This Financial Trainer Can Kick Your Assets Into Shape


Everyone has financial troubles these days, especially millennials who are just out of college and trying to work while also paying off student debt. The question that needs to be asked in this situation is, “what are the everyday steps I can take to spend money in ways that’s beneficial to my goals?”

Luckily Shannon McLay, founder of The Financial Gym, is here to help.

“We’re more comfortable getting physically naked with people than financially naked with people.”

Sitting down with a financial advisor to go over account statements and history is terrifying, and that’s what McLay is changing with her business. At the Financial Gym, the advisees wear t-shirts that say, “Financial trainer, kicking your assets into shape,” the conference rooms are dining room tables and events such as “Wine and Learn Wednesdays” are held weekly to make learning about finances fun and interactive.

“Financial fitness is only two components - earn more and spend less.” Two very basic things, but it’s not easy. Life, emotions, and marketing get in the way. McLay aims to fix this problem instead of just working at a male dominated company helping wealthy clients.

So how is one supposed to start saving when making $50,000 but living in the city and also trying to pay off student debt? People often tell McLay, “I know I’m supposed to save, but how am I going to save when I barely have money to pay the bills?”

The solution? Side hustle.

Shannon McLay, Level 3 Certified Financial Trainer

The only way to get ahead is to make more money. Figure something out--take up dog walking or babysitting. Find something simple to do on the weekends. Side-hustling also keeps a person busier, and therefore unable to spend money as easily.

Another suggestion McLay makes is to set aside a “no-spending” day two or three times a week. By not getting that morning coffee, or that afternoon sandwich, or even getting a drink just a few days a week, the money that isn’t being spent on those things will add up.

Lastly, and the most important part to getting your financial ass into shape, is planning.

“You can’t bet on the markets, but you can always bet on yourself.”

Figure out a short term goal. Long term goals are often overwhelming and seem impossible. Instead of asking, “Where do I want to be 5 years from now?”, just think about 6 months from now. When a person has a direction to move in, planning is much easier.

Financial fitness is equally as important as physically fitness--people don’t mind paying $70/year for a physical gym and the same amount of money can be applied to the financial gym. Doing well financially produces less stress, helps a person make better decisions, and keeps someone healthier overall. The financial gym is comparable to a regular gym in every way, and produces the same benefits.


A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.

Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.