Ep492: Jacent Wamala – Gain Inspiration to Face a “Grief Storm”

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Quick take

BIO: Jacent Wamala is a licensed marriage and family therapist turned money mindset coach and wealth & wellness university founder.

STORY: Jacent accumulated huge student loans while in graduate school in her pursuit to fulfill societal expectations.

LEARNING: Put boundaries, stipulations, and structure in your life. Have a clear vision about where you want to be.


“Don’t focus on receiving a specific outcome, instead, be more open to learning and figuring out what comes next after that.”

Jacent Wamala


Guest profile

Jacent Wamala is a licensed marriage and family therapist turned money mindset coach and wealth & wellness university founder.

Women of color rely on her expertise and “been-there-done-that” guidance to write the best chapters of their lives. With her by their side, they discover how to overcome debt, level up their income streams, and achieve impactful, life-changing financial freedom. Tap in with Jacent so she can teach you how to do the same.

Her goal is to help her community become aware of the limiting beliefs and fears getting in the way of their financial freedom and empower them to create a plan to reach their goals. She does this by educating regularly on her podcast and IG page, both with the name, Jacent’s Gems.

Worst investment ever

Jacent had this checklist that she felt she needed to check off to be considered successful when growing up. So she went to school, got her diploma, went to college, got a good degree, and then got a good job. In her pursuit to fulfill societal expectations, she decided to join graduate school. Grad school left her with about $70,000 in student loans. Jacent was so hang up on fulfilling expectations that she didn’t even consider looking for a scholarship. She feels that the worst mistake she ever made was taking up this debt.

Lessons learned

  • Put boundaries, stipulations, and structure in your life.
  • Success is not about feeling like doing something at the moment. It’s about being convicted to the point that you must do it because you recognize the consequences would be higher if you don’t follow through.
  • Instead of focusing on being attached to an outcome, experiment and observe the data you receive. Then be open to what comes after that.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Set your intention about where you want to be, and shift that focus from the pain, suffering, struggle, and obstacles preventing you from achieving success.
  • Have a clear vision about where you want to be.
  • Close your financial books every month.

Actionable advice

Get off the fence, pick a side, and then go from there.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Jacent’s goal for the next 12 months is to have the healthiest mind, body, and spirit possible.

Parting words


“The only way that you’re going to feel fulfilled in your life is by following through on things that you have thought of and said that you wanted to do for yourself.”

Jacent Wamala


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. Join this mission at my worst investment ever.com. By taking the risk reduction quiz I created from the lessons I've learned from all my guests, it's time you start building wealth the easy way by reducing risk. Fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests just sent Ramallah to sent Are you ready to rock? Yes, let's do it. All right. Well, I am excited to have you on the show. And let me introduce you to the audience. Ladies and gentlemen just sent Well, Mala is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, turn money mindset coach and wealth and Wellness University founder women of color rely on her expertise and been there done that guidance to write the best chapters of their lives. With her by their side, they discover how to overcome debt, level up their income streams, and achieve impactful life changing financial freedom. Tap in with dissent, so she can teach you how to do the same. Her goal is to help her community become aware of the limiting beliefs and fears getting in the way of their financial freedom, and empower them to create a plan to reach their goals. She does this by educating regularly on her podcast, and Instagram page, both with the name just sent Jim's to send. Fill in a little bit more about your life. Tell us something interesting.

Jacent Wamala 01:59
Yeah, so you know, I actually live in Las Vegas, but I was born in Uganda. So I'm first generation and third culture, which is a unique experience that anyone who has been born elsewhere from the place that they live would understand to some extent, and if you can travel International, you know, culturally, things can be quite different around the world. So I think that that has really heavily influenced the way that I see things, the way that I do things. And how passionate I am about, you know, serving and having an impact. So yeah, that's kind of a little bit that I like to share. Yeah, that culturally, I'm a little bit. I'm a little bit all over the place American Ugandan in the middle, both.

Andrew Stotz 02:47
It's interesting, because I've been teaching a lot of online courses over the last five years. And the number of students I've gotten from Africa, from all countries across Africa, has been amazing. And, you know, I'm just curious, what is it that I mean, I know a little bit about Kenya. I know a little bit about Nigeria, I know a little bit about South Africa, because I've had more experience with people from there. What is the distinguishing feature from your perspective about Uganda relative to other countries in Africa?

Jacent Wamala 03:20
Well, you guys called the Pearl of Africa. And so I think perspectively like, everyone, uh, well, I can't say everyone has ever been to all the countries. But you know, we overwhelmingly have kind of a reputation for kindness, for kindness, and just being really friendly. And so I think that that has something to say, I think it's really because of where we're located on the continent. So it's pretty tropical, right? It's almost like when you hear about people that live close to water, like they have a different energy about them. And so I think that's kind of what happens in Uganda is that because of the perfect weather, the great climate, like you could drop a seed in the soil, and it'll grow. You know, the next day, I think, because of the abundance that's in the country, that it kind of lends to the people having an abundant amount of energy. And kindness.

Andrew Stotz 04:13
It's interesting, because I always say almost the same exact thing of Thailand, you know, first thing is Thailand. Almost 100% of the land in Thailand is arable land that can grow food. The second thing is the temperature is steady over the US and you know, the rainfalls pretty good. I mean, we do have a dry season, but you can get irrigation of water. So generally, food has been an abundance. And that changes the attitude of people really dramatically to go from, you know, the risk of scarcity versus is always food. I mean, what the way people greet each other as you know, have you eaten yet? No, sir. Yeah, so it's, it's an interesting one. And let I just want to delve into one last thing before we get into the story. You know, what is your uniqueness? Or your kind of secret sauce about how you know, the people that you help? And kind of what's your angle? And why do people like to work with you? Instead of let's say, working with, you know, there's lots of people you can go to to try to get help, but you have your own personal angle to that, what would that be so that the listeners who may resonate with your story, they can understand the value you bring in the uniqueness and the way you bring it.

Jacent Wamala 05:28
Yeah, the secret sauce, I'll tell ya, you know, I think the secret sauce is the combination of my personal experience with, you know, my, I guess, education and expertise and professional experience. So traditionally, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, I've been doing counseling since 2014. And have been bridging the gap between mental health and money for personally since 2017. And with other people, for other people, since 2019 2020. And it's been that combination of understanding the psychology with the logistics, and, you know, the financial, the financial component, that has been what has helped people to actually make progress that has been long term as opposed to kind of a flash in the pan, change something for 30 days, and then go back to whatever you're doing before that. So it's really transforming someone's mindset, instead of just saying, change your habits, which is surface level, how can we help you to transform your mindset, which is getting to the root of the problem, because then you'll be able to, you know, for a longer time, be able to sustain and, and get good results.

Andrew Stotz 06:40
Love that, you know, getting to the root, I have been through 2000 hours of therapy. Can you imagine how messed up I was before when I was in need that everyone knew when I was 16. And then the unique thing is that I didn't go through it. As I got older. I went through it when I was 1617 and 18. And I went through it because I went through three different rehabs. And then I became a what they call like a technician or a supporting person to support counselors that were licensed. And so I did that. And but when you talk about transformation versus surface, I love that because being stuck in a seven month drug rehab, that was run by some pretty amazing people that really kept a mirror in front of you, it's no matter where you went, that mirror was just always following you, and feeding back to you. And then really forcing you to look at these things not in a force sort of way, but just in a constant relentless pressure, like when are you going to deal with what's inside you? That's causing all your problems? Right, you know, and I always say that I was able to reboot, and I left that treatment center at the age of 17. Now I'm 56. I've been sober for 39 years. And it worked. And it was the transformation below that surface level that allowed me to really build a life without a lot of baggage. And I got the tools on how to deal with all the issues that were coming my way whether whatever type of pain and grief was coming as well as the highs of you know, stocks going up and investments going up. I mean, I learned how to do that. So I love your word. Transformation. Beautiful. Yeah. Okay, well, now we know a little bit about you. And now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment thinking will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstance leading up to it, then tell us your story.

Jacent Wamala 08:43
Yeah, so like you mentioned, no one knows, like, what they're getting themselves into beforehand. And I think that's probably why you end up making the worst investment ever, because you don't have all the information. And I think that's a huge component for me. So I feel like we have this checklist that we grew up with, whether it's society that gave it to us or our families, and the checklist says, you know, go to school, check, get your diploma check, go to college, get a degree of good degree, right, so that you can get a good job, check, check, check, right. And so we're going through life, really just trying to check these boxes off. But the thing is that we were given the checklist, and it was never something that we were taught or encouraged to reevaluate or to see like did it fit for us? Does it work right now? You know, is this actually what I want to do? And so for me, I really think that it was being given a checklist and accepting it because I had to take it and make it my own right and say, Okay, I own this now I'm going to go on the scavenger hunt to go check these boxes off. So I accepted the standards that society gave to me. And so that's what I'm was doing in life, go to school check, got a, you know, a master's degree check. And what happened was, it was me not living truly like me not being authentic and genuine and honoring myself and what I really wanted to do. I was trying to please, you know, whoever, whether it's my family, whether it's society what I thought I wanted to do. And so it was a combination of that plus the lack of information. So anyone who's gone to school, at least in America knows that like, they give out loans like candy for the no one tells you, and you don't have the understanding, to ask the right questions, to get information is going to help you make a fully informed decision. So when I was taking out, you know, it's really crazy, because when I was an undergrad, I didn't take out too many loans, I think I had less than $1,000 worth of loans in undergrad or so. But I partially didn't take out loans in undergrad because I was like, if I go to grad school, I need to save these loans for grad school like so that was even like distorted thinking there was no one telling me that it wasn't a thing or like, Hey, did you know you can like get scholarships, or there's others ways or whatever. And so, you know, it was grad school that really did me in essentially. And so I think it was a combination of kind of going through the motions, which I think a lot of people are doing in life trying to do what they think they're supposed to, and not truly what they feel called to, as well as a lack of information that I think was on both sides. I didn't have the information. Financial Literacy isn't something that we learned in school. Plus, you know, I wasn't given the information in the process of acquiring and taking on, you know, these these loans when I was probably what, between 21 to 25. You know,

Andrew Stotz 11:51
so where did you end up as far as kind of let's, let's kind of describe maybe your worst, the turning point when you realize, like, all is crashing in on you.

Jacent Wamala 12:02
Boy, it's a doozy. So I was in grad school to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Ironically, I ended up getting divorced while in grad school to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. So you know, we can laugh about this now. But at the time, like it was devastating, right? I'm, I'm like, I must be the biggest fraud on the planet, like who is going to come and see me like, is this like, Is there something wrong with me? Or should I switch to like, Can I switch to like, Is this is this am I in the wrong career field. So it came with a lot of shame, a lot of embarrassment and guilt and imposter syndrome. Boy, that was rough. And so that was early 2014. And then my father passed away in June 2014. So and my mom passed away when I was about five years old. So loss was kind of a recurrent theme in my life. Anyway, it seemed like that year was just a lot for me to deal with. And so in the midst of what I call the grief storm, it was about two years, a year and a half, two years, I think that I was just again, kind of going through the motions, and not really, I wasn't really coping to the best of my ability, right. I was, you know, at that time, I think I had gained like 25 pounds while I was in school, hustling and grinding grad school graduate assistantship, you know, and and just had so many things on my plate. It wasn't until January 2017. So 2014 was when everything, the issue hit the fan. And then 2017, January 2017, my cousin had given me a book for Christmas, I started reading it. And the book said, you know, calculate your net worth, and I was like, Beyonce has one of those, I think Oprah has a net worth, like, I have one of those, and I should know what it is, then I should, you know, focus on it or care about it or do something about it. And, and so I actually still have a piece of paper I wrote down, it was negative, approximately $70,000. At the time, January 2017, January 3, I still have the PSP registered

Andrew Stotz 14:18
number to see on a piece of paper to wake you up.

Jacent Wamala 14:21
Because the thing is that all of your accounts are separate. You never see the numbers all together. So my credit cards were in one area, my student loans are in another place. You know, car payments are in a different location, you'll never see all of it together to really understand the full picture of what's going on with your finances unless you become intentional about it. And so that for me was a wake up call. And that's one of the things we're like, Oh, what do you want to do? We're at a crossroads here. So me having a little conversation with myself at that time.

Andrew Stotz 14:58
And so just take us through the close of this story, how did you get out? When did you get out? And then and then after that, I'm gonna ask you about the lessons that you learn.

Jacent Wamala 15:09
Oh, man, so 2017 is when I made a decision, I said, you know, I'm at a crossroad, I can keep going down the path that I'm on, what would that lead to? more debt? Do I like it? No, not fun. And so the other path was, well, what if you know, what if you get focused and tried to eliminate this, do an experiment and see what happens? And so from that question was okay, so when do you want to be out of debt by like, when would it be nice to be out of debt by and I was like, Well, it'd be nice to be out of debt. You know, by the time I was 30, and I was 26, going on 27 at the time. And really, it was just purely like, from desire, kind of childlike, like, this is kind of what I want. And then that kind of dictated the plan, because I said, Okay, 70,000 divided by three years was about $2,000 a month. And that told me what I needed to do in order to be able to pay off, kind of without thinking about interest. Like this was very simple stuff that I was, like, creating out as a plan. But the crazy thing is that in 2016, I only made $17,800 with a master's degree. So I was living just above poverty level. And I wasn't actually making enough money to hit my goal. So I spent the majority of 2017. Coming up with this plan, I was like, Well, I guess you probably need to manage your money, which I had never done before. If you're going to pay off this debt, so I started budgeting in March of 2017, was paying down my minimums until November, actually, I four years ago, this month was the first time I made a huge payment on my debts, I paid like 3000 something dollars in the month of November, four years ago. And it was because I ended up finding a position that helps me to triple my income by the end of 2017. And then from that point on, I went to work a lot. I mean, I journaled, you know, daily, I did my affirmations, I was doing my visualization, all that fun stuff, but like I went to work a lot. I was working, that's how I paid off the day.

Andrew Stotz 17:13
And I'm looking back at your bio, and I see level up their income stream. And that sounds like you know exactly what you realize I got to do this. That's awesome. So tell me, what lessons did you learn from this experience?

Jacent Wamala 17:27
Man, there's things that you don't realize you're dealing with until you start to have boundaries with yourself until you put boundaries and stipulations and structure in your life. Because you otherwise were enabling yourself, you're otherwise just saying yes. And letting yourself get away with things. So one of the kind of random things that I learned was like, I'm an emotional eater, because what I used to do is if I had a rough day, I would go to Jack in the Box and get like mini churros. But I couldn't do that when I was managing my money and trying to get out of debt because I had already grocery shop. So I'm driving and I feel myself with the urge to stop it jack in the box so bad, right? Because someone stressed me out that day, or I'm really tired, or I'm in a breakup or whatever the case may be. And I'm like you have food at home, you're on a plan, you can't do this. And so that's something that I realized is it's tough for people to be able to execute on their goals, because it's going to require them to have to have boundaries with themselves to become their own parent as an adult. So what happens is that we become 18, or however old that we believe adulthood is and we're like, I don't have parents anymore. What? And but it's like, no, no, no, your parents were training you to train yourself for the rest of your life. That's what they were doing was trying to pass you the baton. And so I think that was one of the things that I learned. That was huge as far as transformation goes. And then really, um, you know, outside of that is that most things are pretty simple. Like logistically, you want to be financially free, you want to invest or whatever anything you want to do. It's really simple. You know, as far as like the plan, but it's the day in day out conviction. So people talk to me and say, I don't feel confident and I don't feel motivated and like you're focusing on the wrong thing. You need to be convicted to do it. You need to be convicted to do something you need to resolve to make it happen. And so that was another lesson is like it's not about feeling like it in the moment. It's about being convicted to the point that you can't not do that thing. Because you recognize the consequences would be higher not to follow through.

Andrew Stotz 19:35
Ah, there's so many things I've been writing down as you've been talking and I've got a lot of things maybe I'll share a few takeaways. But I think I want to start with what you just said and I think you said that you're focusing on the wrong thing. And this is that concept of you know, building the future. Whether you're doing that through vision board or whatever. I do it through a little thing I wrote and keep in my wallet Basically, I describe what I want to become. Not if I've already, if I'm physically fit, then it's not going to be on this, this is going to be what I want to become. And I wrote this many years ago. And I've used it for many years. And I saw something on your Instagram that also kind of related on the first one. But I said, I'm going to be wealthy, healthy, and attractive. So what does it mean? You have to define it. So for me, wealthy means this one, I thought about when I looked at something on your Instagram, money flows to me. That's wealthy. It's not about accumulating or anything. It's just that and I always raised my hands within say, money flows to me, number two, healthy? What does it mean? It means my energy overflows every day? Can you feel my energy now? Yeah. That's why eat healthy, that's why I'm exercising. That's why I'm going out is because I want that energy. And number three, attractive, what is attractive mean, to me? It means I attract good things, and good people. And those are my three goals. And then I put underneath them, you know, if I was that person, what would I be doing? I'm going to construct that person. So again, focusing not on the negative and what I'm not, but focusing on where I want to be. And so I just want to read off under attractive of three things that I repeat, all the time. And first one is, if I'm attractive, it means every day I help one person step towards achieving their goals. So people come in, they call me they sit down with me. And they asked me Can I have like, you know, I talk to you about something. And then they're like, look, I'm really sorry to bother us. And no, no, no, no, you helped me achieve my goal today. Number two, and this one is critical. All my words are positive. Somebody said to me, you know, when after I started really using this, someone said, you know, you know, you're really positive. And it's like, well, this is why and this and this, Oh, that's interesting. And then they say, so that's why I never hear you gossiping about other people and complaining about stuff, right? It's an intention that I set. And the last one is that, and this one just sent, you are the person today for the last one. And that is I share my positive energy with one new person every day. And if I can do those things, I'm gonna be attractive. So I got a lot of things that I wanted to say. But I truly think, you know, that's the most important thing. And that is the idea of setting your intention about where you want to be, and shifting that focus from the pain and the suffering and the struggle and all the obstacles that are preventing you from getting there. And getting a clear vision about where you want to be. And I just want to highlight one last thing from your presentation. Whenever I talk to people who start up businesses, they asked me, What's your number one piece of advice, and I say, close your financial books every month. That means a full profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement. Now that's impossible for most people, because they don't know how to construct that. But you go to your accountant, and they go, nah, we just do that once a year. No, I want it every month. And that does exactly what you said. You said all of my accounts were kind of separate, and I didn't really see the whole picture. But when you bring it all into one financial statement on a monthly basis, then you've brought it into view. And then you'll be you know, it'll change the way you run your business. Anything you would add to those two things I take away from your story.

Jacent Wamala 23:59
Oh, man, I think the only thing that I would add is instead of being attached to an outcome, which I think we over identify with, and then we become scared and think, you know, if I fail, then I'm a failure. If I don't succeed, and what does that mean about me? So instead of focusing on being attached to an outcome, just become an observer, like become an experimenter become a scientist, and just do an experiment where you're saying, what if? What if I try not complaining for seven days? What if I close my books every month, whether it's in your personal finances or in your business? Let me just do an experiment and be open to observing what data that I received back from that experiment. I think that's the only other thing that I would add because then it takes away this need to believe in yourself it takes away this need to to receive a specific outcome. You're more so open to learning and figuring out what comes next after Get out.

Andrew Stotz 25:01
And ladies and gentlemen, one of us is a licensed therapist, and one is not. So I think I'm gonna listen to what just sent just said. So based on what you learned from this story and what you continue to learn, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Jacent Wamala 25:19
One action would be resolve, get off the fence, pick the side, and then go from there. If you're gonna, if you want to sit in the place that you're in, do it 100% Run with it. But if you have a little inkling or a voice that's telling you something to move in a different direction, then make a decision but resolve, like, literally, I guess the one thing would be look up the actual definition of resolution or resolve. And that's going to help you to understand you know, how to move forwards, it's cutting off other options, essentially, get rid of the plan B.

Andrew Stotz 25:59
Yeah. I love that advice. Because it's not action. It's making a decision, it's trying to say, I'm ready for this, and you don't have to jump in, join the gym. But you got to make that decision, because it's that decision that will keep you pursuing that new path. So let me ask you, what's one resource that you've created or have used that could benefit our listeners,

Jacent Wamala 26:27
I would highly suggest that you listen to the podcast, because there are so many episodes. Hundreds actually, with me, and there's also episodes with interview guests. And that is that could be a really great way to just gain some more information into into how to make that decision and what to do with it. And a lot of storytelling, because I think storytelling really can be truly powerful. And help us to see ourselves and see things that we don't normally recognize in our lives. So just since gems podcast, I would highly suggest listening to and then my Instagram where I regularly on a daily basis share information, it's probably going to be helpful to to sense gems, both on Instagram and the podcast.

Andrew Stotz 27:07
Fantastic. And, you know, just sent puts in a lot of energy to, you know, bring these resources to us all. So take advantage of that. I'll have the links in the show notes. So you can go to those easily. Last question, what is your number one goal for the next 12 months? Well,

Jacent Wamala 27:24
the number one goal for the next 12 months, which is really crazy, because I spent, you know, three years getting out of debt, my number one goal now has shifted. That's what my company is called wealth and Wellness University because there's a lot of people who are rich or accumulate wealth and money, but they're unhappy, and they're sad and unfulfilled. And so I'm really shifting into focusing on the wellness piece. So having my healthiest Mind, Body Spirit is my number one focus in the next 12 months. So that I'm able to continue to serve at a high level that only happens when the foundation of my self care and the way that I'm you know, fueling and energizing myself, just as you mentioned is in place. So that's it for me

Andrew Stotz 28:03
exciting. So ladies and gentlemen, go to the podcast, as well as her Instagram to follow her journey of, you know, wealth and wellness and health. So, listeners, there you have it another story of laws to keep you winning, join our mission and start building wealth the easy way, by reducing risk, start by going to my worst investment ever.com And take the risk reduction quiz. As we conclude descent, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Jacent Wamala 28:43
Yeah, for anyone listening, listen to that voice that's within you. The only way that you're going to feel fulfilled in your life is by following through on things that you have thought of and said that you wanted to do for yourself. So that's the only thing I would say is, you know, there's a little voice inside you telling you to do something that doesn't harm or hurt anyone else that you should typically listen to it. Beautiful.

Andrew Stotz 29:06
And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our wealth. Remember ladies and gentlemen, this podcast is about one guest. One story. One mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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