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Chelsea answers audience questions about how much her skincare costs, her advice on helping low-income parents plan for retirement, reading negative comments online, her experience working at a country club, and more.

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Hey, everyone.

Before we get started with today's episode, I just want to quickly ask you, and kindly ask you-- I'm trying to be nice-- to take the audience survey linked in the episode's description. You'll find that in the box on YouTube, or in the show notes on podcast.

This survey is extremely helpful to us. It helps us learn a little bit more about you and what you do and don't like about TFC. And it actually makes a huge difference if you take it.

It will take less than five minutes to fill out, and it will help us continue to bring you the content that you want most. Please do it. Hello, everyone.

And welcome back to an all new episode of The Financial Confessions. Today I am by myself. For those watching the video, you will have already noticed I don't have a guest today.

And that is because it is one of our favorite days here at TFD for the podcast, because it's infinitely easier to schedule. It's just me. And that is Q&A day.

It's mailbag day. And (SINGING) we just got a letter. We just got a letter.

Anyway, you guys sent in a-- wow, a lot of questions. I have over 50 questions. I don't think I'm going to have time to answer over 50 questions.

But I wanted to just have a nice time for us to kind of reset and talk to you guys about what you guys want to talk about. We will be, of course, back next week with a guest. But without further ado, let's jump into some of these questions.

So we're going to start off with some fun ones. And I'm just kind of going through these. Have you seen Star Wars yet?

I've never seen a star war, nary a war, as this woman's seen. I just can't. There's too many movies and television shows.

I have four television shows that I've started and not finished. There's too much content. What is the best way to get a freelance or contract job at TFD?

Set an alert for thefinancialdiet.com/careers. That's where we post job listings. We also post them on LinkedIn and stuff like that.

OK, how can I try new hobbies without getting financially invested in them too early? Don't financially invest in them too early. I think it's really important to set a rule for yourself that you can only invest beyond an absolute bare minimum in any kind of hobby if you have demonstrated-- I mean, it's an arbitrary number.

But maybe let's say, for at least a month, you've done it multiple times a week. Basically, you need to demonstrate to yourself that this is something you'll actually follow through with, and then sort of ramp up to higher levels of spending for it. But, in general, I think way too often we preemptively spend on things, thinking that spending will give us a level of imposed accountability to do the thing.

And I hate to break it to you guys, but the entire gym business model depends on the fact that people buy gym memberships and then don't use them. And they make their money off the people who don't go to the gym. So we know by now that just buying the tap shoes won't make you go to a tap dance class.

And, yes, I'm speaking from personal experience. And actually, also Aaron, a broke millennial who's an IRL friend of mine, is fully going to tap dancing classes at 92Y. And I feel very targeted.

What is the best career advice you've ever gotten? This is advice I've gotten, but also something that we see constantly at work is, talent is secondary to reliability. If you are someone who is organized, professional, punctual, responsible, communicative, all of those things are very, very important, and you would be surprised at how few people, especially early in their career, demonstrate those things to a consistent degree.

We often-- someone said this in one of our TFD events one of our conferences. We have a tendency to undervalue things that come easily to us, or things that we're good at. And a lot of people who are just very good at being professionals, who are very good at doing a job in sort of the logistical/administrative way, often don't think of that as a skill, or an aptitude or something that they're good at.

But not only is being professional and reliable a skill and in some ways a talent, it's also something that really, really distinguishes people. We have had so many people that we've worked with over the years. Now, granted, we are in a more creative field, which I think opens itself up to a higher proportion of people who are just bad at the professional aspect of it.

But we have worked with some incredibly talented people who have amazing resumes and portfolios and projects under their belt, who were just a [MUTED] train wreck to work with. We've had people just completely ghost us. We've had people not do the job they agreed to and then have the audacity to invoice for the job.

We've had people just not show up to things. We've had people send in things weeks late. I mean, it is-- I'm not going to get into this.

But suffice it to say, in every one of those cases, I would, and I think the people I work with, would take someone who's a little less talented at whatever the thing is that they're doing or producing, and a little bit better to work with and more reliable. So, yes, whatever you're doing, never underestimate the value of just being a professional reliable person. And never underestimate the degree to which that really sets you apart, even during the frickin' application process.

Every job listing we have has extremely specific instructions on how to apply. And, yes, that is part of the application. Did you put the subject line correctly?

Did you send it in the format it was asked for? Did you email the right person? We have had people not only completely blow past all those things, but we'll have a job listing up that you're supposed to email a certain person about in a specific format, they literally go on Instagram and DM the person hiring, being like, hey, I want to apply for this job.

You've already disqualified yourself. Why are you harassing people on their personal Instagram? We have had people spam the entire company on LinkedIn.

And we're like, now not only are you not getting the job, we also hate you. You're so annoying. What is wrong with people?

And as a last note on that, I feel like people have this weird conflation between showing eagerness and enthusiasm and just being incredibly annoying or inappropriate, and DMing people on their personal social media, especially when you haven't even done the actual application, is one of those things. Do you feel financially secure, why or why not? I feel very financially secure, because I live below my means.

I know what I need to do in order to keep maintaining my finances. I don't aspire to things that are going to keep me on the hamster wheel of consumption. And, I mean, I know this isn't an option for everyone, but I'm not planning on having children.

And, I mean, that's a real shot in the arm financially. I mean, it's expensive just to have friends with kids and nieces and nephews. I mean, the expense of having a child and the responsibility financially of having a child and the way it obligates you to make certain decisions whether professionally or financially that you might not otherwise make, to not opt into that is a huge financial privilege and gives you a much higher level of flexibility financially.

So that's part of the reason why. But I think that feeling financially secure ultimately comes down to, yes, there needs to be a baseline of how much you're earning, how much you're able to save, all of those things. But once you get there, the entire differentiator comes down to living within your means or not, having aspirations that are affordable and sustainable or not.

And we see all the time these articles and exposes about couples or people who are on this-- who are living paycheck to paycheck, who feel very strapped for cash all the time. And it's because they're spending outrageously, because they live in these really, really outrageous social circles. Statistically people with more money tend to socialize more and more with only people in their own income bracket.

That is exacerbated by children. And so you're now spending to keep up with other people who might out earn you, who might be further into their careers. Just the other day I saw on Twitter this article about this woman who was buying a home in Seattle.

Her initial budget-- and now she's cash poor and trapped in a job she doesn't like. But apparently-- sorry, she's house poor. She's like over-- her mortgage represents too much of her take home pay, and she's stuck in her job, I'm sorry.

But this is an interview with her. And I don't know what she was smoking, but she put her whole face and full name in this article, which you couldn't pay me to do that. But her initial budget when household hunting in Seattle was $800,000.

And then she didn't like the houses she was seeing. So then her budget was $1.3 million. And then she ended up getting a place for like $1.4 and 1/2 million.

First of all, I don't even know what the word budget means to this woman if it can just double, essentially. But also, like no shit that if you buy something that is twice as expensive as what you were initially initially planning to buy, you're going to have a bad time. You're going to have a real problem keeping up with your demands financially, and you're going to be stuck in your job, and you're not going to have enough money for the other parts of your life that are important.

So, yeah, once you get to a certain level of baseline comfort and stability, it's all about keeping your expenses down relative to how much you earn. And it's not that hard. What is wrong with people?

It was $800,000. Just kidding, now it's like twice that. Any advice for people who chronically overcommit or overschedule?

One thing that I really recommend to someone who tends to be a yes person in that regard is, whatever calendar tool you use-- and if you're not, well, start by using a calendar tool. Because that will really help you see, like, oh no. We got a lot coming up on the horizon.

Start blocking off places in your calendar. I love Google Calendar. It's so easy.

It syncs with everything. You can send it to people. But start blocking off places in your calendar that are for you.

And they could be for leisure. They could be for activities you want to do by yourself. They could just be like, don't put anything here.

But start blocking out time for downtime the way you would things for active activities and commitments. But definitely start by using a good calendar tool, if you're not. Do you acknowledge the privilege of having a partner with a stable income when starting TFD?

Of course. I mean, I say that-- I mean at the time, especially I said it constantly. Like my co-founder Lauren and I, we earned basically nothing the first year.

I think the second year we took home like $20,000 each, which is not livable in New York City. But both of us had partners with full-time incomes that we could live on. Not like kings, but we could live on them.

And they had health insurance they could add us to. Without those two things, there would never be a business. And the my husband also took a sabbatical from work to help build out some of the infrastructure for the company for ads and for things early forms of revenue.

So he owns a small part of the company, because even if we were to separate God forbid, he earned that. And you have to-- that should be represented in real, material ownership. So, absolutely, it's a massive privilege.

And we say it all the time. Thoughts and feelings on the overwhelming number of crypto commercials during the Super Bowl. Thoughts and feelings-- not good.

No, I mean, honestly, the biggest feelings I have about it are extreme anger at the people who are using their money and all of the cheap money that's floating around crypto right now, the VC money and so forth, to try and legitimize this as a financial opportunity for the average person in order to offload their holdings and get some liquidity in the market. I think that that's reprehensible, and I hope they step on a million LEGOs. But I also just feel really sad.

I mean, I know a lot of people in my life. Like one of my friends was saying the other day that his brother owes him some money, but he can't pay it, because he's all tied up in crypto. And this is a brother who's like often making not great decisions.

And I know so many people like my cousins, I'm constantly having to swat them away from getting into crypto. And these are smart kids. But I feel really bad for people who feel like this is an option for them, or the only option for them.

In the same way, I feel really bad for a single mother on a military base, or sorry, a single mother or a stay at home mom on a military base who feels that joining an MLM is the only opportunity for her to get ahead. Because in both situations, a lot of what they're experiencing isn't wrong. And a lot of the real opportunities available to them are extremely limited and problematic.

So I just feel sad for the country a little bit. And then, lastly, I just feel like we're headed for-- we're headed for something financially. I don't know what we're headed for.

But when you have that amount of just-- that large amount of people investing, including now big financial institutions, in these ridiculous, unstable, unregulated securities, and doing God knows what with that money, it's not good for the long-term health of the economy. Tell us more about working in Annapolis at the Yacht Club. So for those who don't know, I lived in a town in my adolescence called Annapolis Maryland, which is like a very wealthy, it's like an affluent, very kind of waspy sailing community on the Chesapeake Bay.

And I worked at a Yacht Club, which is a country club for people who have boats, yachts, generally, extremely expensive, extremely elite. Like every weekend there was a wedding with 500 guests. Or there would be a bar mitzvah where Pitbull was playing.

It was just a very-- yeah, it was like-- if you can imagine the clientele of this place, was like imagine like 1,000 Brett Kavanaugh's and their wives and children. And it was-- one of my favorite anecdotes about the place is that toward the end of me working there-- I think I worked there for like definitely under a year, maybe like nine months or something. I was like at the Xerox, because I worked in the reception.

And I was at the Xerox, and there was like flyer that they had made, some of the members had made. And it was an action committee they had made called YAHT which was an acronym standing for Yachtsman Against Constant Help Turnover. And, I mean, like all of the women that worked there, just like all kinds of harassment, and just a really toxic work environment.

Like I worked the front desk. And, fun fact, if you're in a private club, it does not have any of the same rules about like when it has to close, serving alcohol, things like that. So when I would work on, I think it was Wednesday nights was the poker nights, you had to stay at the front desk, you were required to stay at the front desk until the last member left.

And often on nights like that, it would be 3:00 in the morning. And you would have guys coming up to the front desk to get their car keys who were very, very visibly inebriated, and come get their keys to their Porsches, and Mercedes, and whatever. And you couldn't do anything about it.

You weren't allowed to not let them. Because legally in a private club, this is like their house. You're not allowed to do anything.

And you can't-- when they would say whatever they would want to say or behave however they wanted to behave, you couldn't do anything about it. Hence the constant help turnover. But, yeah, it was a really crazy experience.

And I, looking back, feel very glad that I did it. Because growing up, when I was pretty little, we didn't have a lot of money. And then when I lived in Annapolis, we were I would say probably lower middle class.

But I was surrounded by very wealthy people. So I was very-- I had a lot of insecurity. But also I think I had a lot of like really romantic images of wealthy people.

And after working at a place like that, I have no illusions. You really see how wealth gets passed around. You really see how the unbelievably dumb lacrosse kid whose parents are incredibly wealthy can get three DUIs in high school and get them covered up, and then like end up going to Duke on a scholarship or whatever, and get some job because his dad's friend works at whatever firm.

And it's like, that's how it works for a lot of people. Not all people. Some people scratch, and some people are really talented, and this, that, and the other.

But so many wealthy people, especially that older, more established wealth, it's a bleak, bleak environment. And, yeah, you work at a place like that for a couple of months, you're going to leave like singing "The Internationale" and wearing all red, let me tell you that. Will TFC please come out with a Canadian version.

You're listening to it, eh. Where did you find your Spanish tutor? Fun fact, I put out a call on Twitter looking for one.

And she was the only person who wrote me all in Spanish, which I thought, wow, what a nice way to distinguish yourself. So that's a little hot tip for people looking to distinguish themselves when applying for something. And she ended up being-- she's like a friend now.

She's great. I went and visited her for a couple of days in December. She's the best.

Yeah, and that's actually a big recommendation if you're learning a language, if you don't find a way to actively speak it that you are looking forward to and enjoy and feel like you actually enjoy the conversations, you will never really get very good at it. Because very formal classes, Duolingo, trying to teach yourself, all of that stuff, it's only so much. You can only do so much when you're having conversations that are like, I'm going to the store.

Are you going to the store? You need to be able to have conversations that are engaging, and that you actually want to be able to express yourself better in and that you look forward to. So it could be a tutor that you really enjoy talking with.

It could be a meet up group. I used to do those a lot. It could be finding language buddies, whatever it might be.

But you have to give yourself those more natural opportunities to speak it, otherwise it is always a struggle. Have you ever received a critique for an interview that was justified upon reflection? Plenty.

I mean, I think I read a lot of critiques of myself. I try not to seek them out too much. But between seasons, I'll go and I'll read reviews, and I'll read comments that are more critical.

And I think I, as a result of reading them, I talk less myself in this season than I have in seasons past. I think everyone's a chatty Cathy who starts a podcast, let's start there. I don't think you start one unless you like to talk.

But also one thing that I think a lot of people listening to interviews don't necessarily understand is that you are completely rolling the dice every time you speak to someone. You can speak to someone who will not shut up, and you can barely ask them a question. But then you can also speak to people who give you very, very short yes or no, very-- what's the word-- not open-ended answers.

And so you have to keep asking questions, or keep trying to fill that space. And that's not-- there's nothing wrong with that. That's how some people are.

And in many ways, that's good. You have humility. You know to say I don't know.

Or you don't go any further than you really have something interesting to say. But in those cases, I used to speak more. And then now I just, I will ask your ass 5,000 questions, even if we end up cutting out a lot of it.

Because I don't want to give people the impression that I bring people on to talk myself. Because I really do want to learn from them. But I did get some feedback that I was talking too much, so I talk less.

Except on episodes like this where you can't stop me. OK, what was your first investment? It was TFD.

I didn't have any investments when I started TFD, and so my business was my first investment. It's obviously still my biggest investment. I now have more traditional investments.

We have 401(k)s here at TFD. I have other more general investment funds. But it's-- yeah, TFD was my first investment, and my longest and my biggest.

How do I financially set up low-income parents for retirement so that it's less of a burden on me? Yes, so we work with people in the space who are in this situation themselves. Yanely Espinal is a really good example, and we'll link you to her.

She does a lot about this. But I think more generally, I am not in a position where I'm having to support my parents. But keeping it vague as possible, I do have some of that experience in my life of feeling responsible for others financially.

And I think it's a tough thing. Because it doesn't help the people who need help to have now two people who need help, i.e. You putting yourself in a tough position financially in order to help them.

For example, if in order to help your parents you're not able to save for your own retirement, now you're just perpetuating a cycle where if you have children, they're going to have to help support you in your retirement. So I do think there has to be, I think, a really clear-eyed understanding of what you can afford, and a commitment to yourself to not go past what you can afford in order to help someone else to the extent that it puts you in the same position. Because I think that happens a lot.

And I think that also, even just from the phrasing of the question, you take on such an emotional burden. And it's important to remember, yes, your parents raised you. But they had you.

You had a kid. And you have to raise your kid. You have to give your kid a home, and food, and shelter.

Otherwise, the kid gets taken away from you. Them doing these things for you does not make you morally responsible for making sure that they're OK now. If you can afford it, and you want to help them, and it's something that you can integrate into your finances, then you should do it, if that's what's right for you.

But you shouldn't take on the moral burden of feeling that you have to support these people, even if you-- "these people." You shouldn't take on the moral burden of feeling that you have to support your parents if you can't afford to, or feel like it makes you a bad person if you can't afford to do it entirely yourself. I would recommend, if it's at all accessible to you, whether through insurance, or more affordable options, talk to a therapist about this. Because the intergenerational burdens and interfamilial burdens of having to support other family members, and the-- also not to mention the strife that can cause in relationships, again, keeping things very vague, I've had disputes with my spouse about supporting other people in various ways.

And it's important to remember that just because, for example, one member of a household might want to support, well, maybe the other person doesn't. And maybe the other person has people on their end who could use support, or whatever it might be. So these things are incredibly complicated, but what's really important is that you not take on a moral burden to do more than you can afford to do, and that you don't put yourself, you don't put yourself in a similarly financially strapped position in order to help someone else.

This question just says, NFTs, what are your thoughts? Bad. And watch the whole video.

Yeah, go watch the whole video. And watch Dan's video. I did an interview with Dan Olson, who did a whole , like the takedown of NFTs.

Watch both of those things. I want to hear more about getting masseter Botox. How did you find a specialist for this, and how much did it cost?

Yeah, so for those who don't know, I've been on my big skincare journey this year. So I've been investing in a good, really good dermatologist. I've got some topical treatments I've been doing, some lasers.

Because I have rosacea. I have acne scarring. I've always had problem skin my whole life.

And then I also got masseter Botox, because I never really realized it, but I-- so I have anxiety. I mean, God, I feel like it is at this point just like, OK, another privileged white woman on the internet talking about her anxiety. I am not trying to claim some sort of like oppression here.

But one manifestation of it was that I was just always clenching my jaw. And I was noticing that my face was starting to kind of get weirdly slack towards the front, kind of out of proportion to the rest of it. And I thought it was like-- I had no idea what to do.

I was like, is this like a filler situation? What do we got to do here? And she was like, no.

She was like, you're constantly clenching. So you're working the hell out of the back of your mouth. And then the front part of your jaw is never being used.

So it's all out of whack. So she did masseter Botox, which is where you put Botox in the jaw muscles to prevent them from being able to clench. You would never know.

You can't-- nothing feels different. Except for the first week there were 50 times where I went to passively clench my jaw. I would do it all the time, like when I'm cooking food, or when I'm waiting for something, or when I'm like nervous about something.

And I couldn't do it. And I was like, holy shit, how much have I been clenching my jaw? A lot, is the answer.

And so that was the best money I've ever spent. It was-- I think it was $1,000. And it completely changed my life.

I love it. I'm going to do it for the rest of my life, probably. I'm not going to overdo it.

Because you can overdo it and then it starts to make the rest of your face kind of out of proportion too. It can be a vicious cycle. So I've done that.

I've done lasers. I'm going to do some other light Botox this year as well. I'm a big fan of these things because I am vain a little bit.

But also, I feel like to me they're on par with something like braces, or teeth whitening, or any of the other number of things that people do to feel more confident. But I also think, I mean, I've talked about this so much. But skincare is such an obsession in our era.

And it's also used as such a shorthand for so many other things. It's self-discipline. It's purity.

It's cleanliness. It's all of these things. It's about what you eat.

It's about your lifestyle. It's about all this stuff. But for most people, skin quality and skin appearance comes down to genetics.

And people who have problems skin will have a much tougher time fixing it. And people who have naturally nice skin that age as well, and doesn't get a lot of blemishes, and what have you, they'll always have an easier time of it. And there are differences you can make in the margins, but for the most part, that is the answer.

And I would like to wake up and not feel that I have to change the appearance of my skin in order to be viewed a certain way in this society. The masseter Botox is a little bit of a different thing. Because that was more about fixing a very real problem with how I was moving my face.

But, in general, I think it's very important for people to be more open about what they're doing to improve their appearance if they're doing it. Because, like I said in my celebrity beauty video, a lot of this really amounts to a kind of gaslighting of like, we all know all of these celebrities look as good as they do because of all the procedures they're getting done and the professionals they have working on them. And yet we're supposed to pretend it's just because they're drinking a lot of water and rubbing olive oil on their face.

It's a lie. So you know I'm very committed. I have a Twitter thread going about it.

Anytime I do something, I post about it, about the cost, about the results, things like that. But especially for other people out there who have things like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, all of these skin problems, I want to especially be really honest about what it takes for me to see results. Because I spent years and thousands of dollars on all of these holy grail skincare things that people swore worked and wouldn't work for me.

And I was like, well, what am I doing wrong? It's because they're not really helpful for what are ultimately actual medical issues, like go see a doctor. So my dermatologist is expensive, but actually I've spent less this year on skin care that I have in years past, because I buy almost no products.

I have a few prescription things and good moisturizers, but I don't really buy all the serums, and the retinols. Like, for example, I heard retinol was the thing everyone was supposed to do. I was doing retinol for quite some time.

And then my dermatologist was like, what is wrong with you? You have rosacea. No wonder your rosacea is getting worse.

You can't use retinol if you have rosacea, or you have to be-- you have to use it differently, this, that, and the other. So suffice to say, masseter Botox, I'm a fan. Botox generally, I'm a fan.

Fillers, you got to be real careful with fillers, now let me tell you that. You see celebrities out there looking crazy. A lot of the time it is way too many fillers.

And people get addicted to them. And they don't realize that fillers don't go away, they just migrate. And so you're now putting filler on top of filler.

I'm honestly a little terrified of fillers to be honest. But the rest of it, lasers especially, a laser, wow, lasers are cool. I love lasers.

How often will you do the masseter Botox? So it lasts I think about six months. I probably won't do it every six months, because again, I don't want to really overdo it.

Because you can really over weaken the muscle. And I've read about that. But I trust-- so one last thing on this is, when I was choosing my dermatologist, I was like, this is my face.

This is my skin. I am not messing around with a dermatologist on Groupon. I am going to the best dermatologist I can find with the best reviews, the best results, whatever.

And to her credit, more than once I've asked her about a procedure or a treatment that was more expensive, and she was like actually no, go for the less expensive one. It'll get you what you want more naturally, whatever. And she was right.

And so she's not out here trying to nickel and dime me for everything, or sell me a bunch of products. And so therefore, I also trust her to be like, this is what's right for you. And this is what you should do.

And she hasn't steered me wrong thus far, so. OK, and then on that note, what is my actual budget for skincare? So I would say once a quarter I probably spend somewhere around $1,000 at the dermatologist for some kind of a treatment.

But, again, some of that I'm only doing once or twice, I'm not going to be doing it forever. But as of this year, or the past year, since I've been doing it, the dermatology. So once a quarter to once every six months I would say I spend about $1,000 at the dermatologist.

And that includes some kind of whatever treatment, and then usually some sort of-- maybe one product or something. My topicals that I get are mostly covered by my insurance. So I pay basically nothing.

And then I get a couple-- like I get a moisturizer. I do Charlotte Tilbury moisturizer and a Tatcha moisturizer for day and night. So on a month-to-month basis, probably works out, like if you even it out, because I only have to buy the moisturizers every quarter, maybe-- well, every couple of months-- yeah, I don't know offhand.

But I probably don't spend more than $50 a month on skin care, plus the dermatologist once a quarter, which is about $1,000. So what is that? $5,000 a year. Yeah. $5,000 a year.

And I know people are going to be like, that's so much money. I know it is. I wish I had great skin.

I wish that I weren't cursed with my father's skin. I love you dad, but you really screwed me on this one. But, yeah, it's a medical issue that I treat like any other.

That was long. OK, how do I become type A? Watch my video called, "How I Became Type A." I'll link you to it.

What's your opinion on using or depleting savings or sinking funds to pay off a car loan faster? Eh, I mean, I would not do that unless you're paying some crazy amount of interest on it that's really hurting you. But if you're just doing it so that you don't have a car payment, like you have to be really strategic.

But the good news about it is that you can really-- there are so many great interest calculators out there where you can really weigh these decisions mathematically based on your individual situation. But if you're just doing it to not have a car payment, probably not. If you're doing it because you're paying a crazy amount of interest and you could get rid of that interest and save the money, yes.

But here's the thing, if you deplete your savings and you're sinking funds, and now you're turning to use a credit card for these things that you otherwise would have used your sinking funds for, you could be in a worse situation. So do the math, is my answer. When in your journey did your attitude towards money change, and why/how did it change?

It changed when I was seeing an incredible number of consequences in my life as a result of my poor decision making and negative relationship toward money. And it changed when I wanted to have, quite frankly, a better life that I wasn't constantly scrambling, and hiding from debt collectors, and making excuses, and having to make decisions I didn't want to make. Yeah, and I know people going through this.

I know people in my own life going through this, when you-- I think in some ways it's similar to an addiction, where when you really messed up with money, when you've been historically very bad with money, you've made a lot of decisions. And sometimes people don't get themselves into this situation through their own flagrancy the way I did. But for those who did, if you've historically been very bad, like maybe you racked up a ton of credit card debt shopping, or maybe you squandered a bunch of money on stupid stuff, or maybe overleveraged yourself and now can't pay back your loans, whatever it might be, you get to this place where you feel so ashamed, and so far in the hole, and so a failure that you almost-- you can't picture a different life.

And you also can't imagine dealing with the first initial steps. Even looking at your account can make you feel really, really anxious and uncomfortable, and you won't do it. And I compare it to an addiction only in the sense that, from what I've heard from a lot of people who've overcome addiction, when you get yourself into a really, really tough place, the idea of having to be honest, and own up, and admit mistakes, and ask for forgiveness, and sometimes ask for help, can be incredibly overwhelming.

But the thing about money that's so-- and many people do have addictive and compulsive relationships to money in various ways. But the thing that's so great about changing your relationship with money is that the things that make a person good with money are accessible to you, whether you have very little of it or a ton of it-- really tracking and understanding your budget, making better day-to-day decisions about spending, understanding what some of these terms are, and what your goals should be, and what you need to do to get there. All of these things you can do even when you're in debt.

You can do them when you have very little money coming in. You may not be able to make a ton of financial progress right away, but you can change your mentality and relationship to these things. And that, I think, is really nice.

Because a lot of things we think are accessible only to very wealthy people, it's just not true. You can-- I think, in many ways, I started having a very good relationship with money long before I really had money. But it was about taking my finances seriously, and also deciding that just because I used to be such a hot mess, doesn't mean I had to be forever.

And it took years for my family to be able to trust me again financially, years-- and friends too, and other people in my life. That was really embarrassing and hard to get over. But now people would leave me $100,000 in a duffel bag and just be like, keep it safe for a month.

And they know they'd come back to every dollar bill left. That's big. That's big.

I live in poverty, and I have a sheet with all my fixed costs and my grocery budget. What should be my next step in my personal finance journey? So this is always the advice/thing that feels-- that never feels fun to hear.

There's two things, spend less, earn more. There's no magic third option. If there were, life would be a lot cooler.

But you have to figure out how to take in more money. Now, there are a lot of ways to do that. Are you perhaps eligible for a raise at your job?

Maybe. Should you perhaps look for another job that will pay you better, because most people typically see their largest increases in compensation when they change jobs? Maybe.

Are you able to take on side streams of income? Maybe. Are there government subsidies and services available to you that could help offset some of your budget or supplement your income?

Maybe. On the flip side, are there things you could spend less on? Are there costs you could share?

Are there ways you could reduce your living costs in the shorter term? Maybe. The answer to all of those things is maybe.

But it is very important to remember that there are no third options when you need to balance your budget. You can make more, you can spend less, but there's no third option. And, again, sometimes making more involves things like utilizing programs that might be available to you, similarly with the spending less aspect of it-- one of those two things.

So make sure you've shaken all of the branches. If you are in poverty, make sure you've shaken all of the branches of what's available to you in terms of resources. And use those resources without shame and without compunction.

Because our government barely does anything for us. The least they can do is help people out with basic resources when they need it. So you use it to your full advantage.

You transfer whatever savings you're able to realize through using some more of those programs into creating more long-term stability for yourself. But once those are all exhausted, you must take in more or you must spend less. But the good news is that, generally speaking, most people do have ways to increase their income.

It might not happen immediately, but whether through changing or improving your primary income, or adding another stream of income, most people are able to increase their income. We even did a video about side hustles you can do from bed. That's still doing numbers.

What clothing stores are worth the investment? I don't know where to get high-quality items versus what's trendy. So we're actually going to soon have an expert on this come on and talk about this.

But from what I understand, very, very, very few more expensive clothing brands are actually engaging in the environmental, social, and structural labor practices that make it like a truly ethical option. There are better and worse options, but in terms of worth the investment, it ultimately comes down for you to cost per use. Now, generally speaking, the more high-quality clothing that is going to last you for a long time is going to be stuff that generally has better practices, although again, far from perfect.

I think focusing on reducing the overall number of clothing items that you buy is a big one. Just as a rule, we buy way too many clothes in this country. Leaning more on things like secondhand, thrifting, resale apps and stores, things like that is incredibly important.

Because no matter what you're buying, if you're buying it secondhand, you're already doing a huge favor to a lot of the environmental issues and things like that, and also probably saving a lot of money. But also, lastly, making sure to lean into getting things tailored and adjusted. At the end of the day, it is very rare that most women are going to be able to walk into a store and find something that fits them perfectly and lasts for a decade or more off the rack.

However, finding these pieces, like let's say finding a fantastic coat, or pantsuit, or pair of jeans or something, maybe at a second hand, or at an outlet store or something, and then going to get them tailored because maybe it's not your perfect size, but you get it tailored to fit you like a glove. Those are the kind of pieces that I think are generally worth the investment. And I think more generally, our generation has lost the idea of tailoring, as a rule.

And many stores, like even Nordstrom for example will do it for free or very little money when you buy from them, and other stores do as well. So leaning into getting pieces that are really signature pieces for you is very important. But overall, buy less.

Buy better quality if you can afford it. And then make necessary adjustments to get those pieces to be just right for you. So we have time for one more question.

OK, so we'll end with a fun one. Would love to hear more about your musical theater training/career experience and transition to writing, so got a couple of corrections to make on this one. So I-- yes, the rumors are true-- used to be a thespian.

I was definitely my whole life, pretty much up until I started working in media, was about the theater. But as a low-voiced woman, as an alto, up until basically the movie in Encanto came out, shout out to Lin-Manuel for giving us low-voiced gals a great song with surface pressure, my options in the musical theater space were playing old lady number 3, streetwalker, it was-- witch. I was getting not great roles.

And I also, in all of the ensemble songs, would just be singing-- I was never singing the melody. I was always singing the horrible, like, aaah, aah. I was-- yeah, it was not fun for me.

Also, lastly, as anyone who did local community theater, which I did a lot of, or school theater or whatever it might be, might remember, if you are a woman with a lower voice, you are often in situations where there aren't enough men. So I have doffed many a fake beard, many a tuxedo, often playing a man. In fact, some the most of the times that I got good roles was when I was playing a man.

But, yeah, so musical theater was kind of a dead-end street for me. But I also, to be honest, I love musical theater. I'm actually about to go see a musical later today.

But I always preferred straight plays. I love drama. Some of my-- still to this day, most wonderful experiences were doing plays in various community theaters and in college and stuff like that.

Unfortunately, it just doesn't bring out the masses the way that musical theater does. So I never had a career, for what it's worth. I was never paid to be an actor.

But in some ways, I kind of look back at that and feel like, wow, that was so cool that I spent so much time and energy. There were times when I wasn't going to school. And I was working full time, and my entire life outside of working full time was doing plays.

And I really miss, in some ways, having such energy, and passion, and commitment, and integrity for something that wasn't a career, that wasn't making me money. Because I definitely wouldn't do that now. I wouldn't give 30 hours a week on top of my job to something that wasn't paying me.

And maybe that's-- I should ask myself why, because that was awesome. I do Spanish a lot, certainly not as much as I was-- not during showtime, I was not doing that much. Or I'm not doing as much as I was then.

But, yeah, so I do miss it in some ways. But I feel that with what I do at TFD, stuff like this, I certainly get out my public speaking needs. And I enjoy that I'm able to use communication to interest people in a subject they may not be interested in.

So I'm not an actor, but I'm the most annoying word in the world that people use, which is I'm a storyteller. Yeah, every depressed, aging man in an ad agency refers to himself in the same way. That's horrible.

Anyway, I'm not I'm not an actress. But I used to be, and I-- shout out to that time in my life. Shout out to everyone that I still have on all my socials that I was very much in the mix with.

Some of them are still pursuing acting. Some of them have gotten some legit roles, and good for them. But I have no-- trust me, I am not one of those people who like goes to Broadway and is like, oh, this could have been me.

No it could not have. I have no delusions. And also I just-- they have to live such a stoic life.

You guys might have seen the interview we did with my friend Nick who's currently playing Burr in Hamilton on Broadway. That man can't even eat a sandwich on days he's performing. He has such a strict-- they're athletes, these people.

So I can't be doing that. And I don't miss it in that respect. I don't think I miss my big career.

And I feel empathy for people I know who can't even go see a play because it makes them feel-- or a dance show, or orchestra performance, because they feel like they really missed out. I get to love it from afar, and I still do. And like I said, I'm going to go see our favorite Aussie, Hugh Jackman, do his best at Harold Hill.

Will he be up to filling the shoes of Robert Preston? I'm doubtful, but we'll see. Anyway, guys, thank you so much for tuning in to another episode of The Financial Confessions.

We will be back next week, next Monday, with a brand new episode. Take care, and I'll see you next Monday. Bye. [MUSIC PLAYING]