Previous: Welcome To The College Student’s Guide To Money
Next: 8 Personal Finance Memes That Are Actually Terrible



View count:31,446
Last sync:2024-05-21 07:45
In this episode, Chelsea sits down with TV writer and podcaster Kara Brown to talk about money in Hollywood, how to eliminate financial stress, and how she's working towards her long-term money goals.

To learn more about Intuit’s suite of products:
To get started with QuickBooks today:
To get started with Mint today:
To get started with Turbo today:

Subscribe to The Financial Confessions podcast here:

Kara Brown on Instagram:
Kara Brown on Twitter:
Kara Brown's website:
Kara's pasta blog:

The Financial Diet site:
Hello, everyone.

It's Chelsea Fagan. And I am here once again with the Financial Confessions.

And have a very exciting guest that I cannot wait to get to. But first, I want to, as always, say a quick shout out to our beloved partner. As you guys probably know by now, but maybe you don't, every single episode of The Financial Confessions is made in partnership with Intuit.

And if Intuit is not a brand that you've heard of, you probably have heard of some of the amazing products they make, like Mint, QuickBooks, TurboTax, Turbo, just basically every tool you could possibly need to help get your financial life in order. I personally started using Mint six years ago now, as my very first foray into not being a completely tragic train wreck with money. I used it to track my budget and to finally get my spending under control.

And one thing kind of led to another. So then I found myself using TurboTax to do my taxes. Then I now, everyday, use QuickBooks at work to manage TFD's finances.

Basically, Intuit helps me live an incredibly financially healthy life. And it can do the same for you. So if you can't wait to check out their suite of amazing products, you can do so at the link in our description or our show notes.

So here we have today a very exciting guest, who, those of you who love podcasts will probably be familiar with. And likely, if you're watching the show, you love podcasts. She is a writer, a podcaster, a writer for television as well.

She used to be a Jezebel. She was at Keep It. She's was Grownish.

She does so many things. And her name is Kara Brown. Hello.

Hi. I'm sure I probably missed something in there. I mean, you hit the highlights.

It's mostly what matters, yes. It's your academy reel. yeah. So welcome, first of all.

It's very exciting to be here. It's actually the second person we spoke until in LA who used to work at Jezebel. You know, we're-- my ultimate plan is getting all of my friends from New York to move to LA.

And it's been like a slow trickle. But if you give me another 15 years, I think I might get them all out here. When did you move out here?

I moved out here now like 5 and 1/2 years ago, which I only-- this past year, I would people would ask me how long I've been in LA. And I kept saying it's been a few years. And then it just started to not sound right, and I did the math.

I was like oh, it's been five years. It's been a while. So yeah, it was about five years ago, I moved out here.

Do you love LA? I do. Here's the thing.

When I moved to LA, I knew that in all likelihood, because of what I was trying to do, which was work in TV and film, that I would probably have to live here forever. And so when I moved, I had, my approach it was one, I have a long time to get used to it, because I'm probably going to be here for a long time. So if I didn't immediately love the city, I was like, I don't want to stress about that.

Because you know over the course of my life, I'll find my groove. And when you just know this is where I need to be to do the thing that I want to do, I think it makes it easier to adjust. So I would say I really like LA.

I love what I'm doing, and so I guess that love trickles over into my love for LA, too. Look at that! Do you like talking about money?

I have gotten more comfortable talking about money. I feel like in particular, working in Hollywood now, where you had sort of the time's up thing, which also involved issues around pay and pay equity-- I think also, with sort of the kerfuffle with all of the things WGA and, that we've been going through, they are linked to money. And so I've learned that in particular in Hollywood, like having a clear understanding of the money that's being passed around is a super valuable tool to have.

So I've gotten more comfortable with it, not that I was ever super uncomfortable. But it's come up more. Is it comfortable to talk about in Hollywood, money?

I mean, I think it depends on who you are around. I am finding that now, my female friends, and particularly women of color, we are much more open about talking about money. I haven't really tried to ask a white guy for a comp, you know?

So I think I think it kind of depends. But I do think that I think women in particular are becoming more open about talking about money in Hollywood, because we're recognizing that they trade so much on us not knowing and not asking. And so when we do actually have a good idea about what to expect or what to ask for, it helps all of us.

And I think also, so much of Hollywood is-- not to say that just if you ask for it, you'll get it. But I do think that asking for it is a lot of getting what you want. That's true.

And, but I always find that the hardest part-- I feel like every so often, like on Twitter, there will be a flare up of people talking about money. And there will be a hashtag. And people will share their salary and stuff.

And then it dies down again. And I don't know if you saw, but there was recently a spreadsheet that went around with all of these different people were getting media sharing their salary. Which, by the way, every industry should have some variation of that, just do a Google doc, where everyone shares like a couple quick stats about themselves, the company they work for, the role, and then their salary.

But it feels difficult to get a sustained conversation going. Because I feel like, and I'm sure that Hollywood probably is very similar. But there are a few people in media that make a ton of money, and then a ton of people that make no money, and very little in the middle.

We were recently hearing that on most television shows, for example, you have, you know, for every one writer who's getting a great salary, you have 15 PAs, assistants, writers' assistants. So how do you feel like the people who have those better, well-paid, coveted jobs can help the people who have the shitty ones? Well, the hard thing about Hollywood and television specifically is that there's generally, because of the WGA, you have these scaled rates.

And so you have a set amount of money. So if you are a, let's say, a story editor, which is a position in the writers room for a story editor on a half hour network comedy, it's sort of, there's a chart, and there is a set amount of money that you're supposed to make. And that's like the minimum that you can make.

So it's a set of minimums. So in theory, your reps could get you higher than that. But generally, but legally, you can't make less than that.

And so because, in terms of the writers, all of those salaries are so kind of set, at least the minimums are, it is harder when you get into PAs and writers assistants, and things like that. Because that is they don't have a union. They don't have minimums, and it's much more at the discretion of the showrunner and the studio who's paying for it.

And so if you are a lower level writer in a room, and you think that your writer's assistant is being underpaid, there's honestly nothing you can do other than talking to your showrunner, and your showrunner having to value those writers assistants enough to fight for more money for them. So the difficult thing is that I think the decisions end up coming down to just one or two people. And if you aren't one of those two people, there's almost nothing you can do beyond things like perks, like buying them lunch, or giving them gifts, or something like that.

Do you think that people-- because I have a perception of people who write on television, that they're all rich. Do you think that's accurate? No.

So one of the big things that we're dealing with now-- so this is very insider basebally. But the drama that's been happening with the WGA, and our agents, where we fired our agents over a slew of issues. But one of the problems that the WGA has is that writers salaries have stayed stagnant, even with inflation.

So middle class writers, in particular, are doing worse than they were 10, 15 years ago. And so you're still making good money. But I was talking to this guy who was a showrunner on a show I was on, and like an old school dude.

And he said that it was like, it was like an established thing, where if you had been a TV writer, and you got to a story editor level, you bought a house. You were able to, because of the way the industry worked and the schedule of things and the amount of money you were making, it was like, by the time you hit that level, you'd made enough money to buy a house. And being right now, I'm a level above that level, it's like, I absolutely cannot buy a house off of what I make as an executive story editor on the show.

Really? Wow. So, I mean the other thing is, we all live in Los Angeles also.

So if we were living somewhere else, we would be rich. But here, it goes, it goes quick. It does go quick.

And I feel like often, a lot of the kind of-- and I hate this word, frankly-- but the empowerment, quote unquote, conversations, tend to center around a few specific people, who make-- and it's very similar to like the argument of, for example, when you're measuring how feminist a company might be by linking how many female board members they'll have, not taking into account, what is their maternity leave? Or what is the overall representation or compensation of women? And so I feel like similarly, when we have these conversations about empowerment, and advocating yourself it tends to focus on a few people who have an enormous amount of leverage or make a ton of money.

And we'll talk about like, who's the woman on Gray's Anatomy? Oh yeah. I was just thinking about Ellen Pompeo.

And by the way, respect to her for being like, actually, this is not that impressive, you know? How have you found ways to advocate for yourself or maybe even people that you work with and also want to advocate for, without having the leverage of an Ellen Pompeo? So one of the nice things for me is, I have a manager and a lawyer.

And I have a lawyer who is like a complete rock star. Your lawyer. My lawyer, who is-- and I don't see this to be like self deprecating, is like better than I deserve at the moment.

This is very much like, she signed me off like the potential for me to make her a lot of money. Because considering the caliber of other clients that she has, I am I am so far behind them. And her, when I was meeting with her, she talked specifically about making sure that I was getting the money that I deserved.

And that's one of the reasons why I went with her. When I met with my managers for the first time, before I decided to hire them, I remember, he said to me, we, obviously, we want you to be able to follow your creative journey and get all the things you want. But we're also here to make you money.

And I was like, thank God! Because I was like, yes, me, too! Same!

So I don't negotiate my salary for myself anymore. They take care of it. And I, if they bring me a number and I'm not happy with it, I could certainly ask them to push back.

But often, my lawyer's like, I think this is as high as they're going to go. Or she'll tell me where we started, and where she got me up. On a recent deal, she got me up quite a bit.

And she'll always be like, this is a great starting offer. This is what I'm an encounter with, and let's see. So it's nice now that I don't have to do that.

I think the ways now that I sort of empower myself is choosing when to say yes or no to things. So I had an offer to write on a show this summer. And they do these things called mini rooms now, which are kind of, it's-- kind of writers, which is a whole other situation.

But they're shorter, and they're for less money. And I said no, because it wasn't worth my time. So I feel like now, in terms of me personally, that's how I've been advocating for myself is choosing when to say yes or no to things, based off of them making sense for me, and like how much time I have to put into, and how much I'm going to make from it.

Did you ever used to negotiate your salary yourself? I did. So I, right out of college, I worked at a PR firm in New York.

And that was like, I remember, I tried to get-- I mean, it came in, and it was like no. It was like, you know, $30,000 or something. And I might have gotten up like $2,000.

But it was clearly like, it was such an entry level position. And that was it. And this was New York.

This is back in New York. Yes. So I got them up a little bit.

And then I started at Jezebel. I don't think-- I think, I just took whatever was first offered to me, honestly. And then I did, at some point-- I don't remember how far, maybe a couple years in, I did ask for a raise.

And I got a title bump. And then since then, I've done-- you know, I've been offered like speaking engagements. Now, I have a speaking agent.

But when I've-- I have some friends that are approached about things that aren't really things that my manager would deal with. And so I will negotiate that myself. But it's, I mean, honestly, I often have a friend who I text.

And I'm like, this is what they're offering me. Like, they were like podcast projects. And she works in that.

She does a lot more work in the podcast arena than I do. And so I'll text her and say, this is what I'm being offered. And she's like well, is it, is it the corporate sponsor thing?

You should ask for double, or whatever it is. So I've done it a little bit. Now I do it like here and there.

That's very good to have a friend you can text. I feel like, I'm very much an advocate of the group chats or at least the one friend that you could like bounce things off of. yeah, and she always tells me to double it. Like every single time, she's like-- I have those.

Sometimes, you get unhinged advice. I remember, this was a long, long time ago, back when the book deal that I was like in the realm of getting was going to be nowhere near this. And this person was like, you should not settle for anything under $500,000 for this.

And even then, like even in wanting to feel like pumped up and everything, for context, it ended up being like $65,000. And so like, the margin's there. But he was like, it was like, I was hyped up that day.

I was like, you know what? You are right! I'm going to go in there and ask for $500,000.

And I'm sure they were like, there is something deeply wrong with that woman, when she left the room. But the thing is that I think it's always better, as much as I laugh at that looking back, like I think it's always better to go in aiming really high. Because occasionally, they'll have the money.

And they'll be like, yeah, OK. Yeah, and I mean, I don't know that this is like, comes up all the time. But I feel like, if you come in with an offer, and they immediately say yes, you're like oh, I definitely you've asked for more money.

That's always a bad sign. Yeah. And you'd also be surprised.

It's really funny. Because we, at TFD, we commission, I mean, just dozens of things a month, for speaking, for writing, for video. You would not believe the disparity of quotes that people provide us.

For the same speaking thing-- generally, like for context, for a minimum, if we do a panel, it's a minimum of $1,000 for being on the panel. But in that range, you'll have people who fully do not expect to be paid at all, because they're never paid anything. And then you have people who will quote you, literally, $10,000 for one hour of being on a panel in the city they live in.

And the thing is that I don't necessarily, I don't take issue with quoting $10,000. I think in that case, you're probably taking some money out of your own pocket. Because people might have said yes to something lower.

But the thing is that the money is usually not set in stone, on the side of the person paying. And so it's always good. And they may still say no.

But you're not looking rude or weird by asking. Yeah, I mean, I think that is like the biggest adjustment you have to make, is what are they going to think of me if I ask for this amount of money? And the thing I always have to remind myself is, the person on the other end of this is just working at their job.

It's not their money. It's not their personal money. It's like, they probably kind of don't really care, beyond a budget they have to stick within.

Right. I'm not going to offend them, most likely, because it's like I'm not asking for them to pull something out of their pocket. And you don't want to set a dynamic from the beginning that you're just happy to be helping out, and so glad to be there.

Yeah, and I like that is something I have dropped. Because I've had offers this year, for like speaking things, for like $500. And I'm like, it's just in, at that point, it just really isn't worth my time.

The number of things that I could be doing that could result in more money, it's like, that that's a bad decision for me, for an amount of money that will-- like I don't even know where I'd spend $500. I mean, I don't have even, that amount of money. I don't that I would even use that for, especially if I have to put forth some effort myself.

So in particular, like with, I've started doing more speaking engagements. And like my speaking agent does negotiate for me. But like the first couple I did, it was maybe like $2,000.

And what does that entail? Usually, I'll go to like a college, and it kind of like-- give about a half hour speech or remarks, and then usually a Q&A. And then sometimes, like they've had me meet with students.

I spoke at my Alma mater this year, at Tufts University, for their, during orientation. And I actually ended up doing three sessions to the entire freshman class. So I did a much longer, and that was like 45 minutes and a Q&A.

That requires serious prep before. It was a lot of prep. And so for that, I think-- because also, so when my, the agent sent it to me, I think it was like $7,000 or $8,000.

And I was like, oh my god! It was like by far, the big-- and it was, travel expenses were a separate thing. Because often for these, it'll be like, it, we're giving you $2,500.

But you have to use that on your hotel and flights. Right. And so I was like, oh my god!

I'm cleaning-- I was like for one day of work? I was like, this is amazing! But it was a lot of work.

Like I earned every penny of that. It ended up being-- it seemed, when I said yes immediately, I was like, oh, absolutely. And then once I started to realize how much work I had to do, and when I was up there giving three speeches on my feet over and over again.

I was like, I was like, Oh yeah. That was like an appropriate, potentially not enough money. Yeah, oh, I mean, listen.

I have not personally done it. But I've heard over and over that once you get on a corporate speaking circuit babe-- Listen-- You're going to be making some money! That's what I'm trying.

And honestly, that was, that was part of why-- like that speech that I gave, and because I had a presentation and visuals, was more cohesive than other ones that I've given. And I was like, if this is like, if I get this even tighter, and it's like, oh, someone will give me $10,000 to go do that, it's like easy now. Because it, and it was a lot of work.

So I also did feel like in presenting that is a lot more work than the other-- like I mostly just talked about myself and my journey, and like that kind of thing. Yeah, I'll never forget-- I-- the thing is that, OK-- so to be fair, I think that some people have a real fear of asking for more money, because they fear how it might make them look. Yeah.

And I'll never forget I once had a boss, who was-- man, violating all kinds of HR rules. But I had asked for a raise. And I can't remember exactly how he said it.

But it was something along the lines like, do you need the money? I was like, and I was so abashed, so ashamed. I was like just incredibly embarrassed.

Looking back, not only am I like, that man should have reporting good labor, but also like, yes, I fucking needed the money. I needed the money to live and rent pay rent and do adult things. So if you're ever in a situation where you feel as though your reputation or perception will be compromised by advocating for your salary, you should not be working with those people.

That's a toxic work environment. And it was interesting. I don't know, did you read through that spreadsheet of all the different salaries?

I did. Well, what was your take? Give me your take.

I'm trying to remember. Like I felt like-- here's the thing. It's also been a while since I was in media.

So I actually kind of forgotten what was like a reasonable amount of money to make for that job. Yeah. And I will say, I was surprised at how many like six figure positions I saw.

Yeah, well, so again for context, this is an anonymous Google spreadsheet, where all different people working in mostly magazines, digital media, newspapers, couple trade publications, were listing their title. A lot of them listed also gender, race, sexuality, those kind of stats. And then they listed what they made.

And again, I think this is something that should be done in every industry. But I was fascinated about it from the perspective of within a publication. There seemed to be just wild disparity amongst two people at the same position.

I know that there are a lot of industries where that's much more standardized, where if you have a position, you make a certain amount of money. And I think, as you mentioned, when you're in television, I guess because it's so heavily unionized, there are, you know roughly what a person's going to be making. And what I think is the most dangerous part about that is, if I'm working at magazine A, and I'm making I don't know $105,000 a year, and I saw on that list that someone who makes, it who does the exact same work is making $55,000 a year, I am completely dis incentivized from talking to them about it.

And so I wonder, outside of you know unionizing, which is not available to a lot of people, at least not immediately, how have you managed to open up the conversation about money with people that you maybe never did before? I mean, I just started saying numbers, and hoping that they say numbers back at you. It's scary.

Yeah, and I mean, I'm also-- something that I'm finding more relevant is understanding where people are at. If we're going to go on a trip. It's helpful to me to understand where you're at, so I'm suggesting things that make sense for both of us.

Or if we're going to dinner, there are friends who I know make a lot of money. And so a place that I'll suggest, I'm not worried or having to think about, is that going to be a burden for them? Versus other friends, I'm not going to suggest a super expensive restaurant.

Because I don't want to put them in that position, where they're paying $100 for a meal that they can't necessarily afford, or don't want to spend $100 on. But how do you know that unless there's some level of-- How do you know? Exactly.

And so I have-- I feel like those conversations, for me, have been, like I want everyone to be comfortable. And if I'm suggesting things, I don't want people to feel like they have to you explain why they can or can't do something. And so if I have an idea of where everyone's at, then moving forward with things, you can just be cognizant of that.

Do you feel personally well-off? I am, I am, yes, yeah. I'm starting to.

Like, so, I, yeah-- I mean-- A lot of people, you will not believe the extent to which people avoid saying yes to that. Really? Oh yeah.

We have we will speak to people-- and not in this show yet, necessarily. But we on other in other contexts have spoken to people who earn well over seven figures. And if you ask them if they're rich, they're very, very reticent to acknowledge the word rich.

I mean, in this case, it wasn't rich. Or you know, even people who will earn several thousand dollars a year, would not like to use the word well-off. And I think part of it, I think, I think they know that they are.

I think there's no way they don't. Right. And I mean, to an extent, like if all your peers are earning that, maybe you feel less well off than your friends.

Right. But you also, on some level, know. You can just look at the stats.

Clearly, you're well off. But I think a lot of people are deeply afraid of other people getting mad at them or judging them, or I think they know on some level, it's not necessarily fair that I earn all of this money. Right.

You know? I mean, part of the reason I even say that is because I think of-- we know that the state of media, for example. It's like layoffs, and very stressful.

And there's a lot-- I mean, you look at that chart where it's like, the salaries are all over the place. So I have friends of mine that I'm always just like, please come and write TV, because you'll make more money, or please come read a movie, and you'll make more money. And you don't have to worry.

I mean, it comes with a bunch of other worries. But I recognize that the financial position I'm in is better doing this than if I was still doing this other thing. What makes you feel well-off?

So when I was first-- so I have an accountant, in part because when you are a TV writer, you are basically a, not freelancer, a contractor. When you're a TV writer, you're basically a contractor. So what a lot of TV writers do is, they-- a lot of people do this.

You form your own S Corp or LLC. So I did that, and needed an accountant to help me with that. And also, my taxes got very difficult.

And so he takes care of that. Is he also a CFP? I believe so.

So when I was meeting, so when I was meeting with people, I met with this accountant. And they were, and this is probably like three years ago, maybe. And they were like, what are your financial goals?

And I said, I want to be able to spend $200 and not think about it. Like I wanted to just be like, it's fine. It's like spending $20, where I was at before.

And I feel like I'm approaching that. So I was like oh, I've hit the goal! That's all I wanted.

I wanted to not freak out about a $200 purchase, and feel like oh my god, like I've got to think through it. And I wouldn't say now that it's just nothing. It's not like it's, not fully like spending $20.

But I'm like I know that I have access to $200 if I need $200. A lot of people will say things like-- it's actually come up multiple times, someone getting a parking ticket, or like some other kind of ticket, and just being like, I'll pay the ticket. And it was like a rush of dopamine like they'd never experienced.

For me, that is now valet parking. Like, I would pay $20 to valet park. Something that I'm doing more and more, and I got it from my dad-- where he was sort of like look, if it relieves you of stress, and you have the money, it is money well spent.

So for me, now, the amount of money that I'll spend to avoid stress has skyrocketed. So before, if I saw a valet, and it was like $7, I'm like circling the block for 15 minutes to find a parking spot. And now, I'm-- but that is like stressful, and not fun, and you're late, and whatever, versus oh, I'll just pay $7.

And I would probably pay significantly more than that. Because at that point, I'm like $20 to not deal with this is like money that makes sense to me. Well you know what's always worth throwing an extra $20 at?

Your savings account. And if you have been saving plenty of money like I have for your tax time-- because yes, you may not know it. But some of us have to save separately to pay our own taxes, because they're not taken out of our paycheck-- you should check out TurboTax.

And now, in addition to the TurboTax that you probably already are quite familiar with, that basically just helps make filing taxes easy to understand and easy to get the maximum possible refund on, they also have TurboTax Live. Basically, TurboTax Live is an online portal where you have CPAs, EAs, and tax attorneys there at your disposal 24/7, to help understand your own taxes, your deductions, your eligibility-- basically further ensure that you are doing your taxes in the most smart and refunded way possible. Their experts have, on average, 15 years experience, and can go so far as to give you a line by line review of your tax return.

They're also reachable by one way video chat, which means you can see them, but they can't see you. Because sometimes, we are not looking at our best when doing our taxes. Basically, if you're like me and want all the extra help you can get when it comes to your taxes, TurboTax Live helps make sure that your taxes are in the best possible hands.

Learn more about TurboTax Live at the link in or our show notes. So what was your relationship to money growing up? So I grew up in a rather affluent area, like suburb of Seattle.

Oh, which one? I lived in Redmond, and then also Kirkland. And so like the east side is like the suburbs.

And so the thing that was interesting is like, we were well-off, absolutely. But I also was around people who were incredibly wealthy. So we were, my dad worked at Microsoft.

And I went to a private school. A lot of kids that I went to school with, their parents worked at Microsoft. So my family was, by all accounts, we are like doing very, very well.

But you're around people who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So the thing for me, is like, I never-- like I find-- things that I, for example, find very tacky in the way some people talk about money, when they get a little bit of money, and everyone's acting like they're rich now-- because for us, I was around people who were so wealthy, that for, even though my family was better off than most families in the country, probably, to act like that when you're around multimillionaires is like crazy. It felt it feels weird.

Tell me more about tacky. What is that word to you? What's tacky?

I had-- so when I was younger, so when I was like 16 or something, my parents were giving me an allowance. But my dad is an MBA. So my dad is very, he's frugal, but just cognizant of money.

So he would make me do budgets all the time. So if I asked for money, I'd have to do a budget. So when I got my car, when they got me a car, in order to calculate the gas money that they would give me, I had to estimate how many miles I drove a month, do the average gas price, and figure out how many, what my car burned, do the math.

And that's the amount of money he gave me for gas. Go dad. Yeah, which was like, when you're 16, like oh.

But, so he made me do stuff like that all the time. So, but they also, they gave me this allowance. And I had probably a couple months allowance.

So I'd built up a little like nest egg. And then I went and bought like a coach bag, something like that. And I came home with it.

And my dad was like, what are you doing? He's like, you don't you can't afford that. Look, you have the money, technically.

You are like a child, and you don't have a job. And why are you spending hundreds of dollars on a purse, when like you didn't earn that money? And so I just, to me, that felt, that felt tacky.

Gauche. Yeah, it felt like kind of gauche, to be, and to blatantly spend money that you may not have. Yeah, yeah, no.

It's funny, I did not have a lot of money growing up. But when I was little, we were quite poor. But then, by the time I was like middle high school, we were more middle class, but probably on the lower end of middle class.

But a pretty normal background. But similarly, I lived an incredibly incredibly, WASPy town. Very old money, very the preppy handbook, which is the most particular kind of wealth, and making you feel like an utter troll at all times.

And part of that is this incredible sense of not being demonstrative, not being ostentatious, going out of your way to wear ratted it up boats, and you're your faded out polo, your faded out knit sweater, and stuff. And it's funny, because I don't, I don't particularly anymore have a complex about money, and how much I have of it, which I used to be obsessed about. But I do always have a complex of if I feel like, does this look showy?

Does this look like I'm really trying to look a certain way, which is also something I should probably get rid of. That's classist. But I mean, you know, I get that.

Because the people-- so I grew up in Seattle. So you have a lot of like tech people, not maybe the chicest town on earth. So you had a lot of people where, you-- like friends of mine, people I'd gone to school with since fifth grade.

And I didn't realize how wealthy their families were until I went to their house, because the way they're dressed, and the way they act, and all that, it's not-- so the vibe of Seattle, that area in particular. And then even growing up, when I think of the types of people I was friends with who had a lot of money. It was like not necessarily clear to me until I went to their homes.

Did you feel insecure or anything around that, having less than they did? No, because we were fine. You know, like it wasn't-- there wasn't-- there was like a large gap with some people.

Like I had a few friends where it was like, they lived like two doors down from Bill Gates. It was like, that was so, that was like so far that you can't even have a complex about that. You know what I mean?

It's like-- It's like OK. And I feel like most of my friends, we were all hovering. Like, we all lived in these like housing developments.

We lived in different ones. But it's like all the similar type. Like, the houses are like a similar style, and cost a similar amount of money.

And we could all kind of do the same things. And so because most everyone was at least at that threshold, it didn't come up very often. How do you think growing up with a very comfortable background has impacted how you approach money as an adult?

It has made me want it. You know, like I feel like, up until-- you know, I think the first year that I wrote for TV, I might have made it like my last year at Jezebel, between some other work that I did. But I think, for sure, writing TV, I mean, for sure, I made six figures.

And you're like, oh my god, so much money. But it went so quick. In terms of like living here, and paying rent, and paying taxes, I was like oh, wait a minute.

And it made me realize how much money I would need to have the life that I had growing up. Got it. So it did actually it made me realize like, oh man, I'm going to need-- like this isn't going to cut it if I want that.

Or I may have to readjust what I think I want. What you think you want. What do you feel like your-- obviously, you have the $200 mark, which I think is probably a good one.

Because all that really means is that money is not a cause of stress in your life, that amongst all the things you might be worried about, money is not to be one of them, which is, in and of itself, probably the biggest privilege there is. But outside of that, I mean, like what do you think is like the amount of money, or the kind of lifestyle, that when, you think about it, that you really want? I mean, it's probably, I think for me it's also tied to the professional success that I want.

So I don't think it's just I want a million dollars. But it's like I want to have made a million dollars making TV. Because that signals, that is like a success point in my career.

So it's like, I want to have made movies. I do want the money that comes with making movies, because it's a lot of money. But I also want to have done that.

And it happens with the industry that I'm in. These professional touchstones come with a lot of money, which is not always necessarily the case. So for me, they're very much tied.

Would I be thrilled to make a super successful movie, but make very little money off of it? I'd probably be less happy about that. They are probably linked for me.

So I don't, I definitely don't have, I don't have a number, also because I don't think I understand how much I need for the things that I want. What is like-- OK, so like for me, for example, if I had a picture like, this is where I am like hitting on all cylinders, I have two residences in two different cities, that I can go between when I want to at my leisure. That's it.

And I know what that costs. And it's not an unfeasible goal, eventually, in my life. Do you have any kind of goal like that, that is like very financially based?

Probably living in-- the neighborhood, for example, that we're in right now-- This is West Hollywood. In West Hollywood. I live, I rent here.

You know, LA is funny for me. Because there aren't a ton of areas in LA that I'm itching to live in. So one thing that I'm not willing to do is to live in a neighborhood in LA just to own a house.

I, so for me, it was like being able to buy a house in West Hollywood. Got it. I have no context.

What does a house in West Hollywood cost? I mean, so like this house? Well, this is a three bedroom.

It's just one floor, imagining this was a standalone house. I don't know, like 1.5? Oh, really?

Maybe, like for, maybe more than that, maybe a little bit more than that. But once you get into in this area, if you keep going, a few blocks away, and they have these new builds, those are with three or four million other houses. Wow.

It gets crazy. So you want to be able to buy a home in the neighborhood that you want to buy it. Yeah, and you, and a large but important caveat to that is-- and it's something that I think about more and more, which is, I'm single.

And if I had a partner, being able to reach that goal much quicker than I can buy myself. So it's like, it that could take me 10 years. It could take me three if I was with someone who was also earning.

You know what I mean? Do you find that it motivates you even more to do it by yourself? Yeah.

Yeah, a lot of people, I think, experience that. I do, but I also kind of resent it. Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] It does.

I don't know I don't know that I need like more of the motivation. Because I wouldn't, I don't think I'd be like well, I'm fine earning less money, because I have this other person. I'd just be like oh, I'm going to earn the same amount.

And we're just going to have more money to do the things that we want to do. But it is frustrating, especially, I think, because you'll see people buy houses. And it's like, oh my god!

We're congratulating them, whatever. And it's like well, yeah, because they have two working adults. It's not fair.

Yeah, and it's like, that is, it, that matters. And it's, I could be making the same amount as one of them. Right.

So it's not like they're more quote unquote successful than me. Yeah, it's true. When we hear from you we hear that from our audience all the time.

It's like, no one ever addresses the biggest privilege of all, which is dual income household privilege. Which it's very true. And there's no getting around that.

But I do feel like there's, I always feel like, I become a meme now, but like those like 19-year-old Christians on Twitter are like, homeowners, baby! And to be honest, like the things financially in my life that I've always that have been the most defining for me was like being able to rent my own studio apartment in a neighborhood that I loved you know when I was a single gal. And there's something about that I think, even if for you, you feel like you're going through a period, especially if you live in a place like New York or Los Angeles, where it really radically impacts your quality of living, I feel like there's nothing as enriching as being able to do something yourself.

And you know I mean Now. that I think about it, I think the house thing feels like such a big background, like of course you want that. I think the things that I want more than anything are like, I would love to just constantly go to nice restaurants with eight of my friends, and everyone get everything they want, and pick up the tab. Like I love the idea of being able to just book things, and like treat people to things, and everyone can enjoy it.

And like we're going to go on a trip, and I'll pay for it. Because I want you there. And I know that I want-- I want us to stay somewhere.

I want to do those things. I-- the idea of bringing other people with me on things is maybe-- I can imagine a world where I'm renting, but being able to like do that constantly. And I could maybe be happy with that.

I feel like we talked about that a lot on the show. For. Me, I think the most fundamental thing is, money should be shared.

It's meant to be shared. And I think that there's much less happiness to be found in living a very luxuriant lifestyle oneself, than to be-- we were actually just talking on an episode we just recorded. I, through work, and also just credit card churning, I have tons and tons and tons of miles.

And I love them. But I mostly use my miles to buy tickets for other people, because it really has no impact on me. And that is something that normally they would not treat themselves to.

And whether that's being able to then join them with something, or have them come visit, or whatever it is, that has 100 times the value to me than just buying myself another ticket to another place would. And I think that a lot of people get so focused on their own net worth and their own assets and their own day to day lifestyle, that they don't really think about, well, what is the joy that this money could allow in my life? And yes, a house is joyful.

But getting to see your family is more joyful than that. Yeah, I mean being able to have a really cool experience with my friends, where no one is like worried about the bill at the end of it, and just gets to enjoy it, that feels like, that's way more fun than buying a bag. And listen, I like buying shit.

I shop a lot. Got to say same. Yeah.

You love buying shit. You know, I like shopping. I like things.

But that is more fun. Do you ever feel any guilt around earning a lot of money? I mean, no.

Because the job is [? hard. ?] It's funny. Like my-- I'll talk to my dad. When I told my dad about that speaking engagement, and he was like, he was like, you're making all that for this one day of work?

And like mind you, my dad has made much more money than me, and is fine. And so he'll often joke, the writers room start at like 10:30. And he'll joke about like how hard we're not working, or whatever it is.

But the work that I'm doing, when it's hard, is hard and very stressful. And I think that's everything. This industry is very stressful.

And so even if the work itself that day isn't hard, it comes with all of this other bullshit that I find incredibly stressful all the time. Like the most stress I've been in my life has been at points about work things and like TV show, with scripts. And so for me, that is worth the money.

Because that was very stressful, and I had to do this job. And I'm like I earned that money, for all of the, all that I had to do and maintain to get it. Do you ever feel a difficulty in navigating friendships, where someone might have a lot less, or a lot more than you do?

I feel like it's been a while since I've had that big of a gap with things. I do feel like one close friend who works sort of sporadically, because of what they do. And so, I am much, I'm much more cognizant of, let's come over, and you-- let's cook at home, kind of a thing.

Which, I like cooking anyway. Or just treating them to things, because it's, that $50 doesn't matter to me. And it's like, I'm happy, I'm happy to do it.

Especially if it's like, I want you with me-- so if wanting you with me means I'd pay for it, then like I'm happy to do it. Because it's more fun to have you with me than John happy with me. But part of the problem of like working in Hollywood is, you end up around a lot of the same types of people.

And I'm at a point in my career where everyone is just starting to like-- we were all making enough money to be fine, where no one was like super, super stressed. But now, it's like, people are, the things that they're requiring and are like, it's like nicer cars. And people are buying houses.

And they're going on these trips. Everyone is like sort of leveling up together. Because you know, when you're all like, you've started at the same time, and you're the same age, you're rising at kind of the same pace.

Right. So most of the people that I'm around, I don't feel like it's, I think we're operating at similar levels. More likely than not, I'm with people who have a ton of money.

And that is less weird. Because it's usually like, oh, they just pay for dinner, kind of thing. Why not?

Yeah, I have a friend who, she gets a lot of money from her parents, and is like pretty open about it. And so we'll have drinks. And she's like, my dad just handed me $100 when I left.

So I'm just going to pay for drinks. How old is this friend? Older, into their thirties.

I don't necessarily want it. But if it's happening, and I'm on the receiving end of it, I'm like OK. [INAUDIBLE] It's not my life. So I'm like, sure.

Like you know-- Because it's so could never have been my experience. Like if I was freezing on the sidewalk, my parents would like come home or continue to freeze. They're never sending me $1.

So I feel like I could never take money from my parents at this age. But you were-- I wouldn't take money from my parents at this age, because I don't want to deal with the strings that inevitably come with it. Even if people-- like I have other friends who are still in their 30s now, and like early, you know, 30, 31, who are being supported, largely, or get a lot of money from their parents.

And whether they fully admit it to themselves or not, it's like their decisions, they don't get to make on their own. And there are strings that come with that money. And that, more than anything, is like-- it would be worth it to me to like live somewhere less nice, or you know live somewhere I didn't want to live, and not have to deal with, oh, my mom can drop by anytime she wants, because she's paying for it, and she feels entitled to it.

Your comment on the contents of my refrigerator-- Yeah, yeah, and it's-- Oh, no. I wouldn't. For that alone, I couldn't, wouldn't.

That is my big-- OK, this is my number one pet peeve that I feel like has been so normalized, is the cycle of people being like, I really don't want to have x type of wedding. But my mother wants me to have it. And I'm like, well then, don't have x type of wedding.

And they're like, well my mother's paying for it. And I'm like, well then don't have mother pay for it. And they're like, but I couldn't afford this.

And I'm like, then you can't afford that wedding. You are 30 effing years old. I mean, weddings, to me-- don't even give me started.

Because I don't even want a wedding. If I ever-- first of all, I don't know-- I don't even know that I necessarily to marry someone. Because I don't know if I'm trying to legally be bound.

I would much rather be like, hey man. Let's buy this house, and we'll have a kid, and maybe draw up a contract. But like that's the extent to which-- we'll do one joint checking account.

That's like the extent to which I'm trying to be legally bound to another person. But weddings in particular, I don't want a wedding. I find a lot of weddings very tacky.

I think it is crazy amounts of money. And this is sort of terrible. Because it's like, I have friends who, they're-- like that same friend, whose, she had a huge wedding, like hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Probably. Probably.

What the hell? Probably over $200,000. What a waste.

But her family had the money. It wasn't a lot of money to them. And so for her to spend that much money on the wedding, it was a they have it.

So like, I guess. But people are going into debt over weddings, to me, feels crazy, which is sort of unfair, right? It's like, I guess if you really wanted it, I guess you should have the wedding you want.

But does she deserve that wedding more because she can afford it? Right, it's all arbitrary. But I will say, though, you say you don't want a wedding.

And I believe you. I believe that you don't. But every single woman we interview on the show is like, who has gotten married, says the exact same thing, which is like, I was really never the type of person to want a wedding.

Didn't want one going into this. And then lo and behold, they all drop 70 grand on a wedding. I'm like-- Here's what I don't want to do.

I don't want to plan it. And I feel like what I resent is the idea that being with someone where they expect me to plan it. So if I ended up with someone, and he was like, I want to have a wedding, I'd be like great.

Either you plan it, or we are splitting this 50/50, and like for real. And if I get any whiff of I'm doing more work than you, we're shutting this shit down. I don't feel that I should have to do more work in that scenario.

Just because you're a woman. Yeah, and because I don't really care. It's not like, it's not like a dream of mine.

And so if it was important to someone, then absolutely. But it's unimportant to me. So I don't necessarily feel like I need, I have to put in all this effort for this thing I don't even want and that costs a bunch of money in the first place.

Well, then it sounds like you're going to get a wedding planner, which, is in and of itself, extremely expensive. You know what my ideal would be? I mean, I would actually love to elope.

But my parents would murder me. What I would like to do is, be like hey, we call up some people. And I'm like, I'm going to be in Maui on April 5th.

You can come if you want. We're getting married. No big deal.

Swing through. And whoever decides to come, we do our little thing. We have dinner, and like OK, thank you.

Goodbye. I'm in Hawaii now. I'm going to make a bet right now on this show.

What? You're going to get married. And it's going to be very traditional ceremony.

And it's going to cost upwards of $60,000. That's my bet. And you're going to have a wedding planner.

Well while we have you, Kara, we would love to have you answer our classic, I would say, at this point, rapid fire questions, all about money, which we make in partnership with Mint, which is awesome, and I'll tell you more about later. And so let's just get right into it. And again, they're rapid fire.

But if you need to go long, that's OK. OK. What is the big financial secret of your industry?

And let's say Hollywood for this. This is not rapid at all. I'm having [INAUDIBLE].

The big financial secret of Hollywood is how once you get to the top, how much more money you're making than almost everyone underneath you, if that makes sense. Once-- Like the difference between, like if you're running a show, even if the people, if someone who's like a staff writer in the room, if they're making good money, you are making maybe like 10 times more than them. Like I think it's not clear always the gap even within people who are all working together.

Wow. Do you think that people, do you think that's like palpable in the room? Like people know how-- Yeah, I was in a room once when one of the executive producers came in, was like, just bought house today.

You're like fuck off. We're like OK. Like, closed on the house.

And I was like, cool. Good for you, [INAUDIBLE]. What do you invest in, versus what are you cheap about?

I'm really cheap about, I've never been able to pull the trigger on like, I've always wanted a personal trainer, for the time, like time I wast dicking around in the gym, because I know what I'm doing. But for some reason, I cannot pull the trigger on spending hundreds of dollars a week for someone to like stand by me at the gym. Well if you do, and then you have an accountant slash PSP, a lawyer, a manager trainer, and still not a house-- I know, right?

I'm going to be like, I need to see your spending breakdown. What has been your best investment, and why? My best investment was probably the move to Los Angeles.

Nice. Because I was using a credit card that was worn out, and I did not know when I was going to pay it off. But it is, without that move, who knows?

Who knows where we'd be? What has been your biggest money mistake and why? My biggest money mistake is forgetting that I have to pay taxes out of my money now.

Because I'm an expert. You get you get all the money. And so, the first couple times it happened, I was like, I'm rich!

And then I kind of forgot that-- because I hadn't hired my accountant yet. And he was like oh, I hope you've been putting whatever percent aside. And I was like oh no.

So then I couldn't spend any money for like three weeks. OK, I thought for a second, you were about to be like, I didn't pay my taxes. No.

I was like ooh. Don't mess around with that IRS. I am like so-- I mean, honestly, my dad-- like, it is so unlikely that I would get into a crazy financial situation.

Because my dad would either stop me, or like-- it's, the way that I have been, the way that I had been raised and trained, it would be really wild, like like tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt. I could just could never, because my parents would kill me, even as an adult. I'd feel like they-- Have to say, that is a massive asset to have parents who are very financially savvy and impose that on you.

Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, making those budgets my dad always made me do v very-- the move to LA, he's like let's budget out how much it's going to cost, and like all that stuff. It was very annoying at the time, a lot of excel spreadsheets.

But it made me very cognizant of just how much money I have at all times, and knowing expenses that were coming, and keeping those in mind. My mom hasn't worked in years, and lives off of money from my parent's divorce, but is very cognizant of how much money she spends. So that alone, and then the shame of having to tell them I did something stupid with money has kept me straight for a while.

Good for you. What is your biggest current money insecurity? It's probably the house thing.

Man, that house. I know. It's like a very boomer thing to be really hung up on homeonwership.

I'm not really. Like it's actually not something that I-- I love the idea that if I got a job in New York tomorrow, I could just leave. And I'm not stressed out about a home that I have to manage, especially as I'm by myself.

So it's weirdly like, I'm-- it's both like not-- it's a stress that has been imposed on me. I don't think that I would naturally, like, oh my god. I don't have a house.

But I think that, watching other people or hearing other people, anytime they get a boon of money, they're like, oh, well, I might buy a house now. I'm like, you're just going to immediately spend all of your money on a house? And be cash poor for God knows how long.

Yeah. Yeah, I kind of feel the same way as you do, in the sense that I think, because it was so ingrained in me by my parents to own your home, own your home, renting is wasting money, that I can't get rid of that notion, even if it's not necessarily right for my life, or for what I want. And similar to you, if you live in most parts of New York, the kind of-- like the kind of home that I would want to buy in the neighborhood I would want to buy it in is prohibitively expensive, I would immediately double what I'm paying month to month for at least the first five years or so.

So one thing that I found that's kind of liberated me in that regard is the idea that I could buy property, even perhaps in the near future. But it wouldn't be my principal residence. And that frees you up in a lot of ways.

Because you're not so tied to it physically, like to your point if you've got a job. But also, you have a lot more flexibility. Because it doesn't necessarily have to be the exact place that you live right now.

Yeah, I think also, my dad, he always made it very clear that it is a lot of work to have a house. Oh yes. And so it's like, do I want to put in all that work in somewhere I don't really want to be, just because I can have it?

It's a lot of work. It's a lot of money. Like anytime you hear-- I'd have a bunch of friends where it's like their parents bought the house, and they pay the mortgagor whatever.

And I was, were they paying the property taxes? there's so many, or like when your refrigerator breaks, and you have to buy a new fridge, it's the things and I'm like, have you thought-- you know it's not just the mortgage? Right. You know, there's tons of other things you're paying for.

What if a tree falls and caves in part of your roof, and you're out $22,000. Or like if you have a yard, who's are you mowing the lawn? Is someone coming to do that?

People just think, like oh, the mortgage is the same as my rent. And my dad was always very clear that it was so much more money than that. And so when we would hear about people doing that, he was just that's not necessary.

You're not necessarily saving money. What are the logistics of, what are the parents getting out of this? Because what, the parents buy the home.

So they'd make the down payment, and the child pays their mortgage. but then they're still out that down payment. Yeah. And do they keep the mortgage?

Or do they pass it to their children? I think the kids are-- I'm not sure. I do have one friend where, it was basically, his dad, he's a smart money person.

So basically his, dad paid the down payment. He was making enough money, so he could mean he could he could afford a lot of the upkeep of the house. He redid it.

But he did a lot of the construction himself-- or not construction, whatever he was, doing the floors, and things like. That. And so then he sold that house, and then body new house.

So it was like his dad put him in a position. Right and that's the smartest way I've seen it play out, where now his dad doesn't have to help him with anything after that one kind of boost. But I do, I don't know.

I think it's, I think it's this idea that you're saving money, like the kid is saving money. Now, at least we own a thing if we-- Listen, again, hard for me to relate to I used to work with a girl who was 22. And she her parents bought a loft and Williamsburg to live in.

And I was like, I can't come to this job every day across the table from you. No, it-- I also-- I had parents where like, I was there, if there was an emergency, I was never worried that my parents wouldn't bail me out. But it certainly wasn't a I want a thing. [INAUDIBLE] OK, darling.

Yeah, it was like if my-- if I had had a legitimate emergency, I'd, look, I know that they could help me. But if I was just I wanted a laptop, they'd be like, get the hell out of here! What are you talking about?

My dad has said this for years. I think, when I first started in Hollywood, he's like, just waiting for you to buy me that boat. My dad does not boat.

I had never heard him care about having boats. It is not like-- but his thing is like, you know when you buy me that boat, it'll be like we're even. I raised you.

You bought me the boat. We're done. And I'm like, what are you doing with this boat? you.

Don't know how to boat. Oh, absolutely. My mother, every single time-- I'm very, even on the channel, transparent about money.

So my parents know everything about our finances. And every single time we go out with them, my mom's like, you earn more money than I do. You're Paying for this, like every single time we'll do something.

And I'm like, honestly, she's right. Like she paid for me 18, 20 years. She has every right.

What has been the financial habit that has helped you the most? Being afraid of having no money. No, that's not a habit.

Listen, [INAUDIBLE] will keep you on the straight and narrow. Probably those damn budgets, as much as it was, having a very clear understanding of how much I needed to clear each month. Like OK, to get through, it I need this much money to just get through the month of rent and groceries and utilities, and always keeping that number in mind.

And in particular, when I was making less money, like not spending money until I knew that was in the bank. Right. How do you budget-- a lot of people ask us this.

But I'm curious, how you budget with fluctuating income? It's been, I haven't honestly been nailing that. I've been-- this year, for me, was like I only recently, I just got staff on a show within in the last couple weeks.

Congratulations. Thank you. So this whole year, I actually didn't have a full time job.

I was doing the podcast, doing speaking engagements. So the money was coming my way. And so I was sort of, it'll come, even when I I didn't exactly know, which was not a great way to go about it.

And I ended up like, I'd been developing things. So I was like, I'm pretty sure one of these three things will hit. And then that'll get paid.

But I, when I, after my first the first season on Grownish, when I knew I maybe wasn't going to working for a while, I remember my dad and I sat down again. And we did a budget. And my dad was like, you have six months.

He was a you can go six months without working. So we did that. So I was, [INAUDIBLE] six months.

And so any extra money I made, I was like, OK, has that increased? Are we we at seven months / like that kind of a thing. So I've tried to think of it as this year, when I made enough money, where if I'm like, hey, that's rent for the rest of the year.

So I'm just going to like not touch that, and know that the rent is paid for the rest of the year. If I make no other money, at least I know that I can, that will be fine. We need to get your dad on the show, man.

I mean, you say that. It'll be a long episode, man. It'll be like, I'm sure he'll I'll have plenty to teach me.

He'll bust out an Excel spreadsheet. It'll be, he always it's like factoring. And he's like how many times?

He's always also very big on like being realistic. So he would be like, how much do you spend shopping? He's like, you don't have to tell me less because you're worried, or like say you'll shop less.

He's like, what do you spend on it? And be honest with yourself. Because the fact of the matter is, it's like, I buy a lot of shit.

And I'm probably not going to stop unless I really you know what I mean? If I'm being realistic about how I'm living my life, I'm going to buy those things. I always find, though, that I keep a really close eye on every purchase I make.

And the more obsessive I am about making sure that I, like-- well, I also just do what-- I check my statements almost everyday for fraud and stuff, or purchases they don't recognize, or recurring things I should cancel. But the more I do it, the more I find myself wanting to spend less naturally. Because I'm just like, this is so stupid, Chelsea.

Why did you buy that? Yeah. And I think that confronting yourself as much as possible with your spending is probably healthy.

Is for me, anyway. I had start-- like this year, I knew, with my credit cards, I knew-- I was like, OK. This amount on each card was like, I'm comfortable with.

I was like OK. From what I have coming in, I was like, this is like a reasonable amount of money to be spending. And there were a couple of months where I looked at my credit card.

It was like $2,000 more than I had meant for it to be. And I was like, oh no! You're like, who did that?

I don't love that. Gonna be returning some things. But I did, this year, with things sort of fluctuating, I did try to keep-- I was like, OK.

I need, I need each month, these credit card statements, I need to come in at these numbers. And I sort of was able to like passively keep track of it. I sort of, knowing what I, how often I go to dinner, and what I buy, and the prices, like if I'm buying a pair of shoes, I know where I'm usually at when I'm buying a pair of shoes or whatever it is.

So I was able to really passively, like, and to every month, I was rarely surprised when I got my credit card bills. And I yes that, seems right Yeah. So it was a [INAUDIBLE].

Yeah, so with knowing that, I was like, did I at least make that this last month? Well, we made them a credit card bill. So-- There you go, man.

You've got to start somewhere. Listen, and be, like you said, be honest with yourself. If you're not going to spend less, budget for spending more.

Right. Last question, when did you feel, when did you first feel successful, air quotes, and what does that word mean to you? I probably first felt successful when I started writing for Jezebel and was able to write, support myself writing.

Because that felt like a crazy thing to tell people. Even when I first, like my dad, it's a Jimmy action I got when I got the Jezebel job he's like I think you always knew that you want to be a writer, but you didn't. You were afraid to say it out loud.

It's like, yeah. Because that's an insane job. Like who's writing for money?

And know, my parents had paid for me to go to college, had spent a bunch of money for me to go to school. And so the idea of like, you've spent like tons of money for me to be like, I'm going to be a writer. I was like no, I need to go get a job, and now support myself, because they've been supporting me for all this time.

So I think when I was able to like support myself on something that I enjoyed doing that much, I was like, OK. This is, I at least knew that I can make a living doing this. And so it's nice to know that potentially forever, I have this option.

And because I now understand what like $50,000-- I have a better idea of that number-- see, I was like, oh my-- I was actually mad at my parents. I'm like, I cannot believe-- you should not given-- you should not spent this much money for me to college. And my parents, I was very lucky.

They had a college fund for me. So it was like, the money was, also the money could only be used for that. So I was, on one hand, I was like well, I mean, the money was there.

It's OK. But now I'm like, oh my god. You should not spend that much money for me to go to college.

I wouldn't have done that. It's a 529, guys. It's a 529.

It's an investment account that is just for going sending people to college. I wonder if you can use it to send yourself to college. Actually, [INAUDIBLE] later in life.

In my dad's will, I believe-- and I don't know if this is just because of-- he's alive. But because of the account-- For now. Like if I didn't graduate from college, that money would go to the next person.

That money can only be used to educate someone. So if I didn't spend all that money, it would go to my younger sister. For their college.

For their college. If she hadn't spent it all, it then starts going to whatever my next cousin is. So no one could use that money for anything.

In his will, he is like, you can only use this for education. No one's like cashing out and just taking his money to hang out. Damn, I have maximal respect for your father from these anecdotes.

This is why I was-- this is why the idea of calling him and being like, oh, I can't do much on my credit cards, was like not. Can't be doing that. You are a grave disappointment.

Well, thank you so much for coming out, and for being so candid about money. I hope it was informative and relevant. It was loved talking to you about it.

And thanks, you guys, as always, for tuning in. We will see you next week. As I mentioned for our rapid fire questions, Mint rules.

Mint is basically a budgeting app that helps you do everything that you need to with your personal finances-- track spending, manage bills, manage savings, hit goals, in the best possible way. I used to literally avoid ever looking at my checking account statement. Because I was like, only darkness lies there.

I cannot confront my own spending habits. And what Mint does, basically, is it takes all of what you're doing with money, and breaks it down into these really easy to understand and easy to follow charts and graphs that basically confront you with the reality of your money. And plus, it tracks it over time.

So you can start to see patterns and trends. And when you're increasing your savings, that little satisfying line goes up. And basically, it just helps you understand your own financial health, better than you ever could on your own.

I started using it well before TFD even existed, believe it or not, and still use it to this day, to make sure that there is never one money decision I'm making that I cannot fully track, account for, and understand. If you have been wanting to get started on a budget and get better with money, I could not recommend Mint any more. And luckily for you, it is completely free and linked for your convenience in our description and our show notes.