My guest today is Natalie Goldberg, an award-winning attorney, bestselling author, a nationwide speaker about women and money, and a fearless cheerleader for her clients’ success. Her clients include celebrities, influencers, athletes, business owners, and real estate owners. And she teaches them how to retain more of their wealth and pay fewer taxes ethically and legally (of course) while also protecting their assets from disgruntled would-be litigants. She’s not only a survivor of a nearly fatal accident, but she’s a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News, CBS, Good Morning, America, CNBC, BBC, and elsewhere. And she’s also featured in CNN, New York Post, Star magazine, and Cosmopolitan. She also has her own podcast called The Gold
Standard. And the best part about her is she’s a huge advocate for moms making and keeping their money. Welcome to Authoritti5.0, Natalie.
Mary: So Natalie, I want to connect the dots back to front in this interview. And I want to start at that word legacy, something you talk about and something you also ask your clients about before you engage them. You deal with people who are in vulnerable situations, whether it’s money or property or contracts, whatever it may be. Why is knowing what your clients’ legacy is so important to you?
Natalie: It defines everything, Mary. You know, what are we really like? We are all ticking time bombs. We don’t know when we’re going to go
off. We can look at statistics, but that means nothing. It is this mom, this friend, this wife, this partner, right? So it colors everything you want to do. Here’s the deal. If you know what you want to be remembered for – your legacy, as I call it – then you know what you need to do. I got a call two days ago from a guy who said, “I don’t want to work anymore.” I said, “Okay. How much money do you have? Can you afford that?” So we went through it. He has about $8 million, he’s 50 years old, no kids and he’ll never get married. He just wants to sit into the sunset.
He has $8 million, and if it makes 10% every year, he will probably live a very nice life and not worry about where that money’s going to go after he dies.
As we both know, Mary, we are not going to just sail off into the sunset. We want our legacy to be the preservation and complete advancement of women; it’s our mission in this world. And here’s the thing: Your legacy and what you want it to be will color every decision you make. Because if you need to be able to write a $100M check like Melinda Gates does, you’re going to make that happen. If that is your mission – what you were born to do in this world – or if you want, you can allow the government to pay for your limited lifestyle, but that’s going to color the decisions you make because nothing comes for free. And if you want to be a billionaire, that’s a lot of work. And going after it every single day takes a lot of energy that most people don’t have.
Mary: Absolutely, I love what you just said because I remember when I was 28. I had just gotten divorced and that was my first marriage. And I remember sitting at the traffic lights in my car, and I had the biggest epiphany: I screamed these words out loud in the car “I will never ever allow myself to be codependent on a man ever again.” And I realized that day that it was vital to create my own happiness and money and a legacy, as you say, regardless of who I am with or where I am in my life. And the older I get, the more important knowing that is for me. I love the fact that I am financially independent from my now husband. It’s a powerful position to obviously be in. You are a massive advocate for women empowerment when it comes to financial freedom. Can you share why you believe this is important? And what advice do you give women when you actually meet them or when you’re interviewed on the big media outlets, what advice are you giving these women?
Natalie: It is action day to day. If you decide you’re going to lose 30 pounds, you’re going to work at it every day. You’re going to eat healthy food every day. If you decide that you’re going to be financially free and secure, you need to work at it every day. It’s first of all getting your head out of the sand and owning it. It’s updating your accounts. And when your husband says, “Don’t worry, honey, you’ll be taken care of,” you’re hearing the scariest words in the English language. How many women have come to me crying that he said, “I would be taken care of,” but where’s the money, honey? They don’t know. You need to know what accounts you have, where you are the properly listed beneficiary, and whether the trust has been updated to include you. Do you have an updated estate plan? Are you named on the life insurance policy? What about the partnership paperwork with his business? And that’s just on his side. Now on your side, as a woman who was making money, we are actually amazing at making money. Married women are innovative, intuitive. We listen to the world, we can make it, but we’re not as great at holding onto it because we haven’t been taught the tools.
When I was 25 and I first started making real money, I became a lawyer and started my own firm. I was like, thank God I’m really doing amazingly well. I come from an immigrant family that didn’t have much. Of course, we had a roof over our heads and we were middle-class. Meanwhile, I was single and had no dependents at that time. So, I was buying Chanel bags and trips to Hawaii, because honestly, when you make money like that, and you were accustomed to working as an employee for someone for four or five grand a month, and now you’re making more than that from a single client, you’re like, holy moly.
Mary: I see a lot of young women today chasing vanity metrics on social media, not chasing property portfolios. They’re chasing rich partners, etc. I seldom hear women in their thirties talking about their financial freedom or more important, investing. They all want to be entrepreneurs and self-identify as entrepreneurs, and yet they’re living on the poverty line. When I was 30, I was obsessed with building wealth and my property portfolio as well.
You are a huge advocate for educating millennials on money, which I think is so empowering and so needed, not just in the United States, but across the globe. And it should start in the school system, quite frankly. So, why is social currency more important to so many millennials than real currency? And what issues do you see in this generation that perhaps didn’t exist in my generation, which is generation X? What’s going on there?
Natalie: The social media metrics are very easy to understand: Am I popular or not? And who didn’t want to sit at the popular kids’ table in high school and middle school?
Everyone wants to be at the popular table. It plays into that need to be seen as important in the world. What’s wrong with that, though, is not the metrics. I think that’s great, but it’s not realizing the power you have in those metrics. You know, if you’re a 20- year-old hacker girl and you have 500,000 followers, you better be making a real business out of that.
Mary: But they’re not. That’s the thing, Natalie. And you know, and it’s not just on Instagram, I see them on LinkedIn as well. I get a lot of those self-proclaimed influencers, 30- to 35-year-olds who come to me and what they’re really looking for is fame. You can’t make money from 1000 likes unless you’re strategic and deliberate and you are genuinely an entrepreneur. But they’re calling themselves entrepreneurs after they watch Gary V do some show, pay their $300 for a ticket and then
suddenly they’re inspired to become and entrepreneur. The problem is that the very thing they want to start always remains a hobby. It never turns into a real business. So what do you think from a mindset perspective?
Natalie: To be a true entrepreneur, you have to figure out a way to make money, right? Mary, let’s be very real about who actually makes money on these platforms. It’s the digital media agencies that figured out that they have something there. I think about the people who are talking about how much money they’re making on LinkedIn, people who are teaching you how to use LinkedIn, which is so fascinating because many of us have a huge presence there, but it’s how are you using it.
You have to know who your end user is on the platform, because if I’m on Instagram, I’m posting pet, family pictures, people. So I’m going direct to consumer, probably lower value, right? It’s probably a brand new mom and dad who just need a basic plan. But on LinkedIn, I’m there to be the expert, so that financial advisors see me and then think of me for their clients. It’s important that people understand what they’re going for.
Mary: Absolutely. The other problem with that is even if you are a self- proclaimed influencer on say, Instagram, it doesn’t mean you actually understand how the system works because there are two sides to the coin. If you don’t understand how to commercialize your value on LinkedIn, then you just have a presence there. A lot of millennials have this idea that they do want to be successful, they do want to become a brand name, and they want to be known as the go-to person for something, but they don’t know how to do it.
And what I find even more concerning is that the older end of millennials, who are in their early forties, many with families, are still on the platform trying to get famous. I just find that incredibly sad.
Back to women. You give a woman knowledge, and she can conquer the world. It’s that women are just naturally more creative, more abundant thinkers, and collaborative, which are all vital ingredients in creating success.
But is there a difference between this generation and the previous one? Especially when you’re doing your keynotes, I’m sure that people come up to you and talk to you all the time. What are their pain points? What are they actually going through that doesn’t allow them to reach their legacy? What’s stopping them from actually making money?
Natalie: They don’t want to do the work. It’s really that simple. It took a long road for me to get there. And it takes a lot of stuff behind the scenes. I don’t love sitting at my desk drafting documents. But it’s the bigger picture, the legacy, that I see. These people build the business. I am building the legacy that I’m leaving for my children. So that’s the bigger picture. But a lot of people don’t realize if they have a college degree from ABC
university and a big LinkedIn or Instagram presence, what’s missing is the work ethic because they don’t have a role model.
They don’t have someone telling them, “Here’s how we’re going to make money on this.” This is what I love to do because I see that all the time, and I know how to make it successful. But a lot of people haven’t ever built a real business, so they don’t know what it takes. When I first built my business, I was 24 years old. How much law could I possibly have known?
Right. Graduate college in two years. Yes. I did law school for free in two and a half years. But what practical knowledge did I have from that? Almost nothing.
So I was out there, 24 years old, waking up at 5:00 AM to go to a networking meeting at 7:00 AM in Manhattan, followed by another one at 9, and another one at 10. And not through until 10 or 11 o’clock at night; that’s a lot of fricking work, that’s a lot of foundation building, and it’s more than just three seconds. Smile.
Cause I’m so cute and I posted on Instagram with my Jimmy Choos and the Chanel bag. Come on.
Mary: I want to talk about your book, The Millennial’s Guide to the Universe, How to Live the New International Dream, which is available on Amazon. Through the book, you share your life story of surviving a drag racing car accident, where you were hit as a pedestrian and then you went on to become an attorney at 23, debt-free, and establish and own a seven-figure law firm by the time you were 26.
The book introduces the notion of the new international dream, unbound by location as a result of the internet, obviously, and then your teaching, which is a 10-step roadmap to success. I love that.
And I want to go there in a moment, but let’s start with you literally coming face to face with your own mortality in that car accident that day. I would imagine that your life changed forever. Can you share what that experience taught you? We don’t have to go into detail of the accident, but what was that aha moment that led you to this path that you’re on
Natalie: Mary? You know, every day to me is my personal Pearl Harbor day. I was walking across the street and got hit by a car going 60 miles an hour. There were two cars drag racing from light to light to show whose ego was bigger. The probability of surviving for me was close to zero. I had five surgeries, and my entire left side still has metal in it to this day. Within 10 to 12 days, I was out of the intensive care unit and back home. I was in 10th grade and went to school in a wheelchair every day because I went to one of the top schools in the country, in New York, called Townsend Harris. I was very competitive. I was not going to miss a year. So I think that to your point before, Mary, about vanity metrics, I was literally in a wheelchair as a 15-year-old having to face my peers, and you don’t have self-confidence at 15. But you know what was funny? I’ll never forget my Latin teacher, Mr. Haggerty, who would get such a kick out of me because they would come pick me up with the wheelchair through the hall. And I was like the one holding up traffic because everyone was hugging and kissing me every single day through the halls. Everyone was late to class! Within a month and a half I was dancing and choreographing on stage, although they told me it would take a year to walk. How great is life that no one gets to tell you how long it’s going to take? That really was a theme in my life. They told me a year, but I did it in a month and a half. They told me college is four years. I thought, how about two for law school? They said you could only do it in six full-time semesters. So I figured out that there’s one loophole where you could do two summers that equal a fulltime semester to make it less time.
It’s that legacy question you asked me first – what’s your legacy? – change the world and make it better for women. You got to get to work.
Mary: You know, that’s been my philosophy too. Every single day, I have a task list, and I cross things off every day. It’s all about movement and speed. It’s about having that desire to be remarkable. That’s my new word. Remarkable. It’s showing up as remarkable. It’s writing remarkable content. It’s showing up with your clients and being remarkable. And I think that is a very important word because when you unpack it – it all comes down to choice. You have to choose to be that; you can’t just be that. You have to go through life experiences to come to the other end and say, “You know what? I choose to be remarkable.” And that requires a responsibility to your work. So let’s go back to the book. You have a 10-step roadmap to success. And I know for sure that the readers of Authoritti5.0 magazine and the listeners of this podcast would love to hear you unpack this. So let’s start with step one. If you can just take us through some of those steps.
Natalie: Mary, you’re really making me reach here. That book was 2017. I’ve written five since then. So I’m going to reach into the depths of my memory.
Number one: We are all spiritual beings having a human existence. Figure out your why real fast. And you know how you get your why? You ask, “What makes me want to get up and do something?” Ask yourself this question. “If I get a billion dollars tomorrow, all my money concerns will be taken care of for the rest of my life. So what would I do in this world? And what problem would I solve?” You ask those questions. You find your purpose. It’s really that easy. You don’t have to go through all this mushy crazy contraption. Ask those two questions and figure it out. Look, there’s a reason I’m not a marine biologist. God bless the fish. I really couldn’t care less. My husband has a whole fish tank of fish that he feeds every day.
I say to him “You spend more time with those fish than you do with our kids.” The fish don’t call to me. But when I see women and children and want them to advance and want them to do amazing things in the world, that gets me going. That gets me up in the morning to lead a group and do what I do so that we can do a better as a world. So my purpose is very clear: Be a resounding voice through the world, so that women and children have a better tomorrow and that they know that they’re going to be protected. And that there’s a roadmap for success.
Number two: Figure out the money, honey. I mean, we all are women who want to be empowered. But unless you understand the money, you cannot be empowered on the poverty line.
You want to be empowered, and that’s about doing what you want, paying for what you want, and that’s about doing what you want, paying for what you want, and being your own boss. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be your own self- employed person, but your own sovereign over yourself.
Number three: Have self-respect. What will you actually put up with? And what are the boundaries that you’re drawing? Are you someone who will do everything? You know, when this pandemic started, I was taking every meeting. I was doing every networking group. I was exhausted, and I was getting no money out of it.
Everyone started networking like crazy, but no one remembered who anyone was. What was the point of that? And I had a newborn and my one-and-a-half-year-old.
Number four: Figure out what’s important. Get back on the track, pick yourself up, and get out of this depressed state. Life is happening to you or life is happening for you. You get to choose. You get to be part of the walking dead, which is the 99% who are born, do nothing, and then die, or you get to be part of that 1% not just talking about wealth, but having it. But if you’re working in what lights you up every single day, you will be part of that 1% who are happy or living a life, not part of the walking dead. But you have to understand the basic foundations of money. The rich get richer because they understand trusts and wills, and they get great advice.
Okay? No one who’s super rich is dying with just a will. They have multiple trusts. And by the way, the trust are making it so they never pay taxes. As a result, that $10 million becomes $100 million real fast.
Number five: Life skills. You need to understand a few things. Networking, negotiation, public speaking, and sales. If you can’t sell, you are dead in the water. If you are a great operations person, you better find someone who can sell to be your partner. Because I don’t care how smart you are: Any business is about sales. And the number one thing you sell is yourself. If you can’t do that, it’s okay. But don’t think you’re going to run a huge business if you’re scared to ask for the money.
Number six: There’s nothing for free in this life. You’re either investing time or you’re investing money. You know, I’m a visionary leader. I would love to have an operational partner. People think that they show up, and just because they have a degree from whatever University they’re entitled to a six-figure salary. Well, guess what?
You may have this degree, but you haven’t learned real skills and you have no network. So what can you do for me? You know I’m very non- traditional when it comes to hiring people. I don’t go through 12 rounds of interviews; who has time for such nonsense? If I like the person, I hire them on the spot for a task. And if they do a good job, I give them another task.
Why should I commit my resources to hire an associate who doesn’t know anything and who’s going to learn everything from me and think they can do it? I need someone who’s loyal. I have many different lawyers working for me. You need to hold people accountable and say, “Where’s the work that you promised was going to be done by this day?”
Number seven: You know, I think the north star is the legacy. You want to So the person who wants to live a good life with their family, their vessel has a full cup. There’s no shame in that, but you need to own it. You need to understand what your motivational factors are. For me, it’s never been just about family or community. It’s about the level of world. Many people are not at that level.
The first level is family. The next level is community. The next level is city. The next level is state. The next level is country. The next level is world. Many people are not at the world level, right? Those are the people we know about like Elon Musk. So all these people are at a different level. They’re thinking much bigger than most people. As Oprah says, you can only fill from a full cup.
Mary: Absolutely. I think on the other side of the coin that a lot of people have to unlearn what they’ve learned to be able to see not just the opportunity, but to be able to see that they also have a choice to pursue that dream, that passion, whatever it is. Society has programmed us to believe that being on a hamster wheel is healthy and normal from the moment we are born and then through school. Ultimately, we are taught how to conform to a 40- hour workweek. And so this conditioning has to, at some point, be unlearned, and we have to be willing to get off the hamster wheel, even if it’s for a week in complete silence that changes our life forever. We have to understand the roadmap that we’re talking about, digest it, embrace it, implement it, get our circle of influence in place, and invest in those people to actually get us closer to our destination. If we’re not after freedom and we want to work for someone and get our salary on the 15th of every month or rely on the government, then we can’t complain.
Natalie: Mary, you’re so right. When I was at law school, I took classes that played to my strengths: negotiation, mediation, and client advocacy, and I got the highest grades. I know I’m an amazing advocate. And I also had confidence. I know I would kick these people’s asses any day in court.
Mary: I just want to go back to what you said about your strengths. You played to your strengths, you got straight A’s, you tapped into your genius zone, and you worked with what you’ve got. Now, that’s a very important aspect. When I work with my clients, I’m tapping into those gifts, talents, and attributes that they have that make up the best version of them.
Natalie, how many people in the world are actually in jobs they hate that absolutely do not match their strengths? In fact, they’re playing on the weaknesses more than anything. And this is why I go back to this notion of unlearning, because when you unlearn, you can see what your strengths are. What am I doing here when I should be over here? So going back to why I’m interviewing you: Women need to understand the power of their natural state of being themselves, and you’ve just spoken on this specific point proving that when you focus on your strengths, magic really happens. You have freedom when you step into your True Self.
Natalie: Mary, it’s so funny that you’re saying this and you could not be more correct. You’re on the money 1000%.
Mary: There are many women that get freaked out if they actually talk about their genius zone or God forbid, if they show up on social media like you do. And I do every single day. All these women are hiding in their homes behind closed walls and not putting themselves out there for the fear of “What if my friends, my mom, my sister, my husband’s friends see me?” But if you’re not seen and heard, how do you make money? If you’re not playing to your strengths, you’ll be sitting at home miserable and frustrated, which turns into anger and you’re going nowhere. It’s a dead end. So you just made a very important point on saying that you need that leadership role. You need to be in that role. Not because you think you’re better than anyone but because that’s your strength.
God made you with that gift. It has to be used every day.
We’ve come to the end of our show, but I need to ask you one more question, which I ask everybody. And that is, if you could meet one person who is no longer living, who would it be and what would you want to ask? Or what would you want to know?
Natalie: So I would say Golda Meir, who was the Prime Minister of Israel between 1969-74. This woman literally led a new country as a woman. We still do not have a female President in the United States. And what was her experience like doing that? In fact, my second daughter’s Hebrew name is Golda. And Mary, just to your last point, which was so important about what my friends are going to think.
You think Golda gave a F&%k about what people thought of her? Golda was trying to make sure that her country wasn’t going to be taken over at any moment, which is like when you get beyond yourself. You don’t care what people are going to think. The point being is if you want to light up, you need to do something in the world and literally do it. The very thing that is meant for you.