When Relationships and Money with Kassandra Dasent
I have recorded a number of podcasts about relationships and, just when I think I’ve seen every angle around the topic, I’m pleasantly surprised by some fresh thoughts, and I’m even more excited that those thoughts are from a long-time blogging friend of mine, Kassandra Dasent, Financial Consultant and CEO of Minding Your Money. Kassandra joins me today to talk about how you can manage a healthy relationship with money while also managing healthy personal relationships. We tackle every type of relationship, from love interest, to friendship, to family. This is a conversation you don’t want to miss.
What Are We Drinking?
Kassandra — Green Tea with Lemon
Shannon — Cold Coffee
- Kassandra was first on the podcast in November 2014. Check out Episode 06, to hear her back story.
- At the time of that podcast, she was working full time and doing personal finance on the side, then she was working full time and doing no personal finance, and now she is doing personal finance full time.
- On February 1, 2019, Kassandra started doing personal finance full time, when she resigned from her corporate job as a software engineer and project manager. It was a huge leap. It was a very cushy job with a lot of benefits.
- Kassandra started her company Minding Your Money, LLC, and she serves people in the capacity of financial coach and financial consultant for companies. She has also spoke at a few events this year.
- Shannon and Kassandra were early blogging friends.
- Kassandra’s mental health drove her to leave her corporate job. It wasn’t necessarily that she wasn’t completely happy doing what she was doing. She loved leading teams of engineers creating new technology.
- She leapfrogged into that career, because she doesn’t have a STEM background or a college degree.
- Working onsite 14- to 16-hour days, getting calls on weekends, and getting calls at 1:00 am really cost her from a mental health perspective. It was a lot of pressure that she hadn’t counted on, along with being a stepmom, a wife, and a long-distance care giver to her mom who wasn’t doing well during that time. It was a lot to manage and it was a case of self preservation.
- Financial health is what enabled her to make this leap. She had the flexibility to make this decision confidently.
- At the time of Episode 06, five years ago, Kassandra had just come out of paying off debt, she recently immigrated to the U.S., she got married a couple years before, and she was still working on catching up, because she was in her late 30s.
- She decided to go into a full-time career so she could save money. She and her husband were saving between 50 and 55 percent a year. Kassandra was maxing out her 401(k) every year, maxing out her Roth IRA, her husband was maxing out his SEP IRA, and they were doing all of the right things.
- Kassandra made sure she had an “F off” fund so she or her husband could make a change later if they wanted and not stress out about money or the next thing. She could take the time to focus, heal, recalibrate, and figure out what was next in life.
- One of the most important factors in your financial journey is having goals. If you don’t have a goal, it will reveal itself at some point. When that happens, have enough saved so money doesn’t get in the way. Taking the financial aspect off the table is huge.
- Kassandra spoke at the Lola Retreat this year, and she spoke about relationships and money. Shannon thought it was a different way to explore it.
- Kassandra’s presentation was about how to manage when relationships and money intersect. She broke the presentation into three parts:
- Intimate relationships
- Friend relationships
- Family relationships
- They each have different factors and impacts on us and there are different ways to manage each one and still have positive money results.
- We relate to each other on different levels of love. That will differentiate how you should ideally approach somebody in wanting to talk about money more.
- Intimate relationships
- As soon as you decide to go on a date, it begins there. It’s about right off the top trying to discern what type of money personality the other person has. The first date often helps set the tone for expectations of money in the relationship. Study that person from a financial lens.
- When Kassandra met her husband in 2009, she was $55,000 in debt and he didn’t have any debt. A few dates in, Kassandra told him exactly what she had, what got her to where she was, and what she was planning to do. She was glad she laid it all out there so he could choose to walk away.
- What happens in our society is couples wait until they get engaged and then they reveal the debt they have. It’s up to us as individuals to decide and say that money is important and it will affect our relationship. It is our responsibility to not expect that the other person will speak up first.
- For those struggling with how to bring up the topic, ask the other person leading questions like “If you won $25,000, what would you do with it?”. The answer will tell you so much and can lead to a conversation. Let it feel like a conversation – you aren’t looking for ammunition, but discovery.
- Talk about money sooner rather than later. Money is a vital component of our relationship and we should treat it with respect toward each other.
- Revealing your finances isn’t going to destroy your relationship, hiding your finances is going to destroy your relationship.
- If the other person cannot stand what you look like on paper and won’t work with you to achieve goals with you, get out of that relationship. It is better to have a bad break up than a bad marriage. Don’t restrict yourself according to another person’s view of you.
- If you are in a long-term relationship and have never talked about money, start with discovery questions. It is going to be a multi-step process. It is all about understanding their money story.
- Be the person who is vulnerable, and put yourself out there. It will make the other person feel more comfortable.
- If someone is really pushing back, get a third party, like Kassandra or the Financial Gym, to facilitate the conversation.
- You don’t need to negate your independence, but understand that you need to exercise some common goals when it comes to your money. Even if you keep it in separate pots, you are still working toward common goals, which requires full disclosure.
- There are so many red flags to be mindful of. Find them sooner rather than later. Money will impact everything, especially if you have children later on.
- Friend relationships
- Differences in income and lifestyle, culture, and religion can be landmines. Money can bring you together or it can decimate friendships.
- It is easier to get aligned in an intimate relationship than with friendships. There are so many challenges and some are more open than others.
- Friendships can involve multiple people in a group or multiple groups of friends. Some don’t feel the need to talk about money, because the assumption is that everyone is at the same financial level. That is not necessarily true.
- There is pressure to be able to hang with them where they are, whether that is certain events, restaurants, etc. If you are making $65,000, but your friends are making $150,000, there is a big difference in what they are able to fund than what you are able to fund.
- Know thyself and respect thyself. Be selective in who you choose to have as your friends. Know what your financial capabilities are and then begin to select your friends carefully who ascribe to your core values. Know your financial boundaries.
- Know that you will have friends that will align with you at certain points in your life, but you are going to evolve. Some will move along with you on that trajectory and others that will not.
- If your finances cannot sustain the friendship, you may have to stop spending time with them.
- If your friends are not willing to work with you to spend time with you, they are not quality friends. It is really difficult to let go of friends, but you need to acknowledge that it is time to move on, and that is healthy.
- We have a natural instinct to have someone around us, but you need to be comfortable being alone. Understand what is good for you and right for you and also who.
- Don’t expect them to change, it is about how do you change. You need to maintain financial health. You may have friends that don’t respect that and challenge that.
- Before you seek new friends, understand what didn’t work well. Learn how to read people better. People will tell you a lot in their behavior and their language. You are the starting point of all healthy relationships in your life.
- Family relationships
- Family relationships are the most difficult, because you cannot remove yourself. There is a sense of community in your family.
- You can separate yourself from your family, if it is harming you financially or stunting your financial growth.
- When you have individuals who feel entitled to your money or assets and they don’t care about you, only what you have and what you can do for them, that is very unhealthy and extremely dangerous. The guilt wrapped around that relationship continually pulls you into their vortex of garbage.
- You need to say the relationship is toxic, if someone is using you. Do you want to continue to enable that person? You must matter first. You need to find a way to assert yourself.
- If you have elderly parents and you don’t know what their financial state is, are you potentially going to be their retirement plan? You need to have that conversation.
- The older generation is typically opposed to sharing their financial situation, because of the parent-child relationship. This is where you need to assert yourself as an adult. The language of your conversation will be multi phased. It is more of a reconnaissance mission. What is your retirement going to look like for you? Let them tell you. Try to get a picture of how they perceive it.
- Shannon recommends the book Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk, by Cameron Huddleston.
- Certain cultures expect their children to send them money. Kassandra calls it the “Black Tax”. Those who are in the black and brown communities, especially those who have immigrated, feel that you owe it to them to make sure they are taken care of, because of the sacrifice they made.
- It is all about explaining the reality of your situation. Ask them questions about their master plan for you so you can then cut it down one tree at a time. It is about honesty. Both sides need to make financial choices to make it work for all.
- If they are not willing to engage and listen, drastic measures need to happen. Sometimes you have to give them tough love, if it isn’t working out for you financially.
- If you want to continue that support, you may need to make more money.
- If you drop dead tomorrow, what are they going to do?
- Tough love is tough and, at the end of the day, you can work through it. Not having the tough conversation is ruining the relationship.
- Shannon was recently on Glamour’s new podcast, She Makes Money Moves, and was quoted as saying “Money is the Ultimate Taboo Topic”.
- We all have so much emotion and judgement around money and it is not clear how it is going to be received. With finances, you have no idea how the other person is going to view you, because they can’t see your finances and they don’t know your back story.
- When you think about any relationship, what is healthiest for you?
- Kassandra’s four pillars are financial, spiritual, mental, and physical. How is another person impacting your pillars?
- Money in relationships is complicated, and the hardest part is the conversations.
- Honor yourself, be good to yourself, be kind to yourself, choose your people wisely, surround yourself with the kind of people that make you better.
TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that in order for you to have a healthy relationship with money, you have to take some time and set your money priorities and your money boundaries, so no matter what type of relationship you are in, you can still maintain a healthy one with your money.
Random Three Questions
- If you won $25,000, what would you do with it?
- If this was your last night on earth, what would be your last meal?
- What is a book that always inspires you?
Connect with Kassandra
Facebook: Minding Your Money KD
Most Inspired Book: The Secrets of Six-Figure Women, by Barbara Stanny
If you’d like to talk to my team at the Financial Gym, to help you work through any of your money and relationship issues, I hope you’ll reach out to us. We have truly seen it all at the Gym and my trainers can’t wait to help you achieve the financial success you’d like to achieve. The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.