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In our last TFC episode of this season, Chelsea answers listeners' most controversial money questions. Thank you to everyone who has listened to this season — we'll be back before you know it!

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Hello, everyone.

It's Chelsea. And before we get into this week's video, I wanted to let you guys know about an exciting new thing we're doing at TFD.

It's called The Studio at TFD. And it is a series of digital workshops around all sorts of topics, from money management to mental health to organization to entrepreneurship and everything in between. We've got several amazing events coming up.

And you can find out more about all of them at See you guys there. Hi, everyone.

And welcome to a bittersweet episode of The Financial Confessions. Today is the last episode of the season. We will be coming back toward the end of the year.

But we are going to go on a little hiatus. And it makes me super sad because I love this show. I love getting to talk to you guys and talk to all of the really fascinating and unique people that we have come through the chair opposite me.

Although due to COVID, that chair has changed a substantial amount. But I'm really glad that even with COVID, even with having to take our little pause, we've been able to keep the show going and hopefully talk about a lot of stuff that's been really helpful and maybe a little bit of a security blanket in this time. This last episode is just going to be me.

I'm answering-- I asked you guys to send me questions that were big, scary, controversial in nature, something you're anxious about because I want to spend this episode really talking about the important stuff. I have had a very turbulent year as I'm sure many of you have had. I am lucky in that my job is stable.

My husband's job is stable. But as probably a lot of you are familiar with, immigration and everything to do with it this year has really turned our lives upside down. And we're really not sure what the next six to 12 months are going to look like with or without COVID.

And it's interesting I think for anyone out there who's dealing with immigration stuff, it's interesting having that immense uncertainty and scariness being compounded on this other immense uncertainty and scariness which is COVID. But that being said, I'm filming this in Manhattan where I live. And New York City has really turned things around.

As of filming-- I'm filming this on July 20-- our numbers are very, very good. We've gone from being the worst in the country, even the worst in the world at a certain point, to being pretty stable as far as the country goes. Our cases are low.

Our positive test rate is low. Our death rate is low. And people generally seem to be making the right choices to help keep this thing at bay in New York, which makes me very proud and kind of emotional because we went through a really, really terrible time here in the spring.

And it goes to show that with just a few things being taken seriously, wearing masks everywhere, sticking to outdoor activities and changing our habits a little bit, we can really see huge progress. So big shout-out to any of my fellow New Yorkers out there. We were definitely in something really scary.

And now it feels a little less scary if it's still a pretty uncertain situation overall. But all that said, I want to get into your questions that you sent me that are big, scary, controversial in nature. Before I do though, I do want to as always give a shout-out to our partners that we create this show with.

I know I talk about them every episode. But it really is worth saying that Mint as an app-- and it's totally free-- completely changed my financial life. If you guys take anything from this show, I hope that you will download if not Mint something very similar to it because these programs that do all of the really hard work of budgeting for you are so transformative to people like me who tend to be avoidant or lazy with money or not really pay very close attention.

And it can really shape your relationship to not just your money but how you really handle everything in life. It's made me a more conscientious person, a more detail-oriented person. I used to have an absolutely atrocious relationship to money.

And honestly Mint, when I first downloaded it-- and it's just a budgeting app. But it really changed that in a pretty profound way. And it is totally free.

So we're really glad that we were able to make this show in partnership with Intuit because we do love their products so much. But yeah, I'm not-- it takes nothing for me to say that Mint was truly amazing. So download Mint.

So I have your questions. And I'll try to perk up my voice. I know I sound depressed.

What parts of the financial world will never be the same post-COVID? What personal finance rules can we finally throw out the window in this new normal? What place does bitcoin or any other digital currency have in a pandemic?

Last one. I am nowhere. I am so upset that bitcoin is still around.

And please, please, if you are ever thinking of investing in cryptocurrency before, please don't do it during a pandemic. We all need to be so cautious with our money right now. Please, please don't do that.

What parts of the financial world will never be the same post-COVID? That's an interesting question and obviously one that I am not qualified to answer because I don't think anyone's qualified to answer that question. But I will say that I think we will be more surprised at how many things will be the same not even necessarily in a good way.

I mentioned on an episode a while back one of the things my husband always says when I'm freaking out about things is that systems are very resilient. And we have seen over the past 100 years quite a lot of upheaval that really dwarfs what we're experiencing with COVID. And a lot has remained unchanged.

I think there are going to be a lot of things that probably change very tangibly that are not quite financial in nature, at least not very literally. Like for example, I think obviously the relationship to remote work is going to be different. Obviously, there's going to be a much bigger pivot towards digital events and digital social activities.

I think travel will change in some ways, of course. And all of these do have a financial component. But I do think generally, things will revert back toward some kind of norm that feels pretty similar to what we had before.

And I think in terms of finances, obviously they're going to be-- we're seeing record low interest rates, things that are pretty literal financial changes and that are pretty tangible. But I don't know that the world will be as different as we think it's going to be, especially financially. And I don't think that's a good thing.

Like for example, when you saw all of the universities coming out with the fact that they were going to do basically all online classes, but the tuition was the same, to me that's bad, obviously. But it goes to show how ingrained these things are and how much they have riding on those tuition costs. So I hope a lot of things will change, but I think we'll be more surprised by how many things don't in the financial sphere.

Now as to the other part, what personal finance rules can we finally throw out the window in this new normal? I don't think you can fully throw anything out. But I think that what you can say for sure is that however you can make it work for you is good enough.

I think we need to stop with these really strict guidelines around what you should have by this age or how you should divvy up your budget or where you should be allocating your money. I think you really need to focus on what makes sense for you, what is sustainable for you, and what can put you in a place of security. Security above all right now.

What are your tips to dealing with finances as an international couple? If you find out, let me know. How much have you saved this year?

I don't know off the top of my head, honestly. I'd have to look. A lot more obviously than last year.

I haven't really done a lot. So I make $90,000-- yeah, I make $90,000 a year. Most of that is allocated.

I don't do a zero-based budget, but most of it is allocated. I think thus far this year, I just paid my taxes from 2019, which was a lot of money. It was the last year I was not on a salary.

I was self-employed technically. This year, I'm an employee of my company. So I get my taxes taken out at the source.

So that would be my last year. So I thought I had saved a lot of money. But now that I had to pay all my taxes, I really didn't save that much money.

I think all told, I've probably saved like $12,000 this year. Maybe a little more. Something like that.

But again, that's after having to pay all my taxes. But yeah, and that's better than I was doing last year. That's averaging out to like, I don't know, $1,800 a month or something that I'm able to save.

And that's just out of my salary, obviously. It's not my husband, which is good, honestly. It's a great amount of money but definitely did not pay close enough attention to counting the tax money out of that when I was doing my calculations earlier.

I was really riding high a month ago, and then the tax man came. And I was like, just kidding. What is the one thing you would want your watchers to know about personal finance going forward?

Just do what works for you guys. Truly. Just tune out the noise and do what works for you.

How do you invest money you don't have? A lot of content revolves around investing, but many of us don't even know the first steps or how much is actually required to start. How much is actually required to start is like literally you can start with a couple dollars.

And how to get started, I don't want to pimp our own channel. But we have 10 videos just about how to get started investing. So go to one of those videos.

I can link you in the description. What's the most surprising thing you learned during TFC? Probably that Kelly Cutrone had the mafia threaten to burn down her office because of a fashion show.

That was crazy. I liked that episode, though. Highly recommend.

Go watch that one. Who's your favorite real housewife? We're really getting the big questions here.

My favorite real housewife, it's gotta be Countess Luann, right? All-time icon. Really, she just understands the game and plays it.

I love her to death. Her story arc has gotten a bit dark, but I still stan. I would also say in terms of who makes a compelling housewife, I gotta give it up to Shannon Beador.

I don't like her as a character, but she really-- she truly put it all out there. She leaves it all on the court I think is what they say or on the field. Is that a sports-- she leaves it all on the playing field.

But I love all my housewives. As much as you and I love personal finance and getting a hold of our adult decisions, one can't, quote, "personal finance" their way out of poverty. What is your reaction to this and how could someone who is poor, not just broke or in debt, use your content to help their situation?

I have complicated feelings about this. I see that meme on Twitter a lot. You can't financial literacy your way out of poverty.

And I think that there is a lot of truth to it. I think that that is an important thing for every personal finance communicator or educator to keep in mind because it's basically the only way to make sure you're not being really tone deaf or suggesting things that are not realistic for people. So I think that's really, really important.

And I don't want to undermine the truth of that statement. My family was at the poverty line when I was a kid. And I know how hard it was for my parents and how much every minor setback completely derailed them and was life or death.

And I totally understand the cycle of poverty and how difficult it can be to get out of that situation. But all of that being said, I do think that in life, we have two choices generally. We can despair in the face of injustice, or we can be defiant in the face of injustice.

And obviously, on certain issues that involves things like activism, protesting, obviously voting, taking action in ways that are meaningful. For example, I very much disagree with people and there are a lot of people on the left who totally abandon electoral politics who feel like it's a dead-end road. And I don't agree.

And I feel like it is our civic duty but also someone, if you have a strong conviction, it is your duty to participate and do what you can to make that system better rather than to resign yourself to it being beyond repair. In terms of personal finance, there are enormous injustices. Life is inarguably harder and more unfair and stacked against the poor in almost every way.

And there are so many individual injustices that you could point to that are predatory, that are unethical, and that are really actively holding people back. And that's why anyone who is in a bad financial situation, I believe it's never an indictment of their character and should never be conflated with any kind of personal failing or laziness. But once you have accepted those terms as reality, you can make the choice in life I believe to be as defiant as you can in your own circumstances.

And I do believe that financial literacy is a part of that. I think that what holds many people back is a lack of understanding about even when it comes down to something as in many ways as common as loans you might be signing on to, whether that's student loans, or a mortgage you might be signing. When you talk about making these big financial decisions, a lot of people don't have the basic tools to understand what they're agreeing to.

Does that mean that it's still not wrong to lend in a predatory way or to put 18-year-olds on the hook for a $100,000 loan that they or their parents don't understand? Of course, that doesn't mean it. But of course, that's wrong.

But I still feel that it would be beneficial to people in those circumstances to have those tools. I also think that even if you are living at or below the poverty line, it is still beneficial for you to understand your own finances. It is still beneficial for you to draw up a budget with even if that budget is in the negative every month, even if it's with very, very little money.

Because I do feel that for most people, not only does it give them a place from which to start in terms of making strategic financial decisions, but it also helps them understand where they could maybe improve their situation without even having to spend money. For example, we often talk about how if you get a ding on your credit score, you can often speak with let's say your bank to possibly remove that ding if you make right on that payment and continue to be timely. That's happened to me several times.

You can have overdraft fees waived. You can negotiate better rates for something like your credit card. You could possibly refinance on a loan that you have outstanding.

There are a lot of options out there even with preexisting negative situations. And understanding your rights, understanding what you could possibly get-- how someone could possibly work with you, all of these things can be part of a puzzle to build up your own financial security and to get to a different place financially. I think it's much harder to do that in America than it is in other developed countries.

And I think that this system is bad in so many ways. And I want to do everything I can in the limited lifespan I have to move that system towards something better. But in the meantime, this is the system that I live in.

And, if I don't make the best choices I can within that system, I am the one who suffers the most. And I do feel that there are ways in which increased financial literacy can be extremely beneficial to people, even people living in poverty, because it's not all about just what you can do once you have money. It's also what you can do with a preexisting negative situation.

And again, as I mentioned, not knowing the details of your financial situation is always going to make it worse. Even if the financial situation is terrible, being very aware of it is always an advantage. And I personally feel that it's somewhat condescending to take a stance that people who don't have a lot of money won't benefit from financial education.

In fact, I would argue that part of the reason that our financial system is allowed to often be as predatory or as injust as it is is because the vast majority of people don't know what's happening, and they tune it out. And they leave these systems to an increasingly narrow group of people who don't necessarily have everyone's best interest at heart. Even when it comes to educating people on how they could vote to potentially better their circumstances, I believe that that's part of financial education in a lot of ways because obviously political policy and regulation has a huge dramatic effect on people's finances.

Something like Medicare for all would immediately transform the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans. So while I understand the nature of that comment, and I support it ideologically in the sense that I do not feel that personal individual choices can outweigh a system that is injust especially not at scale, I don't think that that is a good reason for most people not to at least attempt at whatever level they can. Because in the end, them not making the steps that they could probably make is only going to hurt them, is only going to make their life even worse.

Should they have to do all of the things they have to do in America to get to a financially-stable place? But right now these are the cards we're playing with. And I guess that's my whole spiel on the situation.

So this is actually similar to the other question but broader so just a chance to touch on a few more of these. It's just what aspects of our lives do you think will never be the same after all this is over, not just in personal finance, but in society culture at large-- society slash culture at large? I just want to add a few more that I'm praying will never be the same.

No more blowing out birthday candles because that shit was always gross. No more-- It's true. It's true.

Just happy birthday. I'm going to spit on your cake. It's so nasty. [LAUGHS] Hopefully more space on planes.

No more middle seats on planes or drastically different middle seats on planes. I would like to say I've always been a stan for Delta. I'm a Delta loyalist when I used to fly a lot.

RIP. And they are the only airline that I know of that's been serious about keeping the middle seat open through all this, so good on Delta. But I would love for that to be a thing that continues seriously.

I do think-- this is a side note-- but I do think that we were getting to a place where we were so drastically paring down the cost of air travel with these insane, insane cheap flights and cheap airlines. And that I don't know is going to continue because those were always operating on such insane margins. I think that we got used to the idea that air travel could be like $10.

And I just don't think that makes sense mathematically. And also I feel like creates such a negative flying experience that I think we started out where flying was like an elite luxury that only the richest of the rich could afford. Then it went down to like flying mega buses.

And I think now it's going to have to come back a little bit more in the middle where it's like a little bit more of a luxury. But personally, for me anyway, if it means that we can have an inch more space when we fly, especially on long flights, that would be good. I also definitely think that-- I hope anyway-- that social relationships will become-- I think this is going to be like the death of acquaintances that you just see every now and again but don't really care about that much.

Because I feel like there was a time where we were not so picky about our social groups. And I feel like that has to change like because you're only going to really be making time and space and breathing on people that are like a certain degree of closeness. But yeah, I think those are some more things that are probably going to change.

What has the pandemic taught you about finances both personally and business wise? And in what ways in any way, not just business or money, do you think that you will change and think about differently post-COVID? It taught me that I was overspending on a lot of stuff that didn't really spark joy as they say.

It taught me that our business model was good. We've always been slow and steady wins the race and small sustainable growth. And that turned out to be a great move because we were able to weather the storm of the worst of it pretty well in terms of advertisers pulling out and all that stuff.

Yeah. And I think obviously, like with most of us, it taught me that you really just have to identify the important people in your life and give your time to those people more than anyone. Obviously, with my husband, it's definitely taught me to value the time that we have together.

Not that I didn't before, but definitely do a lot more now. So I don't know. It sucks to talk about silver linings in the context of something that has killed like a million people and disrupted so many millions more lives.

But I do think that there are some things that needed a reset that I hope might get one just in terms of our own behavior and our own consumerism and our own shallowness. I think people are using social media a little differently now. People are connecting more with the people that matter in their lives.

And I hope that those things stay the same. Do you know whatever happened to the person who allegedly burned your car down? What is he up to?

I don't. So the thing is I'm going to be really choosy about my words here because I don't know who burned my car down. Surprise.

Surprise. The police department of College Park, Maryland was not overly interested in getting to the bottom of that story. So they really investigated it.

So I don't really know who burned it down. I have my suspicions, a disgruntled ex. I'll say that and nothing more.

But so he definitely-- I wish him well. I hope he's doing OK. It was 13 years ago that we broke up.

So I certainly hope that he's found a better space. Although a girlfriend of mine told me that a couple of years ago, she saw him at I want to say it was like a baby shower for his baby, soon-to-be baby. And the first thing he said to her was like do you still talk to Chelsea?

She's a C word. [LAUGHS] Honestly, the power, the influence, the iconic, iconic status that I'm holding in that situation. No, I don't know. Listen.

This is all speculation, but I hope he's doing great. I haven't seen or heard any word of him for years and years. So I can only speculate but I hope good.

How do I handle a co-worker who says that they have imposter syndrome but actually just sucks? That's a funny question. I know so many people like this in media.

I feel like media people talk about two things-- imposter syndrome and self-care. And I feel like we should talk about other things because I don't think those two things are particularly serving us. But also I feel like a lot of those people self-care quite a lot and probably should have imposter syndrome.

Like I know one woman. She's a writer. That's all I'll say.

But she talks all the time about imposter syndrome. And she has flaked out on like six jobs that I'm personally aware of. And I'm like, honey, you should have imposter syndrome because you're an imposter, a literal imposter.

No, but in all seriousness, I think that you just have to do whatever you can to stay in your own lane in that situation. Because unfortunately, the corporate world is full of idiots. It's full of people who are not particularly competent, who are not good to work with, who are not good team players.

And if you get too worked up over them, you will drain all of the energy that you need to be good at your job. And you just have to accept that as much as it sucks. And just focus on being the best employee you can be and making sure that you get ahead in the way that you can.

And don't give too much attention to that imposter. Back when you were single, what was the worst thing you ever spent money on to impress a man? Oh, this is a really sad one.

I don't think I've told this one before because I feel like I've told so many of these. But it wasn't the worst thing, but it was pretty bad. And it sticks out.

So I had no money between the ages of 18 and 22 because of all my financial issues as you guys already know. And I had a boyfriend at the time who-- a couple of his friends who did have money were like-- they would wear-- they were rich. And they would wear Diesel jeans a lot.

It was 2008. Diesel jeans were a thing. And anyway, so he had mentioned offhandedly that he wanted a pair of Diesel jeans.

But they're very expensive, obviously. And I couldn't afford a pair off the rack. So I went to eBay and got like a preowned pair, but they were like not chic.

They were this really awful stone wash, and they were baby blue. And they were kind of flared. They looked like something from like The Partridge Family.

They were really not his style. And he could not pull them off. And they just looked silly as hell.

And they were also two inches too short for him at the leg. Basically, he just looked like a clown in them. And everyone totally dogged him for wearing these really, really janky Diesel jeans.

And I was so humiliated every time he wore them because everyone knew that I bought them because I couldn't afford like off-the-rack Diesels just dark, dark time in my life. Yeah, that was a bad one. I don't know.

Any money that I spent on a guy between those ages was bad money spent because I was just not in a good place. So I was generally not spending my money on good things. I think my friend is in a financially abusive relationship.

Is there anything I can do to help her get out of it? I feel so lost. So that's a complicated one because she's-- if you don't think that she's in physical-- if you think that she's in physical danger, there are specific outlets for that-- domestic violence lines, potentially even the police.

But if you don't think someone is in immediate physical danger, that does limit you somewhat because it's all very subjective. And it's hard to prove. And it's also something that you could potentially argue if you were an abuser is a dynamic that works for your couple.

Financial abuse is very difficult to prove. And it's especially very difficult to prove from the outside. And it also is not something that constitutes immediate physical danger.

I think the most important thing you should do at this time is to make sure that your friend knows that you are available to her, that you are a safe place for her, that you see her, and that you will never judge her. After that, you can't force someone to exit an abusive dynamic. You can't force someone to get help.

You can't force someone to do a lot of things, but making sure that they know that maybe you have a place for them to stay if they need to go somewhere, you could help them get another phone. There are a lot of really practical things that you could make sure to let them know you could be there for. But ultimately, that's on some level going to have to come down to your friend.

And I'm sorry you're in that situation. So as the last question when slash if TFC is coming back, TFC is definitely coming back. We're thinking probably November.

We're still working out how we're going to film it, how we're going to-- what it's going to look like. Obviously, it doesn't seem like coronavirus will not be a thing by the time we're filming again. But there are so many different versions, iterations that it could take.

We definitely are going to have it be on YouTube. So we might do a split screen or remote situation. I don't really know.

Suffice to say though, we're going to take the time and effort that is necessary to make it look good, sound good, all that stuff. And TFC will be back and will be with all new guests, all new topics, and back in your ears and your eyeballs. But in all seriousness, guys, I really so appreciate the love that you've shown for this show and the participation.

We've had millions of views and downloads in our first season, which is very exciting. But we've also just got such a beautiful response from all of you, kind words, amazing stories, and just a sense of community that's been so wonderful in a time that feels really scary and unsettled. And so I could not thank you guys enough for that.

And I'm really, really excited to come back in the fall. And if I seem sad, it's because I'm sad for the show to be ending. But it's just a pause.

It's not a goodbye. It's a ta-ta for now, which is something we can all live with. And like I always say in these videos, I have used these various Intuit products for years and years.

I use QuickBooks every single morning at work. It's been a huge life changer when it comes to how I run the finances of my business. So when I talk about these products every week on this show, it's because I really do love them and use them.

And again, a lot of these products are free. So you really, really should check out Intuit's products. We're linking you as always in the description in the show notes.

But seriously, if you've been thinking about it, listening to these, but haven't taken the plunge, like just do it. Just try them out because they really become addictive pretty quickly. Because it's just like, wow, budgeting can be this easy.

Who knew? But I say that in all seriousness and a big shout-out to Intuit. Thank you for everything for this season.

But yeah, we'll see you guys back here on Mondays starting later in the fall. And we will also-- I will also, of course, see you here on my Tuesday show every week. So don't worry.

We're not going anywhere. But anyway, guys, take care. Enjoy the rest of whatever you have left to look forward to this year.

I'm imagining it's not a ton. And yeah, stay safe. Save money.