Financial Activism, First Gen Immigrant Hustle & Why Money Conversations Need to be Loud w/ Berna Anat 

Episode Number: 319

Episode 319: Financial Activism, First Gen Immigrant Hustle & Why Money Conversations Need To Be Loud w/ Berna Anat 

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Financial Activism, First Gen Immigrant Hustle & Why Money Conversations Need to be Loud w/ Berna Anat

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Berna Anat, award-winning producer, speaker, podcast host, rich auntie in training, and “Financial Hype Woman,” joins the podcast to chat about immigrant financial trauma, living out loud with your money and how she went from paying off over $50,000 of debt to becoming a new author. 

We also talk about the importance of taking breaks, her response to the strike carried out by the workers involved in producing her book, leveraging your finances to combat injustice, and more. 

In this episode, you’ll learn more about:

  • Why you need to bring your whole self and your whole financial story into your money life 
  • The First-Generation Alpha Kid experience + what being a daughter of immigrants means in the money realm
  • How to approach giving you family financial help and the importance of establishing boundaries
  • Pros and cons of immigrant hustle mode + why it can be your superpower or kryptonite 
  • Financial activism, speaking up for your community, calling out capitalism + more

You can watch the video to this episode below or by clicking here.

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Berna Anat 0:36

It's not that your dollar isn't important, but it's not all on you and your dollar to fix climate change. It's not all on you and your dollar to fix racism. It helps. But we almost have to do a like a parallel path. I'm thinking of like gas and brake. One side you got to think about the fact that there are ways that we can influence those in power that don't have to do with our dollars and put the accountability on those in power.

Intro 0:58

Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. joins are on the journey to launch to financial freedom in three to one.

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to 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 an OG journeyer, or 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 journey to launch that comm slash jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Jamila Souffrant 2:08

Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast. This week. We have on a returning guest you know if I invite someone back again on the podcast, you know they have to be special. And this person is she is burner a gnat. She is an award winning producers speaker podcast host Rich Auntie in training and financial hype woman. She's a proud Filipino American daughter of immigrants born and raised in the Bay Area. She taught herself how to pay off over $50,000 of debt. And her debut book is coming out money out loud. Which oh my gosh, I can't wait to talk more about that with you Birna. She's been on the podcast before in Episode 108. So we definitely dive back into more of her origin story there. But I'm so excited to welcome Verna back on the podcast. So welcome. Welcome Birna

Berna Anat 2:57

thank you so much for having me, Jamila, this is incredible. I'm happy to be back. And I will come back as many times as you allow me, I'm going to be annoying.

Jamila Souffrant 3:05

Here's what I love about you, Brenda, you just bring a light to money and fun. But you kind of trip people in a way, let me explain. So you make money and conversations around money, very light hearted and fun and approachable. But then it's still heavy stuff that's important and very well thought out. Like I'm always impressed with the way you communicate money topics, and teaching money to your audience. And I just want to say that like a lot, not a lot of people can do that. And so you know, making money fun and digestible, that people want to pay attention and think differently. And so I'm so excited for like your next level right on the podcast before that episode, you talk more about paying off debt and making money fun. And since then, because I forgot when we recorded that you've done so much. You know, I think you've hosted a podcast since then, you wrote your book, you've grown as an entrepreneur. So it's like, I want to talk to you about all those things. And really just dive deeper into your evolution so far from when you first started in the space, and what you've learned. And so if you can just give us like a quick background of how you got here. I know that's a lot. And then we do we can get into the juicy stuff.

Berna Anat 4:19

Of course, of course, I'm so happy to be a sort of Trojan horse of financial education. We're dressed up and like we're gonna have fun, we're gonna get crazy. And then we're going to talk about capitalism and trauma, and all that stuff. I think since we last spoke on this podcast, which is a while ago, I was probably focusing a little bit more on sort of more tactical things, budgeting saving debt, and with my book money out loud, of course, we definitely focus on that. But I would say with the podcast that I co hosted and produced with betches called Money, please. And then the book that I've written money out loud. One of my favorite things that I've dove into is the emotion behind it all. The trauma behind it all the cultural and emotional like just sort of even spiritual, just sort of like whole identity that you could bring into money, and how important it is to bring our whole identity into money, not just looking for the tips and tricks, not just looking for the box to tick off, but to bring your whole self and your whole financial story into your money life. That's one of my favorite things that I've sort of dove into. And it's made it all much more juicy. I think on the podcast, I talked a lot about budgeting, saving and debt, yes, but wanting to bring in community stories behind it. We can all list off our best budgeting tips, but I love talking about how people budget differently, why they budget differently, what parts of their identities and their culture, maybe the way that they were raised, what generation they're in, makes them budget or handle debt differently. And I just, you know, money is this incredibly layered thing. And there are a million layers to peel off from there. So I just I feel like the longer I talk about money, the longer we're in this game, the to sear and juicy or it gets, there's just there's no end to what we can talk about here.

Outro 6:10

Yeah, and you

Jamila Souffrant 6:11

Yeah, and you know, like you just said, you get to the root of while, you know, we see the pretty flowers and leaves and we talk about that. I feel like what you do really well is you get to the root of what keeps them from blossoming, which is really special. So with just one of the things you've been talking about more, which I can totally relate to, it's just the immigrant experience. I forgot the term you used. You had a very popular video on your page about it. And so I want you to just explain the video in case people have not seen that video. And then I want to talk more about it because I'm sure so many people can relate to it.

Berna Anat 6:44

Yes. So it is the first gen Alpha kid experience. I think that's probably what I was referring to. It's so funny, because I made that video. Of course, it's always like this, you know, as a creator, it's always the videos that you're like, Oh, I look busted. It's an Instagram story. It's about quality. I'm gonna post it anyway. And then I guess I'll make it into a video because I'm getting lots of DMS about it. And of course, that is the video that goes bonkers. Not the not that produce scripted, beautiful seven tips or did it at a video. It was a video of me at my parents house on a random Saturday afternoon. And I was like, Hey, what's good, what's going on with your Saturday sick, I'm spending my Saturday organizing and paying my parents bills, because they were in the Philippines for like three months, an indefinite amount of time. And you know, I'm looking at my parents credit card debt, their mortgage and everything and having a teeny tiny panic attack, a teeny tiny breakdown. And I was just sort of like first gen Alpha kids check in like, I know, this is an experience that's common for a lot of us, especially children of immigrants. First Gen. I know that there's a few interpretations of that. But I interpret it as like the first generation to grow up in America, children of immigrants, and also the Alpha kid. Oh, this is the one that really gets to my soul, because it has a lot of financial implications. Actually, the alpha kit is when you actually don't even need to have siblings to be the alpha kid. It's the one kid in your family that everybody depends on, like the generations depend on. You might be the family secretary, you're the family treasurer, you're the family party planner. You're the family like emotional DJ at every social event, you're the emcee. And so many first gen children of immigrant folks could relate to that I did not expect that video to do the numbers that it did. But men people were on packing their whole trauma. In the comments. There were people who were like, Hey, I'm in SoCal, who wants to start a support group for us first and advocates just in the comments. So clearly, there's like an appetite to talk about that.

Jamila Souffrant 8:42

And I'll definitely post the link to that video in the show notes. So you can see it if you haven't, but let's talk about it more. So as a first gen applicant myself, I'd love to hear what were some of the emotions that you know, you weren't doing the work. So what were you feeling as you were doing it? And I mean, this, you just recorded it. But you've been doing this for a while now. So let's talk about the emotions and the responsibilities layered upon you figuring out your own financial life, right, like what that feels like?

Berna Anat 9:11

Yes, absolutely. So you bring up an important point that this is something that a lot of us have been doing our entire lives, a lot of us like, since we were kids, we had some responsibility to shoulder with our families. Because if you're a child of immigrant parents, they have a whole bunch of stuff to figure out a lot of the times there might even be a language barrier. And so they're different depending on you, the kid that speaking English, almost 24/7 to translate things to help, like negotiate and facilitate things. And so I think one of the reasons that video went nuts is because we've all gotten to adulthood like doing these things kind of in private. And not talking about it. And one of the things that I'm sure like we all everybody in the financial world talks about specially bi POC is the fact that we don't talk about money stuff out loud. We do not talk about the fact that our parents have hella credit card debt, or their mortgages are wild, or they're paying too much for insurance because our parents taught us. You don't talk about that in front of company, you know what I mean? These are the kinds of things we keep very close. So even me making this like, funny video about like, isn't it wild that sometimes you pay parents bills, and these bills stress me out, people were like, it was almost like the very first time I ever posted a budgeting video. And what got me into the industry in the first place, is the reaction of the community of just like, Wait, we're allowed to talk about that. It's almost like we're all looking around for our parents, like ready to hit us with a slipper, or like, with a belt or something, I'm just, I'm allowed to talk about how this is both upsetting, and you feel like you feel a sense of pride and honor to be able to do this for your family, you feel a sense of obligation, you feel a burden, you feel like you don't want to be ungrateful. And that's just like, that's just the emotional layer of the action. Then there's the emotional layers of like the actual financial realities. A lot of the times us first gen Alpha kids, we're just trying to figure out our own financial stuff. Like we don't know what's going on, either. We were also failed by our educational systems we didn't talk about in our families. So now as adults, we feel like we're supposed to be past budgeting, we're supposed to figure out our debt, we're supposed to be figuring out our retirement, we're supposed to figure out investing. And at the same time, our parents are getting older, the older generations are approaching, you know, actual retirement age or beyond, we might be talking about sort of end of life planning. And we don't know about that stuff, either. And neither do they. So we're having to do this parallel path thing of like, figuring out our stuff, while helping them to figure out their stuff. And by the way, there's still that cultural like fence of like, Yeah, we're gonna have to deal with money, but still try to be polite and talking about it. You don't want to like go to your parents and be like, This is what I learned, you got to do this, again, slipper belt, smack across the face or whatever, because we're still our parents, kids, we still have that feeling of like, let me be polite. Let me come at this correct. You know, a lot of us don't have, oh, it's time for like the family sit down about money and feelings. Like we still have to be sensitive, while trying to get everything right for everybody. So it's a lot.

Jamila Souffrant 12:09

I mean, add on, like, I believe they call this the sandwich generation that takes care of elderly parents, and then they have their own kids, and wanting to provide care both the generations, which can be a lot, especially if you don't have your own financial life situated you don't feel financially secure. But I feel like a lot of us grew up in culture. So as a, you know, Jamaican or Caribbean culture, you look out for each other. So the responsibility is for everyone to kind of pitch in if someone can't do something, which I actually agree with, I think community and looking out for one another is important. But then it is an issue when it comes at the detriment of your own financial health, right? Or if you're, you're trying to help people who are self sabotaging, or basically the efforts are not You're not seeing headway, right with those efforts. You know, I, when I saw your posts, one of the things I actually realized was, the few times that I've had issues with family members was because of money. And on the surface, you know, it might have been other things, right? So not just the money, but because of all the things but then I was like, Wait, wow, like, it still came back to money. You know, whether it was like you, I think you're making, you're suggesting this because you're going to benefit from it, or you gave me the wrong information, or it's not your place. And I didn't realize that, like I was like, Wait, when I go back to the issues that I've had with family, like it's all been based on money, and people view me and my family as someone who knows a lot about money, and I I know, enough, but I don't I don't know everything. And so I think it's interesting, too, is that the perception of the Alpha or the person who's supposed to be smart, and it can help you in a way because when people like learn to trust you or you can get people where there's a resentment that hey, like, you know, from other people that way, why is she the one that you're going to? Or how do you know that that's the right choice to make. So I'd love to hear your thoughts more on that.

Berna Anat 13:58

Whoa, see how there's like it is a rainbow it is a spectrum of like financial situation, because again, sort of mirroring what I heard from you, there's an extra burden as the Alpha kid, you're the Alpha financial person in the family to a lot of the times when you're you're the Alpha kid, you're like, your alpha because you're the best organizer or you know, all the things people are just used to depending on you. Then you add the layer of Oh, great. Jamila is also the financial expert so she can figure all this out for us. And also, maybe she loves it. I get that a lot for my family too. It's just like, You love money stuff, right? You do it, you should do it because you love money stop. It's like, yes, and this is an extra job. This is my job and you're giving me more of my job to do. It's so complicated, almost like impossible to pull the strings apart from the tangled ball of like, is this emotional resentment? Does it have to do with like patterns I saw in my childhood. Does this have to do with patterns that like our parents generation saw from their parents, or is this just straight up money? It's never just straight up money. It's never straight up about money because like you said, A lot of the issues that you've had with family were money related. It's money plus shame. It's money plus embarrassment, it's money plus self esteem. It's money plus respect, like, money is this wild magnet that just attracts every emotion and every feeling. And again, compounded by the fact that it's also like we're taught to feel shame around all of it. And so I feel like when you're someone like you, Jamila and your family, you're the Alpha kid. And you're expected to help and you're expected to have all the right answers. That doesn't mean that people are going to be like, great, Jimmy, like, you got it, you're so right, and it's all gonna go great. They want your help. And they're going to project all of their negative and strange feelings about money onto you as well. And I think what's so hard about being first gen especially sort of millennial, like you said sort of sandwich is, we are also the generation of just like therapy and trauma, we're unpacking all the things I don't know about, maybe this is true for you too. But I feel a lot of pressure to be compassionate and empathetic when other family members are like projecting their unhealed financial traumas on to me, like if I'm feeling resentment, if I'm feeling betrayal, or anything like that, I also feel an extra pressure of like, because I understand what financial trauma is, and understand how like those experiences work. I'm like, okay, Burnham Be patient, they didn't mean it. They come from a different place and a different time. Like, they don't know that they're lashing out and projecting on to you. But it's still hard. That's an extra burden that we carry. And so when you want to expand, like, what do we do then? Like, okay, we do we talk to these family members about what we think they're going through, because the whole problem of this is that we're not really talking about what what the issues are. And we're taught not to talk about money. So it's really hard to navigate while still maintaining a semblance of like respect for each other, and respect expected between the generations and between family members.

Jamila Souffrant 16:58

How did you navigate those conversations? Or how do you recommend, right, someone's listening and they're like, you know, what, I know, I need to have this conversation with, you know, maybe a family member, parent, sister, brother, should they even have the conversation? So there's that the side of it where you know, what I'm not going to ask until they asked me for help or until they come in, I kind of sometimes take that approach now, based on my experiences, where I'm not going to give them unsolicited advice. Like, if you want my advice, or you want to come to me, I will help you, I'll go, I will go out of my way to help you. But otherwise, you know, I'm not gonna watch you drown and not help. But I'm also not going to overstep if I don't feel like you want my opinion. So, in that case, how do you suggest to bring up these conversations? Should you? Should you wait until maybe they ask for help? What does that look like?

Berna Anat 17:46

I think they're, of course, the most irritating, but usually the most true answer is it depends. But I fully understand those the situation that you're describing of just like, yes, you might see family members, making backwards financial decisions, or like you said earlier, which are so on point self sabotaging financial decisions. But I think one feature of being the first an alpha kid, especially bi POC and especially women of color, is that we have that instinct to like rescue everybody, help everybody save everybody like it's our job, solicit it or not? And I think it's really important to figure out where your boundaries are. Are you wanting to help that person in that moment? Because you care? And do you have the capacity to help that person in that moment, capacity is something very difficult for us first gen health for kids to calculate, because we were raised like, oh, it's unlimited. When it comes to my family. It's unlimited. I'm supposed to bleed out for my family, I'm supposed to go hard. I'm supposed to empty the battery tank. And that's just full on not true. So I would say base level stuff. Really like it's, of course up to you with what you want to help but like, take a good look at your personal capacity, and really figure out like, do I have the room in my life right now, if I want to help that family member with their credit card debt? I see that they're drowning? Do I have the room in my life to offer help, unsolicited? And do I have the room for all the emotional complications that could come from that we got to be real honest with ourselves about capacity. If we find that we have the capacity, and we do want to help it, you know, even preparing ourselves for whatever emotional blowback might happen. Whatever kind of financial empathy, we need to like, practice and breathe through when it does happen. I found that, for example, when I filmed that video about first gen and like being in my parents house and seeing their credit card, but part of what was so difficult was like you can't unsee those numbers, right. And so, the next time I saw my parents that came back from the Philippines, I wanted to talk to them about it, but I knew it would not do any good to be like so you guys have hella credit card debt. Like what the hell is that all about? That what you don't want is, at least for me speaking for myself, I didn't want to put my family on their heels because they might come like defensive You know, I didn't want one, I felt this is probably more first gen stuff that I have to unpack. I felt like wrong to like put my family members on their heels like I felt disrespectful. And to just like, I understand that debt and having financial issues doesn't make you a bad person. But I know that this generation didn't necessarily like hasn't necessarily done that sort of emotional work. So I know that they could get offended very quickly. And so the way that I like to approach it is be there's two ways I like to approach it, you either could go, like use yourself as an example. And that opens up the conversation. So for example, you could go like, yeah, I was paying your guyses like bills the other day, and you know, credit card debt, I have credit card debt to actually have this much credit card debt. It's kind of rough, and I'm trying to figure out a good way to pay it off like, well, what are your guys thoughts on credit cards? Because I have it too. And here's what I'm doing. I've heard this conversation work for a lot of folks, in terms of even like retirement planning, and, you know, like investing, oh, I just learned about a Roth IRA. And here's what it does. And I opened one, like, do you all have anything like that, like coming from almost a position of humbleness of like I'm learning? Do you all know, then you give them an opportunity to open up, maybe they actually have more authority than you think. Or you can be like, Well, if you don't like I'm down to try to figure this out for the both of us like maybe we can parallel paths so that we are never in a position where I am above you. And the other way I like to go about it is to just like talk talk story. That's what we say in like Filipino culture. It's what they say. A lot of the times in Islander culture, Hawaiian culture is talk story, which means ask them to tell you a story about what's going on with their financial life, as opposed to doing the finger like this. So that's the way that I approached it with my parents. I was like, oh, yeah, so I was paying your guys, I was paying your guys bills. I noticed some interesting stuff. Like, what, what? When did you guys get the TJ Maxx credit? Like, what do you all usually buy on? Is that where is that where you got these things? Like, tell me about the last thing you bought on your TJ Maxx credit card that like you really, really loved. And then we launched this conversation about my mom is a big TJ Maxx, she's a max and Easter. So she has lots to say about it. And you know, lots to talk about, she talked a little bit about like, when she reaches for it emotionally, like the card, how it stressed her out and things like that. And it just softens the conversation a little bit to ask them storytelling questions versus like, go straight to it. Those are a couple of things that I'm thinking,

Jamila Souffrant 22:23

Yeah, those were really actually good jumping off points or starting points for people, something you said about capacity and not understanding our capacity. Because we push a lot, you know, I find it that it's almost like this immigrant superpower. And I'm you know, not, I think you could still have this not being an immigrant, but if you came or saw, or were raised with hardworking parents, like I saw my mom, like, work really hard. And she did as much as she could for me. And I was also a very busy kid. And I don't think I was overscheduled because we didn't have like money like that, for me to be in everything. But she made sure to give me experiences. And I felt like that, you know, for me, when I got to high school, college, when I had a packed schedule, when I was working, you know, one or two jobs and you know, going to school and practicing and doing gymnastics. That was fine to me. Like that was my life. So now as being a mom now that my kids they do a lot. I don't necessarily think they're overscheduled. This might be also where it's like a superpower. But then also kryptonite is for me, I'm like, You need to be busy, right? Like, this is how I was raised. And that's why I'm able to handle all that comes with me, right? Like I think before we got there. So today was a really big pack schedule for me. I did career day at my kids school twice. So I kind of had to go back and forth, went to the gym, have this interview got off before too, and I gotta go pick them up. And then we have something else. We have a bunch of things after this. And I feel like that's a superpower in a way to be able to handle all that. And not to say that I don't get sometimes stressed out and peel back when I can't do that anymore. But I think it's important to recognize and it's the hardest thing to recognize when something is working for you. So whether that is this idea of hard work and pushing through and max capacity versus when it's actually hurting you and whether your psyche your money, and how have you navigated that, right as someone who probably was raised by hard workers, did a lot of hard work yourself. And now that you're kind of entering into this more awareness of how you want your life to be as you're stepping into your own, like how do you manage taking what you need from those experiences versus leaving behind? What doesn't serve you anymore?

Berna Anat 24:33

Oh my gosh, barely is the answer. I barely manage that. Because like you said, I'm gonna have a very, very similar childhood as you. I am the Alpha child. I'm the youngest daughter. A lot of the times when you're the youngest kid, and you happen to be like academically sound, you know what I mean? You have decent grades. Maybe this is the case with you, too. My parents were like, Oh, great. Like, is it this is almost our last chance to get like the doctor or lawyer out of The family so let's let's over schedule her. Let's put her in hula and tap dance. And like math tutor did edit it up. Like you said, having this like very full schedule as a kid kept me very busy. And now I think it really helps in when I need to multitask. But I my gosh, like it's exactly the point you made where it's your superpower. And it's your kryptonite, we can turn that on anytime actually, the problem is, we often don't know how to turn it off. That's the problem. Our default mode is hustle, our default mode is multitask. And what I've learned and mind you, I've only learned this because of therapy, and a business coach who was also a first gen Alpha kid unpacking her own stuff. I learned that I never learned how to rest. I discovered that my deep in my default state, which I've been in for 99% of my life, literally, like my business coach has asked me made it like a few years ago, I accomplished some major thing in my work life, and I like nearly killed myself doing it. And it was weeks of hustle and no sleep. And I finished it. And then Chris and my business coach was like, great, how are you going to celebrate? And I was like, what? She was like, how are you going to? How are you going to celebrate? I was like, I don't know, I think I'm gonna like have a nice meal. And then like, probably get drunk and like, you know, and take a nap and whatever she's like, okay, so you're going to, you're going to eat, and then you're going to sleep. Those are basic deeds. I'm asking you how you're going to relax and recover. And then how are you going to celebrate like I don't napping, I don't know what you like basically how to unpack it that like I literally don't know how to relax my means of like, the next thing I wanted to do after that activity was planned the next activity. And now that I've been unpacking it more with my therapist with my business coach, I realized that this is like to measure my own capacity. And also give myself permission to rest are literally skills I did not learn. And so I have to practice them like a toddler. Like I always tell my therapist, I feel like a baby deer. I feel like a baby giraffe have like, you know, near like on unsure legs, and I'm like, I'll you know, lock my phone away and lay on my couch and be like, I think I'm resting on my resting right now. Am I resting good? Like, are we doing it? Or when I have this urge. I'm practicing listening to that urge of like, maybe not now, maybe I don't have capacity, like validating that urge and actually listening to it. Because what we're used to doing is stuffing it down to being like shut up onto the next on to the next. It's a practice just as much it would be a practice to get better at basketball or become a better singer. Like you have to feel weird about it first, it feels specifically wrong. Do you have to keep trying?

Jamila Souffrant 27:41

Oh my gosh, I love that. Because this is me like when I don't have anything to do I create nonsense for myself and like what do you what did you just spend the last hour doing? Go lay down? But no, I hear I am scrolling. But you know, there's something to be said. Sometimes I feel like maybe it's a justification for my social media scrolling addiction, but I'm just like, You know what, this releases something in me, it's helpful. But at some point, it's like Jamila, rest, but I think what you're bringing up is a great point is that it what feels uncomfortable or in spaces where we don't know, right? Like, just we're unsure what to do next, that it's okay to pause right. Just like we would tell someone who's learning something financially for the first time, if they don't get it, don't give up, you know, like, take your time, have that growth mindset, like applying it to. And I hate using the word self care sometimes, because I feel like it's overused in a way that hurts us. But you know, like caring for ourselves. Because in a lot of ways, what helped us become who we are, because that's my big thing. It's like, this is what helped me become me. And so like, I want to keep that up. I want to keep that spirit. And you know, but if I change it, this is still Will I still accomplish the things I want? And I mean, I'm learning that I will, right? I'm learning that there's another level that does not require this of me and also remembering so what you just said about your accomplishments, right? I also find that I have not celebrated a lot of the accomplishments I just keep going because I'm just like, yeah, that's what I was supposed to do. But there's so many people who do that same thing and don't realize how far they've come. So how have you sorry, realized that you said okay, so napping and like eating are not necessarily, you know, inherent things that you can do to celebrate. So what have you started to do to tap into more of what you really need to refuel or just to tap out of business and life when you need to?

Berna Anat 29:25

Of course, oh, my gosh, I actually as you're talking about it, as you're asking that question. I know folks on the podcast can't see. But as you were saying, like, what do you do to tap in and you're sort of like motioning to your body with your hands like into your chest. That's what I do. I basically I'm like, listen this up here, my brain doesn't necessarily have the right programming all the time, because this my brain is like, that's the one that's like on to the next, let's do more. I saw a tweet the other day that was like, when I rest sometimes I catch myself thinking of the most productive way to rest, which is the opposite of what it is. And that's what my brain wants to do. So I tried to show Like almost shut my brain off and listen to my body. Instead, I have been thinking a lot and talking with folks a lot about like somatic responses and like somatic intelligence meaning like, basically meaning that your body knows better than your brain does a lot of the time. So when I sometimes it feels silly, because it's a new practice for me, but I'll be like, Shut up brain. What does my body want to do? I think of like, almost like the authority coming from my gut. might like the back of my spine, if these things had voices, what would they say? And I just do what they say because like, nine, nine times out of 10, actually, this point, 10 times out of 10. It's correct. Sometimes it's I want to lay down a nap stop looking at the screen, I just want to lay down a nap for like 10 minutes. Or, dang, I really want to listen to like a specific like ATR song and dance around, like I just need to, I need to get the energy out. Or I'm hungry, or I want I want sunshine, I want to go for a walk. Like, I literally treat my body as something with a voice that's like, and she's trying to tell me something, not to say that you shouldn't trust your brain. But you know that that's a part of your brain. That's a part of your body that's been trained for productivity almost all the time. I love what you said too, about like, it's hard to turn that part of ourselves off because it got us to where we are, you're incredibly accomplished, right? And it's hard not to look at that and be like it's because I was a hustler. It's because I didn't stop is because I'm productive is because I does this like this is the way I am what I've learned and again through the help of therapy and coaching and unpacking with other first gen vi POC Alpha kids is that this version of us is not all of us I had that exact same fear you said of like, if I stopped being this version of me are all the good things gonna go away who even am I if I'm not this like hyper productive version of me. I've learned to see that as like that is a tool that I could turn on whenever I want. And I can also turn it off like we can be this version of Verona and Jamila that like all we know is winning all we know is accomplishing and that's a mode that we can switch on just like we could switch on Jamila is relaxing. Jamila is chillin, Verna is chillin, Verna is napping, like that's my work right now is trying to see these things not as my entire identity. But as a mode I could turn on and off depending on the situation. But again, baby giraffe drunk toddler like that's, that's where I'm at in terms of progress.

Jamila Souffrant 32:25

Okay, so I want to talk a little bit about the process of your book and getting it out into the world. One of the things that you did that I was just looking at you in awe. So I know that your publisher, like some of the workers in your publishing house, they want to strike, which impacted you like they literally were working on your book. And they went on strike, and you went out like you, you you, you were a voice for them, you help support them, you said hey, I'm not in support of my publisher for not supporting them, which I know how to impact like, your book and and also just like maybe what you thought would happen like with the book, and I'm bringing this up, because there's a lot of things that we may want to do or stand up for, or want to voice our opinion on. And we are scared to do it. Because you know, we're afraid to lose relationships or money or opportunities. So this can work be in corporate America, right you can be you can see something going on, that you don't like and you need, you want to stand up for it on a whistle whistleblower, or within within your space as an entrepreneur as someone that has a platform. So how did you reconcile and maybe you didn't have to maybe it was an easy decision that you were going to speak up and speak out with the people who are working on your book to fight and help them fight for their rights? And, like, how are you so confident to do that without being afraid of what you could lose because of it?

Berna Anat 33:49

Oh, my gosh, I was absolutely afraid. The first fear the first feeling I felt was fear that I could lose all of it. I any moment. Like basically once I was very public about standing with the HarperCollins union standing in solidarity. I was like this is it is just it's refreshing my email, waiting for the publisher to be like so you're dropped, you're dropped.

Jamila Souffrant 34:13

So wait, let's maybe go back because I don't know if I explain exactly what happened really good. So maybe you can just quickly say what happened and what there is a resolver. Hopefully they're working towards something. But yeah,

Berna Anat 34:22

yes, yes. Oh my gosh. So in case anyone hates to wait for the ending, it's a happy ending. The HarperCollins Union did succeed. My team is back at work. All the union union members on my team are all back at work and they're fine. They found a fair contract. What they were fighting for initially, way back in November, was basically the 250 or so employees at HarperCollins, who were part of the Union had been actually negotiating for like almost two years to try to get a more fair contract. And what that means is raise the base pay their minimum wage pay for a sort of starting level editor in New York City which was wildly low compared to you know, folks who live In New York City, it is so expensive to live there. And they also wanted more sort of in writing, diversity initiatives and diversity hiring initiatives. And just better benefits all around. And they were fighting for that, not just for HarperCollins. But knowing that HarperCollins is one of the biggest publishers in the world, they're really fighting to set the standard for the entire industry. And they got a lot of attention in November for being like, you know what, we're about to go on strike, we're gonna do it. HarperCollins, don't call our bluff. HarperCollins is like, I don't care. And so the union workers went on strike again, they'd been negotiating for two years, this was their last straw, because a strike then is supposed to bring public attention to what was going on behind the scenes. Everybody thought, okay, might be a couple of weeks, whenever I remember my editor was like, so listen, we're going on strike on this day, it's indefinite. crossing our fingers, we're back in a couple of weeks cut to two months later, they are on strike for two straight months, HarperCollins didn't budge, it was one of the longest strikes in publishing history. And it was really scary, because there were still books being made, there are still so many books being published, and in the in the process of being published, including mine. And so it was just a, it was a really wild time. And it took me a second, maybe a couple of weeks for when they were on strike, I part of me, honestly was just like, I'm just gonna hold my breath and not say anything about it until they're back. And, you know, once there's a happy ending, I could be like, here's what happened, maybe, or I could just not speak on it. But it went on for long enough that I eventually had to ask myself, like, you know, at first gen Alpha kid brain will catastrophize and be like, what's the worst possible thing that could happen? Am I willing to lose my book contract over this? Am I Am I willing to lose the deal, I also had to realize and think about the fact that I'm writing a book about financial education. But the very last chapter is entirely about financial activism. It wraps up all of why all these other six chapters about financial how tos are important. It's important because financial freedom gives you the ability to stand up for what's right. Financial activism gives you the ability to use your dollar, to basically take back the power that other people had over you. That's exactly what they're doing in the strike. So I asked myself, like, it couldn't be more hypocritical, how could I be writing and then promoting a book about financial education and ultimately, activism, and turning a blind eye to the activism happening in my own publishing house, turning a blind eye to the people who are literally fighting for more dollars to live? I would hate myself for not speaking out, especially because like, How can I stand on this platform, if I'm not standing for the people who are trying to fight for exactly what this book is about? And so from there, it became a no brainer, honestly, there was a part of me that was like, you know, what, if I go down as the person who loses her contract, who loses her book deal over financial activism, eff it, like, that's a whole other path, we can go down, I'd be proud of myself, I'll know that, like, I refuse to bend to a system that was not being compassionate to the humans who work inside of that system. And I was honestly right, I was ready to ride I was ready to ride. And I guess the only thing that helped me make that decision honestly was like, Could I look my nieces in the eye and talk about my book about financial education and have them or one of their like, younger friends be like didn't HarperCollins like not pay their workers, you know, like to be called out by the younger generation to be called out by like, even a younger version of myself, who knew that this was messed up? That's what made me go like, I can't I can't I can't go on book tours in like high schools and middle schools and have anybody be like, isn't this hypercritical? I would I would melt on the spot? It would never ever sit right with me. So Oh, that was long winded. But that's that's how that happened?

Jamila Souffrant 38:37

No, listen, I loved hearing that. And when you talk about financial activism, how can we practice more of that? You know, with our dollars, someone will say I have money, but I don't have that much money? What does my little dollar do? So what can we do in our everyday lives to stand up and speak up for ourselves, our community, our people? The world?

Berna Anat 38:55

Of course, of course, I always say before we talk about financial activism, and I say this in the book, that it is not the end all be all answer like you the way you move your dollar is not the only thing that we need to focus on in financial activism. The giant asterisk over all of this is that there are folks in power there our powers that be that have so much more influence on our financial systems, and on like, just RT systems in general. It's not that your dollar isn't important, but it's not all on you, and your dollar to fix climate change. It's not all on you and your dollar to fix racism. It helps. But we almost have to do a like a parallel path. I'm thinking of like gas and brake, one side, you got to think about the fact that there are ways that we can influence those in power that don't have to do with our dollars and put the accountability on those in power. The accountability is not all on us. So we're talking about the ways that you vote the ways that you speak out against people in positions of power, the ways that you might boycott or strike against folks and hold back your dollar. There are ways that we actually need to put the focus on those of us who are in the billionaire So the world you know, like the stakeholders in the world, that's half of our work is to put pressure on them to be like you fix it, you can fix it for millions of us way faster than me and my dollar can. On the other side, there are ways that you can flex your own dollar. And that is financial activism. You can choose to put your dollar I don't like necessarily, you know, there's, of course there's like boycotting and striking in that works to hold your dollar power back and be like, I'm not giving you my money anymore. And there's also a lot of power and just being intentional about who you give your money to. Looking around at the purchases you make every single day. You know, like in terms of clothing, there is someone who maybe is in your community is a has shares your identity that's like struggling small business owner, you can buy your clothes from someone that has to do with your identity or community you're trying to help you can buy your food from people that has to do with the community you're trying to help. There is so much that we can like joyfully give our dollars to whereas be like, I'm just getting a coffee from the corner store or whatever. I'm just getting coffee from Starbucks, you can like be like, I got to know the six small business that has been struggling through the pandemic and I joyfully give my money to them now like now my whatever coffee like purchase is something that I'm like, No, I want these people to win now my whatever sweater purchase my whatever gift purchases, like I'm doing this intentionally because I want these people to win. And of course, you could always be wonderfully financially petty to and be like, I'm taking my dollars away from this crappy financial institution. What I would request and this is the reason I call it money out loud, is be loud about it. When you're leaving, when you're boycotting. When you're divesting from somewhere, talk about it, tell the company you're leaving, tell the internet you're leaving, tell the folks that listen to you, your family and friends that you're leaving, when you leave a place. I'm almost imagining like a cat that's just like walking around and knocking shit off the walls. And like, you know, I'm like, That's what I want you to do when you're divesting or you're boycotting or you're saying like, why you're not spending your money, and then turn around and tell people just as loudly, why you're joyfully giving and joyfully spending in other places, there's so many ways that we can influence each other, that both both feels like deliciously petty, and deliciously empowering at the same time. I hope that makes sense.

Jamila Souffrant 42:09

Oh, my gosh, does. And it's being intentional. Because when we talk about the how tos and the tactical stuff, when it comes to personal finance, sometimes it's all about like spending the least as possible, or losing the least as possible, right mitigating risk. And, you know, honestly, when we're trying to make headway or gain outside of just finances, some things are that are intangible, right. So the opportunities that are out there for us to earn more to get a different type of job, there's risk that needs to be taken or for us to make the impact we want. Sometimes it can't be measured, or it's not, it's worth more than the 30 cents, or $1 or $10, you're safe. Now, I'm not recommending this necessarily for people who are really struggling or at the poverty line that they need to go, you know, spend their their last on something more expensive, just because if it's going to hurt them, and their lifestyle or their life, but I do feel like sometimes the emphasis is put on too much. Like how we can spend as little as possible or, or mitigate risks versus we are at a place. Maybe this is also like one of those immigrant kryptonite is that we don't never feel like we have enough. But sometimes we have more than enough or enough to do something different, right? Like, sometimes I relate this to whether I should buy organic, like the difference between the organic produce, like it's like 30. Like, I'll put it down sometimes if it's like 30 cents more. And then I think back with Jamila, seriously like this, like the benefits of this potentially could be so much better than the 30 cents that you're saving. And something that I feel like our default sometimes is let's just save the money mitigate the risk, or do you know the least amount where if we're trying to make an impact and change? And it's not about just the money? There's a bigger picture to see.

Berna Anat 43:53

Yes, 100%. And a lot of that, of course is I feel like this is the like, flash word of all first gen, like children of immigrants. It's scarcity thing. It's a scarcity mindset, it's part of our default to the parts that make up make up our like default dance in life, our hustle, it's really a tussle. And then underneath that scarcity mindset, we hustle because we feel like we have no choice because if you don't hustle, you're gonna lose it all. And we save and we cut corners relentlessly, because we don't know You know, where we grew up a lot of the time to situation where you didn't know when the next dollar was going to come. You didn't know how long it was going to last you had to make it work you had to make it like you have to save it, you have to squeeze it. This squeezing and this I'm going to default to the cheapest part is is part of our like how we learned how to protect ourselves. It's how our families learn how to protect us. It's how their parents learned how to protect them, squeezing and squeezing and squeezing. And now again with this like first gen Alpha thing, you have to learn how to be different from like many, many generations before you which is so hard like we can talk for another 17 years about like, generational traumas and how the Things get passed down. And now part of the pressure of being this first gen Alpha kid is you're trying to chase trying to turn the car around after being stuck on this one path for like, potentially hundreds of years. And scarcity mindset is one of the hardest things to let go of, because our instinct is just like, yeah, get the cheaper one. Don't be dumb. I could hear my mom and my head being like, go to the clearance rack. Why? Or why are we here amongst the normal clothes. And then when we step into that, like positions of privilege, and earning more money, and having a little bit more like freedom, again, it's baby deer legs, trying to practice not being scarcity mindset, trying to practice. It's not even like abundance manifestation. It's like when I literally have the dollars to do that, what it's my brain stopping me from these things. So, so much we can unpack,

Jamila Souffrant 45:47

oh, so much. But I know you unpack a lot of this in your book. So I'm so excited for people to get this to read this. So please talk more about the book, who you wrote it for? Who should read it, and then like where they can find it?

Berna Anat 46:00

Yes, of course. So my book is money out loud, you can see a little a little washed out right now in this in this. For those who can't see it, there's a giant money out loud poster behind me. My book is called money out loud, it's coming out on April 25. With HarperCollins, I was once upon a time embarrassed to say that it was coming out with HarperCollins because of the whole strike thing. But now I can say with my chest because it came Correct. Finally, April 25 HarperCollins. But of course, you can pre order it anywhere that you get books, I very much stress that you preorder it from an independent bookstore. is an amazing resource to help you find the nearest independent bookstore to preorder from the book. Oh, goodness, it's like, it's called money out loud all the financial stuff no one taught us because that's literally what it is. It is an interesting book in that it's technically categorized as a young adult book and a teen book. But I wrote this from the perspective of information that we all need, knowing that a lot of us got to adulthood with a teenage financial brain with a child's financial brain, because we did not learn any of these things. And so I keep telling folks that this is for you as an adult. And for you to be that cool adult that hands it to the kid that needs it. Like this is the book that I wish my aunts or uncles or somebody handed to me when I was like 16 of earliest. But it's something that you can learn from and read together and learn together. So it's it's for anybody who needs it is what I say. I'm super psyched that it's coming out on April 25. April, as we know is Financial Literacy Month. And I just I cannot wait to be more obnoxious about it. Even though if you follow me on Instagram, which is at a burner. You know, I've been obnoxious about this thing for literally two years. So I feel like my community is like birth the baby already. This is so annoying. But it's coming.

Jamila Souffrant 47:48

We are all watching. We can't wait. We can't wait to see it out in the world. I'm so proud and excited for you Burna. And you're blazing the trail you're like showing me like all right, you show behind the scenes show how the show how the sausage is made. And you're doing that perfectly. I'm with your content and with your brand and who you are so much props to you. And thank you so much again for coming on the show.

Berna Anat 48:09

Thank you Jamila. It's like just my I don't even know I don't have words for it. I'm just going to do this physical. You can't see me if you're listening to podcasts. But I'm just like my heart to you, my heart to you because we are all waiting and watching for your book as well. We're so psyched. And thank you so much for having me back on the show.

Jamila Souffrant 48:26

Oh, and by the way, this will be on YouTube, the video version of this interview. So you'll be able to see all of our expressions and hand movements and whatever this is falling on my air you'll get to see all right. All right. Thanks Verna.

Berna Anat 48:38

Thank you

Outro 48:42

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to or click the description of wherever you're listening to this. And you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of journeys To launch alright that's it until next week keep on journeying journeyers

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