Today, we’re joined by Sara Lyday as she explains how she went from cold-caller to yoga teacher, to financial advisor…
Today, we have the first part of this special 2-parter with financial advisor Sara Lyday.
Sara didn’t always know she wanted to be a financial advisor and went on quite a journey before starting her financial career.
She explains how her parents influenced her career choices, the most important financial lessons she’s learned, and much more…
“Don’t spend more money than you make, don’t rack up bad debt, and have an emergency fund.” – Sara Lyday
“Knowing more isn’t always better.” – Sara Lyday
01:59 – What Sara’s childhood was like and her affinity for organizing and planning.
07:53 – The three basic principles Sara’s dad taught her growing up.
09:54 – The importance of facing your fears and not letting them limit you.
12:27 – Why you need a plan and why Robo-advisors won’t replace financial advisors.
14:33 – The innate need we have to succeed and make our parents feel proud.
17:12 – How Sara found her passion for language and her desire to work in communications.
21:09 – Working as a cold caller and doing a yoga teacher training course.
Connect with Ben Jones:
BEN: Welcome back to Money With Mak and G. Hey, we have a special guest today on our show who is Sara Lyday who’s the redheaded Christina Aguilera. And she’s a financial advisor. We have somebody that’s just a little bit younger, female. We’d like to bring on the show because when we talk about money, we want to make sure that everybody knows that you don’t have to have a special look or way or age or anything in order to be able to handle money. How are you doing today Sara?
SARA: Doing really well. I just want to clarify for the audience out there that I’m not the redheaded Christina Aguilera because I can sing, It’s just because I have these cool headphones on and a mic in front of me. So I’ll spare you guys the falsetto.
BEN: As you can tell right out of the gate. Yes. Sara is animated and a lot of fun to talk to you. So we’re really happy that you’re here. And we still have our Ed McMahon of Money With Mak and G, that’s Mr. Tony Petru. And so he likes to join us as we go on. You were a little late today, Tony. Is everything okay?
TONY: Everything was good. Just a little brainstorm session down 16 Tech, Downtown Indy was really kind of cool. We’ll talk about that later. Can’t stop the flow. No, I can’t stop.
BEN: Once you turn on the brain just can’t turn it off.
TONY: You can dumb it down a little bit, though. And unfortunately, you didn’t bring me wine today so…
BEN: It’s probably good, but it’s before, oh, it’s right in the afternoon. All right, I should have but five o’clock somewhere. Next time, we will definitely get on to that. Barcelona esta bien. So Sara, let’s hear just a little bit about your background because we had your father in here. What was it, a week ago, two weeks ago? Two weeks ago. He was a financial adviser, he had a very interesting story. And you and I were going over just lots of different things upstairs. And maybe we can get to some of that. And you can tell us a little bit about your background. You’re one of four and you can kind of go from there.
SARA: Sure. Yeah. Not a redheaded thing but the apple falling not too far from the tree is my life story right now. Like you said I’m the oldest of four, grew up about 20 minutes from here, Indiana born and raised. I think being a big sister is very, very ingrained in who I am. I don’t think anyone else in my family could have been the big sister of the family. But I couldn’t have been the youngest of the middle or anything like that either. So that’s definitely a big part of who I am and I feel like it’s kind of extended.
BEN: Because we talk about me being number four out of six and I’m a little bit more of a peacemaker and the one that actually says things right between your eyes. So that, stop being a jerk and this is why so yeah. Because you’re telling me you like to direct people, you’d like to get out there and get in the melee.
SARA: I am the girl with the clipboard. I’ve had one since I was five and had all my stickers on it. I was just telling you red bubble is the coolest place just to find new stickers.
BEN: Red bubble buck a shot so like the kids Mak and G, they like stickers, and they like to see new ones. And you can go to the red bubble and see all kinds of really cool ones out there.
SARA: The artists just can post but yeah, so a little bit more about my childhood, I guess. And comparing and contrasting might tell me where you want me to go.
TONY: What kind of stuff when you were really young? Did you get into studying? Were you kind of more of a reader or more of a math or what?
BEN: Because we like to hear the background because there are insights into the background which gets you to the point that you’re at today.
SARA: Yeah, okay, so I was telling you about how my binder and my clipboard and all this stuff. So I have always been pretty organized. I’m a Virgo if you’re into astrology at all, but I have a tab for how to eat well and what snacks I liked and I had good workouts to do and all this stuff.
TONY: You should have been named after your mother. Julie, the cruise director. Oh my gosh, no, Julie. Just a name, just a name.
SARA: Julie the disco playlist was a hit in carpool. At 7am She is bumped into Earth Wind and Fire. Oh my gosh.
BEN: I already got you going for your day.
SARA: Oh, yeah, we were so embarrassed, of course.
BEN: But now when you look back, it’s like a great memory in it.
SARA: Good job Mom. You did a good job. But the lady across the street, Mrs. Loughlin, they had that big Irish Catholic family of nine kids.
TONY: I thought it was 22 children.
SARA: It feels like that. It always felt like there’s 22 children in our house at any given moment. But she had a 15 passenger van that my mom would drive us to school and they would switch off days. And on Halloween, Coleen and my mom would dress up as something but the best one was whenever Coleen dressed up as a limo driver and picked us up individually from our classes at grade school, and we were all mortified. All the other kids are laughing, dying and like oh, that’s so cool. And we’re just like, get us out of here. Of course she’s in the front.
BEN: So it sounds like a pretty fun childhood. Never a dull moment. You’re very visual, because you’re doing what is it, visualization, visual boarding way before it was kind of cool, right?
SARA: Yep. Yeah. Going back to that binder, I always had a plan for everything. And if you, I talk loud. and the reason I do that, and the reason I have to feel like I have to be organized, because if you don’t talk or you don’t have something to say, you’re not going to be heard with so many people around. So in my quest for health, I think I’ve always been really geared that way.
BEN: And she likes my sister, your wife. She’s like that homeopathic thing. Oh, she’s the coolest.
TONY: Well, my eating habits have changed.
BEN: You’ve lost a lot of weight.
TONY: It’s good for me.
BEN: Yes, it is. It is.
SARA: But yeah. So there’s financial wellness there’s like your physical wellness, your dietary wellness and spiritual wellness and all of that. And I was very comfortable looking at food and exercise. I played sports all growing up. I was raised Catholic so I knew God was in my corner.
BEN: And you felt guilty a lot of the time right? All the time. Comes with it, and we got it.
SARA: My spirituality has since evolved, but I feel very loved now fortunately.
BEN: But this is pretty cool. Because I know I’m kind of sitting you up but you have this well rounded, like way that you look at the world, right? And we talk a lot about one. It’s not a direct path to where you’re at right now and we’ll get to that. But having that well roundedness, you’re just a person. Yeah, you know what I mean? And you’re going to get into financial planning, we’ll get there. But it’s just so interesting, because we’re trying to take down some of the barriers of people getting all anxious about, you know, handling money. And you know, you’re just a normal person who got into financial advising and it’s kind of just fun to hear your background story.
SARA: Yeah, 1,000%. Big hats off to my parents for being really great about taking us to go to parks and to the museum and go listen to different music, shout out Julie’s disco playlist again. They really did a lot to expose us to a lot of different things. And there’s so much to be said about different centers of intelligence, which we were talking about. There’s head intelligence, heart intelligence and gut intelligence. And so it’s like, what feels good, what sounds good, what tastes good, all these things, and you can find success and just follow what feels good, I think. And what led me to finance a little bit was, I was kind of afraid of it. I didn’t know what to do.
BEN: So can you back up just a little bit into like, when you were younger? Did your dad like forcing it down your throat when you were growing up?
SARA: Quite the contrary, he was always just not worry about money. You have to follow the three basic principles. I’m sure you heard the podcast, but I’ve heard this 1000 times. Don’t spend more than what you make. Even when I was a child and all I was playing with grass, I was like, I filled my little tikes like plastic car with grass like I don’t, I don’t have coins. But don’t spend more money than you make, don’t rack up bad debt and have an emergency fund like have a backup savings or good, put it away, pay yourself first.
BEN: So starters if you got those done from the starters, he kept telling you from what you told me is that you’re going to do okay then.
SARA: Don’t worry about it. I was like, Dad, I know there’s more like, I know there’s stocks and bonds and mutual funds and they’re options. I guess it seems like gambling, like why aren’t you telling me? I am smart enough to handle this. I thought I was dumb because he didn’t go into the minute details.
TONY: So he didn’t talk about meme stocks when you were 12?
SARA: Oh my gosh, as much as I wanted it to him to know. My mom probably was like, not at the dinner table.
TONY: Did they have memes when you were 12?
SARA: I don’t think so. Yeah, we had gel pens and spring binders, which I loved, obviously.
BEN: But it just goes to show that if you just follow those three, you can either get help for the stocks and bonds and options and all that stuff. Or you know, you learn it. And so we’re trying to demystify stuff. So I love that he started that way, which was very simple.
SARA: Yeah, there’s so much, there’s no shortage of depth that you can get into. But knowing more isn’t always better. Like being smart doesn’t always save you from stupid.
BEN: Why is she looking at you, Tony?
TONY: I’m just thinking about people who may be wrecked a golf cart before and be like, man, I’ve seen smart people do that before.
BEN: And you’ve told me some other stories about very smart people having big red things on their head and all that other stuff falling down on their head. So he didn’t really force it down your throat.
SARA: Not at all, quite the contrary. He would answer questions if we had them, but we kind of had to come with specific questions. Gotcha. But where that led me it still I felt the feeling matters, right? So your mind can tell you one thing, but your heart might say something else. And I was scared because I didn’t know. And so that kind of led me on the path of, okay, there’s if there’s a monster in your closet, it’s usually scarier if you’re just sitting in your bed at night and like, worried about it, what’s under my bed, like what’s in the closet, like, I just want to look at it. And if you open the door, nine times out of 10, there’s nothing in there. But if there actually is a monster that you’re looking at, or something that you’re afraid of. If you look at it, it gets a little less scary. So it’s imagined fear. Yeah, I mean, a lot of the time fear is an illusion, but just because it’s not tangible doesn’t make it not scary.
TONY: How old are you? Like, I don’t even know this stuff. I need my dad, my mom to teach me some of this stuff. Maybe they still can.
BEN: Yeah, but it was who did that, quote, “The only thing to fear is fear Itself.”? Was it Winston Churchill, I don’t know why. But it may not have been.
TONY: I think he gets attributed to about 70% of the quotes out there.
SARA: I just read a book about it was like a historical fiction book about his mom, who was apparently an icon and a socialite. And she really kind of paved the way and opened the doors for Winston’s father, and then Winston.
BEN: Was it fiction or nonfiction?
SARA: Historical fiction, so just grains, they color in the lines of it.
TONY: Is that JFK? I’m going to look it up. You guys keep going.
BEN: There’s something really interesting about Churchill not to get too far off, but he lost. He had tried to be the prime minister, I think like eight times, last seven then finally got one. Everybody’s like, oh, he’s hugely successful. It’s like, no, he got pounded over and over and over until he did it.
TONY: FDR. I knew it was a three letter president. I just can’t remember which one.
BEN: FDR said that, only thing to fear is fear itself. Got it. Something new. So you’re sitting there just talking about the fear, even though it’s not real? It doesn’t mean that, you know, you don’t feel it, right. Yeah. And so I’m sure when you’re talking to some of your clients, it’s the same thing. It’s like, I’m afraid it’s going to do something. And, you know, you walk them through that. And we talked a little bit about robo advisors. I know, I’m kind of jumping all over the place. But the robo advisors, you know, we’re really afraid, oh, my gosh, you know, they’re going to take over your job, which is a robo advisor, takes your information, and then gives you information about how it’s kind of a plug in.
TONY: Yeah, not a person but a computer program.
BEN: A robot, robo advisor.
SARA: Well, it could be an app, it could be the internet, it could be Instagram, it can be whatever. And on in all truth, I have apps, I have planning apps, I follow financial bloggers, and I get a lot from the internet, like, and I get a lot from that. And I wouldn’t be silly not to. But the reason I’m not afraid of financial advisers going anywhere and my job going anywhere is the human element, which is the most important.
BEN: They can’t tell you not to be fearful or how you get out of being fearful at least right now.
SARA: Yeah. That quote of it’s not the markets that we need to be afraid of it the risk isn’t so much there, there is risk there. But the greatest risk is in people and erratic behavior. It’s how well you are able to make a plan and stick to it. And you can really do a lot with that. And then that kind of helps with the fear or the not knowing or the X, Y or Z just happened? And it’s not how can I fix X, Y or Z because you have no control over what happens in X, Y, and Z in the external world. But what you can do is make a plan and then you can kind of tinker with the plan and how do I feel about the plan and is this is this fear talking, is this logic talking, what’s going on here? So that is a more tangible, like, I’m going to control what I can kind of thing, which is why you make the workout plans that’s why you go make the diets.
BEN: Because when you stick to them, you actually reach those goals.
TONY: You’d like philosophy or psychology better because that applies more in numbers.
SARA: So, to go all the way back around to what we originally were talking about of like, how did I start my family and who did I want to be when I grew up? I spent a lot of time banging my head against the wall as how old am I like, I don’t know if I was an eight year old that was born into a nine year olds body but that’s not true. Because 9 year olds don’t, they understand that life has its circles and its twists and its turns but whenever I was a little bit younger, I’m still young I know but maybe a younger soul. I was so worried about my purpose in life and if I was going to be be successful and being successful to me meant lovable and I didn’t realize that at first. So I felt like I had to get the titles and the names and I had to make XYZ amount of money to be someone that my parents could love. And my parents are so loving, like my mom would stand behind me in our mirrors whenever we were getting ready for school in the morning and say, you’re beautiful and everybody loves you. And she would write it in dry erase marker on our mirrors, I kid you not. Some nagging voice in my head was just like, they’re just lying, they’re just saying this all be successful. So I felt like I needed to know what I was going to do.
BEN: Do we need to get our mom on here next?
SARA: She’s the most fun person you’ll ever talk to, she’s awesome. Is she a redhead too? She is not.
TONY: But I get that a little bit growing up was like, oh, my parents are just saying that because you’re supposed to say yeah. So now you get doubt even when you’re hearing it from somebody you trust like you still get that doubt.
SARA: And they are doing all these things all the time to make sure that you’re okay, and you’re happy and you’re taking care of and you’re fed and there’s a roof over your head and you have siblings and friends and all of these things. Then I was like, but really the pin in the cat or the pin in the grenade or whatever the pin and something is if I make them proud, and I make money and I have a good title.
BEN: I think a lot of us think about that, right? You want to make your parents proud. I mean, we talked about your brother a little bit. It’s like he wants to be proud and he wants people to be proud of him.
SARA: And having all those siblings, you’re looking around, you’re like, okay, who’s going to do it? Like who’s going to get the best job therefore be the most love?
TONY: There’s a lot of competition you have to stand out. Oh my god.
SARA: That’s why I decided to grow six feet tall and have red hair.
TONY: I think there are a lot of aspiring basketball players are going to want to listen to the way you get there.
SARA: I don’t even know.
TONY: My dad always told he goes, you know why you turn out so tall? No. Why? Because I always had to kick you in the butt when you’re little. That could be what happened, you might have blocked that out.
SARA: I mean, maybe, honestly, I’m not going to rule it out entirely. You should have my mom on to figure out the answer for all of us.
BEN: We may have to do that.
SARA: But yeah, my path to figuring out what I wanted to do and why was round and around and around. But I thought that I was going to be, first off, I wanted to be a singer or a teacher. I wanted to be a rock star. So I guess I kind of get to do it right now. Hannah Montana, Christina Aguilera.
TONY: You could have been, I’m sorry but you know, I’m just saying you know, you could you could be both.
SARA: A double life. Yeah. But I wanted to be a rock star and a teacher.
BEN: So how did you go into communications?
SARA: So just because I talk a lot. I went to IU and originally went to the Kelley School of Business, okay, it was like, titles like it’s one of the best business schools in the country. Amazing. This will make them love me for sure. So I went in and people were wearing suits to class or like everyone had Greek letters and things have changed. I was like, I don’t know. Like, I really want to be like the flower child with the floaty skirt and the tank top that I made like this feels weird. So I started taking other classes in the liberal arts side of IU and found Communication and Cultural Studies. And I had this amazing professor, shout out Philip Purdue. And if Portland was embodied, and a man it would be Philip Purdue, but he wore one of those golf hats every day, he was probably mid 30s and had lamb chop sideburns. And he let his friend do a tattoo on him that was supposed to be the tree of life on his forearm, but it looked like a decaying piece of broccoli. And he like this was his introduction to our class. He’s like so I got the barbed wire around it my wrist to kind of like cage in the broccoli tree. And I was like, this is all cool. But then he started talking about how our vocabulary shapes our lives and the words that we use to tell feel about ourselves, and the rhetoric of architecture and how the places that we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with, interact with our different levels of intelligence and what does that mean and a tree is only a tree because you and me and all our teachers taught us it was that and when we all agree as a society to the trees, the brown sticky thing with the leaves growing out of it. I felt like I just had the blue pill like you’re cool, but like you’re minor now. And so I was like, I want to figure it out.
BEN: Architecture did. Architecture does make you feel different, right? If you’re in a really high class building that’s different from you know, like, we’re talking about Barcelona with Gaudi I think, talking about what Czech Republic Yeah.
SARA: I mean, if you step into, like standing on a cornfield, or standing in the World War Two Memorial or standing where the Twin Towers crash, like, sure you don’t have to talk to anyone, you could be dropped from wherever or in a childhood bedroom. Like you’re going to feel something different, regardless of who you interact with there, right. So this kind of circles back to the follow how you feel and follow what feels good and follow it like, I for whatever to choose your path. Yeah, and it doesn’t always have to be light and sunny. But like, for example, reading about history, there’s a lot of darkness there but it feels important to read about.
BEN: It just draws you to it. And you just feel it. And so you only communications get this great teacher get y’all like, excited about communication.
SARA: Yeah. And then colleges, and you’re like, everyone communicates. What need is there for a communication degree, like I could go anywhere and nowhere like it’s not neuroscience where you know, you got to go to a hospital and either you’re either going to clinicals, or research or wherever. There’s a narrower path there. It’s like, what am I going to do? So I was like, back to square one, am I lovable if I don’t have a job or don’t know what I’m supposed to do. But my parents were supportive, and they were just like, just follow how you feel. And so I took a job at a school, I just did a sales job like a cold calling sales job. I called 400 people a day, every day, in my sales cycle reset every two weeks. So I didn’t know if I was going to have a job every two weeks like it reset. You could have had a killer week or two weeks, did a personal best and then be on probation two weeks later, like was nuts. I did that for a year and a half. And I woke up in my bed one day when I was 22. And I was like, I’m waking up from stress, like, why am I doing this? So I quit my job and I did a month long yoga teacher training in Aruba. And I was like, I’m going to find myself, I’m going to do a mini retirement for three weeks, and then come back from the ground running, revitalized and spiritually enlightened. And spiritual enlightenment didn’t happen but I met an amazing community of people that believed in me and loved me without having to necessarily understand me.
BEN: And Aruba? Yeah, so just people that you met there, where they are from all over the world?
SARA: All over the world. That woman who hosted it was from Sweden, and met her husband in Aruba and they had a daughter and opened up a studio there. Her daughter, I think it’s so cool that they integrated and this actually will come back to why I picked my job that I have now. Her three year old was running around the studio with her at all times. So she’s a full time business owner and full time mom at the same time. And her daughter and having her family there really made everything better. And it wasn’t a give or take, it was all the cake and soda on the side. Synergistically it was like these are lives better, beautiful, and they had a dog rescue, two because she went on to be, she was an animal lover and also a philanthropist. So the dogs came to art, like we helped out with the dogs and the dogs came and helped us.
BEN: So it was like dog yoga, or is it?
SARA: No, but there was a cultural appropriation thing that kind of happens there.
TONY: Downward Dog. Yeah. The dog invented that actually. Yeah. It kind of got limited though. They couldn’t do all the baby pose, sun worshiper, whatever. Can you imagine? That’s hard to do for dog.
SARA: I would love to see the tree pose.
BEN: That’s great. That’s like a great twist. I love that. Going to Aruba. And we remember Tony, we talked about this every time we talk to somebody, it’s like, you’re not on a direct path and changes and you go all over the place.
SARA: Well, they had signs every day that they would change out and my favorite one that I ended up coming home and making my own version of it and it’s hanging in my house. But it’s ‘you’re exactly where you’re meant to be right now.’ Yeah. That’s no matter where you are, like, you are meant to be where you are.
TONY: I feel like she’s, how old are you again? 26. Okay, I think I’m on my fourth reincarnation, she’s on her 40th. Yeah, exactly. I’m a child in this conversation.
BEN: She was 40 when she was 20. You know what I mean, like, mentally.
SARA: But what I will say, so I was just having this conversation with one of my friends and I was like, somebody asked, how old would you be if you weren’t your age? And I was like, you know what I feel like 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are like freshman, sophomore, junior, senior years of high school, where it’s like freshmen, and so 20 year olds.
BEN: You’re not a senior, what’s beyond senior, can you tell him?
TONY: Maybe it’s me? I was going to answer the question because my wife and I have this conversation all the time. Like how old are you? I’m 22. I’m always 22. She’s like, are you ever going to mature? I’m like, no. And this is what you had during the dating process. the funny thing is, a lot of times women think, hope that their husbands will change. Yes. And their husbands hope their wives won’t change. Yeah. And they’re both wrong. Yes, exactly.
SARA: I’m not married so I’ll take this one to the bank.
TONY: She’s been teaching me, I had to give you that little nugget there.
SARA: I appreciate that.
BEN: So, 20, 30, 40, 50?
SARA: So 20, freshman year old, coin it. NFT. But, okay, so freshmen, you show up in here to all you kids and they are about to go on to high school or college. Freshmen don’t know what they’re talking about. You won’t know what you’re talking about, you won’t know where you fit in yet .ut you have to pretend like you do. Things are hard. Everyone’s pretending like everything’s so easy. I went to IU and I was so used to being one of the smartest people in my class, but and not having to try very hard, but I went to you and I was like, shoot, everyone’s pretty smart here. I’m going to start trying like, this is crazy. Why isn’t everyone else freaking out? But I was like, Okay, I’m going to be cool so I get invited to the parties and people won’t think I’m a total weirdo, which I totally am. But then, sophomores are like, we know, it’s hard. Like, it’s all hard. But at least we’re not freshmen, like sophomores get this confidence. That’s like, we don’t know what we’re talking about either but we know that we don’t know what we’re talking about and we don’t have to, but at least we’re not freshmen like 30 year olds, like have it figured. They’re like, we finally realized that not everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing or how they’re supposed to be or whatever, but we’re all on a path and you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.
TONY: Did you take your etymology class, sophomore, consists of two different root words. Sophomore means wise fool. Break it down into the roots. Yeah, like, they’re starting to get smart but they’re still a fool.
SARA: That’s cool. I like that too. I’ll write that one down.
TONY: So most 30 year olds then are wise fools. I’m just going on record that. Not all of them. You’re fine.
SARA: It comes with that. And then 40. I feel like you’re established and juniors are like, yeah, I’m established, I have one more year, I’ve time to figure out what I’m going to do after this. There’s just like, joy, you’ve got your friend group, you are jiving, you’ve got your kids, you’ve got your house, you’ve got whatever. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Typically, I feel like I’m stereotyping and stereotyping never fits everyone. But generally, I feel like 40 year olds are like, oh, I don’t have to stress about this stuff I was stressing out though, as at 20. And then 50 year olds are like seniors, they’re just like coasting, like, I got this figured out. I’m going to do what I like to do. Ideally.
BEN: it’s Ben. They say 50 is actually one of these best stages like the biggest amount of joy, see the world, you know that you’re not missing as much as you thought you were missing when you were 20. It’s like you’re comfortable with your stuff.
TONY: Usually, your kids are kind of getting on their own. So you have to take care of them.
BEN: Unlike me. 12 year old kids.
SARA: But I don’t know, I am very much in my 20s because I’m still having those existential loops of just like, am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
BEN: So you get out of school, you turn around and say, work. Sara has a fun and unique view on the world. She’s in her mid 20s and like many of us, she didn’t have it all figured out at that age. She wanted to be a rock star or a teacher, which is awesome. However, after a stressful sales job, she took a mini-retirement in Aruba to become a yoga instructor. How does she become a financial advisor from here? It just goes to show that financial advisors aren’t necessarily born that way. They’re just like us. Come back next week to hear the rest of her story with some insights she’s gleaned from her experience. See you then.