From NASA to “Money Muse”, Stephanie Xenos is Retired at 32

Salomé Gómez-Upegui
6 min readDec 7, 2018

You read that title right, Stephanie Xenos is 32 and doesn’t have to worry about money ever again. If she wanted to, she could lay back and stare at the ceiling for the rest of her days, and although you might think “she probably comes from a wealthy family (because what other explanation could there be?)”, it’s far from the case.

Stephanie is a self-made woman, the only child of a single mother, who from a young age, took the idea of financial freedom very seriously. She’s also a badass physicist who got her first job at NASA at 21 and worked at SpaceX until last year, where she was the head of many firsts, including the launch of the first SpaceX satellite and the first private mission that sent live mice to space.

This year, her life took a huge turn. After deciding to retire, she had enough free time and resources to honestly ask herself what her heart wanted next. The answer? Money Muse, a financial coaching service that helps women achieve their money goals. Pretty amazing, right?

How does one go from NASA to retiring at 32, to Money Muse? Stephanie answered all of those questions in our interview. Read on to get the full scoop.

Why do you care about women and money?

When I was growing up my mom and I were really poor, although at the time I didn’t know it because I always felt very loved. When I got older, she met an attractive guy who had money, and we ended up moving in with him. I never really liked him, he was so abusive to us that at one point the police got involved and we had to move out. But the money my mom made by herself wasn’t enough and we had to move back in. At that moment I just felt my whole world crumble. I decided that when I grew up, I was going to be super rich and entirely independent. I got a job, started making money at 15, opened a savings account, and got myself out of the house and into UCLA.

Why physics? How was that experience as a woman?

I chose physics because I thought it was the hardest thing out there, so I was bound to make money with it (laughs). Also, I was always great at math.

From the beginning of the major, women are maybe 10% of the students, and I don’t remember ever having any female professors…