Erin Lowry, “financial translator” and award-winning author, joins the podcast for a third time to chat about navigating tough money discussions with your loved ones, giving yourself permission to spend and why it’s important to evolve your perspective around money as you age and experience life.
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Erin Lowry 0:02
My number one piece of advice with loaning money in your brain and is no longer alone, it is a gift. Because it is very easy to get resentful of other folks and how they spend their money if you have loaned them money or to feel some level of entitlement, and that is just going to do nothing but damage to your relationship. And if you do want it to be structured as a loan, then you need to actually sit down and have a conversation around what is the expected repayment timeline. What are the terms? How do you feel about loaning this money, etc.
T-Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host Jamila su frogs. As a money expert who rocks her car, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch a financial freedom in five, four, three, two, one.
If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to launch.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 so 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 1:43
Hey Jaron yours. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast this week we have a special guests Aaron Lowery. She is the financial translator author of the four part broke millennial series which includes broke millennial broke millennial takes on investing broke millennial talks money and the new broke millennial workbook. Her first book was named by MarketWatch as one of the best money books of 2017. She's been on the podcast before episodes, 91 and 201. So you know, I'm having her back on a third time. And she must be amazing. So welcome back to the podcast, Erin.
Erin Lowry 2:17
Thanks for having me. I love being back.
Jamila Souffrant 2:20
Yeah, so the last time you were here was when your last book was out or was released, which was the relationship book, which was 2020. Right?
Erin Lowry 2:28
Yeah, December of 2020. So we probably chatted in a post COVID haze for me have a January 2020. We'll have a lot going on. Now my book came out. And then I got COVID for the first time right after so what a release day treat for me.
Jamila Souffrant 2:49
Wow. Well, I feel like your content. And the way you have built your career, I think is definitely admirable. And something that a lot of authors like myself, new authors can learn from, because you just I feel like to have a really committed and dedicated audience and engage. And I think that's because of the way you show up and the way you talk about money. And so I'd love to hear a little bit about since the last time you've been on which was what 2020, probably early 2021, what's been new for you what you what you've been working on, because I know a lot has changed for everyone. But what's been going on with Aaron?
Erin Lowry 3:26
Well, the first thing I did was actually took a good chunk of time off for a little bit there in about mid 2021. And I do not advise anybody write four books in seven years. I think that that's kind of my first piece of advice for people I had written at that point three books in five years, and was just honestly, before it even was that trendy of a term really burned out. It was hard. And I love writing. I think that that's what's always very interesting is I love the writing part of all of it. But to put a book out into the world is so much more than just the writing element. As you know, you know, there's a lot of pieces to that. And I think for me, it also was just a time to really start to get a little bit more introspective about what are my goals? What do I want out of not only the brand I'm building but the lifestyle that I'm trying to design? Is this all in service of a greater thing that I'm interested in doing? Or am I being honest with myself and maybe just kind of like chasing the cloud a little bit right now, which is not the most mentally healthy thing to do and also not sustainable and taking some time away. Especially getting off social media for a little while. Couldn't Recommend more for folks like if you're if you're having a time where you're trying to figure yourself out stay off of social media for like a solid two months at least just see what happens to your brain chemistry. straight.
Jamila Souffrant 5:00
Couple things you mentioned there. So making sure like the reasons why you're doing things right like not falling into the cloud and wanting more cloud, but then also connecting and wanting to share maybe what you're doing with others. I think people get confused, or there's a difference. And when you are talking, I'm like, there are some people who generally like love being in front of the camera and sharing and you see it in their content, like, they look happy to be sharing they, it seems genuine, you know, you don't know really what's going on right behind the scenes. And then you probably have people like me and you where I'm speaking for you. But sometimes where it's just more, it feels just a little heavy to show up. And I don't know, like, do you feel? It's because of the nature of what you're trying to communicate? Like, I love how you just said, Are you creating this life? Are you living this life? Because you really want it? Or did you get off path somehow. And I feel like, for me, it sometimes feels like that, where, you know, I started journey to launch for this reason. Now it's become another reason that helps sustain my family and lifestyle. It's also like my job in a way, but it's also like this pathway that I wanted to have to be free. So for you, how do you reconcile when you lean in more to needing to be out there versus going within to finding what you need?
Erin Lowry 6:20
I would love to have an excellent answer to that question. And I don't have a great one. There's not one with like a tidy bow that I can just sum everything up. So much of my original work was based on my lived experience. And I started broke millennial it it turned a decade this year, January of 2023 marks 10 years that I have been working on some iteration of broke millennial, and it started as a blog. And I promise, like those were still pretty trendy back in 2013. It started there. And it started just from a place of fun and creativity and exploration. And I just wanted a space to write. But I also am a very carrot or stick person. Like if I'm going to stick with something, there has to be a little bit of a motivator that's mazed, maybe outside of myself, and part of it with blogging at the time. So I was like, Okay, I'm gonna pick a topic that I think is really interesting. And I'm gonna challenge myself to do it two times a week, and we'll just see what happens. I had never read a Personal Finance Blog, I did not know a whole personal finance community kind of existed, which also in 2013, it looked so different than it looks today. And it just really started from me sharing stories of making very little money and trying to survive living in New York City and also sharing stories about how my parents taught me about money. And it really was just fun and playful and no pressure. Obviously, things changed. And they changed in an amazing way. And it launched me into a career that I really could not have even conceived of when I was 22 years old, starting all of this, I guess I was 23. On the flip side, it also gets to a point where my life as an almost 34 year old who is now married, looks very different than my life did when I started all of this. So part of it for me is how do I also share my lived experiences keep the authenticity of the voice and the brand but also allow and give myself the room to grow and be a very different person, especially financially than I was when all of this started. And that push and pull I think is part of why also maybe kind of crept away for a little bit of time to sort of see the space see what I wanted to do. And that's also why the third book is all about how to talk about money because that to me is now a deep deep area of interest and it really doesn't matter how much or how little you have we have to be having conversations about money this is going to touch everybody at every possible point of their financial journey.
Jamila Souffrant 9:07
Yeah, and I can imagine you know, broke millennial you were broke when you started that right and now you're not broke. Yeah,
Erin Lowry 9:14
I am not broke. I will also say slightly two decade ago Aaron's defense I made a very deliberate effort to not call it the broke millennial and just call it broke millennial because I felt like I was speaking to a generational plight which still exists mind you like we're definitely is the very stressful feeling of broke millennial even as we age into our 40s. So I think that that part holds true but no, I personally have not been broken a while.
Jamila Souffrant 9:48
Which is good. Right? And you know, it's funny because as we change I think to like your readers, your audience, your the people who support you are have also changed. So I think whether they they found you 10 years ago or where they're finding you now. So you're going to track basically what who you talk to now or how you talking, I was going to track the new you the current version. But then the people that have found you are also evolving and grown. And I think that's something for us to both remember too is when we're, we realize that our audience probably expects us to grow and expect. So I would not want to follow someone who has not changed their mind or perspective, in the last 10 years with more information, I think that's what probably makes what you do so relatable is because you share when your mind changes, and I love people who do that, where you know what I thought this way, and now I think differently, or, you know, I'm not sure anymore, I'm questioning this thing. And that because that's people that's life. And so the experts that are like, this is what it is, and I know that Garner's a lot of attention, because it's it can be divisive. But I really do love people who are just honest with I don't know, or that worked for some people and doesn't work for others. Let's talk about it.
Erin Lowry 10:56
I will say that was probably one of my favorite parts of getting to do the workbook is, ooh, there are pieces in the first book that if I could get in there and rewrite it today, I would love to change my opinion on a couple of things that were in there. And there are some moments in the workbook like you might have read in broke millennial that I said this. Now, let me tell you what I think now. And a big one for me is emergency savings. That also if we have not learned anything from a global pandemic, that puts some people out of work for over half of the year or longer. Come on now. So my big one is in the first book, I definitely agreed with the classic advice have you need at least $1,000 in your emergency fund if you're paying off debt? Now I'm like, No, that is simply not enough. You need more than $1,000 Even if you're paying off debt. And my new number is not a hard and fast rule, which I think some people love a hard and fast rule. My number is your bare monthly living expenses for one month, that is your bare minimum. So how much do you need to live bare minimum for one month, we're talking rent, utilities, childcare, transportation, food on your table food for your pet or your kids, obviously, bare minimum payments on debts because we don't want to destroy our credit in this period. And then also just thinking about like insurance or any medications, everybody's is a little bit different. But your bare minimum expenses for one month, at least, depending on your job. Depending on your comfort level, you might want it to be higher, just like with an emergency fund, right? People say three to six months. But if you're self employed or a seasonal worker, you might feel like oof, I need like nine months to feel comfortable. And that's fine.
Jamila Souffrant 12:48
Right? Well, what other things have you thought about differently or changed your mind about since starting?
Erin Lowry 12:54
One thing that I don't, I wouldn't say I've necessarily changed my mind about but I've gotten certainly more vocal about is also any idea I pushed back very strongly around two things. One, that you should be debt free before you start investing, I think that's actively damaging advice for people, you should, at the bare minimum be contributing to your employer match retirement plan, if you have one, if you don't, at least look into putting a little bit of money into an IRA, especially if you're self employed, while paying down debt because it could take a decade, 15 years, two decades to get 100% debt free. The greatest advantage you have as an investor is time. So you are robbing yourself of the greatest advantage you have as an investor. If you wait to get debt free. So that's soapbox, one soapbox to there's no morality around debt. Oh my gosh, like we have got to let go of this conversation around good debt, bad debt. You know, debt is just a fact or not of your life. I mean, it's still a fact because it exists whether or not you have it, it is something that is real. So it is a fact. But this idea around like, well, a mortgage is good debt. Credit cards are bad debt, like, let's just take the morality out of this. Just call it what it is debt and make a plan to pay it off. And we don't need to be fixating on any sort of shame or guilt around the fact that it exists. I personally don't find that to be terribly effective and impactful and moving forward in your journey. I think what's a better strategy is to think about why does it exist? How did I get into the debt? Am I still engaging in behaviors that contribute to the debt continuing to exist? Because this might be a bit of a controversial stance. The shame and guilt is almost a cop out compared to doing the introspective hard work to figure out why it exists, how you can handle those emotions and how you can move on to a better, more holistic, well rounded version of you and your relation. chip with money. Because it's really easy to just kind of play the shame game. It's a lot harder to do the introspective work.
Jamila Souffrant 15:06
Listen, those two I'm on that soapbox with you because I totally agree with those two points because we this is why you need so many diverse voices and people talking about, you know, their experiences where you can share, like, there's something else I know, you may have other experts or people talking about in this way. But that's not the only way to view what's going on in your life right now. And that inner work, I'm telling you, a lot of that that's where it starts from sustainable change starts from within. And so the behavior, the mindset, the habits behind our past lessons, we have to understand that if we want to make different choices going forward. So you've been talking about money for 10 years, how do you not get bored with the subject of money?
Erin Lowry 15:52
Well, I'm gonna be honest, there are elements of talking about money that I get bored about. So if I never have to talk about budgeting, again, I'd be a happy camper. And that is not to say it isn't important, like budgets are important. I just have talked about them. And instead, to me, money touches every facet of our lives. And because of that, there is just so much opportunity to figure out how money connects and how money impacts us. And it just opened so many doors to talk about money in a particular way. I'm really at a point where when, to me the most fascinating conversations is how to talk about money, which sounds like very meta, like, I like to talk about how to talk about money. But what I mean by that is that, first of all, I believe very strongly that you can do all the things right, you can get debt free, you can have a great career, you can be earning a lot of income, you can be maxing out your retirement plans, you have a fully funded emergency savings account, you're doing all of it flawlessly. But if you can't set boundaries with people in your life, around your money, they're gonna spend your money for you. And then it's very easy for money to just kind of bleed out the door without you even really paying attention. And so talking about how to navigate potentially awkward conversations is critical. And especially to me, what again, makes this area so interesting and rich, is that culturally, we bring so many expectations, and you might partner up with somebody who's from a completely different cultural background than you are. Which means that all of a sudden, you're navigating your expectation of how to handle money, and they're navigating, there's and then you get parents involved and siblings involved in it never ends, which makes it really fascinating.
Jamila Souffrant 17:54
That's true, right? Like you said, it's going deeper, beyond maybe just talking about budget and how to budget, but then how do you talk to your partner about the different values you have, and fitting that into the budget like that is exciting, or at least can be I can see for someone if you're talking about money constantly. So what are some ideas we touched upon this past interview, but I would love to talk a little bit about people as they're navigating conversations with loved ones about money. And I know you probably have some great prompts in the new workbook that you'll talk about a bit later. But what are some boundary prompts or ways you can communicate boundaries around money if you have not done that before? So if you have been the type to give money, and people know they can come to you, or you always say yes, what are some prompts or scripts that you can give people here to help them start the boundary?
Erin Lowry 18:45
Well, the first thing is just recognizing it's not always about loaning people money. You know, I think that that's almost the the low hanging fruit answer of if you're in a situation, where maybe it's a sibling, or a parent, or a friend, or a cousin or whoever, who's just kind of like always asking for $20 here or $100 there or like you're constantly being asked to pick up the tab when you're out. Yes, that's very frustrating. And at some point, it just does take the awkward conversation of, hey, I do want to support you and I love you. But I have noticed that you tend to ask me for 20 bucks a couple of times a month, and I'm just kind of getting to the place where that's not tenable for my situation. So I'd love to have a conversation about how I can offer you support. Or if it's a family member, that maybe you want to be able to financially support them, but you don't trust necessarily how they're going to spend the money. You pick up a very specific bill for them. There's all sorts of ways to navigate that. I will also say my number one piece of advice with loaning money in your brain and is no longer alone. It is a gift because it is very easy to get resentful of other folks and how they spend their money if you have loaned them money or to feel some level of entitlement, and that is just going to do nothing but do damage to your relationship. And if you do want it to be structured as a loan, then you need to actually sit down and have a conversation around what is the expected repayment timeline? What are the terms? How do you feel about loaning this money, etc. The bigger thing I think that all of us deal with in some way is the invitations element of life. You know, whether that is birthday dinners, weddings, bachelorette parties, baby showers, birthday trips, group hangs like whatever it is, how are you able to kind of set a boundary around, Oh, this isn't in my budget, or I'm trying to save for something really big, or I'm trying to pay off debt. And one of the easiest ways to do it is the old compliment sandwich routine, right? You start with something positive, you're squeezing the negative, and then instead of coming back to a positive, quote, unquote, my tip is to just end it with something that is a problem solver. So your friend has asked you to brunch. You don't want to spend $50 on bottomless brunch. You say, Hey, I love you and I want to spend time with you. But $50 bottomless brunch really isn't in my budget this week, or whatever thing you want to put in, you could put in, I'm trying to pay off X amount of credit card debt, I'm trying to pay off more student loans, I'm saving for a down payment. We have a baby on the way and we have to, you know, get the nursery ready. Whatever your reason. So I love you and I want to spend time with you. But $50 bottomless brunch doesn't fit into my budget. And then the kicker? How about we grab a bagel and go for a walk in the park? How about you come over and I make breakfast? How about we go for a hike? So you've kind of saw created a problem by saying no, but then you've also solved the problem by offering an alternative. And that is a really key part of navigating these conversations. Because if you just get really good at saying no. Okay, good for you protecting your financial life, but you certainly aren't protecting your relationships and friendships or investing into them, either. You have to make sure that there's a little bit of balance there as well.
Jamila Souffrant 22:08
Right? You know, I feel when I've said no, I usually, first of all, anyone you typically invites me out like it's someone I want to if I go it's because I want to go I don't mind spending the money. But I find that some people, they don't want to tell people, it's a money reason, right? Like they don't I have, it's rare that I've heard someone say in a conversation, or I've heard someone, someone else say, Hey, I can't do this, because I'm doing this, because of this financial reason. And so the question is, should people be more honest, that it's for a financial reason? I mean, is it? Do they owe that explanation? Because it could just be you know, I just have other obligations, right? Maybe lie or it I mean, it's not a lie, you do have other obligations, just money obligations, right. But I can see someone hearing this right now and say, I'm not going to tell some of my friends business that I can't afford it or that I don't want to do because of money. So but then it brings up this point that so many of us are not talking about money with our friends, and the reason why we can't do things. And then how many times maybe have you heard a friend that like there's some disconnect, and they didn't know it was because of money, or they didn't know their friend was going through something because somebody didn't share that. And they come together maybe years later? And it's just like, I didn't know that if I knew that I would have, we could have had a deeper conversation. So what's your views on transparency around money, and if you're going through something around it, how open you should be with the people in your life.
Erin Lowry 23:31
You don't owe anyone an explanation. First and foremost, you know, it is your business. However, context matters a lot in these conversations. And so my point is more if you just keep saying no point blank End of discussion, will people are going to stop asking, like you are going to actively harm a relationship. If you don't give some level of context around. No, but here's why. Or no, but I'd love to do this thing at a later date. That is kind of my first thought about it. But secondly, I think we probably would be in a better place. If more of us were a bit more honest around money, either tensions or stressors or goals. You know, it doesn't always have to be negative. And even if you talk about the existence of something, it doesn't mean you have to share the full picture saying I have credit card debt. It doesn't mean you have to say I have $12,000 of credit card debt, it could just be I have credit card debt I'm trying to pay off. And you can give a little more context to it can be Hey, I mean you know, I lost my job for a little bit and so I ended up with some credit card debt and I'm really working hard to try to pay that off. Now that you know, I got my new gig. And if you don't feel comfortable sharing any of that, that's also fine. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how many people are honestly relieved to hear you share and then also might reciprocate with their own financial goals and our struggles. And that's the other part of this too. It can be goals oriented, it doesn't have to be struggle oriented, hey, I'd love to come with you. But we are really trying to focus on saving up for a down payment. So we're trying to kind of really lock down spending on things like going to concerts, going to brunch, whatever it is, you just want to make real careful that it never sounds like an indictment of how someone else wants to spend their money. You never want it to sound like I mean, you can go waste your money on that thing. I'm not gonna waste my money on that thing. So it's a bit of a delicate dance. But just talking about your goals, hey, we're trying to save up for this. So would it be okay, if instead, we did this other activity, that's more, you don't even have to say on your budget, you could just say this other activity? I mean, it's pretty implied that if you're asking to do go for a hike, instead of go to $50, brunch, you want the free activity.
Jamila Souffrant 25:56
Right? And I mean, think about it, think about getting invitations, where it's just like you and the friends, you know, right? Intimate. So you know, you kind of know how to deal with money, you know, how they split checks, or don't split checks and how they order food, versus like, the bigger events, so maybe like friends or friends that are coming. And it's just like, Oh, I'm not doing that. Because I already know that there's someone they're gonna order steak and like five drinks, and then everyone's gonna want to split the bill when I only had an appetizer.
Erin Lowry 26:20
Right? And I gotta tell you, yeah, okay, first of all, we have all been there. But unless, if you haven't, you're the person that comes in order steak and five drinks. That is the only thing that I will say about that. But your other option, if you want to, like partly participate, hey, I'd love to come. But I'm not free until 930. Do you mind if I just show up for dessert? And then it's very obvious, you came late, and you only chip in for dessert? And like, a little bit for the birthday girl or whatever it is? Or, Hey, I got something later in the night, can I just come to toast you at the beginning of the night, and then I gotta head out. Or hey, whenever they're going to the second location, I'll meet you there. Like, there's also ways that you can participate, but also protect your financial situation. And or just like opt out of the insanity of, you know, maybe you can fully afford it. And maybe paying $125 for a dinner on a Wednesday night is like, Yeah, I mean, I can afford that. I don't want to have to pay $125 for the mediocre meal that I'm gonna have. And that's a perfectly valid reason to just don't say it that way to someone. Right, right.
Jamila Souffrant 27:29
Like, I just don't want to pay for the mediocre meal with your mediocre other friends like that. Don't say that?
Erin Lowry 27:35
Yeah, please do not put it that way to your friend.
Jamila Souffrant 27:38
Well, so talk about the way you're spending now. We talked about being kind of out of this pandemic haze, if we're out of it, or we're still in it, in a way and how that's impacted our spending. You mentioned something about revenge spending, before we pressed record. So I want you to talk a little bit about how you been managing with the world being opened up again, how have you been spending? How have you been looking at money differently? What's been going on with you?
Erin Lowry 28:06
Oh, yeah, I've been spending, I might be one of the few personal finance experts who's like revenge spending, let's go. I truly especially, you know, like you being in New York through this was brutal, and also having so much of what I love about this city taken away. And once we were able to go back to see shows go in to see a comedy show, go sit in a restaurant, all of these quote unquote, non essential activities, although all those folks were out of jobs for such a long period of time. So I also look at it as like contributing to the greater economy of New York. But I went hard, fast on doing all of that. But also Mind you, it's something that I saved up for when we couldn't do anything, my husband and I started setting money aside to just be able to indulge the way that we wanted to when we came out of this. And also that tax on to international travel. We've taken quite a few trips in the last two years. And some of that was like pent up demand from when we couldn't travel. But what it has really started to make me realize as we've really sort of distanced ourselves from the, you know, summer of 2021, were vaccinated let's go to now we're a year and a half out from that, almost two years out from that. And I've really comes to more of a realization about looking at the seasons of your life and trying to indulge when and where you can. And I don't mean necessarily like splurging with money. I mean, really thinking through life changes a lot. It can change very quickly. And that can be based on wonderful things and that can also be based on more trying things that happen and something as simple as if you have aging pets. Parents, especially if you don't live near them, how often are you able to go see them? How often are you able to spend quality time with them and create memories and invest into that kind of relationship. Maybe if you don't live near them, that's going to require that you set aside some money that otherwise might have gone to a different thing that you enjoy doing. But you know, like, hey, there might be a season that remains of like my parents being in good health and able bodied and being able to go do these activities that we've always shared and love together. And, you know, I had, sorry, Dad, if you're listening to this, but I had a little bit of a realization about that in January of this year, a bit last minute, my husband's a teacher, we know this life. And so he has very specific times that he gets off from work. And over MLK weekend, we decided to a bit spur of the moment, take a trip to visit my parents, where they were staying, they were on a trip, like let's go see them. In Western New York. It's a ski town that my dad's from. And I got to ski with my dad. And I haven't gotten to ski with my dad in three years because of the pandemic. But also, you know, his knees aren't awesome, he was a marathon runner, I don't know how many more ski chances we might get. And you also never know for yourself, you know, maybe something's gonna happen. To me, that means that like some season, I can't, and then something happens to him. And it just, I had a moment on the slope, just realizing like, you know what, we definitely pulled some money out of another trip that we had kind of wanted to take to come do this. But I'm so grateful that we did this. Because I got to create this memory with my dad, and who knows if this could be the last time, I get that that feels like a morbid way to constantly think about your life. But on a more positive side, I also think about it like, if you want to expand your family, maybe you want to have your first kid, well, maybe leading up to that you say yes to like all the fun things that you can do with all the flexibility that being childfree currently afford you because then you're going to be ready for when that season of life comes. And that switch is going to happen. And it's going to bring a whole host of new fun engaging things that you can do. But it also means saying goodbye to some others, our whole lives are the seasons. But sometimes I think especially with money we get so fixated on, I can't do this until I have this much saved until I've paid off this debt or until I've achieved this goal. And it's really important to sprinkle in some balance along the way.
Jamila Souffrant 32:37
Yeah, just concept, or what you're talking about reminds me of the die with zero Bill Perkins book. And he talks a lot about that, that, you know, there are things that you wanted to do 1015 years ago that you have no interest in doing now, because you are in a different season of life. But you still could have did that thing, but you have no interest in it now. And so there are things you want to do now that you should do, because you want to do it and you're able to do it versus waiting 1520 years out. And so I think that's a lovely way to look at, you know, our desires and integrating them to our money and how it integrates with our money. Because you do only live once and it's that fine balance right of yes, you only live once and you only are going to be you at this age at this time, your kids only going to be at that age at this time, once and then it just keeps going. But it doesn't mean that you shouldn't just blow everything and be irresponsible with your money. But it does mean like you should lean into the fact that this is the reason for money. Right other than the sustainable like living. It's meant to support your life and to give you a life you enjoy.
Erin Lowry 33:44
And that listen to everything I'm talking about also comes with a certain level of sacrifice, right? If you're going to spend money on one thing, it means you're not spending money on another and you need to go back to what I was saying about budgets earlier. If there's any call to have caught a budget, call it a spending plan. I don't care what you call it, but to know where your money goes and to have control. This is the messaging for why it's because that when things come up, and opportunities that you want to say yes to come up. You have the resources there to either be able to say, Okay, well this was a big priority we have maybe we can kind of turn down the aggressive savings or hyper aggressive debt repayment to reallocate some funds to say yes to this thing. But what does that mean? It means adding an extra month on to our savings goal or adding extra month on to our debt repayment. Being able to do that math kind of quickly and make those assessments quickly is so helpful and you know to pull up another not trying to be morbid but this is life moment this year. My mother in law got diagnosed with cancer she is okay. But the fact that again we could we don't live near her and that we could book a trip to get to see her before her surgery was huge, you know, not only for our peace of mind, but for hers, those of you who are listening who are a parent, like can you imagine having to go into major intensive surgery and not getting to see your child before that happens. And so making sure that you are putting systems in place, that when the big things come up, you don't have to feel stressed about the resources, in order to make it happen. You don't have to go into debt to be there. And to make it happen, you can just go. Again, obviously, some sacrifice has to come up, like we had to pull the money from somewhere, there might be a trip that we had planned to take, that's not happening quite on the timeline we had expected. But we still got to go. And we got to do the very important thing.
Jamila Souffrant 35:47
Speaking of budgeting our favorite word, I really want to know, I feel like I'm gonna start asking all the personal finance educators and quote unquote, experts, how they really manage their money. Some people that I have on the podcast, I really know because like they are, you could tell like, they love budgets, they're ticking and tying like the dollars every day, which I love, no shame in that. Very helpful. But I realized that my, my relationship to budgeting has definitely changed as I've gone further along my path and my journey or stages, as I've labeled them to financial independence. And so I don't use my budget, or look to it or needed as much like on a day to day basis or week to week basis. And so I'd love to know from you, just to get a different perspective, how you actually budget, do you budget? And it's okay, if you don't, let's be real, let's be honest with the people. And if you do, like, what does that look like? Are you doing it every day, once a week, once a month? How are you checking, and making sure you are able to sustain your goals and your lifestyle and what you're doing now.
Erin Lowry 36:49
I'll say I'll push back on anyone who says they don't have a budget, because a budget is just how you spend your money. And we all spend it somehow. We all have like some iteration of a budget, it just might not be effective or good. Or it just might be like I just spend what I want to spend. And that's my budget. So I do have a budget style it is I would say loosely based on the zero sum budget style of budgeting. I have a big spreadsheet that every dollar is accounted for for my paycheck and for my husband's so it says exactly whose money goes where and how much. Now the thing that I don't budget, quote, unquote, is that the way we operate money in our marriage, everything that's high level is joint like all the big goals, all the big bills, there are joint accounts for that. But then each of us has a separate account that is just for our money. So like allowance, fun money, blow money, whatever you want to call it, we've got that account. That account I don't so much budget for that is just like, What am I feeling this month, the only thing that I will sort of budget is if there is like a birthday gift. I know like a very good friend has a birthday coming up. Or if I want to take, for instance, a trip for my friend's birthday, I will start saving up out of my allowance money, quote unquote, I hate calling it that I just have not come up with a better term.
Jamila Souffrant 38:17
Your fun money or blow money. Yeah, yeah.
Erin Lowry 38:20
So I will start saving out of that money way in advance so that when I want to go on the trip, it's coming out of like, quote, unquote, my fun money. And it's not coming out of our joint travel money, because that is earmarked for the trips that the two of us want to take together. There is some obviously nuanced that can happen in that because again, things come up. But mostly zero sum with a dash of like, absolutely no pressure on it. But when it's gone, it's gone. Also mentality. So because of the one it's gone, it's gone part. I also check in on my credit cards every Sunday. So I go through and just check the balances on everything. Some of them, I'll just kind of like pay off as I go. So my wait till the end of the month for it to turn. This can get into a whole, like credit score strategy if you want. But at the end of the day, I always know each week, like how much really remains of my fun money. Because if you're putting things on a credit card, it's not coming out of your bank account. It can be really easy to spend some money early in the month that you kind of forgot about. And then you get towards the end of the month like oh, no, I thought I had you know this about left and I don't.
Jamila Souffrant 39:32
Yeah, well, thank you for sharing. I just find that it's really nice to kind of see what people are really doing, how they're managing their money, especially if they have a partner because I know not everyone combines every single thing. So thanks for that perspective. I want to talk a little bit about the workbook. So this is your fourth book. And I'd love to hear the evolution like why the workbook, what does it cover? And who is the workbook for
Erin Lowry 39:57
the workbook is for anyone and it's not just from Millennials, it just hasn't been the title. So it doesn't matter your generation, everyone is welcome here. But it is inspired largely by book one. So if you have read book one, you will see a lot of similarities. For most of the chapter names just because I really liked them, I kept a lot of those similar or the same, but the content is very fresh, like it is not a copy paste job of like my first book, it's like, okay, and then we like throw in some prompts and call it a day. It is unique material, it does stand on its own, you do not have to buy the first book in order to complete the workbook, the workbook can just be a standalone piece. Then I also pulled in quite a bit from Book Two, which is the investing book, and book three, which is the how to talk about money book, and kind of infused those throughout. And I'm just very excited to see how people do with getting pushed a little bit to like, actually write down numbers to actually answer questions, because it's really easy to just read the books, and then never do anything about it. So this kind of in real time forces you to pause and kind of take stock and think through what you want, as opposed to just getting the principles down mentally, but not necessarily pairing that with action.
Jamila Souffrant 41:23
And when is the workbook out? And where can people find it.
Erin Lowry 41:26
So broke millennial workbook comes out May 9 2023. And you can find it wherever books are sold. As always, please support your local bookstores. Also, if you're listening to this, you're like, Yeah, that sounds really good. But you know what, it's not in my budget, to go buy a book right now go to your local library. And if they don't have it, please request it, they get it on their shelves. But again, it's a workbook. So maybe like splurge on a nice little notebook that you like, so you can answer all the prompts in there, because you don't want to ruin it for the next person by writing your answers into the library copy of the workbook?
Jamila Souffrant 42:00
Well, you know, just before we close out, I think this may be helpful for creators and myself who are writers or who want to put something out in the world that people can read or even listen to just something is what is your writing process? What's your creative process in creating the material that you have? I know, that's like a wide question. So you can answer that however you want. But what does it look like for you and I have a follow up after that.
Erin Lowry 42:29
You know, the first thing I will really say is anyone who hears these sticks about, you gotta wake up at like five in the morning, and write for like two hours. Now. First of all, I'm very much a night person. So a lot of my writing tends to get done at night. But also, it is okay, if you have to be motivated by a deadline. This is a big part of the reason that from the job, like I need a traditional employer and settle being self published or employer publisher, instead of being self published. Because I don't know if I'll finish it. If I don't have someone else who's sort of threatening me with a deadline and says, I'll take my advance back if I don't need it. Not that we ever got to that point. But I know like the threat is there that if I don't finish the work, and it's okay to recognize that about yourself. I alluded earlier, I'm a bit characteristic when it comes to certain things. So I did kind of need that external deadline as well, which I found very helpful. The other thing for this work for me for how I write, it's not going to work for everybody's creative process. I funnily enough, really like to get the not necessarily hard parts. But the things that I find least interesting done first, this doesn't so much probably work for like the fiction genre, compared to the self help more genre, because my chapters all standalone, so I can write them in whatever order I fundamentally want. So I always do the hard bits first. And then I save the ones that I'm really looking forward to for later. So that also maybe, as we eat a little closer to deadline, it's the more fun stuff. Or also just because then it's the desert of the writing. Like I get to just really kind of play around with the parts that I really enjoy. And I've gotten the chapters that I'm maybe less interested in personally done and out of the way or the ones that I'll be honest involve more of the math that I to do not so much enjoy doing.
Jamila Souffrant 44:30
Those are solid tips and I totally agree with you on deadlines. I definitely am also deadline driven and need someone telling me what they need and what I should do so that way I can deliver so love that one. Okay, Erin, thank you so much for coming back on the podcast. Once again. Tell everyone where they can find out more about you. And if they want to follow up with your work.
Erin Lowry 44:52
You can find me I'm most active on Instagram at broke millennial blog. Muscle on Twitter at broke millennial the website is broken millennial.com And you can find all four of the books all under the moniker broke millennials. If you just plug broke millennial and then figure out which one you want or need into your preferred place to buy books, then you'll find me there as well. And it was so wonderful to be back.
Jamila Souffrant 45:16
Yes, well, I'll link all that in the episode shownotes. So wherever you listen to that, just click more than description, and you'll see all the links to Aaron. If you enjoyed this tag me at journey to launch and what's your Instagram again,
Erin Lowry 45:28
Aaron, at broke millennial blog, right? So
Jamila Souffrant 45:31
take a screenshot if you're listening, maybe share something you enjoyed, or share it with the world that you're listening. And I'll see that and repost it. So thank you again, Erin. Thank you.
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