Ellyce Fulmore, Canadian Queer and neurodivergent financial educator, joins the Journey to Launch podcast to talk about how she paid off high interest debt, ADHD and money, and her new book, “Keeping Finance Personal.”
Ellyce is a full-time content creator and founder of Queerd Co., a financial literacy company. Her approach to finance goes beyond the conventional, focusing on the intersectionality of identities and lived experiences.
We also discuss the importance of understanding how dopamine operates in your neurodivergent brain, ADHD hacks to get better with money, what “Momentum Surfing” is, and how to figure out (and stick to) a budget process that works best for you.
In this episode you’ll learn more about:
- Challenges people with neurodivergence experience with finance + how they can become better at money management
- The strategy behind Ellyce paying off debt and investing while on an inconsistent income
- Why becoming debt free isn’t “the ultimate” goal for everyone
- Celebrating people’s differences, the validity of self diagnosis, sticker boards + more
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Jamila Souffrant 3:04
Hi journeyers I'm excited for today's special guest Ellyce Fulmore. Who is a queer and neurodivergent financial educator. She's a content creator and soon to be published author of Keep Finance Personal and the founder of the queerd.co, a financial literacy company. Her approach to financial literacy goes beyond the conventional focusing on the intersectionality of identities and lived experiences which oh my gosh, I know I'm gonna love this conversation already, Ellyce. So welcome to the podcast.
Ellyce Fulmore 3:36
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Jamila Souffrant 3:39
Yes. Now I always love hearing the journey into how you became the educator that you are and how you now talk about money, and are writing a book. I love that our journeys are a little similar here. So tell me about your own personal finance journey and what that looked like when you found out about or when you decided to be more intentional and what you did to get to where you are now.
Ellyce Fulmore 4:04
Yeah, so I always struggled with like simply telling a story because I feel like for me, it was kind of a slow burn. It wasn't necessarily like one big moment. But it started back when I was in university. And I had accumulated quite a bit of debt through student loan debt, I had about $20,000 of student loan debt. And then I had about $15,000 of high interest debt, which was a combination of credit card debt, and lines of credit. And I was in a Kinesiology degree and hoping to become a physiotherapist. And that was kind of my life path. So I thought I had it figured out I thought the student loans are worth X, I know what I'm doing. And then I had this moment near the end of my degree where I was like, I don't want to do physiotherapy, and what the heck do I want to do? And that kind of sent me down a spiral because suddenly I was like, I have all this debt and like, was it worth it? And why do I have all this debt? And it kind of brought me back to reality a little bit. And so I dove into my own journey with personal finance, but also just personal development and trying to figure out who I was and what I liked and what I want to do with my life and also trying to figure out how to pay off my debt. And I came from a family that didn't talk about money ever. And the only things that I was really taught about money was save everything you can and don't go into debt. So I had a lot of shame around my debt. And I didn't know how to even tell my parents that I had student loan debt. And so I really felt alone in that journey. And that's why I turned to blogs, and books and podcasts and all of these sources, because I didn't feel comfortable talking to my parents or my friends about it. And through that journey, especially when I first started it, there wasn't a lot of diverse experiences being portrayed in the finance space. And the main big people to learn from were all these older white men that were making you feel like crap, for doing anything and like having any enjoyment of your life. And so I really didn't resonate with them. And I really struggled with implementing their advice, because I felt like it just didn't translate into my lifestyle and the goals that I wanted. And, you know, I was someone who wanted to travel a lot, I didn't know if I want to get married, I didn't know if I wanted to have kids and so all these paths to building wealth are very much based on a typical nucular family like the white picket fence, all of that. So that is what kind of prompted me to start talking more about as I was learning my own personal journey. And as someone who was younger, and who was a woman. And thankfully now we have so many amazing finance creaters, with so many different experiences and different backgrounds. And it's so much better now. But yeah, that's what prompted me to start because I wanted to kind of bring a different perspective to the finance space. And I also wanted to talk more about how, who you are as a person, how that impacts your finances, because I realized that no matter how well I like stuck to a budget, or implemented these things, I was still really struggling with my finances. And I kind of felt like there was a missing piece there that people weren't talking about. And, then during 2020, was when I really kind of launched my business in January of 2020. And then the pandemic, shut everything down in March, and I started talking a lot more about career and money and content just took off really fast, because it was obviously what people really needed to hear in that moment when they were struggling and getting laid off and things like that. So yeah, business grew so fast. I don't even know really what happened. And now I'm here.
Jamila Souffrant 7:51
Well, I think it's interesting that we say Oh, make sure you research the career that you want to go study and then what that career looks like. But you can do all of that and still change your mind. Right as you're graduating or realize that something is not for you. Which, you know, a lot of people I feel, keep going down the path because of the sunk cost fallacy where, you just believe I spent all this time, energy, money doing this thing or paying for this thing. And even though I know it's not right, or it's not the best choice for me, I'm going to just continue because I did all this already not realizing that you're just going to dig yourself deeper and deeper, and have more sunk cost that it's just better to let go of whatever is not serving you. So when you graduated, what did you end up doing?
Ellyce Fulmore 8:41
So yeah, I did go and finish my degree, although I did take a semester off to go traveling. And I wasn't actually sure if I was going to go back. And I ultimately decided I had less than a year left, I decided to just finish it and at least that would give me the option to do a master's in something else. So I graduated. And luckily, I did have the summer job that I had been working all through university, I did have that. So I did have a little bit of a safety net right after graduation to go back to that summer job. And yeah, I ended up just working that job. It was a seasonal position. So I got laid off around like October, and then I was unemployed for a couple of months. And then I started working a part time corporate job in January, which was the same time that I was starting my business kind of part time.
Jamila Souffrant 9:30
Ellyce Fulmore 9:31
It all kind of worked out.
Jamila Souffrant 9:33
Right? Well, it's interesting because I feel like I'm talking to you closer to you making the decision to leave or divert from that traditional career path and then starting your business. And sometimes I'll talk to people when that happens like later they work in a job longer and then find that they're really unhappy and then pursue fixing their finances. So I would love for you to share more about your debt payoff journey, how you dealt with that, and I think it's important to note you are in Canada.
Ellyce Fulmore 10:00
Jamila Souffrant 10:01
How did you manage the debt and figure out how to pay it off when you weren't in that solid career you thought you'd have?
Ellyce Fulmore 10:09
Yeah, that was definitely challenging. I don't know if I have the best answer that people want to hear. But I basically just didn't follow the I'm paying off this much per month plan, I did have like a minimum amount that I was doing every month that was like slightly over whatever the minimum payment was, which is what I could afford to do with my income at the time. But then basically, I would inconsistently like throw money at it. So if I had a month where I made more money, I would just put all that extra money towards it. And that's actually how I still approach a lot of my financial goals as an entrepreneur, that's how I save based on a yearly goal rather than monthly. And that's kind of what I did with my debt. So it's just kind of like, whatever extra money I was able to put towards it, I did, but at the same time, I did have, like I was following a spending plan. So that meant that that additional money wasn't just being spent it was I was able to like put it towards my debt. So I think that's important, too. There wasn't that I had zero plans. So I had a very clear kind of outline for myself of like, this is how much I'm spending every month on like, my expenses and like my allowance, so that I knew that anything that I made additional over that could go towards my debt, I do actually still have student loan debt. Because in Canada, at least, like before, the last couple of years when interest rates had been spiking, like my interest rates were like 2.5, and 3.5%. So very low. So I was focusing more after my high interest debt was paid off, I was focusing on investing and just kind of paying a low amount towards my student loan debt. And now one of my student loan debts has zero interest for the rest of its life. And then the other one has actually, because interest rates have rose, it's now at about like 6.5%. So I am more aggressively paying that one down now because it is quite a bit higher. That's something that a lot of people don't realize is that I still have done it. And it's, I don't think it's a bad thing. Because that allowed me to focus more on my investment goals and prioritizing that. And I think a lot of people have this perception that like you need to be debt free. And that's like the ultimate goal. But it really depends on like, the type of debt you have, and what your other goals in life are and what you know what age you are, and what makes the most sense to prioritize. And for me, it made more sense to prioritize investing, because I was so young and like, taking advantage of the time and having more time for the interest to compound. So yeah, I don't have like, the I don't have like a cookie cutter kind of routine of debt payoff that I followed, but that was what worked for me.
Jamila Souffrant 12:48
Yeah, well, and listen, it doesn't have to be cookie cutter. I think this is the beauty of hearing someone else's journey. Because so many people cannot do the consistent I have this amount to pay if they have that inconsistent paycheck, or are creators, entrepreneurs where income is not guaranteed, or the same amount is not guaranteed. So I think it's great to hear a story like yours, where it's, you know, you're paying that minimum, you might not be able to pay over above and beyond the minimum this month. And as someone myself now who is an entrepreneur, where I was dealing with more inconsistent months of income versus when I was working in my corporate job, and I knew how much exactly was coming in. I'm the same way now with my investing. We do like a minimum every month that we invest to my solo 401 K, but it's typically at the end of the year. Once I know, okay, I have a clearer picture of where I am financially and how much I actually made, that I will then I would put aside money and then you know, dump it into the 401 K and all that. So it's great to share that it's not cookie cutter. And that you have to do what works for you. And I love you sharing about the debt because I agree that typically, you might hear pay off all your debt. But that's that's not the case or necessary for everyone.
Ellyce Fulmore 14:08
Jamila Souffrant 14:10
So this is what it means to keep finance personal, right?
Ellyce Fulmore 14:13
Yes. Yeah, there's no cookie cutter routine. And I think yeah, I get so used to like, you understand it, and I know you do, I think I get so used to like going on interviews where they want me to give that really clear, like one piece of advice. And I think I have a lot of pieces of advice to give. But I think I struggle with like prescribing one certain method or way to do things because I totally believe that everyone's approach is going to be a little bit different. And there's so many different approaches you can take. So yeah, I mean, whatever is gonna work for you is going to be I always say like the best debt repayment method is the one that works for you and the one that you can stick to,
Jamila Souffrant 14:53
right right. Now when you talk about being neurodivergent what does that mean? And how did you identify that within yourself, and then how did you see it impacting your money. And then we'll talk about what you did to help kind of operate in that.
Ellyce Fulmore 15:12
Yeah, so I have ADHD, I'm diagnosed with ADHD and I've kind of self diagnosed myself with autism. I haven't really dove into that a lot online. So I won't talk a lot about that. But I do have ADHD. And I actually figured that out because of tik tok. So that all happened in 2020 2020 was like my year where my life got turned upside down in so many ways. But yeah, I was on Tiktok. And I had been struggling with some health issues, like I was really struggling with daytime fatigue and sleep issues. And that was really affecting my focus, and it all tied back to ADHD. But at the time, I was like, doctors couldn't figure it out. I was going through these sleep studies, I was getting blood tests. And then I go on tick tock, and I see people talking about ADHD, and I still had the kind of stereotypical definition of ADHD in my brain. So that's why I never thought that I had it. Because I kind of thought of like, the hyperactive little boys at school that can't pay attention. And like, that wasn't me. So I was like, oh, that's, I don't have that. But then I started learning about how it can show up in so many different ways and how it's especially different in women. So I went to my doctor, and I was like, I'm pretty sure I have this after like, doing all the research, taking all the tests. And I was like, I'm 100% sure pretty much that I have this. So like, you need to test me. And yeah, and then that eventually led to a diagnosis. And there was after that, that I started to put together all of the little ways that ADHD impacts my money. And actually, I feel like I'm still having moments where I'm like, Oh, my God, this makes so much sense. Like, while I was writing my book, and telling stories of like, the past, I had so many times where I was like, this was because of my ADHD or like had, he had a large role in how those events played out. So yeah, it affects my money in basically every single way. And it's been a journey, figuring that out, and like understanding that better.
Jamila Souffrant 17:14
Well, can you share some ways specifically like what that looked like?
Ellyce Fulmore 17:19
Yeah, so one of the big things that kind of affects all any sort of like, type of neuro divergence, which is basically just like when your your brain operates in a way that is different from the like, quote, unquote, Norm, which I don't like that wording, but that's, that's like kind of, say, the typical brain. So one of the things that affects almost all neurodivergent sees is an impact to your executive function. And your executive function is basically like the manager of your brain. So it's responsible for like, scheduling, planning, things, organization, time management, all those types of things. So it's kind of like the overseer of tasks in your brain. When that's affected, it impacts your ability to plan things to plan long term to manage your time efficiently to organize things and that spills over into your finances in so many ways. So a big one is like just forgetting things, forgetting to pay bills, forgetting to return things, you know, not having your accounts organized or money organized, struggling to stick to budgets stick to different plans. Time management, like a big one for me was like, never having time to like, pack my lunch. And I'm like, never having time in the morning. I'm always like running late. So I always like, you know, stop for coffee. And I always have to like buy my lunch and things like that which like impact my money. Impulse spending is also a huge one. So like, basically, the impulse control section of our brain is impacted. So there's less like checks and balances, basically, like don't have the bouncer at the door that's like, hey, maybe you don't want to buy this thing. Our brain is just like, send it through. It's all good. So basically, more impulses go unchecked. And so we're more prone to impulse spending. We also have lower than average levels of dopamine in our brain. So we are more hardwired to seek out dopamine and like a big source of dopamine is shopping or spending because you get dopamine anticipating it, you get dopamine in the store, you get dopamine, when you buy something, if you order online, you get dopamine waiting for the package. And then when it arrives, like it's just a web machine, basically. Yeah, those are some of the things but it's, it's really everything. And oh, another one is motivation. So for people that are neurotypical, they can think that they should do something and then that will motivate them to do it. So they can say I should be saving for retirement, and then that will be the motivator. They'll be like, Okay, I'm going to sit down. I'm going to plan out how to do that how much I should be saving. Whereas someone with ADHD, they could want to do something and know that they should do something, but our brain is not. It's like It feels like climbing a mountain to then go and do that task. Like, it's not as simple as just being like, I should go empty the dishwasher. So I'm gonna do it. It's like, you literally feel paralyzed like your brain just, you cannot like force yourself to do it. So I've learned that, you know, ADHD brains are motivated by different things. So we have to incorporate like, flay and interest and novelty and challenge into things, in order to be motivated to do them basically excite our brain a little bit more. And so that's like a big thing that helps my finances and yeah, I could go on forever, because I feel like it's like, it's every little bit of this ties back to ADHD. So
Jamila Souffrant 20:40
what I like to stay on this a bit, because when you say some of the things that will contribute, or someone who's neurodivergent, or has ADHD, because you can be more neurodivergent and then not have ADHD, or like, it's different. Yeah.
Ellyce Fulmore 20:56
neurodivergent is like the umbrella term. And then there's a lot of different I don't want to say like disorders, that's typically what they're called. But you know, there's a lot of different brain things that fall under there.
Jamila Souffrant 21:06
Well, it's so interesting, because when you think about even when I think about myself, like I've never been officially tested, and I'd love to like if you can share what that tests look like. And this is just to educate the audience on this and educate myself, actually, because I've never been officially tested. But I have also had my suspicions, especially the older I get, I don't know if it's me realizing, especially with the type of type of work I do, which is which I have to be more self sufficient. And a self starter, I always was like that. But when you run your own business, and you create your own schedule, and your own task, and everything's kind of self run, there's no boss, there's no outward expectations, like I'm creating that. And so I'm starting to see more of like, the things you talk about within my daily world. But then I think about my friends. And I'm like, they also exuded some of these activities or the way they think about money. And I'm like, well, is everyone neurodivergent? Like, what is the norm? You know, it just seems like or have ADHD? It just seems like there are more and more people who are feeling these attributes? Yeah.
Ellyce Fulmore 22:12
Well, I will say that neurodivergent people are typically drawn to other neurodivergent people like that is like a studied phenomenon. So actually, when I got diagnosed, like three of my best friends got diagnosed, my girlfriend got diagnosed, and my mom got diagnosed, I was like, everyone in my life, like it just, it made sense. And it makes so much sense looking back. Now I'm like, of course, I'm friends with neurodivergent people because our brains just like they get it. But I will say there's also like a lot of other mental health conditions that can portray similar symptoms, and like trauma is a big one, like trauma can actually pretty much replicate a lot of the ADHD symptoms. So someone who has a lot of trauma could, can have the same symptoms and might even be misdiagnosed as having ADHD. Autism also has some overlapping symptoms. And yeah, other like neurodivergent sees and other like sometimes even like anxiety, or depression can present similar, there's like a little bit of crossover with some things. But I do think that way more people than we know, are neurodivergent. And it is very much like a spectrum like you can, there's different ways that it can show up. And for some people, it's completely debilitating. And it really affects their quality of life. And it makes it hard for them to like live on their own and complete their daily living tasks. And for other people, it might just be more of like, a hard thing to deal with. But maybe it's not like impeding their quality of life to the same extent. So, yeah, I think there's gonna be a lot more research coming out soon that will kind of shed a light more on this. But I know that like the numbers of people being diagnosed is going up and up like, every year, it's, it's insane. Because people are just learning more about how it shows up and how it's different in different people. Because the research used to just be like, this is the one prototype and now we know that there's, there's so many different ways. So yeah, I think like I make a lot of ADHD focused content, but I also feel like my content speaks to almost every, like a lot of people because so many of the things even individually that people with ADHD struggle with, everyone can struggle with to it's just, it's just a different way that it shows up in your brain, like everyone can struggle with sticking to a budget, but just the reasons why someone with ADHD might struggle might be different, but it doesn't mean that you still can't benefit from like the tips or the advice and I feel like if it's if you see something that's resonating with you and working with you, like just go with it, you don't have to be diagnosed to benefit from the research around ADHD.
Jamila Souffrant 24:44
Right and it sounds like going to your doctor if you really want to get officially diagnosed, she should go to a doctor to get it done.
Ellyce Fulmore 24:52
Yeah, so it's kind of confusing and it might be different in the US too. I'm personally I think self diagnosis is very valid. If you You have done your research and you have thoroughly looked into it and look into the research, I think that's very valid, especially like, in the US, like, if you don't have healthcare, like the costs of things here, like so basically, if you want, like the government diagnosis, you need to go to a psychiatrist. And it's like, a very long wait, like, minimum three months, but typically, like years, depending on where you live here. And that one's like a more in depth study, I got diagnosed through my doctor. So it's a little bit different. It's not like the official like, I don't have like government documents that, you know, say that I have, like a disability I have, you know, it's just my doctor who did multiple tests on me. So like, there was like, talking in person, him asking me things, there was questionnaires that I filled out. And I also like, got prescribed to go to therapy and talk to a therapist and that kind of thing. And that was like what led to my diagnosis. But it's technically not the same as like, a clinical diagnosis, if that makes sense. And I don't know, the process might be different in the US, but I think the best place to start is with your doctor, because they will be the ones that can refer you to a psychiatrist, if that's the route that
Jamila Souffrant 26:10
you want to go. Right. Thank you, first of all, so just saying self diagnosis, because I know, a lot of times, like you said, there is a sense of privilege, and you know, just go to a doctor, especially if you are, you know, within the US where not everyone has affordable health care or health care at all. And so having that self awareness to even notice something is different or challenging to you. And like meaning that like it's like a big first step. But then also giving yourself grace, like not even if you don't understand why or if you have it or not, to give yourself grace on why things may just look different for you versus when I'm sharing something or saying you should do this. And it's understanding that well, maybe there is a reason why and shaming yourself and that self deprecating the thoughts about oh, why am I not doing this? Or this seems so easy for other people? Why is it so hard for me, that is not going to help you get further where you want to go?
Ellyce Fulmore 27:11
Yeah, and I think that's like a really great piece of information that if you realize that something that you know, everyone seems to be doing that isn't working for you like that is important information that you can use to then like, pivot and try something different, like, stop forcing yourself to try to, like make this system work for you that you've seen work for other people, like it's clearly just not working. So like it's okay to like, let go and to do something different. And, you know, people might be like, Why are you doing this, you should be doing this, but like, you're the one who knows your brain the best, you know that what works for you. So, if something isn't working, if you hear a piece of advice, and you're like, I don't think that's gonna work for me, like, just let it go and you know, move on to something else and be like, use that information to try and think like, what isn't working? Like, why isn't it working for me? What part of me or my life is like resistant against it? And so what type of approach might work better, and you can also that will help you like seek out, you know, different creators or professionals that maybe are more in line with the type of approach that you're looking for, and things like that. So yeah, I love that you mentioned that I think that's really important.
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Jamila Souffrant 29:12
He talks about systems a bit so you incorporate more joy or more playfulness within some of the things you have to do. I love the going back to dopamine, getting those hits. Because that is so key. Like that is a legit reason why people go after the shopping and or spending in the way they do. Whether you are neurodivergent or not. I think just people in general like that you have those moments of elation when things are happening when you achieve our buyer get something right, that treadmill that we're on the hedonic treadmill that you know you get something you're striving for it, you enjoy it for a little bit and then it's like on to the next like you get that that hit of that feeling. So with that, what are some ways that you incorporate that within your store? sure of how you spend or budget and get to further.
Ellyce Fulmore 30:04
Yeah, so I always like to say like, think about how you can incorporate dopamine into your money system. So how can you make like the systems that you're using more fun and more enjoyable. So if we look at a budget, for example, like, I don't know, I think budget you think for a lot of people, but you know, some things you could do is like, if you really like color coordination, you can make your budget, like super bright and colorful, have different tabs for different things. Or maybe you really enjoy bullet journaling. So you could do a bullet journal budget and have like fun stickers and fun, like colored pens and things like that. Maybe it means that you need to have some sort of reward system. And that doesn't have to mean monetary reward. But maybe you do like, like, I love sticker charts, I don't know why we made them, like not commonplace for adults, because I think they should just be for everyone. But I love sticker charts. So like, I'll do sticker chart for like, basically achieving certain things you could do like a savings sticker chart, or you can do it for smaller things, just like every time you check your bank account, if you were someone who previously had like anxiety doing that you give yourself a sticker, or every time you decide to not buy that thing that's like, not within your budget, you know, give yourself a sticker, things like that. And I enjoy sticker charts a lot. That gives me dopamine, but it might not for you. So that's kind of like figuring out what things you'd like to bring you joy. And like, you can think about other systems in your life that are not like financial systems, like what, when you were in school or at work? Or if you like to do any sort of like physical activity or like do yoga or go to the gym? Like what systems there? Do you find work well to like motivate you? And then how could you implement those into your money systems. So I mentioned rewards. And that's like, also a big one is like, beyond the budget, like any sort of reward system that you can implement. And I think a lot of people are used to like the reward system where you do something, and then you get the reward. But there's a lot of different ways you can incorporate it. So I saw this term, someone on Reddit coined this term, I thought I'd read it first, but it's called Momentum surfing. And essentially, what that means is you give yourself a hit of dopamine first, and then you because you get that like high, you can ride the momentum from that to then do the hard thing. So say you have to sit down and look at your expenses for the week, maybe you do something really enjoyable, that you love doing, or you buy yourself a little treat or whatever that looks like. And then because you're feeling good, then you kind of have that like dopamine to like, sit down and do the hard task. Other people are really motivated by like challenge a competition. So that could be competition with yourself. And like just setting a timer for 30 minutes and seeing how much you can do in 30 minutes, it might be a challenge with someone else. So like making a bet with your best friend, like, who can save X amount of dollars faster. Or let's see how much we can save by x date or things like that. So sometimes like sharing your goals to someone else, or even like on the internet, that can be really, really motivating for some people. Yeah, there's like lots of different things that you can incorporate. I guess it just depends like, you have to do a little bit of self awareness work to kind of know what things that you really like that work well for you. So yeah, I'm a big fan of like color coordination, things that look aesthetic. I love my sticker charts. I love a reward system. I love like the notion board and Pinterest board like those things really are helpful for me. And just to go back to like the dopamine. So yeah, obviously everyone has dopamine in their brain, and we can't control when it's released. So even people who are neurotypical are going to have the same like dopamine high. The only difference is that neurodivergent people tend to have lower levels to start with. So they're kind of more prone to seek that out. But one of the things I would suggest there is figuring out different ways that you can get dopamine, and there's a channel on YouTube called How to ADHD. And she had an episode with caregivers. And they talked about the dopa menu, which I love that I use with so many of my clients. But basically the idea of a dopa menu is you have this like printed off sheet of paper of all these different ways that you could get dopamine. So that when you are recognizing, like, you're feeling bored, you're feeling under stimulated, or you're feeling stressed, and you know that you're like, your brain is like go buy this thing or like go do this, like that's gonna spend money like then you can kind of look at this dope menu, you already have the things laid out for you. You don't have to spend time like thinking about it and you pick something else on the list. And with the dope menu they split it into like appetizers which are things that take like five minutes that will give you dopamine mains, which are longer activities like you know, 30 minutes to two hours, and sides which are things you can add on to anything any tasks that give you dopamine, and then dessert First things that give you dopamine but aren't necessarily something that you want to indulge in all the time. So I found the dopamine, you extremely helpful for me and it takes away that, like, need to make a decision in the moment because you can just look at the list and be like this one, and then do it. And that can often like break the cycle of like, the spending dopamine cycle.
Jamila Souffrant 35:22
Oh, my gosh, I love that idea. And then, you know, I mean, it's so interesting, because I've recommended this, and I share about having joy on an ongoing basis, and what does that look like for you. And so that can mean different things, but to like, write that out in advance, and they don't always have to be like big events or moments like taking a trip, but it could be like, you know, maybe there's a favorite snack you have like, gives you joy, going for a walk or you know, and so like, you know, writing on the list, but I love this idea of making a menu. And even like, when you were saying that, like a ward menu, you know, there are going to be some rewards that are going to be small, like you can just do it ongoing. And then there's some bigger ones and like, you know, kind of separate it. So you don't have to think too hard about you need it like something that gives you joy or reward yourself. Like you could look really quickly like, alright, what is the appetizer, one that I have time for that I can? Or the money amount, right? Like it could be in terms of also like a range of dollars, that you're doing this for yourself? So I love that.
Ellyce Fulmore 36:18
Yeah, yeah. Because like usually, what happens with like impulse spending is you basically create a habit around it like it's a habit loop. So there's a some sort of cue, whether it's like an emotional state or something that happened that day, or you had a bad day at work. If you're familiar with like the habit loop, basically, you have a queue, and then you have a craving, and then you have a response. So you have this like craving to then get dopamine. And so the response is to shop. So once that's like reinforced, when you're starting in that loop, it's really hard to break it. So that's when like having a joy list or having a dope menu is helpful. Because you don't have to do the extra work to like, try to sit down and be like, Okay, what could I do right now, because your branch is going to be like shops, shops, shops, like it's going to be so hard to like, you basically want to make shopping more difficult and set up barriers to that. And then make all the things on your list. Easier to do and make them like, easy to grab near you easily accessible, not something you have to like set up a bunch of things. Yeah, that kind of thing. So I love the joy list, too. It's very, very similar idea of it's awesome.
Jamila Souffrant 37:17
Yeah, we will I will link that episode that channel to in the show notes. So people can check that out. Now, in terms of your financial journey, you know, I'm always curious, especially because you're from like, Canada, how it's different, like how investing is different in Canada, versus like, the US I know, like all advice is not like blanket like, you know, some is like, you know, you want to get pay off your high interest rate debt, you want to invest something, but I know the systems invest in Canada are a bit different. But if you can you share, like what that looks like for people and how you've been able to do better within the Canadian system with your money.
Ellyce Fulmore 37:54
Yeah, I mean, they are different. There is like similar products that exist, like the TFSA stopped it compared to like the Roth IRA. And then the RSP is often compared to like, IRA or like 401k, or, yeah, so I have done like breakdown of this before. And I feel like I would have to look at the list for the exact differences. But I know I think the TFSA has a lot more flexibility. Because I believe, like, with the Roth IRA, there's like you can't pull out money to a certain until a certain age, right?
Jamila Souffrant 38:27
Yeah, well, you could pull out your contributions, because it's already taxed without penalty. And without paying taxes, because you already did that. But you can't pull out the growth without paying a penalty before the standard age.
Ellyce Fulmore 38:38
Right? Yeah, so that's a big difference, like the TFSA is a lot more flexible. So like I can pull up any I can pull all the money like I can pull it out whenever and I can use it for anything I want the RSP if I pull up money, it has to be for either first time home buying or continued education. Otherwise, I like that money you still have to repay within a certain amount of years. If I pull that money out before certain age, that's those are the two things I can pull it out for with the RSP. So that's a difference. We also did they just introduced the like, first time homebuyers savings account. And I haven't really dove into that a lot. But it's basically basically like a investment account specifically for buying a home. And there was something I was gonna say that just left my brain.
Jamila Souffrant 39:25
Yeah, no, that's not it's good. I know that this is that was off the cuff question but it's just interesting to hear, or just educate other people who are not familiar, like there is a little bit of a difference and then we aren't able to like for, like the standard retirement account, take out like the no penalty loans for some of the things we talked about. But again, it's just you know, a bit different.
Ellyce Fulmore 39:44
I just remember so like this is like probably the biggest difference is that in Canada, you can only get up to a five year fixed mortgage and I know that in the US you can get 30 years. So that is like a huge thing that makes homebuying bold a lot more difficult in Canada and I like or I should say a lot more difficult. I mean, it's typical everywhere. But like, if we lock it, if like I were to buy a house, I locked in like a five year mortgage rate that like, I can only lock it in for five years. And that means after that I'm gonna have to renegotiate. So like, depending on what the interest rates are at that time, which is, like a lot of people are going to be in trouble in the next couple of years, because they locked in a really low rate in 2020. And now the interest rates are so high that they're gonna be like, some of them people are gonna have double or more of their mortgage payment and like they'll default. That's like, a big difference.
Jamila Souffrant 40:35
Wow. Yeah, that's something honestly, I did not know that you can only get up to a five year fixed mortgage that definitely would impact, especially if you bought something that you really couldn't afford. And it was just the interest rate that was allowing you to purchase that. Wow.
Ellyce Fulmore 40:52
Yeah, yeah. When I found out that 30 year fixed rate in the US, I'm, like, lost, like mind blowing to me that like, basically your whole mortgage period, you just have the same interest rate, like that blows my mind.
Jamila Souffrant 41:05
Yeah. Well, also healthcare is different.
Ellyce Fulmore 41:09
Jamila Souffrant 41:09
Right. Which I think for it's it's a big impact on finances, or even being an entrepreneur. So are you a full time entrepreneur, you have your own business? So with that, right, like, I know that for some people, especially if you don't have a partner, that you can then go on their insurance, that that's a big deciding factor, which it's like it shouldn't be, but it is, you know, that you don't get health insurance, because health insurance, depending on just what you need can be very expensive. So that helps your finances right.
Ellyce Fulmore 41:39
Yeah, and I think people like have a misconception about what our like health care is in Canada, like, yes, we have more stuff that it's like, free and covered, like, I can go to the doctor for free, I can get certain simple procedures done for free, like taking blood and things like that. But like going to the dentist is not free going to the eye doctor going to therapy, like all those things. So like we still, most people still need health insurance in order to like afford all the things that they would need to like, take care of themselves. So that's still an expense for us here. But yeah, definitely being an entrepreneur, like that is a difficult thing, like me and my partner, both are entrepreneurs. So we are we currently don't have health care beyond like the basic free health care. And that's something like we're looking to get, I'm trying to get like, because I have a corporation, I could get like a health care spending account, I can get all those things. But it's like, I can't easily sign up online, I have to like call someone and set it off. And so that's an ADHD thing right there. I was like, just keeps putting it off. And it feels like a mountain ever to ask. But yeah, that definitely is like a big thing that does impact your finances like, and especially if you have any sort of like if you're chronically ill, or if you have any sort of disability that's going to involve like more ongoing health care costs in both the US and Canada that can severely impact your finances. And I think what you were mentioning is that it impacts your choice, your decision and becoming an entrepreneur or like even, I feel like that can also impact relationships as well, like, you know, kind of going back to like being stuck in a maybe not the best relationship or an unhealthy relationship. But money can be a huge thing or like if you have access to health care, because of your partner, that can be a huge thing that keeps you kind of stuck in that situation. So yeah, that is definitely a big one, I think across North America.
Jamila Souffrant 43:32
Yeah, yeah, we'll talk a bit more about identity. So I know that for you, it's really important, like, let's share, like define our identity, and then how that impacts how we deal with money. So can you kind of list like all those aspects, and then we can talk through why that should change the way we approach our finances.
Ellyce Fulmore 43:51
Yeah, so I like to think of identity as two parts. So the first part is your personal identity, which is basically the characteristics that you define about yourself. And that make up your sense of self. So you're a teacher, your sister, your mom, you are a scary movie fan, you're a dog mob, you know, like whatever that looks like. Those are kind of like you've prescribed those characteristics yourself. That's how you identify and how you see yourself. And then you also have social identity, which is the characteristics that you're essentially born with that you then kind of you identify with certain groups, and those are kind of like those are out of your control. So it's how others define and perceive you is their social identity and your personal is how you define and perceive yourself. And obviously, the I'm talking about them separately, but they're very interwoven and there can obviously be overlap. But then your social identity would be things like your gender, your race, your ethnicity, if you have a disability if you are neurodivergent, your age, your socio economic status, of all of those things. So that kind of makes up your identity. So it's kind of like every piece of who you are in both like how you see your sense of self, and how others kind of will perceive you from the outside. And those things all impact your money in so many different ways. Because those are essentially, it's who you are and what your life has been comprised of, and also how you move through the world. So like your social identities, will really impact the your access to power and privilege, the systems of oppression or barriers that you face. And the opportunities or lack of opportunities that you receive, like those are, that's really going to impact your ability to move wealth as you as you move through the world. Your personal identity will impact like, how you approach things, how you make decisions, what your values are, like, what is important to you what your goals are, like all of those things. So it's so funny to me that finances is so often talked about, like in a vacuum, like, let's just look at your numbers and figure this out. And we so often forget about the person, like the person is like you are the biggest piece of your finances. And like, that's why I called my book key finance personnel, because I'm like, we need to, like bring the personal aspect back into personal finance, because that is what's truly most important. And that's what's going to make the biggest impact on your money. Like, even after I got into the personal finance space. And I was making a lot of content around it, I learned a lot. And I was doing way better financially, but there was I was still struggling in a lot of areas. And that didn't change until I started recognizing, like my ADHD and like my mental health and my sexual orientation, and like all these different things, that were impacting my money, and that's what like, really changed everything for me and really, like made money a lot more fun and enjoyable and a lot easier to implement. Because I like understood the ways that it can fit into my life and what things did there didn't work. And I think just like that understanding of like, here's who I am, and here's how that affects my lived experience. And so that I can apply that to whatever money management system that I'm going to use.
Jamila Souffrant 47:09
Yeah, so it sounds like first, which I always think everything should start out with when it comes to money. It's like the internal reflection of who you are. And just being honest with how you identify, I like the idea, you know, obviously there are just the way society identifies you or that you what you cannot control. And then how you self identify and, you know, understanding that, sitting with that, would you like recommend almost even is there like an exercise that one can do? Where they are writing things down around this and then seeing where they are currently with their finances or life? You know, just life in general? And then see, oh, that is that impacts that or maybe this is the way this group is perceived? And this is why maybe I'm also in this situation? How would you recommend you know them processing that information once they understand it?
Ellyce Fulmore 47:58
Yeah, I think starting first with just the identity piece and not thinking about money to start off. You can even just Google like, social identities and there'll be like a list, a table will come up. So I think if you don't know those things about yourself, like identifying those to start out is helpful. And then once you've identified those, like reflecting on, okay, what aspects of your identity are you most proud of? What aspects do you find hard to share? or hard to talk about? Which aspects Do you feel like you received? I don't know criticism or judgment for the past? Which aspects Do you feel like maybe give you privilege? And which ones do you feel like subjected you to barriers or oppression, reflecting on those things to kind of understand a little bit more about like, how you feel about your identities, but then also how other people are feeling about, you know, the way that if they just see without knowing nothing about you how that affects like how you kind of move through life. And then once you have a clearer picture of that, then you can bring money into the picture and reflect on okay, how has now this piece of my identity impacted how I view money, or how I make financial decisions, or how I view success or view wealth, like start to kind of think about that, because that can kind of often lead to like a lot of realizations of like okay, I feel this way about my identity. And now I realized that I was like, trying to run away from that by doing this like an example from my life is before I like publicly came out as queer. I was trying to appear like hyper feminine and nothing like wrong with appearing that way, but it's just not like me personally. Like I was spending a lot of money on like, my, like, eyelash extensions, hair extensions, like bleaching my hair, which again, that's all great if you want to do that. It just like wasn't who I was. And I was spending money on those things and like really, just like throwing myself at man. And it's like, spending a lot of money like Going out to bars and like doing all this, because I was like suppressing that piece of my identity and like trying to suppress it myself like to shove it down, hide it from myself, basically. And so that was like, for me, I realized I was like spending so much money, trying to like, convince myself that that wasn't who I was. And so like, that's just one example. But like, there might be other examples of like, how that shows up for you. I interviewed this amazing, one of my amazing friends Jalali for the book. And she talked about how, like, she got her hair, like professionally straightened, she's a black woman. And so when she was going to like work at a corporate job, she would like pay to get her hair like professionally straightened, because that was like an aspect of her identity that, you know, like, has a lot of history of discrimination in the workplace. And so like, that might be another aspect where you realize, like, the ways that it's impacting your money, or the way that's impacting, like, how you choose to view certain purchases, or, yeah, and like family and culture is also like a huge one, like that often plant the seeds for like, your outlook on money, the way that you value money, things like that. So like also reflecting on how that might have impacted how you now view things. Right? Oh, my
Jamila Souffrant 51:16
gosh, well, thank you for sharing your personal story in that one about your friend who had extreme her hair, which is, there's a cost to that. And I think I talked about this in my book too, about just, you know, we can tell people, oh, don't spend money on this thing. And then you look at some of the statistics. And, you know, there are instances or studies where they show people of color, black and brown people tend to spend more on discretionary items or signals of wealth. And it's not as simple as just don't buy it like there is actually, you know, studies that have been done or correlation between like, you know, showing social value in a world or in a place where you don't necessarily feel valued, or people don't look at you and value right away based on discrimination. And so to help or want to head that off, there is a lot of I'm going to show you that I'm valuable, right. And that's like the show of wealth, which doesn't make it bad or wrong. If you're doing that. It's just to understand or recognize where that's coming from. And I think the recognization of it. And awareness is key, because you can choose to continue to do it. You know, it's fine. It's what you love and want to do. Or you can say, You know what, wait, let me take back what maybe like the control or like my own narrative of what I want to be not based on how other people are perceiving me and you can make change and be happier for it.
Ellyce Fulmore 52:35
Yeah, 100%, like, exactly what you just said, like the power is in the understanding. And it's not like one thing is right or wrong. And it's not like good or bad. Or you know, and I don't think it should be like, Oh, I'm spending money on this, I need to stop. It's just like, why are you spending money there? And like, how does it feel for you? And like, does it make sense for your life and like, that is like the key information that then at least you're in control, like, then you know why you're doing things and you feel like comfortable and in control of that. And I think even that piece of like, confidence makes a big deal with your finances to take away a piece of that like, feeling of like out of control and like don't know what's happening. It's like, you're now in the driver's seat. You know, what's going on? And you're making this intentional decisions?
Jamila Souffrant 53:16
Yes. Oh, my gosh, this is so great. At least I want you to talk more a little bit about your book that's going to be coming out at the top of the year in 2024. And then to share where people can find out more about you and your work.
Ellyce Fulmore 53:30
Yeah, thank you. I really excited. So my book is now available for pre order. And it goes over a lot of stuff that we talked about in this conversation. So it is it is not a kind of step by step guide on how to build wealth. That is a very important book, but just not this book. So I don't you know, give tips on like, I don't talk about like, here's how to pay off debt. And here's how to save money. It's really about how different aspects of your identity, impact your money and the way that you like view, understand and spend money and then what you can kind of do about that. So there is like still tangible tips. And there's journal exercises and homework, every single chapter. So there's a lot of like, ways that you can kind of work through this information as you're learning it. And it is filled with interviews from a ton of different people with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences because I really wanted you to feel like seen and heard in this book, even if you don't resonate with my story. So there's Yeah, a lot of different voices in the book. And that was really important to me. So you know, I'm very excited about it, you can preorder it now basically anywhere that any of the major retailers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble books, a million bookshop, all those places and those are all linked to on my social so if you go to any of those, you'll have no problem finding it. I'm on Instagram at Elise dot Fillmore and I'm on tick email@example.com like I should check that but you'll link it in the show notes right yeah.
Jamila Souffrant 54:54
Oh yeah, I see I have it here it says queered.co. We will link it in the episode show notes. But by the way, congrats to you on coming up with a very unique but necessary topic around finances. Because you know, I've interviewed a lot of people, I'm writing my own book and went through the process of writing the deal, what it would be about and the proposal and all that. But I just find that like, this is a very necessary topic, that I scratched the surface. And my book is like, my book is a step by step guide. But I think like your book, and the topics that we just talked about are necessary when it comes to really understanding our financial journeys. So kudos to you on coming up with that.
Ellyce Fulmore 55:30
Thank you. So basically, everyone needs to get both books, because you need both. You need the step by step guide, but then also the understanding of
Jamila Souffrant 55:38
identities. We should reconnect at the end of the year, because by then my book will be out. Your book will be coming out and you'd like something together. I think that'd be awesome.
Yes. Oh, my God. That would be amazing. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. Elise.
Ellyce Fulmore 55:51
Thank you so much for having me. This is great.
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