016: Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout + Ways to Reduce and Eliminate Bank and Credit Card Fees with Janice Livtin and Paul Kesserwani

In this episode of Saving With Steve, host Steve Sexton is joined by coach and stress management expert, Janice Livtin, who is the author of the Banish Burnout Toolkit, a workbook designed to help you learn how to change your reactions to stress from the inside out, and Paul Kesserwani, Founder and CEO of Cushion, a company that safeguards your money by using artificial intelligence to analyze your financials and figure out the best way to dispute charges on your behalf.

Before the pandemic, American workers were already stressed to the tune of $190 billion annually in healthcare expenses. The World Health Organization had declared burnout as a syndrome caused by unrelenting stress that never gets handled. We have been living with COVID-19 for the last year, and we see the devastation in the news, parents are worried for their children, and many people have started working remotely. Remote work can lead to overworked employees that sit on computers all day, never get outside for a healthy dose of Vitamin D, and suffer from loneliness. It’s time to banish the burnout!

My first guest today, Janice Livtin, is a coach, stress management expert, and author of the Banish Burnout Toolkit, who is on a mission to help leaders and teams banish burnout in their organizations. She joins us today to discuss the importance of identifying our stress response and unpacking our emotional baggage and explains what a stress audit is, why we need one, and how to conduct it. Janice also provides insight into how anyone can build habits for optimal wellness, performance, and focus, and shares three proven tips for banishing burnout during uncertain times.

Bank and credit card fees cost Americans roughly $200 billion per year. Luckily, there are several services that, for a minimal fee, can reduce or completely eliminate these fees. Getting these fees under control is an easy New Year’s Resolution for consumers. My second guest, Paul Kesserwani, Founder and CEO of Cushion, has saved consumers more than $5 million in bank and credit card fees since their founding in 2018. He joins us today to discuss how the process of negotiating away bank fees can be an easy way to get a handle on our finances and help us live a financially healthier life. Paul addresses different myths surrounding bank and credit card fees, and also explains how his company, Cushion, can help you get your bank and credit card fees refunded automatically.

We also talk about three things that you can do now to have a successful tax season.

Janice Litvin is on a mission to help leaders and teams banish burnout in their organizations. She does this through keynote speeches, workshops, and accountability groups.

As an award-winning speaker, certified virtual presenter, and official SHRM Recertification Provider, she wants to help as many people as possible take care of their physical and mental health, including teaching them to manage stress to prevent burnout, fall in love with fitness, and eat healthier.

In these ways, she is helping people change their lives. She has developed unique strategies to maximize engagement in workplace wellness and has also developed a stress management methodology available through her workbook, Banish Burnout Toolkit™.

What makes Janice unique is that in addition to 20 years as a technology recruiter, 10 years of IT experience, and her studies of psychology, she has overcome all the challenges she talks about in her presentations.

She went from being overweight and sedentary with a critical, negative attitude to a lighter, fitter, happier person who now teaches Zumba Fitness and leads stress management and healthy eating workshops and accountability groups. She is certified by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

After forming Micro Search in 1983 to help clients learn how to manage their business using a desktop computer, she became a human resource executive technology recruiter in response to her Fortune 500 clients’ needs for technology talent.

Over the next twenty years, clients included Charles Schwab, Oracle, The Gap, Computer Partners, Network Appliance, QuinStreet, Symantec, Vodafone, Chiron, TheraSense, Nokia, Borland, United States Army, Pacific Gas & Electric and Pacific Bell.

Janice has served on the Workplace Wellness Committee of the American Heart Association and spoken on their behalf to San Francisco Bay Area organizations. She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, WELCOA (Wellness Council of America), and SHRM Northern California (Society for Human Resource Management). In 2017 she formed the Bay Area Wellness Association.

Paul Kesserwani is the Founder and CEO of Cushion, a company that uses artificial intelligence to analyze their customer's financials and figure out the best way to dispute charges on their behalf.

Paul started Cushion after uncovering $400+ worth of penalties on his accounts in 2016. After multiple stressful confrontations with his bank and credit card company, he realized that there had to be a better way. 

In this on-demand world of Uber and Instacart, why did he have to waste so much time and energy fighting to get his hard-earned money back?

After extensive research, Paul discovered that Americans were spending billions of dollars on bank fees each year with no digital solution to combat them. So, he decided to create one, and that’s when Cushion was born.

Prior to Cushion, Paul spent 10 years in high impact Sales Engineering, Revenue Operations, and Product roles at companies ranging from early stage startups to Twitter.

His work has contributed to three successful exits to date: Qualys IPO, Dasient Acquisition (by Twitter), and Twitter IPO.