In This Article
Are you looking to build wealth? Whether you’re single or in a relationship, join Jonathan Thomas on his journey of how he and his wife were able to leverage job hopping, maximize combined income, and create financial goals that led them to faster wealth building.
Hear how Jonathan took advantage of 401k matching and the importance of considering all benefits, not just salary, when making career decisions. Start building wealth today with this helpful and informative episode!
About Our Guest
Jonathan Thomas helps individuals build wealth as an experienced banker. He is an expert in understanding how different financial products work, and he has worked with people to create successful strategies for investing.
Connect with Jonathan
Intro/Outro: You know what it is? That’s right. It’s time to talk money. With your money nerd and financial coach. Now tighten those purse strings and open those ears. It’s the Money. Talk with Tiff podcast.
Tiffany Grant: Hey everyone. I am so excited because I have Jonathan Thomas on the line. Now, Jonathan, he is with us on the Twitter spaces, so if you listen to those episodes, you definitely heard his voice before, but he’s here on the podcast today to talk about his journey to building wealth and just some of the strategies that he used.
So, hey Jonathan, how are you?
Jonathan Thomas: How you doing, sis? I appreciate you sharing your personal space with me. Oh
Tiffany Grant: yeah, no problem. That’s what this platform’s for. So let’s hop right in. So at the beginning of your journey, what was the first thing you did when you said, you know what, Jonathan, you need to get your life together.
What was one
Jonathan Thomas: of the first steps? Yeah. I, I wish it was me telling me that I, I need to get my life together. I wanted to say, but I was actually dating the who my now wife, and she was like, you’re not saving. And you don’t have a credit card. Um, and what’s your credit score? Uh, so, um, all those things. I, I was a wake up call for me while I was sitting there trying to look for a job.
Uh, and I, inci incidentally landed in banking. Awesome.
Tiffany Grant: So when you got into banking, um, what was. One of the first steps that you took, like after somebody said, you know what? You do not have it together, you need to do better. Um, what was your like first thing to do? Well,
Jonathan Thomas: yeah, so I, I figured I was blessed by this scenario of, I mean, I’m, if you’re gonna learn about money, there’s no better arena than, um, A bank.
So I spent my first 90 days, uh, basically learning every aspect of the bank, business, home, loans, credit cards, technicals, all those things. How does it work together? And I spoke to everyone and multiple people in every segment, financial advisors, uh, to help really break down what am I doing wrong and what should I have been doing, uh, and then.
The second piece of that. Uh, second thing I did in that 90 days was really learn how I can use all that information. Number one, helped me be successful in my job, but I learned and developed a skill to be able to teach others, and that’s what kind of helped me, uh, develop a more valuable skill set to grow my career.
Tiffany Grant: Awesome. Awesome. So, Let’s get into that first bank job, right? So you got the job. What kind of benefits did they have that kind of helped you on your wealth journey? Or did you use any of the benefits at that time?
Jonathan Thomas: So, um, I mean the, they had everything, every, anything that you could possibly want, uh, they had.
But the biggest, uh, pieces, I would say would be their, uh, annual bonus or quarterly bonus that I was getting at the time. But then also, um, the 401k match, uh, and just at that particular institution, my first one was at 6%, which is typically the highest, uh, or the higher percentages, uh, in the. In the world, uh, most people average about 3%.
Um, but from that I was able to translate their skill flip jobs a couple times. And I got and stayed with a company for about three years That was matching me 11%. Whoa,
Tiffany Grant: 11%. That is unheard of. So it was a hundred percent of 11%.
Jonathan Thomas: Yeah. So what they did was they gave you whether you participated or not. I mean, you’re in this space, so you understand how many people don’t actually participate in the 401k.
Well, this job was actually a credit union. Um, they, no matter whether you participate or not, they every year gave you 5% of your salary. Put away in the 401k and then if you chose to actually participate, they’ll give you another 6% dollar for dollar.
Tiffany Grant: Hmm. I’m over here. Like, I wish we could name drop right now.
Jonathan Thomas: I mean, share view. Share view was, it was great in that aspect. Um, that was something, like I said, I just didn’t understand, but I understood the six and the five, I was like, oh, well if I put in 10, I’ll be maximizing. The full match. Wow.
Tiffany Grant: That is amazing. Okay, so you job hopped a little bit. So in your time, like trying to get your money together, what was the purpose of job hopping like?
What did that do for
Jonathan Thomas: you? Well, I learned, um, when you go down this rabbit hole, uh, Trying to get your budget together and how do you increase your income? The thing that kept popping up was you job hop, and if you job hop number one, it helps you accelerate your career path. But the other thing is it allows you to get larger raises in between those jobs.
So instead of for me, I wasn’t, I never got a two or 3% because I never really stayed in the job long enough to get that. So I’ve always gotten 15 to 25% raises because I’ve always either got a promotion or I left and got a new job.
Tiffany Grant: Mm. Yeah, I definitely did that strategy when I was in corporate America.
I, I do feel like you need to be strategic when it comes to your career and Yeah. How you make money, because like Jonathan said, you know, every year the max usually they’ll give you, is like, 3%, which I’m not. Like, if you’re in a great job and everything’s awesome and you love it there, then stay. You know, there’s nothing wrong with 3%.
But at the same time, if you are in a situation where you don’t quite like the job, um, then there’s nothing wrong with moving on to the next if you need to, if it’s no longer serving you. And so I definitely used that strategy as well and was able to advance pretty quickly in my career. And also get those pay increases you were talking about.
Right. So, um, let’s talk a little bit about, um, why 401k investing is important. Because there, I know when I was in corporate American and in hr, it was really difficult to try to get people to understand, especially people my age at the time. So like in their twenties and stuff, I’m like, y’all put some money in the 401k, get the match, and they just like, mm, I don’t have money for that.
You know, I don’t. I need that money, you know, whatever the case may be. Oh, that’s a long time from now. So what are the benefits of going ahead and doing that, and how did you manage that, um, as you were switching jobs?
Jonathan Thomas: Uh, well, the first thing, uh, I would tell anybody is you, if you, everybody’s always worried about you leaving money on the table.
So if you don’t switch jobs, you’re leaving money on the table. If you, uh, leave a job too soon, you left money on the table. And one of the things that I, and being in leadership, and I mean with your career, your background, you understand, uh, one thing that is not, uh, Clear to people is when you don’t accept the 401K match, you’re not taking your full salary from that employer.
That’s part of your comp, your total compensation. So the big thing, the big trend right now is being pay transparency. And a lot of employers show you, Hey, this is how much we pay you. And they break down. And unfortunately, that page doesn’t stop at your salary. It includes all your benefits, but one of the benefits that sticks out is the 401K max.
And the key to that is if you’re not participating in it, you’re literally leaving money on the table. Uh, so that was, uh, kind of the first. Aha moment, um, that I looked at was, I wanna make sure if I’m gonna be here, I’m getting paid every dollar that I’m supposed to be getting paid. Um, second then I started really trying to validate what was information.
So when you think about 25 or whatever, and even now, many people are talking about, Hey, I talked to millionaires and Oh, I, I, um, This is the secret that the millionaires do. But when you Actually, for me, I got really into reading, uh, I read The Millionaire Next Door, and then I just started reading all this, all the different data studies that is out there on actual millionaires.
In addition to, I had Merrill Lynch financial advisors in my back pocket. The truth was they used their 401k to build their wealth most consistently. Like there are other ways people do it, but the majority, vast majority of people were doing it through their 401k, uh, and pay for a house. So for me, I’m like, well, if this is what the majority of people are doing and it’s proven successful, then I’m gonna just do that without question.
Tiffany Grant: Gotcha. Yeah, I have also seen that in action. Um, when I used to work for a firm, a lot of the millionaires there, uh, had gathered their wealth from their 401ks and IRAs and things like that. So yeah, I highly agree with you. It’s, it’s definitely a great way to build wealth. So as you went on, so, you know, we talked about salaries, we talked about 401ks.
What other strategies did you use to kind of build your wealth over time?
Jonathan Thomas: The, um, probably the more impactful, uh, has been. In the midst of after the job hopping or in the midst of the job hopping. Obviously I’ve, I’ve done side hustles and things of that nature, but, uh, I got married, uh, and my wife, she makes a great income, does great in her career, um, but the income means nothing if you’re not on the same page and understanding what you’re trying to go after.
Uh, so, um, getting married not only helped me because I’m, I’m on the leadership end of, um, Financial services banking, so it looks better, uh, and more often than enough. More often than not, you’re likely to get promoted to higher level positions. Um, Type thing. Statistically not, um, not a personal example, but I did actually read that for an African American man, when you actually get married, you actually have more money over your lifetime.
Much like a college degree, master’s degree, that type of thing.
Tiffany Grant: Hmm, interesting. So, Um, benefits and getting married, uh, you saw that that was significant. So what type of, you know, other than your wife having a good salary, like was it beneficial when it came to taxes or investing? Uh, what other benefits of being married, you know, did you enjoy?
Jonathan Thomas: Uh, I guess it’s the biggest thing. The biggest thing that I’ve seen was. You can do things a lot faster. So if you have someone, um, that even if they’re making p some of what you’re making 30%, 50%, or even a hundred percent of what you’re making, you, you have to understand at some point you’re not doing the work they’re doing.
So I’m passive income from my wife and she’s passive income from me because we both are gonna benefit out of the household now as you grow. And my wife is vigilant about growing her career and making sure she’s paid fairly the same way I am. You benefit from that because you have more of a pool and more of a valuable skillset, uh, to do things like, um, the vacations.
Usually people are trying to make a choice between do I save, do I save for college, do I save for a new car or whatever? And do vacation when you’re not doing it either or, or you’re doing both. And then financially as you progress, Then it just opens up the door a lot easier to where a lot of things you just don’t really question.
Um, as far as getting a house clean, eating out a lot, you know, she’s off buying something for whatever it is, just not something you’re thinking about because you, you are meeting your savings and investing goal, which allows you to have a little bit more wealth, uh, in the bank. Is there points of contention?
Possibly do I, but I’m one of those people. I want my wife. I want to save and invest, and my wife wants to enjoy. And so the balance for us is she knows I’m gonna take care of the saving and investing, but her salary and what we’re doing with her salary, she invests. She just doesn’t invest as heavily as I do.
She, we are able to have a little bit better lifestyle with likely a lot of the stuff that she’s doing that I don’t particularly find important or I think we could probably do without.
Tiffany Grant: Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah. So from what I gather from this is it’s important to make sure you have the right partner to do this with at least.
Jonathan Thomas: You definitely can’t just get anybody. Yeah. And, and stick it in there.
Tiffany Grant: Um, and at least be on the same page when it comes to, okay, we’re trying to grow and build together. And then kind of just seeing like, Where like bouncing off of each other is what I’m getting from here. So like seeing like, okay, what’s your strengths?
What, what do you do? What money you bring in? Okay, this is what I bring in this da, da, da. And then seeing how all of that can work together. Um, I highly commend you all for working through that. And, um, making sure that it’s in the best interest for both of you. Um, I think that’s super important and hopefully if we have some listeners who are married and listening, they’re like, okay, I can do this.
Like this, this, this is possible cause Jonathan’s doing it. Um, and so with that being said, now, That you’re married and you know, you all are working through any issues, you know, when money’s related. I just kind of wanna dig into that a little bit. Um, and like, what kind of strategies do you all use? If there is a point of contention or there is an issue or something comes up, what are you all doing?
Um, you know, to hash through that?
Jonathan Thomas: So, um, I mean, some of the annual ones are, uh, when benefits roll around, who’s getting the, who’s getting the best value? Like, we really picked that apart, um, of. All the different equations, do we, because we have the baby as well. So who carries a baby or should I join your plan?
Or who has the best benefit? So we’re going through that neck and neck. Oftentimes it’s one person is going to stay with their plan and the other one’s just gonna carry the baby. Uh, the same thing with taxes. Um, we are always looking at what’s, what’s going to be the best result? Should we do Mary filing and joint?
What’s going to give us the lowest tax bill, basically? Um, Should we do? Mary file is separate. Um, now that we have more things in our pot, it changes the equation of how you do things. So if you’re only looking at it through one lens, you’ll likely overpay and not realize, but the biggest thing that, um, I know it’s gonna sound kinda weird, uh, when I think about it, because I, I have friends who are married, but anytime there’s an issue, like we have to s.
Bring a case. It’s not a, oh, I’m the money guy and I, I study this stuff. Is this, no, I have to show her numbers. I have to prove to her that no, this is actually the better decision and this is why, and she has to do the same for me. And then there are some things like with purchasing the house, like I’m good with money, I’m good with investing, I’m good with a lot of things and I’m very knowledgeable.
But my wife, Just has an uncanny ability. She’s very good with real estate. Like she can pick out a property, like she has her own little method, but the property goes up. It turns out to be a great investment. So when we were purchasing the house, I leaned more into that expertise and only thing I did was I focused on, and she leaned into me to deal with the financing.
So we didn’t pay closing costs, but we got a great house at a great price, at a great time.
Tiffany Grant: Hmm. That is awesome. That is awesome. I love hashtag black. Love y’all. No, that sounds amazing. So with that being said, if people were interested in finding out more about you or more about your journey, how could they find you?
Jonathan Thomas: So, um, I, I finally stepped my game up. I got a little link tree, but that has everything, uh, attached to it. So you, uh, you have the money talks with Jonathan Thomas on YouTube. You got J Thomas Solutions on, uh, Instagram and TikTok. Uh, and then the Facebook group, um, both, uh, free version and a paid version if you really wanna take that next step, um, of money talks.
And it is just one of those, um, One of those different options, you can get connected, but just learning about me, probably the, the YouTube or the TikTok would probably be one of the best, uh, avenues.
Tiffany Grant: Awesome. And what is your TikTok name? J.
Jonathan Thomas: Thomas Soia,
Tiffany Grant: j Thomas Solutions. All right. So we will have all of those links in the show notes, so don’t worry if you didn’t catch that.
Um, I will have all of those there for you. So thank you so much, Jonathan, for coming on the show today and sharing your story about how you built wealth and giving us some, some gems, especially as it relates to marriage. So thank you so much for being on the
Jonathan Thomas: line. No, it’s my pleasure, dude. Thank you. Bye.
Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening, joining and being a part of the Money Talk with TIP podcast this week. You can check Tip Out every Thursday for a New Money Talk podcast, but if you just can’t wait until next week, you can listen to previous. Podcast episodes at Money Talk with t.com or follow TIFF on all social media platforms at Money Talk with T until next time.
Spend wise, by spending less than you make a word to the money wise is always sufficient.
In a recent episode of Money Talk With Tiff, the host interviewed Jonathan Thomas about his journey to build wealth. Throughout the conversation, Jonathan shared his insights on leveraging job hopping, maximizing combined income, and creating financial goals to establish a strong financial foundation. This blog post will cover the key points from their discussion, as well as offer some additional resources for those interested in learning more.
Key Takeaways from the Interview
Here are some main points and insights from the conversation with Jonathan Thomas:
- Jonathan was motivated to develop good money habits by his now-wife, encouraging him to save and invest.
- The value of considering all benefits, not just the salary, when making career decisions was emphasized throughout the conversation.
- For couples, maximizing combined income and being on the same page when it comes to financial goals can lead to faster wealth building.
The Power of 401k Matching
- While working in banking, Jonathan learned about 401k matches and how they contribute to one’s total compensation.
- He stressed the importance of taking advantage of the full amount, as it can significantly increase your overall income.
Job Hopping as a Strategy for Accelerating Your Career
- Jonathan shared how leveraging job hopping allowed him to accelerate his career path and receive larger raises.
- By moving between positions, he was able to increase his 401k match from 3% to 11%.
The Importance of Collaboration in a Relationship
- Jonathan and his wife support each other’s strengths and bring a case when there’s an issue, requiring evidence and reasoning to back up their decisions.
- The right partner can make financial decisions easier, like who should handle taxes and benefits.