In the latest episode of the Bet On Yourself podcast, I spoke to former CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg news anchor Nicole Lapin to talk about how she flipped her career on its head, leaving the news desk behind to become a best-selling author. Despite not coming from a background in finance, Nicole has overcome her sense of imposter syndrome to master the money conversation, making finance a more accessible and transparent topic for her readers. Already a four-time published author, Nicole now has a seven-book deal in the pipeline as she continues sharing her incredible stories and insight with the world.
[Ann 00:00:00] Welcome to this week's episode of the Bet On Yourself podcast, where we speak to some of the world's most inspirational people who have all, at some point in their careers, taken a huge bet on themselves, transforming them both personally and professionally. Today I am joined by Nicole Lapin, a number one best-selling author, money expert and businesswoman. Of course, Nicole doesn't really need much of an introduction as she is already one of America's most loved Emmy Award-winning news anchors, appearing on the likes of CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. With a seven-book series in the pipeline, today I'll be talking to Nicole about her latest book baby, Miss Independent: The 12-step plan to Join and Master the Money Conversation, taking control of your own wealth and investing wisely. Nicole dominates the financial field in her approachable, digestible and simply kick-ass way, but how did she go from news anchor to fierce financier? That's exactly what we're about to find out. I can't wait to share Nicole's story with you all today, and if you love this episode as much as I think you will, then please do let me know in all the usual places such as a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, or anywhere else you happen to be listening right now.
[Ann 00:01:14] Nicole Lapin, I am so excited to have you on the Bet on Yourself podcast today. Thanks for joining us.
[Nicole 00:01:20] I am so honored. Thank you so much for having me.
[Ann 00:01:23] As I was saying, pre-recording, I have been following your career and everything you've been working on for so many years. It's thrilling for me to meet somebody that I consider one of my avatar mentors, which my listeners know what that means if somebody does a couple steps down a path that I hope to follow in myself. So I'm very excited to get pro tips straight from you today on some of your career journeys, your successes, your goals, and what's coming up next.
[Nicole 00:01:15] I'm so excited that I just learned a new phrase. May I borrow it?
[Ann 00:01:55] Yes, please. Plagiarize, steal it away. I'm pretty sure I stole that from someone else, but I love the concept of having like a mentor who's there, who knows you and your strengths. You've got the sponsors who are five years ahead of you and opening the doors for you that you can't yet open yourself. And then my avatar mentors are this nice mishmash of people that I admire, and I take my favorite bits of each one, actually, as I was reading the opening of your book all the endorsements. There are so many times where I was like "bitch, oh my gosh!" This is like all of my avatar mentors on one page, like Sara Blakely and like, I love it. So you've got my tribe already assembled, it's very fun. Yeah, we just needed you. So now we're complete.
[Nicole 00:02:36] Fantastic. I will sit at that table very gladly.
[Ann 00:02:41] Sit with us. So I wanted to start at the very beginning. On Bet on Yourself We love to talk about the non-linear nature of our careers. It's always at the end that it looks like all the dots naturally connected but I know from experience that is not how it goes. So I wonder, can you tell us about young little Nicole and what was your original dream? What did you actually think you were going to be when you grew up?
[Nicole 00:03:06] Wow, you're right. All of the dots seem like they make sense in hindsight, but while you're going on the journey, you're like, Holy cow, this is a bunch of random dots. And when I was little Nicole, I actually wanted to be a poet, I started in college as a creative writing major, and ultimately I became a writer, just not the kind I expected. But I switched gears when I was in college to become a journalism major because I thought, well, if I sit under a tree and read and write poetry all day long, I am not going to pay the bills. And journalists make all sorts of money, surely! Clearly, I did not do my research. And so I switched majors and I went to the dean of the journalism school, and they're like, Yeah, you know, you make $18,000 a year as a local news reporter, which is what I did, I went through all sorts of small markets working your way up through the broadcast news world. I went to Lexington, Kentucky, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and all sorts of places to sort of work my way up. And then I was offered a job as a business reporter, and the kind of reporter I wanted to be was like Christiane Amanpour or Helen Thomas, who is the badass, you know, first woman in the front row of the White House press corps with her sassy red lipstick. And I did not want to be a business journalist at all. I did not like finance. I knew nothing about finance. I broke out into hives when people talked about money stuff. My boyfriend in high school said he wanted to be a hedge fund manager. I thought he wanted to be in gardening. Like I could not be more clueless about money. I grew up in an immigrant family. We used cash. There was no discussion of like mortgages and stocks and things. And when I was offered this job, I was 18 and I interviewed for a job in local news in this station in Milwaukee that I thought was like my destiny. And I was so upset that I didn't get this job and they asked me if I knew anything about business news, and I completely just lied. And I said yes because I needed a job and that's what you do. And so I was like look, I've figured out harder things in life. You know, I was at Northwestern at the time. I was taking all sorts of and they don't teach you practical business anything in school, whether college or high school, and so I was like, I'll figure it out. And that's what I did. I learned the language of money at the school of Hard Knocks, and I realized that money is just a language like anything else. We just didn't have that Rosetta Stone at school, likely not in our home life. You know, some lucky folks maybe looked at The Wall Street Journal with their fathers growing up and that's amazing, and I wish I was that person, but I was not. And so I learned it. And then I never imagined I would speak it or speak to other people or the world or teach other people about it. So I became a very unlikely financial expert. I am the least likely person to be one. And so, honestly, I believe if I can do this finance stuff, anyone can do it. I was a poetry major, for God sakes, Ann.
[Ann 00:06:40] I love that part of your story because I so relate to that. I studied political science and emerging economies, and then I ended up in tech working for some of the greatest computer scientists in the world. And ditto when I read that part of your story about teaching yourself the language, the acronyms, like all these like overly complex ways in which they describe their expertize. Ditto. I mean, when I landed in my first job next to Jeff Bezos in 2002, I... like you describe it, it felt like they were speaking Chinese. I had no idea what they were talking about. I wish I had kept that notebook I had on my desk those first few years of like all the people I didn't know and the acronyms I'd never heard of. And you do have to teach yourself the language. And I, too, got some of my first big break jobs slightly under false pretenses, like just figuring out, you know, deciding I could figure it out along the way. So I really relate to that. I wonder... so you switched to journalism. You actually ended up as the youngest anchor, not only on one major network, but on two. Can you talk to us about those early big breaks and what do you think it was about you that allowed them to make a big bet on you? Because I asked myself the same question all the time. Why did Jeff Bezos give me that first big break? What was the secret sauce, do you think, in your early stages of your career growth?
[Nicole 00:08:03] Gosh, it's such a good question. I have no idea. I now know that my youth was one of my biggest assets at the time. I felt like it was my biggest liability every day that I walked into CNN, I thought my badge wasn't going to work, I completely was overwhelmed with imposter syndrome. Truly, I was like "okay, today's is going to be the day my badge is not going to work going through security. And they found me out and that's it. They figured out how old I am. I'm going to get kicked out like it was. It was good while it lasted. Thank you so much for this experience, bye guys. And, I, you know, I was so embarrassed about my story. I was so embarrassed that I didn't come from money. I was so embarrassed that I was so young. I tried to, you know, tease my hair to the heavens, wear shoulder pads, like all sorts of stuff. I was nervous all the time. Like I wore maxi pads under my armpits to stop the sweat from going. I mean, it would have been a trucker situation if not. I have honestly, at the time, I would have told you I was being Punk'd. Now, you know, looking back, I fully understand that my youth was an asset. And like a lot of things we think are weaknesses, they can become our biggest strength or superpowers. But, you know, with a little time, with a little work on yourself and with the little perspective.
[Ann 00:09:30] I couldn't agree more like those early years, I was just making it up as I went. And I, too, thought that my non-tech background, I was the only one who didn't have an Ivy League education. I'd gone to good schools, but not Ivy League. I tried to hide that as much as possible. I also thought it was a big mistake that was about to be discovered any day that they would be like, wait, who gave you this job? But I did... I think you and I are very similar. And then I taught it - I treated it like school. Now, you were valedictorian of I think both your high school and your university so you're clearly a good study.
[Nicole 00:10:03] Listen sister, you know, that and $3.50 gets me a soy latte so it doesn't really matter, but thank you.
[Ann 00:10:11] You're obviously a good student, so you must have applied that approach to figuring out this early career step. I wonder if it was a lot... I'm sure it was a combination of that. And did you find someone who was a proper mentor or a confidantor somebody that you looked to as an example as you were figuring it out? I don't know what newsroom like... what is that? Is it collaborative or is it highly competitive?
[Nicole 00:10:36] Probably both. I don't know. I think it was highly competitive. I, I did not have early mentors in the traditional sense. I had examples from my family of exactly what I didn't want to do. So I just did the opposite of that. And I, you know, didn't have any connections. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. You know, there were times I barely had a spoon of food in my mouth growing up. And I was so ashamed of that. And I, I now know that that is an amazing feat, what I accomplished. You know, I wasn't born on second or third base. Like, I was born in the alleyway by the dumpster. Like I wasn't supposed to be anything with the, with the hand I was dealt. And I played it the best I could, and I now know that I won. But in the middle of that journey, you know, it's... you're so myopic. Like, you can't of course, you know, I hate cliches. I'm really allergic to them. But truly, you can't see the forest, so to speak, from the trees and at the time, if you would have asked me, I just would have been, you know, a hot mess who, you know, tried to whitewash a lot of what I really embrace now. Because that has become, you know, the most, I think, relatable part of this. And when you're dealing with such a taboo subject like money, I think that's one of our last taboos in society. You have to be super honest and not a lot of people are going to go first. So I'm kind of like, well, let that be me. I reached a lot of my goals early on, you know, which I thought was, you know, I just meant I thought at the time I just needed to keep raising the bar. Now I know, like, okay, I reached a lot of goals, and now, I can... it's all gravy for me. If I can be helpful by being super, super honest about the most embarrassing, deepest, darkest things to hopefully give others license to do the same thing. Like, I'll show you mine if you show me yours, you don't even need to show me yours as long as you show yourself yours or be really honest about it and know that you don't need to be born in a certain way or be part of some certain club to get your financial life together. And so I like to at this point make fun of myself, but my former self would have never imagined doing that.
[Ann 00:13:07] Well, you've clearly done a lot of work to get to where you are now. I, I think that's one thing that really comes across in your writing, in the way that you show up, is that level of authenticity and vulnerability. That's honestly one of the biggest surprises when I opened the first of your books that I had read was being like "oh, this is not what I expected." Oh! You do very much show all of yours. You know, you've got the, not only the numbers, but you're giving personal experiences of things that are very raw and emotional that I think allow people to connect with you and feel seen in a way that I don't think most people ever feel seen, especially within a finance category. So I just really want to applaud the work that you've done, because I am sure it involved a lot of painful experiences in order to get to this place of knowing yourself and your strengths and and being able to create that psychological safety for people who are following you.
[Nicole 00:14:05] Thank you, yeah. I think, you know, there are bunch of business books and, that are memoirs and amazing stories that don't have the How-To part. And then there are a lot of how to books that, you know, don't include any stories so it's hard to stick through it until the end. And so I just wanted to smush them together and I really do love writing. When I got my first book deal, I thought "okay, I'm a TV person. I'm going to write a book, I'm going to send it for Christmas or Hanukkah, and I'm going to call it a day." And I hired a ghostwriter and I was like okay, just check this box. I didn't expect to have this many book babies. Like, I wanted to tie my book tubes. I wanted to take book birth control immediately as I was giving birth to the first one. And then, you know, I haven't had human babies, but like, you forget the pain. You see the babies so to speak. You're like, so cute. Let's try this again. But I you know, I read what the ghostwriter had written, and then I fired them, and I was like, oh, I got to start over and I – sneak attack – put in like some iambic pentameter. No one's going to know besides me or, you know, some literary devices that I really love. And so the job that I got that I thought I hated, that would be my nightmare And so the job that I got that I thought I hated, that would be my nightmare job, became my dream job, but only once I reframed it and figured out what the shaded part of the Venn diagram was like. What was important to that job I had in business news, what was important to me. And then the middle shaded part was the sweet spot. And, you know, you don't want to bite the hand that feeds you, especially if you need it to pay the bills. And so, yeah, I again became a writer, just not the kind I expected for sure.
[Ann 00:16:03] I loved that because I, oh my gosh, so much overlap. So I just wrote my very first one. You are now on number four. For listeners who aren't yet familiar, this is number four of your book babies and I too, when I got my first contract here with Harper Collins, I contacted a ghostwriter because I was like, I don't know how to do this. There's professionals who do, same process. And he was amazing and he really helped me clarify kind of my story and my voice and what I did and did not want it to sound like. And then I wrote, on this very laptop, I typed out every single word myself. I just had to birth it that way. And I think something fascinating forges within you of how you like to express yourself. Now, I know the Easter eggs in your story. I'm going to go back and read your books and look for those iambic pentameters, but those are the kind of like elements that a ghostwriter just can't do. And I think that authenticity, like your... your clear voice and style really comes through. So for those who aren't yet familiar with your books, I highly recommend them. But the first we start with Rich Bitch, and that was really about teaching you to pay down that debt and save up your nest egg. Then we got Boss Bitch, which is really about taking control of your career, which is so aligned with, with what I've been working on and dedicating this stage of my career to. Then we have Becoming Superwoman, and we're going to get into the many ways in which you have done this. I am amazed at how many irons you have in the fire right now in the way you're showing up for your audience. And then now we're on the fourth, Miss Independent. What – selfishly, this is a little bit of self therapy – I have a contract with Harper Collins to write a second one, and I'm kind of, same thing, I still kind of remember the pain of the first one, but I am looking for- I'm already going crazy and looking forward to writing the second one. What was the process like as you found your voice and you went across these four books and then I'm wondering about what excites you about the idea of writing a fifth?
[Nicole 00:17:58] Oh, well, this fourth book is the first of a seven book deal, so.
[Ann 00:18:03] Congrats on that. Like, wow!
[Nicole 00:18:05] Thank you! I, yeah, I don't know what I was thinking at the time. I actually love making deals, I love negotiating. It's the only cardio I'm getting these days, it's my favorite sport. And I then realize like, "oh, there's actually things I have to now do to fulfill these deals." But, you know, kidding aside, I always wanted a book deal. In Boss Bitch, I talked about how long it took me, though. It took me ten years, and I had four agents, four proposals for various books, one contract I had to get out of when I was leaving CNN and going to CNBC. One time, I sold a book that was called Making Bank that would have been all things to all people. Cool money, stuff, thing God that tied where the editor bought it before the holidays, was fired over the holidays. And then my book went with her and, and so I was like, this is never going to happen to me. And so I don't want anyone listening to think this is rainbows and butterflies by any stretch of the imagination, birthing a first book and then the subsequent ones is the hardest thing I've ever done. And I wrote a letter to my former self in Boss Bitch talking to that girl who was devastated by so many of these rejections over a decade and she had no idea, of course, what was waiting for her and no idea what a blessing it was that all of those books failed because Rich Bitch came at the right time. It was focused and targeted. It knew its audience. You know, you can't be all things to all people, especially in media or writing or you're nothing to anyone. So I – through those false starts, I somehow picked up on something that made this successful. And now, granted. Rich Bitch is not an innocuous title. People were going to have feelings about it. And so I took a huge risk where I thought, Oh, people are going to love it or they're going to hate it. There's really no gray area here. You're going to feel one way or another. And I actually wanted more controversy at the time. When it came out, I was like, "why isn't anyone else upset about this?" One of the women that was upset was – well, I don't know if she was upset – it was Mika Brzezinski, and I was on her show for many years, and she interviewed me about the book, and she was like, you know, I like the idea of helping women with financial literacy and money. I don't like the title. And I'm like, I get it. Like, by the way, being an ultimate feminist is not telling other women what to do, but saying, "hey girl, you do you, like... if you don't like it, cool, it's all good." But I think the ends justify the means. If we could get a woman to pick up a money book, never imagined she'd picked up a money book (Yeah) otherwise, then I think we're all winning. And for me, it was about taking back the word too and owning it as a badge of honor. I'm assuming you've been called a bitch in a derogatory sense in your career, but, you know, and so I, of course. But, you know, what those people meant were that we were ambitious and strong, and not only wanted a seat at the table, but a voice, and cool, and if that means I'm a bitch? Great! I'm a bitch, and I own it as a badge of honor.
[Ann 00:21:29] Yeah. I think it's so interesting to see the commonalities between tech and finance. I mean, these are a very traditionally male dominated, still male dominated. There's so many moments in my career. I have been the only woman in the room, and I like the way you describe it of like if... if being ambitious is seen as aggressive or all these negative words that women, you know, words that are used for men are positive and for women the same traits are described negatively. If you can own that and take the power back out of that, I think that's really empowering and exciting. And you've really done it in so many ways, not only with you are incredible family of books that continues to grow, but also as an entrepreneur. I mean, you've really walked the talk as well and you took a big leap of faith. It's the ultimate bet on yourself example that I can think of, is in 2011, you left your very lucrative career. This thing, this dream where on the outside it looks like you had it all, you had it made like why on earth would you ever leave? And then you took a really big bet on yourself and you started your production company, Nothing But Gold Productions. And that must have seemed a little crazy at the time. Now looking back, it seems so obvious it's one of those beautiful dots that lines up, right? Because now you're making far more. You share in your book far more now out of this production company than you did just based on your anchoring salary. What was that like? How did you know it was the right moment for you to make a bet on yourself, to go out as an entrepreneur and start these, these many, many companies, not just book writing, but you're you're educating, you're a public figure, you're speaking, you're investing. What was that process like for you of leaving an organization to become an entrepreneur?
[Nicole 00:23:12 ] Wow. Thank you. I first of all, Nothing But Gold. Fun fact, here's another little Easter egg is named after my favorite line in Anna Karenina, people think that it's actually, you know about bling-bling and gold and things like that. But anyway, I did not know that it was the right time, I did it really hastily. I was 27 years old and I thought I knew everything, of course, and I would have done all the things differently. In hindsight, of course, I'm glad (Me too) this story worked out the way I did, it did. But I did it so hastily. My agents were like, You are absolutely insane, you know, what are you doing? And I was completely burnt out. I was anchoring an early morning show, and I just felt soul sucked. I was talking to old rich, white dudes about money who were just - didn't need me. I was, like, commoditized. And so I was telling them about the markets that they could have looked up on. Yahoo! Finance or some other person could have taken my spot. And I just remember thinking that, I thought I would be happy when I got to CNN, I actually was quoted in high school, I think it was like a Doogie type story that said if I could see Nicole Lapin on CNN, before I die, I'll die a happy woman. And I wasn't ready to die at 21, which are high class problems, but I wasn't happy. And then, you know, I just kept making more goals. And I thought, well, when I get here, then I'll really be happy. And then, you know, you keep moving the goalpost on yourself. And so when I was there, I just felt like I wasn't using my voice. I wasn't reaching an audience that needed me. And I saw a void in financial literacy for younger women. And the book Rich Bitch, the title came from [an] interview I gave as I was leaving to, I think it was like The Daily News or something in New York, that asked me what I was doing next. And it just came, spontaneously came to me and it came out of my mouth and I couldn't put it back in. And I was like, I'm writing a book called Rich Bitch. And I was like, shit, I hope this one actually works out. And, you know, I left really hastily. I didn't have you know, the plan that I wish I did. And I sort of use my story as a cautionary tale of some of the things that ultimately worked out but, you know, ways that you can learn from me, laugh at me if you want to, I'll take it for the team, you know, as long as you hopefully take some nuggets out of there. But when it comes to talking about money, I always go first because as you noted, you know, I said all my salaries and all my books, I said what I got for my advance because I thought, well, if somebody is reading this and thinking she's telling people to talk about money to sort of know the comp of the area before pricing your house in terms of negotiating and other things, how much did this bitch make for this book? And so I was like, I would have thought the same thing. So let me just write it. And I didn't even ask anyone if I could do that, but I did and you know, I don't do it in a braggy way. I still have, you know, a lot more that I want to accomplish, but I do it in the effort of putting my money literally where my mouth is.
[Ann 00:27:02] I really love that. I think it benefits everyone, women in particular, the more that we share our experiences and what we're getting. I actually haven't shared, in the spirit of radical transparency, which you have invited to this conversation. Like when I started, I went from Amazon, moved to California to start a Ph.D. at Berkeley, got recruited by Google. I, once they convinced me to leave academia and go back into tech they made me this job offer, which was literally twice as much money as I made at Amazon. So I thought, well, all right that one year of grad school really paid off. And I was like very excited about that. Three months into my role at Google, my manager, Marissa Mayer, she came to me. She was like, it's embarrassing to me how little you're making. Basically she's like, you did not negotiate, friend. And I was like, I didn't consider negotiating because it was double what I made before. And she was like, no, no one on my team is getting paid this low. And so she taught me to be (wow) to– and I was just so grateful, she didn't need to do that. But I think the more that we share, like how we got our first – I share a lot in the book – like, how did I get my first promotion? How did I negotiate, like a competitive offer that I got from someone else? The more that we share those, that knowledge, the more we help each other, especially those who, we know statistically women are paid less. So if we can, so I just so appreciated literally the numbers, the exact numbers that you share of being like, here's a scorecard, react, you know.
[Nicole 00:28:30] I appreciate that. Thank you.
[Ann 00:28:31] And I also really like that, it's not just the numbers. I mean, one of my favorite quotes in the book that I wrote down was you were really talking about how the relationship between money and power. I, you know, having been in Silicon Valley for 15 plus years, I've seen a lot of both. And I also know that that doesn't correlate with happiness or satisfaction or like you're saying, when you're young and you accomplish a lot of dreams that other people think are legacy dreams and you accomplish them really young, that can be bewildering. The one of my favorite quotes from your book is that "money without meaning is just paper, how you use it makes all the difference, especially if you use it as a tool to unlock meaningful opportunities and experiences in your life and for those whom you love the most." I think that's what jumps off the page of your books.
[Nicole 00:29:19] Thank you. I truly believe it. I mean, you know, I have an irrational fear of being broke and homeless and alone, and that's just from my own upbringing. I think we all come to our money journey with our own stories and trauma. And for me, figuring out what that meaning was, was writing my own story. And budgeting is awesome. Saving is awesome. Your salary, even if you get double the salary, is awesome. There's a thing called lifestyle creep where you're probably not going to save a lot or invest a lot. And so that stuff is great and it doesn't grow wealth, and the only thing that grows wealth, and I always felt like I had to have my own back no matter what, is investing. And no one has ever in the history of the world said I'm so glad I didn't invest earlier like no one has ever said that. No. And we all say we wish we did it earlier. We wish we did it in our twenties, whatever. Because this beautiful force of compound interest is making your money grow on itself while you're literally doing nothing, while you're sleeping. And so you're, you're turning this money that you worked really, really freaking hard for to work for you. And thankfully, it's returning that favor. But you have to actually do something about it. Knowledge is not power, although that is very cliche. There's a thousand zillion books out there and podcasts and articles and, you know, whatever. Action is power. I mean, actually doing something about it is power. And the earlier, the better. You're never as young as you are today. So as far as I'm concerned, today is as good a day as any. And that's the message of being Miss Independent. And, you know, it's about saying I can leave a crappy partner because I don't want to be with them. If you look back in the history of your relationships, I mean, be really honest. Would you have made different choices if you had a big old trust fund? I don't know. Would you let people treat you in the same way? I don't think I would have. And, you know, I think that being honest about that is important because that money gives you the power to leave a crappy situation, whether it's personally – too many women stay in bad relationships because they feel like this is above their pay grade to manage money or grow money. It's not. Dudes don't know any more about money or money management than women do, they just boast about it a lot more. And so whether- or it's a job you hate, I mean, having your own money, no matter what, I think I've learned the hard way is, is everything.
[Ann 00:32:29] I love that you started in the introduction of the book really challenging your reader to be honest with herself about what that meant, for her individually, to set that intention before you got into the balance sheets and the compound interest formulas and all of that. You really asked her, you said money is power. What kind of power do you want wealth to give you? And I just I paused, like right in the beginning. I was like, what a profound question that I think none of us ask ourselves, what power do I want wealth to give me and how do I want to use that? How do I want to show up in the world? I'm working on a personal experiment right now where I am trying to do less with more impact. So that means I'm saying no to a lot of things that I could be doing. Like when you were describing before, like, hey, I was answering something that Yahoo Finance could answer for you, like trying, really challenging myself to sit in my individual zone of genius. What is my unique combination of talents and interests and background and skills and experiences, and how can I show up just in that place today so that I can have more depth versus just surface level breadth? And I think if more of us asked ourselves that question of like, what does wealth, which is one of the three categories I'm looking at – time, influence and money – how am I using those to show up purposely in the world? If we ask ourselves those questions more often or even at all, I think women in particular could really unite in this power and show up and have that F-you money to say to a bad job or a bad boss or a bad relationship like, "no, I want to show up in this way and this is how I expect to be treated and to contribute," you know.
[Nicole 00:34:07] That's awesome, and I'd love to hear more about your experiment, social experiment, personal experiments, you know, I think that having that F-you money in whatever way you define it is really important because it does give you clarity and when people say, "I just want $1,000,000," I always challenge them and say, like, for what? What do you want that million dollars for? Maybe you need more than $1,000,000, maybe you need less than $1,000,000. I have no idea. First, the hardest part of all of this is figuring out the life you want. And then you can reverse engineer to figure out how to get the money to live the life you want. But dreams have price tags, so figure out what your dreams are. You know, when people don't do that, they're often thrown into a depression spiral from social media because they're like, Oh, this person's doing so much better than I'm doing. Well, hold on. is that person's whatever they posted on your dream list. is that on your goal list? Is that what you want? All of a sudden, we, you know, can't measure to metrics because we didn't even define what that is. I think we can have it all. We can't do it all. That's a different conversation though. We can have it all, but only if we define what 'it all' actually means first.
[Ann 00:35:22] Now you're speaking my tech language data driven decision making. Love those measuring metrics. Yes, please! I love that. And I also love how accessible you make that in the book. Like you have those interactive QR codes where you can scan this, do your own, like really get real with yourself. Let's get into the details of it, and then you give us permission to like, it's okay if this line is blank right now, but this gives you that map of like what you want to be looking out for when thinking about being very purposeful in how you show up. I just found that whole experience to be one, unintimidating, because as you say, you're a finance expert, I don't need a dictionary to understand. And then you invite us to do our own exercise and, and to feel that power that comes off of owning your relationship with money and thinking about where can I donate this? How can I can contribute, what dream do I want? And then reverse engineering at which is one of my love languages, reverse engineering things.
[Nicole 00:36:15] You and me both. You and me both. And also I think a lot about, you know, those bracelets. Have you ever gotten one? I think it's the my intent bracelet where you can put a word on that guides your year or what you're thinking about. And oftentimes I put 'Time' to remember, I've also tattooed that to remind myself it's the most valuable asset. But I, I put death bed on, which sounds morbid, but I often think about my old lady self. I talk to her, she talks to me. We have a lot of conversations and, you know, a lot of the power that now I derive from money is, is to make her proud and to not regret anything on my deathbed. And for me, that's what gives me the drive to make more money to feel that power. And not just for gratuitous numbers in my bank account.
[Ann 00:37:09] I love that you have conversations with your inner Betty White, like your future. Your beautiful self. Where do you... how do you want? I mean, she's my inner voice. That's the name of my future self is Betty White. (Always.) But I, I love that. I have these conversations with my consulting clients a lot because they're highly ambitious people in mostly scale up stages of their growth. Everything's breaking because that's what success feels like. You know, you're, you're scaling, the game- the playbook is changing. You're not just going from like minor leagues to major leagues. You're changing sports at that stage of your company's growth. Terrifying and thrilling. And I have conversations with them where I say, let's take a step back. Let's think about what is your living legacy? And they look at me with that same face of being like, that is so morbid. Like, why are we – they think legacy actually means at the end of your life how you show up in retirement. And I love the way you're describing it because that's exactly what I'm trying to frame for them is like how you show up today is that living legacy. None of us know what our last day is on this planet. And so to be really purposeful in how we use these influences and money is a major one. So you've actually anticipated exactly where I wanted to take the conversation. As we start to wrap up, which is your outlook on the future? You, friend, are doing a lot of things right now. You've got your three podcasts, you've got your book babies, seven. My goodness, seven-book deal you're working on. And you also have these incredible schools to help people apply and stay really accountable with the things that they've been learning in your books. What keeps you motivated or how do you choose your next goals and projects? And – this is a three part question I'm realizing – and what about that excites you the most for the future? What are you really excited about for 2022?
[Nicole 00:38:53] The first part of the question was, remind me.
[Ann 00:38:57] So how do you stay motivated?
[Nicole 00:38:59] I'm like okay, we have to get to this three pronged, okay, how do I stay motivated? Yes. You know, I am really mission driven. This is not an exercise in vanity for me. I've been on TV, I've done all of those things. I really, really care about what I'm doing and who I'm reaching. And I - it gets me up every day. Truly, it's not B.S. I, I think there is a massive, massive crisis around financial literacy, and I think that if we learned it in school and if all of these things had happened, we may not have been in a lot of issues we are in, in a macro economic, micro economic sense, today. We can't go back and change that. I took a DBT class, which is a whole other podcast that I really, really changed my life. And the essence of that is a dialectic – that two things can be true at the same time. That – and also that you forgive your former self for what they didn't know and then also give tough love for the future and say that now, you know, more, it's not okay moving forward. So you can't do anything about the fact that there has been this knowledge and action deficit around finances but I can do whatever I possibly can to change that. And I think that that helps, you know, a lot of our issues around wage gap, around poverty, around incarceration. I mean, it, it truly is something that often, you know, stops me with anxiety or panic attacks because I feel like there's so much I could be doing with a voice or with the platform that I have. And that's what motivates me. It-it maybe sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it's could not be more true. What was the second part of the question?
[Ann 00:41:12] No, thank you. I so relate to that, like, I also have had to take some big risks and leave kind of that seemingly safety net of the corporate life and show up very authentically for a cause that I think really needs to be out there. I'm a big believer in democratizing success. Money is a big part of that. But I really want to see underrepresented entrepreneurs entering the space and feeling empowered. So maybe I'm Pollyanna, too, but I really I resonate with that. So the second part of my three-part question was how do you choose your next challenge? You've got so much expertize and opportunity, you've got a big platform. How do you choose where to put your time and energy? Because there's infinite opportunities, and sometimes that can be paralyzing – for me anyway.
[Nicole 00:41:57] Yeah, you and me both, I, I was on a Shark Tank type show for kids and I remember one of my biggest pieces of advice, pieces of advice when entrepreneurs would pitch their products was if anyone said they're going to sell their product or they have a plan to sell their company. I was like, I don't know if I would invest in somebody that is already thinking about an exit. So for right now, I want to invest in it as much as I can and grow it and make it the best company and the best brand it possibly can be. And that is not a copout. I, I want to make this book successful. I want to make a daily show successful. And I want to just strengthen the projects that I already have because I've now learned in my older age that I need to do less better as well. And so trying to take on a bunch of projects that I only do half ass is not helpful to anyone. So I prefer to full ass less things than half ass a bunch more. Is that my word for my bracelet now? Full ass it? Yes.
[Ann 00:43:23] Okay, got it. I love that, perfect. And then my final question of my three-part final question is what are you hopeful about? What are you excited about for 2022? Hopefully we've got a light actually at the end of this madness tunnel we've been in for three years. What excites you about what might be on the other side of that?
[Nicole 00:43:43] Wow. So I just got engaged. (Congrats!) Wow. Thank you. I bought a right handed wedding ring that I talk about in becoming super women after I had my own burnout and, you know, needed to love myself and become a complete person that didn't need anybody else but you know, wanted somebody. And if they were additive, fantastic. And I really didn't expect - I signed off in the beginning of the pandemic for the prospect of me getting married or having kids. I really just thought, okay, you know what? This wasn't my journey, and that's okay. And I was put on this planet for different mission. And I'm going to lean really hard into that. And then, you know, I, I think you'll appreciate this very quick story, hopefully, about hiring a matchmaker. I was approached in the beginning of the pandemic by a woman who I'd played phone tag with over the years when I was single, this woman named Talia Goldstein, who's the founder of Three Day Roll, which is an amazing female-founded, female-run matchmaking company. And she said that she had somebody in her service that could be a good match for me. And that would I take a phone call. And at this point, I had done all sorts of work on myself and, you know, had that shiny right handed wedding ring. And I said, sure, and I was really, really honest. And she said, well, you know, maybe you're not good for this guy, but I'll put you in the database and I'll call you if you meet somebody else's criteria. And I was like "no, I don't belong... I'm not going in a database." That's, no, I had no intention of hiring her. But on principle, I was like, whatever this costs, I'm going to tell you my criteria and if somebody meets that, great. Put them in the database and call me. And that's what I did. And the first person that I was introduced to is my now fiancé and he was actually an early investor in the company. He invested in her while she was pregnant, the only man to do so. Which is, again, another whole other podcast how difficult that was for her. And I always joke that it gave him the right of first refusal to all women. But yeah, I was looking for somebody else really mission driven. And I found him. So I'm excited about getting married, which sounds so weird to come out of my mouth.
[Ann 00:46:27] I love that story because you put yourself in control in the driver's seat there. You're like, I'm not going in someone else's database. I'm going to have database. You're gonna put people in that one and also what an amazing, like, mish mash of old world, new world coming together in that sort of like, matchmaking is one of the oldest traditions in the world. And for it to have this cool, modern twist that's so female empowered, flipping it upside down, I just love that story. I love everything about it, it's incredible.
[Nicole 00:46:58] I'm so glad.
[Ann 00:46:59] Yeah. I definitely you know, I think you would have done the same thing. Well my story, and I didn't plan on tacking this on, but we can cut this in editing if it's not interesting. But it's so funny because my husband, I was here basically because I was super burned out. I was speaking at a conference in Portugal. My dear friend owns an apartment here in the town I live in now. And I had a week in between that conference and, and needing to be in the Paris office. And she was like, You need a vacation more than anyone I know. Please go stay in my apartment. It's empty. That's so dumb. And the first night I was here, there was this huge, noisy street festival outside that I was super annoyed about because all I want to do is go to bed. But I thought, okay, you can't beat them, join them. And I met my husband. He saw me walk by the street that night, and one of his investment companies was the company that was producing that street festival. So because of his investment, which later failed, he found me. So it's so such a kind of funny, like–
[Nicole 00:47:58] It definitely didn't fail then!
[Ann 00:48:00] Right. It's so funny. He has a tattoo on the back of his arm with a logo of that company. And every time I see it, it's like seeing my name on his arm because had he not invested in that, we never would have met. And ditto for you had your husband, not, or your fiancé. If your fiancé hadn't invested in that, he wouldn't have found you.
[Nicole 00:48:18] That's funny. That's just how it works. I think that with a lot of girlfriends, too, who are other fellow boss bitches. You kind of have to be so done. Like, I think. So done. I gave that lip service, but I really believed it. Yeah. Right before I met Joe. Me too. I didn't just say like, I didn't say, like, I could be by myself because I didn't fully believe it. Even as I was saying it, I wanted to believe it, but at that point I really believed it. And I was good. And I, you know, was happy on my own. And, you know, the beauty of that is that, you then can, you know, not rely on anyone else to fix you or make you happy or anything else. You come as two hopefully complete people to just make a bigger impact and more happiness.
[Ann 00:49:13] That is beautiful. That's a mic drop end of podcast moment. I think that's – (Yeah.) Well, Nicole, thank you so much for your authenticity, your sense of humor, which also is such a refreshing surprise in finance books, like your incredible sense of humor comes through. Thanks for sharing your best practices and inspiring many, many more women to become Miss Independent. I love this tribe that you're assembling and am honored to be among them.
[Nicole 00:49:41] Thank you. Yay! Thanks, Ann.
About my guest

Nicole Lapin

Nicole Lapin doesn’t really need an introduction as she’s only one of America’s most loved, Emmy-award winning news anchors, appearing on the like of CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg! But with a seven-book series in the pipeline, she is now sharing her secrets with the public in how to master your finances, doing so in a digestible and friendly way.