S2E18: Financial Socialization: Breaking the Gender Stereotypes

S2E18: Financial Socialization: Breaking the Gender Stereotypes

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In our final episode of the season, we sit down with Chidi Asoluka, Dean and English teacher at Horace Mann School, and David Auten & John Schneider, hosts of the Queer Money®Podcast, known as the DebtFree Guys. We dive into the conversation on financial socialization and the money influences faced in the home, in school, and in the choices our parents impart on us. How do we break out beyond the money expectations & barriers in the home? What are the impacts of family financial socialization? How can we create space beyond the binary for the financial leaders of tomorrow?

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

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Read more about Chidi, Asoluka Company, and the New Community Project here.

 

Follow David Auten and John Schneider on DebtFreeGuys.com, and check out their blog DebtLasso.com.

Follow DebtFreeGuys on Instagram, and check out their Queer Money®podcast here.

View Transcript

Mary: (00:23)
Hello, happy money people and welcome back to Your World, Your Money. This is your host, Mary, and I'm so happy to be back with all of you wrapping up this mini-series around gender, sexuality, and money. It's been a long time. And I miss chatting with all of you on the podcast. Here at Your World, Your Money, and Global Thinking Foundation, we get the incredible opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and hear their stories and how learning about money came to be a part of their current circumstances. Being a very diverse and LGBTQ+ team, this mini-series has been especially important to each of us. This has also required each of us at the foundation to work and converse from a position of curiosity for ourselves and look at our own stories to help truly understand deeply our relationships with money. Because if we can't reckon with our own situations, how can we relate, empathize and grow with others? One aspect of this money relationship that has been present for each of us and always will be, is how we grew up with money. There are loads of factors to consider here such as nature versus nurture and our parents' ability to be, well, parents. And we want to take the opportunity in this conversation to especially change the lens of a conversation we often hear about when chatting with friends, family, or colleagues, that conversation is financial socialization in the home. In other words, how are you socialized to believe you would interact with money? We often hear in speeches, research, and from academics, how valuable it is to break the stereotypical socialization like - girls should save and boys should invest. So that's put a slightly stronger power lens on this conversation.

Mary: (02:46)
We are going to talk with a few people on financial socialization, the aspects they're in and how a different lens on this topic, expanding the conversation beyond the common trips could continue shift socialization for kids growing up today towards more equality and more equity. This is Chidi Asoluka. He is currently a class Dean, an English teacher in New York City at Horace Mann School in the Bronx. In 2019, he founded Asoluka company, an education company that specializes in building more effective school, community learning partnerships, and promotes, understanding social advocacy through the lens of literature.

Chidi: (03:30)
My name is Chidi Asoluka. I'm the son of Nigerian immigrants. I was born and raised in Newark New Jersey. I was born in Newark. I was raised in Irvington, New Jersey. They're right next to each other. They're like cousins and I'm a teacher. I'm an educator. I've been in the education field since graduation. I graduated from college in 2005 and I've been here the entire time. I worked in a nonprofit organization for prep, which is a nonprofit that prepares very talented black, brown students in New York City for the best high schools in the country and in colleges and beyond. And then I worked at a charter school. Then I worked at an independent school in Philadelphia, and now I'm here at the Horace Mann School in the Bronx. I feel like it's, uh, it's been a calling of mine to be in education. And I'm happy to be here.

Mary: (04:27)
Tell us a little bit about Asoluka company. Yeah, I mean it is incredible. Tell us why it's so incredible.

Chidi: (04:33)
Well, is it I'm trying, listen, I have always considered education as a space of transformation and that has the ability to do more than prepare young people for college. Um, right now we are currently in education aligned in the college world. We see that in the recent scandal, college scandal and USC and Georgetown and all the different schools that were enrolled in it. College is the number one focus of education. And I've always felt that it's a focus, but I feel like we could do more. And I've always been like a tinkerer. I like taking things and messing with them and try to improve them. I've always been that kind of person. And so a couple of years ago, I thought, what if I tried my hand at solving, not solving, maybe that's not the that's too strong of a word, but using my abilities to innovate in this space.

Chidi: (05:30)
And I started a course called the New Community Project. And it's all about using literature as the gateway to understand our local communities and reading our local communities, like, uh, like a wood Macbeth. I started that five years ago and it really has been successful. We've done some amazing projects. We've done a lot of great work and I would present NewComm all across the country at different workshops and different presentations and things like that. And people will come up to me and be like, how can I bring this to my school now? And I would be like, I don't know. I mean, email me, I don't know. And then one person told me like, you should, you should start a company and share your work. And that's how it came to be. I went home and I Googled and figure that out. And I've been using the company as a way to spread NuCalm, but it's got me thinking about what else can I do? What else can I innovate in? What other products or opportunities or moments can I create that could be useful, not only for schools but for young people as they navigate this space of education and getting them the opportunity to learn more than being prepared for Harvard, I think we could do more. And so we're early. And I, my whole goal right now is to learn how to create a company. And so I'm learning a lot and we'll see what it'll become in the next couple of months and years.

Mary: (06:53)
I was like, you, you went and listened to our mini-series on entrepreneurship. And you're like, I know how to start a company now. No, I'm joking. Just talking about socialization for you. When you hear that, what does that mean? Like what does that carry with it? Whether it's for the students or it's for you, we can just start there. We can get into it that way.

Chidi: (07:11)
Yeah. This has been a, this is a great question because it's one that I've been wrestling with all my life. And I think that over the course of the past, I don't know, four years, I feel my most comfortable in this space talking about it. Honestly, it's a very recent thing. I would say as a, uh, a child of immigrants, when you hear narratives that they left their country, left their language to come to America with the sole purpose of building a better life for us. And I say us, I mean, myself and my siblings, my sisters, you are embedded with a responsibility to perform at a level that is commiserated to their sacrifice. And so I took me being at school as a student. I took it very seriously. I want it straight A's and I wanted to do everything possible so that I can get a high-paying job so I can be successful that I could be able to show my parents, my paycheck.

Chidi: (08:16)
And it was a very serious thing. Now, on the other hand, I knew from a very young age that I did not care about the narrow perceptions of success. I just didn't care. I was going to be whomever I wanted to be. So it was just this really competing thing where yes, I took the school of Kirby series, almost like a businessman going to work. But I also was like, I like to tell stories. I like to read, I liked watching cartoons and trying to figure out like, how do they draw that? Like, how do they get from the storyboard A to storyboard Z? I was very much interested in that. And so I had a very like schizophrenia, almost relationship to this idea of success. And it was hard. I mean, in college, I majored in English, but every summer I worked at a bank, so I never did anything like a writer camp or anything where I should've been doing, but I worked at a bank. I thought my parents would think it's great that I, um, was wearing a suit and learning about the credit card industry.

Mary: (09:25)
Yeah. You mentioned something that I'd love to dive into a little more. So you said, what you really wanted to do is to show your parents this paycheck, like, look, I'm getting this paycheck. Like, was that instilled in you or did you like feel beholden just because of the environment that was brought because immigrants coming to the states, like, I mean, now we have a lot of wealthy immigrants, but most immigrants aren't and so they create that kind of culture at home almost.

Chidi: (09:52)
Yeah. Yeah. I think through the stories that my dad would tell me, I'm the only son.

Mary: (10:00)
Wow. That's even more pressure.

Chidi: (10:02)
It was just clear that there was an expectation for what I was going to do with my life. It was told to me directly and very indirectly, when I would meet older people and saw the things they were doing, there were doctors and lawyers and it was like one day going to be like that. And it's just something you it's in the water. So to speak, who was really nailed down to me. But I don't, I'm telling you, even though that was true, I don't know where this came from, but I still was like, yeah, I know that's the pressure, but I want to explore, I always had to explore, explore mentality and that wasn't always accepted as a young person. Oh my God. Yeah. It was like a, it wasn't like don't do that, but I always felt like anytime I did anything artistic or more expressive, I always felt that it was like, why are you doing that? And so, yeah, it's just, it's just, it's a thing when you're, it's, it's in the water, it's in the relationships that you have other young people that are also children of immigrants. So just feel this pressure.

Mary: (11:09)
You had said that you were the only son and immediately, even my response was, wow. That's, that's an extra amount of pressure. From your perspective, how was the dynamic when your parents maybe talk to you about money or made those like indirect implications that, you know, you were able to be like, oh, this is my future. I understand. How would you perceive that difference between how you were taught about money or what to expect, even in those indirect ways? Cause I love that you mentioned those indirect ways. Cause that's usually how it is

Chidi: (11:42)
Interesting. There was a, there was a lot of storytelling around what it means to be the only son, a lot of stories, right. That there was a, almost a folklore about what sons do in Nigerian household, where there weren't that many stories about what it means to be the daughters of Nigerian immigrants. You don't hear those stories. It wasn't, it wasn't something that my sisters can lean into and be like, oh, that's interesting.

Mary: (12:11)
I love that you used the word folklore. Like it almost is that element it's storytelling and it probably comes from truth, but it's almost got a taboo around it. Like you have to fulfill this.

Chidi: (12:20)
Right. Absolutely. It always felt like folklore to me. So like, um, it did, it didn't feel, it didn't feel real, but it's intoxicating. Right. And for me I'm like, oh, I'm the only son. I don't have to push out any other brothers. It's like, it's just me. And so it was like, oh, you know, I need to, I need to rise to the occasion. So I think because just the presence and the, uh, the glut of stories that existed for people like me, I felt the pressure to be a part of that story and to, to fit within that narrative. Yeah. Yeah.

Mary: (12:54)
How do you think you were able to find your path between these two stories compared maybe to your sisters or how they were told about their paths? Just like comparatively, because obviously they're not here, so we get to talk to you and how you were told this.

Chidi: (13:09)
Yeah, yeah. It's interesting you say this because my sisters are all in the medical field, which is interesting. Right? Um, yeah. I'm the only one doing the wild, crazy thing. Um, but um, the short answer is that honestly, I don't, I don't, you know, try to talk spiritually. I think God has given me it's a gift. Like I just feel like it was almost like my heart was always protected. So even though I saw these messages and this thing, and it got to me, it penetrated me cause I definitely acted in a certain way. It never reached my heart. So I think what happened for me was I went to a high school where I saw many different examples of success. I saw, I saw the business people. I saw the lawyers and the doctors that came to visit, but I also admired my teachers.

Chidi: (14:05)
Like I got, like, there was smart black men who could talk at length about the roots album and Sophocles. And I thought that was so cool that they could just, yeah, I was a kid who had a speech impediment, I stuttered and whatnot. And so when I saw my English teacher being able to wax poetic about hip hop and Shakespeare, this like that, like he would made these comparisons and it would just be seamless. I thought that was so cool. Awesome. I thought he was cooler than any other person I saw was wearing a suit. I thought that was so cool. And I think that gave me the permission to dream wider than the narrow definition of success that I was being accustomed to. And that, that permission, I think, you know, now I'm getting excited because I feel like that to me is the real social justice is how do we, how do we grant the permission for young people to dream?

Chidi: (15:00)
I mean, that to me is where it's at anyway, but that's what the school did for me. And also a racist. I went to college, I majored in English. I took fiction writing classes. Yes, I did internet or bank every summer, but I spent my four years really diving into literature and poetry, you know? And so, yeah, I mean, to answer your question, to get long-winded what happened for me is that I went to a school where I saw many different examples of what it means to be a successful black man. And that was what I needed.

Mary: (15:32)
You had this permission. And so you were able to kind of be inspired by what you saw and create that path. And you were saying, that's the social justice. And so you're now a teacher, you're now that person for other young adults and we can absolutely cut it if you'd like us to, but I know you're also going to be that for two little ones very, very, very soon. Right. And so I want to ask, you know, with the culture that you grew up with being with these students, having sisters, what would you say is the way to make that change? You're saying this is the social, well, how can we make the social justice possible? Maybe somebody is listening and they're like, I'm not a teacher, but I have nieces and nephews or I've got my own kids. You know, what, what can we do? Like what do you see as a way to shift the socializations a little bit,

Chidi: (16:24)
If I didn't answer that question as an educator, I would say that then I would frame it as how do you provide that justice for young people in the classroom? And I would say that, I don't know, this is controversial in that I say all the time, but I don't know, but I just feel we've got to move the goalpost. I think this idea that the end result of our education is college, which is by the way, uh, the key contributor to debt in this country. And that is like, so like, it was just fine, nothing wrong with it. But the fact that our schools are tailored to accumulate debt is something that we'll offer about that. I don't know. I've always felt weird. I felt it weird that I'm nothing wrong. I love my college. I would go there again. But it just seems that we need to be really thoughtful about what is our mission in building community at school.

Chidi: (17:21)
Is it just to say, we got you into college, then what's going to happen. Then you have a student body that is results driven and transactional in nature with their teachers and themselves. And so then when they get what they came for their senior year, they're done, right. They're done, we've normalized a senior spring, senior slump thing as if it's like, oh, well, you know, when really that's a time where our seniors could lead and really think about ways. Now you've been in this school for four years. How do we innovate to make sure you make it better for the people that could come before you actually, that should be the most intense year of school is thinking about how we can train young people to lead and use their gifts and talents to help not only the school community, but the community outside of the window, but we've normalized this finish line of the got in.

Chidi: (18:14)
So they're going to slump. So it's okay. To me, I've always thought that's weird. So I think if we said, what if we turned our schools into real, we made it intentional. My mission statements that we are a place of transformation from point a to point a to point Z. We want to make sure that you are leaning towards your best self and that we are a school that is dedicated to being an ally to our community and not just feeding off the neighborhood, but actually thinking about ways of me thought meaningful and mindful in our collaboration with our communities as a hub of creative thought and inspiration that we're going to give back in that way. What if we said that our students are going to be change agents? What have we said that as like our mission and say, yeah, ultimately, because you're involved in this work, you're going to get into a good school because you're going to be great people. But yeah, that's not really our, that's a cool, it's a benchmark, but what if we were just, are we, we are going to be this like mission oriented, driven school. That's about radical love. I don't know. And I think once you brought in the mission statement, I think you then allow many different outcomes and we have many different outcomes. You give many different students the permission to be themselves. And I think when you make the mission of a school so narrow, it really creates I think, narrow results.

Mary: (19:34)
Let's take it outside of the school. How would you see that? And maybe through the lens of finances or maybe not. I mean, if there's a financial piece, great, but like how can we make those change makers believe in something like that outside of school, maybe I'm starting with mom or dad or, or back in that culture, like when you were talking about with your parents and like their immigrant culture. So just shifting the lens a little bit back towards like how kids are going up in the home, because I mean, you know, this better than I do the home and school, that is where everything happens for whatever they consider home and whatever they consider school, that's where their time is. And that's where, that's where we're going to make Changemakers if we're going to.

Chidi: (20:21)
Yeah, I think, and again, as you alluded to, I'm going to be a parent. So I'm, this is like a, a new world for me. I would say I would go back to what my high school did to me, and then find ways to port that into my life. So meaning, meaning how do I give my children their permission to dream wildly? And so how do I center critical? How do I sent her social, emotional learning in that way? Uh, that may mean the kind of trips we do, the way we talk to our children, right? It may mean things that we value. And if you don't value things like that, creating a kind of mindset, hopefully that will allow them to when they're in the world to have the armor, to dream wildly. And to know that because when they come back to home base that we're not just transactional, like we want you to be a doctor, lawyer engineer, but we want you to be a good person, a one who is spreading light and enjoying the world and being mindful of who you are and where you are and things like that.

Chidi: (21:30)
Like that's our north star. The hope is that that gives them the runway to fall down and get back up. And it gives them the way to hopefully see that their finances, that the beauty is that my wife's not here, but the beauty is that my wife and I, we, we don't do things for money. We're not like this material. We're just not, we, we really truly value justice and love, right? And we hope to instill that in our children. And so they don't think that, oh, success means the paycheck. Like I thought, but success means how, how am I, how am I in my small and large way promoting justice? How am I in my small and large way promoting love? I hope that they see that. And that may mean a fat paycheck. It may mean that I'm in the wrong money, but it may mean that after the struggle for a little bit, to get to where they feel that they are comfortable because we don't value money, we don't value like money equally success, that they can be comfortable in that space as they figure out. And so that's the hope.

Mary: (22:26)
That was Chidi. He shares a lot with us about his socialization experience growing up in an immigrant household and the impact schools can have on socialization. Now let's go over and listen to David and John. David and John are the voices behind debtfreeguys.com and queer money podcast. The goal is to help queer people and allies live fabulously, not fabulously Brooke as certified LGBTBEAs. They represent the queer voice and both personal and business finances. Their goal is to connect LGBTQ plus people with the information and services they need. So they and the queer community can do more and be more, they join us to share their expertise experience and contribute to our socialization conversation. Let's go over there now. So tell us how you got started with the podcast and, you know, like your business and how that came into being. Sure.

John: (23:28)
So the quick and the dirty of it is that about a year and a half after David and I got together, started dating some 18 plus years ago. We finally had a come to Jesus moment about our financial situation. And we realized that we were between the two of us in $51,000 of credit card debt. And, uh, the irony was that at the time we had about 15 years of experience in financial services, helping other people with their money, but we weren't helping ourselves. But to answer your question, after we came up with a plan to pay off our credit card debt and toward the end of paying off that debt, we thought between our personal experience and our professional experience, we have a slightly unique perspective when this major problem that a lot of Americans have, and maybe there's a way for us to be able to help people with our particular experience.

John: (24:15)
And so we kind of had a couple of ideas of how we would do that. We eventually landed on blogging because that was very popular at the time. And we started to do that. And the first year we were blogging, maybe the second year we were blogging, we decided to go to a personal finance bloggers conference called fin con it's an annual money nerds conference. And, um, we went to that in 2015 in Charlotte. And there were about 900 people there at that time and was very eye opening to us because you're open to that point. We were just like keyboard warriors, doing all of our work behind the scenes. And we didn't really, we knew some people from Twitter and Facebook, but we didn't really like, know what they were doing and their various niches and all the different ways that they were serving their various audiences.

John: (24:58)
And we were struck by how there were all these different niches. There are bloggers talking to their military spouses. There were Christian families. There were the busy moms and working moms, and they were all talking to their respective communities about personal finance. And there was nobody talking to the LGBTQ community at that time. And up until that point, David and I never hid that. We were a gay couple. It was very obvious, but it wasn't part of our platform, so to speak. And we noticed this and several people told us that, Hey, nobody's talking to the queer community, you're a gay couple. Maybe you should take the Baton. And we went back home and we thought about that. And we thought somebody should talk to our community because we know why we got into debt and the struggles that we had to get out of debt.

John: (25:44)
And we know a lot of friends who have similar experiences. And so if our circle of influence has that challenge, there may be as, uh, a national problem that we can maybe help more people. And so we thought, well, how could we go gay? And the first idea we came up with was, well, podcasting was just starting to get traction at that time. And we thought maybe we'll kind of go into that realm. And then we had a couple of versions of the podcasts, but eventually we landed on queer money. And that was now it's over five years ago. Right?

David: (26:13)
Right. Actually it's, uh, five years ago this week, our very first episode was June 3rd, 2016. Actually the current iteration is the very first episode was June 3rd, 2016. So it's actually, so it's an anniversary. It's a five-year anniversary yesterday. So yeah, we should have had wine.

Mary: (26:33)
Wait, who remembered the anniversary and who forgot the anniversary. That's the important question.

John: (26:37)
I knew it was the five years. She's trying to start that fight, that we can have. I'm just a little bit better with numbers than John. Yeah. David's a numbers person. I'm a words person. I think that's, that's part of the reason why I think we do well with what we do and why we are able to spend all of our time together work together is because we balanced each other out in some pretty fun and some pretty crazy ways.

Mary: (27:04)
Going to back to something you said, and talking a little bit more about the queer money podcast, your podcast, you actually had an episode recently where you talked about how a lot of people in the LGBTQ plus community get into debt. And that's like living up to that lifestyle and trying to fulfill that stereotype that like, oh, we live this beautiful way. And one of the things that you especially mentioned that starts us on the socialization tracks. So I really hope we can dive into it a little bit more with that. A lot of that desire to fulfill that stereotype comes from compensating and childhood and whatever happened in that person's childhood. And I know that we can't take that too far into financial socialization, but I think it's a great place to start and the socialization conversation. So tell me more about that. We can just get started there.

John: (27:57)
Yeah. I think maybe the best place to start in that area is maybe our personal experience. Dave and I both, as we said, maybe on that, even that particular episode, we came from times and places when it wasn't okay to be gay. And so we've said this before, even before we're, we're born, you know, the minute that our parents know that they're going to have a child, there are people projecting on us. These expectations of what they think of perfect life for us will look like, oh, it's a boy. Oh, he's going to be great at basketball. He's going to be great at football where he's going to race cars and drive Tonka trucks and all that stuff. Um, and then, and for girls like, oh, we're going to, let's get all this like pink. We need to get all this, uh, blush and bashful all throughout her bedroom.

John: (28:39)
Right. Cause she's going to love pink. Right? So they sort of forced us into these stereotypes and that's even before we're born. And then when we're born, they try to have us live up to those stereotypes. And that can kind of continue throughout our lives. Right. Because mom and dad might expect that we're going to be a doctor or a lawyer or follow in their footsteps. So we're kind of feel forced to live up to these expectations. And then when we don't meet those expectations, they kind of over 18, 20 years, it kind of slowly chips away at us. And so we've got, especially if you're, if you're different, especially if you're, you've got not only your, in many cases, your family telling you that being LGBTQ is wrong, whether it's directly or indirectly to you, you've got churches, institutions, politicians, schools, maybe, even your teachers are saying that indirectly or directly.

John: (29:27)
And sometimes indirectly is just as bad as, as directly. And you grow up and you're finally 18, 25 years old out on your own. And you have all these limiting beliefs about yourself and about what you're worth and about what you can accomplish. And sometimes people sort of try to satiate that and make themselves feel better with their spending. We also see that expressed in drug and alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and all sorts of other areas. It's not just spending. And it can be a combination of things as well. And on top of that, most parents or most people, as you said earlier, aren't comfortable talking about money. We're sort of all expected to grow up and know how to do money. And nobody teaches us. We don't learn it in school. And so you kind of have all these factors sort of just this confluence of, of circumstances that just are right for financial abuse when you grow up.

David: (30:22)
Also, it's just amazing the society we live in today, right? I mean, if you look at who do kids want to grow up and be today, they want to grow up and they want to be Instagram influencers. They don't want to be doctors and firemen. And I could say policemen, but there's a lot of reasons why people might not want to be a policeman. Right. But you know, all these kids today, they want to be influencers. And why do they want to be influencers? Because these influencers, they get all this free stuff. Right? People send them stuff and they open up boxes on their Instagram feed or YouTube or Twitch or whatever, you know, whatever they're on, you know, and they all want this kind of exaggerated lifestyle of what it's like to be Insta famous. Right. And that is, I think is kind of almost an exaggeration of what people in general deal with on a regular basis.

David: (31:16)
Right. We all want to impress everyone, right? There's this whole idea that if I look successful, I must be successful. I mean, that's why you see people in LA driving 60, $80,000 cars, but four of them are living in a one bedroom apartment. Right. It's because they want to project to everyone else that they're fabulous. Right? I'm amazing. I'm a good person. If I look this way, if you see me on this particular Instagram theater or Facebook feed doing this or that you're going to want to be me. I want everybody to be jealous of me because then they think I'm successful. And for most of us that is trying to fill a hole inside of us that wasn't taken care of when we were young because of some social circumstance, right? Whether that's you grew up in an abusive family or you had issues with kids at school, or you are an LGBT person who has always felt othered by society. It's really easy to just get out that credit card to swipe it. And to March out there in front of all those people and say, look, it I'm a good person. I'm the kind of person you're all jealous of. There's nothing wrong with me. There must be something wrong with you,

Mary: (32:40)
Nothing wrong with me, that something wrong with you. That's like the line that you give, when you go on bad dates,

John: (32:47)
That's as time. It's not me this time is you

Mary: (32:51)
Going into the home a little bit deeper and how kids kind of receive all this information? How can we shift that? How can we shift the perception? Maybe of course, there's other factors like other kids in school, but in the home, how can we change that conversation away from the Instagram influencer and what you can visibly see is overdone and exaggerated too. You know, you'll financial freedom is actually just your own and how can we get kids started on that so that they don't have to wait until, you know, that whatever age I was like, nobody here probably wants to talk about their age, but whatever age they are, when they discovered path in their life, I was about to even say mine. And I was like, you know what, no, I'm not going to say my age on here. Not going to do it.

John: (33:35)
You know, I think that's a tough nut to crack. And I think it's something that our society has been trying to figure out for years. And I think it's even harder today for the very reasons that David was talking about earlier is social media. We're just showing everybody the best version of ourselves, which is an incomplete picture of who we are and what our life is. And I think that the best thing that the parents can do today is to one, started having the money conversation with your kids early and as early as possible. Have them seeing you and your partner talking about money, doing your bills together, discussing your financial strategies, maybe when they are able to comprehend the conversation and you're at the grocery store or you're at the department store and talk about exactly, what's this transaction going on here? What am I giving this person on the other side of the counter?

John: (34:26)
And what does that actually mean? How many hours did I have to work to pay for this week's worth of groceries and to have that real life conversation with your kids. And then on top of that, reinforce to them same as television. When we were growing up that not everything that you see is reality. You're only seeing a skewed perspective. So what your friends or these influencers are posting on social media is just a microcosm of their entire life. They're not going to show the ugly stuff. Nobody wants to talk about that. So they're not going to show that. So you kind of got to explain to them that they're just getting a very narrow perspective of these people's lives. Like I think our parents had to do for us when we were growing up in the, in the television age. And I think for LGBTQ kids, I think it's even a little bit more challenging.

John: (35:11)
Um, and it might be even more challenging if you're a straight parent with a child, because the challenge that our generation has had is that the generation before us, most of them died before they were able to reach old age because many of them died through the HIV aids pandemic. And so we didn't necessarily have mentors to look up to. So to the extent that you can find an LGBTQ mentor for your queer child, who can show an and complete and holistic life, I think that'd be, that would be wonderful.

David: (35:41)
All that. I think that one of the things that's really difficult and you have to be a really strong parent to do this, but I think every single one of us would love to have it from our parents, even our parents today, right? Whether you're 25 and your parents are in their fifties or sixties, or you're six years old and your parents are in their thirties, if your parents are vulnerable and authentic, it's great to be authentic. But sometimes it's really good to hear mom or dad say, you know what? I made a mistake, this isn't the right way to do this. Let's talk about the right way to do it, right. Or mom and dad to say, we're not the best with our finances. And we're trying, right. And to actually watch your parents work at and make progress and get better with their money is probably one of the best learning experiences, financial learning experiences. You can give a child, right. Instead of just handing them stuff, debit card, credit card, or, you know, an allowance of some sort, helping them understand we've made some mistakes and we can't give you this. We would love to be able to give you all the things, but we can't because we've got a little credit card debt ourselves, and we're going to work on it as a family.

John: (37:06)
Right. That kind of thing. I think it shows a level of respect for your children that I think a lot of parents are kind of uncomfortable doing that. Your kids, even at 5, 6, 7 years old, understand that mom and dad make mistakes. And that it's good to see people fixing their mistakes because you, the, one of the best ways to learn is from learning from other people's mistakes. Right? I don't want you to make these mistakes. This is my mistake. I made this mistake. Please learn from it. Right? So if you, if, as a parent, you can do that. If you can be vulnerable, if you can help your kids that way, you're setting your kids on a really good path.

Mary: (37:48)
What I'm hearing from both of you. It's something that I think is so important. And I hope we have the opportunity to go into it a little bit. Is that through the vulnerabilities and through just sharing that this isn't the whole picture that you see, just like those very simple shifts, which are very difficult, very simple. Like when you say them quite simply, but they're actually quite difficult. It encourages children to think beyond just what they're shown. And so I'm thinking here, because I grew up in that very pink room. I literally had the entire Barbie set. I hated Barbies. I played with GI Joes, but my parents hated that. So they bought me in every Barbie you could imagine, but I never sat down and thought, why isn't there a CEO, Bobby, I literally have a horse stable, but she didn't buy that one.

Mary: (38:33)
So like, you know, I never, why isn't there a CEO, Barbie, you know, that's got anything but blonde hair. And so what I'm hearing from both of you that I think is so essential, it's just like giving the kids opportunities to think beyond what they're given in that moment. If, whether it's through being vulnerable and saying like, you can actually be, um, incorrect and it's okay. And you can think about what's next or through just, um, sharing that what you see, isn't the whole picture. And I think that that's something really incredible to highlight in what you're saying here. Yeah.

David: (39:08)
I agree with you. I think one of the other things that maybe we can throw in the mix here is our society, is it kind of seems like we're driven by happiness comes from what you get. Right. I mean, even think about it for when we're babies, right. We cry, what happens, we get a rattle, we get something stuffed in our mouth, right? Whatever. There's always some sort of physical thing to get us to calm down. Right. And I think that that kind of continues throughout our lives. If our parents can help us understand where happiness comes from, even if they're on that journey themselves, then it's good. Right. What does make us happy? And to actually have that kind of conversation with your kids, whether your kids are five or six years old, or your kids are teenagers, talk about what does really make us happy. Right. Cause I mean, I think back to the best experience I ever had as a kid was when my dad came and took me out of school one day and took me to a baseball game, all of the stuff that I got as a kid, none of that ever mattered. I always think back to that was my favorite experience with my father, but what it was, it was, it was my dad telling me he wanted to spend time with me. Right. And if we can kind of convey those kind of messages to our kids or to our partners, our spouses, that's the kind of message that I think helps us get over this idea that, okay, we don't have to have this or that to be happy. We don't have to strive to be like that Instagram feed or constantly posting pictures of ourselves to prove to everyone we're happy.

Mary: (40:53)
So members of the queer community, like we have to ask ourselves at a very young age, lots of questions about ourselves and kind of get into that place of uncovering and curiosity and just, you know, trying to be a more whole person because the world isn't telling us everything we need in that moment. And so one of the questions I really wanted to ask, maybe it's through your experiences or through some of your friends or, you know, from just, you know, some people that have shared their stories with you, what are some learning experiences or just practices? Anything that any parents of any orientation whatsoever could take from the queer community that has kids, if it has to do finances. Great. If it doesn't all right, but what could parents just take from this and be like, that's a great opportunity for me to share with my kids. Well,

David: (41:48)
I, I think that you bring up a good point that a lot of queer people have gotten used to the practice of questioning, right? Because if you grew up in a religious household, you're questioning, why is it that this doesn't make sense? Why does it not fit for me? Why do I feel different when you're at school? If you're somewhat close to the either end of the binary gender presenting spectrum, but you're not all the way there. Right. And so why is it that I feel different? Why is it not okay? Right. And I think that that's an important thing for people to ask. There are certain societal norms that have been around for decades, centuries millennia. We do need to question those. We do need to question them because we've learned over time that a lot of them aren't necessarilyr ight. Right. I think that's probably one of the biggest things is it's okay to question. It's okay to probe. It's okay to ask. And it's also okay to say, I don't know the answer. I'm just going to wait. And I, I will say that's one of the things I'm really intrigued by a lot of really young queer kids today is they're like, you know what? I'm just, I don't know if I'm, I don't know if I'm non-binary I don't know if I want to present as male or female. And that is just something that's so refreshing is that there are they're okay. Just letting themselves incubate almost they're letting their life develop by allowing the question to unfold itself. We don't need an answer right away. As human beings, we evolved with this idea of making a quick judgment. Right? We needed it for safety. Is that an animal that might eat me? Is that hot? Or is that sharp? Or might I fall here?

John: (43:51)
A lot of those things we don't have to worry about today, but we still quickly judge. Right. And so now we have the opportunity as human beings because of the world we live in to just let it kind of happen. And it's okay to just let it kind of happen. And I think we're seeing a trend now, maybe it's maybe we live in an echo chamber, but at least the people that we work with and that we associate with, we've noticed that the parents seem to be more open to letting their kids figuring it out. We have some friends who have received some information that their children might be trans. And they're okay with that. And they're trying to have a logical conversation with their child at their child's level. Do you feel more like a boy than a girl? Do you want to wear a dress rather than pants or vice versa? They seem to be more receptive to that. And I think to David's point, let the kids ask the questions and the best in the parents can do is to be open to helping the kids ask the questions for themselves.

Mary: (44:51)
Oh wow so what I'm hearing in this is you know, lots of patience and kindess and you know, just giving the space to the kids to discover. I think we can do it, right?

John: (45:02)
Yes. And the world could do better with more kindness and patience.

Mary (45:06)
Yes, absolutely, oh my goodness of course.

John: (45:10)

Our experience is LGBTQ money - the only thing that I would maybe say is, something that we alluded to earlier, whether you are perfect at understanding what queerness is or you are perfect at understanding money, be open to having the conversation with your child and to David's point earlier, let them know, you are trying to figure out some of this stuff too. But you are willing to figure it out because you love your child, and you'll do whatever you can to make them happy and be successful in life.

David: (45:35)

I agree. 100%.

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