Headlines 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 reviewing two recent personal finance related articles, one claiming that the personal finance industry sucks and another about a woman out earning her significant other. Lots of food for thought and, as you can imagine, we had lots of thought around these topics.
What are we drinking?
Melanie from Dear Debt — Rosé
Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Kendall Jackson Pinot Grigio
Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods.com — Bota Box Merlot
Shannon — Cavit Pinot Grigio (mini)
- Shannon wanted to talk to the ladies about two recent headlines:
- Shannon saw the first article, because somebody posted it in a FinCon Facebook group. The poster was offended by it.
- The title is The Personal Finance Industry is a Scam. It goes on to talk about how Suze Orman was recently on CNBC and she said “…if you waste money on coffee it’s ‘like peeing one million dollars down the drain’”.
- She also said, “…if someone invests $100 each month in a Roth IRA for 40 years, they’d end up with a million dollars.”
- Shannon wanted to get the Happy Hour ladies’ opinions on this article. It was posted in the FinCon group because people were upset that it was saying the personal finance industry is a scam, and how it is not about avocado toast and coffee, and that getting ahead is only for the wealthy.
- Melanie thinks the crux of the article is that personal finance cannot solve everything. It reminds her of a tweet she sent a month or two ago: “When is the personal finance industry going to solve the stagnant wage problem?”. She posted it because personal finance can help you save money and cut back, but there are bigger issues we are experiencing that we have no control over, like stagnant wages, inflation, and unemployment. Personal finance can only take us so far.
- Media personalities say controversial things that stand out and make the news, because they get people up in arms.
- Tonya agrees with Melanie that there are bigger, systemic issues. The point she can agree with is that you won’t solve all of your financial problems by not buying coffee or avocado toast. There are little habits that roll into bigger habits, meaning there is a level of personal responsibility when it comes to personal finance, and developing frugal habits along the way will snowball into a lifestyle that will lead you to bigger wealth.
- Liz agrees with both Melanie and Tonya. The point Suze is making is that you can save a fair amount of money on little things, and it is not just the coffee. If you really needed to save money or pay down debt and really went through every line item of discretionary spending, there is an element of personal responsibility.
- You may not be able to save a million dollars in a year or forty years, but there are a lot of incremental changes you can make. A lot of us focus on the spending because it is the easiest thing to change, and you can change it right now.
- The author of the article has $220,000 of student loan debt.
- In seven years, Shannon has never had a client who was focused on the small details make really big mistakes. If you are mindful of the small things it adds up and you will be more conscious of your spending across the board.
- Getting upset about these articles is like getting upset about people who are on the keto diet. It is a healthy lifestyle choice, why would you bash it?
- Melanie thinks the author feels like personal finance advice is generally geared toward the middle class and wealthy people. There are some people who exist that cannot cut out anything.
- There are people out there where traditional personal finance does not.
- Getting physically and financially healthy takes two things. To get physically healthy, you need to eat less and work out more. To get financially healthy, you need to make more and spend less. It sounds really easy, but where are all of the skinny millionaires?
- Shannon doesn’t like the attitude of “I can’t cut anything” when they haven’t tried. There are some people that are in really hard situations, but the majority of people can stand to cut something.
- If you can’t cut, make more money. It isn’t easy, but you can get creative.
- The headlines we read are the most sensational. We aren’t going to read articles with sensible titles. The media takes very polarizing articles that get people talking.
- The thing that bothers Shannon the most are the “I can’t” people who haven’t tried. From the time her son was born until he was five years old, she ranged from 200 to 210 pounds. She would get to a point where she told herself she couldn’t lose weight when she actually just didn’t try.
- At the Financial Gym they call it Gym magic, because when people start trying they accomplish things they didn’t think they could do.
- It takes time and you need to have patience. Little things add up over time.
- A pet peeve of Tonya’s is the victim mentality. She recently posted a TED Talk of the youngest person to travel to every country, because she found it inspiring. Someone commented that it must be nice to have rich parents. The person never said that her parents were rich and even if they are, should we fault her for it? It is insinuating that they can’t do what she did because they aren’t lucky enough.
- You need to work and sacrifice. You will not see results overnight.
- Liz thinks the personal finance industry can be a scam, depending who you are listening to. There are bad actors in every single industry, including doctors, attorneys, and accountants. It is okay to say this person’s advice isn’t going to work for me and I need to find someone’s advice who does work for me.
- It is recognizing that people who are at the poverty line are in a desperate situation and they may not be able to work more, because they may already be working two or three jobs and managing childcare on top of that. But for a lot of people, there is room to cut and make changes.
- There are a lot of free resources available, and, in New York, there are non-profits that can help. If you really are struggling, there are resources you should take advantage of. There is always an answer.
- You have two options:
- (1) do the best to find a way to help yourself and see if there are resources along the way, or
- (2) not do anything at all and things will get worse
- Personal finance is personal and not every person’s advice will apply to the masses. There are so many voices out there talking about different things, and there are a lot of free blogs and podcasts. Keep looking. You will find the right voice for you.
- Time is going to pass and it is going to be five years from now. Do I want to have done these things I am interested in doing, or do I want to still be thinking about them. The time is passing no matter what.
- Go in some direction instead of standing still.
- Shannon saw the second article in New York Magazine’s Instagram feed. It is an advice column and the question is “Can I still charge my boyfriend rent once we are married?”.
- Her boyfriend currently pays her $500 a month. He thinks that when they get married he shouldn’t have to pay rent and they should split the bills evenly. He is stressed because he has accrued about $15,000 in credit card debt since they have been together and that is why he thinks he should pay less.
- She worked hard to pay off her house early, and she thinks he is taking advantage of that. He has made less income than her the entire seven years they have been together.
- Melanie thinks the couple should not get married and she thinks the woman is wrong. If he has made less money consistently, it should be a percentage basis. Sometimes fair does not mean equal.
- Melanie was in this situation and had to redistribute the bills, because she was making a lot of money and he was not. It should be based on income.
- The woman in the article said she thinks the man should pay more than the woman. She needs to either accept that he makes less and figure it out, or if that is really important to her, she needs to find a new man.
- It sounds like he wants to split things in a way that makes sense and it sounds like she thinks he wants to come after everything she has worked for.
- Shannon wonders what the $15,000 debt came from. Did it come from their lifestyle?
- When Shannon and Bill were first separated, she kind of felt the same way as the woman in the article, because she made more money than him.
- A counselor recommended the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. The book says that women naturally want to be taken care of and men naturally want to be the provider. It is part of our DNA.
- Melanie said her counselor told her she has never seen a couple come into her office that has lasted, where the woman made more money. She said it never works, because women feel like they are taking care of a child.
- Liz wonders, is it DNA or socialization? Is this what society is teaching us? There are societies where women are the primary breadwinners and decision makers and they have harmonious relationships because they are socialized in different ways.
- Shannon was taught that gender roles didn’t matter and she was taught to be an achiever, but she does like to have someone take her out to dinner.
- Tonya does expect a guy to pay on the first date, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant. She didn’t grow up with any strong messages either way, but it just feels natural. As you continue to date you would then each switch off paying.
- Melanie lifted her “man ban” about a month ago and has been dating. She was on a ban for a year and decided to give dating another try. She has been on a lot of dates and some second, third, and fourth dates.
- Melanie feels like she is a financial feminist, but since she didn’t get it in her last relationship, she does want to be taken care of. She has been paying her half, because it feels fair, but one guy did pay because he was insistent. Part of her wants to pay her half so they don’t expect anything.
- Keeping score is bad, but it kind of depends on the guy’s personality and level of responsibility. He could be working hard on a passion project or he could be lazy and laying around all day. It is a totally different story for each situation and there is a lot we aren’t seeing.
- Marriage relationships are all about partnerships and we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes.
- The couple should seek counseling, because it sounds like there are deeper issues.
- Anything is possible, but it is really hard to change seven years into a relationship. It is best to seek mental help before you are in crisis mode. It is the same thing with marriage counseling. Prevention is best.
- In the article, she owns the house, and he pays $500 rent. It all goes back to the partnership. If this is a challenge now, it will be more so after they get married.
- Shannon said when you get engaged, that is the happiest you will be in your relationship. You can have moments of that happiness, but it doesn’t ever get back to that level.
- Liz doesn’t agree, because everything was up in the air when they got married. She finds a lot of enjoyment the further they get into their marriage, because it is more predictable.
- If you’ve got some really big issues before you get married, they are not going to get better. You can move people a little bit along the continuum, but you cannot change another person.
- It’s like going to Home Depot for bread. It is not Home Depot’s fault they don’t have bread, they have other things that make them a good store. You need to get comfortable with that and get your bread somewhere else, so you can enjoy what Home Depot has to offer.
- There are certain things about people that you can’t get mad about, because it is who they are. You either need to get onboard with who they are or find somebody else.
- Facebook group:
- Men: Do you feel an innate sense that you need to care for the person you are with?
- Women: Do you feel like you need to be cared for?
- Different Gender Identifying: Do you identify with this type of feeling in any way, shape, or form?
- Liz likes it when she and her husband both have a very well-defined division of labor. It is not necessarily financially based.
- Melanie doesn’t need to be taken care of, but it would be nice once in a while. It comes down to having the same values around money.
- Shannon doesn’t need to be taken care of, but she is in a relationship with someone who likes to take care of her.
- The Happy Hour ladies are taking questions for a listener questions happy hour! If you want to ask questions, you can go to the Martinis and Your Money Facebook group, or you can email them to Shannon at email@example.com.
TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is around the article about the woman out earning her significant other. I think it’s really important in any relationship for both partners to feel that responsibilities and finances are equitably shared no matter what role people play. People’s jobs and incomes can change, and constant communication between significant others will prevent resentments from building up down the road.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!!