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Do you have a will? A death plan? The ability to cut your own bangs? This week we talk to author, YouTuber, speaker, and mortician Caitlin Doughty about how to live and die in all the best ways. (There's also some fangirling over Six Feet Under.)

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Caitlin Doughty’s Website: http://caitlindoughty.com
Caitlin Doughty’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheGoodDeath
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Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea Fagan, and we are back with another episode of The Financial Confessions. And it is an extremely exciting day for me here, because it's someone that I am personally such a huge fan of, and I cannot wait to introduce you to her.

But before I do, I wanted to quickly talk about our amazing partner that we make every episode of The Financial Confessions with. So as you guys might know, we create every episode of The Financial Confessions in partnership with Intuit. And Intuit makes a whole suite of products that basically just serve to make your whole financial life easier, smarter, and more efficient.

I personally started using an app called Mint as my first ever step toward getting better with money. That's one of their products. They also make QuickBooks, which I use everyday to manage TFD's finances, as well as TurboTax which many of you have probably used to file your own taxes, because without a program like that, it's incredibly difficult.

We're going to talk a little bit more about two of the amazing products that Intuit makes later in the show, but for now, if you cannot wait to get a jump on improving your own financial life, check out Intuit's products at the link in our description, or the show notes. So as I mentioned, our guest today is someone that I am an enormous personal fan of and have been for a while. She is an author, a mortician, a YouTuber-- so many amazing things.

Her name is Caitlin Doughty, a.k.a. The Good Death. Hi.

I just did a very-- you have to cut this. I did a very weird half-peace sign, half-wave that I've never done in my life. I don't know-- probably because I'm nervous, because I'm a fan of yours.

Oh, my God. Fan of The Financial Diet. I love talking about money.

And I think there's actually a really similar thing that we both have in that we talk about taboo topics-- Yes. --and we have to be the face of them and be like, hi, it's OK, guys. Yours is scarier, though, I will say. It has to be.

Not-- well, yes and no. Well, I think it's interesting, also-- so we'll talk a lot about how money and death intersect. And I think their each respectively being taboo feeds into how they can bring out the worst in each other in a lot of ways, whether it's the process of death being so exorbitantly expensive, or people operating financially as if they'll never die-- which is a really big thing.

Because people don't like thinking about it. But also, if you can be the person in your group or your family that is capable of being centered enough to talk about it, it gives you enormous power. I agree.

And so to let you guys in on a little back story, I think we talked about, before we started filming, about possibly sharing how we got into each other's stuff, because, at least for me, it was definitely a taboo-breaking. Thing I got into The Good Death because when I was-- this was several years ago. I was at-- my now-husband's grandfather passed away.

And my husband's from a different culture. He's from the Basque area, the south of France-- very close to it. His grandparents are both lifelong farmers.

He died not on the farm, but close to it. And when he passed away and we were down there for the funeral, his grandmother chose to sleep the last night before his funeral with him in an open casket next to her bed. And I remember being so scared of that and feeling like that was just really difficult to understand, and I couldn't look at him.

I couldn't go in the room. And even his daughter, my mother-in-law, could not go in the room and see him like that. But it gave his wife, his now widow, an enormous amount of comfort.

And she is still around, and we did not think she would make it through that year, because they had been together for so long. And she, to this day, will cite that experience as being so important for her in his passing. So I wanted to read about that kind of approach to death, and why I was so scared of it.

So I found a story that you had talked about about a very similar thing where a man who was, I think a farmer, and a big part of his community had passed away in his bed and remained in his bed for, I think, a whole day where people could see him, say goodbye to him and stuff. And then I just became obsessed with the work that you do and breaking my own fear about death and the process of dying. That's fantastic, and that's exactly the journey you should be on.

And for those of you who have never heard of me at all and have no idea what I do, I think that's a pretty good summary. My advocacy is really how can we get closer to the dead body? Because, keep in mind, for tens of thousands of years, that's what humans did.

Humans took care of their own dead. It was a domestic task, when someone died, to prepare the body, to wake the body, to maybe make the coffin, take them on down to the local cemetery or burial ground. And it's become incredibly corporatized.

And some people think, oh, it's a Christian death that we have in the United States. It's not. It's a capitalist death, through and through.

It was created by men in the early 20th century as a way to charge you for funerals, which used to be free, except for the additional things that you bought like a casket or the horse-drawn hearse or the prayer cards. Or people to help dig the hole, I guess. Yeah, dig the hole.

You pay the church. You pay these little, small fees to different people. But the idea of completely outsourcing the death is very new, and very modern.

And so my advocacy is just, hey, actually, you're incredibly empowered, in ways you may not realize, to keep the body at home if you want. Have the funeral at home. Just do basic washing and dressing of your mom, because she took care of you when you were little, and now you can do this final act of love and take care of her for-- because it's a financial podcast-- zero dollars and zero cents.

Hey. We're always looking to save. And so how did you become aware of TFD?

How'd do you get into it? Well-- oh, yeah, I didn't get to tell my story. Yeah, let's hear it.

I became aware of The Financial Diet because a couple years ago-- so my story with money is that I didn't grow up with money, but my parents always made us feel very safe and comfortable. I say us, I'm an only child. You-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] Us meaning the three of us. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Me and the small-- my friends.

They made me always feel very safe. I never felt like I really lacked or wanted for anything, which was incredible on their part, because that's hard to do if you're worried about money-- is to transmit a positive feeling about money to your children. And because I had that, in my 20s, I had what I like to call the privilege to be broke.

I decided that I wanted to do this work so badly. And at first, obviously, there was no money in being a death awareness advocate. It was a thing that I made up.

I wasn't going to make money out of the gate. But I could live in a closet-- which I did for a period of time. [INTERPOSING VOICES] --closet, or-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] It was in San Francisco, so it was really a literal closet. It had a lofted bed.

It was clothes underneath the bed. And I could eat toast a lot of days. I could do all these things, because I didn't have huge student debt.

I didn't have health problems. I didn't have elderly parents who required my care. I didn't have children.

So I could make a very small amount of money every year, and be fine. But I finally started making some money a few years ago in doing this through writing books, through making videos, through opening a funeral home. And I didn't have anything set up.

I did not have retirement. I didn't have savings. I didn't have any plan for my financial future, because I wasn't making money, so it felt untenable, or not possible.

And I didn't feel like I had the knowledge. And it hit me at a certain point, no one was going to do this for me. No one was going to help me with this.

No one was going to talk me through it. No one was just going to put the money in accounts for me. I had to figure out what to do with my money, and how to save, and how to do this.

And since then, it's really become a hobby of mine, a passion of mine. Not because I love capitalism, but because I want to protect myself. And if you don't do that, again, no one's going to do it for you.

And so it's just become-- and The Financial Diet and other podcasts and other books that I listen to or read have become a huge part of that journey. And I think another area where death and money really overlap is in the desire of people to just not think about it. And I think, again, as I mentioned, a lot of people really manage their money or manage their long-term decisions, both as if they'll never die-- which is very common-- but I think also-- and I hate to say it-- as if they'll never be old.

And that's just really-- that's pretty closely tied up with not wanting to die. But for example, it's very difficult for a lot of people to start saving for retirement, because on some level, they don't ever want to picture themselves being old, or maybe on a morbid level, feel that they won't get to that place. But ultimately, you're going to be that age someday, and will want to not have to work.

And if you do not allow yourself to envision a time when that is your life, you will never find the incentive to delay your gratification and to put money toward this very abstract thing. But similarly, on the other side, there are people like that, and then there are people who almost hoard money and save for the idea of saving, and really reduce down all of their little joys and little moments for years at a time because they want to start living a certain way at a certain age. And something that I say all the time on TFD is you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

There is absolutely no guarantee that you will be alive at any given time, so the idea of planning for a life which meaningfully begins at a certain age is just frankly naive. And I have found that in embracing an idea of your life that is very finite and thinking of death as something that is always just kind of around, and maybe more or less present at certain times, reminds you to be much more present and grateful about the things that you are currently enjoying. That you can use it as a way to live a better life.

I love that. And I feel like right now, age 35, I'm just reaching that point where I feel like that balance is present, because something that was a real game-changer for me is automatic saving and automatic investing. And so I know what I'm going to make every month, and it comes in, and I have four different savings accounts-- high yields, interest, savings accounts, and I have my retirement account.

And I have two retirement accounts-- my Roth IRA and my solo 401(k), and I have an individual investment account. And when the money shows up in my bank, within a few days, it gets sent out to those places. It gets, just auto-- whoosh.

It gets sent out to those places. And the thing that I like about that is 1, it doesn't matter at all how much money you are making. You can still do that same thing.

You can send $100 to each of your savings accounts every month, or you can send $5 each month to each of those savings accounts. And so you don't have to be wealthy to do this. And Lord do I wish I had been doing this 10 years ago, because my financial situation would be really different, and I would be even further along in my desire, in my quest to have more freedom, because my finances are working for me.

So because I don't have-- by making a strong decision about how much I want to save and how much I want whisked away to those savings accounts and how much I want whisked away to those investment accounts and retirement accounts, what is leftover I consider to be my money for joy, and for fun. Yeah. Obviously I pay my bills, but what is leftover is money that I can guilt-free spend.

Right. That becomes-- yeah, that is no longer burdened with the feeling that you should be doing something with that-- That I should be saving it, because I know what I'm saving, and I know that it's going off. And I can "clicky-click" into my savings accounts and be like, look at that-- my savings.

And it feels good, because I do have some hoarder tendencies. I do have some-- but we went to Hawaii-- because that's where I'm from. And when I was young, we used to go on this submarine-- because that's a thing you do with your school group in Hawaii-- Sweet.

Yeah. And my boyfriend and I went on a submarine ride. And it was, like, $300, $400, but it was so rad.

You see sharks and turtles and dolphins, and that was an experience that I was totally willing to spend money on, and I didn't have the guilt of oh, my God, I should never have spent that, because I know that I'm saving. I know that I'm investing. Absolutely.

And I think striking that balance between the possibility that you could die tomorrow or live another 50 years is obviously an extremely financial one in terms of the savings that you do, and making sure that savings is a priority so that you can truly be present and not have conflicted feelings about the things that you're enjoying. But another thing that I think a lot of people-- one of the biggest topics that people don't like to talk about in finance and death is a will. Being a business owner and having a lot of obligations to employees and things like that forced me to be in a place where there's something set up in terms of insurance and in terms of where my equity in the company's allocated, and all that kind of stuff.

But for the average person, the idea of planning out your money or getting life insurance or doing things that would prepare for a moment where you're no longer here feels, again, I think, like an acknowledgment that that will happen. And interestingly, I found that once you do those things and you know that I know that-- and I'm actually still in the process. I can't say I've finished.

But I'm well into that process. But knowing that I'm setting up a situation in which if I am in a plane that goes down, yes, it will be incredibly devastating for people who love me. But at the very least, they won't be worrying about money, is just such an enormous relief.

Well, yeah. Not only is it personal freedom for you. It's a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.

But also, people who love you are going to be tortured by your death. Don't torture them with bureaucracy when you die, which is essentially what you're doing if you don't have these things figured out. Do you think that funerals and the process of dying has become so expensive-- obviously, in the beginning it was a business, and it was a niche that was created to make a profit.

But do you think that now part of the reason it's so expensive is because people will do anything not to deal with it themselves, and they want to get away from it as much as possible? I'll say that funeral directors in general-- and as far as secrets of your industry, funeral directors themselves, the person who's helping you when someone comes in and mom has died-- they're not making a ton of money. Funeral owners and big corporate funeral companies are.

And they obviously have a vested interest in their shareholders and keeping prices high. They've done studies that found that if you walk across the street to another funeral home or just call around, you can save thousands of dollars on the exact same service-- exact same service. Especially the one that makes me the most upset is something called a direct cremation.

And a direct cremation, for the most part, is the simplest, easiest, cheapest thing that you can purchase from a funeral home. It's just they pick up mom, they take her, they cremate her. They give you the ashes back.

And at my funeral home, that's $895. There are other fewer funeral homes in LA where it's $4,000 for exactly-- exactly the same thing. Maybe you like that person better, but other than that-- but I don't think so.

I think you'd like me better. Same service. So be aware of that.

Be aware that you can call around and ask for prices and say what you want, and that's not disrespectful to mom. Right. And for most people-- Oh, hell, no.

My mom would be like, you better get a good deal on this shit. Exactly. Most people-- I mean, my mom is, of course, one of the put me in a Hefty bag on the curb sort of people, and I'm like, no, mom, we're not doing that.

I love you. But there's so much love and respect and joy that I've seen in funerals where folks come in, there's just an unembalmed, unchemically preserved body. It's just mom looking dead in a lovely, simple way-- as, maybe, she should.

And you hold her hand, you walk back and you see her be pushed into the cremation machine. It's almost a little ritual. You can push the button and start the machine.

You get the ashes back. And that's $1,800, as opposed to $15,000 for the casket, the burial, the hearse-- the whole deal-- the makeup, the flowers. The thing that's always kind of boggled my mind about that particularly, too, is when you go through that whole process of making the corpse look like a weird marionette, they don't look better.

They look worse than if they just looked dead, because you're like, you look like some really, really scary doll from a horror movie. I think a lot of Millennials feel that way, though, because they just don't relate to that kind of made-up, preserved dead body. And they either don't want to see a dead body at all, or they want to see mom looking like mom, who just happens to be dead.

This is a naive question, maybe, but I have felt-- because I feel like in my-- especially-- and again, kudos to you for this, because you've been such a huge part of it. But I feel much more comfortable with the idea of death-- I think we all, at different times in our life, have people in our lives who we know are not going to be around forever. And you start with each one to maybe get better about, and you start to maybe think, wow, I really treat this time with this person as so precious, because I know that she could go at anytime.

Let's extend that to everyone that I love. Getting more comfortable with the idea of death as a concept, I think-- making a lot of progress there. However, the concept of a dead body is a very different thing, because most people don't have the opportunity to come in contact with them until it's someone that you love and know, in which case it's extremely personally disturbing.

And there's not a service out there where you could just go hang out with a dead body to get used to it, is there? Actually, at my funeral home-- no, there's not. Come poke it!

Yeah, exactly. Show and tell me! Welcome, everyone.

This is what I would say-- is that if I put you in a small room with a random corpse, that's a horror movie. If I put you in a small room with your mother or your husband or someone that you desperately love and has taken care of you in many ways your whole life, you're not going to look upon their now-still, silent body-- especially if they've been suffering, and you've seen them suffer before they die, and you now see that they're not suffering-- you're not going to look upon that and go, ew, I don't want to touch it. Yeah.

You're just not. That's not what happens biologically or psychologically when you see the body of someone you love, especially if it's in a safe environment, and you feel like you could be present. Something that we actually do quite a lot at my funeral home is families will come in and help us prepare the body.

So it's a little more guided, we can be there and help them along. Here's how we brush their hair. Here's how we put on their favorite scarf.

And something that we find happens a lot is there will be a group that'll come in, and some will be gung ho, and some will say, I'm just going to sit outside the room. I don't really want to do this. It's not for me.

And then couple minutes go by, and you see the heads start to pop around the corner. And they look-- wait, actually, mom wouldn't do her lipstick like that. No, give it to me.

Give it to me. All of a sudden, they are totally involved in this service, and they lose that fear after they're able to be present, be around. I often think that it would be healthy for people-- I want to do it, and I feel like-- I think a lot of people I know could benefit from doing it-- of creating a true in case of death plan that includes a budget, that includes, please do not spend more than $895 on my body, because it has no meaning to me, or I don't want to be involved, or I don't want to be buried, or whatever it is.

But making a plan for it so that no one has to speculate on your wishes, and therefore potentially be told by some profit-seeking entity that this is what people do. I send an email out every year, every other year, entitled Death Plan-- which I don't recommend, because that could freak out your friends and family. But for me, they're used to it.

But I send it out to my mother and to my friends and close people around me and say, here's exactly what I want. And I also have an advance directive, which-- a will, financially, is incredibly, incredibly important. But even more important than that, I would say an advance directive.

It's so easy to do. Type in your state or your country plus advance directive, sign it, get some witnesses, and know who is going to be in charge of your body before you die if you're in a coma or if you're very sick, and then who's going to be in charge of your body after you die. And make sure that person is someone you trust, because especially if you think about LGBTQ community or people who just are not with their family anymore and have chosen family, if you die, all the rights to what happens to your body goes to your next of kin, which is maybe your mom in Alabama who you hate now.

Yeah, that's really tough. And that's terrible. There's actually-- I saw this-- play OK, I'm obsessed with Adam Driver, and he was in this play-- That's fair. --on Broadway this year called Burn This.

I did not think that the whole play was very well-done. Adam Driver was amazing. But the whole plot of it is that he's a character whose brother dies, and he was gay.

And this was set in the 1980s, and his family would not acknowledge it. He had no relationship with his family, but because he died and had no advance directive, all of it turned back to his family, and creates this enormous conflict. And everyone who knew him in his real life was incredibly upset by the memorial, by the funeral, because it was completely betraying his life and who he was.

And it's funny, because I think a lot of people don't realize that it's even an option to prepare for that. And it's an incredibly easy option to prepare for that. Literally, it's a 5-minute, 10-minute print out this advance directive from your computer, "sign-y," "sign-y," get some people to witness it.

Talk to the person who you've decided to be your agent. Don't spring it on them that your corpse is now their responsibility. But have it be your partner, your good friends, your parents if you trust them and have a good relationship with them, someone that you know-- and it's also an amazing opportunity to then have that conversation about what you do what, and where the money is going to come from for it.

Now, you operate your mortuary as a nonprofit, correct? Well, it's a nonprofit, and then an S Corp next to it. Got it.

So it's sort of-- How have you changed the process of undertaking to make it less of a profit? Where have you-- not cut those corners, but what have you changed? What do you do differently that enables it to be more cost-effective?

Yeah, I mean, couple things. One is overall, we have pretty low overhead. We don't have a huge marble columns location with sprawling lawns and hearses.

We don't find that families necessarily value those as much anymore. So we're very light on our feet. We do a lot of our documents online.

We have a really amazing system where death certificates, and the bureaucracy of death can be a lot easier and simpler. And then the primary thing that we do is we want family involvement. And ironically, family involvement doesn't make it more expensive.

It's not like, oh, you're high touch and the family's involved, so you have to pay a lot more. You actually have to pay a lot less, because, for example, say that your mom dies on hospice at home. We will just say, you don't have to call us until you're ready.

And if you have any questions about what it means to have her there for a couple hours, 10 hours, until the next morning, we'll talk you through all of that. We'll tell you how to close her mouth and her eyes, and whatever makes you comfortable. You may want to call after an hour, because you're like, get her out of here.

You may want to take two days, and we can talk you through that. And that doesn't cost any money. If you want to come do a very simple viewing at our funeral home, that doesn't cost you that much more money than just the cremation.

So we just keep things very simple, very family-involved, and other than a large, more natural burial, where your body is just put straight into the Earth with no casket-- which will probably run you somewhere around $5,000 to $6,000-- we don't really offer anything that's over $2,000. That is so much money. $5,000 is an insane amount of money for most people. It's an insane amount of money, but that's the cheapest burial that you can get-- certainly in the Los Angeles area, by thousands and thousands of dollars.

Natural burials-- which is just the body in the Earth in a simple shroud-- is the most environmentally-friendly way to die. Cremation is actually not as environmentally friendly as you might think. It uses a lot of natural gas-- the equivalent of a 500-mile car trip for most of them.

So it's not the greatest. There are lots of new options that are coming up, like alkaline hydrolysis, or water cremation-- aquamation-- which is done with water-- high-heat water-- and lye flash dissolving your body, as opposed to-- Like how the mafia does it? No, that's acid.

OK. So this is actually a very-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] No, no, no. It's very-- it's sort of-- a lot of people like it because it's gentler than a cremation.

It's the same-- it takes your bones down to just their elements and ashes, just like a cremation, but it's more environmentally friendly. Human composting is now a thing that we just legalized in Washington state, which is very exciting. It is exciting.

So there's lots of new options. Right now, the simplest would still be natural burial, but you are buying a piece of land. So is it the least expensive?

No. Should you feel guilty about just getting a simple cremation? No.

It's the least expensive option-- other than donating your body to science. And if you do donate your body to science, I would only say, really, make sure you know where it's going and what it's being used for. Oh, yes.

So cremation, for me, is the simplest, least expensive option. But I personally want a natural burial, and so that has to be part of my financial plan. I know that I have to save up $5,000, $6,000 for that plot, because I don't want somebody to be required to do it.

But at the same time, being able to just decompose into the Earth is of value to me. So other people, maybe, are saving up for their weddings. I'm saving up for my natural burial plot, because that is something that, as an environmentalist, is of value with me.

And selfishly, I just want to decompose. That's what makes me feel good about dying. This guy I know used to work at the University of redacted in the department that dealt with-- basically, they provided bodies for medical students.

And he was like, after that, I will never, ever again be involved in the facilitating of bodies, because he was like, you cannot believe the shady practices. They were basically, in many cases, buying bodies and organs off the black market of people who had died without next of kin, or homeless, or in weird circumstances. This was in a redacted part of the country that's very close to the border and would have a lot of undocumented people, basically.

And this was a university-- a very prestigious one, with a very prestigious medical program. And he was like, it was the darkest shit I've ever seen in my life. There's been some scandals.

And I don't want to be a scaremonger about this, because there are a lot of amazing universities who are-- UCLA, for example, had a terrible scandal, and now they've brought in someone who's a friend and who's doing an amazing job with the program, and has an alkaline hydrolysis machine as the way of final disposal. So it can be a really amazing thing to donate your body and be a teaching tool for future medical practitioners, or you could just be someone who doesn't give a crap. You're like, oh, you want to use my body for plastic surgery practice or for military-grade weapons testing?

Drop me out of an airplane? I don't care. Screw it.

Off I go. Cheap for my family. So if you're one of those people, perfect for you.

If you're someone who really thinks you're going to cure cancer-- Be careful. Be careful. Do a lot of research, and make a choice that is-- As a last, just, super "death-y" question, do you still fear death?

Oh, yeah! Of course, yeah. What's the scariest part to you?

The goal is not to stop fearing death. We have a movement called death positive. And death positive means not, I'm so ready to die.

Death is amazing. I love it. No, it's saying, it's important to have these conversations.

It's important to, like with money, engage in difficult, complicated conversations. So for me, I think the hardest part-- there's a thing I found in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology years ago that I still use, which is-- I think it was the top seven reasons people fear death. And it will be painful physically.

I want to know what they're doing with my body. It makes me freaked out what's happening to my body after I die. I don't know if I'm going to heaven or hell, or that there's nothing, a void.

I don't want my children to be left behind. I don't want to stop having experiences. And then mine, which is number 2, which is all my plans and projects will come to an end.

And so what was always very ironic for me is that my desire-- my obsessive desire to help people accept death-- was my barrier to accepting death. But it's important to know what your number is so you can address just that number, and it's not just this monolithic terror of death. So for me, I have to say-- and this sounds very, I don't know, "brag-gy," but having multiple books out now that are bestsellers and having all of these videos out and having all of these resources and just hundreds and hundreds-- you can watch me for months and not go through all of the content that I have now made, or podcasts I've been on.

So I feel like there's a solid body of work out there that expresses what I am trying to express. And knowing that that's there, it's not like, take me, Jesus. I'm ready to die.

But I do feel-- there is a comfort there now. I definitely-- aside from the really petty one, which is that I don't want to die looking messy. I don't want to die with, like, a really ugly-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] Yeah, what's yours?

What's your number? You know what's so funny? Is I have totally the exact same thing-- will helps.

A will helps for sure. Life insurance helps for sure. But I will say-- it's kind of morbid, but anytime I take a plane, anytime I'm in a situation that's potentially risky-- and a plane's, like, actually the least one.

Driving in LA-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] Hard to know. Yeah. But anytime I'm in that kind of situation, I always say, out loud, to myself-- I'm like, if something happens, I lived exactly the life I wanted to live.

I was the person I wanted to be. And I got more than so many people on this planet ever get to experience. I'm lucky.

And that really helps me feel better about it. That's a fantastic mantra. I love that.

I love it. And it really helps. Now, I will say, though, that it does not help-- and to be fair, not everyone has the ability to publish a book or do the things that might give them that capstone.

Well, but also, it's probably completely different. Totally. And if you're a number 2-- you mentioned the book-- for most people, it's not going to be publish a book.

And that's why it's important to dig deep into your own narrative about why you fear death, and exactly why, because your plans and projects probably look nothing like [INAUDIBLE]. They may look like, I need to start this nonprofit and fund it, or I need to build this well, or I need to start this business-- or any number of things that your plans and projects-- build a house, whatever it is. Ernest Becker is one of my main influences, and he wrote a book called The Denial of Death.

And his theory is that all of the progress and all of the things, and the fact that people build buildings and have children and create art, is because of this underlying fear of death. And we build these things to outlive us and outlast us-- our hero projects-- because we ultimately have this fear of death that underlines everything we do and weighs on us. And I think that the more you are aware of that, the more self-aware a human you are.

I will say-- so you did mention that you don't need life insurance, because you don't have a family. And one thing I will say is that you've budgeted for death, which many people either don't do or can't do. So that even if it's just you, and even if you're getting a policy-- I mean, even for $10,000 to $20,000, which-- the cost of the death itself, but also potentially having to relocate, because you can no longer afford your home without a dual income.

There are a lot of things that if, perhaps, insurance is not for you, at the very least, budgeting explicitly for a time when you will not be here, I think is very important. Oh, yeah. I mean, you can get burial insurance, but you can also have a pay-on-death account, or a savings account that has you and your trusted person's name on it.

Exactly. So when you die, that money is immediately available to them for the thing that you want. Absolutely.

But then in addition to that, to me, having some financial plan-- in my case, insurance, but whatever it may be-- gives a great peace of mind. But in doing a will, I think you really force yourself to elucidate who are the important people in my life? What are the things that I want to make sure get saved?

What are the things that I'm most proud of? Because you really realize it's not just-- obviously there's a financial element to it, but in a document like a will, you can include a lot of things that are much more ineffable. And you really get a look at your life exactly as you will want it understood the day it's over, and it helps you understand what these important things and people and projects are.

For you it may be something as simple as you love making jewelry, and you want to make sure-- and it's just a hobby. You just do it for fun while watching TV. But you want to make sure that every piece is put in a nice place and given to a person who would love it.

And it, perhaps, will help you realize, in that moment, that hey, I really love that. Maybe I should start selling this on Etsy. Maybe this should be a bigger part of my life, because I care about it enough to have something done when I'm no longer here.

And I think some people think that the will is going to be hard logistically. It's not really that hard logistically. It's hard emotionally, because you have to go through these hard things and make these hard decisions and face your mortality.

It's also why people don't want prenups. And speaking of how to plan ahead to set yourself up for the best possible life-- or death-- let's talk about some financial tools. So as I mentioned, one of the financial tools that I find most helpful to my everyday life is QuickBooks.

It's basically a platform for anyone who has a business, or, for example, if you freelance or have a side income, you're basically a business of one. It helps you keep all of your business money straight. That means everything from tracking all of your expenses so they're all organized come tax time and you know what you can deduct, to making sure you get all of your invoices sent on time and making sure they get paid on time, to even keeping track of making sure you pay who you're supposed to pay.

Basically, every day at TFD I, start by logging onto QuickBooks and seeing the state of affairs when it comes to TFD's money and make sure we're on track with everything. And it does so much of the heavy lifting for me in managing my business's finances. I could not recommend it more.

We'll link you, in the description in the show notes, to a little bit more info on how to get started with QuickBooks. So we talk about prenups a lot on the channel, and I think it's important to remember. So two things for prenups-- and it's the same with death in a lot of ways.

Half of all marriages will end in divorce. 100% of all lives will end in death. Exactly. So statistics are not in your favor.

But more importantly, people who don't have a prenup-- they actually do have a prenup, it's just the default prenup of whatever your state assigns you and your spouse. So it's not as if you're escaping that possibility of having some sort of financial agreement. It's just that you're defaulting to what the state provides.

And in the case of not planning for a death financially, you're not getting out of having to do it. You're literally just shunting it onto the people who are going to have-- Yeah. No, yeah, exactly.

No, I think that's a great comparison, actually. I don't know if I'm going to get married. I don't know if that's necessarily in my value system.

I might. But I'm stoked for a prenup. They're the best.

I can't wait to do that. I'm more excited about doing a prenup than getting married. But I think that you're very right in that, as we said before, it's not like if you don't do it, no one has to do it.

Like, no, someone has to do it, and it's-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] --it's someone who you love, and is now deeply confused and in the weeds. Most people don't even know their own finances and accounts. Someone else who is not you definitely doesn't know your finances and accounts, and now they're just slogging through the swamp when they're supposed to be grieving you.

My best friend's father recently passed away, and when she was talking to me about it, when it happened, she said it was the worst thing. We were in the hospital, and the biggest issue was we couldn't unlock his phone. So now that you feel like you're someone who has fully embraced thinking about money and dealing with it proactively, have you found that you've been able to start talking to other people in your life about it, or do you find that it's still a little taboo?

Oh, no, totally. I was actually-- we were on the East Coast, and a girl that I don't know that well, but is starting to become a friend, was saying, oh, I'm starting this new job, and I'm not quite sure if I got it, but it's going to be really amazing, at this arts organization. And my boyfriend was like, how much money are you going to be making?

And she looked like we had just asked when her last period was. She was so shocked. And I had to kind of diffuse the situation by saying, I'm sorry.

We actually just talk really openly about money a lot, and we don't know you that well. I'm so sorry. And she was like, I wish I knew you that well.

We should know each other that well. And it was a really interesting moment, because you could tell, in the moment, she was like, oh, wait, I actually do want to talk about this, and I do want to feel comfortable talking about this, and why did I have that reaction? And I'm not saying go up to everyone and ask how much money they make.

We're you going to ask how much money I made? How much money do you make? I'm happy to talk about that.

Hell, yeah! Ding, ding, ding, ding! We got another live one!

So this is-- and this is-- I think you probably know about this too, as someone who owns businesses. If you looked at my individual tax return-- we haven't done it for 2019 yet, but I think it would probably say something like $85,000, $90,000. But that really doesn't tell the whole story at all, because I have a nonprofit.

I have an S corp that's my books and everything. So that's just the salary that I pay myself-- Got it. --from those things. But a lot of the travel that I get to do and the things that I get to experience all over the world come from those businesses and come from people flying me in.

And so if I just traveled the amount that I do on $90,000 a year, it would never work. But because people pay me to travel places, because my nonprofit pays me to go film places, or pays for me to go to these amazing locations and film, because we have patrons on Patreon, because we have book money coming in, because the publisher is paying for things, because universities are paying for things-- you probably know this, that your individual income is not really reflective of what the lifestyle-- Totally. --that you live. Actually, on that note, I have just ratified.

I gave my partner and-- my managing partner and I, we got raises for 2020. Really? Congratulations.

Thanks. Last I spoke to you guys, my take home salary was 75k year. 2020, it's going to 90, which is-- Oh my God, samesies. Yes.

Samesies. I will also specify that I'm not the highest paid person in my company but happy to not be because quite frankly, like, I'm very much-- I talk about this a lot on the show, but I think you probably can relate to this in a lot of ways. Like, Similarly to you, there are so many other ways in which I am compensated in this job.

Like, I get to come to LA and stay in this great place and film with all these amazing people I love and do all these things. Yeah, and you don't put this on your personal credit card. Exactly.

I am not paying for that. So in addition, I also live in a dual income household, which does relieve that pressure in some ways. But I would rather that the company be more fruitful and enable me to do more exciting, more fulfilling, more awesome creative project that I could never finance personally then to put that money in my pocket to do what, exactly?

Like, buy a nicer chair, which-- Right. --I did recently-- I do like a nice chair. Yeah, I love a chair. So that to me is very much, like, I agree with you that there is so much that is more beneficial and enriching and rewarding than just a pure salary.

And I find often that in weighing that out and in keeping the salary a bit lower and the business healthier and more viable and more fun, to me, it's like infinitely more valuable. Yeah, 100%. And I think it's just important to be open about those caveats because I do get to save, you know, this investing for my future and retirement and savings that I do.

That comes from that $90,000 that I make every year as well as my household and being able to-- you know, car. Like, basic things like that all go there. But being able to radically save, hopefully to reach some sort of more financially independent place, maybe 10, 15 years, that's made only possible because I have these businesses-- Exactly. --that allow me to do so many other things that Caitlin herself is not paying for.

Do you-- and so do you own all of your-- I assume you don't own all of your business. You have partners. So-- I'm just like making a flowchart here.

The nonprofit obviously I don't own. That's, you know-- Right. --it's a board that runs it. The-- I have one business that's my-- it's kind of like Caitlin Inc.

That's my books and my speaking engagements. And then I have the funeral home, which I am the majority partner. Got it.

Yeah, it's very similar. I have Chelsea Fagan LLC, which is like when I've done things on my own, although I very much never do them anymore. But, like when I did and when I am-- anything that's just me as Chelsea Fagan, just moi.

And then I own the majority of TFT, but I have partners. And we don't have a non-profit yet, but that's a big goal for 2020 is to have something that's completely non-profit because we do stuff like-- we'll, like, give proceeds of things to charity and stuff. But it's just like, I think, a little bit ineffectual to have it so tightly rolled into the company.

Like, I'd rather it be its own entity if even for just, like, one specific project. No, it's actually been really, I think, good for us because we use it as a pass-through to make donations to other deaf non-profits or hospices or things like that. And it also allows us to have a little staff of people who make our videos and make our podcasts and make all the resources that we put online.

So that's The Good Death is the non-profit. Yeah, yeah. And that's-- Or The Good Death.

You know, the media that you create. Yes. OK, got it.

What's the actual business [INAUDIBLE] of the mortuary [INAUDIBLE]? The mortuary is Clarity Funerals and Cremation-- Very cool. --in Los Angeles. And-- Listen-- someone recently die that you love in Los Angeles?

Yeah, this is just an info-- turns out this is just an infomercial. This is all sponsored by Clarity Funerals and Cremation, Los Angeles, California. Now normally, this would not be the part of the conversation where we hop into the rapid fire, but Caitlin was kind enough to preempt me on the fact that she has a lot to say.

So these are going to be a slower fire round of questions but that she has great answers-- A slow burn. A slow burn. Oh-- the slow burn question.

Also wanted to let you guys know that these questions are brought to you in partnership with Mint, which is a fantastic financial app that is actually the first one I ever downloaded and still use. Tell you more about that later. But let's get right into the questions because I know you have a ton to say.

Now I feel the pressure. I was like, do I have a ton to say? I thought I did.

Well, you better. What is the big financial secret of your industry? I think I already said this but funeral directors not making a lot of money.

So if you think that the guy selling you the coffin or the casket-- actually, they're caskets in the United States. If you think that he is getting in a Ferrari and driving away, not true. And I think that's one of the reasons that it's hard when I talk so openly about the financial problems in the funeral industry because individual funeral directors are like, hey, why are you coming at me?

I make $50,000, $60,000 a year, or less. I'm not making out like a bandit here. But my response is like actually, it's the structural issues of the funeral industry and how it's run more than the individual people working for it.

What do you think they make on average? A funeral director? Mm-hm.

Yeah, I would say $50,000 to $70,000 a year. And obviously, it depends wildly on what part of the country that you're in. Do you like "Six Feet Under?" I do, yeah.

I actually worked-- Love that show. --with one of the men who was the mortician consultant on the show. Oh, wow! So I think that they took very seriously getting an accurate picture of what goes on in a mortuary like that.

Obviously not that level of drama-- Yeah. --although some probably. I mean-- Morticians are weird. I was going to say also, like, a lot of them are probably still to this day family businesses.

And any family business has got to have quite a lot of dynamics. They're a family-- yeah, they are majority family businesses. There was a big swoop in the '90s where a large corporation called SCI, Service Corporation International, came in, purchased the family businesses, and kept the names-- Mmm. --but were running it as a corporation behind the scenes.

There's another large company that now is trying to do that as well. But they're only allowed like 14% of the market, these big corporations. So it still is majority mom and pop.

Very interesting. Is there any other-- like, obviously "Six Feet Under" is probably the most, like, known of the pop culture around the industry. Is there anything else you would recommend for people who are interested pop culture-wise?

Yeah, I really love this movie called "Departures." It's a Japanese film. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film maybe 10 years ago now. But it's an incredible movie about a guy who goes back to his smaller town to work as the guy who dresses the dead bodies.

Huh. And I think it so beautifully captures what it's like to start to work in the funeral industry and the fears that you go through and the social stigma. And it's just-- it's just-- and you'll be just sobbing like a little baby at the end.

I love crying. If you like crying, if you want to cry-- Well, I hate crying-- --"Departures" is for you. --in life. I'm like not a crier.

But in movies, I feel like I allow it to be like a vessel for all of the emotions that I tamp down in day to day life. So-- You should watch out on the plane because aren't you more likely to cry on the plane? Oh my god, I look like a [MUTED] insane person on planes.

What was I crying-- I'm so crying. I was crying-- I think it was like the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary or something. Wasn't that even not very good?

Watch-- no. Well, it was-- I remember sobbing. I don't know if it was any good, but-- Well, first of all, let's be honest.

Altitude-- get one those little bottles of plain red wine in you. Mm-hm. You're like a different person.

Like, I've seen "Atonement" 7,500 times. I love that movie. And at the very end, when they're all dying, I was like streaming tears down my face.

Like, the lady next to me asked if I was OK. Like, are you OK? I'm like, this-- this Jim died.

Yes. All right, question two-- what do you invest in versus what are you cheap about? What am I cheap about?

So I'm sort of known for my hair. And people-- I think when I came in, you were like, you know, what do you have to do to keep it up? Yes.

I cut my hair with a pair of basically kitchen scissors in my bathroom sink. I use drugstore hair products, and if I do, like, dye my roots or like a couple of gray hairs, it's just like box dye from the store. That is crazy.

And it's just kind of a genetic blessing that I cannot take credit for at all. And you have those bangs that, like, if you are, like, this much off and doing them, you look like you're really going through a manic episode or something. No, yeah.

And I mean, I have-- so these here, these sort of longer ones are from a mistake that I'm now growing them out. But see, it looks good. Because-- It looks intentional.

It's not because I just cut it too far out this way because I was like trying something. And that's the problem is like when you get too big for your britches and you're trying something with your hair. Yeah.

But yeah, so I'm-- you may think that I have like a high end budget for my hair. Nope, just me in my house. That is so cool.

You have-- like, you really landed it like the Zooey Deschanel level where it's like perfect. But again, one tiny centimeter off, and it's like, [INAUDIBLE]. It's like-- like in the background it's like, highway to the danger zone. [INAUDIBLE] men who dye their hair blonde, I think, like, wow.

Oh my gosh, you must have money or, like, you've got a big thing coming up. Or I think, oh God. Oh no, baby, are you OK?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. [INAUDIBLE] is wrong. It's wrong. It's going to be OK.

Do you want bangs, or do you just need to go to therapy? Right now, I would say that I invest in, like we talked about, giving myself the power to continue to be my own boss through-- Hell yeah. --savings and investment because after-- you know, I worked in funeral service and funeral homes for a lot of years. And I was able to leave and start my own funeral home because I got my first book deal.

Hm. And I immediately was like, oh, being my own boss is what is up. Yes.

That is what I want to do-- it is up. --forever. And so I cannot imagine working for someone else. And I know that the way I'm going to be able to continue to do that is to hopefully, at a certain point, have my savings and investments supplement what I'm doing.

So even if I want to try something new or start a new venture or I have that safety net for myself. So you want to achieve some level of finance independence. Yes.

Yeah. A very good goal and one that I think-- it sounds like you're doing that without radically downsizing your life currently-- No, no. --which is nice. I'm not.

And like we said, you know, it is a privilege to be able to not have to use my salary as much for my lifestyle because it is provided by the fact-- and I mean, the flip side of that is that I can't remember the last time I traveled for fun, you know? And what I travel for is fun. Weren't you just on a submarine in Hawaii?

Yes, that-- OK. Was that not fun? Yes.

That is visiting my parents, which is not-- as I love my parents. But-- Called out. No, no, no.

I love my parents. But like, when I say I go to Hawaii, people are like, oh my god, you went to Hawaii? And I'm like, literally, I spent 18 years of my life there.

And I go home to my parents and watch "Law and Order." Like, it's not as magical as you think it is. Yes. But when I was there, we filmed a whole video about an eco casket maker in [INAUDIBLE],, which is the town over from mine.

So even if I go home for Christmas, I tend to be filming something or working on something. And when I go to Russia or Brazil, I'm talking at conferences. I'm filming videos.

I'm researching for a book. But I get to make those investments because my lifestyle lets me do the work that I want to do and travel to the places that I want to do. And it's a great system.

That's very-- I feel similarly. Like, you go to-- that's you for Hawaii. Like, I go to France, like, three to four time a year.

And I'm sure that that seems like really-- and it is cool in a way. But it's also just like, my in-laws are like in this remote area that they don't leave in France. Like, I love France, but like, I would like to go to other countries.

No, yeah. And it's hard to find. It's like, oh my god, baguettes and, you know, you're like riding a bike through Paris.

Your life is the most amazing ever. And you're like, yes, but it's-- Well, it's like when people are like, you're from New York. And you're like, yeah, I definitely get to see Broadway shows before they go on tour.

Otherwise, like, it's my parents' house and me at work. It's-- Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. --glamorously hanging out with Phoebe and Joey and eating a bagel-- Yeah. And you don't want to complain, but I do think that, like, that is one just a random thing that I've always envied is people who live very close to their families and their in-laws families so that, like, anytime they're traveling meaningfully, it's like on their own terms.

It's nice. That's one thing I'm trying to get. I'm trying to get better at going on a vacation.

Mmm. Vacation is not a word that I've heard as of late. Yeah, yeah.

I mean, I-- it does not cross my lips. I find-- I know that this is probably not healthy, but I find that I don't like it when I go on trips that are like entirely deconnected. I know that's very popular for people to do, but what I very much like-- who are very online is like, I'm going to not use social media for a whole week or whatever.

But what I find is generally better is like if I generally, like, don't tweet all weekend because I'm just like in the world. You know what I'm saying? Like, I'm not at my desk.

I'm not-- and I feel like it's-- I prefer when my life is like in and out of being on the internet. And then when I'm on vacation, like, I don't feel like it's, I have to not check my email or I have to not post something if I want to. Do you know what I'm saying?

Like, I have a really hard time. I don't desire being totally disconnected the way a lot of online people, I think, do. I have a vague desire for it.

I've never done it. So I couldn't tell you if I like it. But I think I have a vague desire to achieve it at some point.

Yeah. I think it would probably represent being a better person. But I also feel like I'm just, like, that will never be my life.

Like, it's more realistic for me to get to a place where it's like five days a week, I'm online. Two days a week, I'm off. That's smart.

That sounds healthy. You sound like a healthy person. Congratulations.

Maybe. Number three-- what has been your single best investment and why? Oh, probably colleagues and employees and bringing people in to work with me-- [INAUDIBLE] --as a business.

That can be rapid fire. I don't need to-- Aw, cute. End story.

End scene. My people. Oops. [INAUDIBLE] their names and ages.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, we're not doing this rapid fire, so let me tell you about when I first hired Sarah. What is your social security number?

What has been your biggest money mistake? Oh, that's the one I want to talk about. OK.

Oh, get into it. All right. I thought about this because there are many.

Rapid fire! First, someone set up a Roth IRA for me a couple of years ago. And it was the first any additional account I had.

Who? An ex-boyfriend. Hm.

And by set up a Roth IRA for me, I mean he opened it for me. Got it. And I put some money in it.

And I did not know until years later that you were supposed to invest that money. So it was just like in the waiting room? It was just sitting in the Roth IRA-- Uninvested. --as a savings account.

Yeah. Oh, interesting. So kids, don't do that.

I mean, just read a book. Watch a YouTube video about what a Roth IRA is. Just do yourself a favor.

If you're 21 years old, just save $300 a year and put it in and invest it. Did the platform through which you were using that Roth IRA not send you like reminder emails-- No. --of, like, hey, invest this shit, lady? Mm-mm.

Nope. Nope. Well, we won't name names, but-- Nope. --that sounds like a bad user experience.

It just sat there. Then about-- this is probably about two years ago. I finally was on my-- starting my journey of financial awareness and understanding.

I was like, OK, like, I am going to-- I do have this savings. I have maybe $20,000, $25,000 in savings that I've just been my, like, nut. And I'm going to put it in an investment account.

All of it? All of it. Oh.

So I did that. This was at the end of 2018. So the stock market went down like 25%.

I lost like $6,000, $8,000. And I was standing in the airport just like weeping-- Oh no. --as I, like, opened my phone and saw [INAUDIBLE].. And I I took it out.

Fuck no! OK, I'm cursing so much. But like, no!

I-- I-- You locked in your losses! Uh-huh. Oh my god.

Because I think I probably at that point had read a book or two that was like, don't take it out. But you cannot mentally believe that. And it's only-- it's really only now that I can, like, sit in myself and fully truly believe that if the stock market goes down, that means it's on sale.

That means it's time to-- Yes. --buy. Oh my God. That means it's time to, any money in your savings, that's when you put it in.

And if you have something in there, you don't take it out because I don't think that I understood that you were buying shares. I thought they just took your money away and the money disappeared. I didn't understand that you still owned all those shares that had the potential-- Oh, girl --to grow.

I just-- nobody told me this. And this is, I think, important for me to understand because people-- when someone tells me, like, I didn't know you had-- you could say no to embalming, I'm like, of course. This is the simplest thing in the world.

But nobody is ever told these things. Nobody's ever had this explained to you. And if you haven't had it explained to you or you haven't gone looking for it, you will make errors.

And you will lose money. It's crazy that we don't tell people this stuff because it's like, these are the two topics that nobody is [INAUDIBLE].. Yeah, that nobody-- yeah, it's not like-- it's not like my personal interest in, like, nail art, which I could or could not-- It's going to-- I was just-- --help you. --nails are like-- Thank you.

I do pay it like $40 at a time to have dip nails. That's something I invest in. My hair-- blunt scissors in the bathroom sink.

But who knows? So those-- and then the third money mistake that I made is that when I finally was making more than $20,000 a year, I was like, this is amazing. I'm not rich, but like, I feel so amazing.

I am going to lease a nice car. So I leased a nice car. God.

But what I will say-- those are my, as I thought about it, probably my three biggest money mistakes. But I was incredibly lucky that they are all solvable and fixable. And I am now-- I can look back on them and go, wow, I really see what I did there, and-- Totally. --I am now moving forward with a completely different perspective.

And some people do things that are irrevocable or that are painful for years to come and make huge investments or huge mistakes. And I think that actually having those experiences really kicked me in the butt to read all the books that I have, watch all the videos that I have, get to a place where I now feel like anybody that I know, I can sit down and have this conversation and be like, where's your money? What you doing?

How you doing it? Well, to go back to the investment one because I'm so glad that that was-- I mean, I'm not glad that that was your mistake. I'm sorry that happened to you or that-- That's OK. --you did that to yourself.

But I'm glad that we can talk about that specific issue because it's rare that someone will have a financial mistake that is so crystal clear. One minute of a decision cost you $6,000 to $8,000 just like that. And I think one thing that a lot of people have to, when they decide to invest, what is so important to remember, particularly with really long term investment vehicles, is that you are in this for the next, like, several presidencies.

Like, this is not something where on a day to day level. Like, there are certain times where people will use investment vehicles on like a medium term goal and will do their best to time when they're taking that money out because, you know, they're saving for a very specific thing or, for example, if you're a part of an IPO. Like, there are times when there's that more-- and even then, it's not minute to minute.

But there's shorter kind of periods of really manipulating what you're doing. But for the most part, for most people who are investing longer term, you are not-- I would recommend if you turn on the news and you see that the stock market dipped by 25%, do not check your balances. Like, why would you do that to yourself?

Because all you're going to do is torment yourself for that period of time about something over which you have no immediate control. And if you simply waited-- probably in that case a month, not even-- I would've made good money. Exactly.

Yeah. And the thing is that it's totally natural to-- as a human being, like, money is very-- it's numbers to us. Like, we can only understand it in the context of what it is at that very moment.

It's very difficult to extrapolate the idea of your money having, like, a lifespan. So making sure that you are not-- either you're one of those people who's like checking your net worth every single day, maybe even multiple times a day, which I personally don't recommend, but I understand why some people do it, or you should be someone who has very regular check ins at certain points that are not subject to the whims of the market and are very much taken with a huge grain of salt because if you, like, turn on CNBC, see that, and then go look at your-- you're going to do that. Yeah, well, I was-- I was-- Which is the single worst thing you can do.

Yeah, I was scared, and I-- like, I don't have it in me to have this kind of volatility and risk. And you know what? I do have it in me.

I just didn't know enough. Yes. My-- I am the type of person that if I don't have the knowledge, I don't have the power.

Right. And so now that I have the knowledge, I can look at a day where I've lost $700 in an account and go, you'll be back. Yes.

That money means nothing. That means-- because it is like funny money at a certain point. yeah. And you know, I know this-- probably there's people who are listening who make $20,000 a year.

You're like, I cannot even imagine that. And I get it because that was me a couple of years ago, you know? Like, I'm with you.

But this is where you want to get to be able to have the life that you will be taking care of when you are old. Yeah. And I know a lot of people who do not have-- even successful people who do not have any of this set up.

And you have to keep putting it in, and you have to just leave it. Totally. And I will say-- so most of my-- my husband and all of our finances are combined.

But we have a lot of investment that's tied to the market, you know, just following the market, following funds. And generally, something I read about all the time is, with rare exception-- again, there are certain exceptions to this. But you should not be picking individual stocks, which-- No. --will really, really increase that sense of day to day volatility.

You know, if you're pegging it to a certain index or whatever you're doing-- like, it's these giant cresting waves over the course of a long period of time. But one thing that I mention sometimes on the show and in general is that we're going to come to another recession. It seems pretty inevitable.

There are certain macro indicators of that. But there's also just a very cyclical nature to these recessions. And it's been about 10 years since the last one, and they tend to come in 10 year cycles roughly.

And knowing that and being prepared for that and knowing, like, I know that we're going to look at like a 401(k) and potentially see a massive, massive chunk taken out of it-- and in the case of a 401(k), there are other, like, tax reasons why you would not take that money out. But let's say you have just, you know, non-tax advantaged investment accounts that are tied to the market and are going to be like potentially like 50% losses and maybe lasting that for six, seven months or whatever it may be. Like, whatever-- I don't know what it was in 2008 for a lot of people, but it was probably that level of substantial.

If you can-- and some people can't afford to. Some people entered retirement at that time and had no choice but to lock in those losses. But if you can look at that and say even if this horrible number lasts for seven months, a year, that is still this on the scale of what my investment represents.

And if you can prepare for that knowledge and know that one day, like it or not, I'm going to go look at these numbers and they're not going to be what I want to see, you can start to, like, release that tension. The people in 2008 who didn't sell anything when the market crashed and even put more money in are the rich people now. Yes.

Now they're the wealthy people. Yes. And you know, like, again, not rah rah capitalism, but if somebody has to be safe and secure and have money, I'd like for myself to be one of those people.

Absolutely. And as you mentioned, like, that is a time to buy, you know? Time to buy.

It's a sale. And that's not accessible to everyone. it's Black Friday. Yes, and again, I really always do want to reiterate this because some people do not have a choice but to retire into a market like that.

Some people-- Yeah, I mean-- yeah, this is-- we're not talking to 65-year-olds. Yes, or people who lost their job and had to break it because they had to have money to keep living in their home. Like, you can find yourself in terrible situations where you are absolutely subject to that market's whim.

But the more you can prepare to look at that in-- and even if it's something like let's say you are approaching retirement age. Planning to give yourself maybe a couple years window where you could have a little bit more flexibility or maybe, you know, give yourself the option of setting up a side job or a second job that you could take if you had to prolong your retirement-- like, just making sure that you have time on your side to whatever extent it's possible is such an asset because you never want to be in that situation. Right.

Well, you don't want to be-- if something financially very difficult happens for you and you need that money, there's so many reasons that maybe you take it out if there's a recession. But being freaked out shouldn't be one of them. Oh, absolutely.

That's like-- That's what I'm trying to get across. Yes, it should not be, but it's totally understandable why you would have been. Yeah.

And it's totally understandable why people think that way. And that's why you have to just-- especially if you are worried-- the best thing you can do if you're worried about a recession coming is not hoarding your money underneath your mattress. It's reading books that tell you these facts-- Yes. --about how the market works long term.

Yes, and again, making sure that your income streams, that your savings vehicles, that your investments are diversified enough that you are never entirely dependent on one account or one job. And yes, sometimes, your life is structured in such a way that you have one job. But having a backup plan if something were to happen-- because in a recession, a lot of people get laid off.

And if you know you're looking at a recession, if you know that you're in an industry where you could possibly be-- I mean, media is one of more where, like, in a good economy-- Yeah. --people are getting laid off constantly. Like, have your backup plan. This is turning into a very dark end to this.

A recession is coming. It's coming! I wonder-- Hide your gold.

Hide the doubloons. OK, what is your biggest current money insecurity? Oh, I guess my biggest money insecurity-- and again, like, the last two years have been so crucial because I have so much more knowledge now than I did then, and I feel so much more secure in what I'm trying to do thanks to The Financial Diet and other fine books and periodicals.

But I think there is always this fear-- I mean, for me, being your own boss is difficult. And honestly, if there was a recession, I have people who work for me-- Yes. --and work with me. Yes.

And that freaks me out. Being responsible for other people's survival in the world is a huge emotional mental responsibility that if you are not a sociopath, I think you take on-- Yes. --as a business owner. And so I-- that and making sure that, like we said, not only-- we talked a lot about being personally set up but having your business set up and having a big nest egg.

Like at the non-profit, we could spend all of our money every year, but I have to make sure that there is a nest egg to make sure that no matter what, everyone is taking care of-- Totally. --there and just making sure that everybody can ride whatever comes next. It is a broader business, but I think mine is slightly more tied to me as the mortician than yours might be, although I think people look at you as, you know, Chelsea, AKA, The Financial Diet, probably. Maybe, but that's not how our business is structured.

Right. And like, we definitely-- it's much more like a traditional business in that way. But it just-- it definitely has that feeling of like, it can be overwhelming of like, oh my god.

Yeah, know what? I feel-- I'm like, what if I get canceled? Like, I don't know what I'm going to do.

I don't know-- I thought you were going to say, what if I get cancer? No, no, no, no, no. --canceled. No.

Too online. What if I get-- I'm too worried. It's so funny because we literally had this conversation last night.

And when I went to bed, I felt like, God, we live such weird lives that that's one of our big fears. And then you come out, and you're literally dealing with life and death every day. And you're like, but if I got canceled-- No, I mean, that's kind of-- So true.

That's a weird fear I have because I actually had a friend who was, like, who was like, I live in fear of being canceled. And she doesn't have accounts. So she's not a public person, but she's still-- because I think it's been so ingrained to us that it's like the worst thing that could happen to you.

Yeah. And I was like, well, if I get canceled, what's going to happen to my employees? What am I going to do?

I don't think I have any bad takes, but you never know. You never know. I'm going to go search your tweets for-- I know.

I know, I know. [INAUDIBLE] She's like, how dare-- she never invested her Roth IRA? Like, canceled. Canceled.

What has been the financial habit that has helped you the most? Oh, education, regular reading-- I probably read a finance book a month. And I-- on diverse topics, everything from entry level books-- because, you know, I know about savings accounts, but I'll read it again.

I know about investing, but I'll read it again just so it's really ingrained in me. I think anything that you can do to just reinforce-- like, and you don't have to be obsessed with money. I'm not advocating.

But it's kind of become a hobby of mine just because I'm fascinated by it. And I'm fascinated by how little I knew about it too, I think. That's kind of like a fun comparison for me, Caitlin five years ago versus now.

But you don't have to be obsessed with it. But you do have to take it seriously, and you have to have those check-ins where you stop. And you know, not to help out your sponsor, but Mint can help with that.

Oh, snap! You know? Like, something like an app where you have everything or even just like a-- because Mint's free, but like, some sort of worksheet where you're like, OK, what's in all my accounts right now?

What was it last month? Why is that? Yes.

What have I done? Like, that kind of check in. Yes.

So just reinforcing things for me, reading, looking at the numbers, being hyper aware. When did you first feel, air quotes, "successful," and what does that word mean to you? Ooo, probably coming on this show.

I agree. It's been nothing until now. Right.

Also for you, yeah. Same for you. True.

I think-- I remember this was a couple of years ago. And I was in a parking garage. And I lost the ticket to get out.

And it was $20 if you lose your ticket. Turns out it was in my bra, by the way, where you keep the valuable things. And never found it until I got home, took off the bra.

There it was. It just, like, fluttered down-- Yeah, basically. Yeah, exactly.

That's it if you want the picture of how that went down. But I was at [INAUDIBLE],, the museum here, and I was seeing some sort of film that my friend was putting on. And I just stood there, and I was frantic.

And I was like, oh, I can't find the ticket. What am I going to do? How-- I have to get into a fight with a guy, the thing, to tell him I did have it and I've only been here like two hours.

What am I going to do? And I had this moment where I was like, I could pay $20 and go home. And I would be free.

I don't have to cry to the parking attendant. I don't have to crawl on my hands and knees in this oil slicked car park. I can pay $20 and be gone.

And like a year ago, I never, ever could have done that. I would have had to fight tooth and nail to the death. That's so interesting.

Ingrid Nelsons, who is one of our recent interviews, was also-- I think it was getting a speeding ticket or something, like a moving violation, and being able-- Totally. Yeah. And I had-- that's so mine too.

I think for anyone who has ever been in a position of like those little inconveniences become spirals, there's no better feeling than, like, I now-- one of the things-- I travel quite a lot now, mostly for work. And one of the things that has changed my life more than anything else is the feeling that with a few exceptions like my passport or like my retainer or whatever, like, anything else I can buy if I need to. Yeah.

I mean, within reason-- Like, I can't buy like a house out here. Right. Like, if I forget my makeup bag-- I literally, for a moment at the airport coming here, thought I forgot my makeup bag.

And I was like, well, I guess I'll have to Sephora and get all new makeup. Like-- and I wouldn't like doing that, and that would suck. But it would not be the end of the world.

And it used to be that. Mm-hm, yeah, and little bureaucratic things where they're like, hm, you didn't pay us this $25 LA tax fee. I'm just like, pay it.

Pay it. Get it away. Get it away.

And having-- Pay it. Yeah, exactly. And having the ability to do that-- Yes.

And that's why it's such a crock when someone is like, you know, says that money isn't helpful in that way. Oh god. Because, like, the weight off your shoulders of being able to throw little spits of money at a problem.

They really-- they don't undersell it when they talk about throwing money at a problem. No. Because it is truly like you are just like, puh, and it's done.

And then when you get really wealthy and you hire, like, financial advisors-- Oh yeah. --or just like-- I will say the ultimate one, and I have it primarily-- I need it for the business. It's not my lawyer, but it's the business's lawyer. And on occasion, I've had to call him to be like, hey, there's this other random thing.

Like-- it was like, our management company was doing something shifty. And he was like, oh yeah. He's like, yeah, if you want, like, I'll just send them a scary letter or whatever.

All you have to do is invoke the existence of a lawyer, and they will fucking run. They're like, oh, she's one of those people. Like, rich people have-- [INAUDIBLE] A lawyer?

Like, having lawyers? Like, what-- rich people are really holding out on telling everyone else what life is like because it's like-- it's like you go through life with a bodyguard of money and professional people. It's like, it's great.

Anyway, well, I'm really sad to wrap this show up because it's so awesome talking-- We're having such a good time. We're having so much fun. Thank you so much for coming-- Of course. --first of all.

Where can people find more of your wonderful, wonderful work? Oh, if you like YouTube, it's on Ask a Mortician is the channel. If you like podcasts, we have a show called "Death in the Afternoon." Hm.

And I write books. So you can go to your local bookery and find some death books-- Very cool. --for Christmas. Very cool.

I love them. Highly recommend them. I actually don't-- I think I only have the first one.

How many do you have now? I have three. Oh my god, I got to get cracking.

So thank you so much for being here. And thank you, of course, to our incredible sponsor. Mint is something that I have been using longer than literally any other financial tool to help manage my finances.

I actually wrote about Mint the TFD book that I wrote years ago before I ever came in contact with [INAUDIBLE] as a company, so you know it's sincere. But basically, Mint is a free, extremely easy to use budgeting app that breaks down every element of your day to day finances. They'll do, like-- they make these, like, amazing pie charts that show a breakdown of how you're spending and where you can improve and, like, if you've gone way over budget in one category.

It helps keep track of all of your various days-- when things get paid, when bills come in, when your paychecks come in. Basically, it's like a second brain in your phone that helps keep track of all of your finances and helps you visualize them so that it's not just a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. It's actually like a really interactive and beautiful chart that you can understand and be like, whoa, I spent way too much money on food this month, which is generally my response every time I open up Mint.

I've been using Mint personally to manage my money for over five years, and I could not recommend it more. So please check it out at the link in our description or the show notes and get started being better with your budget today. So thank you guys so much for joining us.

Don't forget to come back next week to another episode of "The Financial Confessions." And we'll see you soon. Bye.