Talking about money on the internet has changed my life
Almost a year ago Miranda Dennis and I decided to write about our student loans, which set off a series of events I never could have predicted. Friends and even many colleagues know me as the person perpetually interviewing and networking and preparing for my next career step. Once Miranda and I started talking, I started to unapologetically own the obvious truth, I needed to make more money. And over the past year, that exact scenario has played out.
I accomplished two of my biggest career goals in one swoop- I secured a 95% (yes 95%!) pay raise and a new job to which I did not initially even apply. A job came to me!
Now, it took months for this new job to come to fruition so I was still out there constantly applying, networking, and interviewing. Up to a week before I received the offer letter I was in the interview process for two other jobs. If that sounds exhausting, it was!
While I waited on the new job to come together, I was also working on my general financial wellness. I opened my very first high yield savings account and investment portfolio. They are still at very meager stages, but they exist! I was able to take all these steps with the support of Miranda, who was also trying to figure out similar strategies and my friend Nikki (creator of the Matter of Life and Debt podcast) who has been phenomenally transparent in sharing her personal financial processes with me.
I sought out a lot of free resources for people new to saving and investing, but nothing, absolutely nothing, has been as helpful as the wonderfully transparent, borderline soul bearing conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues. I trust these people to be honest and empathetic, which are qualities I have yet to find from professional help.
One of the benefits of my new job is access to a financial advisor and I wanted to take advantage of this from day one. In my first meeting with the advisor I thought I could get ahead of any judgement (real or perceived) if I laid out my inexperience. Within the first two minutes I said “just letting you know that I’ve never made enough money before to seek input from an advisor and I’m a total novice here”. Vulnerability on this topic has been an asset in talking to friends, but it was not in this context. I didn’t feel particularly heard or understood in this consultation. My next step after the meeting was to complete a 20 page questionnaire that clearly hadn’t been updated since 1993 and was aimed at a very middle class, middle aged audience for retirement planning. The words “student loans” did not appear anywhere in this document. I’m not optimistic about our next meeting, but I’m going to keep pursuing this free resource.
In the meantime, I’ve been having a lot of 1:1 coffees and meals with peers who have also felt isolated and confused about how to reset their financial outlook. Really smart, capable friends and colleagues (let’s be honest, largely women) want to start making financial changes but they also find that financial advice and professionals are unempathetic or just out of touch. So many of us feel this way!
Therefore Miranda and I are proposing a starting place for everyone who feels this way. Let’s talk about what we’ve tried or want to know or feel anxious about! Join our community on Instagram @shameless_money_salon and Slack. Write us, ask us questions, tell us what you’ve learned- the conversation goes two ways!
And join us in the new year for a [shameless] Money Salon. We want to create a space for open dialogue and sharing and need your input about what topics are most important. Indicate your interest in participating (in person or virtual) and share your opinions here.
I am so passionate about open money conversations and the vision that Miranda and I have created. Every individual conversation I have with a friend or colleague lights me up on an incalculable level (see Miranda for all the text receipts). Thank you for being here and being willing to get vulnerable.