into the school. If you look at a hierarchy of who is talking about money, when are we talking about money, it wasn’t normal in society to do that. I think it’s kind of looked at this taboo thing. Then as a public speaker, I did work with a lot of educational systems, and people that were in charge of communicating some of the financial information were not well versed in it.

There is that element of it too, is that now you’re asking the people because what would the curriculum be? If someone was going to go to school to study finance and then now would become a teacher, if you looked at just the income levels of those options, of someone who can be a financial advisor and you know, make six figures or potentially well over that, and then making $50,000 a year as a teacher.

Those are two different career paths and they have different passions and other things underlined between them. So, the people that are being tasked to teach this don’t have a lot of that tangible real-life experience.

I think that we don’t know what we don’t know, and we learn from experiences. If you grow up thinking that certain things like investing in the stock market are reserved for different kinds of people, then that’s the message you subconsciously are telling yourself.

When you’re presented with these investment options, you think, “Oh, that’s just not for me.” It is really important to explore what your beliefs are about not just the money but investing, and then how does that influence your life today? Because they say the sense of smell that brings you really nice memories, such as the smell of jasmine when you were at your grandmother’s house and we always have that, when you smell it when you’re older, you feel nice.

It’s the same thing. If you have a bad financial experience as a kid and then were told again and again and again, as you get older, you’re not consciously going out of your way to make bad financial decisions. But you will maybe do that. I think it’s really important to explore who you are, what your beliefs are as an individual, and forget what everybody else has told you, and just get to know yourself financially.

The Three-Step Process

Drew Appelbaum: Some people, as you just mentioned, they’re afraid to be transparent, even to themselves on really where they stand financially. What would you say to folks who would rather stick their head in the sand than deal with it? How do you motivate them to really take the first step?

Shinobu Hindert: I have a three-step process for getting over this because it’s so common and there is a different kind of financial advice for everybody based on what they’re feeling. Someone might be really afraid to address their debts, someone might be really afraid to start investing, someone might be afraid to look at their income because they don’t want to change how they’re spending. I really break it into three things–acknowledge how you’re feeling, reframe your thinking, and then move through it.

The move through it part is critical, the first one is going to be just to acknowledge it. If you’re feeling like every time you have to look at your accounts, look at your debt, your heart rate starts to increase and you start to freak out, that’s actually a good thing, that’s a sign of your body saying, “This is uncomfortable,” and you need to acknowledge it so you can move through it.

If you had no feeling at all and you don’t care, that could also be a problem. Acknowledge it and say, “This makes me feel uncomfortable.” That’s step one.

The second thing is to reframe your thinking. Finish the rest of that sentence, “This makes me uncomfortable because…” and finish that. Someone might think, it makes me uncomfortable because I don’t know what to do.

I want to reframe that–it makes me uncomfortable because I don’t know what to do. Nope, we’re going to change that. Now, I’m learning how to manage my money differently. If you start saying that to yourself, “I feel really uncomfortable but I’m starting to learn how to manage my money differently,” that’s a different sentence than, “This makes me feel uncomfortable, I don’t want to look at this, I’m never going to be good with money.”

Those are two different statements. Whatever falsity or myth you’re telling yourself, change it to a true statement.

Then the final piece is to move through it because that’s all great, you can sit there and say, “Okay, I’m going to take care of my debt,” close your laptop and you’re not looking at anything.

The move through it piece is going to be really unique, maybe it’s that someone needs a trusted friend, a partner that they can talk to and they can ask them questions and they can say, “Hey, this is making me really uncomfortable, I need someone to hold me accountable but I’m freaking out. Could you meet with me every two weeks and just check in on how I’m doing?” Or maybe it’s hiring a professional so you can say, “I don’t want to share this with people that I know, I feel uncomfortable talking about money, but I need more help than what I’m able to give myself because there’s just too much information out there.”

The last piece is really tailoring what’s going to help someone take that next step. I think earlier in the questions I said, “There has to be a readiness for someone to want to learn.” Because if you’re not there at the point where you don’t want to come up with how they’re going to move through it, then they’re just not there yet. That’s just going to come with the evolution of your life and how things happen.

But that’s what I like to do is acknowledge the problem, reframe it from whatever myth you’re telling yourself to a true statement, and, then, move through it.

Drew Appelbaum: You say in the book when you’re financially empowered, the process of reaching all your financial goals will no longer be confusing or overwhelming. Can you tell us what exactly financial empowerment and financial freedom is? Is it a million dollars, is it hitting a retirement goal? What can someone expect when they’re financially empowered, financially free?

Shinobu Hindert: I think when I’m talking about or aiming for is that internal alignment or fulfillment because, for most people, money is not the endgame. It’s not about money, it’s a lot of the journey, the experiences, your family, whatever the case is. It could be something as simple as someone telling me, “I really need $60,000,” and they say, “Okay, you really need, $60,000, why do you need it?” Then they say, “I need to buy a new car.” I’m like, “Okay, well why do you need to get a new car?” They say, “Well, I want to be able to take my family on longer trips so we can go on vacation.” Then I ask, “Okay, what’s so great about these vacations?” and then lo and behold, you’re talking to someone who was never able to see national parks as a kid with their family because they couldn’t afford it and they couldn’t take the time off.

It is a lifelong dream for them to be able to pack everybody up in the car, go camp at these national parks, and be able to drive and have the freedom and flexibility to do that. Now, this $60,000, yes, it’s going to bring that but that’s not their goal. It’s not the money, so financial empowerment to me is really the fulfillment of what is going to make you feel like what you wanted in your heart is really aligned with the way that you are living your life. What is going to get you there are the finances behind all of those things.

Drew Appelbaum: Now realistically when you make your financial plan, how much would someone be spending on their finances? How much time should they be spending on their finances per week and what should they really be doing?

Shinobu Hindert: This is really unique to the individual because you are going to find people that love budgeting and they just want to sit there and look at everything that they’ve spent and they love it. They say, “Oh look at this, I saved this much on mint.” Then you’re going to have people like me and that actually gives me anxiety. If I look at every dollar that I spent, my blood pressure is just going up every single time.

It’s really unique to who you are, but if I look at creating a financial plan, learning investing, all of that is like learning another language. If you’re just trying to order food at a restaurant, that is going to be really different than having a conversation in French. The baby steps are let’s make sure that you can get out of the airport and get into a taxi and get to your hotel properly.

It’s similar to the decision fatigue that when Obama was in office, he talked about that he only wears blue and grey suits. He said that he never wanted to make a decision on what he was going to eat, or what he’s going to wear because by 3:00 when critical matters were coming to his desk, he didn’t want to be tired. He wanted to have a fresh, clear mind so he could think and execute late into the hours of the night.

So, you also get decision fatigue when you’re working on your finances. If you don’t have a good grip on how much you are spending, on what your debt looks like, what’s your cash flow, all of those things, if someone is talking to you now about investing, you kind of have to do all of that to get to where you are. Now you’re tired and have to start making some decisions.

That could take hours versus if you just spent 30 minutes a week, 20 minutes a week. I like to call them financial date nights. If you said, “I’m going to have a financial date,” it could be date day, either you do it with yourself, with a friend, or you do it with your partner. It’s once a week, it’s 20 minutes and you are tackling something small, just to move the needle a little bit, it does not have to be a full-time job.

A Comprehensive Financial Plan

Drew Appelbaum: Do you want to lay out anything that the book will not teach you? You do touch on this a little bit earlier in the book.

Shinobu Hindert: Yeah, the book is really for a comprehensive financial plan. If someone is an experienced trader and they’re looking for additional strategies or even some more detailed tax strategies, it’s not for that. It’s not looking at investments from that standpoint, but it is really, “How do I juggle all of the things that I want to do?” For example, if someone is trying to buy a house, maybe they want to retire, maybe they want to go on vacations, they have all of these goals.

You want to make sure they have unique investment strategies and that you’re hitting all of those. If someone has a more granular goal that they are looking for, then this wouldn’t be appropriate, and especially if they are a more experienced trader, they probably wouldn’t get a ton out of this.

Drew Appelbaum: Well Shinobu, we just touched on the surface of the book here but I want to say that writing a book with a step-by-step plan to financial freedom is no small feat, so congratulations on being published.

Shinobu Hindert: Thank you.

Drew Appelbaum: I do have one question left, it is the hot seat question. If readers could take away only one thing from the book, what would you want it to be?

Shinobu Hindert: I would want them to have a very realistic idea of how they were going to reach all of their goals. This is in the last portion of the book, but it is basically to just get really, really clear. They’re not just throwing a dart at the wall and saying, “I hope I am going to hit my financial goals.” That would be the most important thing I would want someone to get out of the book.

Drew Appelbaum: Shinobu, this has been a pleasure and I’m excited for people to check out the book. Everyone, the book is called Investing is Your Superpower and you could find it on Amazon. Shinobu, besides checking out the book, where can people connect with you?

Shinobu Hindert: Instagram, I am probably there the most. It’s @empowered_planning and then I have a private Facebook community group that’s also the Empowered Planning community where a lot of people will talk a little bit more detail about what is going on in their financial lives, and we all support each other, which is really awesome. So, those are the biggest two places I hang out.

Drew Appelbaum: Well, thank you so much for making time and coming on the show today and best of luck with your new book.

Shinobu Hindert: Thank you.