Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the Journey to Launch podcast How to Navigate An Awkward Financial Conversation With the People in Your Life, I have on Erin Brooke Millennial to talk money.
Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom.
Jamila Souffrant 0:39
Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast. If you didn't know you are now a journeyer. That means you are on the path with me to financial freedom and independence. So on today's podcast, I have returning guests, Erin Lowry of Broke Millennial. So she is a wonderful author of the broke millennial series, we're going to talk about her third book Broke Millennial Talks Money Script Stories and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations. Now this if I don't say so myself was a wonderful, wonderful conversation about money. And you will get a lot from this. So a lot of times people ask me, How do I talk to my partner, to my friends, to my family members to my co workers about money, this important topic, this important subject matter that really impacts us all. And so Erin and I are going to talk all about that. We're going to really dive deep into how we can bring up these what can be awkward conversations and make them normal normalize them. Because we need to we need to talk more about money with the people in our lives. If you're listening to this. Having someone on the path with you who knows you in real life is really key. But how do you bring them on board without overwhelming them or being judgmental? That you know you're now on the path? Right? How can you get them on board at their own pace. So this is going to be a great, wonderful conversation. Before we hop into this week's episode, I want to bring you a word from today's sponsor.
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If you want the episode Show Notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. in the show notes. You'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are in OG journey or are brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/ jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Okay, journeyers, I have someone who is back. This is your third time Erin, isn't it?
Erin Lowry 3:48
I think so. You might
Jamila Souffrant 3:50
be up in the running as a contender for most appeared podcast guests. I don't know. We'll have to do the count. But I am excited to speak to Broke Millennial Erin Lowry. Hi, Erin. Hi,
Erin Lowry 4:02
I just have to do like an SNL call out I think they get this special jacket at five episodes of hosting. So I feel like if I get a fifth I need to get a hat or like something special to mark that
Jamila Souffrant 4:13
I know I have to figure something out for and you know what it is? Because the people who come back the most have like books that are amazing that absolutely keep coming back and talking about and so we're going to talk about your third book in your series of books broke millennial, and it's all about money talks, talking about money with people in your life relationships. So romantic work relationships, friend relationships, all relationships, parent relationships. So I'm excited because I know that this is a point for a lot of people who listen to the podcast and journeyers about like, how did they discuss money with people who are not necessarily on the journey with them who are not as maybe in tune with budgeting and goals, but they want them to come on board and if they're not on board, fine, but how do you still incorporate them in your life so I'm excited to talk to you about this book.
Erin Lowry 4:58
I'm so excited to get into it. This is really my third baby labor of love. And a topic that I think initially a lot of people were kind of unsure about, like, what do you mean talking about money? What does that mean? And it's so much just about the fact that you can construct this beautiful financial house for yourself, you can lay the foundation, you can start to invest to build growth. But if you cannot set boundaries, and if you cannot healthily communicate about money, it can all come crumbling down around you. So it's really important for us to learn how to effectively communicate about money.
Jamila Souffrant 5:34
Yeah, and so one of the things that you do in this book for anyone when they pick it up is you have scripts in here. So you actual scripts on like how you can approach these matters, like the conversations about salary, with co workers and friends. And you know, the friend that still wants to go to brunch and trips that you can afford, like, how can you bring that up? So you have actual scripts. So we'll get into that. But first, I want to go back to something you said like that people at first maybe didn't understand the need for this book. And I feel like since we're in the personal finance space, we know because these are the types of questions we get asked these are these this comes up a lot money conversations. But what was the pushback or not or maybe the hesitant feelings from people in terms of just the topic? Like why don't people understand that this is necessary?
Erin Lowry 6:23
Because it's hard to be prescriptive about this topic. And a lot of ways, which is the reason scripts are in the book, and especially from kind of like a publisher perspective, when it comes to a book like, well, that's kind of vague, like, What do you mean, talk about money? What does that mean? And that's part of the reason I split it up into four sections. As you mentioned, it's work family, friends, and romance and my thought being no matter where you are in your life, so whether you are unmarried or not even seriously dating anybody, you got probably the work piece or the friends piece or the family piece, or, you know, if you're in like a very long term, committed relationship, or married, and you've got kids and like the friends thing right now is just like not a pressing situation, you're through wedding season, you're on the other side of all that shenanigans, you still got other pieces. So really, no matter where you are in life, there's something for you in this book. But the other part too, I think a lot of folks, especially those who don't work in personal finance, like we do, kind of forget that everything we talk about comes back to money when it comes to so much of our relationship dynamics. And a lot of it is coded language that we use, it might be, hey, we're on the surface level, having a conversation about something like family planning, like, oh, we're gonna wait another year to to have our next one. Because we want to wait till this one is in kindergarten. Well, the subtext being we don't want to pay for two daycares, or whatever it is, like, there's a lot of subtext, or Hey, we moved out to this area, because we could get more bang for our buck. There's a lot of ways that we can talk and communicate about money without actually directly talking about money.
Jamila Souffrant 8:03
Yeah, and that's the thing I you know, since getting deeper in personal financial journey to launch and all that I'm just like this money, you just realize how it interacts? It impacts it is the fabric of our lives that, you know, that's like the last thing people really want to talk about, or even you know, spend some time to time or investment in money to improve themselves upon like money management and like this, like Lastly, I just want to like, go have fun, who cares about the money when the money allows you to have fun. If there's security, and then extra money, you can even have more fun. So for you, right, you seem so on top of it, right. Like you write about money, you've been in this industry for a bit. What are some of your or what were some of your hardest money conversations? And maybe they're still happening? But can you like, share that?
Erin Lowry 8:52
Oh, they definitely still happen. First of all, you are never absolved of tough money conversations, even when your job is to professionally write and talk about money. Very true. I think the only advantage for us is it's a little easier to bring it up because people are like, yeah, you're the money nerd that makes sense that you would bring it up. Like just the intro point is the only bit that's a little easier for us. Okay, my tough things. And I think it's kind of funny people who have already read the book have brought it up. You can tell I was like going through it with weddings when I was writing this book, because there's like a clear undercurrent of resentment of the writing which apologies, but to me wedding season has been the bane of my existence for I mean, I'm 31, almost 32 now since I was about 25, or 26. I don't know why people just like keep getting married, keep coming out of the woodwork. I don't know how I know this many people. You know, I also am coupled up I am married now. So then it's also my husband's friends and his cousins. I have 30 plus first cousins. So it's just been a lot of weddings. And I did the math while writing This book and I have spent over $20,000, attending other people's weddings.
Jamila Souffrant 10:05
Wow, I must not have enough friends or family because
Erin Lowry 10:09
people always make that up. They're like, I don't have that many friends like, Alright, here's the rub, I actually don't have that many like Close, close friends, it has so much to do with extended family in addition, so my mom has eight siblings, my dad has five siblings, my father in law has five siblings. So like, between my husband and myself, we have so many cousins, we're like smack dab in the middle age wise. So you gotta just constantly going on, he has a lot of friends. I blame him like he's the one who has the friends that the invites are still rolling. And my friends are more into like the baby making side of things, which then is like the next slew of invitations. We're just constantly in a turn of social events is really what I'm coming to realize adulthood is. And I made a quick one time on another podcast, where I said, you know, the thing about mail, like getting mail that is so frustrating these days is all it is, is either bills or a wedding invitation. And let's be honest, a wedding invitation is basically a bill. It's true, because there's so many financial things attached to attending and or being in a wedding. And hey, we both live in New York City. None of my friends get married here with the exception of like one person. So then it's always travel, travel, travel, or like we live in a great city, but people always want to travel somewhere else for their bachelorette party or all of the shenanigans. This is so much preamble to say the big pushback that I now have to do is if I'm invited to seven weddings in a year, which happens, especially post pandemic as they've rolled over, I'm not going to all the things I'm not going to your engagement party and your bridal shower and your bachelor party and your wedding. You tell me what is most important, I need to learn how to say no to being a bridesmaid to be totally frank, I haven't mastered that one yet. And also that my husband and I have kind of come to the conclusion that we don't both have to go to all of them. Like there's some of them where maybe just one of us goes, especially if you're getting married in an area or it's costing us 600 per person round trip just to fly there. I'm just not that interested in spending international vacation money on your wedding unless you are like top three people in my life.
Jamila Souffrant 12:20
Right. Okay, so I'm hearing all this. And I'm like, Listen, I'm like putting myself in the shoes. Because Fortunately, I don't have that many invites, you know, so I'm fine. But I get other invites and other social expectations that come along with just you know, family and friends. And I'm hearing people say like, Alright, but how do you tell someone that because we all have this or I have, even though sometimes it may not seem like this, but we all kind of have this need to like, be liked. And we don't want to like make people upset. And so it's like, how do you tell someone or relay that Yeah, you're important, but you're not that important for me to spend $1,000? Like that is a hard like, how do you say that?
Erin Lowry 12:57
I mean, I wouldn't, I wouldn't lead with that line. Certainly, I wouldn't be like, Hey, girl, I love you, but not $1,000 worth like that is not the tag. Really, it's all about context. And also telling people early Do not be waiting till the last minute to let people know especially somebody who has planned a wedding like that is so frustrating. But you really want to be providing the context about your why. So saying something and being totally upfront. I love you, I'm so excited to be your bridesmaid. But I have to be honest, I have five other wedding invitations. This year, I'm in another wedding, or whatever your thing is. So it could be we're trying to save up for a down payment on a house or we're trying to save really aggressively or you know, we're looking at starting a family this year, or we're trying to save up for our own big international trip we're taking. It doesn't have to be like a traditional milestone thing, whatever is important to you. But you know, trying to pay off student loans. Give them the context and say so because of that I can't do all of the things. So I want to know from you what is the most important thing for me to attend? So one, it feels like they have a little bit of say there's a little bit of back and forth. And you're not just saying no, I'm not doing that. I'm just doing this. So providing context really helps. It also provides kind of color to that person about what's going on. There's a woman I interviewed in the book, who was paying off six figures worth of student loan debt. And she early in her working life, had her best friend invited her to an international destination wedding because she was marrying somebody who's from Europe. The wedding was and I believe was Austria. And instead of saying hey, I have six figures worth of student loan debt and i'm not i'm working for a nonprofit like this isn't financially tenable. I love you. Let's let's do a celebratory dinner when you get back. She just said no, I have a big work thing. I'm just not going to be able to make it That really hurt her friends feelings. Because also her friend knows her, there's ever been a big work thing that came up before. So it felt like a lie. So I really discouraged kind of fibbing in that way. Because people usually can smell the BS. And saying, you don't have to say how much it is. But if you can be vulnerable with your friend to say, I have some student loan debt, you may not have known that. And just financially, I'm sorry, I love you so much. But I cannot balance in an international travel ticket in with my current budget. But I definitely want to celebrate with you another way, and then come with an idea or do something fun with them another way.
Jamila Souffrant 15:38
Yeah, I like that. And I guess that goes to where you know, you kind of don't want to go and you really can't financially go. And then it comes to the point where you actually want to go, you have FOMO you want to hang out with your friends and have fun, but you technically maybe financially, it's like, teetering on, this might not be a good idea and making a decision at that point. Like, you know how to communicate that and what to do. Because even just like going out to eat right. So one of the things we talked about in the book, you know, the dreaded when the bill comes, and everyone wants to split it, but I just had toasts and water like but you know, someone had the bottomless brunch, and then extras, bringing that up to like in a situation like, you know, because you want to be there, you want to have fun. So what do you do in that situation?
Erin Lowry 16:20
Okay, there are a couple of strategies. The preemptive strike is my personal favorite. So before you even get to that point, where, in my experience, it was an $80 quesadilla, idea, I had gone to a birthday dinner at an overpriced restaurant, and I ordered a quesadilla and a water. And the bill came to me and it was for 80 bucks. I was like, Oh, no, we all have those some version of that moment in our life. So preemptively, what can be helpful is to try to set the boundary early. So that can look like, Hey, I definitely want to come to your birthday dinner, this group brunch, whatever it is, however, I do have a limited budget. So could you tell me what you were thinking in terms of restaurant? Or how about I come for a drink before dinner? And meet up with you guys after? Or how about I just come for a nightcap? Or how about I just come for dessert like coming for a different point of the meal. So that you're not there for that splitting of the check dance can be a really good strategy. If you want to be there for the whole thing. You can also start a friend fund which is a savings account reset a little bit of money out of every paycheck so that when you want to do more of a splurge thing, you've got it. Or you just have to be okay with the potential temporary embarrassment that you might feel of standing up and advocating for yourself and be like, no, I cannot afford to split this evenly. When I had toasts and a water and you had the eggs Benedict the home fries and bottomless mimosas. That's important. And one of the lines I really loved in the book, Melanie Lockhart makes this point about what is going to make you feel worse, the temporary embarrassment you might feel or the resentment that's going to linger if you don't say anything. And also thinking about that what's going to be more damaging long term to a relationship. Probably the resentment.
Jamila Souffrant 18:16
Yes, yes. And, you know, it's interesting, because we, these happen all the time, like in our lives where we have to advocate and speak up and you know, we may feel a little embarrassed, but you'd be surprised to if you're honest with it, like, so I always say this, like if it's like a really close friend, like, it's, to me, that's part of their gift if I'm like paying more and I didn't do that like and you know, I know everyone at the table, I don't mind. But like kind of like getting invited and this is pre COVID that that happened. And when I was younger pre kids, this happened more, but then I'd be like, Oh, I know what's going to happen. So I'd either avoid it altogether, right. But I also think the honesty in it. So when you're not like kind of putting on a front and pretending and you can really be yourself with your friends and your friends kind of already know your vibe right. And let's just say you're just getting into your finances and you're like you've never talked about this before with them so they don't know that you're into this sometimes just being honest in this way like even though in the moment it might feel like oh my gosh, like people are gonna judge me that I don't have any money I'm broke I'm cheap. But like someone else at the table is thinking the same thing. Like I didn't know I could do that and then it helps the whole like collective become more refined.
Erin Lowry 19:21
I promise you that's the case. More than one occasion in my life. I have been that person of the day was like, Hey guys, what if instead of splitting it this way we prorate it based on what we ordered and there's always one or two other people who were like yes do that you usually get backup if you are the person willing to say it upfront. So that is something to also consider especially at those group functions where you might be best friends with two of the people there but then it's also like it's your high school best friend and in their college best friends are also there and then like their young 20s best friends are also there. You don't know all the people there. You will be surprised how much backup you probably get by standing up for yourself too.
Jamila Souffrant 20:02
Yes, yes. And then we can bring in now just also re establishing boundaries. So a lot of times, maybe you'd let things slide and you let things happen, and whether with family or friends when it comes to money, and so you never set the boundaries, you never were the person that spoke up. So how do you establish that with someone who does expect you to, you know, pay more than you your share or expects you to just like, give more than you have?
Erin Lowry 20:27
context again, the other thing to consider, and that is that, oftentimes, our lives are happening on very different timelines. So even if on paper, the two of you make the same amount of money, maybe one of you decided to buy a house, or have kids or get married, or just have different financial goals now than you did five years ago. And that's okay. Or maybe you're in positions where one Have you financially kind of took off in the career path and the other one of you either works a job that doesn't pay as well, or what have you. So getting into dynamics where friends make different amounts of money, guaranteed to happen in your life, or that your financial priorities just have shifted. So I do think it's important to bring it back to talking about your priorities and your value sets. But you have to be very careful that that conversation doesn't come off as you being judgmental of their values. So you don't want it to be like, I just don't really see the value in spending money on that. It needs to be more of, I definitely want to spend the time with you. But and I know traditionally, we've always done it this way. But I have to be honest. Now that insert thing here is going on, I'm really trying to refocus how I handle my money. So instead, can we and that counteroffer is critical. So saying no, with the context, but then giving a counter offer of how you want to handle the situation. So it's not just let's be like no silence floundering. All of that providing some sort of counteroffer is a really critical strategy.
Jamila Souffrant 22:05
Right, Okay. So we talked a little bit about friends and money, let's go on to coworkers, and those kind of relationships that we have and money. Because one of the other things, you know, big driving factor is our income. And if we have co workers, especially in an industry where you know, you're not you don't know, their salary you have there's a range and there could be some discrepancies, it is important to like have some openness or have that person that you know, right, like, you know, the numbers. So how do you bring or talk about that, and even amongst your friends to salaries, right, that's that you could talk about that. But what about co workers and money? What is the I don't know the line that you can tetter to do that.
Erin Lowry 22:44
And, one, before I talk about scripts on that, I do want to also say plug here for you self employed people, like the two of us talking on this podcast right now, it is maybe more critical for us to also be talking about salary and amounts of money. So all this stuff that I'm about to say also applies to us self employed non traditionally employed folks, there is no salary.com or glassdoor.com, for us to go to to try to aggregate data. So we have to have these conversations in order to get a sense of what the market will bear that aside. So as I just mentioned, there are obviously those data, aggregating websites that you can go to to try to get the information. But most of the negotiation experts I spoke to were like, yeah, I mean, those are fine, you can go they're not super helpful compared to actually talking to your co workers. So when talking to your co workers, one, you need to assess the safety of doing that. Legally, you usually, there's a couple of exceptions, but you usually cannot get fired for talking salaries at work. However, employers can manufacture another reason to fire you if they want to fire you because you've started talking salaries at work. So I don't say that to scare anyone, I just say that to know what your workplace dynamic is. And if it feels like a place where there's going to be retribution for having these conversations, don't don't talk about it at work. Instead, my advice would be to go to a site like LinkedIn and just start cold pitching via email people to ask them how much they make. And there's a three part script that gets referenced in the book. First, you want to try to get the information regardless of is at work via LinkedIn, three men, three women, and just to kind of try to control for wage gap things if you are a person of color. Also, please try to include both white people and people of color again looking for both gender and or racial wage gaps in the information that you're getting. Email say I am interested in having a conversation with you about salary because I am insert reason here negotiating interviewing for a new job. And I feel like you have some information that might help me. Could you share your ballpark salary with me? You can also close it with like, I'm happy to follow Up until you what happens or anything like that. People get curious. If ballpark is uncomfortable, you can also try the over under method. I'm currently making $55,000 in this position. And I was curious, as someone who works the same job at a different company of around the same size in my city, you don't have to say all that. I'm telling you that because if you're going to ask people, similar city or same city, similar sized company, same or similar job title, you got to control for those factors. But I make 55,000, could you tell me do you make over under $55,000? If they say over? Is it over under 60? Is it over and under 65? I mean, you can keep pushing up if you want. But that context, without actual numbers, people tend to get a little bit more comfortable to be like, over unders fine, ballpark, some people get uncomfortable. So it's helpful to have kind of two different strategies on how to ask,
Jamila Souffrant 25:54
I love that. And people actually answer that, because I'm imagining me getting a message from someone I do not know asking that. And I'm gonna think they work for the feds, I'm like, okay, you're trying to like, what's happening? Like, I'd be like, Who is this? I don't know that I'd be comfortable saying,
Erin Lowry 26:09
well, the advantage of LinkedIn, I would say is one, they can see your profile to providing that context of I currently work this job, I am trying to go in for a salary negotiation, or interview. And I feel like you have some information that might help me, that usually helps. Well, everyone respond, obviously not like you need to be cold pitching a ton of people, one of the women that I spoke to, for the book, who use this strategy, I think she cold pitched at 20 or so people and got like four, three or four responses. The other thing that you can add, is if you're also trying to control for a potential factor, like if you are a woman, give me like, as a fellow woman, I was curious if like people tend to be a little bit more receptive to if they can, like help you with it advantage like that. So that's another way that you might be able to get them to respond.
Jamila Souffrant 27:03
Yeah, that's such great advice. I hope someone actually does that. Let us know if you do reach out. So the other thing is as comfortable as I am talking about money, so I'm so glad you brought up like, you know, entrepreneurs and people who are don't have the traditional jobs, because it is really important. I mean, you were like one of the first people who actually told me like, an actual number about like, how much you can get paid on a panel and speaking, because here I am just like, yeah, they invited this was like, couple years ago, they you know, and they invited me for free, or they you know, it was like $500. And you're like, Okay, I've been paid, you know, 4000 10,000 for something similar. I'm like, I'd like had no clue that that was even possible. So I always like to say, you know, you and like a couple of the people in the finance space that are very transparent. It's been so helpful. But I often find that I have even myself a hard time asking people about things that I'm curious about, because part of me is just like, no, it would be helpful to know this. And I wouldn't mind sharing my own numbers with people, especially in a safe environment. Because I think especially because we work a lot on contract with things, we do have to be careful about how much we're paid in certain areas. But I find even for myself, I get nervous asking someone like, Oh, so how much was that? Because they're, I don't know, I feel like they're gonna be like, you're being nosey or that's kind of and then I don't want to like, come off that way.
Erin Lowry 28:21
I swear, I think that over under strategy is awesome. I in the book actually reprinted an email, like our real email that somebody in our space had sent me. And it was perfectly crafted. Where she knew that I wrote for technically, we're writing for different outlets, but they were under the same parent company, and very, very similar. And I changed the name of the companies obviously, for the book, but she emailed and basically, hey, I saw that you did this writing, I just renegotiated my contract, but I feel like maybe I'm getting underpaid. Do you mind telling me Do you make over under and then the amount that she was getting paid? And she also made sure to include what else I might make money for? So if you share on social media, are you getting additional amounts for that, and that also helps color pricing. To your point. It's funny that you say that I and again, another story that shared and broke millennial talks money, I had a very similar experience. Early on, I was still working my day job. So everything I was doing was just kind of gravy on the side, which was your similar experience when you started. And I think you don't you just don't advocate for yourself as much when you're in that scenario, cuz like, you know, you got your money over here. This is just for funsies over here, and you're not taking it super seriously like a business at the beginning. And so I had been invited to be on a panel. It was a cross country flight, which meant I had to take time off work. It was gonna take time. I wasn't controlling for those factors yet. And when I got there, there was a woman there who my age also from New York. same level of experience all that background stuff. She was making seven grand more than I was for the same scope of work, because she asked for it will actually her agent did and I didn't have an agent at the time, but also same like, I had no idea you could make that kind of money. And to your point about Oh, it feels kind of uncomfortable to ask. The best reframe for that is one of the negotiation experts, Alexander Dickinson mentions in the book, How much are you willing to pay to avoid an uncomfortable conversation? Seriously, like Mind blown emoji when she said that, because that's what this is, like, was I willing to pay quote, unquote, seven grand to not have that? And I'll admit, I had had two cocktails before I asked her like there was some liquid courage involved. But now that's always what my reframe is like, well, if this could be 1000s of dollars, to know, am I willing to pay that to avoid asking?
Jamila Souffrant 30:59
Yeah, that's such a good reframe. And I love love this. Okay. So talk a little bit about salaries. Now I want to go into relationships, romantic relationships, and money. And so let's start like in the beginning stages, when you're first dating someone, the first date, right? Are you bringing up money? If you were really into money? How does that work? Like, when do you introduce the money conversation in the beginning of relationships?
Erin Lowry 31:23
Oh, it's gonna happen on the first date anyway, because of the who's gonna pay dance, it comes up still, you're not gonna directly talk about it, probably. But it does still come up. And, you know, there are people for whom that exact scenario gives them a lot of information about the person, one of the couples I interviewed for the book, I love their story that she got excited because he used a coupon on their first date. And I know for some people, that would be just a huge turnoff. But for her, it was an indicator that their money personalities were very aligned, because she would do something like that. And also to be comfortable using a coupon on a first date, I think says a lot about a person as well. So you're already getting messages? Do you need to bluntly bring it up? No, unless you do our kind of work where like, what do you do? Like I write about money. Like if that comes up? Sure. Bring it on up. But for the most part, the first little bit is more context clues, like what are the context clues that we're picking up from the kind of dates that were going on lifestyle that people seemingly are living? Who wants to pay for what, like, all that stuff is giving you a lot of context clues. But as soon as things start to get even just a little bit more serious? Like once you get into kind of exclusively dating each other? You need to have some base level money conversations with each other. And at the beginning, it can be simple, like, how much are we spending on gifts? What type of vacations are we taking together? What kind of dates are we going on? What are our long term financial goals? dreams? And you don't have to word it as financial? It can be? Where do you want to live? What kind of house do you want to live in? Do you want to have kids? How many kids do you want to have those my friend our financial conversations? Like even though it's not about money on the surface, it's about money.
Jamila Souffrant 33:12
Right? And, and I think back to when I was like dating my husband and college, and I think even now, I mean, like I'm like at the older set of millennials. And then what's the generation below us? The Gen Z Gen Z? Yeah. And so like, maybe I look at too much like shade room, and like the gossip, Instagram stuff. And like, they'll sometimes pop up with these conversations, like who pays on the first day, and I was like this, like when I was dating my husband, like I expected him to pay. But I mean, the poor guy like he didn't have money, like he's like in college also. And as we got more serious, like, everything started to become more split, because then I realized, like, this is going to be a together journey. And so he can't be broke, trying to pay for everything. Like we have to do that together. So I always just wonder to like the expectations, like the gender roles still, and the cultural roles that come into play for people who feel like they need to, like, support or do certain things. And if you both agree and can agree on that, that works. But sometimes I feel like that pressure in the beginning causes people to front and might not be real, which then when it comes to the time that you're going to really get together, you're realizing like this person really doesn't have any money or has bad credit, because the whole time we were dating, they were trying to maybe put on, you know, a show for me to like, show me something that wasn't really true. So,
Erin Lowry 34:27
like over here, emphatically nodding my head that people cannot see. Oh, yeah, all of that is so true. For me one of the most interesting ways to look at how something should be handled on just kind of a purely economical level, when it comes to relationships is to take gender roles out of it and talking to same sex couples, because you're then taking a lot of the heteronormative stereotypes about how dating should work out of the equation, which allows it to in a sense become more of a purely financial economical conversation or You know, there can just be nods to either split it or whoever asked is the one that pays in the beginning, or as you kind of get a sense of who has what in terms of finances, it can just be more about, hey, if you want to kind of go to a certain kind of restaurant and you want to take your girlfriend or boyfriend to that restaurant, then you pay for it, because you're the one that wanted to go there. Also, same note, you can do that with your friends, if you get great career news, and you want to go celebrate it and you want to celebrate at your favorite restaurant, and you know, that's going to be a financial burden on your friend pay for it. So then it doesn't become a problem. And then also, you don't have to compromise about where you're going. Like, if you want total control over that scenario, be willing to front the money to do it, as long as it doesn't put you into credit card debt,
Jamila Souffrant 35:43
Erin Lowry 35:44
But yes, culture heteronormative slash gender roles, all of that kind of stuff certainly comes into play when we talk dating and money. And the other big thing too, is to acknowledge we're allowed to change in our opinions and in what we want over the life of both your romantic relationship and also who you are. I think back like you, I've been dating my husband since college. And like some of my thoughts back that were so cringy compared to now and even back then I fancied myself like a baby feminist. I think at the time, I wasn't even saying the F word of my I'm empowered, like I was doing that kind of stuff. And I can so distinctly remember having a conversation with some friends, like, I would not even consider an engagement ring that was less than $6,000 smash cut to me getting engaged, I didn't even want an engagement ring, I didn't have an engagement ring. My wedding band is like very basic old band, I wear a silicone ring most of the time, if I remember to put it on in the first place, like you can change. And frankly, when I got engaged, it was not about the money. It was about the fact that like, aesthetically, that's just not really my vibe. Like that's not the kind of jewelry that I wear. So I'm not going to get that just because I'm quote unquote, supposed to get that I'd rather have something that's more a piece of what I would wear. And then 10 years, maybe I'll 180 and be like, I want a six carat rock. I'm gonna be balling so hard with my jewelry, I'm allowed to change my mind.
Jamila Souffrant 37:14
Yes, I love that the evolution Same here, I'm just thinking about all the things I thought I wanted what, you know, what's my standard back then that is not now and doesn't mean it won't become again, that standard of what I want, but also to be flexible. And then also be reasonable with whoever you're with to because they're, they can change too. Alright, so speaking of changing together, evolving together, getting more serious in a relationship. Let's talk about like not having those conversations, because so many people are not necessarily on the same page with their partners. They never had these conversations, or they've had it and they've been contentious. So how do you start to get on the same page with someone, when it comes to money
Erin Lowry 37:54
starts with the conversations. When you're thinking as a couple about growing together with your finances, one of the best ways to start that conversation is focusing on your goals. What do the two of you want to achieve? I feel it's important, whether or not you're married to have this conversation, both from an individual standpoint, and then also together as a couple, we are still allowed to be autonomous individuals, even if we legally are bound to one another in marriage, we're also allowed to want different things so that it also starts to become about how do we compromise to meet either in the middle? Or how do we let this person have the win on this particular issue. Just as a side note, that was one of the most interesting pieces of advice I got in the book is one of the experts made the point of so often in relationships, we focus on compromise, compromise compromise, sometimes the one person can just take the win, as opposed to always having to meet in the middle. And her example is we're buying a couch, one person wants to spend three grand one person wants to spend $1,000, it doesn't have to be we meet in the middle at two it can be we spend three grand on the couch, but then the other person gets a win at another time. Danger there is going tit for tat on every single money thing. But that is you know, an interesting and good thought as well. But I like the idea of focusing on the goals, figuring out what the two of you are wanting to achieve short term, medium long term. Obviously, those need to evolve and change over time. But setting a goal together such as, okay, in 2022, we want to take a three week trip to Asia, and it's going to cost us $10,000. So how how are we going to save for that goal? How are we going to modify our existing budget for that goal? Then, when things come up when points of conflict around money come up? Go back to the goal first looking at our right well if you make this decision, if I make this decision about finances now how is that going to impact the goal that we're trying to reach? Do we want to do it? Do we want to modify the goal? And so using that as a business your compass and these conversations can be really important and powerful.
Jamila Souffrant 40:03
Yes, love that. And then what about when it comes to now potentially getting married? You talk about prenups in this you had that conversation and got a prenup. So let's let's go there with that.
Erin Lowry 40:14
Okay, first, let's just disavow the myth that getting a prenup means you do not love and trust your partner. I know that is a knee jerk reaction that at least one person listening to this just had. For me, I'm on a crusade to rebrand the prenup. The prenup has an atrocious brand, at the moment, it needs a bit of a spin doctor to come out and have a conversation because to me, there's a few things to consider. So let me go through my in the defense of the prenup routine. First, as my attorney said to me, everyone has a prenup. It's just the default laws of your state. So that's thing one. If you are getting married, where are you getting married? What are the state laws around how assets and debt are handled in a marriage? Do you even know what they are? Most people don't when they're getting married. So that is just important information for you to have if something were to happen in your marriage, how is money going to get divided? And how is the debt gonna get divided? Do the two of you feel that that's fair. If you do great fun, you don't need a prenup. But if it doesn't totally feel fair, especially within the ecosystem of your relationship, getting a prenup can be a way to make sure that if something were to happen, things are going to be divided and settled in a way that both of you feel is fair thing to you do not get into your car, hoping, assuming that you're going to get into a car accident, but you have auto insurance. In the small chance that something happens. You do not have homeowners insurance because you're pretty sure your house is gonna burn down, you have it in the outside chance that something happens. a prenup can be just re construed as marriage insurance, you're not getting it because you assume you're gonna get divorced. But in the off chance that something happens. There is now a legal document there to protect you. Because I fundamentally don't understand why we have allowed us all to sign the dotted line of a legally binding contract that is a marriage license without actually knowing the terms and conditions of said thing. You and I would not sign business contracts without reading through the terms and conditions of that business contract. And as unromantic and as unsexy as it sound. Marriage at the end of the day is still a bit of a merger. It's still a contract, it is legally binding, you have to go to a judge to get it dissolved. So it is really important that we have these very practical conversations. Lastly, when you go through the prenup process, you have to talk about everything, hypothetical scenarios that you've never even thought of all the way to the nitty gritty of everything about your money. What better way to go into a marriage then to have had like all of these different financial conversations and to still be committed to each other and to yourselves as a couple. And my hope is that for people getting prenups, that it's not those sort of sorted celebrity versions or the movie, fictionalized versions of your in laws are making you sign this because you know, they have a lot of money and you don't blah, blah, blah, you're being strong armed. Obviously don't sign under duress. This should be the two of you making an agreement together that feels fair to both of you.
Jamila Souffrant 43:32
And it's really important. You mentioned even just a debt because somebody may be thinking, well, I don't even have much, right. So why do I need a prenup, but then maybe you don't have a lot of assets, but someone has a lot of liabilities. So doesn't matter even if you feel like you don't have like the capital or the assets now, but it still can be very helpful in other situations.
Erin Lowry 43:53
And another thing to consider is that at the moment of your marriage, let's say hypothetically you get married at 22. You're fairly young, you're just getting started. Neither of you have a lot in assets. And the idea financially of getting a prenup is just not tenable because they can be expensive. I like to think about it as paying an upfront lump sum for an insurance policy that then hopefully just pro writes out over you know, knock on wood. You don't have to use it, but in case you do, and I get that it certain ages and certain financial situations, does it make sense, then I still would look up the laws of your state, I still would have this conversation to set you up for potentially a postnup. If you do not get a prenup, you can have a post nuptial agreement, which is basically a prenup after you are married. So it's another document that also helps decide how things would be split. And if we can normalize these conversations, then it doesn't have to feel like a hard sell of I'm about to divorce you so I'm going to get a postnup now it can be more of Hey, there's a major shift happening in our relationship. For example, I'm going to step out of the workforce to raise a family, therefore, I'm no longer earning an income and things are really going to change for me financially, if that's something were to happen. So let's have a postnup to account for that reality. So those can be really important conversations. That also being just like a really classic example, there's a bunch of different examples. My last thing to on the prenup point. I know a lot of folks also for whether it's culturally, religiously, socially or what have you will make a comment like I would never leave my spouse. And that might be true, no matter what happens, you might not leave doesn't mean that person won't leave you. And that, to me is a critical part of this conversation is no matter how dedicated you are, you cannot control another human being. And that's really important to consider.
Jamila Souffrant 45:49
Yes. Oh my gosh. All right. So as you can see, everyone this book, really touches upon like, this just breaks. This is a tip of the iceberg in terms of like what's contained in the book. And one of the things that we probably won't have time for. But I do think it's just interesting and important to know is you even talk about just like family relationships and money like your parents like talking to your parents and you know, about do you need me to take care of you? Do you have enough money, because that is a big part of a lot of people's financial situation now where it's they're now taking care of their parents, I'm financially and so to understand that in the state planning that comes with that, you know, I recently helped my grandmother with her estate plan, which is really important, because she's getting older, and she has these assets that we wanted to make sure like, we're going to be protected for her and family. So I think that that is also an important point, I don't know if you want to like briefly touch upon that. But it's something I know that weaves in and out of everyone's life also,
Erin Lowry 46:45
absolutely, briefly touch on this one. That's one of my favorite chapters, because I feel it's one of the most important chapters. One, you want to make sure that your parents are able to age with dignity. And right now, the idea of financially supporting them might be a big stress factor. But to take the unknown element out is important. So to have the conversation, so that you're empowered with the knowledge and can start making plans for them is critical. And I always get asked, how do you start the conversation? There's a few different ways One of my favorites is asking for advice. We all know parents love to give advice. So whether it's, Hey, I just started a new job and access to this 401k. How did you guys figure out how to plan for your retirement? or How did you pick the investments in the 401k? I'm a little lost. Obviously, if you're hyper money nerd, that's not gonna ring as authentic and true. So customize it to whatever would actually read as authentic to your parents. And the answer might be, oh, we didn't Oh, I have a pension. Oh, I never actually thought about that.
Jamila Souffrant 47:49
Or mind your business. Some parents will tell their kids like wait.
Erin Lowry 47:54
And that that answer, which a lot of us get it, the first step out of this conversation also gives you a lot of context. With that answer in the future, if you kind of keep trying to mind for details. And they're like not having it, I would go the emotional and passionately route of, you know, let's say there's a history of dementia the family. We know grandma had dementia, that's something that can be hereditary. I'm not trying to scare you. But I have a lot of stress around the idea of something happening to you and me not legally being able to step in and help you. So it's really important to me that we fill out some of these legal documents to make sure that if something were to ever happen, we don't have to stress about that. We're just ready to go and take care of you and your health. So I know it sounds a little manipulative, but bringing up something like that, or Mom, this is causing me so much anxiety and stress that you will not engage with me in this conversation. I know that you feel like I shouldn't have to care for you. But I'm never going to let you suffer. So it's so helpful to me right now to at least have some idea of what the situation is so that I can make a plan for you.
Jamila Souffrant 48:57
Oh, that was good. Yeah.
Erin Lowry 49:00
Yeah, you're not trying to like manipulate your parents, but letting them know that like this is causing me anxiety. Like, I can't sleep at night because you won't engage in this conversation with me. And then the last thing is, if they're still like, sorry, too bad deal with it. Start an emergency fund for them. If you have siblings, talk to your siblings about that. Have a conversation about how you can just start setting money aside so that if something happens, you have a little pot of money to help with that or like, Hey, I'm pretty sure mom's gonna need to move in with me at some point. We just need to make a plan for that, you know, with you and your spouse or just you or you and your siblings, just so that is now starting to become a conversation.
Jamila Souffrant 49:40
Oh my gosh, love that. All right, Erin. So tell me one more about your book. Just say the title one more time where they can find it and where they can follow up with you.
Erin Lowry 49:49
Broke millennial talks, "Money Scripts, Stories and Advice To Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations" available wherever books are sold. I will make a plug though, please support your local bookstores. And also if right now you're like a broke millennial I cannot spend $15 on this book. See if it's at your local library if it's not please request it. You can find me on Instagram at brokemillennialblog on twitter at brokemillennial. The website is brokemillennials.com.
Jamila Souffrant 50:15
Awesome. Thanks so much, Erin.
Erin Lowry 50:18
Thanks for having me back.
Jamila Souffrant 50:23
Okay, I hope you really enjoyed that conversation with Erin go pick up that book, broke millennial talks, money, scripts, stories and advice to navigate awkward financial conversations. And then let me know if you take anything from this episode and actually use it. We got some really great tips here from Erin on how to navigate some conversation. So let me know if you use that by you know, tagging myself or Erin on Instagram. If you are going to like go out and really talk money with someone in your life. We want to see it alright.
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