personal finance

S5E7: 6 Pro Tips for Women Buying Cars on Their Own

Buying a New Car

Buying a new car on your own? Here's how to prepare.

In this episode, we’re tackling a topic that’s close to many of our hearts and wallets: buying a new car. Now, this might seem like a straightforward task. But if you’re a single woman or simply buying a car on your own, it can feel like stepping into a time machine.

For instance, did you know in the United States, women buy 62% of all new cars and influence 85% of car purchases? Yet, despite these numbers, many car dealers still seem to be playing by old rules.

In fact, I recently came across a Yale study that’s quite revealing. It found that on average, women are offered higher list prices for cars than men – to the tune of about $200 or more.

So, why is this happening? Indeed, there are probably many reasons for this price gap. However, the bottom line is when it comes to buying a new car, being prepared is key.

On a personal note, I must admit my husband is the car guy in our household. He takes the lead on all our car purchases. Even though I know my way around finances, cars are just not my thing.

But I haven’t forgotten my solo car buying days either. And let me tell you, it wasn’t always a smooth ride.

I’m sharing this because I’ve been there, and I want to make sure you’re equipped with the right tools and knowledge the next time you’re in the market for a new vehicle. So, let’s shift gears and dive into some smart strategies for your next car purchase.

Episode Highlights

  • [02:28] The importance of doing your homework.
  • [04:21] What you can and can’t negotiate when buying a new car.
  • [06:21] How to find out what your trade-in is worth.
  • [07:58] Understanding your financing costs.
  • [09:46] How to avoid common negotiation pitfalls.
  • [11:36] Why you should always be prepared to walk away when buying a new car on your own.

Links Relevant to this Episode

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S3 E3: Learning to Think Like a Breadwinner with Jennifer Barrett

Learning to Think Like a Breadwinner with Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer Barrett Will Teach You How to Think Like a Breadwinner

With April being National Financial Literacy Month, my conversation with today’s guest is even more meaningful and relevant. Jennifer Barrett is an award-winning financial journalist and digital strategist with more than 15 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for personal finance. She’s currently Chief Education Officer at Acorns, a growing financial wellness startup with more than 9 million subscribers. In addition, she’s the author of Think Like a Breadwinner, a wealth-building manifesto for women, which is available for purchase everywhere books are sold on April 6.

In this episode we focus on some of the most important concepts Jennifer writes about in Think Like a Breadwinner, including:

  • The financial literacy gap in this country and its impact on women, specifically.
  • The importance of dispelling the myths that prevent many women from making good decisions with their money.
  • And the one mindset shift that will not only give women a more active role in creating their own future but can also create a positive ripple effect on every aspect of your life.

I think Jennifer’s message is so important, and I encourage all of you to read her book as soon as it’s available. I promise it will change the way you think.

Tweetable Quote

Nichole Proffitt on meditation:

Episode Highlights

  • [05:00] Jennifer and I discuss the financial literacy gap in this country and the long-term implications for women.
  • [09:17] I ask Jennifer to expand on some of the more surprising research from her book that underscores women’s general financial unpreparedness.
  • [11:41] Jennifer shares her personal story and the moment she knew she had to start to think like a breadwinner.
  • [17:47] We discuss how our experiences in childhood and the way our parents talked to us about money affects our relationship with money into adulthood.
  • [21:10] I ask Jennifer to talk about why investing is a must for women and to dispel some of the common myths that keep women out of the market.
  • [30:05] Jennifer describes the activism work she’s involved in to push for policies that better support women and allow them to step into the breadwinner role in their families more easily.
  • [39:32] We wrap up the episode by discussing how a breadwinner mindset among more women is beneficial for everyone.

Links Relevant to this Episode

Think Like a Breadwinner by Jennifer Barrett on Amazon


The Happiness Spreadsheet by Cathy Curtis

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S3 E3 Transcript: Learning to Think Like a Breadwinner

Welcome to the Financial Finesse podcast, where we’ll be discussing tips on how to handle your money and life with skill and style. Your host, Cathy Curtis CSP has been helping make finance accessible and intriguing for women for almost 20 years. You will get savvy actionable ideas, listening to her conversations with some of the coolest and smartest women on the planet. And now, here’s your host, Cathy Curtis.

00:50 Cathy: Hi, I’m Cathy Curtis, host of the Financial Finesse podcast and founder of Curtis Financial Planning, an independent financial planning firm that specializes in the unique financial needs of women. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I partner with women who take the lead in their household finances, and I help them secure their futures while getting more enjoyment from their money today. So whether you’re single, the primary earner in your family, or simply take an interest in personal financial management, this podcast is for you. 

With April being National Financial Literacy Month, my conversation with today’s guest is even more meaningful and relevant. Jennifer Barrett is an award-winning financial journalist and digital strategist with more than 15 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for personal finance. She is currently Chief Education Officer at Acorns, a growing financial wellness startup with more than 9 million subscribers. 

But more importantly to today’s podcast, she’s the author of a new book called Think Like a Breadwinner: A Wealth-Building Manifesto for Women Who Want to Earn More (and Worry Less). This book is available starting April 6, anywhere books are sold. 

In this episode, we focus on some of the most important concepts Jennifer writes about in Think Like a Breadwinner, including the financial literacy gap in this country and its impact on women, specifically; the importance of dispelling the myths that prevent many women from making good decisions with their money; and the one mindset shift that will not only give women a more active role in creating their own future, but can also create a positive ripple effect on every aspect of your life. 

I think Jennifer’s message is so important, and I encourage all of you to read her book as soon as it’s available. I promise it will change the way you think. With that, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Jennifer Barrett as much as I did. And be sure to check the show notes at for more personal finance resources.

03:02 Cathy: Jen, it’s so good to see you. I think it’s been, I don’t know, eight years. I’m reading your book. And I think I knew you back when you were in financial journalism at CNBC here. And that would have been six, seven years ago. And then you’ve changed jobs. And about your book, Think Like a Breadwinner, I love that you weaved in your own personal story and that you are so vulnerable about the things that you’ve experienced in your journey to be a breadwinner and feel power around your money. 

Jennifer: Yes. Yeah, it’s definitely been…there was a learning curve there.

03:54 Cathy: Was it hard to do that? Did you think twice about doing it that way? To be that vulnerable? 

04:04 Jennifer: Yeah. A little bit, but I think, I didn’t want it to be a preachy kind of book or the kind of book where it sounds like I’ve got it all figured out, and I’m going to tell you how to do it. It I really wanted it to be more authentic in the sense that I’m not just an expert, I’ve lived it. So, I can speak from both perspectives. And I just thought it was important because so many of us feel so uncomfortable talking about money. And a lot of women feel such a lack of confidence around managing their money, you know this. 

So I just think it’s important for us to admit that we don’t know everything, too. And we’re learning, too. And, you know, we’re all kind of part of the same journey and hopefully the destination. To get control of our finances and feel really good about where we are financially. 

05:00 Cathy: So, yes, I agree with you being relatable. And women don’t want to feel bad when, you know, they don’t want to read a book and go oh, my god, I’m terrible. I’m not doing anything right. 

Because money is so complicated. I mean, when you think about all the little acronyms you need to know, and all the tax laws that have “if yes, then do this, if no, but if that happens, do that.” And learning about all the different retirement plans, it’s a lot. So nobody needs to feel bad because they don’t know it. 

Although I think it could be better in our country, if we had more financial literacy classes, like you hear that a lot. And it never seems to happen. 

Jennifer: Oh, I completely agree. And we still have not made a lot of progress there. And I think there’s so many people who care passionately about that, and really are trying to get that implemented in school curriculums, and I have a feeling the pandemic may have put some of those efforts on hold. 

But I don’t know, either. Everyone seems to be in agreement that this is a life skill that we all need to learn. And yet I think it’s only 17 states that have it as a requirement in their high school curriculum. So yeah, there’s a gap for, you know, there’s a financial literacy gap, period. It’s not just a matter of whether you’re a woman or a man. 

But we do know, I mean, there’s research that shows that parents actually do speak to their sons differently than they do to their daughters about money. And so I think that plays into it, to where they are more apt to talk to their sons about investing and building credit. And they are more apt to talk to their daughters about saving and spending smartly. 

Cathy: And this all goes back to budgeting. 

Jennifer: Yes. And it all kind of goes back to this. You know, this old conventional model where the man was the breadwinner, the woman was the caregiver, took care of the house, you know. So being able to budget and clip coupons and count your pennies was really important if you were in that role. But those skills don’t translate as well anymore, because now women are moving into the breadwinning role. And regardless, we need the skills to build our own wealth. 

And so, there’s a lot of work to be done there, I thin—in terms of the messaging, and not just the financial literacy piece of it. 

Cathy: Yeah, that’s still stuck in the 50s. A woman at home with the apron, but managing the budget, getting an allowance. My mom was right there. She got her little allowance, and she managed it really well. You know, but my dad handled all the finances. 

But why are we still stuck in the 50s? How many years ago was that now? Really?

Jennifer: The conventional breadwinning model rose to prominence in the 50s and 60s. So it’s been like 70 years, and we’re seeing a paradigm shift in the model itself. But our attitudes have not caught up to that. Our culture has not caught up to that. Our corporate policies have not caught up to that. And so, you know, we have some ground to cover, I think, there. And it really just starts with the way that we talk to women and the way that we message them around money. 

And so, I’m not surprised at all that a lot of women actually don’t think that they need to have these skills. They think that, you know, they’re going to get married, and the man will take care of a lot of this stuff. 

08:10 Jennifer: You know this, right, because a lot of women are also really wary of investing, certainly investing in the stock market. And that is probably one of the best places to put your money in order for it to grow. And so if you are already wary of doing that, you think it may be too risky, too complex, whatever the reason is, so you put off doing that. And on top of that, you’re sort of thinking, “alright, I’ll get married, and my husband will probably be the one to manage the finances anyway.” 

Cathy: That could be an unconscious thought, too. So I want to read you a few things about how women are different from men that, as I’m reading your book, I picked them out. And women listening, I don’t mean this to be depressing. But research backs up every single one of these things, and Jennifer, you did a great job pulling in all this research out there. It’s so appreciated. I’m going to use it as a reference guide, I know it. 

09:17 Cathy: Women…

Earn 20% less than men for the same jobs in nearly every single occupation
Have lower levels of financial literacy
Higher credit card debt
Less likely to ask for a raise or promotion
Lower average credit scores
More afraid to say no to projects at work
Concentrated in the lowest paying master’s fields
Career tracks are usually things like human resources
Have less money saved at retirement: one in five women have nothing saved for retirement.
40% more likely to live in poverty in old age
Carry more student loan debt
Not invest, leave money in cash

A lot of women are more likely to tap into retirement accounts early, even though there’s penalties and tax. 

Jennifer: And I did that, like in my 20s. 

Cathy: Are less likely to take any finance classes in school. And I didn’t even write down the stats in the caretaker chapter about how many women take the caretaker role and leave work for children or older parents and therefore get retirement savings interrupted and all that. So I couldn’t help it. I read the book, and I was framing it. And I thought, there’s a lot of not good stats about women and wealth in this country. I don’t know what it’s like everywhere else. 

Jennifer: It’s not all that much better. I think Nordic countries have it a little better. They have more egalitarian policies that have held. 

Cathy: Yes, like childcare and all that. So anyway, as I’m thinking about this—I’ve been a financial advisor for almost 20 years. And I work mainly with women, and I work with a lot of single women. So I see many of these things happening. And I just keep asking my question over and over. When are these statistics going to start turning? 

And yeah, writing a book like you did with, you don’t only have the stats, you’ve got action steps in almost every area. That’s really important. So anyway, I want you to be able to talk. Talk to me more about, I know your personal story inspired you. But let’s talk a little bit more about that. 

11:41 Jennifer: Sure, well, I had my own wake up call. And that was really the genesis of the book. I was in my early 30s, I was an editor at a national news magazine, and I had a great job. You know, from the outside, it looked like I had it all together. 

But I was sharing a one-bedroom apartment with my husband and our toddler at the time. And I remember one night, when he woke up, I was kind of pacing back and forth in our bedroom trying to get him back to sleep. And I just had this moment where I looked around and I thought, we are in a completely unsustainable situation. And I don’t have the means to help us get out of it. 

And it was such a crushing moment. I mean, honestly, when I still think about it, I’m like, because I had thought I’m such an independent woman. I have a 401k, I have a little bit in a savings account. I’m paying half the bills. You know, I had credit card debt, but I was paying it down. And I thought I was sort of doing everything right. And it was in that moment that I realized I had missed a huge piece of the puzzle, which was, I was not investing for the midterm. I did not have the kind of savings that would help us buy our own place. I didn’t even have enough set aside to help us really afford to have a second child, which I badly, badly wanted. We both did. And here we were in a situation where we were about to outgrow our apartment, and I wasn’t even sure we could afford to rent a bigger place. 

Cathy: Let me stop you right there. Because what it sounds to me like, is that you realized that you had these super important goals. Having a second child and having your own place to live, which are pretty important things to me, really were at stake. And somehow those goals became paramount. So your epiphany was, oh my God, I’m not going to ever have this unless something changes. 

13:38 Jennifer: Yes. And to be fair, my husband, when we first met, his income far exceeded mine. He worked at a startup; the startup went under and he went back into journalism. So our incomes were much closer together.

And so, you know, he was contributing as well. But it did occur to me that neither of us were really prepared to buy this house. And there was no way that I could slough that off on him or assume that he would be the one to do this. What I really realized was, I had left myself in an incredibly vulnerable position, where the things that were most important to me, were now at stake because I had not taken a proactive approach to my finances to make sure that they came to pass. And that was just a huge wake up call for me. 

And then the next question was, why in the heck did I make these money choices? Like why would I ever have made money choices that leave me in this position? And as I started to really think about it, the turning point question was, I asked myself if I had been raised to think like a breadwinner. Like so many of the guys that I had dated in my 20s, who were all about, like I need to buy a house, I need to save money so I can get married, and all these things. I thought if I had been raised to think like a breadwinner, how would that change the choices I made with my money and even my career? And that was literally the turning point because I realized I hadn’t been thinking that way at all. 

15:00 Cathy: And also, you mentioned that you realized you were getting resentful towards your husband, that he wasn’t taking on the traditional bread winner role. And you realized that there’s two of you, it’s your goal too, and you decided to take the reins. I couldn’t help but thinking too when I was reading the book, that “think like a breadwinner” could be replaced by “think like a man.” And then I thought, no, that’s not it. It’s: think about how men have been raised in our culture and in our institutions and the things that they have been taught, versus the things that women were raised to think about and prioritize. 

Jennifer: Yeah. 100%. A man sort of grows up thinking, what do I want in my life? And how am I going to get it? And we may think that way about our career, but I think we’re still not brought up to think that way about our life in general. About like, this is what I want my life to look like. How much money am I going to need to make to support this lifestyle? I know that’s a question that I didn’t ask. 

I certainly, I mean, I went into journalism, no idea how badly it paid. There’s lots of men in journalism, but it’s more, there are a lot of women in journalism, and you see more men in management in journalism than you see women. I mean, women tend to be more on the reporter side, the writers, the writer track. That’s shifting, obviously. Now, there are a lot more women in management. But certainly when I first got into journalism, there were definitely more men at the top of the masthead, and those are the jobs that pay well. Or they were on the business side. And those were the jobs that paid really well. I only learned that later, of course. 

16:56 Jennifer: I moved into management shortly after I had that epiphany. And that wasn’t the only reason why, but it was a big reason. I realized, you know, these things are so important to me that I don’t want to put them at risk. And I need to get a job that pays well. And initially, I thought, well, this will be a temporary situation. I’ll move into management, and then maybe I’ll go back to writing. But once I was in that role, and on that track, I found I really enjoyed it. I loved the challenges. I loved how it sort of stretched my idea of what my capabilities were. 

It was very interesting how it actually started to shift my mindset even more in terms of what I thought I was capable of and how I envisioned my career. So in a lot of ways, that was a big step as well. 

17:47 Cathy: I think that happens to a lot of women that step up. I mean, that’s true for me. I think if women could get into more of a wealth mindset mode, breadwinner mode, combined with their personal skills that they already have in spades, right? The good communication skills, the caretaker skills, all those things, they’re gonna be unstoppable.

This is a challenge. And going back to your mindset growing up was not that you were going to be this person to build the wealth. And I’m thinking back to my childhood, because I had a little different trajectory for some reason. Wealth has always been important to me. I can’t figure out why. I’m thinking about it now that I read your book. 

But I do remember one message from my father. He always told me, Cath, you could do anything you want. He always said that. That was one of the key messages from my father, you know, the dominant male figure my life. And I’m not sure how many women are told that when they’re young? So my answer could be that my upbringing created the groundwork for me. But I know that’s not typical. And in the things I just read, the statistics about women are showing that that is not typical. 

Jennifer: That’s true. I interviewed a number of women who did have a breadwinning mindset from the beginning. And I can think of one in particular where she told me her dad actually sat down with her, taught her how to invest. He invested in real estate. So he taught her how to invest in real estate. He told her what capital was, he told her that when you have anything outside of your paycheck, that’s capital, you don’t touch it, you invest it. You leave your investment alone until you need it. 

He taught her how to separate her money into different piles for savings, charity investing, you know. So very early on, she got these lessons from her dad. And she was the oldest of three girls, and part of me thinks that maybe he was imparting the lessons on her that he might have done with a son.

20:00 Jennifer: In other cases, I talked to women whose parents divorced and the mom had been quite reliant on the dad. And after the divorce, they saw the impact on their mom and consciously decided, I am never going to allow myself to be in a vulnerable position like that. It wasn’t that they disrespected their mom, there was nothing like that. It was more like, oh, my poor mom, she ends up in this situation because she stopped working, because she wasn’t involved in the finances. They saw that unfold in front of them and how painful it was for their mom. And so they consciously decided, I am not going to do that. I’m going to take care of myself, I’m going to have my own money. And so they made very different decisions. 

And I would say I mean, my parents, I grew up in a middle-class household. Both my parents were professors of accounting at one point, so yeah, I did great in math. It wasn’t like a lack of skills. I knew about the stock market. But there was a disconnect for me between sort of knowing the stock market existed and realizing what an incredibly powerful tool it was, and building wealth from the get go and how important that was. 

21:10 Cathy: Yeah. Let’s talk about that. Because that’s a really key thing for women to understand. Because I still see women who are really afraid of investing and who keep way too much money in low interest-bearing bank accounts. And you have some stats about that in the book that that’s a true phenomenon. And, so you talk about compounding and all that. I mean, the book is such a great resource. If a woman read that chapter on why investing your money is so important, even if you just simply put it in an S&P 500 fund and let it sit for years, if you just did something as simple as that, it will change everything. 

Jennifer: Yes, because there’s no comparison. We know that, on average, the S&P 500 Index rises about 7% per year, right, on average. Obviously, some years it goes down. But you take an average 7-7.5% return, which is what it is. And then you look at a savings account, which right now is paying .05% for a traditional savings account and only like 0.4 or 0.5% for a high yield savings account. 

So we’re talking about a difference of 6.5 to nearly 7%. There’s no comparison. And when you run the numbers, and you look out five or 10 years, you’re talking about the difference sometimes of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how much money you have. And that accounts for a lot of the difference between what men have saved and what women have saved a lot of times. 

I don’t know where that comes from. But I did interview a lot of women who say that they take comfort in knowing that the money is there and accessible at any time and, so there’s definitely something in there that’s more emotional and more psychological. 

23:02 Cathy: You know that’s a really good point. When I talk to women who have that fear, they don’t understand that investing is very liquid. There’s this myth. And this is a financial literacy piece. Some people think if you put money in an investment account, you can’t get it back easily. When I realized that myth exists, it makes it a lot easier to explain that no, it’s completely liquid. You might sell when the market’s down. But you know, you can get your money out whenever you want. And you write about a lot of the myths of investing in your book, which I think is really helpful, because they’re out there and they persist. 

Jennifer: They do. We still have this idea that it’s complex and risky. And to me, I mean, I tell people this—I think you may agree—is I think it’s more risky to leave your money in savings for too long, because you don’t give it the opportunity to grow. And so if you want, certainly put some in savings. Enough to cover, you know, we usually say three to six months of expenses. 

But if you’re not investing the rest, you are missing out on all this potential growth and putting yourself at a disadvantage. I mean, right now, savings accounts pay less than the rate of inflation. So your money is actually losing value sitting in a savings account. And that’s, it’s really hard to wrap your head around that. And I get it, and I say if you’re nervous about the stock market being down, then invest in bonds or bond funds, but really almost anything has a better return than savings accounts right now. 

Cathy: Well, you know, and maybe the other thing too is, we’re talking about the now and investing now. The reason you invest is for when you can’t earn a paycheck anymore. And in this country, we don’t have as many safety nets anymore, right? The companies don’t have pensions. You know, what’s that old saying? A man is not a retirement plan? 

25:06 Cathy: Your dad is not gonna be around anymore. And so you have to think about it. And then for some women, younger women, that may seem way, way far in the future. But it takes years of compounding to get quite a chunk of money that you need to live out that—who knows how long it’s going to be, because we’re all living longer—30, 40, 50 years where you may be earning nothing or a fraction of what you’re earning in your prime working years. And so that’s that stuff that, unfortunately, women end up living in poverty. The bag lady syndrome is real still. I don’t know how many years it’s gonna take for all those trends to like, start reversing.

26:07 Jennifer: I’m determined in our lifetime. I mean, that’s my goal. I want to do everything in my power. I’m sure you do, too. I mean, to your point too, time is one of the most important factors in investing. So even if you’re investing $25 a month, if you’re 22, I mean, that money compounds. So it’s like, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or you perceive that you are and you think you can’t afford it, I would challenge anyone who says that to just put aside 5, 10, 15, $20 in investments. 

And the psychological, you know, just the benefit psychologically of seeing that money grow is so incredible. And then it serves as such an incentive to continue to do that. And you can actually see how people shift their habits. And we see this at Acorns where people sign up for roundups, and they’re usually at about 30 to $35 a month that they invest. So they sign up for just roundups, nothing else. And then they see that money start to grow. And we see after 3, 6, 9 months, they start putting more and more money in because they understand, you know, the power of compounding and the power of putting your money in. 

And also, they realize, you know, I don’t miss that. I don’t miss that spare change. I don’t miss that $35. So what’s another $5 here, or $10 there? And that is so beneficial to you to learn that lesson early on and then just start piling more money in as you can. It’s just huge to start early and have the advantage of time and compounding. And I know you know this too, but it’s like one of those things that drives me nuts when people feel like oh, no, no, I have to have a lot of money to invest. And I’m like, no, no, no, you won’t have a lot of money unless you invest. You’ve got it backwards.

27:43 Cathy: Okay, I have a story to tell you about Acorns. So I teach a personal finance class in the summer at a woman’s college here. And these are all college age and graduate level. And I’m teaching really basic personal finance, and they’re learning all new things. And one of the women told me, we were talking about savings apps and Acorns came up in the conversation—that she really likes using that app to save. 

And the other tool that I like talking about with women is Roth IRAs. You know, they fit the fear mentality perfectly for women because it’s a way to start getting invested because it’s a retirement account. So theoretically, you don’t touch it till retirement. But you can withdraw what you put in any time, without penalty and without tax, and you can invest it. And so I think it’s important to pick out things that are really easy to understand and explain the concepts and speak to those fears about not having access, or I’m going to lose it, or I’m never going to get it again. 

And the other financial literacy thing that drives me nuts is some people think an IRA is the investment. If you have an IRA, you have an investment. 

29:13 Jennifer: Yeah, you have to invest the money you put in. I actually had a conversation with someone not that long ago, where I had told her about the Roth and I was like, you should do this, you qualify. You know, like we checked her income because there is that income threshold. But then she said, oh, I had put all this money in my Roth. And I said, great, how did you invest it? And she said, I didn’t know I was supposed to invest it. It was just sitting in a money market fund. 

Because no one ever explains the second part of that. You’re like, I want to open a Roth IRA, and Fidelity or whoever says—or, you know, Acorns, we do it but we invest it for you, so we’re a little different—but in most brokerages, you open it up and they’re like okay, we’ve opened your account. And they send you on your way. And they don’t tell you, you have to invest it yourself. 

30:05 Cathy: Like the 401k. Now, there’s a default, it has to be invested. Right? It’s almost like that should happen with Roths. 

Well, let me let me ask you something. So your message is so strong in this book and so helpful. What is your plan to get the word out and the book out to as many people as possible? Are you gonna, you can’t be on the road right now, right? 

Jennifer: Okay, this my little studio, my makeshift studio. We actually just did the audio book, and I had to create a studio in our closet, which was funny.

30:42 Cathy: So you read the whole book? How was that? I’ve always been curious about that. Was it fun? Was it a drag?

Jennifer: It was fun. I mean, I’m an editor at heart. So there were parts where I thought, oh, I could have streamlined that. Or, you know, it’s hard to turn that part of you off. But it was a much more intimate, you have a much more intimate relationship with the book, when you’re reading it. And it’s like you’re talking to someone, you know, as you’re reading it. So that was a really incredible experience, because I was on with a producer and with an audio engineer, and they kept saying, you know, just imagine you’re talking to someone, you know, you’re telling them this. And so then you really kind of get into it, and you’re absorbed in the material. 

Cathy: Oh, that’s fascinating. I think this would be a great book to listen to on Audible. But I also think it’d be a great workbook where you actually write. You know, somebody that’s learning about finance actually buys a book and writes notes in it. I mean, I’m gonna buy it for me, because I want to use it as a reference guide. 

Jennifer: Yes, write in it. I encourage you to. 

31:58 Cathy: Your point about reading and editing—that’s why it’s so important. Anything you write, you read it out loud, right? 

Jennifer: So yeah, also, there were a number of things that I actually didn’t know how to pronounce. So many names. But no, it was a great experience. And so I’m doing that, I’m doing podcasts. And I mean, I’m trying to get the word out as much as I can. 

And I’ve joined some initiatives with some other women primarily, and some men who are in the space of really trying to advocate for paid leave and some of these policies that will help women better. So that’s a part of it, too. And I’m going in and speaking to companies about this, speaking to women’s employee resource groups, about this kind of stuff. 

You know, I was passionate about this before I wrote the book, but I hope that this book gives me the opportunity or the excuse to talk about it even more, though.

Cathy: It will. You have a platform now, which I’m so grateful to you for taking the time to write this because really, it’s like a manual to start growing wealth. It replaces like, I remember, there was this really thick book written. Now I’m not gonna remember the name. But I mean, it was, you know, a bomb of a book. And your book is still quite a long book. But it’s organized in such a way. And the storytelling in it about your life, and about other women and their money journeys, makes it an interesting read, which is not easy to say for a lot of finance books.

33:38 Jennifer: Thank you, I appreciate that. I did try to weave in as many stories as I could. And also the mindset piece, I think makes it more interesting, because it’s a message that a lot of people haven’t heard before. 

And just to go back to what you’d mentioned at the beginning about people being kind of embarrassed about money or not comfortable talking about it, I think we do a lot of money shaming. And so one of the things I really wanted to do with the book was to not make anyone feel ashamed of the money choices they’ve made. And help women understand that so much of it comes from the cultural conditioning that we’ve gotten, and the messaging that we got as kids. And so even if we know what we’re supposed to do, those, you know, this kind of conditioning can get in the way of that, and in a really subconscious way. 

It’s really hard to see that sometimes, you know, to understand like, why am I making these money choices, and not those money choices? A lot of us don’t stop and question that. And if we did, you know, it might take some digging to realize, oh, I put my money in savings because I’m terrified I’m going to lose it. Because maybe their parents had, you know, maybe their parents lost money or they had some experience, they were exposed to something, and so that has lodged in their brain. And so they’re afraid of investing themselves. 

So many of us carry around these stories, whether you’re a man or a woman, and it’s so important to examine those, especially if they kind of get in the way of your wealth building efforts. And it’s hard to do that on your own. 

35:00 Jennifer: I think you probably have tons of stories of people you’ve talked to because that’s part of what you do, right, is unpacking that. 

Cathy: You know, I really read your chapter on values and goals with great interest because I actually have an e-book called The Happiness Spreadsheet. And I have an exercise almost exactly like yours, where I list the 100 values. And I’m trying to get people to really think about what they want in their life. So I can so much relate to that. 

I laughed, though, because I was thinking about my book. It kind of is a budgeting book. That made me think it’s not an investing book. But one of the values is growing wealth. And I do interweave that in there a little bit. But I laughed at myself when I read that. But so I think that’s the core work for women. It’s worth figuring out where you got your money mindset from, and then doing the work to let go of that stuff. And realize who you are now. 

So many of our values could be from our parents. I mean, I even think about why I went into business, because I did the exercises in my own book. So I think I went into business because I love, my dad was on a pedestal, he was a businessman. And I turned it into a success. But as I was doing my exercises, I thought, would I have chosen a business career if it wasn’t for my dad? 

Because I love creativity. And you can make this work creative in certain ways. And that’s what you do. You compensate, once you get somewhere, because your point in the book, too, was choosing a career that can make you a living. 

36:56 Jennifer: Yes. Right. Yes, that piece is often missing in the advice that we give to women. And I love the idea of you can be anything you want. But a lot of times, and there is actual data around this, is that girls are less likely to have conversations about how they’ll be compensated in the careers that they’re interested in than boys are. 

So I mean, it all comes back to the same thing. We are still not thinking of women as breadwinners. We are still not setting up women to succeed in that role. Even though more women are moving into that role than ever before. More than 40% of moms in the country right now are the main or sole breadwinners for their families. 

So it’s happening. Whether or not they’re prepared, women are moving into those roles for a variety of reasons. We are still not preparing them for that role. And we’re not thinking about women being in that role or about their income being so critical with the policies that we have and the perceptions and biases that get carried into the workplace. And so you see that sort of play out in all these ways. 

38:00 Cathy: In your opinion, do you think that, given there’s a new administration, that there’ll be more focus on family policies that help women breadwinners? 

Jennifer: That’s the hope. Yes. We’re advocating pretty hard for that. And I do think, I mean, Biden did push for paid leave in the stimulus bill, and it didn’t end up in the bill in the form that he had proposed, which was kind of a mandatory leave. Now it’s an incentivized leave around with tax credits. And it’s really tied to the Coronavirus, not the kind of blanket paid leave that that we’re really advocating for. But I think he’s open to it. He said he’s open to it. You’ve got a lot of senior lawmakers right now talking about it. So I’m hopeful. 

Cathy: We’re the only country in the world that doesn’t have it—the only industrialized country in the world. 

Jennifer: Yeah, the only industrialized one. It’s so fascinating to me, because I studied Norway, and we’re where Norway was in the 1970s. So they implemented these policies in the 70s and men didn’t take paternity leave. So 20 years later, they completely revamped those policies and made it mandatory for men to take a certain amount of paternity leave. Or it was sort of a use it all or lose it policy. 

And they started this whole public awareness campaign to try and shift the perception of men as caregivers. And now they have one of the highest participation rates in the world for fathers and mothers. I mean, it has completely changed the game. And we would be smart to learn from their experience. But we’re still having the conversations they were having in the 1970s.

39:32 Cathy: Because we have a patriarchal society. It needs to shift.

Jennifer: It really needs to shift. And it’s good for men too. I mean, there’s so much research around the importance of men having that time to bond with their kids. Being able to be caregivers without feeling stigma or anything like that. It’s really, this is not just about women. 

40:00 Cathy: No, I know a lot of my peers in the financial world are men with young children. And one of the things I hear the most is how happy they were during COVID. Because they had to be at home, they got to see their kids and bond with their kids more. You know that must be so awful, to feel like you have to leave the house every day early in the morning, and you don’t get home till late. And you miss out on so many things that happen with your children. Good family policies are good for everybody, not just women.

40:37 Jennifer: I’ve seen it play out with my husband, because as I moved into the breadwinning role, I took jobs that had me traveling and were a little more demanding. He started working from home, and he was able to spend more time with them. And I saw how he bonded with our two sons. And I just thought, I don’t know. I was so grateful that he has that relationship with them. 

And I had this moment, this one phone call where I called my dad, I mentioned in the book where I was really stressed out, I was working really long hours in this one job. And I felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of time with the kids. And I was describing it to him. And he said to me, now you know how I felt. And I just burst into tears. It was the first time I really realized what a sacrifice he had made, certainly in his own mind that he thought would benefit us, and that we’d appreciate down the road. But he really was not around very much when we were kids. 

And you think like, I’m so close to him now. But I didn’t really get a chance to build that relationship until I was already in college and then spending like long amounts of time with him. And I just think, gosh, what he missed out on, you know, as a younger dad. 

Cathy: And what the kids miss out on not being able to get close to their dad. You cannot do that in two quick days, you know, a weekend. It takes more time than, you know, a week vacation in the summer. So all of the things we’re talking about are really good for everybody. The whole family system. So I love that. I mean, I could cry thinking about how little time I got to spend with my dad. And that creates its own set of issues where you miss somebody all the time. It’s just not, it’s not a good thing. 

42:32 Jennifer: No, and I think about, we have the opportunity now to change. That is really what it comes down to. I see how my kids are with my husband. And we’ll flip flop. I mean, I will not always be the main earner. Probably, who knows. I mean, it’s fine if I am. But I mean, just because you move into the main earner role doesn’t mean you’re there for life. 

And certainly, during the pandemic, we’ve shifted back to almost a 50/50 caregiving model, which has been wonderful. So I know what your colleagues are talking about. But I had plenty of time with them too. I feel like each of us are really getting the opportunity to bond with our kids and spend a lot of time with them. And that they really know each of us well and know that we’re accessible to them. And that’s so important. 

And watching that in contrast to how it was when I was growing up. Or even my husband and his dad. His dad was a pilot. He was never around. So I feel like we just have a tremendous opportunity here to ship that for the next generation. 

Cathy: I do too. You know, it could be so great if it was a partnership, not this, you know, the woman is the breadwinner in a marriage but also has to do all the housework. 

Jennifer: Yes. Which is what’s happening now if you look at the stats. It was happening throughout the pandemic too. And even when women earn more, as you said, they’re still doing more of the housework, the childcare. 

And it’s not all the men. I will say I will say this, that part of it is yes, the partner needs to step up as well. But I can speak from my own experience that letting go of the caregiving piece of it, even like letting go of the idea of yourself being you know, being the main caregiver. For me, my identity was so intertwined with that as a mother. I felt so deeply like that was my responsibility, that actually letting go of being the primary caregiver there for a few years was tremendously hard. 

Cathy: Really hard. And I get it in a lot of women to feel that way. I know that they want that role. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with being a caregiver. 

Jennifer: No, I mean, I think the whole problem is we aren’t valuing caregiving enough in this country. Right? And we and we pin it all on one gender, which doesn’t, you know, it’s a disservice to everybody. 

44:53 Cathy: I think it is too. You know, in my own experience, I switched careers and started from scratch. My husband was a breadwinner in those years. I built up my career, he wanted to retire because he’s older than me. I said, fine. Now I’m the breadwinner. It works so well, it’s great. Everybody gets what they want, and it creates a more loving relationship, more trusting, and it sounds like you navigated your own situation really well. And I’m sure it wasn’t easy at times. And you’re very open about it too. Because I know your husband’s read your book. So he’s fine with having a more equal paradigm in the marriage?

45:32 Jennifer: Yeah, I had him read the book proposal before I ever submitted it, because I wanted to make sure he was okay with it. And my whole point for him, too, is that this was not in any way meant to make him feel bad about not earning more. That’s not even what the book is about, at all. 

Cathy: No, it’s really about portraying a marriage that was working towards more equality so that you can both reach your goals. And give up on the princess mindset.

46:07 Jennifer: I didn’t even think of it as that. But it’s true, deep down. I don’t think I would have admitted it. But deep down, I think I was just assuming that. And he learned to embrace a childcare role, which I love. 

Cathy: I love this, what we’re talking about right now. This, it really came out in the book. So I don’t want to make this too long, or we’re gonna lose our listeners. I could talk to you all day about these things. So let me ask you this. So tell me about your role at Acorns. And also give info on how people can access your book. And any other, if you have a blog, or those kinds of things. 

Jennifer: You can go to There’s a lot of information on the book there. There’s a form you can fill out if you have questions. I do coaching too. I’m just getting my performance and leadership coaching certification. So I started coaching primarily female startup founders and senior leaders. So I do some of that as well.

Cathy: I want to hear more about that. Let’s just talk about that for a couple of minutes.

Jennifer: Sure. I mean, I’ve always been interested in coaching, and I took an intensive last year. And then as I pulled back on my hours to work on the book, of course, I have to immediately fill them with something else. So I signed up, I applied for this. It’s Brown and ACT. It’s a joint program. And it’s really focused on performance and leadership coaching, grounded in neuroscience. I thought it was a really fantastic program. And I’ve just finished all the requirements for that. 

I actually thought even if I didn’t end up coaching, it was really fascinating to do that work as I was going back and kind of looking at the book, because so much of what I talked about was mindset. So I was really fascinated to see, how do you really help to shift somebody’s mindset? You know, first you have to make them aware that they even are holding this mindset that may not be benefiting them. But then how do you actually shift it? So that work was fascinating. And I figured there’s no downside to having that. 

Cathy: I love that, how much work is being done in brain science right now. That’s fascinating. 

Jennifer: Well, so often it comes down to that, right? Because we sort of know what to do. But then why aren’t we doing it? I mean, with our health, with our money. So it’s not necessarily a lack of information. Sometimes it’s the lack of knowing where to go for the right information. But so often, it’s a behavioral issue. It’s there’s some blocker, some mental blocker that is keeping us from taking the steps we know we need to take. And so I thought it was really important for me to dig into that. 

Cathy: You’re gonna write another book. I know that. You’re gonna solve the problem of how to get the breadwinner mindset.

48:59 Jennifer: I sure hope so. I don’t know that it’ll be fixed that quickly. It may be years in the making. But yeah, I would love to see that if more women start thinking that way. 

Cathy: Okay, great. And then your book is on all the platforms, I saw. It’s not available quite yet, right? 

Jennifer: April 6, but you can preorder it on Amazon. And I mean, on any bookseller, really. Barnes and Noble, my publishers Penguin Random House, there’s a page there too you can preorder from. So if you want it, you can preorder it now. 

Cathy: Excellent. Well, I can’t wait to delve into the book even more. It’s a wonderful, wonderful book. And thank you so much for writing it and for being on my podcast. 

Jennifer: I’m thrilled to be here. 

Cathy: So great to see you. 

Jennifer: So great to see you too. Cathy.

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Episode 4 Transcript: Young Women, Wealth and Black Lives Matter


Welcome to the Financial Finesse Podcast, where we’ll be discussing tips on how to handle your money and life with skill and style.


Your host Cathy Curtis, CFP® has been helping make finance accessible and intriguing for women for almost 20 years. You’ll get savvy, actionable ideas, listening to her conversations with some of the coolest and smartest women on the planet.


And now, here’s your host, Cathy Curtis.


Hi, I’m Cathy Curtis, host of today’s podcast, the Financial Finesse Podcast. This is episode number four. I’m also the founder of Curtis Financial Planning, an independent investment advisory firm based in Oakland, California. I am super excited about today’s podcast because it is full


of my students from a personal finance class I taught last summer. The class was so much fun. And mainly it’s because these women were so engaged in the material. And they just were incredible students. And I loved it so much that


I can’t wait to talk to them more about their experiences with money since the class, and their life, and I know you’re going to love their money stories. So, before we get started, I want them each to introduce themselves. And we’re going to start with Joy.


Hi, everybody.


Like Cathy said, my name is Joy. I’m Jocelyn Robinson.


I am married,


recently married. I have two boys.


One, soon to be 15, and soon to be 11-year old.


So, we are definitely in teenage years. I currently work for an


affordable housing developer and the accounting department as this has been accounting.


And I studied. I received my MBA from Mills in Business Economics and my MBA from Mills, and 2019 at 28.


Thank you, Rebecca. Thanks. Well, my name is Rebecca Castro and I really appreciate you having us here today to talk about money. I am 29 years old, and I live with a partner in Oakland, California. I don’t have any kids yet. But for work, I work at a company called nofal ed and I’m a customer success manager. It’s an ed tech




and I help customers learn how to use our products. So, it’s really fun job for me.


As for all of my educational background, I studied environmental anthropology at Stanford University for my undergrad and moved on to Mills College, an MBA and finished that last year, wrapping up with Cathy’s course on personal finance.


Great, thank you Tori.


So, my name is Tori, or if we’re using government names, my name is Tori Howard. And I am 26. I am not married, but I’m in a relationship. And I don’t have any children. But I’m the oldest of six kids. So, I feel like I grew up raising children. So


yeah. And so for work, I’m a legal interviewer with the Bar Association in San Francisco. And so mostly, that just means


listen to people’s legal problems and


Trying to match them with a lawyer who’s suitable for that problem. And then on the side, I’m a freelance digital artist. An awesome one, by the way. Thank you. And I, I actually didn’t go to Mills, I would say St. John’s, which is in New York, but I love taking summer courses. This is actually the first summer in a while, but I won’t be able to just because of the shelter in place, but I always enjoy the classes there. And the personal finance class was like a godsend. So


awesome. Shonda.


Hi, there. It’s happy to be here. Cathy, thank you for having me. Just a little bit about myself. She her pronouns, Shonda Williams. I originally hail from the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, but have been in the Bay Area for several years now. And really similar to my classmates I’m just a lifelong learner. I didn’t attend Mills, I attended Grand Valley State University and Michigan, but truly believe in continuing my education.


On my undergraduate and taking the personal finance course at Mills was just a really amazing step for me. I work with the Oakland Promise under the Brilliant Baby program as the coordinator. And we’re committed to ensuring that children in Oakland from birth on through their educational career can graduate high school and attend college or pursue a career of their choice. And part of that is financial capabilities for our parents. So, I’ve been working in that field, but it really wasn’t until this Mills personal finance class that I found a way to incorporate that into my own life.


Excellent. So, speaking of this personal finance class, but prior to taking this class, do you feel like you had an education in strictly personal finances, your own finances, how to handle money, how to open accounts, etc, etc. Does anybody want to jump in and


I definitely had personal finance, education. Just I didn’t mention that I’m, I’m 43 going on 44 end of the year. So I, you know, this is my second marriage. Of course, I have children. I was a stay at home mom


until I started back to school in 2014. So I wasn’t the breadwinner. I was the one that took care of the household, along with my children, so I had to balance our checkbook. I had, you know, I wrote checks out for bills. I went and did the grocery shopping and things like that. So around personal finance, I knew what was in our joint accounts and I knew what was in you know, our immediate savings.


But I didn’t understand credit and I


Didn’t have any investments. My ex-wife had like a 401k and some other


investment plans through her working. But I wasn’t part of that because I wasn’t working. But as her spouse, I signed up in her pension plan. And then you know, we have our children. We got them an education plan. So, when folks wanted to give money for their birthdays, they could, you know, go into their scholarship funds or whatever. So that was the broadness of my understanding until the personal finance class when, you know, I was shocked. Just understanding IRAs, Roth accounts, the difference when you can pull money out when you can, which is the better place to put money in like that. That was mind blowing in your class, Cathy, and I really appreciate that because, you know, I didn’t I wasn’t working. I was out of the workforce for


Over 10 years, and so the only money base that I have is part of my ex’s pension plan through our divorce. And I had no clue. I really don’t know, like when I can start getting that money, how much money it was. And so taking your class that was like, one of my detective modes I went into and was like, Well, I’m gonna find out how much money I got coming to me. And I’m gonna know where it’s at. And I want to know, the finish points and I want to know who’s holding it. And it was just like, you know, I had all these questions. And as I was talking to the financial advisor, I was hitting him with a map, Hey, what about this? What about this us like, what


do you do? And I was like, you could thank Cathy for all of this knowledge. Thank you. See, that’s the power of knowledge. It’s not just knowing what a Roth or an IRA is. But in real life. When you learn these terms, you can really help yourself


right. I know that’s a great. That’s a great example. Rebecca, do you have any? Absolutely, I actually took one, one course in undergrad on finance. But I think for me at least, I absolutely loved the entire experience, but it was highly theoretical. Whereas our class was very practical and hands on and, you know, we looked at reports and went through things together, really analyzed in depth, like, what our retirement accounts were doing. I had no idea that my retirement account wasn’t doing anything. So did you have it in good? Is that right?


No, the biggest thing I learned from the course and this is something that we talked about at the time was that my IRA was basically in cash I had put money in but I hadn’t taken the second step to actually invest it. It was life changing for me growing


tremendously since then, just from that simple act, and I thought I was doing enough of just I was like, I’m investing I’m putting money into my retirement account. But I was putting it in and then not taking this because I just didn’t know I didn’t know I had to take another step. Which is amazing to me that people don’t know. You don’t you don’t learn these things anywhere. Unless you take a class, this is you know, you consciously decide you want to learn about it. Okay, Tori any stories.


Um, so as I mentioned, I am the oldest of six kids that means I always grew up in a big family and financially that is like, means that like money is hard, but at the same time, like my parents, they obviously you know, things like you need to save money for a rainy day. But like, one of the things that you really stressed the importance of is like making sure you have like three to six months of savings specifically like so number not just like saving


indefinitely, but like you know, like saving a specific amount so that if something happens, and I am


immediately thought about your class when the COVID


when the shelter in place started, and people were losing their jobs because I was like, man, for people who don’t have that savings, and if they lost their job, this is a hard time right now, this would be like the prime time to have to have had that three to six months of savings because where else you have to rely on credit cards or hoping the government gets the money to you in time on like all these other things. It is just


which one of the things that I’m learning in my job is that it is taking a long time for people to get those unemployment checks. So, I immediately thought about you and that class when Michel Tremblay started but outside of that


I learned so much in your class, like one of the biggest takeaways for me personally was about my credit cards. Because while I’ve always been good about like paying them, you know, paying the minimum or more if I can,


I never thought to check what my percent rate like my interest rate is. And that was a huge game changer.


Because one of my credit cards is like being near a scam is when I realized because the interest rate was 30 31%.


And it was a non-negotiable 31% unbelievable. Oh and


so as soon as I realized that first of all since I really like could check that, and then I checked it and then I realized what it was I was like I need to get a card. So yeah, and I’ve had this credit card for eight years now. So eight years of me paying this 31% interest. And fortunately I’ve been I’ve never missed the payment and I’ve always been really good but at the same time, I would have paid that card off so much faster. You


okay, and it’s because um, which is like an unfortunate thing, but my car that I had at the time was just like, it was a lemon basically. And so it was just like expense after expense after expense. Yeah, unfortunately I had a card that had developed security it but at the same time, that was the card that had the most extreme interest rate so just taking so long to pay it off. Even though it happened so long ago. I was like still paying it off.


31% It’s almost like


Never get paid that thing off. Yeah. So yeah, what did you do? What did you do? Did you close a card? Did you try? I didn’t close it. I didn’t close it because you that is still my credit history. It’s eight years of on time payments, would you talk? Otherwise I would have definitely been like forget this card. Yeah.


But no, so I left it open, but I transferred the balance out to a card that have a lower interest rate and a high cashback. So and I set the cashback for online purchases because I found out that that was also editable. And I am always buying stuff online. So I’ve been getting so much cashback so happy and I’ve been applying that directly towards paying down the balance. So my credit score has gone up a lot. So I really believe that right? Because of all that, like a simple change, just changing the card that I was using next. Rhonda.


Yes, I really identify with what Rebecca said around having taken courses in undergrad on the topic of Finance. And it was very theoretical or my major was public and nonprofit administration. So it was about nonprofit but you


And finance. And I didn’t really find ways to be able to connect that back to myself. And it was really similar and growing up, my parents had made the money mistakes, and they wanted better for me, but it was kind of going over my head. They’re like, I’ve opened up a credit card for you at 18, which I’m so appreciative of now. It’s my highest


tier, and just really able to see how that’s been able to grow and help my credit. But again, all of these concepts, I kind of knew of them. But to Jocelyn’s point, I didn’t have the education to be able to apply them to myself. And there’s been so many little lessons that have just really been beneficial since your course that biggest thing I think I’ll say is that I opened up a Roth IRA. So I’m starting a full time position in August with an excuse me a 401 K. But I’ve been working for several years and hadn’t been putting anything aside for retirement until I took your class.


I’m just building that habit, having a monthly amount that goes out and just really excited that I’ve been able to do that and keep it up. In addition to I’ve opened up an online high yield interest earning savings account, and this is where I’m doing that three to six months of saving. When I found out that I could get 2.4% on my savings account, and without it being risky, I was super excited to be able to do that you’re not getting my money. And I love that there’s no brick and mortar because that means I don’t go to the ATM to take money out. That’s right. That’s what’s great about online bank accounts, it’s not as easy to get the money. For sure. You know, I love it that you’ve all opened Roths, we talked about Roths a lot in the class because I think they’re the best account for younger people. Because if you really do need the money at some point, there’s less penalties and you could always take out what you put in. So like if you’re going to plan to buy a house and a lot of you


have house buying on your minds and things like that. So, super smart. Great. Well, thank you those are great things that you learn. Um, okay, so speaking of lessons, all of you have faced some kind of hardships as you’ve been on your journey to get independent right? Um,


I’d love you to share a story about something that you overcame, whether it you had credit card debt, or you tried to get a job, you couldn’t get it. Just something that you really learned a lesson from, like, kind of like me, I I felt deprived. And so I took things into my own hands. I tried to find ways to always earn money as I was growing up. And Rebecca, do you want to start? Sure, I think that I was very fortunate that I earned scholarships and qualified for at Furman undergrad. So I didn’t come out with a ton of debt after my undergrad. But I knew that I wanted to go to grad school and


I wasn’t going to qualify for a lot of aid for grad school. So I planned to work for about five years to save up that money. And I think one of the biggest mistakes I made was just paying out of pocket straight up instead of investing that money, taking out a loan, paying it down gradually, and like building credit.


Instead, I just spent all of my savings on grad school. So it wasn’t until the summer course, you know, after I walked in graduation, and I needed that one extra course to graduate that I learned from you. Why? mistake for me? And I kind of knew the whole time I was like, Oh, this doesn’t feel good. I’m just like, you know, losing all this money.


But I felt like I was investing in my education.


But I’d say that was one of the biggest financial hurdles, hurdles and or lessons


knowing that I’d spent about leveraging yourself like I’m paying for some of it taking up debt for some reason.


Exactly. So taking on debt for some investing some and just more strategically managing taxes.


You know, making some money earned back for me while continuing to work and go to school. And instead of just, you know, putting all of it from savings directly into school. Yeah. Great. Thank you for Shonda.


Yes. So one of my biggest money lesson so earlier on I shared I’ve always been this saver. So during my college undergrad experience, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. I was a first-generation college student. I’m really just setting a pathway and I figured I wanted to get the full experience so career. So between getting the finances and finding a location, it took, let’s say I walked across the stage and had one final credit, I think


Took abroad. But that was my goal, right, I wanted to study abroad. And when I went abroad, I also had plans. I’m single for tax filing purposes. But I do have a long-term relationship that I’m in and we had plans to move to California. So while I was studying abroad, finishing up my final courses, I was also looking for a job. And that’s when I found my current job at Oakland Promise. And what I’ll say about that is once I got back into the country, I had about four days to pack up my apartment, get everything set, move across the country, and then start my job. So I was really thankful I saved this money for my study abroad period. And I think to your point was when I love that if you pretend you don’t have it, you don’t have to spend it frivolously. So that’s really that kind of take. I’m


allowing myself to take on this new look diligent, and honestly, I’m really happy to hear that a few of you have college savings


accounts for your siblings or your children, because that’s another thing. I’m the first in my family to know to graduate from college to begin my career move across the country and I have great nephews and cousins, all under 10 that I want to be able to be an example for and encourage them to have a college savings account. I myself grew up with one and the power of it. Yeah. Congrats on being the first in your family. That must have been a big deal. Thank you. Yes, I it was a very big deal. And you know, that’s why I work with the organization I work with now to be able to support children to have an education. You know, research shows that having a pursuing an education your higher education is really an equity indicator as well as allowing our students especially our students, our black Indigenous students of color, to be able to gain social capital and excel and close that racial wealth gap. I love it. So important.


Okay, sorry.


Um, so


like I said, I’ve kind of been saving my whole life. But saving money and like knowing how to properly spend money are two different things. And so that’s something that like, I was, like I was pretty good about until like I was really independent, which is to say like when I went off to college because I went away to college. So originally from here, Oakland and the Bay Area, but went to college in New York, obviously, my family is not in New York. So my parents were not able to be


that they weren’t able to support me also, like I said, I have five other siblings, so they financially really couldn’t support me either. So


all I had to go off of was whatever was left over after school was paid for like whatever was leftover, usually from loans. And so that is kind of what I had to live off of.


However, one of the things I didn’t like fully like process once I got to college was like, the concept of like bills and depths and


and how, like, somehow magically like no matter how much they


Do you have like the bills seem to increase with your savings? Like,


I feel like that tends to happen. Like if I ever get a bonus at work, there’s like a new bill that pops up. They’re like, Oh, look at this, your bill change. And so, so that real-world aspect or the real-world application of like, what are you saving your money for was really important because sometimes I would save a bit of money and I’d be like, Oh, I just have all this money. So now I can buy something that I want. Not really thinking about the fact that like, there’s things that I need. So


and so that’s something that I really had to work through. And at one point, I’m at one point, at one point, I want to say like midway through my sophomore year in college,


I had $6 in my bank account, and it had to last me two months.


Well, I bought a huge bag of rice.


And I, whenever my friends would go out to eat, I would be like can I have your leftovers?


I had to throw away all my bread.


I was like, I don’t know. But anyway, so that was one of those hardships for me because I it made me really, like stressed the importance of like, what am I saving my money for, which is when I came like and when I got to your class and you told us about like saving three to six months of your expenses of the things that you have to buy your must buys. And also being mindful of like how much do you have coming in versus how much do you have to have going out? It’s something that I wasn’t really paying attention to before I just was like, Oh, I think I have I might think that I’m you know, like doing well because in college I might have like $2,000 in my bank account but if my bills for rent and stuff like that are more than that, that I’m actually like coming out with a deficit. I just happen to be getting money fast enough that I didn’t notice it right away. Yeah. And so that’s, that’s something that really hit home for me when I was on my own.


Now do you carry balances or do you pay everything off? Um, so like I mentioned before, because of that one card that I had, which I fortunately don’t have anymore, but I do have


Have some balances that are circular. So you’re still carrying over, but it’s significantly less than what it was before. And now it whenever I use my credit cards, it’s only for something that I know that I could pay off. So, for example, I recently bought a washing machine for my house, but I had the money already set aside in my bank account for it, and I had been saving for it. So I put it on the card just so that I can you know, build that credit and then like within the next month, I paid it off. Yeah, no credit at all. Yeah, it’s when it gets out of control that it’s the issue. Are you strategically paying down your credit cards? Yes, interest rates are still what are they now 14? I’m the one of them I think is 18. But that’s also it gives me cashback so it doesn’t hurt as much because when you balance it out the percentage that I get on cashback versus the amount that I’m paying an interest it’s, I guess it comes down to like $13 so or 13% rather.


And so yeah, so what I do, though, is that I am like I said I’m only paying and I’m only putting


Something in my cart if I know that I can pay it off in cash, and then also when I do pay that off so for example with the washing machine that I’m paying off extra on top of that, because I’m also still trying to, to, to pay down my total balance. And so anytime I get extra money


besides what I need to put into my savings, I put it onto my credit cards. That’s, that’s like the majority of where my excess money goes right now, just like I am aggressively paying down my credit cards now that it’s on a lower, more manageable. Yeah, lower, more manageable like payment each month. So for example, my credit cards before my monthly payment was actually like $300 a month and right now it’s like $50 a month. So I can still pay that $300 a month, which I usually still do, but it’s actually doing more for me, because I’m not just paying a minimum balance. I’m paying the minimum plus a huge, huge lump sum more so it’s you know, this thing with the interest rates on credit cards is so egregious is 18% and whatnot. I mean, if you can earn seven to 10% on your investments, you’re doing well. So think about that the critic inflation


so low, that it’s really smart to pay down those high interest. It’s just so much in your financial favor to be able to do that. Yeah. And it sounds like you’re doing it. I mean, you can’t just focus on paying down debt. You’ve got all these other things you need to do, but it’s still so important to the overall financial picture. Yeah, that’s what I’m working on. Right.




So having kids are expensive.


But what I went through was my divorce. Being a stay at home mom, I wasn’t prepared


at all. Everything was in my ex’s name, the house, cars.


We had a joint account, but she had a separate account.


And I went through it for


a good two years where I was not prepared when I’m moving


to Oakland from Cincinnati, only had a high school education.


And I’ve been out of the workforce for over 10 years, like I said, So, um, I didn’t have a savings. I didn’t we lit what was in our joint count down the middle. But she had income coming in and I just had what I walked away with, which was like 3500. Yeah. So, I think it was like $3500 I need to find a place to live. I need to furnish too that place, I need to get food.


And then I then I was in a battle of divorce and custody war for two years and I came out on the better end but it was two years struggle.


And so it was it was a drastic change for my family. I had to go work part time so I was away from when she had the boys I will work and then I had the boys. I wasn’t really


So, being a primary parent, I have four days out of the week. So I was only able to work three days.


And I fell back on, you know, a little bit of bookkeeping information that I had and wind up getting a really good job


through a temp agency at a family-owned business, I was like, oh, bring your kids in, you know? Yeah, you know, and so I was able to move from three days a week to, you know, five days a week and really get a nice, um,


you know, be able to work, unfortunately, that went away. And so I was just basically living off of my child support payments. And I moved us into a one bedroom, and we share that one bedroom and, you know, I’m super frugal, and, you know, I went on welfare just like I was, I was repeating the same things that my mom did, but


I didn’t have that, that down and out feeling. It was like, this is what I need to do. It’ll lead to my next question, and I’m about race and how you’ve been affected by that. Financially, job opportunities and all that. So


I know it’s a big question, but it’s really so relevant to ask you that, especially now, and I hope you don’t mind sharing if you do just don’t but who would like to step in and Tori


So, um, I believe I shared this story when we were in our class, but


as far as like myself as a black woman, especially as it pertains to finances the two major situations where


I guess where I was negatively impacted, and in both cases, I didn’t realize it at the time, like how much someone had taken advantage of me of the fact that like, they


knew that, you know, I most likely wouldn’t know about these, these lower opportunities or these, these better opportunities


and the fact that they even offered them so but so one obviously being my credit card, my credit card, like I said was had a 31% interest rate, it was non-negotiable. It was something that they offered me. And it’s something that I saw that they offered my sister more recently, but it’s something that they specifically offer only in lower income communities. They’re like, Oh, you don’t have credit, use this credit card, you can build your credit, it’s great.


But the reality is it’s highly predatory lending and like you said, it’s like nearly impossible to pay off. And, and I didn’t even I didn’t realize I didn’t know to check my interest rate. I just knew that I had a credit card I knew that I had, I had a card had to make sure that I paid the minimum balance because I didn’t want to default or anything like that. But the second one which Hit me harder, especially more recently is my car when I got my car, that lemon that you know, that kept breaking down and I had to replace eventually but


they gave me


interest rate that was like, so incredibly high for this car. And it was something like, again, I think it was like 22%. You know, like so these astronomically high interest rates, which I don’t know anything about, because I’ve never purchased a car before. And my parents, you know, to the best of their knowledge, they’re haggling, thinking that they’re helping, which they did because it could have been worse. But again, they only know from experience from what they’ve been offered, right. So they actually haggled down to 22%. Well, oh my gosh, it was like 27 or 28. At first, and the person was like, Oh, we can’t go any lower, you know. And again, that’s a lie. But I’ll be things but because my parents would have never been offered a better interest rate. So how would they know? You know, so?


And when I took your class, and everyone’s talking about Oh, my car’s 7% 6% 4%. I was like,


oh, and so when I got my car that I currently have, I bought it new, and I had to argue, and I sat there I went there for two days. And I was there for two full working days. While I was working with Oakland Promise.


Which meant that I wasn’t making money because I was physically at the auto dealership. I’m negotiating with them about what I should be paying, and they brought it down to 6%. It probably could have been less, but you know, they even still they, they were like, it could have been worse. So, um, and then


yes, compared to 20 something percent it was much more reasonable and my payments, I like I believe, and gladly. I’m like, it’s fine. It’s a brand-new car. It’s not gonna break down on me anytime soon. And if it does, it has a warranty. So that was that was the trade-off for me down to what did they start at?


Well, first, they tried to tell me I wasn’t approved. So first, they tried to tell me I could not get a car. They said that my credit was not good enough. And I had literally checked it that morning. And I was like, that’s a lie. And then they then they tried to show me the screen. They’re like, see, look, here’s a list of people that have rejected you. And I’m like, but there’s a list right over there. Who’s the list of people that accepted me so then they assumed I couldn’t read.


And you know, it was a process. So like I said, I was there for two full days. So I was there for 16 hours. Back to Back


days being in those places negotiating. Yeah. So, but yeah, so it was so frustrating. But I got my car. I’ve had my car for about two and a half years now and it’s great. never had any problems with it. Fast forward to maybe like three months ago, my boyfriend who is a white man, he went to go get a car, they were like, hey, do you know we had this discount today? Did you know that? You could actually get this low interest rate? Hey, how old are you? Has your grandfather ever? Do you know anybody who’s ever owned a car? And they’re like, Oh, well, if your grandfather owned this car, back in 19, whatever, then he can also get a discount. So they were just offering him discounts. That didn’t was not mentioned anywhere that these things existed. And so his interest rate is 2.5%.


And, and they offered he walked in and he said I’m not going to pay more than this much per month for a brand-new car and they’re like, okay, sorry, we can do that. Um, and it’s just it’s a completely different experience. So um,


Something that is just so unfair, it really is.


That’s my experience of bracing credit. Well, you you’re learning though, I bet the next time you won’t even accept 6% I’m not. Yeah, cuz next time I’m gonna have excellent credit and I’m gonna be like, oh no. Yeah, right. Right. Shonda, you had your hand up? Um, yes, I have this really early childhood memory that I wanted to share, as well. So I am a black biracial woman. My mother is white and my father is black. And growing up, we always would have different used cars. We did a lot of driving. So we needed a decent nice car. And I remember going to the dealership and my parents had different roles that they would play. So my dad would always go in first. He would always ask for the car that we wanted, he would get a price estimate and he say, All right, I’ll be back later, this time.


Afternoon. And later this afternoon was when my mom would come. And just hearing your story again, it’s just so familiar to this, my mom would go in and get a much better deal than my father. And then my father would come in, and it was almost like they knew they were wrong. So they would give them an even better deal once they realize that my mother and father were together. So they figured out how to play the system, if you will.


And you know, it’s sad, but there’s so many instances in my life where I remember my parents literally going in to see well how will they treat me? You know, my father, the black man versus my mother, the white woman. And the difference was night and day. The other thing I’ll say to that is just really lack of access to knowledge. It wasn’t until I got into college and actually joined my co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, the psi chapter, that I even started to think about these concepts with myself. So it’s when I first discovered the acorns app.


And then thanks to you, Cathy, for explaining what I was even signed up for. I just knew I was supposed to do it because it was recommended to me. But these concepts of money are very, very much a mystery and also taboo, especially in a lot of


people of people of colors, culture. And so we don’t talk about them, or it’s kind of seen as something you stray away from.


Yeah, and it’s just been, I’m really grateful, again, to be able to be in a space where you can have these conversations, and also be able to have these conversations with the lens of race and how they play into that because the more you know, the truly the more empowered you are to be able to have those conversations. And, you know, to Tori’s point, it probably wasn’t even initially thinking like this is this could potentially be a race thing. But on the other hand, I have the experience, I’ve always seen that it was a race thing. So I always have that in the back of my mind when I’m operating and being mindful.


Like, what is the situation and what am I actually worth? Right? Good, really good, Rebecca. Yeah, we’re talking about some really, too. And when I think about how race and wealth have intersected for me, it’s really about the


generational wealth. And I have an indigenous background, I mean, Native American from California, and our land is Yosemite National Park. And we’ve been in over for battle for federal recognition, and we have not been granted that permission yet. The court puts it out kind of every year and this past year, we had to prove that we were that we were all dispersed around the park not allowed to live in the park.


And all of our tribes’ resources and money and work has gone into these battles


and it started from you


the 1849 Gold Rush. First, there were massacres and, you know, natives were hunted legally and not granted religious freedom until 78. So there was in 1878 1919 Wow. Okay.




starting from, you know, the mid 1800s


kind of my community has not been building on wealth and didn’t really even building on the kind of wealth that exists and is what gets you ahead in today’s society. So, there’s an entire conflict in my background, the use of thinking about money that I’ve, I’ve been balancing of trying to live in today’s world and build wealth, where there’s no kind of historic intergenerational wealth or value put on that


In my community, so it’s very interesting.


Contrast that is, is where race and money intersect and contradict each other and you know, don’t connect as well, that I’ve had to educate myself constantly on how to live in today’s world, how to bring that knowledge back into my community, so that we can maintain our traditional values, our vision, our, you know, connection with, with our history,


of being able to be members of society, and fighting for ourselves to be people in the eyes of the government. It’s, it’s a very interesting relationship where we’re just recognized as, as people while also trying to prove ourselves and you know, build ourselves up and just live in our ancestral homeland.


Do you? How do you help your community learn


about building wealth and things like that.


I would say through


model I’ve given talks before at UC with my aunt or just my cousin. I don’t exactly know how we’re related, but I call her my aunt. And she’s a peasant somehow.


But I try and help out where I can. It’s more one on one and personal communication.


I try, it’s not that big. But


are you unusual in your tribe, your education and ambition and all that? I would say?


Yes. So from my family, my siblings and I, with a couple of my cousins have gone outside for, you know, for your college degrees or higher education as well. And it’s not super typical of my tribe in general. Yeah. How does your tribe support themselves?




one supports themselves individually and the board. My understanding is that it’s more of a volunteer basis. Okay. Yeah, that’s so interesting. That’s just a whole different world that most of us don’t learn about.


You know, did you ever feel like you lacked opportunity, being


who you are, I would say, um, I really felt like I lacked opportunity so much as I just had to work harder. Everything was about working hard and work ethic was the number one value, you know, Family first, and you work for what you have. And you always, you know, feed your friends and your family and whoever needs it. Food’s a big part of it. So I think that I didn’t necessarily lack for


opportunities. But I think that whenever I earned them through really hard work, I was criticized for them. When I got into Stanford people would tell me like oh,


Cuz you check the box, you know, because you’re native. I heard that from so many people, and I had so much imposter syndrome. And it took me a long time to realize like, no, I worked extremely hard for this. A lot of people work really hard and are rejected from great colleges.


And it’s kind of the nature of the system and it’s not great. But it took me a long time to recognize my value and my worth in that my hard work. got me to where I am. How do you float that little clock thing that you were someone’s doing? Let’s float that Yeah, there you go. Thank you.


So that’s all around. Yeah. If I recall, you were going to buy a house, right? I was, that’s my initial plan. I bought a car instead. So I was really, you know, listening to what Tori was saying, I started planning after we talked. Last summer. We met a couple times. After


But I kind of changed my plan around a little bit and decided how it was going to be more longer term planning and that I wanted to invest in a car and I started planning about six and a half months ago for exactly what kind of and I waited until they offered zero percent financing and then I went in and got it.


It’s all about knowledge, right? What car did you get at zero percent?


Toyota rav4 hybrid, and I am just through the roof excited. It’s my first new car


driving little stick shift like 1994 ford escort before that didn’t have air conditioning and crank windows. So I was thrilled. That’s so exciting. Congratulations. Thank you. I’m sure you’re gonna make the house thing too.


Yes, it’s in the plan. Yeah, that’s great. Thank you.




Um, yeah, Race has


always played a big impact in my life.


Every week, the first time it was financial


was the first time I opened up an account by myself


in Cincinnati, and it wasn’t a credit card, it was just a normal checking account and I had to jump through hoops.


You know, normal depositing of money should have been enough, but I need to bring in


they want a letter from my employer that said I actually work there that this was my check this and on the other and I was like, you know what?


I don’t have to do all this. And so and it was a national bank. It wasn’t like a local bank. And I’ll just take money out you were trying to put it in.


I was just trying to get a regular checking account with checks and I had never, I had never overdrawn a checking account. I’ve never been denied a checking account for and it was


I had to jump through a lot of hoops. When I bought my first car.


I was very, I didn’t have any knowledge whatsoever. I just needed a car.


And my mom took me. My sister worked at Ford, which is a big plant in Cincinnati, and she had a family plan. And you know, you get a huge discount and a bunch of stuff. And I went to the Ford dealership.


And, you know, was looking at all these cars, and it was just myself. I was like, 21/22. I


just wanted a small car that I wasn’t going to have to put a whole lot of money in. And they were showing me these people expensive cars for like, no reason and the interest rates were ridiculous. Now, but you know, hindsight, right?


And I did finally get a car and it was like it pulled up on the truck. And it was this spring


Money green card. I was like, I want that one. And I got it. But looking back on it, it was a $17,000 car and I’ve paid double for that, because I wasn’t knowledgeable.


Why we were gonna stay on this topic. We’re gonna do one last question because we’re, we’re long, this has been so great. I want to have more of these.


So the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s getting a lot of support right now. I hope it keeps going. I personally, I think it would be getting even more support if it wasn’t for COVID. Because I think more people would be out protesting, you know, because some people are afraid to be out. But if they’re still getting big crowds, lots of support. So do you all think that this movement is going to have any impact on people of color, financially, at all, or what impact do you think it’s going to have


Who would like to? Yeah, Tori? Um, so one I had a thought. The first thing was that in some ways, I think the ability for the Black Lives Matter movement to like,


to kind of balloon the way that it has in the last couple months is in part because we’ve been in COVID because a lot of people are not working. I know that like, myself, especially like, in this circle, a lot of people in my community one of the biggest points of fear when you’re thinking about going out and protesting is what if I lose my job? In this case, you remove that obstacle because I’ve already lost my job. So what are they gonna do now? They can’t fire me. So, um, so I think um, I would say that I would say that in a lot of ways its ability to amplify has been because people are spending more time on their computers, so they’re able to like message each other faster. You’ve been seeing people getting fired, which is something I have never seen before. Like people are getting fired like that for saying the wrong thing for the wrong person and they caught it on recording, which you know, sometimes happens anyway, but now


Everyone has seen it. Someone did their research, they’ve investigated, I know where this person lives now I’m going to message their job directly. There have been doing petitions like to get people fired at certain places. I forgot what it was. But my boyfriend told me that a company co fired his own daughter.


Because she said something gracious, which is like a level of commitment. You haven’t we only did it just because of, you know, the public side. But what that says to other employees is that if my daughter is not safe, you are not safe. So you need to keep that racism in check. So


I would say that like positive, yeah, I would say that. One of the things I feel like has been coming out of this is a little bit more accountability. At the same time, there are people who even still, I think, see it as kind of more like a trending thing, you know, and so, especially when it comes to getting justice for people who were wrongfully killed,


pretty much whoever gets justice is the person who is the most popular at this time. So I think one of the two people


Who you hear a lot about right now are like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. But Breana Taylor her killers are still out there, you know, like in because she has now like, bumped and bumped down and in the headlines, there’s less accountability, there’s less pressure on the on that local police department to actually grab people in you know, put them through the proper legal channels so


die out or do you think anything’s gonna happen there? Ah, well, it’s hard to say but I would like to be optimistic. I lean towards optimism because realistically, I don’t see COVID you know, the shelter in place ending anytime soon. So I’m hoping that that helps to continue people to have momentum because as soon as people go back to work that is already like this last time that they have available. That’s, again, that level of concern about what if I lose my job because I’m doing this? Yeah.


So I’m hoping that more, not just conversations


about change, but actual change will come out of this. So right now we’re in that conversation stage. And I’m hoping that if we have this window of time where we, you know, where there are fewer people who are dealing with these extra constraints, I hope that that’ll help to really push forward the change that it’s on paper and in practice.


So, you know, that’s, I’m an optimist. I’m optimistic that there is this few possibilities that we can go through with this. I love optimism.


I unfortunately think is going to die down.


And not is because I’ve been through the Rodney King incidents. I’ve been through a lot of different


incidences of, you know, racial inequalities, protests and things like that. I think for George, for Mr. Arbery, the fact that it was on video, and that people are sitting at home and have nothing else to do and had to


watch these videos over and over, and watching George Floyd call out for his mother really pulled out harsh at the heartstrings of America. It’s almost


I correlated to what happened on Bloody Sunday during the marches or voting. When the news showed what happened on that bridge in Selma, Alabama. White people were like, Oh, my dear Lord, and it was like, what are we doing as a country? Because it wasn’t hitting them in their face right away. If you would look at news stories or you know, hear stories, but until you see it for yourself, it doesn’t have the same context. And so watching George Floyd die on camera watching on her




chased down and shot on camera. And I think Breanna, the difference is we don’t have that video yet. But once those cameras are released, she’s


she’s going to be right back up there. And every time there’s a police shooting, unfortunately has to be in that context, then you have black lives matter, but our lives are, are systematically oppressed every day, every day. And it’s not just a fear of police is fear of financial institutions or spheres of education systems. We have huge fears, but this is just the one that is focused on right now. And, you know, this is 150-200 years after slavery that we’re still fighting to be


not second-class citizens not treated as you know, three-fifths of a man. You know, we still don’t have every right that we are supposed to have as natural born citizens who were brought over here on slave ships, not distressed. You know, I am I am a fourth-generation descendant of a slave. Just for


In my 40 years, and I don’t have the same footing that my white counterparts have, I never have, even when my mom made sure that I was in the best schools and public school, even though you know, she moved us out of the projects, that’s where my life started was the projects. So I am always cautious around police. I’m always cautious around financial institutions. I’m always cautious with education systems. You know, I have to fight for extras for my son’s and he’s in a, you know, he’s in a great school, but I had to fight for tutoring, because his math skills coming from a public school system wasn’t the same as his counterparts at this predominantly white institution. And I had to fight. All right, he’s in a really good Oh, he said he’s in the best of independent high school and in almost the state of California, but you know,


Is the diversity thing for them, it looks good on paper to have him there. And I’m willing to support that, because it gives us the education that you need. But I shouldn’t have to. And that’s, that’s what we’re really trying to get through is I shouldn’t have to do these things, jump through these hoops or make myself stand out more, just to be counted the same. And unfortunately, the distractions are coming up, you know, basketball is coming back, baseball is coming back. Football is going to come back. So now everybody’s going to be like, Oh, I have all these other things do and I’m not going to be captivated by all the other stuff that’s going on around Black Lives Matter and racial injustices. I think the change is going to come in November. When we have to get the current resident of Pennsylvania Avenue out of there and start working ground level to get to the higher level. We always want to start in the White House.


But we have to start locally, and changing our policies locally changing our policies in our counties and then change on state level and then it’ll move federally, but we always want to start federally, when the federal doesn’t hit us as much as local hits us first. And so hopefully, as people learn political influences as they learn financial literacy as they learn about education, and how that all transformed your entire life.


And I’m looking to all of these, you know, Tori, and Rebecca, and my children, that what I’m suffering now, they don’t have to suffer as much and that’s where the change is going to come in that next generation below me because we’re scientists, 20 years and I think Tory is 20 years younger than I am. That’s two generations removed for me. My children are right behind them. That’s where the change is going to be effective is within


Their generation.


And I don’t I don’t know if we’ll see anything big happening right now. But we’re definitely going to see some big in there.




good points. Rebecca, do you want to add something?


Yeah, and Joy made such good points. Um, I think it’s well known that communities of color are being hit the hardest by COVID-19. And


what I’m afraid of is kind of the sensational or sensational aspect of people’s attention spans and so becoming desensitized to it


and putting it on the back burner as other distractions come back as you were describing, you know, sports come back and all of these other, you know, exciting entertainment, entertainment things.


And I do see the underlying issue as systems which I was just talking about in the systemic racism aspect of it. I’m really glad that you pointed out local policies as being you know, one of biggest


starting points. I do think that this, this movement will have a long-term positive impact on


on closing a little bit the financial gap


between communities of color and, and historically white populations.


I think that in the near term, the short, the short-term losses for communities of color are going to be devastating to the point where it’s going to take a very long time for them to earn back.


You know, capitalizing on any progress that we make with the systems and because I think that we’re only going to be able to change a couple systems at a time and that’s even being sick. You know, depending on what happens in November too, it might be even longer than that. But I do think long term there will be positive ramifications for this, which is why it’s so important


that people participate and you know, make their voices heard because it will make a difference.


It might be hard to see it in the near term. You know, these things always take so much time. But you got to do it anyway, you got to start and keep going. Shonda did you get a chance to say anything on this topic? No, but my colleagues have definitely done a great job. I think what I want to add in though is we talk about systemic racism. And I think what people have to realize is, this isn’t just a black issue. It’s not just an indigenous issue. It’s not just the people of color issue. This is an all of us concept and thing that we have to get behind and support because our systems are failing communities of color.


We know that but we also have to acknowledge is that they’re actually failing all of us, right? Because we have low income people. We have people across the board who are falling through the cracks. And so what I want us to remember is when we are talking about Black Lives Matter, yes, we’re talking about the needs of a particular group that will benefit the masses and


I think that that’s the important focus to be on. And I’ll even go ahead and say, you know, during the 60s and when we had the beginning of the civil rights movement, that also opened the door for the beginning of the she kind of rights movement, the beginning of the LGBTQ movement. And so just acknowledging the solidarity that comes into this, when we begin to address these systemic problems, we see the intersectionality that’s involved with it, and that it’s not just one identity that we’re carrying, we carry multiple identities and we begin to address that we all benefit. I also just, again, thank you, Rebecca, for acknowledging that what’s going on, and communities of color right now with COVID. And I think it’s also important to note that there’s so much community organizing going on, especially in the Bay Area in particular, not being from the Bay Area. I can say people from Oakland I love the energy and spirit on right with there were fighters for what’s right. And so really acknowledging


Right now as we’re talking about what’s happening in schools, proud to see so many schools, taking police out of them, disrupting that school to prison pipeline and really supporting our children, because as you all said, it’s my generation, it’s the generation coming. It’s these amazing passionate Gen Z’s who are calling out racism and sexism, and all of those things that are happening in our world. And it really just comes back to that point, this is an us issue. We are all interconnected. And when we do right by one group of people we do right by all groups of people, and it’s really remembering that piece. So that’s where I’ll say I’m optimistic. I think we have to, you know, remember that policy changes also come with this. So I am an advocate for local government, holding your city council responsible holding your school boards responsible. Those things matter those things affect policy and change and really starting there and just shout out to all the members


organizations that are doing work right now to support and advocate for our youth, our children, their education, and also for them to use their voice because it can be really scary right now to stand up and be afraid you might lose a scholarship for college, if you’re speaking up against black lives matter. So these are really real things that we have to acknowledge in the realm and there’s so much more I could say on this topic, but I think that really encompasses where we’re at. Oh my gosh, okay. All right. So the audience was I write about these women. I am like, so energized listening to you all, I can’t even tell you. Thank you so much. We’re gonna have to end the podcast, unfortunately, but it has been a pleasure. And thank you.

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Episode 4: Young Women, Money and Black Lives Matter

My Chat With Joy, Tori, Rebecca And Reshonda

I’m very excited about this episode because I had the opportunity to reconnect with four of my former personal finance students from Mills College. As the call to address racial injustice and inequality in the United States and throughout the world grows louder and more urgent, I asked Joy, Tori, Rebecca and Reshonda to share their experiences and lessons learned navigating their financial lives as four independent women of color. I‘m so grateful for their generous contributions to this important conversation. 

During our chat, we touch on various financial challenges they’ve faced throughout their lives, from super-high interest rates on credit cards and car loans to not being able to easily open a checking account, and how an education in personal finance not only opened their eyes to the discriminatory practices of so many financial institutions, but gave them the confidence to start negotiating better terms for themselves. The ladies also talk about universal topics like imposter syndrome, learning to make better financial decisions, and celebrating wins. Finally, we discuss their hopes for the Black Lives Matter movement and how important it is to keep the momentum going, even after the world eventually returns to its pre-pandemic routine. 

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