Isabella Laurel on How to Make Your Finances Pandemic-Proof

Isabella Laurel on How to Make Your Finances Pandemic-Proof
At the #YouGotThis: Rewrite Your Story online summit on September 25-26, 2021, Isabella “Belle” Laurel gave a talk on making your finances pandemic-proof. Belle founded CoinFemme, a consultancy service for digital currency, and has been active in the digital asset space since 2016. She has been recognized as one of the top 100 women in blockchain globally across various publications, and her certifications include the Oxford FinTech Programme. She also happens to be a Belle de Jour Power Planner user since 2013! 

How Belle got started in the digital asset space was rather serendipitous. “It was really just a funny encounter,” she even said. “I was working as an e-commerce operations manager and then someone wanted to buy our products [and pay] in bitcoin. This was 2015 and I was curious, so I told our CEO that I would pay [the customer’s] purchase order in dollars and then I'll just get the bitcoin myself.” 

In 2016, she became more active in the cryptocurrency scene. She started attending conferences and taking certifications. “I was quite lucky. I think I was right on time,” she said. “Because there's also such a thing as market timing.” 

During her #YoutGotThis talk, Belle offered some action steps for making your finances pandemic-proof, starting with a self-assessment to determine your money personality. Here are the five money personality types and Belle’s brief description of each:
  • An investor thinks long-term and finds delight in placing money in instruments that make their money grow. (Belle identifies with this money personality.) 
  • big spender doesn’t care if their debts pile up or if they are liquid to purchase a big-ticket item; what matters to them is the emotional and instant gratification of that big purchase. 
  • saver is a good planner who likes to think about things that they want to spend on. They don't necessarily have exposure to investment vehicles, they just like to save what money they currently have so they can pursue their [spending or financial] goals at that particular time frame. 
  • debtor feels like they really need to buy something, no matter the cost to their finances. (“Don't get me wrong, there are good debts and bad debts,” added Belle, noting that there are debts that actually help your credit.) 
  • Finally, a shopper is always attuned to sales and always eager for those double-digit e-commerce events! They know what they want to add to their carts. Once their pay comes in, they’re ready to check out. 

Belle also encouraged creating a heavy cushion and making sure you have enough for your living expenses, emergency expenses, targeted savings, and even your pandemic funds. She shared her own experiences of trying the 52-week challenge and the 50-30-20 principle. The latter was a concept introduced to her at her first job with one of the leading banks in the country—a recommendation that half of your salary goes to your living expenses, 30% to things and experiences you want, and the remaining 20% is your money for investment. 

"But me, being the investment money personality that I am, I had a lot of goals in mind, so I tweaked it a little,” shared Belle. “I don't advise this to anyone, I just wanted to see how I could stomach it. I lived on 20%, I invested 50%, and then I placed 30% into my retirement fund.” 

She admits that it sounds ridiculous and it sounds like she deprived herself too much, but it all worked out. “I think it really paid off well because I'm not a stranger to modest living. I still rent, I haven't had a big-ticket purchase like a car, and I'm pretty comfortable where I am. I can sleep soundly at night knowing I have zero debt." 

Belle’s other two tips for pandemic-proofing your finances were to explore cash flow opportunities (How else can you make your money grow and work for you?) and to diversify (What instruments are out there to expedite your financial success?). She also reminded viewers, “There is no cookie-cutter approach to making your finances pandemic-proof.”

After her talk, Belle answered a few questions from the audience, including ones on studying cryptocurrency and starting to invest when you’re the breadwinner. You can replay Belle’s entire talk, “Make Your Finances Pandemic-Proof: Managing Money in These Challenging Times,” here. (You can start at the 22:27 mark.)