S4E1: Has Covid Changed Personal Finance Forever?

S4E1: Has Covid Changed Personal Finance Forever?

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Within the changing financial landscape, the needs of consumers have continuously shifted as new ways to save and invest - and new financial dangers – arise. In today's episode, we sit down with Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert at NerdWallet. As generations demand new tools to meet their needs, have financial institutions adapted enough to support the struggle? What are the new rules of personal finance under the impact of COVID-19?

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER

KIMBERLY PALMER is a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. She has been featured on the "Today" show and in The New York Times. She is also the author of three books about money: "Smart Mom, Rich Mom," "The Economy of You" and “Generation Earn.” Previously, she was a money editor at U.S. News & World Report and AARP.

Download the episode's key takeaways here.

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

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Follow Kimberly on Twitter here

 

Check out Kimberly's articles on NerdWallet.

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View Transcript

[00:00:00] Mary: Welcome to "Your World Your Money" podcast.

 

[00:00:06] Nolan: We'll be talking about personal finance issues in a genuine way, exploring how money touches every part of our lives.

 

[00:00:13] Laquita Ann: We aim to shift perspectives and change up the status quo through conversations, resources, and questions, always exploring the intersection of financial wellbeing, life, and timely issues that impact us every day.

 

[00:00:27] Mary: "Your World Your Money" is brought to you by Hangar Studios, a New York City-based recording studio, and Global Thinking Foundation USA, a global nonprofit striving to create a world free from economic abuses, and where financial empowerment and equality are realities to all.

 

[00:00:55] Nolan: Hello, money people. These are your hosts, Nolan and Mary, and we are so happy to be with you today. So joining us is the writer, Kim Palmer. She's the personal finance writer and expert at NerdWallet. And we're going to be talking about something we think is pretty important, pretty relevant today. Tell us what that is, Mary.

 

[00:01:13] Mary: Oh, yes, spot-on, Nolan. Today we are diving into how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected our personal finance habits and behaviors? Has it forever changed our approach to personal finance from here on out? Together with Kim, we pass through the shifts, exploring how savings spending and managing our money has been affected and how it needs to be optimized towards secure recession-proof management, no matter the circumstances.

 

[00:01:41] Nolan: That's right. We talked about a lot of things. We talk through the digitization of finance, online side hustles as a component of financial security, and other ways our financial needs are changing the rules to meet our unique situations today. So bottom line, this may not be your grandpa's financial playbook, but what translates across generations is a consistent story of personal finance wisdom and how we all pursue our own paths towards economic empowerment.

 

[00:02:06] Nolan: So Kim, welcome to the podcast. We're so happy you could be here.

 

[00:02:10] Kim: Thanks for having me.

 

[00:02:12] Nolan: Just to ground ourselves, I'd love to learn a little bit more about you. How did you stumble into the world of writing about personal finance?

 

[00:02:19] Kim: Well, I have always loved talking about money. My mom actually loves teaching my sisters and me about money, and so I've just always enjoyed it. And then I got one of my first jobs writing about personal finance and so, I never left. I just really enjoy it. I feel like it's something that can empower people and can be helpful to learn about. So it's become something I really enjoy writing about.

 

[00:02:46] Mary: And Kim, you were sharing about how your mom taught a lot about finances when you were growing up. And I want to jump into the big question to get us started because we've got these old rules of personal finance, and I want to talk about if they really still apply. So are things different now in terms of people's financial needs or the way that companies address them or are coming about them? Or are they, at the root of everything, still the same?

 

[00:03:15] Kim: I think that we've experienced two big changes. The first is that people experience the stress of going through the pandemic and the related financial strain that is placed on them. And that fundamentally changed how people think about managing their money, about saving. It just really underscored how important it is to have savings, if you can, to think about a day that you need to be prepared for when everything can suddenly change. And then at the same time, it fundamentally changed how we interact with our banks and our financial institutions, and it made people more comfortable with all of the online aspects of money management. And so in the past, some people may be held on to the importance of in-person interactions, I think we've kind of gotten over that. And now people are just comfortable going all-in with moving and managing their money online.

 

[00:04:12] Nolan: So at what point do you think we're going to be able to like suss out what trends seem to be permanent? Like what behavior changes might actually be permanent and what are just temporary situational things? Cause it seems to me the economy is pretty weird right now, right? Like we went through a stage where people savings, like their actual savings jumped in part because they weren't spending as much going out. And in part because the government was sending us some checks, which was nice. I think that that trend is kind of reverting to the mean, not reverting to the baseline, but like, do you anticipate people's savings to continue to be in like a higher percent than it was before the pandemic?

 

[00:04:50] Kim: I think so. We won't really know for decades looking back on this and analyzing it, but I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that the shifts that we've gone through in the last couple of years, and overall just people's fundamental idea that we need to be prepared for a rainy day, I think a similar shift happened back in 2008, 2009 for people coming of age then, and now people who have experienced this, especially younger people experiencing it just at the beginning of their careers and financial lives, I think that it is reasonable to guess or to estimate that it is a somewhat permanent shift, just as the great depression had a huge impact on people, you know, almost a hundred years ago. So I do think that a lot of what we're seeing a lot of the changes will be semi-permanent. And of course, we won't know that for sure, for many years.

 

[00:05:43] Nolan: So part of it's the way people are saving their money, spending their money, managing their money. Part of it is the way they're managing their like future income prospects. And you wrote a little bit about this, I think in your book, The Economy of You, which listeners you should check out this book. It's a, it's a great one. You've written a few books and we should touch on those in this episode here. But in The Economy of You, you talk about how the job you take, the entrepreneur decisions you make, large or small, can in a way, recession-proof your life. It gives you additional sources of income and allows you to be a bit more flexible based on these rainy day situations that happen. Can you talk a little bit about that?

 

[00:06:24] Kim: Yes. And actually the whole idea for that came out of what happened in 2008, 2009, which I do think has a lot of parallels to now where you realize that all of a sudden everything can change. So for anyone that didn't personally experience it back then. I mean, suddenly there were less jobs. We had just all kinds of uncertainty around the economy and it made people realize that we need to really build our own financial security and for a lot of people, the answer or the way to do that is from launching your own entrepreneurial spirit and having side gigs, and side hustles, and not depending just on one job. And I think something similar is happening now where people are feeling firsthand, how important it is to really build your own financial security and not rely on any one thing or one job to have it there for you.

 

[00:07:17] Mary: I love that we're talking about entrepreneurial spirit because I think that that's something that— we often talk about entrepreneurship is something entirely separate. And we don't think about the actual spirit behind it and how that shows up in our jobs. As I was listening to you, I'm hearing, we're talking about 2008, when people were really focusing on side hustles, we're talking about now, and I'm also thinking about the next generation, where side hustles and selling things online and having an online presence through social media that actually has an income is becoming much more normal. It's becoming much more of a norm. So how do you see this trend shifting, whether it's saving behaviors, how do you see it changing consumer patterns, especially when it comes to post-pandemic when we're all really going to, hopefully, be coming back into a new economy or a shifted economy?

 

[00:08:08] Kim: Well, I think people are just craving a feeling of security in all ways, including financial. And so what that means on a practical level is wanting to build up that emergency savings fund through whatever means you need. And that might mean having a side hustle because maybe, your regular income is going towards all the bills that's all spoken for. So if you want to have an extra emergency fund, you need to figure out a way to augment your income. So I think it just means people are being more creative about how to build that financial security because it's something that is, it's so important to have, as we've all experienced firsthand. And at NerdWallet, we've done some surveys on how people feel about this. And, you know, a lot of people did have to turn to their emergency funds. They had to turn to their credit cards just to get through the pandemic and people will remember that feeling and they'll want to be more prepared next time.

 

[00:09:05] Nolan: So I, I'm curious if you see a generational divide here, in terms of how people approach that question. And one thing I'm really curious about is you write about personal finance, as you think up these articles at NerdWallet. When you're doing that, do you have in mind an audience, do you think, oh, this is going to land better with the gen Z crowd instead of the gen X crowd? So two-part question, what do you think the generational divide is on this? And then the rules of personal finance— how are they communicated differently, based on that generational divide?

 

[00:09:36] Kim: Oh, that's such an interesting question. I think, so to answer the first part, absolutely. I mean, there's such a huge generational divide and I think that part of it just comes down to how we think about money and the comfort with being all virtual, all online, not needing to actually see and spend cash, but to just— fully online banking is something very comfortable to a lot of young people. And so I think there's for sure, a huge shift, even just the prevalence of peer-to-peer apps like Venmo or PayPal and sending money that way instead of using cash, I think that's a huge change and it's a change also in mindset, not just how we're using money because it affects how you think about it, how you think about how much you have to spend, because it doesn't just depend on what's in your wallet.

 

[00:10:21] Kim: And so the second part of your question, I mean, I really get so many of my ideas from my friends and my personal experiences, and now from my kids who always are asking for money from me. So that's where I usually think— I'm writing for my friends and, you know, people I know who do text me questions all the time related to money. So I get a lot of ideas from those times.

 

[00:10:44] Nolan: Because the point I'm getting at, I guess is, and this might be a, uh, a half-baked thought here, but it seems to me there was the rules of personal finance and there was a lot of consensus around what those rules were, and they were communicated in kind of a, a coherent uniform way, regardless of the setting. It could be a book about how to manage your money. It could be, you know, just how we are communicating like healthy credit card habits and behaviors, and online articles and things. And it just seems like things are changing in unpredictable ways now. And you mentioned about how people are expecting new services and using FinTech in new ways. And I just, I feel very unsettled about, maybe the rules of personal finance aren't as uniform as they used to be. And I'm not really sure how to communicate the fact that sometimes they're different based on your life situation. Does that make sense?

 

[00:11:38] Kim: Yes, it totally makes sense. And I think you're right. I think it used to be very straightforward and basic rules that sound very black and white. Like don't have credit card debt or stick within your budget. A lot of those rules have just been turned on their head. So for example, it's not always bad to use a credit card. I mean, there's a lot of ways a credit card can be very helpful and beneficial. And a lot of people don't like the idea of a budget. They need to think about it in a different way, like having a spending plan. And so I think that all the rules have kind of just gotten thrown out the window and a lot of people have to write their own rules and figure out what works for them. And like you said, people's experiences are so vastly different. And the pandemic certainly underscored that. How, you know, some people, 35% of Americans say that their situation got worse, 25% say it got better. There's such a divide and people need to have their own rules for themselves based on their own experiences, because what makes sense for one person really might not for another.

 

[00:12:42] Mary: I'm really curious, as I'm listening to you, who do you think is writing those rules right now? And just to give a little bit of why behind the question, I think about how many people during the pandemic, you know, gen Z that were in intergenerational homes, maybe with parents that are older millennials and then their grandparents and people that were in homes with parents that are going to be younger millennials. So who's writing these new rules?

 

[00:13:11] Kim: It's a good question because I think in a lot of cases, I mean, there's not one person. And now what we're seeing is people turning to online resources, to people sharing money ideas on TikTok and Instagram, and people just writing their own rules. So I don't think there's one universal source and maybe there never was. But I think it really speaks to just how people need to do their own research and really not follow any one guru blindly or one way of thinking blindly, because what makes sense for one person can just be so different. Maybe it makes sense for you to apply for a credit card and use it and rack up travel rewards, and then go on vacation. That could be the best choice for you, for someone else using a credit card. That way it could cause them to build up debt and it could be something that's stressful and a strain. So I really think that we need custom advice. And a lot of times that comes from friends and family, it comes from finding online help that you feel caters to your situation.

 

[00:14:18] Nolan: I think that makes a lot of sense. I'd go even one step further. Make sure you're not getting your advice from just one person, but also be aware of if you're in some kind of echo chamber or bubble of information and feedback loop. Because when we're talking about people using their money in new ways, expectations around how they can use their money, there's a little bit of an elephant in the room here in that in the past two years, people started using their money and like radically different ways, right? Investing on apps like Robin Hood and getting into the meme stock craze. And obviously crypto is now huge, and some people are deep into that world, some people are very against that world. And I see a trend where people just kind of go into their media bubbles, their echo chambers, and they don't necessarily get a balanced view of these things, the big topic. But how do you see that? Just in terms of the information people are receiving and seeking out and how to make sense of it all?

 

[00:15:15] Kim: Absolutely. I mean, I think that goes well beyond just the financial world, but it is so easy because we are selecting our preferences and social media and clicking on certain things. Then that leads to us seeing, you know, the next related thing, instead of seeing a real diverse array of perspectives. So I think what it means for consumers is that we have to seek that out ourselves. We have to look for the other side of things. If we get some idea for some financial move or some financial product, that sounds amazing, well, let's do a little research on that first, before jumping on board, and make sure we're making really informed decisions. And it is harder. I mean, it means you have to seek out that information yourself.

 

[00:15:58] Mary: We've been talking a lot about this new online experience and Nolan you had asked about this great divide. And the great divide that I keep hearing that I want to talk a little bit more about, if we fill up for it, is around this complete shift. Now that we're moving into online banking and banking on apps. And during the pandemic, obviously, you couldn't go into a brick and mortar location. You couldn't go into a physical location for a banker and investment firm at any financial institution. And to me that has created a massive divide because when I think about how people fluctuate back and forth, we talked a little bit about, maybe you want to go into a bank, maybe you don't, maybe you want to have the personal connection, maybe you don't, but we now have this fundamental shift where most of our banking is done online and now the offerings have even started to change as well. And so, just to spend a little bit more time here, I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on how that shift is going to change as more generations move into this completely digital native space, this banking that, and investing in, in this operating in the financial world that is purely, completely digital, and how those offerings are actually completely different from what their parents or their grandparents might even know about. So if this is where they're getting their rules, there's no playbook from the people that they're getting the rules from. Does that make sense?

 

[00:17:24] Kim: It totally makes sense. I think one thing to consider though, is that even though the way that we're managing money, of course, is radically different than it was a generation ago or further ago. The fundamentals really haven't changed much. I mean, of course, the specific rules that we're talking about have changed, but the big picture, so the whole concept of spending less than you earn, trying to set aside a certain amount each month from every paycheck, thinking ahead about what financial needs you might have coming up, saving for some big goal. I mean, all of that is stuff you can still talk to your parents and grandparents about, and it will sound very familiar to them too.

 

[00:18:10] Kim: So I think that there are some things that we have in common that we can focus on and still. Takeaway valuable lessons, but at the same time, you're right. I mean, the specifics have changed. And so that can be hard and it can make it harder for young people to know what to do and know how to make these decisions.

 

[00:18:29] Kim: And I also think our financial world has just become so much more complicated too. So there's a lot more to learn and a lot more to understand. I also think the risk of scams has really risen with so much of a shift online. So that's a dark side too, that I think can really trip people up.

 

[00:18:48] Mary: That young people are also falling for. I'm sure a lot of people heard that and they're like, oh yeah, my parents fall for this all the time. Young people are also falling for those too.

 

[00:18:57] Kim: Absolutely.

 

[00:18:59] Nolan: Sure. I mean, it can come in different forms, right? But I mean, there's a heck of a lot of people investing in like crypto coins that like, maybe you shouldn't be investing in. And when it becomes worthless the next day, like let's call that what it is. It's a scam. And I don't, you know, not everyone always wants to hear that, I suppose. There's a divide question that we're, that we're kind of circling around that I want to ask you about, Kim, and you've written about some of this before, like back to the generational divide, but also in terms of how people see their personal finance needs, which is there's a sense in the younger generations like millennials, gen Z, that the economic situation is different now. That we are more economically precarious, we don't have as much savings. On top of that, everything we want in life is just way more expensive. Top of mind is housing, right? A lot of people want to be able to afford a house and just have this sense that like, it's not going to be possible. And I see this sentiment expressed a lot from young people in the context of personal finance, which is, I can't, I can follow all the rules, I can set aside X percent of my paycheck. I can, I can save, and I'm just never going to be able to afford the life that I want. And how do you respond to that? Because I'm pretty sympathetic to that worldview. It just seems like there's a bit of a gap between we shouldn't be encouraging risky behavior in terms of how to like, well, throw all your money into a YOLO bet and see if you can afford that house one day. But we also want to show sympathy to the fact that yes, situations are different now, and you see what I'm getting at? How, how do you communicate that to people?

 

[00:20:44] Kim: Well, it's so hard. There's really not an easy answer at all. Or something that can make someone feel like everything is totally okay because there's no way around it. I mean, we're dealing with a lot of hard things and it's not easy to get the life you want or think you deserve or, you know, want to be able to afford. So I think it has to do with just prioritizing and picking what's most important to you. Maybe you want a house, but you're flexible on which exact neighborhood it's in, or maybe you even want to consider moving to a different part of the country that's more affordable. I mean, there are ways if you can be more flexible with what exactly you want to make it happen, but it's really hard. And I think it has to do with really picking out the goals that are most important to you, and then just taking small steps toward getting there. It's not going to happen overnight. It might take a while or longer than you wanted, but you just have to focus on taking those small steps to get a little bit closer to whatever that goal is.

 

[00:21:45] Nolan: That rings true. The time component element to it. I think there's sometimes an expectation of like, okay, if I just take these financial steps now, next year, I'll be able to afford a house. And like, well, sometimes it takes a little bit longer and, but you can, you can plan that out. You can make a five-year plan, a ten-year plan, and it's hard. I don't always have the patience for it, but I do think that's probably a fundamental consistency in how to convey this kind of advice— is like, things take time. Long-term plans take a long time, but they are worth pursuing anyway.

 

[00:22:19] Kim: I think so for sure. And also just being flexible in what exactly that end goal is. And if you can tweak it a little bit, so it's more affordable, maybe it can happen sooner.

 

[00:22:31] Mary: As we're talking about buying houses and these things that when I hear them, the rules we're talking about, you know, following these new rules of personal finance. But to me that, that still sounds like the rules that my mom and dad followed. They still wanted to buy a house. We're talking about deferring that role a little better, shifting it, but to me it sounds a lot still like my parents or the generations that came before.

 

[00:22:57] Mary: And the reason I mentioned that is because I think about gen Z, and as much as I want to call myself a zillennial, I am older than that, I am not a zillennial, so the gen Z-ers that I know have quite different values and quite different goals, even from what I have. And so my question here is what types of values do you see gen Z bringing that might really change some of these rules of success? Or the stereotype of success that we see that determines the rules we follow in personal finance in order to achieve whatever this the success is that we've been told is the goal?

 

[00:23:40] Kim: Wow, that's such a big question. I'm not even sure I know where to start with that. I don't know, help me out, what do you think?

 

[00:23:48] Nolan: I mean, it gets to what we're talking at here, which is, I mean, I think in a sense the fundamental rules do still apply, right? There's value in saving money in, in making sure you, you have that rainy day fund for unexpected events and appreciating compound interest and the benefits that can accrue over time. But there's just this sense, and I'm very sympathetic to it that like gen Z and, you know, millennials, it's just different now, that the economic situation is different. And I'm pretty open to the idea that they're entering this with different values. And the conversation feels like it's changing in a way, but in a way that I feel a little, I don't quite have a grasp on it.

 

[00:24:33] Kim: Hmm, I think you're right too, that even though a lot of the financial products have changed in the specific roles that we were talking about earlier, when it comes to how to interact with those products, the fundamentals are still consistent. And so I think that's something that we can keep going back to too, especially thinking about how to help gen Z just, you know, navigate all of this. But I do think that you're right, the fundamentals are pretty solid.

 

[00:25:03] Nolan: So can I bring financial literacy into this? We kind of have these established rules of what financial literacy is and it isn't, and it seems to me that maybe that could be worth rethinking a bit. And that the way in which people are increasingly using their money might check the box saying like, oh, these people aren't financially literate, they're not assessing the potential interest of these decisions in a risk-averse or healthy way. And I'm getting to the point that I think maybe it's time we rethink what the old rules of financial literacy are and how we measure it and how we can talk about it and convey it. Are you sympathetic to that at all? Or do you think that financial literacy is financial literacy and we shouldn't like bend over backward to redefine it here?

 

[00:25:46] Kim: No, I am sympathetic to it. I think that financial literacy is so critical. And I actually think we've seen some really positive shifts just to, before we get into the specifics, as you were bringing up of what actually we should teach in financial literacy, I think we've seen some positive shifts just in the value, people valuing financial literacy more and acknowledging that it does need to be talked about. And, and even taught in schools, which is a somewhat controversial topic, and some states are addressing it right now and passing new requirements. And I think in general, that's a pretty positive step because not all young people get to talk about that with their parents. You know, not all parents are taking an active role in giving them lessons because a lot of parents, you know, aren't comfortable talking about this stuff themselves. And so I think it is something where the schools can step in and play a bigger role. And then in terms of what they're teaching, you know, I think with financial literacy, especially among the younger, as you're teaching the younger, younger kids before you get into high school and college-level financial literacy, nothing has really changed in that regard. It's about like wants versus needs and you know how to set up the idea that there's scarcity when it comes to money. So you have to make hard choices. I don't think much has changed there. I think a lot has changed, and this speaks to your point about the specific financial products and what people need to know, has totally changed. And so that's where you'd see some big differences in what's taught at more of like the college or advanced high school level.

 

[00:27:19] Mary: And I actually want to build on what Nolan was saying, and I do want to single out the millennials and gen Z when I say this, because to me, this is something really positive, when I think about the values that they have and how they're coming to financial literacy, they're bringing all of their voices along the way. So when we talk about emergency fund, something that keeps coming up for me, when I think about younger generations is a lot of young people have been raised by a community. They have multiple generations in their family. Emergency fund isn't anything for them, a family emergency fund is something that's important to them. And that's something fundamentally different, at a bank, than an emergency fund for just you. And so I think that gen Z is bringing a lot more voices and actually shifting some of these goals and some of these rules that we're starting to even see in institutions. And that might take us down a slightly different track, but I'm seeing a lot of these trends with gen Z. My favorite one that I see with gen Z has, is they don't want to own a house, but they want generational wealth. Well, what does that look like? How do you teach for that? How do you shift the products that are offered in order to, to reach that goal? Instead of saying, oh, we don't want a house. We don't want to get a mortgage. You're talking about generational wealth and you're talking to a 19-year-old. It's like, yeah, that's what I'm talking about. And it was like, okay, got it, cool.

 

[00:28:39] Kim: For sure. We have found that people coming to our site too, are so interested in building wealth and what that means. And I think it's such an interesting question. And, you know, for some people it does mean buying a home, for others it's more about investments or starting a small business. There are so many ways to define it, but I do think that's a fascinating area.

 

[00:29:00] Nolan: We've touched on all the FinTech implications here that like people are using banks and their apps in new ways, not just that, but like they're learning how to manage their money using apps and using that in new ways, I've been seeing a lot of ads for like Greenlight recently and trying to encourage parents to encourage their kids to manage their money via this way. And it just seems like the FinTech space is opening up a lot of options for people in the approach and perspectives that they take. And from my vantage, I think NerdWallet for instance, is like a really helpful, not arbiter, but just like conveyor of information here in that, otherwise there's so many options. There's so many apps, there's so many ways people can use their money. And it's important to have those kinds of like independent publishers where you can go and be like, how do I make sense of this all and what makes sense for my, situation? How do you see the role of NerdWallet, I guess, and like your work specifically in terms of like simplifying what seems to be a rapidly expanding space here in terms of options? Is that a continued need?

 

[00:30:09] Kim: Absolutely. I think our goal is really to help bring some measure of clarity to making these challenging financial decisions and helping people walk through that. How do you choose the best credit card? How do you decide whether to refinance or which mortgage company to go with? I mean, all these things, people are making choices all the time and we want to help them make sure they're as informed as possible. And I think there's just so much demand for that and that we're seeing that consumers are really, they're doing the research themselves and looking up that information, they don't want to just talk with friends and family first. They want to make sure they're getting more information, all that they can access. And it's so easy to do those searches online. So, yes, I think it's a huge shift. And as a result, you know, huge demand, a thirst for that kind of information.

 

[00:31:01] Mary: So Kim thinking about this conversation we've had around gen Z and millennials, and really hyper-focusing on this younger generation, I'd love to talk about the generations that are retiring to balance this out a little bit. So during the pandemic, we had a lot of people that either had to delay their retirement, or they had to retire early. Like they were forced to retire early, not like they thought about and like, ah, okay. No, like they had to. And so we're seeing this happen at the same time as a lot of young people resigning. And I want to talk a little bit about like the larger trends that are regarding personal finance, especially for these generations that are having to face retirement, whether it's voluntary, well, it's all voluntary, but whether they're really excited about it or not.

 

[00:31:49] Kim: Yeah. I mean, it's a huge issue for sure. I think that a lot of people, like you mentioned, they did have to retire earlier than they planned, and that of course can place so much financial strain on their money. I think one kind of saving grace here is that because of the pandemic and all that's happened, it also is easier in some ways, to continue to find part-time work, work on a contractual basis, and to work remotely. And so I think that's opened up a lot of possibilities for after you quote unquote, "officially retire." You can actually keep working just maybe in a different way, maybe even in a totally different field. And I think that's a huge trend that we've seen and it's something that can really help people out financially.

 

[00:32:37] Nolan: You brought it up earlier about how a component of the personal finance conversation that is there, but sometimes it's not explicitly stated is flexibility, right? Like you can plan for a certain type of life and your financial needs in that life, but you can also be flexible and maybe you can move to a place with lower housing costs. I think for a lot of people, they hear that and be like, well, okay, yeah, but I don't want to move. I have a life here, family here. There's a limit to get— to what you just said. I think we're under-appreciating the impact that remote work will change a lot of this and that if remote work increases by say 10%, which I think is plausible in the future, like that opens up doors for people in ways that we're not fully appreciating right now. And I'm curious about the second and third-order effects that has in the personal finance conversation, because if it becomes just so much more normalized to be like, well, I'm paying too much money here in the city, I'm going to move out to my uncle's ranch in Idaho and do the same job, earn the same income, I think that will change the way in which we view the traditional rules of personal finance. You see what I'm getting at there? Is that there's an element to this that is oftentimes not brought up, but it seems to be the trend currently in terms of what options are available.

 

[00:33:57] Kim: Absolutely. I think that we've seen a lot of talk about kind of the, obviously the downside, the negative impact that pandemic had on people's job options and people feeling that they needed to resign, but there is a flip side and I'm not minimizing all of that negative aspect, but there is a flip side too, that's positive, which is that for people that want to work in a certain place or want to work remotely, the options have really opened up. So many more workplaces now that do have the ability to offer remote work are doing so. And there was a lot of resistance to that before the pandemic that I've think, I think we've seen a huge shift there. And I was smiling when you said Idaho because my sister did just move to Idaho because she could, because she didn't have to be anywhere in particular. She has that flexibility. And I think a lot of people, are experiencing that, where you're just realizing, Hey, I don't have to follow the old scripts. I can pick a new place to live, where houses maybe are a little bit more affordable and just life, in general, is maybe more affordable. And so I think that is one positive thing we can take away even amid, of course, a lot of the negative repercussions.

 

[00:35:07] Nolan: Yeah, and I certainly don't want to minimize like forced into an early retirement or forced to stay on at your job longer because your investments maybe took a hit like that's real issues and people aren't in a position always to pivot on a dime, right?

 

[00:35:20] Kim: Absolutely.

 

[00:35:21] Nolan: And there's structural things too, right? You can't always like, just quit your job to take a contract job that doesn't include health insurance, because that's just not an option for so many people, too. So I, I don't want to minimize any of that.

 

[00:35:33] Kim: Yeah, I think that's really important for sure. So I'm glad that you brought that up because people have been dealing with a lot of hard things, a lot of really hard things, and we, of course, are not minimizing that by talking about some of these slivers of silver linings.

 

[00:35:51] Mary: Something that was mentioned in a New York Times article that you were featured in, that I think, applies to this, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. A lot of the generation that are retiring now, whether it's forced retirement to not, they're actually helping either their kids or their grandkids, monetarily, a lot. I don't remember the percentages from the article, but they were rather substantial. So these choices, the impact that this is having is affecting multiple generations. Do you have any thoughts on how that applies to this changing up of personal finances, post-Covid?

 

[00:36:30] Kim: I think that people who can rely on their parents for any kind of help, not just financial, but even, you know, babysitting help or making dinner, any kind of help are so lucky. And so those of us who can take advantage of that, in my case, it's my parents' babysitting help, but it's invaluable. It can help you get through a really hard time. And so I think the pandemic actually, you know, unfortunately, put a stop to a lot of the in-person help that parents were providing, grandparents were providing, to their children and grandchildren. And I'm just hoping that now we can get back to some of that because really for a lot of people in their thirties, maybe their forties, too. You're in this crunch period, and you really, you can benefit so much if your parents are able to help you in that way. And I think that that New York Times article really spoke to that and it shows how, how much of a difference that can make. It doesn't have to be money or cash. It can be helping you emotionally, being there for you, making dinner, you know, taking care of your kids. So there are so many ways that generation can help people get through the pandemic and anything hard.

 

[00:37:39] Nolan: Thanks, Kim. Thanks for being on. We really appreciate it.

 

[00:37:42] Kim: Yeah. Thanks for having me. It was so fun to talk to you.

 

[00:37:46] Nolan: So that's our show. Thank you so much for tuning in. We appreciate you. And we appreciate Kim for spending time with us. To follow along with Kim's work, follow her on Twitter @KimberlyPalmer. That's @KimberlyPalmer. And we mentioned this before, if you haven't yet, consider taking our first-ever listener feedback survey. We genuinely want your opinions about the show, what kind of episodes and guests that you like. That's available at ywympodcast.com/survey. That's ywympodcast.com/survey. And we appreciate you and your time. So the first 30 participants receive a $5 gift card as a way of us saying, thank you for doing this. And you'll be entered into a larger giveaway to potentially earn even bigger prizes. So thank you so much. We appreciate you doing it. Take care.

 

[00:38:39] Nolan: You've been listening in with Your World Your Money. You can find us at ywympodcast.com and stay updated on Instagram @GlobalThinkingFoundationUSA.

[00:38:50] Mary: Our podcast is produced by Amber Yang and Hangar Studios, and fact checked by Tb Bui.

[00:38:55] Laquita Ann: Be sure to rate and review us, and you can reach us with questions, feedback, and topics, suggestions at hi@ywympodcast.com.

[00:39:06] Mary: Many thanks again, to Hangar Studios and Global Thinking Foundation USA.

[00:39:11] Nolan: And thank you for joining us. We'll talk to you soon.