In this episode, Michelle discusses the three relationships you can’t escape, and why you would do well to create a good relationship with money, even though it’s hard. She also reveals five tips for creating a better relationship with your finances.

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Full audio transcript:

[00:00:00] INTRO Hello and welcome to the Young Scrappy Money podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Waymire, and each week I’ll be bringing you tips and tricks to help you take control of your finances, as well as interviews of people who made big financial changes in their own lives. So join us, and we’ll help you get your financial s**t together.

[00:00:26] Hello everybody and welcome. This is the very first episode of the Young Scrappy Money podcast. I am your host, Michelle Waymire, and I am so very excited to be doing this project, to be chatting with you about your finances. I am here based in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a rainy rainy day. Hopefully you can’t hear too much of that in the background, but it’s definitely one of those days where you just want to kind of close your curtains, make a cup of coffee, and talk to a bunch of random strangers about your deeply held views on personal finance. So that’s where I’m at today. This podcast has been a long time coming for me. I feel like it’s one of those things that I’ve toyed with the idea of doing for quite some time. If anybody is listening and you know me, you know that you know I’m a financial advisor and financial coach, and talking to people about money is really one of my very favorite things in the entire world. I’m really big into financial literacy, and I’ve been getting much more into public speaking and teaching.

[00:01:25] I’m really just finding ways to try and educate people on personal finance and get them to think a little bit differently about it, or in a way that they might not be doing previously.

[00:01:35] Those are all great activities. The problem with something like a speaking gig or a conference is that there is a limited number of tickets. There are geographical constraints. There are financial constraints, and I feel like for whatever reason, podcasting has really grown into this wonderful medium where it’s so easily accessible. Anybody can download a podcast for free and learn about something new, and so for me this is the perfect intersection of some of the work that I’ve been doing, without the need to write three thousand words in ten hours the way that I would with a blog post.

[00:02:16] And besides, you know if you’re listening this podcast chances are you’re probably young… you may or may not be scrappy. You probably don’t really have time to read blogs unless you have a specific need or you’re looking for a recipe. Those are the use cases in my opinion. Anyway, all that to say this podcast is really going to serve a couple of purposes. You know it’s a place for me to kind of use as an outlet to share some of my teachings about money. But then the other thing about the work that I do is it’s brought me in contact with all kinds of really interesting kickass people who have knowledge outside of my areas of expertise, who have made big decisions about their money, who are going through those big decisions, or who live lifestyles maybe drastically differently from you.

[00:03:06] There are so many interesting people out there with stories to share when it comes to personal finances and managing money. And it seems like a damn shame to not share those stories with the world. So the format of this podcast is going to be pretty standard: about two thirds of the episode or so will be those kinds of interview podcasts, me bringing to you some great humans sharing their money stories, or sharing their financial wizardry as it were, and then the other third of the episodes will probably be my own thoughts on personal finance… though if you are a fool to listen to this very first episode, I’m sure that you know these words have no meaning and I will probably change the format multiple times over the course of what I hope will be a multi-year engagement with podcasting.

[00:03:52] So today I want to bring to you some thoughts about money that seemed to surprise people when I talk about them. To be fair, I talk about money a lot with folks. I mean not just with clients but I feel like at parties and when I go out with friends, it just happens to come up a lot. This is based on what I do, but also because I’m a huge raging nerd and I can’t not talk about it sometimes. Especially if it comes up tangentially in a conversation near me, I will 9 times out of 10 butt my head right on into that conversation and share my thoughts. If you are listening now, at least you self-selected into this treatment. All that to say I’ve come to appreciate in the course of my work that money is a relationship, right?

You have a relationship with money whether you like it or not. Now I would put it in the bucket of three relationships that you can’t escape. No matter what you do these relationships will always be there. It’s just a choice of how you want to engage with them. The first is food. Like it or not your human body needs a caloric intake of some sort. For your heart to keep ticking, for your lungs to keep working, and your brain to keep mashing thoughts, this is unavoidable. The second is yourself. You can run and hide and escape but at the end of the day you have to take you with you, soo you might as well have a good relationship with yourself or at least try and work on that relationship to some extent. And the third is money. If you want to operate outside of the system, that’s fine. If you have dreams of living on a commune and having a bartering based system that’s, fine. If you don’t love our current political system and capitalism, that’s fine. All of those thoughts are available to you, but at the end of the day the need for economic transactions, the need for money and some sort is a fact of life for now… at least we can get into the apocalyptic predictions later. But for now we’ll just assume that this does fall into the bucket, that money is essentially a relationship that you can’t escape. Even if you’re trying not to have a relationship with money that in and of itself is a choice, and a different form of a relationship but a relationship nonetheless.

So when you think about relationships with money I want you to think about it kind of like you would a relationship with another person or other people. What makes a good relationship? Think about that for a second. What makes a good relationship? When I have asked folks this question in the past, I’ve heard things like trust and communication and honesty and quality time and passion and interests and mutual friends. Respectful communication… whatever that looks like for you, whatever you would define a good relationship to be. I would argue that your relationship with money ideally will have many of those same characteristics. So thinking about that list of characteristics then, which of those currently apply to your relationship with money? Do you have a good relationship with money? Do you have a bad relationship with money? Is it neutral? Do you wish you talked more?

[00:07:12] Do you wish you held hands? Do you like have a huge crush on money from afar and like you kind of watch it across the office and then make eyebrows at each other sometimes but have not gotten up the courage to say hi?

[00:07:24] That’s a relationship that some people have with money. And then which of those characteristics do you wish applied? Maybe you want more quality time with money. Maybe you wish money would stop by more often. Maybe you want to have more trust or more openness, whatever that looks like there. Here’s the thing about a relationship with another person (and a lot of ways we consider it a partnership right, even if that’s not in the romantic sense)… So the relationships that you have with your friends or your coworkers or your family members almost always, or at least in the good ones so I’ve heard, there is a give or take there.

There is a division of labor, a division of effort. It is a partnership, right? You’re working together for some sort of mutual gain or common goal and you can kind of rely on the other person to some extent to help out. I mean you don’t want to necessarily put all of those expectations on them, you can’t force somebody else to pull the load. But at the very least you can hopefully have a good open honest conversation with another human being. Figure out how you want to proceed with that relationship and then split the work. That’s pretty sweet.

The bad news is with your relationship with money when it comes to that conversation, when it comes to that effort, the person putting that time and effort is you. If you think about it in terms of emotional labor, you are the one who has to bring the emotional labor to that relationship. Money is not going to be the one to bring that emotional labor. So this is really good news in a way but it’s also kind of bad news. We’re not used to partnerships that don’t have any give or take. We don’t feel like those are fair. We don’t tend to self-select into those or we work hard to get out of those or we don’t like them. On the other hand, when you know going into this relationship that you are the one who provides the emotional labor, there is a sense of control… that gives you so much more control over what you want that relationship to look like.

And so you get to decide in advance. You have to decide if this is what a relationship with money looks like. Here’s what I think a good one looks like. You are the person who has to put in the time and effort to make it so. So that’s very liberating, I think. I mean I can understand that it’s also very stressful in some ways if you feel like you don’t necessarily have the tools or the resources to make that relationship look like what you want it to look like. But in a lot of ways, there are a lot of folks out there trying to take away our agency when it comes to our money, a lot of people kind of making arguments about how we should be spending our money, buying into the American Dream, and keeping up with the Joneses. All of the societal pressures that just sort of weigh on us when it comes to making financial decisions.

You know the good news is that if you are the one in charge of your relationship with money you get to throw all that stuff out of the window and you get to pursue something better, something more meaningful, and something that actually brings you joy and brings you value. So what can improve that relationship? I want to offer you five things that you might use to improve your relationship with money. And if you’re listening to this and you are in a place where maybe you have a relationship with another human being that needs a little bit of work, you can just apply these things to that relationship as well. This is like a relationship podcast and also a love podcast and also money podcast… Just kidding it’s not a relationship podcasts, it’s a money podcast, but in theory a lot of these same rules apply.

[00:11:11] So the first is communicate. If you are afraid to face your finances, if you have not opened up any bank statements, if you are still avoiding looking at your credit cards, that is the equivalent of giving money a cold shoulder. If you’re not talking at all, if you’re not willing to intake any information from your partner (money) who is trying hard to give you that information on a monthly basis. You’re receiving statements, you might have apps set up that get you that information… there’s no shortage of opportunities to communicate with money.

[00:11:37] It’s just a matter of you deciding that that’s something that you’re going to do or that you’re willing to do. So start by communicating with money and figure out where you’re at financially. This might be hard.

[00:11:50] Communicating is hard work. It is stressful, opening statements that you haven’t opened in a long time that you’ve been avoiding. It is a challenge right. We don’t love that kind of stuff. But again, if we don’t communicate with money proactively it’s going to explode. You might be getting statements from your credit card company now, but if you don’t communicate with your money at all, chances are those will turn into statements from a collection agency or you know a debt collector somebody who is going to be way less forgiving and less graceful in those relationship conversations than even your original credit card company or whatever aspect of your finances you might be engaging in some avoidance over.

[00:12:35] MID-ROLL ADVERTISEMENT If you love the Young Scrappy Money podcast you’ll love our digital subscription service. For less than the cost of your gym membership, you get access to our whole suite of classes, workbooks, a private Slack channel and more. Check us out online at www.youngscrappymoney.com.

[00:12:54] The second piece that I will recommend to you when it comes to improving your relationship with money is put in the quality time. You wouldn’t build a relationship with somebody and say, “well I will talk to you in four years. It’s been fun. We’ll just pick back up where we left off.” I mean certainly that works for some friendships or long distance things. You know I’m not begrudging anyone those types of relationships, but I’ve personally found that when it comes to my money, since this is a lifelong relationship with me and certainly something that I value, putting in the quality time has so so vital even on a on a semi regular basis. Even if you just have a monthly date night with money. You don’t have to hold hands every day, you don’t have to constantly be canoodling, you don’t have to be checking up on money all the time. But even just sitting down once every other week for an hour or so and spending that quality time with money is so valuable.

[00:13:49] I’m actually a really big fan of the tool which I call the Monthly Money Date where on a monthly basis you kind of sit down and figure out where you’re at. Play it out your budget for the next week or the next month. Figure out what your debt situation looks like and what payments you plan to make over the next month, even potentially doing some mindset work. Just checking in with yourself to say how is this relationship going? Is there anything that I’m missing? Is there anything that I as a partner need to do differently in order to better serve you? And vice versa. So putting in the quality time.

[00:14:18] The third is be honest with yourself about your own flaws. So if you’re in a situation where you are expecting money to do all of the labor… if you know that you’re not doing the work or if you know that you don’t maybe necessarily have the expertise to do what you need to do with money, which you know is not a flaw. To be clear, lack of education is not a flaw. For a lot of us, it’s kind of the norm or just a situation to be overcome. But at the same time blaming money for your own lack of skills or own lack of attention or lack of focus or unwillingness to learn is not a great start to that relationship. So the question is: What do you need to learn or do in order to make things better? Be honest with yourself if it really is you who is not putting in the work or who isn’t doing what you need to do in order to make that relationship happen.

The fourth thing that I’ll recommend to you is to stop bad mouthing money. If you’ve ever been around somebody who is in a relationship with somebody, again maybe this is a family member or a co-worker or a loved one, and they just don’t seem to have very much nice to say about that person, my question is always well why are you still together? When I hear people talk about money in this way, I actually kind of feel the same way. It gives me that same feeling of, “you know maybe your relationship would be a little bit better if you stop bad mouthing them.” You can certainly have views about other people, about money, about anything. The question is if you’re spending all this time badmouthing money, that’s a lot of time that you’re not using to improve your situation with money. That’s a lot of energy that you’re spending to put all of these negative words out into the universe, and it’s energy that you’re not spending making more money or educating yourself on how to manage your money. One exercise that I really love when it comes to stopping bad mouthing money, because I think we all do this to some extent right?

[00:16:24] We kind of see money as this being that sometimes deserts us, or that’s unreliable. If you’re an entrepreneur or you have variable income you might wonder why money doesn’t come around more often. It’s easy to kind of blame money for the things that are going on.

[00:16:39] I’m a big fan of writing money a love letter. It sounds super crazy, I know, to think about just like pouring your heart and soul out on piece of paper. We don’t even really write love letters to our partners on paper. For a lot of us this is completely foreign. (But for the record love letters are a Grade A, super choice… totally recommend!)

[00:17:01] Write money a love letter and tell it all the things that you love about it. Tell it how you’re so excited to spend time together how you appreciate the value that it brings you. How much easier it makes for you to live your life and to follow your passions and take care of your community and give back to the people you love and the causes you care about. Tell it all of the good ways that it influences your life and start to cultivate that sense of love there. I think we often for some of us who are a little bit more politically minded or a little bit more social justice minded. It’s really hard to separate out money from the system that brings it into power. And so we tend to hate money and we forget about the impact that it has as a tool for change. So whatever your love for money looks, like if that’s selfish if it’s not selfish that’s none of my business. I personally don’t care. Write it a love letter. Make sure that money knows exactly how you feel. And that those feelings are nice.

[00:18:00] Finally the fifth thing that I will tell you if you decide you want to have a better relationship with money, if it’s a priority for you, f**kin prioritize that s**t. So pardon my language. I feel like I should give you this caveat, probably should have warned you in advance. There might be a little bit of cursing on this podcast at various points in time, and some interviews will certainly have more cursing than others depending on the topic.

[00:18:36] But honestly, if it is a priority for you, if getting right with your finances, if learning to love money, if learning to manage your money, whatever you are looking for from your finances… If that’s a priority for you, you have to prioritize it the same way you would anything else you care about. Rank what you are doing in your life or how you want to spend your time, carve out blocks of time on a calendar, get apps and tools that help you focus on it. If it is a priority let’s make it a priority together.

So those are my thoughts on improving your relationship with money. Again, you get to decide what you want that relationship to look like. But if you communicate, if you put in the quality time, if you’re honest with yourself about your own flaws or where you need a little bit more work, if you stop bad mouthing money all the time, and if you prioritize it truly I honestly believe that you will get to build the relationship with money that you want to build. So consider me your couples therapist for money. I am here to listen to both of you and hear your concerns and talk about some of the ways that we can serve each other.

All that to say each week my hope is that I’ve got a new episode for you it’s either gonna be an interview or me talking about things, like I mentioned but I’m hoping that in this time together we’ll get a chance to unpack some of this the stuff that we as people believe about money you’ll get to hear from people who look very much like you who look very vry different than you and that you just get exposed to so many interesting and useful money stories out there.

[00:20:18] So that’s it y’all. Thank you so much for listening to the very first episode. I hope it was OK. I think it was all right. If my scheduling works out all right, it’s Friday. And if you’re listening on not a Friday that’s cool too. Either way I hope that you have joy and abundance in the coming week and that you go out and kick some heckin ass on your relationship with money. If you enjoyed this podcast, by the way, please like/comment/share/whatever/tell your friends, tell your your spouse, your co-worker, your dog, your best friend, whoever is listening. Let them know that we’re out here talking about money stuff. So thanks so much guys. Have a good one.

[00:21:00] END CREDITS I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Young Scrappy Money podcast. If you want to read about my work as a financial adviser and financial coach you can do so at www.youngandscrappy.com. That’s www.youngandscrappy.com. Thanks again for listening.

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