41-year old CEO and mom: I’m the first millionaire in my family—3 things I’m still extremely frugal about

Rachel Rodgers is the founder and CEO of Hello Seven and the author of "We Should All Be Millionaires."
Rachel Rodgers is the founder and CEO of Hello Seven and the author of “We Should All Be Millionaires.”
Photo: Dale May

Growing up, no matter how hard my parents worked, it would take just one unexpected medical bill or car repair to wipe out our savings. Teetering on the edge of poverty was a scary way to live, so when I became a parent, I was determined to end the cycle.

In 2010, I started a practice specializing in intellectual property law for small business owners. As my clients began asking for more wealth building advice, the firm evolved into a coaching business. In 2017, the company generated seven figures for the first time.

Today, I’m a mom of four, wife, CEO and multimillionaire. As a Black woman, I’ve created generational wealth for my kids and their kids. But my goal isn’t just to be a millionaire — it’s to stay one.

Here are three things I’m still exceptionally frugal about:

1. My time

To me, frugality is about being intentional, starting with how I spend my time. For years, I constantly gave it away for free. Then one day, I looked at my calendar and wondered, “Who put all these pointless meetings here? Oh right. Me!” Now I say no to 99% of the requests I get.

I only say yes if it will bring me a significant amount of money, energy, time or joy. Before my phenomenal assistant Bethany adds anything to my calendar, I ask myself a few questions:

  • Is this something that only I can do?
  • Can a teammate handle it just as well, if not better? Will it help my company achieve its mission?
  • Will this generate more resources for me, my family or my business?
  • Will it serve our community and impact lives?

2. My family vacations

I love business class for work trips, but when it comes to vacations, I’ve learned that a higher price tag doesn’t always mean more fun.

I once booked an expensive house in Hawaii for a week. The view was stunning, but everything was perfectly manicured, gated and cut-off from the community. There was no culture.

So a few days in, we left the resort, drove an hour south, and visited a farmers’ market. We got delicious food for $10, browsed through handmade jewelry and watched local families enjoy their weekend. We experienced Hawaii in a completely different way, and it was easily my favorite day.

This year, I booked a family whale watching trip for $2,500. We’ll stay in a tent on the beach (I paid $300 extra for my own toilet) and drink coffee out of a thermos. I could afford something more expensive, but I know the memories we’ll have during this trip will be priceless.

3. My casual clothes

When I’m in a business setting, I want to look and feel like a million bucks, and will shop accordingly. However, if I’m at home without any meetings, speaking engagements or media appearances, you’ll find me in inexpensive and well-worn jeans and t-shirts.

It doesn’t matter how many commas are in my bank account, I’m still frugal about my leisure wear. I will always love cozy sweats from Target. If it’s a matching set that’s on sale, even better. My best friends tease me about this all the time: “Rachel, you can afford Gucci, but you’re rolling up to lunch in Tarjay?”

Give me a day where I can put on a pair of sweatpants, have some warm cookies, and watch an episode of “Virgin River” or “Bridgerton” on Netflix, and I’m in heaven. It’s also a reminder that a million dollar moment doesn’t have to cost a ton.

Rachel Rodgers is the founder Hello Seven. Her mission is to teach historically excluded groups how to end the cycle of financial stress and to build generational wealth. Rodgers is the author of ”We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power.”

This 28-year-old works 3.5 days a week and makes $189,000

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