Friends and Money with the Happy Hour Ladies

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Friends and Money with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is the last Friday of the month and my regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I host the happy hour on the podcast where I gather great friends with me to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today we’re talking about friends and money. Have you ever tried to talk about personal finance with your friends? Have you ever gotten financially naked with your friends or vice versa? I’m asking my happy hour friends about how they interact with their friends about money, and you’ll be surprised by the responses. As always, we had a great time.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Tempranillo Wine

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Huckleberry Vodka

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka

Shannon —  Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka

Podcast Notes

  • A conversation between the happy hour ladies and a conversation later at the Financial Gym inspired this month’s happy hour topic about talking to your friends about money.
  • At the end of the Fireside Chat with Mrs. Frugalwoods, Shannon, and podcast listener Danielle were sitting at the Money Bar at the Gym. Danielle was talking about about how excited she was about the financial changes in her life and how she wanted to talk about it with her friends. She asked for tips about how to talk to friends about money.
  • Money is typically a taboo topic, but not at the Gym, and it is easy to forget that people have a difficult time talking about their situations.
  • Liz, Melanie, and Shannon went out to lunch and Shannon was very open about asking money questions.
  • It doesn’t bother Liz to talk about money, but she is very cognizant that it is not just her financial situation, but her husband’s as well.
  • Liz and her husband agreed a while ago about parameters of what they are comfortable sharing with other people. She knows what she is and is not comfortable sharing.
  • Liz has never had any friends ask her how much she makes a year.
  • Melanie wasn’t surprised that Shannon asked her what she made last year, because it was in typical Shannon fashion.
  • Since it was Shannon, and Melanie is her friend, she didn’t have any issues sharing her yearly salary with her. She didn’t feel weird about it.
  • If a non-finance friend asked Melanie about her annual salary, she would tell them.
  • There is a lot of shame around income. It is easy to equate your self-worth with your net worth.
  • Melanie was recently at a blogging event talking with other money bloggers, and a fellow blogger said when she started making more money, her audience said that she was no longer relatable.
  • This happens in the blogging community with income reports.
  • There are different events at the Gym and one of the activities is to share your annual income with others. The people who make between $40,000 and $100,000 have no qualms about sharing. Women who make more, like $300,000, don’t want to share.
  • Tonya hasn’t had anyone directly ask her how much money she makes a year. For her to share that information, it would depend on who is asking and the context of the conversation.
  • Why are we not having more of these money conversations with friends? How many of us have had sexual conversations with friends?
  • Tonya would not have either of these conversations unless it is with someone who is trusted and will not judge her.
  • Tonya has had money conversations with friends, but she is not open about it with every single person she meets.
  • Be cautious about who you tell your dreams and goals to. It is a trust thing. This includes money, sex, goals, and dreams. Tonya doesn’t want to have these conversations with people she doesn’t trust or have a bond.
  • Liz agrees with Tonya. Context comes up a lot. In what way can we help each other and in what way is the information useful. This goes for any conversation and any topic.
  • Income is such a small piece of the money conversation.
  • Shannon doesn’t want money to have that much power over her life, so talking about it doesn’t bother her. They are just numbers and they don’t define us. Why do we give it that power? If she shares it, nobody has power over.
  • Part of why Shannon is so passionate about this is because she sees how much power it holds over her clients in a negative way.
  • These numbers are not fixed. They are not set in stone, so don’t fix them in your heart and brain.
  • For Tonya, it is nobody’s business until she decides to tell them. It isn’t because she is nervous or feels shame about it.
  • Liz feels the same way about weight. It is personal. She didn’t hesitate to tell the airline her weight when she was boarding a small plane, but she doesn’t feel like it is helpful in most situation. The food she eats and her exercise plan seems more helpful.
  • Years ago, when Tonya worked for a company, they had a girls’ dinner and it turned out to be an awkward, divulging of so much information. Tonya was uncomfortable hearing this stuff from her coworkers. It felt like TMI, because she didn’t want to know this information.
  • Shannon’s life coach said people want to come to you as who they are and they want to be seen without judgement. They want to share what they are.
  • At that time, Shannon felt like she had a lot of secrets and she had this need to share things with others, because she felt like nobody knew her.
  • There is a very strong connection between Financial Trainers and clients, because they share so much together. People want to share things, but they don’t have the right outlet.
  • Liz goes out to dinner with a couple of friends, without their kids, and they talk about money, sex, health issues, parents, etc. There is an understanding that everything shared is confidential within that conversation.
  • Melanie thinks everyone should go to therapy, because you should be able to tell someone everything. You can’t tell all of your friends everything.
  • We can create spaces within close friendships to share these things, but we have to be careful. What if a friend gives you bad advice or if they judge you? It makes it difficult to open up again.
  • There are a lot of people out there who want to talk about money. How do we create these safe spaces and how do we test that?
  • It may not be your closest friend or spouse that you can have that conversation with, but you can find a tribe where you can share.
  • These conversations happen in the Financial Gym Money Tribes.
  • Other than going to Lola Retreat or joining an organized Money Tribe, you can find people in different Facebook groups, like Choose FI and Martinis and Your Money.
  • It doesn’t have to be about the numbers right away, but maybe about the strategy, like how to save money grocery shopping or traveling. As things get more comfortable, you can share numbers if it is helpful.
  • Liz is more of a passive evangelist. People in her real life know she works in personal finance. Sometimes people come to her, but for the most part they don’t.
  • Liz always offers to do a free reader case study for her friends, but they never take her up on it. They know she is there, but she doesn’t push. You cannot force people to be interested in a topic or make good financial decisions.
  • Liz has tried to get her book club to do a money-related book, but they always pass.
  • The Year of Less, by Cait Flanders, or You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero, are good, inconspicuous personal finance books.
  • Before Tonya moved last year, two years in a row she had a goal-setting party in January and money definitely came up. It was a natural space to talk. There were some people who were into it and some who weren’t. It was a good way to find the people who were interested in it and to follow up with them later.
  • Shannon has 20 employees and this is all they talk about at lunch.
  • Guys talk about money, jobs, and income all the time. It helps them collectively as a tribe make better choices, make more money, and invest better.
  • Shannon’s personal friends don’t want to talk to her about money, but she enjoys talking about it in a positive way.
  • Liz always asks people what they wish they were doing with their lives that they aren’t doing now. In her mom groups, money comes up a lot in the context of how much time they want to spend with their kids.
  • People are very open about how much they hate their job. Tonya asks them what is holding them back from leaving.
  • Ask questions about their situation, because people will open up. The worst thing you can do is give your opinion.
  • The best thing to do is reserve judgement and your opinion and give people the space to open up. Being a good friend is about listening to what is going on in your friend’s life.
  • The key to success in any goal-setting situation is having accountability.
  • Shannon wants people to talk more about money. She sees the transformative power of releasing the negative emotions around their financial situations. A safe space is critical. Until Shannon has Gyms around the country, she wants people to find these safe spaces.
  • Start the safe space, be the safe space, create the safe space around financial conversations.
  • Shannon wants a financial version of Cards Against Humanity.
  • Lead by example. Sometimes people are waiting for someone else to break the ice. Melanie has people ask her about paying off her student loans, because she talked about it on her blog.
  • Tonya has had so many people, who she has known for years, send her private messages saying how glad they were that she wrote about a certain topic.
  • Being open and honest without being preachy is important. Be cognizant that people may have different emotions when they are talking about money. Be vulnerable and judgement free. Be the most open counterpart for people to go to.
  • Many people feel like their finances control them. It usually comes down to how you feel about your money.
  • About 70 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The monthly membership to the Financial Gym starts around $85 a month. If you don’t feel like you can spare $85, you are not preparing for your future and there are blind spots. No one should live a life like that.
  • The Gym offers a scholarship to college students and people who really need the help. They have a higher dropout rate of people who get the scholarship than people who pay the regular price every month.
  • The advice is only as good as the work you put into it. Ninety percent of Gym clients meet their goals. It is like weight loss — it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to believe you can do it.
  • Get comfortable sharing, because they are just numbers. Talking about money can be fun and empowering, and we all need to help each other out.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to remember that just because you may be comfortable talking about money, not everyone else is. If your regular friends don’t want to be your money friends, there are plenty of people out there who would. Making new friends is always a good thing!

If you want to work with my team at the Financial Gym and let my trainers become your new BFF, best financial friend, remember that Martinis and Your Money Listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. My financial trainers have seen it all. No matter where you’re starting, we have the tools and resources to get you where you want to go. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com.

If you have any topics you would like for us to talk about during happy hour, please feel free to email me at shannon@finblonde.com or tweet to me at blonde_finance or join the private martinis and your money Facebook group and let us know. Until next time, take care!!

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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