Take Charge of Your Financial Health: Tips from Money Coach Leandra Peters

Leandra Peters

At Paceline, we’re all about turning your health into wealth. We know that by exercising at least 150 minutes every week, you’re investing in your well-being for the future.That’s why we want to pay you to do it: Apply now for the Paceline Card and you’ll boost your cash back when you hit your weekly streak! But there’s another component to all this: your financial health. 

At a recent event for Paceline Members, Female in Finance founder Leandra Peters shared some of her top money tips. Located in San Diego, California, Peters studied business administration with a double emphasis in marketing and finance, and got a minor in astrophysics. Instead of becoming a mathematician for NASA, like she had planned, Peters worked as a senior national account manager for seven years in corporate finance. Now she’s a full-time financial blogger and money coach. 

Here, her advice: 

Establish your financial foundation

“One type of budgeting that I really like is called Zero Based Budget,” Peters said. “This is a budget where you’re assigning a responsibility to every single dollar that comes in as income for the month.” 

You can’t understate the value of creating a budget, according to Peters. 

Your budget doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s simply meant to be a guide based on your actual spending habits. You can get a sense of this by printing out your credit card statements (you may even find a few subscriptions or line items that are no longer necessary or sparking joy).

Peters also stressed the importance of an emergency fund, a separate bank account with a lump sum of at least six months worth of expenses in case of an emergency or an unexpected circumstance. 

And the last step in laying down the groundwork toward financial independence is prioritizing paying off any high interest debt, according to Peters. She outlined four strategies below for you to choose from: 

  1. Debt Snowball is when you pay off the smallest debt first, which is a psychologically good option because it starts with small wins. 
  2. Debt Avalanche is when you pay off the highest interest debt first, which is mathematically the best way to pay off your debt in the long run, because you’ll pay the least amount of interest. 
  3. Debt Flood is the most commonly used, but not recommended as it’s the slowest and most expensive method. The idea is that any extra money each month is applied evenly to all remaining debt. 
  4. Debt Tsunami is a Leandra Peters Original, and it’s for when you come into a large sum of money (maybe inheritance or maybe those lottery tickets are finally paying off) and your debt is wiped out all at once. 

Build wealth through investing

Your goal should be to contribute as much as you can to your 401k because it reduces your taxable income. Be sure to take advantage of company match, Peters advises. “Or you’re essentially leaving free money on the table.” 

She recommends investing inside a Roth IRA, as well. This is another type of retirement account that’s not tied to an employer at all. “If you don’t have a 401k, this is an account that you would want to start investing in as soon as possible,” Peters said. “If you do have a 401k, this is another type of retirement account that people really like to take advantage of. I would personally recommend both.”

Take charge of your finances

“Embrace the skill of negotiation and negotiate your bills,” Peters said. “A quick tip is to always be kind to the person on the phone. It’s not their job to lower your bill, but you’d be surprised how many of them are super helpful and understanding of your situation.”

Nothing is off the table: You can call about financial assistance and the possibility of lowering medical, phone, cable, internet, utility, and even auto insurance bills. 

It doesn’t hurt to ask, speaking of which—Peters wants to encourage everyone to ask for a raise, especially considering inflation. “Don’t be afraid,” she said. “All you need is a little bit of preparation.” 

As you think about advocating for yourself, Peters stressed prioritizing these three areas of health: mental health, physical health, and financial health. “Having that trifecta will be really helpful for you,” she said. Remember to practice self care, and set boundaries for yourself. It’s okay to tell people “No.”

And lastly, your financial education doesn’t stop here. Peters put together a list of her favorite books and podcasts to help continue your financial literacy. 

Books: 

Podcasts: 

You can follow Leandra Peters for more tips, tricks, and recommendations for other financial resources.

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