S2E12: Investing 101 - How to Start Your Investing Future

S2E12: Investing 101 - How to Start Your Investing Future


Erin Lowry, author of the best-selling Broke Millennial series joins us today to chat about investing. Where do you start? What should you know? How do you invest for your retirement? In this episode, we will hear about Erin’s investing journey, break down the logistics behind investing, get rid of those fears and concerns, and provide you with an ultimate checklist to start your investing future.

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This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

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Mary: (00:45)
Hi there happy money people, and welcome back to Your World, Your Money. I'm so excited to be back and kick us off today into a mini series that I am genuinely so excited for. We are kicking off our new investors, many series we've been hearing so much in the news recently about investing and the stock market and those interesting stories that you might've heard about like GameStop - might sound familiar, who knows. For so many people, these stories have sparked something incredible, and that's a desire to understand and get involved in investing. For FinLit people like us over here. This is one of the most exciting, exhilarating and engaging phenomena that we could possibly dream of. This is literally what gets us up in the morning. And you might think that we're kidding. Well, that sounds really sad, but like, it kind of is what gets us up in the morning. This is what's cool for us. So our conversation today is on investing 101, and we have this amazing guest expert here with us today. Together. We will talk about some logistics, some steps, and some knowledge about starting your investing future.

Nolan: (01:49)
That's right, Mary. So this is Nolan. I'm so excited to be with you today. And truly today, we have such an incredible guest. Joining us is Erin Lowry, also known as the amazing author of a series of books and leader of an incredible community - Broke Millennial. Erin is the author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together; Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner's Guide to Leveling Up Your Money; and her newest book, Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories, and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations. Her first book was named by MarketWatch as one of the best money books of 2017. And her style is often described as refreshing and conversational. I can say personally that her writing is both so accessible and incredibly engaging. Erin has appeared on CBS Sunday morning, CNBC and Fox & Friends. She's written for the New York times, USA Today, Fast Company, and so much more as well as regularly speaking at universities and conferences around the country. She spent most of her childhood living in Asia, but is now settled in New York City with her husband.

Mary: (02:58)
Welcome Erin. We're so excited to have you with us today. I don't know how many times we are.

going to say we're so excited, but we're really excited.

Erin: (03:06)
Well, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

Nolan: (03:08)
You have this huge galaxy brain full of knowledge about all things money. So we'd love to just get your thoughts and opinions and hot takes on everything.

Erin: (03:19)
I have opinions on lots of things, especially TV. So if we just happened to venture down that path, that would be great too.

Nolan: (03:26)
Let's start there. Actually. What is your favorite TV show involving money? Do you have a favorite financial related TV show?

Erin: (03:33)
Billions or Succession? Right. Gotta be one of those. Billions is so good. Has it like a little bit dropped off in the latest season? Sure. But the first three seasons of Billions are so strong, great acting, such sharp writing. And truthfully, like you learn a lot about the hedge fund world. And I had the opportunity in the mid pandemic. So was that like circa 17 years ago or so? To write a series about angel investors and VCs for a company. And I got to interview a ton of angel investors and venture capitalists, and I just rewatched billions during the process to try to like understand the language that was being used. And it truly like kind of translated over it. It was pretty cool.

Mary: (04:19)
That's fantastic. If anybody needs to know where to get the lingo down, go watch Billions.

Nolan: (04:25)
I would also actually love to hear Aaron's money journey. Obviously she's written a lot about this or her personal story about this is somewhat well known, but I'd love for her to tell it. I know one of the origin stories, at least that involves donuts, if I remember correctly. Erin, I'd love to hear your journey into this world. And what got you curious to learn more

Erin: (04:46)
The Krispy Kreme donut story. And I just also have to plug Krispy Kreme as a company because not only do you get free Krispy Kreme now, if you get vaccinated, which there's a lot of controversy around that, I'm a big fan. When I was a kid. Also, you could get a Krispy Kreme donut for every A on your report card. So my sister and I used to go in report card time and clean up. So to all the kids who probably aren't listening, but to the parents, you should see if they're still doing that because it's a great incentive plan, but I digress. I do not own stock in Krispy Kreme. I think they're probably still privately owned actually. Yeah, I think they're still a private company. My journey with money, I started with the Krispy Kreme story. I want to come back to candy tax afterwards. All of them are food and money related.

Erin: (05:33)
But when I was a kid, first, it's important to know my parents were really not big fans of handing us money. And this was, and when I say us, me and my little sister. And this had a lot to do with like the, you have to work to earn your money kind of rhetoric that a lot of us are reared with in different ways. But if I wanted to buy something, the rule was, I either had to pay for it myself or best case scenario. My parents would maybe pay for 50% of it. So this is summer of 1996. I am seven years old. I really wanted a Nerf gun, super soaker. I don't know if you're listening and you were a kid of the nineties, that was the IT water gun of the nineties. I was a pool kid. I was on swim team. I would spend like 10 hours a day at the pool during the summer desperately wanted a Nerf gun, super soaker. So I had this idea. My mom was having a yard sale as suburban moms do. We were living in North Carolina at the time. This was before we moved overseas. And I asked my parents if I could sell Krispy Kreme donuts at this yard sale. Cause I'm thinking, Hey, if I set up my little Fisher price table, sell some donuts. My little sister at the time was four, man. I could make so much money and go buy my water gun. So I asked my dad, if he will stake me in this venture, obviously was not the language I was using, but Billions. And asking him if he would go to the Krispy Kreme morning of the yard sale, buy the donuts, bring them back.

Erin: (07:01)
He agrees. My parents were always very supportive of entrepreneurial endeavors, but I sell out caveat. The number of how much I earned changes. Like every time I tell this story, so if you've heard me tell it, or you read it in the book, like, sorry, if the numbers don't align, I don't actually remember how much money I made, but let's say it was $20. So I have $20 in quarters sitting on this table. I am pumped. I'm like, this is going to buy me two super soakers. And my dad comes over and he looks at me. It looks in the money. Okay, Erin, how much did you make? I made $20. I'm going to Toysrus. And my dad said, okay, well it costs me $8 to buy you the donuts and Kaylyn, my little sister, she worked for you for a little bit. So let's pay her $2. So actually your net profit is $10 and it wasn't just like a learning lesson. He then took the money. So my profits were halved in my mind immediately, went from $20 down to $10, still got to buy my super soaker, but that was one of my very first memories of money. And if you read any of my work, you know, that money is purely an emotional experience. Economists like to pretend that we're rational, we never are, money is all psychological. And so your early money memories are very foundational and mine was one of betrayal in many ways, but also just like, I didn't, I didn't understand money the way I thought, like it just was all of a sudden this moment of like, wait a second. Not everything is, as it seems, which then later I learned about taxes and you know, that was another moment.

Mary: (08:37)
I love what your dad was teaching you in this way and obviously went super well. So tell us a little bit, did your parents teach you anything about investing? Did you come to that entirely on your own? Tell me how we came to this. Did your parents have Sage advice?

Erin: (08:54)
They did. If you were to ask my dad, he would probably say that he tried desperately when I was in high school to get me interested in investing. And I was just like, nah, not really into this. I also made the very common and very critical error of feeling like, oh, well I'm not good at math. Therefore this isn't going to be a strong suit of mine. And I was always very good. Even from a very young age with saving, saving has always been my shtick. And a lot of that has to do with an innate desire for delayed gratification. I was that kid on my birthday that I was going to wait until close to midnight to open presents. Like on Christmas day, my family makes Christmas present opening last for four hours. Like we are very slow, deliberate, enjoy the experience. I never want it to end. So I'm just going to like drag it out for as long as possible. So there's something about delayed gratification.

Erin: (09:44)
If you look up the marshmallow test, I crushed the marshmallow test as a kid, my sister on the other hand. So for those who are listening that are not familiar, marshmallow test, you put a marshmallow in front of little kid, usually between the ages of like three and five. And you tell them if they don't touch it, they can have a second marshmallow, but if they do eat it, they don't get any more marshmallows. And then you put on a video recorder secretly and leave the room and watch what they do. I sat there diligently, did not touch it. And I got my second marshmallow. My sister picked it up and licked it and put it back and picked it up and licked it and put it back. So technically she didn't eat it. So technically she could still get the second marshmallow. She's very smart. All I will say all is to say, I had this belief that investing wasn't going to be my thing, that math wasn't my shtick. So I wasn't going to be any good at this. I was much more interested in writing and theater and the arts and that was where I was headed. And so despite my dad's please, to please try, wasn't having any of it.

Erin: (10:57)
My first coming around on investing moment would have been the summer of 2010. I was going into my senior year of college. I had just spent the summer interning at CNN in Atlanta and actually made money. I was the first class of interns that we actually got paid. And all of a sudden I had all of this extra money. Cause I worked during the school year and I thought like, Hey, I'm going to have to go down on all my savings to survive. This unpaid internship ended up getting paid, had all this extra money. And I was sitting in the car with my dad and I said, hey, I have some extra money, and I was thinking about putting it into this thing I heard about called a Roth IRA because while I was interning at CNN, I started listening to Clark Howard, who has his show on the Turner networks. A lot of people don't talk about Clark Howard. He's wonderful, highly recommend listening to him. And he had this whole bit about Roth IRA. And I'm like, dad, I'm going to open this thing. Apparently if I keep contributing to it and I can do it, cause now I have like taxable income. And if I contribute it to it, like I can have a million dollars. My dad goes, yeah, you should start investing. I went, no, no I'm not investing. I'm opening a Roth IRA. He was like, no, that's investing. Another just light bulb moment of my money journey. And that was really one of my foundational like, okay, this is all so important. Need to learn more about it. Again, 401k. When I first had access to one of those, get to the screen where it was like, here are all of your investment options. And I just froze and clicked out and dialed my parents. I was like, I don't know what to do. This is what is it like a large cap? What's mid cap. What's blue chip. Like what are these terms? So if you've ever felt any of these, literally this is my profession and I've gone through all of these emotions. So you too can learn what all of this means and start building wealth for yourself.

Mary: (12:51)
You are just speaking so much truth or as our dealy beloved Ann, one of our other hosts would say, and I'm not going to say it as well so nobody judged me, but you're spitting the truth. It's quite lovely. I hope she hears that. She's going to be really proud I think when she hears that. But you're actually speaking to one of the things that I really wanted to just start and get into right off from the bat. It's these misconceptions that we hold, like you said, oh, I assumed I was bad at math. Same. I literally was trash at math. And I was like, oh, I can't, I can't go to business school. That's stupid. I'm terrible at math. Like what are some of these misconceptions? And you've already jumped into a couple of them. So thank you. But what are some of the ones that you held yourself or you see other people hold or in this role that you now have leading this incredible community that people come to you and say, oh, well I can't do that because of this and this and this and you, from your perspective, you're like, actually that just makes me even better at it. Let's go.

Erin: (13:44)
Well, definitely the math one, I always get super frustrated about like, I'm not good with money because I'm bad at math. The two do not have to be related, being good with money is one education, which a lot of us did not grow up with. I was very fortunate to live in a financially literate household that talked about money. Like there are plenty of parents who are great with money, but don't pass down the gift of financial literacy. If you are a parent, please start talking early in a very healthy way with your children about money. I think it's one of the best gifts that we can give the next generation. But beyond that, when it comes to investing specifically, I think the biggest holdup is this idea of I'm not wealthy enough or rich enough to start investing. And that I have a huge problem with- reason being you are investing for retirement. If you are investing via an IRA or a 401k or a similar retirement plan, I will just get on my soapbox for a minute. We use the wrong language when we talk about retirement. We say, save for retirement. You're saving for retirement. So good for you putting money into your 401k and saving for retirement. No you're not saving, you're investing. And if you are saving, something is terribly wrong. And it's very common too. There are so many people who get five years, a decade, 20, 30 years into their retirement quote unquote saving journey. And they actually were just saving. The money was sitting in cash the whole time as opposed to actually being invested. So if you're listening to this podcast, please press pause, go to your brokerage where your 401k or IRA is held and make sure that that money is actually invested. How do I know you might be asking if it says settlement account or cash, or if your money has barely moved in the last year, the market has been doing very well. So if the money has barely moved up, it's sitting in cash. Just call customer service for wherever your IRA or 401k is and have a conversation about like, how do I actually navigate this interface of these? Let's be honest, often very outdated, not super user-friendly websites and figure out how to invest my money, because you have got to be proactive about that for yourself and the money in your 401k and IRA, a hundred percent needs to be invested.

Nolan: (15:57)
That makes total sense. And of course, yeah, I mean, saving and investing. These are important strategies towards our financial security, but yeah, sometimes the two terms are used almost interchangeably and I love that you call out that there's kind of an important distinction there. So yeah, I'd love to talk to you about that. When people are looking at investing and they have maybe some assumptions around the risk involved, how do you convince people? You can do all of the above and have an emergency fund. You can have savings goals, but really investing should be a core part of that solution as well.

Erin: (16:30)
So there's a couple of different tasks that I would take when debating this particular question. The first one is, what's your goal and how much money do you need to achieve your goal and in what period of time. So that's always the equation that we're looking to solve with everything related to our financial goals. What do I want, how much does that cost and what timeline time horizon, if we're actually talking about investing, do I want, so let's say that I want $10,000 saved, not invested, quote unquote saved in the next four years. Well that's $2,500 a year that I need to be putting into my savings account, which is like a little over $200 a month. That's easy math to do. Problem is when you start talking about actually big numbers, I want $3 million in order to retire. Great. If that's in 40 years, you're going to have to save so much money to achieve that goal, so much money.

Erin: (17:27)
Like yeah, you could just save your way to retirement or to any other financial goal that you have. That's longer term, but the amount of work and effort you're going to have to put in to save it is so much bigger than if you invest it. And when you invest it because of compound interest, your money does some of the work for you. It's doing some of that heavy lifting. So it's not just you, it's you and your money working as a team to grow and build your wealth. And that means, especially if you start early, the more time you give yourself, significantly more work compound interest can do for you. So that's why people like me are always like, oh my God, if you're early twenties, please, oh, vendor 401k and IRA and put money. Even if it's like a hundred dollars a month. We're always screaming at people to do that because it makes a big difference when you start early, even with a small amount of money.

Erin: (18:19)
And I know I live in a very expensive city. I live in New York. I totally understand that. It can feel like I can barely put like craft cocktail at a bar money into my 401k every month. So what's the point. It adds up. It adds up so fast and it's about the habit. That's so often the other caveat here is that people still will hold on to this like, well, when I do everything else, when I pay off my student loans, when I have my emergency fund fully funded, when I feel like I'm wealthy, which is a forever moving target, by the way, that's when I'll start investing. Okay. So let's say, you're telling me that at 25, and now 10 years later at 35, you've paid off the student loans. You have the emergency fund, but you also got married, bought a house, had two kids, your mom got sick and she needs to live with you. You got sick. And that was really expensive. Like things happen in life and life tends to get more complicated and more expensive, not less. So, even as you're earning more money, that doesn't mean you have a ton of extra discretionary income to be throwing at your 401k plan or your other investments to try to play catch up. So just do yourself a favor, start early and small if you need to, and be consistent about it. And if you're listening to this, you're like I'm 45 and I'm sick of hearing people say, start in your twenties, start now. As soon as you can start the better. And I totally understand why that's frustrating, but truly start as soon as you can. Now I do have this whole checklist of what you need to achieve before you start investing outside of retirement. So we'll get there, but I'm really talking about investing for retirement.

Erin: (19:58)
That needs to be a core part of your financial plan. I also, for those who are like, I'm still not totally understanding what you mean by compound interest. If you've ever had debt, car loan, student loan, credit card debt, and that feeling of, wow, I've put a lot of money towards this every month. And I feel like the bill is even getting bigger. Like I'm not even making a dent. It's not going down. That's compound interest too. It's just working against you in that case. So compound interest truly is this magical moment that either works for you or against you, whereas the idea of earning interest on your interest. So let's say in year one, you invest a thousand dollars, 10% return. You have $1,100 at the end of the year. In year two. Now the return is happening on that $1,100, not just that initial 1000. So every time you add money, it just has a snowball effect of it continues to grow on the money that's accumulated, but it also works against you in very intense ways when it's debt. So you've probably experienced it in some form, but now we're telling you with investing, you can be harnessing that power for your advantage.

Mary: (21:06)
I want to get onto this checklist. I'm excited. Share with us the checklist that you have before you do the deep dive into investing and what we should keep in mind coming to that checklist, wherever we might be in life. If we're 45, 23, somewhere in the middle that I'm not going to announce on a podcast for myself.

Erin: (21:24)
Well, I think you nailed it perfectly in the intro where you talked about GameStop, that we're having a lot of cultural phenomenon moments right now, when it comes to investing that are getting people interested. For one side of me, I'm like great. People are interested in talking about investing. This is wonderful. And the other side is like, oh my God, please be careful. When I watch Saturday Night Live every week, my husband and I watch it and they have been doing a ton of content related to like GameStop. And then NFTs. I was like when Saturday night live is consistently doing sketches about investing, you know, it's in the zeitgeist. With that being said, I understand why it's fun to think about the micro investing apps and the game stops and the NFTs and the Bitcoins of it all. Because it's like the sexy flashy thing that they're talking about on television and the- "Hey guys, let's just pick some index funds or stocks that we value that we're just going to consistently contribute to. And over time, we're just going to see our wealth grow" is not as fun to hear. I get it. When you are thinking about investing again, again, again, retirement, retirement, retirement. We're going to focus first on tax advantaged accounts, your 401ks, your IRAs, the things that give you a benefit from a tax perspective that also should be done in tandem with trying to achieve other financial goals. If you have an employer matched 401k, let's say if you put in 4%, they put in 4%, that's an automatic return on your investment. You're already putting 8% in. That's amazing. So if you can take advantage of something like that, I advocate that you do that. Even if you're paying down student loan debt. Now, should you be putting 20% in if you're trying to also pay off student loan debt, let's at least take advantage of the employer match though. And at least get that additional 4%. So now we're at 8%.

Erin: (23:13)
If you are trying to build your emergency fund, again, I still think at least a little bit should be going into retirement accounts. This does not have to be all or nothing. We all too often think about money as like there's one goal. I'm going to focus on achieving that one goal and then I'll pivot. It. Doesn't have to be like that. This can be burners. You can be looking on a stove and like you're not turning it all the way up on all of them. Some of them maybe are on low or simmering, but you're still putting some attention towards it. And others are at the full flame, but it is important that you consider it that way. But what happens is that people - A. Kind of forget about the retirement portion and they just get seduced by the, whatever is popular at the moment thing. And one thing that they can get rich quick, because a handful of people did, there will always be people who get to take advantage of a trend. If you are now hearing about it on the mainstream media, you're probably too late to be taking advantage on the trend. I'm just going to tell you that right now. But also there's a lot of other implications taxes and so many other things. But if you are now thinking, okay, girl, I have done the emergency fund. I've paid down my debt or got it at a reasonable plays. I'm doing the retirement stuff. Could you please, for the love of God, tell me what's next. Here's the checklist. In order to earn the right as Douglas Bonaparth - look him up. He's a wonderful investing expert who I've quoted in my book. He talks about this idea of earning the right to invest, which I think is this lovely thought that you have to do other things such as - pay off all your high interest rate consumer debt, which is fancy jargon for: you got credit cards? Are they sitting at 25% interest rates? You're not going to see those returns in the market. Please pay those off first. Next, you need a debt payoff plan for other things like your student loans. I am of the opinion that you can be paying off your student loans and investing in what we call non tax advantage. So non-retirement investments, but you want to be thinking about the math of that. If you have private student loans that are sitting at 10, 12%, basically credit card interest level rates, no, focus on paying those off. But if you have federal student loans that are sitting at 4%, 5%, you're probably going to see that return in the market mathematically. It can make sense to do both, but you need to be self-reflective and think, wow, I can't sleep at night because I have student loans. All right, then fine. Pay them off. You don't need to be investing outside of your retirement account until they're paid. But if you're like, ah, it makes me the bubble guts that I'm not taking advantage of the stock market right now, just because I have student loans then. Okay, great. Take advantage of the stock market. Just make sure you have an actionable plan of how you're going to be paying off your student loans. And don't rely on the fact that you may or may not have some level of student debt cancellation. We don't know. So don't just assume it's going to happen.

Erin: (26:05)
So student loans, consumer debt, we're paying it off. We've got the plan, next. As we've preached a gajillion times already, you need to be contributing to your retirement plan. Many people will actually tell you to max that out before you're even looking at investing in non tax advantaged accounts. I have a mixed opinion here. This is getting like a little bit technical, but if you have, for instance, a 401k, I believe right now, the limits 19,000, $19,500, you can contribute to the 401k man. Good for you. If you can do all the things and be putting money into savings and max out 401k, like that's a good amount of money. You need to think back to your goals that yes, retirement is important. Retirement is also a long way off, but do you have other shorter term financial goals than 40 years away? Maybe in 15 or 10 years, you want to buy a house? And you're like, hey, I'm just leaving the sitting in savings. Hasn't really doing very much for me. It's okay to be investing for that goal. You just want to make sure that the risk that you're putting on the money is aligned with when you want access to that money.

Erin: (27:14)
Because by the time you get down to like year five, you don't want too much risk on it. And definitely by around year three, you do want to be moving that over to cash. But if financially you're like, I can't totally max out a 401k and be investing for this other goal that I have. I think it's okay to do a little, going back to those burners, a little bit of both. So paying off the debt, retirement accounts, the other big thing: set your goals. Like you should not be investing just for the sake of investing. You need to be investing for a reason because the goal dictates everything. It dictates how much money you're putting towards it. The kind of risk that you're putting on it. When you want to be reducing that risk, because you want to be taking your money out and maybe five years or three years, or like let's get the money out of the market because we want to use it in two years. And that's a hard out and the market might dip. Final thing. I highly encourage you to take baby steps and to learn the language. There is already probably been words that I have thrown out there. Like I don't know what that means. That is normal. I relate it to when I remember like sitting in algebra class and I was like, what the heck is a coefficient? How am I supposed to find a coefficient? If I don't know what a coefficient is? So that's how I feel about investing for a lot of people that we throw these words at you. And you're like, I don't, what, what is an index fund? I don't know where to find that. What is that? How do I pick that? So you have to learn the language, take it slow, do not get overwhelmed. There's a level of, it almost feels gatekeeping that this foreign language gets used around the stock market, but it's the language they've created. We can learn. We can get access to it, just be slow and just trust yourself and know that you are smart enough to learn this.

Nolan: (29:03)
Dear listener. You're wondering, how do I learn this language? Where can I go? Well, I have a book recommendation for you. It's Broke Millennial Takes On Investing. It is a great start.

Erin: (29:15)
It is. There's a whole chapter just dedicated to the language and that even a disclaimer at the beginning, that's like some words are used to inform other words. You're just going to have to flip back and forth. I'm sorry. There's not a better way to do this. Website wise also highly recommend Investopedia. That's a great site for under like just looking up basically glossary terms. When you see things come up, especially when you see things go haywire and you're like, what does it to short? What does it mean to squeeze? What does it mean to be doing all these like hedge fund things that I'm hearing about that basically is yeah, like an actual movie. The Big Short is a movie can also rent that. They explain it really well.

Mary: (29:53)
This is fantastic. So the Big Short, Billions, I feel like by the end of this, we're gonna have like a set of movies and you can just go watch those, get the jargon, you'll be with it. The last question that we had for you is to talk about your new book and to share with us a little bit about broke millennial talks, money and all the money conversations and stories and how awkward those can go. And maybe they go in the right direction once, but you have to, you know, a couple of them have to go a little wrong to get it right. Eventually. So tell us a little bit about this book and what makes you so excited about it?

Erin: (30:26)
It's my favorite of the three, but shh don't tell the other two. It is definitely my favorite book child. And truly this book I think is completely unique in the niche. I've never seen anything else like it, which is a big reason why I wanted to write it. I will say with broke millennial takes on investing. I wanted to write it because I recommend a couple of investing books in my first book. And I started getting DMs and emails. It was like, hey, these all still feel like a little too complicated. Do you have anything else that like dumbs it down for me a bit more? I was like, you know what? No, I will write it. So the second book Broke Millennial Takes On Investing is really written under the assumption that you don't know anything about investing. And if you do great, just skip the first four chapters and move on to the more complicated stuff.

Erin: (31:16)
Well, with Broke Millennial Talks Money, I started to realize like, all right, you can build the foundation - book one is credit scores and budgets and savings and like all of that kind of basics. Book two is let's build and grow this wealth. But if you don't learn how to communicate about money, how to set healthy boundaries, how to effectively engage in these conversations, it will forever be a pain point for you just in different ways. And let me tell you all other people love to spend your money. So you have to learn how to tell people no, but in a healthy, productive way that sets that boundary, but also acknowledges their feelings, relationship, dynamics, cultural norms, like there's just so much bundled up. And I also just think a lot about why are we so uncomfortable talking about money? I'm definitely that person that if there's like an uncomfortable topic, I just want to kick it. Like I want to engage with whatever it is. That's making everyone else uncomfortable. Not in like a psychopathic way and like a Hey, but why? Like, why are we uncomfortable talking about this? What is this? That's making you feel awkward? I was at a bachelorette party once and a woman just offhandedly. It was like, I hate rich people. And I was like, oh, tell me more. Let's let's talk. I'm deeply curious about this.

Mary: (32:30)
So the person that hugs the elephant, you just like walk up and you're like, oh elephant in the room hi.

Erin: (32:35)
Let's shake your trunk. Nice to meet you. Why are you here? What's, what's your story? What are, what are we thinking? Definitely. And with the money book with Broke Millennial Talks Money. It does feel so much to me that our aversion to talking about money just has to do with judgment. We're just afraid that other people are going to judge our values, our spending habits, our saving habits, our investing habits are we as far along as we should be for the age that we are. That's a huge one right now, especially I'm 31. And I feel like I'm consistently getting questions from my community about like, I'm here ,is this right or wrong? It's fine. It's just where you are. Like, it it's a neutral, like so much of this needs to just be neutral. And we really do assign emotion, morality, all of it, ourselves to money, as opposed to just looking at it, like the tool that it is.

Erin: (33:29)
And so the judgment and the shame around talking about it has everything to do with just the value that we have arbitrarily assigned. And it's not really grounded in any sort of actual reality. We also talk about money all the time without talking about money. My favorite examples is a woman telling me that she was at a cocktail party. She like everybody there is talking about money without actually acknowledging it. It was, oh, well we moved to the burbs for a bigger space or, oh, we're waiting to try to have our second until our first is in kindergarten. Okay. That's because you don't want to pay for two daycare costs. Like just, that's fine. Say that. That's okay. So there are ways that we are in very coded messaging consistently talking to each other about money without actually acknowledging that that's what we're doing. And listen, literally wrote the book on the thing.

Erin: (34:24)
Definitely not flawless with it. Do my husband and I get into money fights. Of course we do, because at the end of the day, money is about values. How we spend and save. We're not an amorphous blob just because we got married. We have difference of opinions on what we value, how we want to spend in save. So yeah, sometimes we get into fights about it. And a lot of it too is learning how to communicate through it, especially issues. And I learned this term, writing the book, perpetual problems, that there are some things that will forever, especially in our romantic relationship dynamic, be a problem. And the great example of that is you have a flight. You have to catch with your partner. They want to be there two hours ahead of time. You want to be there 45 minutes ahead of time. Well, no, one's wrong. As long as you make the flight, but it's going to cause a fight between the two of you. And we have a lot of those with money. So it's learning how to communicate through it. The book is split up into four sections, work, family, friends, and romance, so that you're learning how to navigate all these different, awkward money conversations, not just romantic partners, not just friends, but also that like, Hey coworker, how much money do you make? Kind of questions. And like, Hey boss, I want to raise like, hey mom and dad, can you afford to retire? Or am I the retirement plan?

Mary: (35:40)
I can't wait to read this. Well, I actually already started it. So I can't wait to finish it. Let's go there. I can't wait to finish it. And I hope everybody was listening because communicating about money is how we change the world. If you can communicate about it with your coworkers, with your friends, with your mom and dad, that's, that's actually how we change the world. That's how we go about it. Because once we break down all those barriers, absolutely any conversation then becomes possible at any future as possible. So I absolutely love this. I could not agree more and I can't wait to finish it. Oh my goodness. I'm so excited. I haven't gotten to romance yet. That one's, that's probably just going to be funny. So everybody wished me luck when I get there.

Erin: (36:17)
There are some euphemisms. I'll just say that.

Mary: (36:20)
It's going to be great.

Nolan: (36:21)
And then Erin, I just want to say, I so appreciate how you just normalize money for people. It normalize how easy it is to talk about, how easy it is to engage in. It doesn't seem easy, but you make it seem like it's accessible to everybody because it is accessible to everybody. So yeah. I can't tell you how much we appreciate that you can share all of that wisdom with us today.

Erin: (36:41)
Well, thank you for having me. And I would say for me, my big challenge to anyone listening. If you have a retirement plan, go make sure that the money is invested. That's challenge one. Two, have at least one slightly uncomfortable money conversation this week. So it could be admitting to a friend that you have student loans or that you have credit card debt. It could be telling your partner that you have one of those two things. Just initiate something that feels uncomfortable. It could be telling somebody that like, yes, you love them very much, but unfortunately you can't come to their $4,000 destination wedding, whatever it is that you need to say to someone in your life. And then my final challenge: learn three investing terms that you don't know, read about them. Look them up, like just reading an article about investing, highlight three of the terms that you are not familiar with. Let's go for something a little basic. Don't be like, here's how hedge fund has got short squeeze during Game Stop. No, no, that's a little too complicated. Let's just like read something about how like Warren Buffett told LeBron James to invest in index funds, Google that, that's a real story. Go find that article, read it. Highlight three words that you don't know related to investing. Look them up, reread those a few times until you start to internalize what all of this means and you're on your way to starting to learn the language.

Nolan: (38:01)
That is an amazing exercise. Yeah, we should all do that. Maybe we can check in next week on what we learned.

Mary: (38:06)
Thank you. This was so fun. I think I died about half of the episode. I'm very glad I was on mute. I was dying. This is absolutely fantastic. Thank you all so much for joining us again today. Next week, we will continue to dive into our New Investor mini series and talk about those emotional and practical battles between investing in debt and post debt. And always remember, on our episode webpage, there is a one-pager with all the amazing episode details and key takeaways for you to download, print, make it your screen, save it tape on your mirror, stick to your forehead. You know, you get the drill. And with this episode with Erin, I'm thinking we might've just like stick that one right on our forehead or give it to our dads that give us Krispy Kreme donuts to sell.

Nolan: (38:51)
That's a hundred percent right, Mary. And please don't forget to check out Calling All Voices on our website. This is our open call for papers submitted by you celebrated by us. We want to hear all voices, opinions, walks of life and unique views on gender, sexuality, identity and finances from the whole lot of you. Our topics will be published and the winner will be on our podcast. Chatting with us. Thank you so much for joining us this week. We cannot wait to talk with you again soon.