Getting Financially Exposed With Deborah Whitby


Deborah Whitby owns Austin Plumbery, the only independent female-run plumbing company in Texas. We learned a few lessons about how she was raised to think about money, how she convinced her father to become her employee, and what to look out for after you achieve success.

be open with your kids about money

Deborah grew up watching her grandma count cash after collecting it from her tenants (nothing we love more than a woman counting cash…). Her dad was a plumber and was always willing to show Deborah and her sisters how much he made—he’d come home from side jobs and fan himself with cash. This open relationship with money totally de-sensitized it for Deborah, so she feels no attachment or stress about it: “There’s always more to be made.”

also, be open with your parents about money

We got a question from the audience about how she convinced her dad to become one of her employees. Deborah focused on the opportunity that was there—her dad was a solo plumber without a retirement account or health insurance. Her son had just been born, and she wanted to create a legacy family business to carry on what her dad had started. Plus, he couldn’t have been less interested in the logistics of growing the business…

He was like, I’m not interested in scaling.
And I was like, perfect! I am.
— Deborah Whitby, about her dad

beware of lifestyle inflation

Since creating Austin Plumbery, the business has been steadily growing. They’re on track to make 7 figures this year. After creating such success, Deborah experienced something many women do after a salary increase: she bumped up her lifestyle to match. She bought a new house and a new car, “so that takes all my money.” We always say that any financial regret you have can always be un-done. Case in point: she’ll be renting out her new house for a profit and is moving into a new apartment that’s about half of her current mortgage.

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