Speaker 1: this is LifeSpeak a podcast about well being, mental health and building resilience through knowledge. Here's Marianne Wisenthal I'm speaking today with Shannon Lee Simmons Shannon is a certified financial planner, Chartered Investment manager, financial literacy advocate and the founder of the new School of Finance in Toronto Canada
Speaker 1: Shannon, Welcome to the LifeSpeak podcast. Thanks for having me in your book, worry free money, you say modern life sets us up
Speaker 1: horrific financial trap, afraid when we spend money and guilty when we don't.
Speaker 1: Now as a financial planner, you have a client base that ranges from, you know, students and recent grads to, to high earners. And yet so many of us express feelings of guilt, inadequacy, shame and worry about money. And you say in the book that nearly everyone that you speak to feels like they're broke. What do you think that is? Oh my gosh, let me count the ways. So I think, but in all honesty, I think the main thing is that
Speaker 1: fundamentally, most people don't know truly what they can and can't afford
Speaker 1: because if you actually think about what can I afford, what does that actually mean? It's very subjective. So it's loaded.
Speaker 1: Does it mean that I can pay off my mortgage by the time I retired? Doesn't mean I can afford to buy a house one day. Doesn't mean that I can go to school without student debt. It's a whole lot of questions into what can I and can I afford it really has to do with what do you want to accomplish. And then, you know, working out
Speaker 1: whether or not there's enough income coming in and how you move around your expenses to see how long it's gonna take you to do that. And so it's also a length of time things, so can I do that in the next three years or five years? And so if you've never actually sat down and mapped out,
Speaker 1: what am I trying to accomplish here for real and work backwards, then there's no way of knowing truly what it means. So what you're actually saying is like, can I live a nice life that makes me feel proud?
Speaker 1: Am I able to live a life that feels good for me and like aligns with what makes me happy, that's what the actual question is, it's done through money. And so I think that when we don't know what we can and can't afford, then every financial decision that we do make feels fraught with anxiety because if you
Speaker 1: Order a pizza and it's $40 and you're not sure if that pizza is going to throw you off course for retirement planning and you're not going to be able to pay off your student debt ever or anything like that, then that $40, pizza feels terrifying and there's guilt associated with it because you know, you hear the lower the takeout, Blah, Blah, Blah, all those financial tips.
Speaker 1: So then you spend the money, you feel super guilty about it, lots of anxiety and then you swear it off and irresponsible spending again. And then one day you order a pizza again and then the whole cycle starts again. So I think that truly it's across the board for people who are making you know enough to just like get by and then those who are very high earners,
Speaker 1: if there's cloudiness or murkiness around what you're trying to accomplish and how much, how you're going to do that, we don't have the actual plan to do that. Or if there's uncertainty about the future, then that means that everything feels scary. And then when everything that you do feel scary, you feel broke because there's never enough money because if you just had more money, you wouldn't have to worry.
Speaker 1: And that's where the feeling of broke comes from. It doesn't actually mean that you are broke. It just means that you feel broke because you think that having more money would solve your problem,
Speaker 1: we're going to get into a little bit more of the nuts and bolts about, you know what people can maybe do to improve their relationship with money. But I want to start with what you actually have a whole chapter on social media and I'm referring to worry your book worry free money more specifically with this. But
Speaker 1: you say social media is the worst thing to happen to our bank accounts since overdraft protection.
Speaker 1: But behind every great photo is a bill. This was like a light bulb moment for me because it never really had occurred to me before how much social media has an impact on my spending habits, what people do to take away its power insidious really it infiltrates in so many ways.
Speaker 1: I think that 1st, 1st and foremost before we get into the, what do we do about it? I think the why does it do that is important to answer first because then how you solve the problem is more direct. So number one, I think that there is the most obvious which is like an instagram ad and uh the like the joke and I'm sure anyone listening to this, if you're on instagram, you might laugh along with me here. It's like
Speaker 1: the joke is that the instagram ads have figured me out. Like it knows what I want to see, it knows when you want to see them. And so number one, that's the number one way that social media impacts your spending is like there's literally perfectly curated marketing specifically for you because they know so much data about you in a way that marketers could only have dreamt of, you know, 15, 20 years ago and it's right in your hand held device, it feels intimate and it feels curated for you specifically. So, and now with phones that are so easy to buy at the press of a button. I bought something the other day while I had my toddler like having a meltdown while I was on the phone because I didn't even need to do anything. I just had to put in my pass code for my phone and it just, it was done.
Speaker 1: So there's no thinking about it. So like there's that way and then I think that the more insidious way that's maybe less obvious to people is that it kind of heightens the cost of your daily life. So we all know keeping up with the joneses and I think people think of that statement is like something to be ashamed of like, oh, I don't want to, I don't keep up with the joneses, I'm not that petty or shallow, but like come on, we literally, it is human nature
Speaker 1: to want to fit in with your people. So depending on who your people are, you're going to kind of
Speaker 1: acclimatize yourself to fit in with them and that's that's nothing shameful about that. That's a completely normal like evolution has made us this way so that we, we feel like we have community. So if your community is
Speaker 1: thrifty and, and thrift wise and you know, then you being a 50 person is going to fit right in with that. But if your community, their kids all have brand new, whatever's then your or their birthday parties are very elaborate or whatever, then if you're not like that, your brain is going to be like, you don't fit in here, like you're different and that's something that we have to like logic our way through. That's not our gut reaction. I got reactions like fit in and which again, super normal and biologically we are we are like training to be that way. And so it takes a lot of willpower not to do that. And so I think with social media, what's happened is now instead of having a community of like, you know, a couple 100 people that you see in your neighborhood like think about 30 years ago you would have seen your neighborhood in your people at work. And so you would have maybe like seeing how you, where you fit in in that kind of like in that crew. Well now you can follow
Speaker 1: hundreds and hundreds, thousands of people and so you're seeing how thousands of people live their life and of course we all know it's a highlight reel. So you see those images enough times and you start to think, well everybody else is doing a home rental, why am I not when maybe the people in your direct community, none of them are. But you have this like heightened sense of what other people are doing, which
Speaker 1: eventually makes us feel like if we can't do those things then were inadequate and somehow we don't have enough money and that we need to do those things and with easy access to debt and credit and all those things, it's way easier to do that stuff. Now, I think
Speaker 1: the
Speaker 1: vacation thing is like the greatest analogy like okay I remember my parents making jokes about, you know, one of their pals went on vacation
Speaker 1: to europe and then they were like the old joke about the slide show, right? You go over to your neighbors house and they have this like to our slideshow photos of their vacation and you, maybe that night you'd be like, oh man, we should go on a vacation, like we never do that. And then maybe that thought would like flip away or like maybe you book something later or whatever, you probably wouldn't think about it all the time. Now
Speaker 1: the you know, hundreds of people that you follow on
Speaker 1: social media, maybe they're all going for a vacation on March break and you're constantly reminded of it and now you have access to these beautiful photos of these other people doing things that you wish you could do all the time because it wasn't just one night, it's every single day
Speaker 1: for hundreds of people and then now you're like well through that I'm going to book a vacation I deserve that I'm going
Speaker 1: whether you've got the money or not. So that's how it really is impacting our wallets. Does that make sense totally. And behind every great photo as you say is a bill, Well can you imagine, can you lose spending or if they can even be, they could even afford to be doing this right well can you imagine if right beside the picture of you know the knees photo or it's like the beach and there's like the legs imagine that there was also like a Visa credit card bill. It's like four grand. Wouldn't that be? I mean I actually I started a project like that called The Real Selfies for that exact joke. I with my job I get to peek behind the curtain of like people's home renovations and vacations and wardrobes and seemingly awesome lives and yeah, there is there's a bill with everything. And so I think I have this unique perspective that way that it doesn't,
Speaker 1: it rattles me but I can get myself to a logical place really quick because I also have that anecdotal evidence that I don't know that average people are thinking about,
Speaker 1: you know, how do they do that? That's really where that question comes and like how are they doing that? That's the question that I know a lot of people have at the kitchen table. But you have an example in the book which I loved where you somebody mentioned, I don't understand this other person seems to be able to afford this really expensive house and she goes on annual vacations and I don't know how she affords it. And you said why don't you just ask them? And I mean and then he actually finds out that you know she the houses she's she's sort of drowning in debt and you know it's true. We don't, we don't ask yeah we don't ask those. So I think in that story too she had a big family hand out in the first place to buy the house and she also has lots of consumer debt. So those two things were the, you know, the person is like I make the same as for we're in the same position but I can't do those things well that most people aren't talking about the nitty gritty nuts and bolts of how they're getting there,
Speaker 1: Their financial stuff done. And so we talked about it in a light way like, you know, we'll roll our eyes and be like, well that costs more than I wanted it to or like that wasn't cheap but we don't specify like that actually cost me $8500, I'll be paying it off for the next year and a half.
Speaker 1: Like can you imagine if we were that blunt about it? We, so we're leaving for everybody else, but I just to circle back on what to do about social media. I went on a bit of a diatribe there, but I think the first thing to do is to take your credit card out of any sort of storage payment plan, like payment things that make it more convenient free to do uh like basically tap and pay if you even have that one moment of like sober thought of like do I actually want this or am I just like in a moment
Speaker 1: and I need this right now and then put yourself on like a 24 hour embargo and if you still are thinking about whatever item is that you wanted to purchase, you know, go for it, but don't make it so easy that you can do it so mindlessly that I had one client say that they don't even sometimes you know an amazon box will show up and I don't even know what's in it,
Speaker 1: that's how mindless the spending has become because it's so easy to do it without even thinking. So taking your saved information out of all websites on your phone, all that, that's number one, Number two, I actually put up some of my clients and I've done this myself now to, I've taken my own advice and given you're taking yourself completely off social media. So that two ways of doing that literally like taking the apps off your phone for a specific period of time um and I usually suggest that if you're having one of those emotional, you're feeling inadequate and you're feeling like you're scrolling and that your life sucks, take yourself off at least for a week and like this sounds a bit silly, but like every night, you know, write down one sentence, like literally right down in your, in your phone or write it down on a piece paper, whatever how you felt because I did that myself and I was really ticked off the first few days. I felt like it was,
Speaker 1: you know, so stupid and so frustrated and that was because I'm like borderline addicted to knowing what everyone else is up to. And so getting over that like first three or four days of feeling like what if I missed something, what if I, but I'm like, what am I missing? Like what am I missing? You know what I mean? And so eventually you start to get over and you can laugh at it a little bit more and now what I do is I actually put, I have one of those apps on my phone that blocks
Speaker 1: certain social media on my phone that sort only allows me like 45 minutes a day so that I can manage the mindless scrolling and that kind of thing. So putting yourself on some sort of social media detox can be really helpful. It's not going to stop you from spending money in the same way that taking your credit card and stuff out of the phone, out of your saved apps is,
Speaker 1: but it might make you really
Speaker 1: acutely aware
Speaker 1: of how
Speaker 1: inadequate or how frustrated
Speaker 1: or how much more spending you're doing because of how many people you're seeing and, and then maybe you can choose your own adventure on how you want to engage with social media when you come back to it and how much control it has over us. Absolutely. I know a lot of I know one client I put her on a social media detox and she was so
Speaker 1: happy. She did it for longer than I even suggested. I suggested two weeks and she did it for a full month.
Speaker 1: And then when she she never went back on in the same way she she went back on Instagram and she blew up her other account, she started a new one and she said that she wouldn't have, she wouldn't follow more than I think it was 50 people. She made a list on paper of like, whose life do I actually care about?
Speaker 1: Like, you know, my nieces, my sister, like who are the people that I'm like, I really want to know the like intricacies of your day, like the mundane stuff that makes you you and then she just followed those people and only those people were allowed to follow her and that's it. So then then when she would use the, you know, she called it an excuse of like, well I'd like to stay in touch with people. Like that's exactly what she's doing. But it's not like hundreds of people and like hundreds of followers where you're starting to think,
Speaker 1: Oh, if I don't post this photo of my kid's birthday party, it's like if I don't if it didn't get posted on social media didn't really happen. Like it's that kind of, its posting on social media has become part of the celebrations for things now I think in a weird way that it just wasn't like 20 years ago.
Speaker 1: That's such a good idea. Just follow the people you actually know and like yeah, like make a list like a wedding list, like if you were getting married would be at your wedding, like
Speaker 1: make a list of the people that you actually want to know what they ate for dinner and that you actually want to know if they went on vacation and the mundane details of their life and
Speaker 1: and follow them because also if you know somebody really well then you probably have a full picture of their life. So even if you see some fabulous thing, you know more about that person so you can fill in the blanks versus your imagination making up that they're just better at money than you, that they're better at saving than you. That somehow you stuck with money,
Speaker 1: that's not the case.
Speaker 1: Your approach to finance is a lot more empathetic than most people would expect from a financial planner. You know, you started your career on Bay Street, which is the Canadian equivalent of Wall Street and after a few years you left to start the new school of finance. When did you realize that you wanted to have a different relationship with your clients?
Speaker 1: That's a great question. Um
Speaker 1: I
Speaker 1: I love financial planning because I'm good at math, but I'm also a people person from day one, I always have been
Speaker 1: um like I'm an empty themed and so I, I like have to connect with people, it's like part of it. And so financial planning with such a perfect way to match my like, you know, mathematical strategic skills. Also I'm a Capricorn, so like super love to make plans with
Speaker 1: something that actually allowed me to speak with people. So when I started on Bay Street, I was working with like super high net worth clients,
Speaker 1: but it was still scratching the itch of like, I mean it doesn't matter that they're super wealthy, there's still people that I really wanted to bond with, so even helping them, like that was really good and I actually, I had an okay time there, what happened was we got bought out by the bank we as which is fine and then it just but that was like a square peg round hole situation. I also realized at the same time it was when the 2000 and eight stock market crash and
Speaker 1: everything happened there in the subprime crisis. And I realized at that time a lot of my peers, so I was in my mid twenties were
Speaker 1: like I couldn't get a job or like gig economy like coming into this world like graduating into this like you know, gong show economy and the conversations were like you're so lucky that you know this stuff I feel so lost and it was then that I realized like
Speaker 1: wait a second like where can my, where can I refer my friends too because I can't come to see me because you need to have a million to $2 million liquid to get in the door. So where can they go? And I couldn't find
Speaker 1: anywhere to send them. That's no joke
Speaker 1: In Canada across the whole nation. I was like, what? That was affordable because you have somebody who's 25 years old, 26 years old trying to make a financial plan. This was you know, back when I started and it was like $3500 starting for a fee only financial planner, which is what I am. And I was like that, asked that that can't be right. And that was the moment where I was like
Speaker 1: someone has to do something about this. Like I want to be the person that all of these people could be referred to basically and I can help them because otherwise they're going to need to go somewhere where they're going to be sold something, it's not unbiased or they're going to have to spend so much money and that's not the average person's life. And so that that was a big turning point for me,
Speaker 1: what do you tell your clients about how they can improve their relationship with money and sleep a little better? I mean, I've heard you even say that you hate to budget. So what can we do to make them to make things better for ourselves? Yeah, I think it's like it's a, it's a
Speaker 1: Bunch of things, but the number one thing that you can do is have a plan and I don't mean necessarily like a 40 page document with pie graphs.
Speaker 1: I mean sit down. I mean this feels a bit biased because I am a financial planner. So obviously I'm going to tell you to get a plan together. But what, I don't care if you see a financial planner, what I really want you to do is in a meaningful way,
Speaker 1: sit down and map out like what are you trying to accomplish? What are those dreams or goals that are, which ones are dreams and which ones are like nice to have and which ones are nonnegotiable goals
Speaker 1: because the nonnegotiable goals are the ones
Speaker 1: that if you don't achieve them,
Speaker 1: you are going to feel like a failure.
Speaker 1: Like sure I'd love a yacht one day. Cool. I'll never probably get one. I'm not going to feel like a life failure if I don't have that because it's like one of those like fun dream things right? Like, oh, I'd love to have a cottage or like or whatever, but there are other goals of mine that are no joke
Speaker 1: and if I
Speaker 1: don't map out a way to get there and I just end up having life passed me by and I haven't
Speaker 1: done, I haven't achieved whatever it is
Speaker 1: then I'm going to feel like
Speaker 1: I didn't do a good job. So what are those girls? Those are the ones I'm interested in as a financial planner, Like the one of the basic things that you need to achieve in your life to make you feel okay. And sometimes we're also just chasing a feeling like we just don't want to feel broke. It's not about owning a house,
Speaker 1: it's because you can feel totally wealthy and rent.
Speaker 1: It's not, and sometimes the broken people I know are homeowners, right? So sometimes you're just chasing a feeling about not like not feeling broke. So mapping it out can really help because when you, when you map it out, sometimes it's scarier to think of
Speaker 1: what you can't accomplish versus mapping out what you can accomplish. And people are often surprised at what they can actually do when they kind of like set their mind to it. So doing that and that's going to give you that magical number of what you can and can't afford, which we talked about right at the beginning of the interview, which is like,
Speaker 1: you know,
Speaker 1: if you know every paycheck, I'm saying this to the employees out there if you're self employed, there's different ways around that. But just for philosophically speaking, if you know every paycheck, what's the amount of money that you're allowed to blow to zero to live your life with no guilt and you don't have to worry about the long term game, you're still going to save enough to pay down debt or
Speaker 1: Retire one day or buy a house or whatever it is, that what you want to do
Speaker 1: then absolving yourself of that guilt allows you to spend money freely and can give you some of that control because so much of feeling broke is about feeling out of control. So it really can help to map out what you need to be putting aside to achieve those non negotiables and then absolve yourself of guilt. So like if you put enough money away to do those things, then like who cares what you spend money on?
Speaker 1: Like seriously? Like literally who cares? And then it doesn't matter if it's like pants or, you know, a coffee or avocado toast or like whatever, who cares? Um that's why I hate budget so much because they make rules for the sake of rules and I think that that's just another avenue that we shame ourselves about money. So if you just know that you're putting enough way, I think that that can really give you back control makes you feel like you're doing something and in the back of your mind, it restores hope
Speaker 1: and faith,
Speaker 1: not like
Speaker 1: even if I buy this coat,
Speaker 1: my long term goal of, you know, x is not at risk here. And so I can do this and I can feel good about it instead of, I can do this and beat myself up about it.
Speaker 1: When have you felt guilt or anxiety about finances. I mean do you still feel that way sometimes? Yeah, I'm a human being. Of course I'm human and it's a it's a cycle, right? So it's like, I think my skill set is just noticing when it's happening and immediately knowing what to do to get it back in line versus a spiral, right? So I've stopped spiraling because I'm like a seasoned vet now at it. But like
Speaker 1: in my life and I talked about this in living debt free actually um when I quit, my worst more my my best example of me being on like a full blown spending spree spiraling out of control is when I put my job like my Bay street job to start my own business.
Speaker 1: I originally had this idea called barter Babes project where I when I quit I saved up enough for like rent for the year and my cell phone and then I was like, well everyone says that you know, young people and I was actually young women at the time, you know, they won't be able to afford to pay me. But so what I would do instead is I'll give them unbiased financial planning advice for a barter instead of like a bartered good or service instead of an actual like cash transaction. So my grandiose idea was that I was just going to like pay for rent and cell phone with the money I'd say from my base tree job and then barter for everything else from like lasagna like a bike or whatever and I did that but what happened was like it was not enough, I could not live
Speaker 1: a sustainably a sustainable way that way. And I had I exhausted my savings like within three months or something, maybe four, I ended up taking our credit card debt
Speaker 1: And I had dead as a student. Like I had $30,000, a student debt before that I had had that before. But I've never had like credit card debt which is different because
Speaker 1: it comes with like so much shame and so
Speaker 1: I remember just, it got to a certain point where it was like
Speaker 1: well I've already oh you know 2000 bucks. So like what's another 200 bucks because it's like it felt so insurmountable that it didn't even matter what I did anymore. And that was like a real point turning point of like you know screw it just like one of those like whatever, I can't do anything about it. It is what it is like that atmosphere that set in and as a result I ended up
Speaker 1: secretly I also kept it from my partner because I was so guilty and shameful that like an ex Bay Street person who was a financial planner, it's like secretly sliding into debt so that they could do this like project
Speaker 1: that was just so emotionally fulfilling and financially devastating to my life. So by the end of it, it was like
Speaker 1: $13,000 where the credit card debt I'd racked up and I finally had to come clean and end up having to cash out investments that I had in my RSP from the Space Street position I had before is just such a mess. So that was like the turning point for me as being like, I don't ever want to feel like that again. And also
Speaker 1: living, it also gave me this insight into like how easy
Speaker 1: It is to slip into a spending cycle where it just, it feels good do it. And I'll like that's 20, you know, that's at the time, I mean like that's 2012 Shannon's problems and like I don't care right now because I need this right in this moment and I still see those trends happening a lot with my clients and I still have moments like that, like the pandemic. I definitely overspend on my kids
Speaker 1: trying to create
Speaker 1: a world in our walls within our walls during that first lockdown. Like there was no price tag, you know, within reason that matter, endless activity books done okay. You wanna trampling like one of those many transplants? Uh not one of the big ones, but like I dunno you want this toy done, you want to work on that. Like I just spent emotionally without
Speaker 1: any sort of planning because I was so
Speaker 1: emotionally charged about it. And then you know then we had a good laugh and got our stuff
Speaker 1: back in line but it still happens to me all the time. I can relate to that. I think that first week when we went into lockdown and on that that that middle of March week I think I did a whole ton of online shopping. I bought shoes which then of course I was in the house for weeks and weeks and weeks and had no reason to wear shoes.
Speaker 1: It was denial buying or something. I remember that feeling.
Speaker 1: How do you think the pandemic has impacted our relationship with money
Speaker 1: in so many ways?
Speaker 1: Why?
Speaker 1: In the beginning, especially scarcity mindset
Speaker 1: like reared its ugly head for everybody including just like what I'm talking about like oh my God, there's a run on activity books. I have to get them. I'm gonna buy five like that kind of thing, right? Like it's like a panic, remember the rule that runs on toilet paper. Like like there's a there's a panic
Speaker 1: and a scarcity that said in the beginning we're not, I don't think we're there now so much. But like
Speaker 1: in the beginning I saw a lot of overspending myself included a brown scarcity around panic around you know, trying to trying to comfort everybody's comforting themselves in some various ways. Like a lot of politicians, a lot of expensive coffee machines and so I think that
Speaker 1: we all learned a lesson or a relationship with money changed because I think that with people who lost in him
Speaker 1: there, I have a lot of people who
Speaker 1: Were laid off from hundreds of like from six figure salaries
Speaker 1: And then they went on to Serb with like $2,000 a month and they never saw it coming. So I think
Speaker 1: We've had a good run in the stock market since 2008. Like things have been pretty steady economically speaking in Canada
Speaker 1: and I think that it made everybody, even if you didn't have your income disrupted
Speaker 1: be like nothing is totally certain
Speaker 1: and this, it really shook people up and there's uncertainty now.
Speaker 1: So we're constantly having to make decisions and plans with our money
Speaker 1: with
Speaker 1: a moving target and a ton of uncertainty. And so that impacts our relationship with money because there's to like go to reactions to deal with uncertainty. One is to like hoard and one is to just like screw it and spend and it's somewhere in the middle is the right answer. And so it takes a lot of brain power to get to that like really rational logical place because sometimes hoarding money isn't actually the most logical thing. I can actually lead you to
Speaker 1: being even more unhappy because you feel like you're not even living or there's like nothing like it's just an endless grind. So I think to make sure that we're being really rational about our financial decisions is really hard work and when you're dealing with high stakes emotionally and financially and with uncertainty. Financial, every financial decision becomes scary again completely new reasons
Speaker 1: then maybe before, which was about inadequacy. So I think it added an extra layer for everybody. Everybody don't take anything for granted and you don't necessarily know what's coming around the corner
Speaker 1: plan for an emergency.
Speaker 1: Oh my God, I've been counting emergency funds for decades like over a decade and they are so unsexy and nobody likes them and I have to like force clients to do it and
Speaker 1: they're like, yeah, yeah. People are like very much about paying down debt and then as soon as they're debt free, they're like, I want to invest
Speaker 1: and keeping your money in like liquid 1% savings account feels like super lame. And I get it. And now for the first time since like 2000 and eight people are like, I want to build a neighborhood of the account. I'm like, yes, so that for me was like an actual like very positive thing that came out of it. People really understand and I don't think I have to do the same convincing
Speaker 1: that I had to do before to have like a reserve of money that is just like there if you need it.
Speaker 1: You know when it comes to money, we all seem to be living in a sort of a cycle of silence. We don't talk about it. We don't talk about it with our friends. We don't talk about with our family. Why are we also afraid to talk about money with each other? I think we're afraid to talk about the
Speaker 1: the nitty gritty details. So like I said earlier, I think we're all okay
Speaker 1: to talk lightly about it. So if someone is going through a divorce, they might say something like, I don't know if I can afford to keep the house. So that's talking about money.
Speaker 1: But what's not happening is like, I don't know if my income is enough to float the buyout of this like, you know, $800,000 mortgage I'm going to be stuck with on one income. Like how like it's like very specific. That's what I don't think we talk about. And then I also don't think we talked about how we're accomplishing things that look awesome, right? So if you just renovated your home,
Speaker 1: you know, we might say like, oh yeah, I was expensive. But I don't know that. We're saying I refinanced my house. I planned on an $85,000. He lock it spiraled out of control to 1 40 I'm making the minimum payments and I can only roll that into my mortgage the next time I refinance because I'm never going to pay that off in the short run and hopefully it all works out in the long run that. That's the conversation I'm having. I'm having, but that's not like over coffee with
Speaker 1: your friends. I think there's two reasons. The biggest one
Speaker 1: is that we're scared of what other people are going to think. And so money is this weird thing where somehow we're all supposed to be good at it
Speaker 1: and it just takes like a little bit of willpower. And so if you aren't good, if you're not making a good financial decision and somehow you're stupid or you have no will power,
Speaker 1: but like it's a whole skill set
Speaker 1: that they don't teach in school most of the time.
Speaker 1: So I feel it's so unfair that it gets this like
Speaker 1: because we touch it every day. It feels like we should all know what's up with it. But like I use my shower every day. I'm not a plumber
Speaker 1: should I know intricately how my plumbing works because I shower every day. No,
Speaker 1: so I'm using this thing, I use my car every day. I don't know how to fix it.
Speaker 1: So like why do we think that we should know the intricacies of financial planning? Just because we use money every day. It boggles my mind, but we do. And so
Speaker 1: money has this like way of were afraid that people will think that we're not making good decisions. So if if you renovate your house for example and you came in under budget and it was great, you might have some, some people say, yeah, that's such a good investment, you're gonna get that back and then you're going to feel good about yourself, right?
Speaker 1: But if you have someone being like, oh my God,
Speaker 1: like
Speaker 1: why did Holy you like, really went for it, jeez. Like, I hope you make that back one day. Like now you're second guessing everything about yourself and now that person, every time you talk about the right now, you're gonna be feel guilty and shameful about it. So it's better that they don't know
Speaker 1: the actual details because then they can't really have a true opinion about what it is that you're doing with your money. The other thing that really bugs me too is like everybody has an opinion.
Speaker 1: So one of the other things I say in the book is like, also stop giving your opinion about other people's money. So if someone tells you what they're spending money on, give them credit, say maybe, you know, more than what's going on behind the scenes, like you don't think that that was a good spend, but you have no idea if this person has like oodles of money and savings, maybe you're assuming that they're struggling. And I also find sometimes that because we don't talk about money, we assume people are struggling or we also sometimes assume that they're really successful and they're not. And so I think we're scared to tell people the real thing because we don't want to be judged that ultimately we are afraid that they're going to think that we're done with money and that is like an insult
Speaker 1: that cuts to the core because if you are bad with money, then you might actually start believing that you're bad with money, like negative self talk
Speaker 1: and once you start believing that you're bad with money,
Speaker 1: then you, it's like a self fulfilling prophecy
Speaker 1: because you're,
Speaker 1: you fundamentally do not trust your ability to attain your goals.
Speaker 1: And so I, I really think that talking about money and I mean I don't, you don't have to say the exact specifics, it's a lot. But like I think ranges are helpful for people and being really honest. So like if you bought a house and you have a family handout, you don't need to show them the gift letter. But what you could say is instead of being like, yeah, we're really excited.
Speaker 1: You could be like, my parents helped me a lot. It was a six figure, it was six figures. That is a shocking thing to say. But you know how many of your renting friends will be so grateful that you did that because then they're not going to stand up all night being like, why am I so bad with money? Because they were like, oh that's how you did it. That makes so much sense.
Speaker 1: So like, like just like taking the sting and the inadequacy out of all of it and doesn't make you any less of a person if you got some help somewhere who cares.
Speaker 1: And so things like that. And then also talking about wages and can really help to normalize things as well between friend groups and like knowing where people are at again and ranges. You don't have to give the specifics. But like having a range range conversations can help elevate everybody in the group. And then also give empathy because if everyone thinks that you make certain amount of money but you don't and you're trying and
Speaker 1: the group of friends is spending too much or doing something,
Speaker 1: then they're just assuming that everything is good. And if you don't speak up, then you're going to end up in a situation where you're, you're either overspending or you're feeling like you miss out
Speaker 1: and neither of those are financially satisfying. Uh I've found it whenever I've been with friends and they've talked to me about money, whether it's worry about something or they don't want to spend money on something because right now they just don't have the cash to do it. I don't know. I just feel hugely relieved.
Speaker 1: Yes to myself. Why don't why are we not talking about this more because it always feels like a big relief when you're with people that you feel safe with and that you're close with. Yeah, I'm not saying posted on social, I'm just saying the people that matter to, you
Speaker 1: should know approximately what's going on in your life and by proxy they should tell you it should be a give and take. And the reason you probably feel relief is that it's nice to know that we're not the only ones
Speaker 1: feeling tight sometimes or frustrated financially sometimes because
Speaker 1: there's this also this
Speaker 1: belief that if you feel
Speaker 1: frustrated financially, that somehow you're complaining and that you're not appreciating your life and that's also not fair
Speaker 1: because I think it's normal for everybody to feel
Speaker 1: financially frustrated every now and then, you know, except for Jeff Bezos, but like I feel like most people, average person is even if they have a good income, like life is expensive and there's gonna be moments of utter frustration with your finances. And that doesn't mean that you don't appreciate your life. That doesn't mean that you haven't, that you are
Speaker 1: just like your insatiable or greedy. It just means like
Speaker 1: that
Speaker 1: one of the goals that you're, that are important to you is at stake and you don't see a way through it. That's what that means. And so you either need to change the goal or change what's happening every on the day to day finances to get things back in line. And that's a frustrating thing to do because it means you're compromising as human beings, we don't love to compromise.
Speaker 1: And the other thing money is like a,
Speaker 1: it's one of the, it's a long game thing and it's really hard. Like the short game is not satisfying, right? So like you think about paying down debt,
Speaker 1: A five Year plan,
Speaker 1: Trotting away like $400 a month. There are $300 a month.
Speaker 1: It feels like, oh my God, that's that's an infinity time. It's forever, right? Like it's such a practice in keeping the faith in the long game. And that is really hard in times of panic and uncertainty.
Speaker 1: Now you have a new book coming out in 2022, no regret decisions, how to make difficult decisions in difficult times. Do I have that? Right? You do? Yeah. That sounds like a perfect, perfect topic for right now. Um can you tell me a little bit about the book?
Speaker 1: Yeah. I originally um I have a lot of clients to go through divorce
Speaker 1: and critical illness and infertility journeys and coming caregivers all of these like massive,
Speaker 1: massive life altering times of your life. And the reason I'm pulled in
Speaker 1: is the money part.
Speaker 1: Right? And so
Speaker 1: a lot of things cost money. So if you're, if you can you afford, if you're becoming a caregiver, what's the what's the money piece of that? If you're going through a divorce, what's the money piece of that? You're going through fertility journey? What's the money piece of that? And so
Speaker 1: flushing out those
Speaker 1: facts and scenarios is like part of my daily life. So again, when you're talking to people who are in so many different socioeconomic backgrounds and dealing with totally different things, like one person is divorcing the other person is becoming a caregiver. But the commonality between all of those people
Speaker 1: is that
Speaker 1: the emotional stakes are high. So there's a lot riding on this,
Speaker 1: the future is completely uncertain. So like, so you have to make financial decisions at your worst possible time.
Speaker 1: So accessing that so you might be heartbroken,
Speaker 1: you might be devastated,
Speaker 1: you might be hormonal, you might be grieving
Speaker 1: and yet you are forced to put one ft in front of the other and they try to make logical choices when the future is completely uncertain and the stakes are high. What a gong show like, Oh my God, right. And so, so part of my, I'm also a life coach to, right. So part of my job is to find
Speaker 1: the balance between all of it and walk through a process that we can actually look at whatever decision that one has to make at this tough point in their life.
Speaker 1: It's not about how it all plays out because it's uncertain. It's completely uncertain. We don't know, you know, if a client of mine is on a fertility journey, we don't know how that's gonna end. The client of mine is trying to become a caregiver. Someone alzheimer's, we don't know when that's gonna, we don't know how and when things are going to change, we don't know.
Speaker 1: And so all you can do is is make a decision that you can be proud of at the end, no matter how it plays out.
Speaker 1: And so my job is to make sure we have flushed everything out so that the emotional and financial stakes feel secure
Speaker 1: and that
Speaker 1: no matter what happens when the dust settles
Speaker 1: and you see you see how it all plays out in your next normal life, right? You can look back and say
Speaker 1: I did. I still, I'm proud of that decision.
Speaker 1: Even if things didn't work out the way that
Speaker 1: you thought that they would
Speaker 1: and that is what the books about, it's about how to how to make no regret decisions because that's ultimately how you can move forward in your life and make peace with however things shake down,
Speaker 1: you know, these are, these are difficult and uncertain times for pretty much everyone right now because of the pandemic. What is making you feel hopeful?
Speaker 1: It's a great question. What is making you feel hopeful?
Speaker 1: I am hopeful. What makes me feel hopeful is that I'm confident in my
Speaker 1: ability. Like to the point that I was just saying I'm confident in my own ability
Speaker 1: to make decisions
Speaker 1: that I will be proud of later on.
Speaker 1: However, things like play out with the pandemic. So all of the decisions that you know, I've had to make personally are like, you know, at one point I thought like sell my house and moved to the suburbs and I didn't and like there's all these other things that like, do I even send my kids to school? Do I send them to day care? Do we? There's all these like various different things, like every decision became like a big one.
Speaker 1: But
Speaker 1: what I'm really confident it is like, I know I trust myself, I trust my intuition, I trust myself, I trust my brain, you know, if I make a decision and it doesn't play out long term, the way that I had hoped, I won't beat myself up forever. And so that actually gives me hope that like, I trust myself, which is huge. And so that's, that's
Speaker 1: humbling thing. The pandemic has been
Speaker 1: as well to surrender to uncertainty, right? And we can't control
Speaker 1: so much. And like that, that has been a really good lesson. So if you, if I can find ways to just put the trust in the hope, in how in myself and the decisions that I make, then it doesn't matter what's kind of going on. It absolves me of guilt about guessing wrong because it's no matter what happens, I'm still going to be proud of myself for how I navigated it. And and that has, that has made me really, really hopeful that
Speaker 1: on the other side of this, whenever that may come,
Speaker 1: I
Speaker 1: can look back and say I wouldn't do it any other way?
Speaker 1: And what about for your clients?
Speaker 1: What's making me hopeful for them is actually just recently. So I, in the beginning we ended up doing a lot of micro timelines. So planning for the next three weeks
Speaker 1: Instead of three years
Speaker 1: Because who knows? Right. And so I've really felt the shift in the last like five months
Speaker 1: from
Speaker 1: crisis planning and short term planning,
Speaker 1: which are like survival plans, even for people who didn't lose their income,
Speaker 1: but like there's a fear of like, I just need to get through the next bit and then see what happens, right? So we're like, cool, we don't know what's happening six years from now. So let's plan for the next six months,
Speaker 1: a lot of that in the short run and in the last five months I've really felt the conversation with clients shift from right now too. Okay, let's get back. Let's think about the future again. Let's start to think talk about five years from now. Let's start to talk about three years from now and start to make plans that
Speaker 1: feel manageable and hopeful. And so that has been a real shift in vibe if you will, but when you have like so many meetings a week vibe is really you pick up on vibes really easy. And so that's been like this, like, communal vibe change that's happened in the last five months. That's giving me hope
Speaker 1: for people that they're also feeling like they're coming out of panic mode and into the more like long haul place where you can access less black and white decisions and, and more options.
Speaker 1: Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Shannon. Oh my gosh, it was my pleasure. I feel a lot less worried about money. So for more about this episode, go to life Speak dot com slash podcast.
Speaker 1: Yeah.