Toll Free: 800-584-3652

Financial Independence

Achieving Your Financial Independence

TechGirl Financial loves working with individuals & families to determine wise ways to establish credit, establish a financial foundation and making the most of workplace benefits.

In this section of our SMART Learning Library we cover many of the most commonly asked questions with regards to achieving financial independence. We provide some great TechGirl Tips, Tools and Resources to help individuals & families to navigate through the sometimes complex decision making process.

Take a moment and click on the links below to get advice
from TechGirl Financial’s Founder Kim Gaxiola:

How do I Start to Establish Credit?

Establishing Credit

Everyone needs credit, unless you have an extreme amount of money that you can purchase everything with cash, but even then, if you wanted to rent a car, apartment, boat, or opening a checking account you need to have some sort of credit that shows you are able to pay on your debts.

Here are some tips to help you start to establishing credit:

  • Start with putting utilities in your name. For first time utility start-ups be prepared to pay a deposit. Some utility companies will also accept a “letter of guarantee”; this is comparative to a co-signer for a loan. If you default on your utilities, the guarantor pays the bill. So most people; if they can afford it opt for the deposit. Positive utility history does not show up on credit checks, but negative and delinquent utility history do.
  • Apply for a secured credit card through a bank or credit union. A secured credit card works like a credit card and helps to establish credit. Secured credit cards work on a collateral basis. For example, if you place a $500 deposit, the credit card limit is $500. You are not spending the deposit, but if you miss a payment the bank will absorb the whole deposit and will report the delinquent payment to the credit bureau, which puts a negative mark on your credit. If you keep a good payment history, banks usually upgrade you to an unsecured credit card (no collateral deposit required). Check with local banks, some banks will refund your initial deposit with a secured credit card when upgraded to an unsecured card.
  • Department stores are a great place to get a first time credit card. But be watchful, they usually come with a high interest rate (25% and up).
  • Make all of your payments on time! This cannot be stressed enough. Well established credit takes years to build, but only one late payment to break.

Where is the Credit Score Recorded?

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion

These scores combine to create your FICO™ Score

What is a FICO™ score?

A FICO™ score (Fair Isaac Corporation) is a number that is given to each person based on their credit history. Credit history is created by active loans, open lines of credit, insurance, and any other source of payment arrangements, as well as by payments made on time, or delinquent payments. A FICO™ score that is 700 or higher usually indicates that the person is very good about paying all of their bills on time. A lower FICO™ score 500 or below indicates new credit or bills have become delinquent and possibly gone to collections.

A FICO™ score is made up of 5 factors:


***Helpful Tips

When deciding to use a credit card, make sure you can pay off the balance as soon as possible. Interest rates accumulate quickly. The table below shows how long it takes to pay off a pizza when using a credit card with 24.9% interest (the annual rate as of July 2015) and only paying the minimum balance. Let’s say the pizza is from Pizza Hut, and it costs $35.98 and with interest that payment is now $45.57, and the minimum payment is $10. This is how it will play out if you only pay the minimum amount until completely paid.

It is always better to pay as much as you can on a credit card if you are trying to build credit. It is a myth that paying off a credit card will hurt your credit.

Understanding Your Workplace Benefits

How Strong is Your Financial Foundation?

Have you ever seen a building built from the ground up? The first and arguably most important step is setting up your foundation. The foundation provides support for the entire structure. Once that foundation is in place, the rest of the building seems to go up pretty quickly.

Your financial foundation is like a building’s foundation. It is extremely important to have a secure financial foundation in place before even thinking of accumulating wealth, let alone achieving financial independence!


Let’s discuss workplace benefits.

When you work for a company some of these benefits are included, and are actually provided with no charge to you. Many times you start a new job and you sign away on all these forms, without even thinking about what the impact to you might be financially.

Take a second look at the paperwork!

Consider the following:

  • Every year you typically have to reenroll in these plans.
  • How you’re answering those questions when you sign up may not reflect future feelings.
  • Always think through these four important questions in preparing for your own financial foundation.

“What if I live a long life?”

Think financial independence. Workplace Benefits often aid wealth building, and even retirement.

  • 401K, profit sharing, defined benefits
  • Employee stock purchase plans, or restricted stock, stock grants and options
  • Health spending account, flexible spending accounts

All of these things provide you the ability to build wealth and to accumulate assets for some point in your life where you would like to take things easy, slow down or even stop working. The more money you have, the bigger the income you’ll have available to live without a paycheck. The most important question to answer for living a long life on your saved assets isn’t what everyone thinks. While most will ask what’s the magic number? A number is a moving target. The more productive question is what budget can you realistically live off of; and how much income can your portfolio generate without tapping into your principal? When you don’t touch your principal and live instead of the income and growth it provides, you have a higher chance of success not outliving your money in retirement. It’s very important once you start accumulating investments or company stock at work, to know how and when to diversify. TechGirl Financial helps many professionals work on sell strategies with workplace benefits and diversifying the assets to lower your risk and create a greater likelihood of financial independence.

“What happens if I become prematurely disabled?”

Statistics show you are more likely to become prematurely disabled than have a premature death. Yet most fixate on life insurance and leave themselves less protected when it comes to disability.

What happens if you become disabled?

If it is short term or long term, will you be able to live in the same standard of living you’re accustomed to if you can no longer physically work?

That’s an important question to answer for you, and your family.

Often times there are social security benefits you may be able to receive in a disability situation.

But, is it enough?

You also have company benefits, but are those enough?

How long does it take for you to receive those benefits? Will they be taxed?

Do you need a little bit of safe money to help you between the times where you will actually be eligible for those benefits?

Consider these questions, making sure you can answer them comfortably in order to be satisfied and to protect you and your family in the event of a disability. If you are relying on a company disability benefit, what happens if you lose your job or change jobs? Will the new coverage be enough? If you decide on going self-employed and doing contract work, make sure you purchase your own policy to keep yourself covered when the workplace benefit disappears.

“What happens if I don’t wake up tomorrow?”

Think about your loved ones, they are going to be emotionally stressed out if you’re no longer living. They don’t have to be financially stressed. Enter life insurance.

In the case of dying unexpectedly, life insurance will provide your family with an income.

Often companies offer employees life insurance benefits.

But, what if you lose your job?

Making sure you can provide for your family in emergency circumstances with or without a job is a question you should always be able to answer comfortably and honestly.

Protect your loved ones from losing their homes, employment, or taking on any unnecessary financial struggles.

Your family is going to be worried enough just understanding how to get by without you. Don’t make it financially uncomfortable for them as well!

When figuring out how much life insurance you need, think of how much income the insurance can provide for your family to cover the obligations you have to them.

Lastly, “What happens if you or a family member are subject to a medical catastrophe?” Do you have enough money saved away?

You can always expect at least two hazards that come along with a medical disaster:



Make sure you know what that amount is, and make sure that it’s saved away securely, in the event a medical emergency occurs.

I have seen families struggle through bankruptcy because of medical emergencies. But you can make sure that this doesn’t happen to you!

Covering a bill with a credit card that you’re not able to pay off at once is extremely risky. Expect paying really high interest rates. There are other options instead of paying medical bills with a credit card. Ask your medical provider what terms they have. This will help you, if you run into a situation you were unprepared to have occur.

Instead of being unprepared, calculate how much you’re deductible and max out of pocket will be, and save that money along with your emergency living expense reserve.

We’ve discussed how workplace benefits can be valuable, but what happens if you want to go work on your own?

It’s just as important that you have those benefits for yourself, but you’re going to have to pay for them out of your own pocket. Again, you need to measure what your income could be like working for a company versus working for yourself. Keeping in mind you will still be paying for your lifestyle needs, while protecting your financial foundation.

These are the kinds of questions TechGirl Financial helps clients with every day

Be sure to take a look at our workplace benefits worksheet in the Learning Library. We look forward to helping you build your own financial foundation!

How to Establish a Solid Financial Foundation

What would YOU do with two million dollars?

It is time to close your eyes, imagine and DREAM BIG!


Did you imagine buying your dream house, paying off debt, buying a sports car, or a dream vacation?

What if instead of going on an insane shopping spree, you invested the money and built your dreams off the interest? That is what happens when you let your money work for you!

So let’s do some dreaming and find out how investing benefits and works for you, vs. buying.

Once invested, the two million gets to work. Big banks shoot large interest rates at you, but the most common interest rate is 4%.

Hmm… 4%… That does not sound like a large percentage. But 4% of two million is $80,000 a year! Remember, your two million dollars is still there; this is your money working for YOU!

Realistically, most people do not have two million dollars floating around, but you could! Everyone has a goal to become financially independent, and within this Smart Learning Library could be the answer to assist with your goal of reaching financial independence.

Within the Smart Learning Library we discuss:

  • How to Establish Credit
  • Why it is important to have, and how to use it responsibly
  • Using workplace benefits, benefits are the core to your financial foundation
  • How to become an entrepreneur, if that is the road you are interested in taking
  • How to invest “sudden money” like from a trust from the passing of a loved one or DREAMING BIG… winning the lottery!
  • Or… lucky enough to be involved in an IPO (Initial Public Offering)

So please visit the Smart Learning Library often, we are always adding new information, helpful tips and tricks, and together we can dream big and reach financial independence!

What To Do With Restricted Stock Options And IPO Money

Managing Your Sudden Money

What do you do when your stock goes IPO? How do your protect your gains when your stock surges in price? How do you manage your restricted stock or stock option sale? When you have an event that leads to a large influx of money, be prepared.




80% of retired NFL players go broke in their first three years out of the League.


The term “sudden wealth syndrome” is real. It’s defined on Wikipedia to cause individual stress for multiple reasons after coming into a large sum of money after their IPO went public, winning the lottery, or other sudden money windfalls. In an article titled, Wealth in an IPO can cause employees to go by Susan Hauser in December 7, 2011 “The impact of money on people, whether they gain a lot of it or lose a lot of it, is powerful,” Goldbart says. “The less prepared an individual is for a sudden liquidity event, the more impact it’s going to have.”

Sudden money doesn’t have to be stressful; if you’ve prepared ahead of time, know what it means to you, and received professional help in how to manage the windfall event. Let’s discuss a few smart ways to use your restricted stock sale, IPO, or a sudden influx of money, so that you don’t become the next statistic of sudden money going broke.

TechGirl Financial encourages you to think differently.

When consulting a new client on a sudden money event, we begin with “What makes you happy?” We emphasize a lifestyle and push people out of the box – less concentration on material items and more concentration on how they would live their lives (eg. Start your own business, do more charity work, travel around the world, etc. ) The deeper you color this illustration, the more we have to work with when we put your money to work for you.

Tip #1 – When your stock goes public or you come into a large amount of money, it can be very tempting to consider all the things you can buy with it. Instead of imagining all the things you could buy with the money, imagine how you would find happiness if you didn’t have to grind out a paycheck every day in a demanding job.

Understand big ticket items have high maintenance costs.

How is it that these famous athletes go broke three years out of NFL? When you no longer receive a paycheck and you’ve spent your money buying a big home, traveling, enjoying a fancy yacht, and a cool sports car, you don’t have the cash to maintain these items. Big items are expensive to upkeep. You will have heating or cooling expenses on a large home, pool maintenance, property taxes, boat docking fees, expensive auto mechanics and parts replacement on your foreign made cars, and more. You need to have a steady inflow of cash to maintain these items. If you’ve spent most of the money buying these goods, how much have you left over to maintain them? The same money issues you have working at your job to cover all your bills before sudden money are still there after a sudden influx of money has been spent. Only now, your money worries are bigger because your expenses are larger.

Tip #2 – When planning what to do with your money, consider how much income you can make in perpetuity with the windfall and plan your expenses around the income the money can make instead of spending the principal. This is how the “smart money” does it. Foundations and pensions don’t run out of money, because they only spend the interest, not the principal.

Don’t let taxes stop you from selling your stock

This is the hard one. It will be painful, but you will have less risk if you take the tax bite and move forward. I once spoke with someone who came in to a large sum of money from an IPO. She had decided to sell what she needed to provide an income to last a lifetime without having to work. The rest of the stock was held in a concentrated position for her to see if she could “let it roll” and get bigger. It was a good thing she did this because a year later that additional 8 million dollars of stock ended up totaling about $200,000 when finally sold. It is now 15 years later and she is still so grateful to have sold what she needed because she continues to live off the portfolio income from the original proceeds.

Taxes are complicated. Do I need to say this again? Many sudden windfalls such as selling stock options and restricted or IPO stock will create not just capital gains tax but additional taxes when it comes to your income. Don’t do this alone. Consult an experienced tax professional that knows corporate stock rules and regulations.

Tip #3 – Have a tax professional estimate your taxes and put away the required money to pay Uncle Sam come April the following year.

Discover financial happiness.

This is the fun part. What will you do when your money works for you? Determine whether you want to go at it alone or get help. Do you have the time, experience, interest or inclination to manage your money? Do you have the knowhow to make sure this money will last you a life time? If you answered no to any part of these questions, seek help. You will save money in the long run by NOT making mistakes if you hire the right advisor that has experience developing income streams to last a lifetime. One of the major symptoms of Sudden Wealth Syndrome is the stress of losing money, but it doesn’t have to be.

Tip #4 – Implement your plan. When you have illustrated the life you want to live happily, plan a budget around that life with the appropriate level of income you can have net after taxes. Put that money to work. Once it’s working for you, you can enjoy your money’s paycheck as long as you live within your means.

The next time someone asks you what would you do if you won the lottery or received a sudden influx of money. Ask first, how much money net after taxes will it give me? And then, what kind of income can I get from it?

For me personally, I’d send my money to work every day and live off my money’s hard earned paycheck. I’d create a lifestyle that allows me to live and give according to my values. I would be financially independent, and I’d have financial happiness.

At TechGirl Financial we have all the resources for you to plan the lifestyle, and the budget. We put your money to work for you, and we continue ongoing management to keep you on track so you don’t overspend. Instead of constantly chipping away at the principal, there’s a better way to work your money. Live off the income.

*Forbes Feb 9, 2015 5 Reasons Why 80% Of Retired NFL Players Go Broke

broker check button techgirl financial 2

Market Data

1 DOW 21,310.66
-98.89 (-0.46%)    
2 S&P 2,419.38
-19.69 (-0.81%)    
3 NASDAQ 6,146.62
-100.53 (-1.61%)    

Explore your financial happiness... We can get you there!