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In this episode, filmed in Los Angeles in summer 2021, Chelsea sits down with Jennette McCurdy to candidly discuss her experiences with child stardom, why she didn't join the iCarly reboot, the cost of living up to external expectations, and more.

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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Financial Confessions it's me, your host, founder, and CEO of The Financial Diet, Chelsea Fagan.

I'm also someone who loves talking about money, and today, speaking with someone who I believe does offer another really interesting glimpse into the intersections of finance and various industries here, specific to Los Angeles. She is someone who has been a working actress since a very young age.

She's someone that a lot of you are probably familiar with, and she's also someone who has an incredibly high level of candor around the realities, financial and otherwise, of living that life. So without further ado, I'd love to say hello to our guest. She's writer, performer, actress, podcast host, and all-around great person, Jennette McCurdy.

Hi, Chelsea. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

I've been a fan of this for a while. Oh, that's exciting. Yes, and for those who don't know, I did her podcast recently.

We'll link you to that in the description. It was very nice. So for those who might not know who you are, can you talk a little bit about what you do now and how you sort of rose to prominence?

Yeah. I began child acting when I was six, and I sort of rose to prominence on a show called iCarly. I started out when I was 13 or 14, and did that until I was 21.

It was a very kind of significant portion of my life, then did a spinoff after that, and a Netflix show sort of following that. So I was very, very consistently working up until 23. And then, at 24, I decided, you know what, this is not for me, I've been doing this for a while, it doesn't feel true to me, it never really has, and sort of came to terms with that reality, and then since then, have been transitioning my career over to, like, writing and directing and producing.

Love that. And how old are you now? I just turned 29.

Happy birthday. Thank you. So talk to me.

I want to kick this off with what I think probably most of our audience would want to know, is just hearing about the finances of being a child actor. I think a lot of people have a lot of probably very negative impressions of what that world entails, but I know that each experience is very unique and dependent on your family. So can you talk a little bit about yours?

For sure. I think something that is important to note, that a lot of people might not consider, is that child acting-- a lot of people are put into child acting by their families, and it tends to be-- what I saw more often than not was that it's sort of a struggling family-- families that are financially struggling. And usually, there's sort of a child or multiple children who are then expected to be the breadwinners for the whole family.

So there's definitely a stressful vibe in any of those audition rooms, because you're around a bunch of other kids who are also kind of, like, trying to support their families. And I just think that's kind of an interesting element that might not be considered very often. That definitely applies to me.

My family was struggling from the day I was born. And then, even before that, my father had two jobs. He worked at Home Depot and Hollywood Video, and my mom would pick up shifts at Target for the holidays to try and give us some sort of gifts.

My grandfather and grandmother lived with us to try and help make ends meet, and it was always a struggle. So my mom put me in acting when I was six to kind of try and help to bring in some additional income. That's really interesting.

So when you started, was there ever an explicit conversation about, like, this is why you're doing this? Or was it just like, do you want to be on TV, let's go do that, and your parents were sort of thinking about the financial aspect? It was never positioned to me as sort of a question of, do you want to pursue this.

It was very much my mom sitting me down and, you know, saying in as kid-friendly way as I guess she could manage that this would be something useful and helpful, and that she thought that I could do it and would be good at it, which was wild to me, because I was very shy and very socially anxious. So it seemed like the worst possible fit to go into rooms and be all presentational and performative. That did not sound-- that didn't sound quite right, but I do think that knowing the stakes that were in place was very helpful to, I guess, getting good quickly.

Because I knew, well, there's something real that I have to accomplish here. It's not just like I'm doing this for fun on the weekends or something. So you were aware to some extent that you were helping your family.

Yes. OK. Yeah.

OK, so if you were shy and sort of not predisposed to performing, why did they think, like, oh, well, our kid should be a star? [LAUGHTER] I think my mom saw it as the best chance at us getting it out of our situation, and I don't think she had any better ideas. I also think she knew that I was a fairly decent listener and could-- she knew that I wanted to please her, so I think there was some element of that. And also, frankly, she really wanted to be a performer, and I think there is a huge, huge aspect of her wanting to kind of live out her dreams vicariously through me.

Yeah. I feel like that's part of the negative impression people often have, although, as a side note, I can only imagine that especially-- I mean, throughout the length of your career, you must have worked with other child actors who did come from money, who didn't need to be supporting their family. It was such-- I mean, you can sense it immediately.

These kids tend to be outgoing, bubbly. You can feel their, kind of, enjoyment for it. And I imagine for, like, casting directors, it's probably much more fun to see them rather than the stressed-out kids who, kind of, waddle in.

So you felt that difference? You could feel like, oh, they're here for fun? There was a little girl named Alexa.

I won't say her last name, but I was like-- she just-- like she should be doing this. Oh my god. She'd come in her little beret, and she knew all her lines, and seemed very happy.

Wow. I'm always like, to me, there's-- I can understand-- I feel like one of the things that we're really bad about in our society is judging the actions of people who are very financially precarious, as if we wouldn't necessarily make a lot of similarly, quote unquote, "bad" or fraught decisions if we were in precarity. But I'm always even sort of more weirded out by people who would put their children into child stardom without any financial need.

You know what I'm saying? Absolutely. You're just-- like, you're just doing this to your kid for fun?

Like, ugh. What a good point. Yeah, I would assume that they would have sort of more wherewithal and understand the risks, I guess.

Right? And also, to me, I always felt like we always misunderstand in our culture-- we always conflate being rich and famous. And I feel like what is ideal is to be rich without being famous, and so the idea that you already have tons of money and you're, like, now going to put your kid into fame when that can only probably be a net negative for them, it's incredible.

Rich and anonymous sounds like the way to go. Hell yeah. And that's why it always weirds me out when rich people really seek media attention.

Stay quiet. I don't understand. I do not understand.

You can tell-- you can-- yeah, you can smell them a mile away. I don't get it. So your family-- so how does it work?

Can you walk us through a little bit the dynamics of the contracts, who's paid, who actually signs on to things? How does that work? Yeah.

So typically, you have an agent and/or a manager. The agent and the manager each take between 10% and 20%, just kind of depending on who you wind up with. There are a lot of agencies that do really astronomical start-up fees.

That is a scam, so nobody should be doing that. That's not a good sign. And then, your attorney takes 5%.

So off the top, a significant chunk is already kind of gone. And then, for me, I paid my mom a salary, which was her sort of-- just for taking me to and from auditions. And that's what she told to me was a salary, but I suspect there was kind of more to it than just whatever an appropriate salary may have been.

And then, there's 15% that, by the union, is set aside for the child performer to-- nobody can touch it until they're 18, and then the child performer has access to 15% of their money, which is-- that sounds crazy to me. Mm. That is really the only amount of your money that's 100% protected.

And also, given to you in a lump sum at age 18? Like, why don't you just go ahead and buy the alcohol for them, and the drugs, and the clothes and whatever a dumb 18-year-old is going to buy if they're handed a lump sum? Absolutely.

Absolutely. That's crazy. So do you feel that your parents handled the financial aspect of your work well?

Whew. What a deep question that I still grapple with. You know, my mother didn't really tell me the full extent of what she was taking, which-- as a kid, I was-- I wanted my family to be happy.

I wanted to solve their problems. I wanted to help. I think that's every child's instinct-- is like, how can we make this easier for the family?

But I didn't realize kind of the extent of what she was doing, and also how mismanaged I think the finances were. Granted, it wasn't a complete disaster. You know, I think it could have certainly been a lot worse where, at 18, there's nothing left.

But the 15%, there was definitely more or less than that, which I'm grateful for. And I can't blame-- honestly, I can't blame my dad at all, because he was very hands-off, and he was doing his own thing and working. And it was really my mom-- my mom was the driving force.

I don't think he would have put me in acting at all if it were just up to him. That's really interesting. And so do you feel that when you turned 18 and you got control of what was probably a substantial amount of money, even though it was still probably only about 15%, what was your relationship to that money?

Terrified. OK. I was absolutely terrified.

I felt-- I'm definitely inherently kind of a saver, and I felt-- because I was always so aware of my family's financial situation, I just-- I had no understanding of money, how to use it, what it could do, what it should do, what I should do with it. I was completely in over my head, and that's actually when I brought on a business manager to kind of help facilitate that and help me manage it more effectively than I-- definitely than I would have been able to at the time. And so did there-- were there any kind of uncomfortable conversations when you became more aware of the finances of your work as an adult?

Hmm. I wouldn't say, uncomfortable. It was just-- it was just overwhelming.

I mean, I guess, uncomfortable in the sense that it was overwhelming. But I just felt like, oh, god, I don't know what to do, and I really had no trust in myself in how to manage it. So I have three older brothers, and my oldest brother, who's very kind of financially stable and savvy-- he actually attended the business manager meetings with me to kind of help me-- Nice.

Yeah, that was hugely, hugely comforting. Now, does Nickelodeon or any other-- are they the-- I guess they're the network, and then the production company's separate from that. I'm not super-- I think it's also the production company for that specific network.

Yeah. Do they educate you at all on the finances of what you're doing? No!

Oh my gosh. I think that would be a brilliant idea, and I hope that anybody from Nickelodeon who may be listening to this would consider that for future generations. Because I think, not only financial conversations, but frankly, fame conversations-- I just don't think-- like, it's really upsetting to me.

I don't think young, undeveloped minds are equipped to handle fame. Of course. I think it really leads to disaster.

It makes complete sense to me how so many former child stars have breakdowns and go through these really, really intense public kind of unravelings. And I wish that there were conversations up front, of risks and how to navigate it, and how to approach situations that are so rare and odd and just strange. That being said, though, if I'm thinking cynically, which I'm sure these massive media conglomerates are, it's probably in their best interest to keep their little stable of workers as uninformed as possible on these things.

Well-said. Yes. I mean, I can only imagine.

Very well-said. So in terms of the money of it all-- so you don't have to disclose numbers. But I can assume that when you were on iCarly, you were making a lot of money.

There was a-- I would make an episodic salary. OK. And usually, I'd get some sort of a bonus if we got picked up for another season.

However-- and I think people might be surprised to learn this-- zero residuals. So for network television, you make residuals when an episode airs any time, I believe, after the first airing and every time after that. And if it's picked up from, like, a Friends-- the Friends series might be picked up on TBS, and then they're airing reruns on TBS, and also on whatever other network.

But for Nickelodeon, you do not see residuals. Is that just for children, or is that for everyone? I think it's for everyone, and I think it's for certain cable networks-- maybe all cable networks, but I'm not sure on that.

That seems very not cool. Isn't it? It's so-- I don't understand why that's allowed for some networks but not for others.

So what year did that end? That show. That show ended in 2012-- I think 2012 or 2013.

OK. So it ends. Are we seeing, like, a hard stop, in terms of income, or did you line up work after that to make sure that you were not hitting a hard stop on taking in money?

So at that point, I was emotionally exhausted, and really, I didn't feel like I had anything left to give. I was-- I felt really done with acting. I was well into feeling done with acting by that point.

Probably by 16, I was just like, I can't do this anymore. So five years after that, I was still doing it. And my mom actually had stage-four cancer, and she was really concerned about my future, understandably.

And they, Nickelodeon, had offered me a spinoff, and I really did not want to do it. I didn't feel it was the right thing for me, but my mom said, you know, you'll regret not doing this for the rest of your life if you don't do it. You should do it for the financial stability, if nothing else.

It would help me to know that you're doing something to kind of take care of your future. And so I signed on to do the spinoffs, so I knew that there was some income coming in. OK.

So you lined all of that up before the first show ended. Yes. However, with the spinoff, it's like, the only thing that was guaranteed was a pilot.

So you don't know if it's gonna go on after that. And then, luckily, we did-- well, luckily at the time, in retrospect, unluckily, sort of-- we did-- we got picked up for, like, a 40-episode season right off the bat. That's so many of anything. 40 is too many, in my opinion.

Yes, I completely agree. And so you went into that show being like, I don't want to do this. I'm literally just making a paycheck.

Yeah. My hope was, at that point, I'd already thought, you know what? Because you really don't get many-- you don't learn many life skills as a young performer.

On the one hand, you're really sort of conditioned to be precocious and mature, but on the other hand, you're missing out on all those really key developmental years, socially. So I felt like I was an eight-year-old 21-year-old, if that makes any sense. Totally.

Sort of emotionally very underdeveloped in age, but also I had been a precocious eight-year-old, who was like this precocious eight-year-old 21-year-old. Very bizarre. But I've forgotten the question.

That you had just gone into it, sort of, dead behind the eyes, from a spiritual perspective. Yes, that is-- that describes it perfectly. OK.

That's very much where I was at. And was-- so was the majority of the reason for not wanting to do it because you were sick of the work of acting, or sick of the life that came with being an actor at that level of visibility? You ask such great questions.

Thank you. You really go to, like, deeper levels, and it's very appreciated. I'll give you my bill after this. [LAUGHTER] I would say I don't really know, because of the expectations that came along with acting for me from such an early age.

I would be curious to have experienced it from a different place. But for me, it felt like my own identity was sort of was usurped by playing other characters, and it was always for the sake of an audition, and what are your emotions going to be for this audition. So I felt like I kind of had this unlived childhood, and this unlived emotional experience.

So I can't really envision it without that baggage, but that baggage made it such that it just felt like I have to do anything else. This is unhealthy for me in every way. You have-- and I imagine it's probably a bit less now, although you could correct me on that.

But you, at the time, I imagine, had the level of fame that, to me, as a layperson, seems unpleasant, in the sense of, like, just the practicalities of it. When you were in it, and it was at its height, can you describe a little bit the experience of being that visible to people? Yes.

As a person who-- I very much experienced just social anxiety, period. Put fame on a person with social anxiety, and a young person with social anxiety, and it was-- it felt impossible. You know, it's paparazzi every time I left the house.

Any time I go to anywhere, it's going to be a horde of people approaching me. And initially, it was autographs, and then there was that-- then the iPhone came out when I was, whatever, 15, and so then it was people recording me, and just feeling like constantly monitored and watched and observed. Like, you feel kind of like a zoo animal.

And people don't-- my experience was, there were some people that would approach and be very-- there'd be something underneath it. You could tell they really cared, and that it really meant something to them, and that felt really connected. But more often than not, it was sort of a mom, like, grabbing your arm and being like, take a picture with Brett!

And like, getting her phone ready and is like-- Screw Brett. (LAUGHING) Yeah, exactly. Brett's going to have to wait. But so it kind of made me feel disheartened in humanity.

And now-- I can imagine. And now, has it abated somewhat, or are you just better at dealing with it? To be honest, COVID-- the one thing that was a relief in it was wearing a mask and having a face covered, and knowing, oh, I can go places and sort of have anonymity and not have to worry about it.

But I will say-- no paparazzi, so that is fantastic. But when people approach me now, it tends to be people who are more up to speed on the things I'm working on currently. Oh, that's good.

I have a lot of people approaching me about the podcast. That is a completely different experience. Hmm.

That feels-- people see-- there's just more of a genuine connection. There's something to talk about. It doesn't feel aggressive.

So that has been very welcome. And you feel now, as an adult, that you are able to mitigate it better in terms of your own anxiety? Yes.

Yeah, I have definitely gone through a lot of therapy to work on it and to be able to handle it better, because it was by no means sustainable, the level of intense anxiety I had before. It'd be crushing. It seems incredible that it's not more debilitating for more people, in terms of-- we're so familiar with the narrative of the child star who breaks down, who has substance abuse problems, et cetera, et cetera.

But it's unbelievable to me that that's not more common with people who experience it as adults, in that it seems something that the human brain is so fundamentally not equipped to deal with. Like, we all have nightmares about, like, you're recognized everywhere, or you can't get away from people. You know what I'm saying?

It seems like something that the human brain just can't deal with. So what are some of the tools that you use to mitigate your anxiety around that experience? I swear by a type of therapy called dialectical behavioral therapy.

It is a behaviorally focused. And for me, it was-- I would try and be like-- sometimes I would just go completely cold, I would shut down, and I'd just walk away. Sometimes by-- I'm sure there are many people who think, like, god, what a-- which is totally fair for them to think, and that's fine, but I felt like I was doing something that I needed to do for my well-being.

Sure. And then, there are some people who would have said, especially when I was younger, like, oh, wow, she's so nice. She took five pictures with us.

She did all these things. That was really against what I wanted to do. That was really just from an instinct of people-pleasing and the pressure from my mom.

But what it would lead me to do was where the problem came in. So it would lead to a lot of behavioral coping mechanisms that were unhealthy. I think it was-- I struggled with bulimia for a long time, and I think that did not help.

I think, the experience of fame and the anxieties of people constantly watching-- I just felt like I needed some sort of coping mechanism, and at the time, the best tool was an unhealthy one. So through behavioral therapy, I was able to identify my unhealthy coping mechanisms, get a handle on them, so that I no longer did self-destructive behaviors to try and cope with it. So for me, it was more so about just not doing the self-destructive behavior, since that was my natural instinct.

That makes a lot of sense. So there has-- I guess it's out now-- the reboot of the iCarly show that you're not a part of. I'm sure there's a lot of reasons that went into it, but can you talk a little bit about the financial experience of saying no to something like that?

Because I'm sure you probably left a substantial amount of money on the table. Yeah. I think there are more important things.

And I think that my health and sanity and well-being is definitely in that category of a more important thing. So that's what I chose over-- oh, yeah, the substantial amount of money. [LAUGHS] And has the audience responded to you in any type of way about that? I can imagine there might be some tension.

Yeah. I will-- so friends will occasionally send me, sort of, articles, but I intentionally don't look at any of that stuff, because I really want to keep my eyes focused on the projects that I'm working on now. And it's just, I'm in a completely different headspace than that show, and that was a long time ago for me, so I feel way, way, way out of it.

And so yeah, I try to generally stay away. I always think, when I see the-- because obviously, the past five years, I think, especially in Hollywood have been just an endless glut of reboots and revisiting similar material, and remakes and things like that. And I think it's hard not to feel that the vast majority of the motivation there is financial, right?

Because these are well-established properties that are basically guaranteed success, and this, that, and the other. Yes. And I also think that a lot of times, the people who sign on to them are probably doing so because of the paycheck, even though it may not be the project they want, even though it might be similarly time for them to move on.

How do you get yourself off of the lifestyle inflation, the hamster wheel of having these big paychecks, so that when another big paycheck comes along, you're able to say, I'd rather feel good? That's a really smart question, and I think because of my upbringing, I never quite fell prey to lifestyle inflation. I would ride an electric scooter into work, which I now cringe to think about, but-- Like a bird scooter, or vespa scooter?

It was a razor-- it was a razor electric scooter that Nickelodeon actually gave us for Christmas. I love that. And everybody else would have their very, very nice cars, but-- and it wasn't me being rebellious or contrarian or anything like that.

It was me just being like, well, I live close enough, so I'll just ride my little scooter to work. But I think because of those types of decisions that I didn't think anything of, it was really helpful, because it wasn't like I then had to-- oh, I've got this really expensive car, and I've got three houses, and I got whatever, which-- by the way, I couldn't afford three houses. But if that were the case, I think it'd be really difficult to turn out money when I feel like, oh, I have to keep up this lifestyle, this image that I've like already kind of shown the world for so long.

But you are a person who is very visible. Yeah. Does having that level of visibility that you have not engender a pressure to live a certain way or to have a certain lifestyle?

It does, but because I was-- I do think those formative years really have a lot of influence, and I was raised home-schooled. I was raised Mormon. So I had all these kind of rules around me that were really the opposite of-- I didn't really have a social expectation on me from an early age, in terms of my friends and needing to keep up with them and have the new cool shoes and the new cool whatever.

And also, I think just truthfully, like being emotionally stunted, I don't think I was considering, oh, I should probably dress nicer. (LAUGHING) I don't think that was, like, in my wheelhouse. You were raised Mormon. Do you still identify as Mormon?

No, no, no. How do you think being raised Mormon impacted your relationship to money and personal finance specifically? I think in some ways, it was very good.

I think there were certain values that the faith instilled in me from an early age that were very helpful. Just the very raw values of it, I think, are generally very positive. It's the beliefs that I do not agree with, and it's the kind of isolating certain groups of people, and making them feel not welcome, that I don't agree with.

So there's plenty that I don't agree with, but as for just prioritizing friendships and your own moral compass and those kinds of things, that's pretty decent. I really do feel like those Mormons, man, they got a real lock on just how to live a very industrious and prosperous life. Yeah.

They are like, they really got it down. They do. And to your point, it would be great if like we could get that without all the really toxic stuff.

Like, do we need them both in the same? But they got it. If that were the case, I would still be Mormon.

Yeah, it's also-- If that can be taken just out of context. What was it like-- also, so you're-- now, you were raised Mormon, but were you raised in a heavily Mormon community, or just a heavily Mormon household? Mm.

So we were what I refer to as second-rate Mormons. I do feel like in every LDS, Latter-Day Saints ward, there are, like, the first-rate Mormons, which are-- everybody knows. There's usually three or four families.

Their fathers are probably in the bishopric. The brothers have probably all served missions. And there's something in them that just screams Mormon.

They look Mormon. They've got that Mormon, like, the pearly-white teeth, they're always smiling. And then, there are sort of the second-rate Mormons, which we definitely, I think, fell under as a family.

And it's the people who find loopholes in the doctrine, that sneak to McDonald's on Sunday, but like, don't tell Sister Hoffmeyer. She can't see us go there. They're always trying to kind of squirm around.

I feel like they kind of want the benefits without doing a lot of the work, kind of the same thing on the [INAUDIBLE] thing. And that was what we fell into. And I always wanted us to be like first-rate Mormons.

I was such a little-- You wanted to be like those lifestyle-blogger Mormons, of which there are enormous amounts. Everything-- exactly. Oh my gosh.

They're so polished. But so tell me about the experience of living one part of your life in this extremely sort of, like, doctrinal and traditional and gender-normative and all of that stuff, you know, church, and then the other half in literal Hollywood. [LAUGHS] It was as juxtaposing as it sounds, and as confusing as it sounds. A key example that I think illustrates that is, very early on in our first season of the show-- You mean, iCarly?

Yeah, iCarly, that's right. There was a scene where myself and this other character, we ran, like, a web show. It's genuinely hard for me to remember kind of exactly what the show was.

It's been so long. But we had to wear bathing suits, and you have to have a fitting as an actor before each episode where they show options of each outfit to the network so they can improve it. And I remember being terrified of that fitting, because I did not want to wear a two-piece bathing suit.

I thought that was a sin. I thought that was against what god would want, and I did not want to partake in that. I was a nervous wreck, and went into the fitting, and the wardrobe person said, like, well, they want to see a variety of things, so we're going to need to put you in a couple bikinis just for these photos, but I'm sure that I can try and do some massaging and get you in a one-piece if I really try.

I didn't even want to try it. I didn't want to have the option of them putting me in a bikini. I didn't want that photo to exist.

So I sort of had a little moment. I kind of cried in my dressing room, and my mom, whose rules became more and more lenient the more-- we started out Mormon, then it was sort of like, well, if you're going to get a paycheck, I guess we can put you in a bikini type of thing. All right.

She told me you're going to put on a bikini, and you're going to do the photo, so I did. I wore the bikini and did the photo, and then they wound up choosing one-piece. Wow.

Much to unpack in that one small anecdote. Isn't there, though? But OK, so there's obviously that tension.

Because I do feel like the weird thing about a lot of those children's shows and, I guess-- what was the age bracket it was geared toward? I was too old for it, but-- I mean, six to 12, maybe? OK, so children. [LAUGHS] But I always feel like there's this really weird tension where there-- it's very conservative in a lot of its presentation, especially of girls, but it also weirdly sexualizes them.

Yes. But I feel like that's also very common in most organized religions, as far as how they sort of represent women. How did you feel, especially in relationship, to your own body, to your femininity, experiencing it both through the lens of being so visible, being on television, but also being in this church that you were obviously, to some extent, growing out of?

The thing-- the one thing that I, as a child, as much as I wanted to be a first-rate Mormon, the thing that I disagreed with just in my own inner workings most was the kind of femininity and what was expected of being a woman and always being polite and being graceful. It just felt like, oh, god, I don't know how to do that. And I played it very sort of masculine character on TV.

She was always beating people up. She was always, like, eating food, which, as a person who had very intense eating disorders for much of my time on the show, was not fun, to be always asked, hey, Sam, where's the fried chicken? And me just being like, that is my biggest demon, but thank you for asking. [GASPS] goodness.

Yes. Yeah, it was very, very contradictory and complicated. But I think I liked that my character was not expected to be particularly feminine.

I really enjoyed that, just for how I'm kind of wired, and I felt like I could at least have some level of fun with that character. So that provided you some kind of, almost a layer of protection, in terms of your visibility. Absolutely.

So there must have been a time, by the way you're describing it, that even while filming iCarly, you were like, I am done with this. It sounds a couple of years, at least. Yes.

Yeah. Were you more kept into it by the terms of your contract or by the pressure to continue supporting your family? Ooh, I would say it's 50-50.

But probably, I guess, because of the emotional element, I'll have to say-- Slightly weighted towards-- Not 50-50, probably 60-40, in favor of family. Yeah. Did you have an active understanding of that?

Or was it just so normalized that this is what I do to be a productive member of the family? Or did you have a more acute understanding of, like, if I don't earn this money, we won't be able to have this that and this? I don't know if I had quite an acute understanding at the time.

Because I really-- our family was not one that talked about things openly. It was incredibly dysfunctional, and nothing was discussed with openness, with vulnerability, with any degree of honesty. So it really just felt like what I did-- I felt like a soldier that was like-- had been exhausted and didn't want to be a soldier anymore.

But it was still just being a soldier and hitting my mark. But to your point earlier, dead behind the eyes is exactly how I felt. Did you feel like you could have that conversation with anyone that you worked with, in terms of, hey, guys, like, this isn't hitting like it used to? (LAUGHING) I don't know how you would have said it, but-- I wish.

No, it's strange, because I bet now, in-- we were all very close at the time, and I bet that I could have opened up a dialogue with any one of them, and they would have been really understanding. The cast-- not at all-- the higher-ups or the producers, by any means. There was a very abusive producer on that show, and that would not have gone well if I tried to communicate that to him.

But for our cast, I could have, but I don't think that I even knew that openness was an option with anyone, because of my upbringing and how much you keep secret as Mormon, with my mom's abuse, with all these-- there were all these factors that I just felt like I didn't have a gauge on what sort of genuine communication was, even. I wouldn't have known where to begin. Now, obviously, you can't speculate to that extent, but just given your experience, you describe abuse coming from a lot of sides, abusing yourself to a large extent.

Did that come across to you as the norm with a lot of your fellow child actors, that you all seemed traumatized to an extent? Oh, yeah. I would say it is more the exception if that's not the case.

And did you-- I mean, this is maybe a silly question. But when you came across a child star-- like you were saying earlier, that person with the beret, who-- you were like, oh my god, not even carrying a little trauma? Like, this is crazy.

Did you have-- and I feel like I would feel this way-- any resentment toward that? Did you feel antagonistic toward it? Wow.

Yeah, I didn't know it at the time, because I was so much just pretending to be happy and bubbly, and you know, oh, I'm a star for kids, like whoo! But as I've unpacked it since then, there was so much resentment. And it's still something that I struggle with and something that I am trying to work on, because I don't want to carry that resentment with me forever.

But I would say it's been something that's still-- it's not majorly detrimental to my life, but it's something that I'm still like, oh, I'd like to be at a better place with that. Now, when you see-- not even particularly fellow child actors, but just fellow actors, fellow people in the public eye, who have taken the other path, who have not said no to things, who have put themselves on that hamster wheel, who are probably continuing to work in ways that they are very much no longer fulfilled by, what do you think when you see that? Do you have empathy for it?

Do you feel like it's more them or the people around them? Like, how can we understand it as people seeing that? It does make me sad.

That's my initial emotional reaction. And it makes me feel like-- yeah, like maybe there's not a strong enough support system around them. That's obviously my judgment being kind of put on them.

But I also worry that it's a sign that people don't believe in themselves enough, and believe that they can do other things and believe that they can sort of cultivate another career or work toward other bigger goals. And it really disappoints me to think that, especially if I know the person personally. Yeah.

I think there's also, for a lot of people-- like, for example, I didn't watch it, but I saw a lot of clips from the Friends reunion. Oh, sure. And I did have a very sort of unsettled feeling, even watching the clips, because obviously, I think a lot of them have done quite a lot to themselves physically, which I think, probably in a vacuum, most people wouldn't choose.

But also sort of the inherent discomfort of seeing phenomena be recreated 20 years after it's probably no longer relevant, or the context. And I do feel like what you're describing about not believing in oneself enough to close a chapter, to say this part is done-- and their example-- look, I'm sure they're all fine. I'm not judging them individually.

But I do think, especially with social media, especially with this hyper focus on relevance and staying young and staying in the public eye, that we're almost taking away people's ability to say, that was then, and I'm no longer doing this. One million percent, I got chills. Oh.

I feel like people are robbed of the opportunity to grow. And oftentimes, in Hollywood, it's like, no, you're expected to still be a caricature of yourself that you were 15 years ago, and put yourself in those shoes, and keep doing it. And I think people deserve better.

I think that it's a long life, and if you're not going to grow in it, yikes. That terrifies me. It really does.

And you just, like-- I always say, for my comparison-- obviously, I'm not, like, on Friends. But for me, it's like, I don't-- I'm on YouTube. I don't want to be, like, seven, and like, hey, guys, you know, welcome back to the channel.

Like, I hope that there's a different chapter for me that doesn't look like this chapter. Interesting. Do you think about that?

Can I ask-- do you have sort of an idea of what your ideal future is, or is that something that feels too far right now? Yeah. So every year on the channel-- so the YouTube channel is a fairly small part of what the overall team does.

So it's myself, but we're 12 employees in the company. So over the years, pretty much everything except this show and the Tuesday show on the YouTube channel are other people, other voices. The goal is eventually to continue more and more diluting myself on the YouTube channel.

Like, we're launching a new show. It'll probably already be aired by the time this airs. But anyway, a new show coming out.

I would like to get to a place-- especially financially, because I do look at it more from the perspective of the future health of the company as a company-- that I'm completely interchangeable. I would like to probably still keep a little bit of a presence for a while on the channel, but I do hope, five or so years from now, that The Financial Diet, many people who are big fans of it have never heard of me and are watching it for the other content that we create. I would like to do a lot also more educational content, which I don't have the credentials to do.

So I definitely would like to find a place where I am no longer necessary. That's my goal, and then after I'm at that place, just in terms of the engagement and the finances, then I can sort of decide whether or not I'd like to take my presence off totally. I love how much vision there is.

Oh. Well, you know, I mean, first of all, when you have a bunch of people on payroll-- but also I have two partners that I own the company with, so it's not just me. So I definitely have that relationship of like, we have to plan.

We owe it to these other people. And that's why I think for you, it's a different situation. You were an actress, and you were part of these big organizations.

But I do feel very strongly that people who are influencers who are one-person packages, I think those are the people who can often, from a growth standpoint and from a financial standpoint, get most trapped. Because there are so few off-ramps. Yes.

Absolutely. As an individual. Yeah.

Can you talk a little bit about the expenses of looking good enough to be on TV? I was told oftentimes when I was a child-- I think the key anecdote was, my mom wanted me to get an audition for a movie called Because of Winn-Dixie. I was 10 years old.

My mom's screaming on the phone with my agent, who-- god bless her. That woman endured so many of my mom's screaming phone calls. I don't know how she-- Oh, gosh.

But yeah, so my mom called her, just like, why has Jennette not gotten Because of Winn-Dixie. And she's like, Debra, they want, like, an ethereal beauty. Jennette isn't an ethereal beauty.

She reads more homely. [GASPS] And this is the thing that I heard when my mom was on speakerphone with her. Hearing that as a kid is just like, oh, I hadn't really thought of how I looked, but I was like, OK, so I guess I'm homely. Like, so that's what I am, and I didn't think too much of it.

But in my adolescent years, that definitely-- the weight of that comment and the concerns of, oh, do I look good enough to be on TV? I think all of that was, in some way, informing my eating disorder. I think the eating disorder is much more childhood stuff and my mom's hand in all of that, but I don't think it helps to feel so self-conscious and so hyper-aware of my appearance all the time.

Were you pressured to undergo any kind of cosmetic procedures? I don't-- I was not explicitly pressured by anyone, but there are comments of like, oh, everybody does this. And then, of course, you see people looking different than they did on Friday when they come into work on Monday.

And sometimes it's a little jarring. Every YouTuber that's gotten a goddamn TV show-- like, you see them on YouTube, they look like a normal person. Then, you see them on the Billboard, they all get veneers, they all get chin implants, all this shit.

And I'm like, this cannot possibly all be by choice. You're not all walking in wanting this. Yes, 100%.

The chin implant is a thing that-- I don't have much of a-- (LAUGHING) I don't have much of a chin. And it's something that I became aware of being on a multi-cam show, because the cameras are all sort of flat to you and getting kind of a profile. And I'd always be like, if only I had a little-- an actual chin, that'd be great.

But I never went through with it. And then, you end up looking like handsome Squidward, which is what I always cite for that particular look. That's what they all end up looking like.

I have so much respect for you, because listen, we got one 4K camera going. I know exactly what the angle is. And this is as much as my heart can take.

I don't want to see myself on several high-definition cameras. Don't want to see it, don't want to know it. Do you know what I'm saying? [LAUGHTER] I think it's really-- I think it's really uncomfortable.

Like, I was good with seeing myself on camera. I didn't-- that was-- I was good on that. I did not need to see that anymore.

Yeah, although one thing that you do-- that you did have the benefit of, being on television, is, on a television, there's not a comment section underneath it, with people in real time being like, you need to work out your upper arms more, which is a comment I got several times when I used to wear sleeveless tops. You win. I don't wear sleeveless tops on the channel anymore.

God. Would it bother you? Did it get to you in a way, or was it something you were able to-- You know, it's funny.

I, like, looking back now, this was years ago, and I think I was a lot more fragile about it. And I definitely-- I think also partially-- I'm 32 now. As I've gotten older, I think I've gotten a lot more of a sort of self-defined relationship with my body and my face.

But at the time, it wasn't so much that I felt hurt by it, as that I now felt aware of it in a way that I never had before. And to this day, I think about it. I don't think about it in, I really need to change that, but it's something I notice.

It's something I consider when I shop for clothes. And I think that is what ultimately that level of visibility takes from you, is the grace of moving through the world with a certain level of benign unawareness. Most people think they look like what they look in the mirror.

And actually, you don't, and when you see your face reverse, you're like, what the [MUTED] I'm so much uglier than I thought I was! And also, we're so used to correcting for ourselves. Like, we look more symmetrical to ourselves than we do to other people.

So we sort of have this really soft lens that we view on ourselves, and most people, they only see themselves in photos where they're generally looking a certain way. They're posing, you know, what have you. And I think that is a gift that I didn't appreciate before, and now, I definitely wish I had again.

Absolutely. You know? Me, too.

Yeah. RIP to that. RIP to that.

So you wrote a book. Tell us about the book. It is a memoir, which I understand sounds a little outlandish, being that I just turned 29, and it's like, OK, how can you write a memoir?

You were a child star. You're 80 in spiritual soul years. Thank you.

Exactly. So I feel that I've lived plenty of life to warrant a memoir. And it's called I'm Glad My Mom Died.

It's covering how my mom's death went from being the worst thing that ever happened to me to the best, and I do that through sort of talking about various-- my entire upbringing in show business, and my mom's hand in that, as well as our very complicated relationship that was much more complicated and interesting than anything in show business could ever be. It's that personal dynamic. And it means a lot to me.

It's very important to me, and I have gotten a lot of fulfillment working on it. How old were you when she passed away? I was 21. 21, so it's been eight years.

Eight years. When you say that it's now the best, what does that mean in practice? To me, it's that I do not feel that I would have been able to grow as a person and make significant and important life decisions-- the ones that I have made-- if she were still alive.

I think that I'd still be acting. I think that I'd still have an eating disorder. I think that I would not have been able to have any sort of romantic relationship.

I think that I would be stunted as a person and deeply unhappy, to be very blunt. I mean, listen, valid. Those all sound like reasons that it's a good thing.

Why was she such a big part of those things for you? I felt that my entire identity was to make my mom happy. I felt that was my responsibility.

She was also sick with cancer initially when I was two years old, so there was that awareness and that gravity and that heaviness from as long as I can remember. I do not have memories where mom's health wasn't fragile and important and the number-one thing in my life. And I just think-- I think between that timing, and then also just her natural kind of personality, it felt like my sole duty and responsibility was to make her happy.

I feel that our society is so cruel and carelessly stigmatizing towards people who have complicated parental relationships. Thank you. Thank you.

Yes. It genuinely lights up fucking fire in me, because I feel like-- the other day, I was in a conversation, all details obscured, where we were talking about another person that we know mutually in our industry. And the person I was talking with was like, oh, yeah, and she doesn't talk to her mom.

And in the moment, I will say, I said, you know, I really do feel that most of the time, when people have an estrangement from a parent, you know, it is very-- that's something that was probably the last thing that they would have wanted, and it's probably done out of self-preservation, this, that, and the other. But I do think that we still really casually put a whole lot of judgments onto people who have family estrangements. Can you talk about your experience of being honest about that in a context that is so stigmatizing towards that?

Yes. Oh my god. When my mother first passed away, it was complete and utter devastation, like you would expect.

It was exactly whatever everyone imagines should happen when a parent passed. Like, I thought my life was over. I would say, even more intense, because I didn't know how to-- I didn't feel that I knew how to go on living.

So it was only through some-- through a lot of therapy and through some things that I learned about her after her passing that really started, little by little, chipping away at this pedestal that I had her on. That was-- I couldn't have come to the conclusion on my own, of like, oh, there was a lot of abuse, and that was really, really toxic, and, oh, she had several mental illnesses, and that was incredibly complicated. I couldn't have figured that out on my own.

It was through therapy and being vulnerable and open about that initially in just very private settings-- to a friend at dinner, and somebody I-- another family member. That took a lot of-- I didn't feel safe doing that, because I knew moms are saints, and moms are so great, and wow, I can't believe all they do. So it was very stressful to bring it up in the first place.

And then, if I so much has tried to dip my toe in the water of telling a friend, it's oh, well, she tried her best. Oh, I'm sure she meant well. I'm [MUTED] sick of hearing that.

That's what I felt since then. It's like, it just is your best. It doesn't mean that it was good enough.

And even if she tried her best, I have a lot of judgments about what her best was. And I think it's really invalidating and narrow-minded to think that we just have to have this narrative for every mom that's ever existed, that they're a saint just for having a child. Like-- True that.

I feel like there's so much there. You don't have children, do you? No, I don't.

OK. So listen, as to non-children-having women, sitting ducks if we dare question the sort of mythology of, like, every mom is a hero. Is every mom a hero?

I mean, the truth is that some moms are abusive. Some moms should not have been mothers. Some moms regret being mothers, and there is no space to talk about that.

And I do think that that's such a cultural blind spot, especially when it comes to mothers. Because for some reason, we are more than happy to talk about how many [MUTED] dads are out there, and there are also a lot of [MUTED] dads, but there are a lot of [MUTED] moms. Oh!

Oh! God! Many moms are [MUTED]. [LAUGHTER] But I do-- so I also have a lot of feelings about when it comes time to sort of draw boundaries with a family member.

Obviously, your family member who was so toxic is gone now, so that's not a choice or a boundary you have to set. But I wonder if you've thought about a situation where, if she were here, how you would have a relationship with her. For the people who might be listening who have a similar situation, but she ain't dying, so you got to figure out how to deal with her.

Right. Yeah, in some ways, it was made much simpler for me. And I've actually been thinking about boundaries so much recently, because I find that when I do miss my mom, because I do still miss my mom, it's really complicated when it happens.

And I think, well, she doesn't deserve that, and then I get angry, and then it's much more complicated than just on-the-surface missing feelings. But when that happens, I find that I start to kind of romanticize, like, well, maybe she would have apologized, and maybe we could have had this really incredible breakthrough, where she cries, and I'm crying, we're hugging, and she's apologizing and saying, I didn't-- here's the reasoning behind why I did what I did, and let's start over, and let's start from the ground up, and where she respects me for being me. And then, I go, no, that's just me romanticizing a thing.

Right. This is a person who refused to change, who was told multiple times by my grandfather and father, you need help. This is not OK.

The way that you destroy this family is not OK. She did not want to change. She did not think she needed to change.

She refused to change. Any fantasy that I have about us having a lovely, loving mother-daughter relationship is just me romanticizing it. I think that I would have had to cut her off completely.

If I'm being totally honest, I do not think that we could have some sort of a relationship, and it be OK. Because boundaries for her were a sign of betrayal. Any time that I tried to even assert so much as-- this is a very, very uncomfortable fact, but she showered me until I was 17.

And any time I would try and assert, I would like to shower myself, I would be so nervous. I'd say, you know, I think I got it. Like, I think I know-- then she would always say, well, I used to be a hairdresser, so I know the shampoo and conditioner routine better than you could possibly know.

And I'd be like, I've been studying. Like, I think I know it really well, and it'd just be complete chaos and hysterics. Boundaries were not possible with her.

So I think it was just-- it had to be black and white if she were still alive. That's, first of all, unbelievable. I'm so sorry you dealt with that.

But do you feel that there is some kind of an internal litmus test? When you talk about it had to be no contact, what does that mean from the practicality of your interactions? Do you know what I'm saying?

Like, is it that the interactions are so extreme or so negative, where they engender something so negative in you? Like, how do you come to that conclusion? I think if it were just-- it's definitely this stress and the upset that it would bring to me, and feeling like it would disrupt my ability to accomplish what I need to accomplish in the course of a day.

And probably, the effects would bleed out for several days. She had a way of making-- going right for the jugular. And also, I think just her-- I don't think there is any rational-- there was no sort of rational approach, and there was no flexibility.

It wasn't like there was any possibility of us finding a compromise or finding some sort of, well, what if we get coffee for one hour, twice a year? Sure. No boundary was OK.

She would come into the place kicking and screaming, and wouldn't care who she'd upset, and just be-- she was very hysterical and dramatic if you hadn't gathered that. And I just think there's a certain amount of that that's impossible to work with, and I think she reached that level of impossible-to-work-with on it. How was money a part of that?

She got really upset about money stuff once. She actually got ill the second time when I was 18, so that was right when I started kind of handling my finances with a business manager. And that was when my brother became aware, and that's when I sort of was like, oh, I thought that she was paying herself a salary, but she was taking a lot more than I thought.

And so it was definitely-- it played a part in me kind of thinking, oh, she's kind of been lying to me a bit. And it was one of those first early times when I realized that she wasn't what she'd always sworn that she was. And if I would try and bring up something like that with her, in as gentle of a way as I could muster, of just like, hey, so I noticed that blank wasn't there, and I was just kind of confused.

I don't know if you put it in a separate account or whatever. It would be, again, the hysterics and the, how dare you-- like, you little [MUTED] like, whatever name she could call me. I disown you, and you're an awful person.

The devil got into you. If she could use faith, she would use faith. Abuse was always used.

It was just as crazy as it sounds, you know. And how does money factor in now to your sense of security and protection? I am incredibly-- if there was one piece of all of that I had to say I'm grateful for, I really am grateful for the financial stability and the ability to have chosen-- you know, I'm going to take a few years to redirect my career and start working on writing and directing.

I don't know if that would have been a possibility for me otherwise. I don't think that I could have set aside that amount of time to just not have income and try and reposition myself. So I'm grateful for it in that regard.

And I definitely think it has brought a fair amount of peace of mind, although I do still have financial anxiety, and I think that's just from my upbringing. I don't think-- I read a thing once that Oprah has financial anxiety, that JK Rowling has financial anxieties. Billionaires, and they still have some of it, and apparently, it just has more to do with how you were raised.

And I would love to work on it and not have it in the future, especially if it's unreasonable. How does your financial anxiety manifest? Lists.

I do so many lists. I track obsessively. I think expense tracking is great within reason.

But it's like, I'll have categories, and then rehab another list. I'll have a Google Doc of it, and I'll have a thing in my phone of it, and then I'll have a hard copy of it. And I'll confirm everything and make sure, well, how much have I spent on this, and how much-- and it just is like, OK, this is past reasonable list-making.

This is obsessive. Before we get to our rapid fire, I want to end on something light, insouciant, easy to answer. Should people be allowed to be child stars? [CHUCKLES] I don't think so.

I think we should have adult actors play children. Yes. Let's get this going.

Florida Project would be a very different movie if that were the case. I know. That's terrible.

It's one of my all-time favorite movies. So good! Oh, I'm so glad you love it.

Oh my god, I actually think it's one of the maybe five accurate representations of poverty on film. Yes. I love-- have you seen Sean Baker's other stuff?

Incredible. Watch Tangerine. Tangerine?

Yes. I've heard it's so great. That was robbed at the Oscars, by the way.

Not even best cinematography for that? Psychotic. But anyway, no, I love that movie, because I do think we almost never see what poverty looks like in a way that is neither like romanticizing the poor or like demonizing-- You have one little scuff of, like, dirt on their face.

It's like, oh, they're British and cool and poor. Right. No, this is not-- And for example, Beasts of the Southern Wild was another amazing movie, but it's very allegorical, and it's clearly turning poverty into like this fantasy, which I think it can make for a great movie, but I think fundamentally speaks to, I think, often the inability and the lack of desire in media and pop culture to really talk about what poverty looks like.

You know? Absolutely. Yes, right?

OK. But so why shouldn't people be allowed to be child stars? I think-- I do think the Union tries hard to protect kids as much as they can, but I just don't think the production companies are watching out for the kid enough.

I think they're too concerned with getting their hours in and getting their project in the can, and wrapping it up all nice and tidy, and turning things in on time. And then, there's the fame element. So I think there's the kind of production company element, and I don't think developing minds are equipped to handle fame.

And do you feel that-- if our audience-- now, let's be honest. You guys are a discerning, elegant bunch. I know you're not, like, trawling TMZ and stuff.

But the impression that I think a lot of people get of child stars and former child stars is often in their moments of crisis. And we see them as these little angels that we project all this stuff onto, and then we see them as adults who can't cope, essentially. What are words of advice or context that you would give to people who are seeing these adults in the media maybe not act in a way that we think is becoming?

I would say if there's a way to have empathy for the fact that these people probably did start this thing at an age where they're probably under 10 years old, let's say, more often than not, and they were expected to-- they had so much pressure on them, such a high standard, so many expectations that are impossible to me. You can't please everybody. You can't please the network and the family and the agents and the managers.

It's not going to happen. And I do think if you're put on the business from a young age, you're robbed of the ability to develop a sense of identity. So I think you're then left with that loss when anything starts to fade or decline.

When your career starts to fade or decline or you don't know what the next step is or whatever it might be, you're then going, well, who am when I don't have the world telling me who to be. Right. And I think that's a question that-- I understand why it leads to the breakdowns that it leads to.

It makes so much sense to me. But I think, hopefully, if somebody considers that question, they might be able to have some empathy for them. Because it's not-- I don't-- it makes me really sad.

It's not just a joke. It's not a thing to laugh at. It's not like, oh, that person got a tattoo on their face and shaved their head, so ha-ha, that's what I'm going to be for Halloween.

It's like, god, it's really upsetting. It was interesting when you said earlier that you felt that you stopped developing at the age where you started acting seriously. That's what people say about addiction, that you essentially stop developing at the age that you start using.

I did not know that. That's-- OK, listen, I'm not a scholar, but I've heard a lot that that's what they say about addiction. Wow, that makes so much sense.

Yeah. And like, even when they're like, when I remember a while back people were all-- they were always so mean to Justin Bieber. And like, he was acting like a bit of an asshole, but can you imagine what his life is like?

Oh my god. We're lucky he's not a murderer. Like, the life that man has lived?

Yes. Poor guy. I'm rooting him on.

Me, too. Protect Justin Bieber at all costs, I think, is the takeaway. So we have our little rapid-fire questions that we do with every episode.

Feel free to skip. Feel free to do whatever you want. But just whatever comes to mind.

Cool. What is the big financial secret of your industry? I don't think business managers are necessary.

I think I needed one when I had one, because of where I was at with my relationship with money, but I have since-- I do not work with a business manager anymore. I don't think they're necessary. Love that.

What do you invest in, versus what are you cheap about? I invest in my mental health, and I am cheap about coffee. What does that mean?

Like, coffee is not expensive. I typically make coffee. (LAUGHING) Oh, OK. And I'm cheap about, I guess, where I live.

Well, what else am I cheap about? Pasadena? Girl, that's an expensive town.

Well, I split with my partner. OK. It's reasonable, I guess, comparatively.

Nice. What has been your best investment, and why? Broken record here, but therapy.

That's-- let's say it again. Therapy. Yes.

That's the takeaway. What has been your biggest money mistake, and why? Well, this is not-- this is left-field.

But I bought a house when I was 21, and I regretted it and sold it after three years, and have not looked back. Did you sell it at a loss? Broke even, basically.

OK. Well, I mean, you could do worse as mistakes go. True.

What is your biggest current money insecurity? Oh, I buy clothes a lot. I'm insecure about that.

In what sense? In that I'm always like-- I actually brought it up in therapy. I was like, is it OK?

Like, I probably buy an item of clothing a week. Like, that feels weird to me. And they were like, well, is it within your means?

And is it-- are you worried about it? I was like, well, I am worried about it, but it's within my means. I'm not, like, buying something crazy.

But I feel insecure about it. Hmm. That's what a budget's for, though.

If it's in the budget, you can do it. True. That's true.

It is in the budget, but it's just something about, like, do I need to be buying an item of clothing every week? I don't think so. Statistically, I bet that falls within the norm.

What has been a financial habit that has helped you the most? Tracking my expenses. Second budgeting one in a row, because it's the right answer.

Lastly, when did you first feel successful, and what does that word mean to you? I don't feel successful yet. [GASPS] I know it might sound weird because of, like, having been famous and things that we're talking about. But there was so much shame associated with that success, and I think there's nothing worse than being widely known for a thing that you're so ashamed of.

I think that feels like failure. But you know, honestly, I guess selling-- when I sold a book, I felt like, this is awesome. Like, this is a step in the right direction, and that made me feel really good.

And I always feel that one of the most underrated versions of success is saying no to things, because we always celebrate saying yes. So I think you saying no to what was probably a huge paycheck this year is something to be extremely proud of. Thank you.

Thank you so much. It's, like, very chic. I feel the same way about Kim Cattrall with that Sex and the City reboot.

Like, she has more taste than all the rest of them put together. Say no! Move on!

Have dignity! Have a different chapter. Can't put a price tag on that.

Thank you, Chelsea. Very chic. Thank you.

Anyway, so it has been such a pleasure, as I thought it would be. If people want to hear more from and of you, where can they go? What should they do?

My website is, and that has links to everything else from there. Great. Well, thank you for joining, and thank you guys for joining us at home.

And I will see you next week on the newest episode of The Financial Confessions. Goodbye, guys. Bye.